Matt Willey

Matt Willey

Cycle Clothing

Vélobici to offer Di Luca’s Killer heat-moulded cycling shoes to the UK

DL Killer KS1 shoes - red sideon

Vélobici has become the exclusive UK stockist of a new cycling shoe with heat-moulding technology, designed by Italian road cycling legend Danilo Di Luca.

The new DL Killer KS1 shoes from Di Luca’s Killer Collection feature a 100% carbon fibre shell and an ultralite sole, engineered to mould to the shape of the rider’s feet.

The heat-moulding technology is activated by heating the shoes in boiling water and setting the sole to the rider’s individual footprint, and is designed to deliver unrivalled comfort and performance on the road.

Chris Puttnam, owner of Vélobici said: “The revolutionary technology involved in creating these shoes makes them a perfect fit for Vélobici and we are pleased to be able to add these shoes to our collection of performance roadwear.

“The shoes have been developed with the input of Di Luca along with other top professional cyclists and are scientifically proven to increase the rider’s power output on the road, thanks to a carbon hull that moulds to the shape of the rider’s feet to provide exceptional comfort.

“This, coupled with the lightweight design and increased ventilation, helps to keep feet at a comfortable temperature while on the road and therefore helps to increase performance.

“Our premium cyclewear benefits from the latest technology and we are continually working on developing new lines that push the capabilities of these fabrics, so it is great to be able to offer customers cycling shoes that echo our own ethos.

“Our partnership with Danilo Di Luca has already enabled us to create our own Vélobici road bike and we have plans to develop further lines in the future.”

The DL Killer KS1 shoes feature an ATOP lace system with dual direction capabilities and are adjustable with one hand, allowing them to be tightened or loosened on the move.

The shoes benefit from increased breathability thanks to ventilation holes on the sides of the front upper and tongue, and the carbon sole, to help to keep the rider’s feet at an optimum temperature during activity.

Arch support also provides total comfort by preventing pronation movement and features engineering to guard against the rider’s arch rolling.

The DL Killer KS1 shoes are now available from Vélobici’s Market Bosworth shop and website, and are available in six colours. Priced at £390.

To find out more about available collections or to shop online visit

FeaturedNewsWomen's Cycling

Zwift Academy registration now open for 2017 following Rapha Club House London launch event


Zwift, the global online fitness platform for cyclists, has announced that registration is open for the 2017 CANYON//SRAM Racing Zwift Academy in a continued partnership with the Women’s WorldTour team.

Launched yesterday evening at the Rapha Club House, in Soho, London, the global talent ID program invites female cyclists to compete to win a UCI World Tour contract by riding Zwift.

The success of the first year showed that not only could we discover a world-class talent, but we could inspire a global community of female cyclists – Ronny Lauke

In 2016, the inaugural Zwift Academy saw 1200 registrants from 51 countries. Building on the success of last year’s program, Zwift and CANYON//SRAM are hoping to triple that number in 2017.

“When we announced the 2016 Zwift Academy, there was a lot of curiosity on whether the program could deliver on its lofty goals,” said Ronny Lauke, CANYON//SRAM’s Team Manager and Sports Director.

“The success of the first year showed that not only could we discover a world-class talent, but we could inspire a global community of female cyclists. With that proof of concept, the sky is the limit for the 2017 edition.”

Winner of the 2016 Zwift Academy Leah Thorvilson with Eric Min, Zwift co-founder & CEO

Following the registration period, the Zwift Academy will commence on September 1st with a six-week Qualifying stage, open to all women who want to challenge themselves to be the best cyclist they can be. Participants will be tasked to complete a series of group rides & structured workouts in Zwift.

“My transition from running to cycling to elite level cycling was unreal and only made possible because of Zwift,” said Leah Thorvilson, winner of the 2016 Zwift Academy.

“I hope my story will inspire thousands more women to strive to be a better cyclist by being part of the 2017 Zwift Academy. It is more than just a competition, the Zwift Academy also created a super friendly and motivated international women’s cycling community, so I’d encourage women of all abilities to sign-up!”

“Introducing a racing component to the Zwift Academy provides the judges with another important evaluation component” –  Eric Min

Zwift Academy is partnering with leading training software, Today’s Plan, to organize and track participants’ ride data and coaching partner, TrainSharp, to prescribe the workouts and analyze performance. The biggest change for 2017 will be the introduction of eRacing to the Semi-Final stage in November.

“Introducing a racing component to the Zwift Academy provides the judges with another important evaluation component,” said Eric Min, Zwift co-founder & CEO.

Hannah Barnes, British Road Race Champion and Canyon//SRAM rider and Leah Thorvilson take to the stage

“Zwift Academy eRacing will be an ideal testing ground for measuring and gauging new talent in an expansive, fair, effective and competitive environment.”

Hannah Barnes, British Road Race Champion and Canyon//SRAM rider, added “I’m super excited about the launch of the 2017 Zwift Academy, it’s such a wonderful opportunity to open the sport up to more women. I can’t wait to meet & ride with our contestants in Zwift!”

Three 2017 Zwift Academy finalists will be invited to the CANYON//SRAM Racing team camp in Mallorca, Spain, in December of 2017, with the overall winner of the pro-contract announced shortly afterwards.

Riders interested in joining Zwift Academy can visit to find out more and sign up starting today, June 12th.

Zwift Academy 2017 Schedule:

  • Registration: June 12 – September 1
  • Qualification: September 1 – October 13
  • Semi Finals: November 1 – 22
  • Finals: December


Cycle ClothingFeatured

Vélobici aiming to keep riders cool with new René and Continental super-lightweight summer jerseys

's new lightweight Continental kit on the road - continental-light-life-back - low res

Premium cyclewear brand Vélobici has developed a new super-lightweight fabric for its latest collection of performance jerseys and bib shorts. The snappily named VB/Pro-VR2 is described as “a high-tech performance nylon, developed with a honeycomb fabric construction and providing a lightweight 150g fabric that excels on the road.”

The new three-season kit promises to perform exceptionally under warm conditions due to the fabric’s ease of movement and wicking capabilities.

Velobici’s Rene jersey in wine with Rene bib shorts in black

The René is a high performance full-length zip jersey benefitting from a standard race fit. It features superlight ‘vélobici’ Jacquard detailing to the side panels and underarm for added ventilation, and is completed with Vélobici’s classic eye for detail, with embroidered René and VB logos to the chest and the brand’s recognisable reflective binding to the rear pocket and hem.

The use of performance nylon, over polyester, keeps this four-pocket jersey (one zipped and waterproof) durable, while delivering better moisture wicking and odour resistance. It is available in sand with wine and black detailing or in wine with sand and black detailing. The René jersey is priced at £175.

Designed to complement both jerseys, the René bib shorts are made from VB/Pro-VR1 performance fabric (280g) to ensure extra comfort in the saddle. It features a new VB pad, constructed using foam carving and wave body technology, this is then covered with bioceramic anti-bacterial fabric that is made using clay minerals. The minerals help reflect F.I.R infrared rays emitted by the human body, providing the rider with unrivalled comfort and thermoregulation. Vented lightweight centre back, silicone leg grippers with Vélobici butt and VB thigh embroideries finish the classic look. They are available individually at £180 and are available as a set at £310.

Velobici’s new lightweight Continental jersey and bib shorts

The biggest selling jersey in the Vélobici portfolio has been given a lightweight makeover for summer, with the classic Continental kit now available in 150g honeycomb fabric. A versatile roadwear staple, this short sleeve Continental jersey delivers the same superior comfort and stretch in the saddle, but with a cool and lightweight feel, making it an essential piece of kit for the warmer weather.

This navy jersey is completed with a full-length zip, lightweight ‘vélobici’ jacquard side panels and under arm, gold VB and Continental embroidered logos to the chest, and the brand’s recognisable reflective top pocket and hem binding in gold. Seamless silicone gripper on the hem and sleeve cuffs keeps everything where it should be, regardless of the conditions. The Continental jersey is priced at £175.

The new Continental bib shorts are made from Vélobici’s exclusive VB/Pro-VR1 fabric (280g), they benefit from four-way stretch and exceptional wicking. The Continental bibs again feature the new VB pad.

They are available individually at £180 and are available as a set at £310.

The Rene jersey in sand

To find out more about available collections or to shop online visit

For the latest news check out @velobici_cc or

Cycle ClothingCycling Accessories

Shoe Doping with Artful Kicks: raise your cycling shoe game to the next level


It often said that clothes maketh the man (or woman). The same should be said of shoes but, when it comes to cycling, they’re all too often overlooked. We see ever more wild jersey designs, sock designs (#sockdoping, anyone?) and of course, crazy caps – but the rate of creative development seems rather slow when it comes to the aesthetic evolution of cycling shoes.

There has been scant opportunity to establish your sense of self and to stand out from the pack with your choice of cycling shoes, until now. But fear not: Artful Kicks has entered the building.

This fledgling bespoke footwear business is the brainchild of Simon Fellows from Dorset, who has quickly become the go-to name for fancy footwear with his outstanding designs. We have been talking to Simon about how Artful Kicks has developed, about his stellar client list, and what the future holds for this growing company.

Tell us a bit about your background, Simon. Where are you from, and what inspired you to start Artful Kicks?

I’m Simon Fellows, 25, owner of Artful Kicks. I was born in Leeds and my family moved south to Dorset in 1999. I’ve always had an interest in art, but the subject was not a major feature of my education. However, sport most definitely was and I graduated from the University of Chichester in 2013 with a degree in Sports and Exercise Science before relocating to Bedfordshire.

Towards the end of 2014 my partner and I travelled around New Zealand for 4 months with a number of University friends. Before we went travelling I was stuck in a dead-end retail job with no career progression but I had always said to myself that I would relish the opportunity to start my own business. I just didn’t know what path I would take. After returning home from New Zealand I decided to embark on a career in the sports industry and it was during this period that my hobby turned into a full-time profession.

In between career searches I started to paint canvases of various footwear as a hobby (I have an ever-growing collection of sneakers!). I was lucky enough to sell a variety of these canvases to customers over Instagram; this was where Artful Kicks was created and I was soon able to produce my very first pair of custom hand-painted sneakers – a pair of Adidas Superstars. That was the birth of Artful Kicks.

How has the first 18 months been for you and Artful Kicks, and how did the move into bespoke cycling shoe designs come about?

The last 18 months have seen me produce over 400 hand-painted pairs of shoes for casual and performance wear and what began as a hobby developed into a full-time profession. I’ve created casual pairs of sneakers for professional footballers such as Leroy Sané, Maarten Stekelenburg and David Meyler, and public figures including Alex Cannon. More recently, I’ve ventured into the world of cycling and performance wear.

I was approached by professional cyclist Ian Bibby (now of team JLT Condor) requesting a pair of hand-painted cycling shoes. I had never thought that this could be an option, but with my interest in sport and being a keen recreational cyclist I accepted and started to experiment on what materials I could work on with the equipment I use. The shoes were subsequently worn by Ian in various races across the UK circuit.

The product basically promoted itself and before I knew it I was inundated with emails requesting custom cycling shoes from amateur to elite riders. I came to the realisation that there was most definitely a market for this and that I wanted to take Artful Kicks in this direction. Both recreational cyclists and those riding on the pro-circuit contact me on a daily basis to create something unique and bespoke, allowing them to stand out in the pro-peloton or alongside their riding partners.

Your customer roster is becoming a bit of a who’s who… which commission left you the most starstruck?

I’ve been lucky to have been approached by a large number of pro cyclists over the past year commissioning unique pairs:

  • Ian Bibby (JLT Condor)
  • Kristian House (ONEPRO Cycling)
  • Gianni Meersman (Quick-Step Floors)
  • Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Wanty-Groupe Gobert)
  • Rick Zabel (Katusha-Alpecin)
  • Lucs Liss (German International)
  • Gudi Stock (German Olympian)
  • Mark Stewart (Team GB and An Post-Chain Reaction)

The next couple of months looks as if they’ll be extremely exciting with a number of Tour de France riders contacting me – there’s no better race in the world to have your work promoted! I have pairs in the pipeline for Dylan Van Baarle (Cannondale-Drapac), Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Arnaud Démare (FDJ) – I’m sure there’ll be a few more wanting to stand out in the peloton to before the TDF starts!

How long does the commission process usually take? How do you decide on the perfect design with a client?

On average I can create around 2-3 pairs of cycling shoes in a week, this of course varies depending on the complexity of each design. I have been very fortunate in the fact that a lot of my customers have seen my previous work and just ask me to freestyle a design based on a vague concept or idea that they supply, although you do get customers who have a very set design in their mind bringing all their personal artwork together on one pair of shoes.

All the work displayed on my social media channels and website has been created via a collaborative process and the exchange of ideas between me and the customer – I don’t produce ‘mock-up’ designs so I make sure that both the customer and I are on the same wavelength with the design and I keep them updated throughout the production of their custom shoes. I have a lot of experience working on a large array of different brands and materials so I definitely have a good idea as to what would work best for the customer.

Have you had much interest from the female cycling community?

I would say that 90% of my customers so far have been from the male cycling community, but I have noticed that the vast majority of influencers with a large following on social media are from the female cycling community – maybe we are starting to see a swing of the pendulum in regards to the split between gender communities. I am in contact with Kate Hammond (@purelypalmer) who has over 125k followers on Instagram about producing a pair of customised Specialized S-Works. Her following has grown tremendously over the last few months and it’s influencers like Kate that are getting more and more people into funky, out-there kits and equipment.

The cycling scene seems to be very receptive to new ideas – do you think that’s the case?

I most definitely believe this is the case, especially when it comes to the way cyclists like to express their style. In my opinion there is an obvious divide between plain and extravagant cycling wear, there is very little in between but we are seeing a rise in kit companies producing flashy, patterned and brightly coloured attire.

Another reason for wanting to take Artful Kicks in the cycling direction is that there are a huge number of plain white cycling shoes worn around both the amateur and elite circuits – it’s only very recently that I’ve seen a few designers willing to push aesthetic boundaries. I’m aiming to push this boundary even further and to give a riders’ shoes a personal touch – that little something to help them stand out while racing.

Which brands’ products do you most enjoy working with?

I have worked on various brands such as SIDI, GIRO, Fizik, Specialized, Rapha, Lake, Bontrager and Shimano, but I must say that the GIRO Empire SLX, Rapha GT, Specialized S-Works 6/Sub6 and Fizik R1B are amongst the best pairs to work on. They offer a large single-skinned area and the synthetic and natural leather is a perfect canvas for me to produce a wide range of designs. If a customer asks then I will always suggest a white pair of shoes – this makes the colours really pop and the whole effect is so clean and sharp.

What have been the highlights?

The biggest plus for me over the past year has been the fact that I wake up and get to produce a different design each day. Every product is a marriage of the customer’s ideas with the knowledge I have gained as to what works and look best on the shoes. I go to bed thinking about the following day and how I will produce something that the customer will be over the moon with.

My Instagram account @artfulkicks has gained over 20,000 followers and a large number of these are keen cyclists. There are a great number of key influencers from across the world of cycling, including four-time Olympic Gold Medallist Laura Kenny who recently clicked the follow button alongside a variety of GB hopefuls and athletes on the pro circuit.

Social media is, of course, a fantastic way to give Artful Kicks exposure – however, recently I was lucky enough to be approached by GQ magazine to feature in the May, June and July issues. If you receive ‘Cyclist’ magazine you will also see an advertorial of mine, during June, July and August.

Might we see some collaboration projects on the horizon?

Apart from the collaboration between multiple Tour De France riders and social media influencers I will be hoping to send in pairs of hand-painted cycling shoes to a variety of Cycle-focused magazines, to hopefully generate some reviews and editorial for features in their issues. I still have a dream to be able to create a range of cycling shoe designs for a major company in the cycling world; not necessarily hand-painted, but to be able to be part of the development process in producing a limited-edition range using my ideas and input.

Who knows where Artful Kicks will venture to next….

Simon and Artful Kicks can be contacted for commissions or other expressions of interest via email: or using the social media accounts below:

INSTAGRAM: @artfulkicks

FACEBOOK: @artfulkicks

TWITTER: @artful_kicks


Cycling AccessoriesNews

Introducing the Fassa fork bag: next-level protection for transporting your bike


Fassa has launched what it describes as the first ever padded fork bag, designed to protect your expensive new front fork upgrades when the front wheel is removed.

Made from durable, waterproof materials, and padded with 4mm closed cell foam, the Fassa Padded Fork Bag protects the fork from those back of the car dings and garage scrapes.

Fork Bags are available for Road (one size) and Mountain bikes (three sizes – short, medium and long travel sizes).

Prices begin from £40.

Who is Fassa?

Fassa is a Dorset-based business that designs and makes products to protect bicycles in transit and in storage.

The name ‘Fassa’ came from the Giro D’Italia, perhaps the hardest road race of them all and a mountainous region in the Italian Dolomites called Val Di Fassa. It was once the site of fierce battles between Italians and Austrians but today everyone lives in perfect harmony. It’s also hugely popular with cyclists, and that’s the link: bicycles that once emerged battered and sometimes broken from the backs of vans now, thanks to Fassa products, arrive ready to ride.

Based on the South Coast, Fassa were in the ideal place to learn from workshops that make products that suffer in the harshest of conditions – out at sea. They met with ocean sail makers, outdoor clothing manufacturers and surf board bag makers to understand construction of products that need to work day in day out in high winds, salt water, sand and bright sunlight. Fabric type, thread strength and construction need to be strong, robust and hardworking. We learn’t a lot from and we wanted this high standard for our own products.

The Fassa workshop/atelier was set up in Wimborne, Dorset in 2015 where the brand invested in the finest sewing machines made by German firm, Durkopp Adler. They sought highly experienced industrial machinists to join the team.

Fassa launched its business and website in December 2016. They are attending trade events and sportives throughout 2017 where they will be giving riders the opportunity to view and purchase their products.

The full-range of products is also available to purchase at our website,

The brand also offers a bespoke service where customers can commission their own projects.


Vamper has been trialling the full Fassa range of bike protection when moving around the country with our beloved bikes. We will bring you a full review of our experiences shortly.

Cycling TipsFeaturedNews

How much does it cost to fly with your bike? – Charges by airline


Travelling with your bike can be a bit of headache, trying to get your head around the various charges, limits and packing stipulations.

We were recently sent this very handy infographic series from the guys at Yellow Jersey Cycle Insurance which presents a useful overview of the requirements for travelling with your precious cargo.

Hopefully this will help you get prepared for that summer stint in Majorca or even further afield.







Yorkshire Velo Tours launches innovative online Route Store


Ilkley-based cycle tour company Yorkshire Velo Tours has announced the launch of its online Route Store, which contains all the information you need to enjoy a classic Yorkshire cycle route.

Six routes are now available using a simple download facility.

With each route purchase you will receive details of :

  • Off street parking and toilet/changing facilities at the start/finish
  • Comprehensive description of the route with photos
  • Recommendations of the best cafe stops
  • Bespoke printable map of the route, showing key climbs and cafe stops
  • Link to route on Mapmyride
  • GPX file
The cost per route is £4.99 with a free test route (The Three Hill Thriller) available to download.
FeaturedWomen's Cycling

Zwift Academy initiative to return for 2017 with eRacing component; CANYON//SRAM Racing retains project partnership

Zwift Academy

Following its immensely successful 2016 pilot, Zwift has announced that the Zwift Academy will return in 2017, with ambitious participation targets and the introduction of eRacing. The Academy will also run in continued partnership with CANYON//SRAM racing.

The initiative, which invites participants to try out for a UCI World Tour pro contract by riding Zwift, is aiming to triple registrations in 2017 and create the world’s largest community of female cyclists.

The announcement coincides with 2016 Zwift Academy winner, Leah Thorvilson, joining her new CANYON//SRAM teammates and management in Adelaide for the start for the 2017 UCI World Tour season.

Leah Thorvilson
2016 Zwift Academy winner Leah Thorvilson

“Zwift has showed itself as a credible talent identification platform and the 2016 Zwift Academy proved that CANYON//SRAM Racing were committed to adding a new dimension to women’s cycling in their very first season”, says Ronny Lauke, Canyon//SRAM Racing Team Manager.

“Our Year 2 program will build on what we achieved in 2016 by delivering new angles to boost registrations and benefits for all participants.”

Zwift and Canyon//SRAM are planning to more than triple participation in 2017 by attracting over 3,600 female cyclists to take part and graduate from the Zwift Academy program.

“Zwift Academy became famous when Leah Thorvilson earned a UCI World Tour contract but the very notion of an academy meant everyone should benefit” adds CANYON//SRAM rider Tiffany Cromwell.

“In 2016 the Zwift Academy brought together a global community of female cyclists who supported and encouraged each other regardless of ability level or experience on the bike. The best thing was that any female cyclist could take part and benefit, whether they were a newbie, an enthusiast or a racer. I’m looking forward to seeing this inclusive vibe go from strength to strength in 2017”.

Registrations for Year 2 of the Zwift Academy are expected to open in June, with the qualification phase starting in September. In keeping with the 2016 program, participants will be tasked to complete a range of group rides, training rides and structured training programs. The biggest change for 2017 will be the introduction of eRacing to the semi-final stage in November.

“eSport is coming to cycling and Zwift is leading the charge. Introducing a racing component to Zwift Academy provides the judges with another important evaluation component” said Eric Min, Zwift founder & CEO.

“Zwift Academy racing will be an ideal testing ground for measuring and gauging new talent in a fair, effective, competitive environment.”

Min also revealed Zwift are in talks to establish a CANYON//SRAM eRacing development team for the 2018 season. “This is a natural progression for Zwift and CANYON//SRAM Racing. This new and unique project will ease many of the budget constraints in women’s cycling by allowing rider talent to be developed online, in many geographies, and within a team structure.”

Three 2017 Zwift Academy finalists will be invited to the Canyon//SRAM Racing team camp at the end of 2017.



FeaturedNewsWomen's Cycling

The search concludes as CANYON//SRAM racing names Leah Thorvilson its Zwift Academy winner


After an exhaustive 11-month search, CANYON//SRAM has announced the rider who will take a spot on its World Tour roster, after having scoured the globe via its innovative partnership with Zwift to uncover raw talent.

Leah Thorvilson, a former U.S. Olympic trials marathon runner from Little Rock, Arkansas, fought off 1,200 women from around the world to win the pro-contract and the opportunity to race for the CANYON//SRAM Racing during the 2017 season.

“It’s been an incredible journey and a totally surreal experience,” said Thorvilson, after spending the better part of the 2016 summer participating in group rides and completing structured workout programs on Zwift, before training with the CANYON//SRAM team in Majorca.

Zwift Academy winner Leah Thorvilson

“Prior to Zwift Academy, I never would have guessed this was possible. The other finalists, Jessie and Yvonne are tremendous athletes whom I now consider close friends. I’m so grateful for the opportunity, and I can’t wait to begin this next chapter with the CANYON//SRAM Racing team.”

“Our team is about challenging conventions and we’re super proud of Leah,” said CANYON//SRAM Racing rider Tiffany Cromwell, who first announced the competition during a virtual group ride with Zwift users.

“It’d be an honour to have any of the Zwift Academy finalists on team for 2017; they’ve put their lives on hold for this opportunity, but Leah distinguished herself in making the final cut. Leah is a welcome addition here.”

For each of the three rounds of competition, a panel of judges narrowed riders down by carefully analysing data gathered during online rides and workouts.

CANYON//SRAM Sports Director Beth Duryea, Professional Pursuit World Champion Mike McCarthy, and TrainSharp Founder Jon Sharples were part of the selection committee who chose twelve semi-finalists before narrowing it down to the final three.

“Finding talent in cycling is a numbers game, in terms of casting the net wide and drawing performance data back in. That’s what excited us about the Zwift Academy concept. Indoor training provides the accessibility for participants, a safe environment to train and a controlled environment to analyse data, then Zwift adds the social element to build a community of riders and spur them on. It doesn’t surprise us that Leah is our winner. We’re looking forward to seeing how she can develop into a bike racer,” said TrainSharp’s Sharples.

“When you see an idea really become something, it’s an amazing feeling,” added Ronny Lauke, CANYON//SRAM Racing team manager.

“We took a chance with the Zwift Academy and we’re very pleased with the potential we saw not only in Leah, but in the other finalists as well. Watching and seeing all these women dedicate themselves to the sport, it makes one wonder how many more are overlooked.”

Zwift Academy Finalists Leah Thorvilson, Yvonne van Hattum and Jessie Donavan

Leah’s training and race schedule will be determined by the management of CANYON//SRAM Racing, including sport director Beth Duryea. “The immediate future is about further preparing Leah for bike racing at a professional level. The learning curve is going to be incredibly steep, but we will provide a plan with some specific areas for her to work on over the rest of winter. Leah will have a training program from our team coach and together we’ll discuss the first part of the season. It would be great to see her preparing to race sometime in spring.”

Zwift CEO & Founder, Erin Min concluded; “We knew that Zwift and its community were capable of producing a rider who could race at a World Tour level. But this was only made possible because of CANYON//SRAM Racing. This year was a pilot, and in this respect, our three finalists were true pioneers of their sport. No one can take this away from Leah, Jessie and Yvonne!”

Zwift, CANYON//SRAM Racing and Canyon have confirmed the Zwift Academy will return in 2017.

More on Zwift Academy Finalists

Leah Thorvilson

Thirty-seven-year-old Leah is a development director at her alma mater, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Leah’s prolific career as a marathon runner included multiple wins, and she competed in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Injuries prompted a move to cycling in 2015, and Leah quickly dedicated herself to the sport.

Jessie Donavan

A long-time endurance athlete and mother of three, Jessie lives with her family near Burlington, Vermont. The 40-year-old, three-time Ironman champion has repeatedly set triathlon-course bests on the bike, and has a background in backpacking and running as well as elite Nordic skiing. Jessie works as a senior enrollment analyst at the University of Vermont.

Yvonne van Hattum

Originally from Holland, Yvonne currently resides with her husband in Dubai, UAE and works in management for Valvoline. A veteran field hockey player, Yvonne, 37, has been a runner for nearly a decade but only discovered her talent for cycling in 2015.

CANYON//SRAM Racing Pro Team Zwift Academy Winner from on Vimeo.

Cycling AccessoriesNews

Green is the new Black as KitBrix pledges support for Homeless Veterans


UK cycle and triathlon accessories brand KitBrix has announced it will be taking a very different approach to this weekend’s ‘Black Friday’ sales drive.

The brand has vowed to donate 20% of all sales generated during, what it is calling, ‘Green Friday’ to UK-based military charity Help 4 Homeless Veterans.

KitBrix confirmed that it wanted to use the opportunity to raise the profile of a charity that closely mirrors its own values and to generate much-needed public awareness of those that may have no choice other than to be outside this Winter.

Help 4 Homeless Veterans is based in the UK and their core mission is to source and provide accommodation to ex-service Personnel who are living rough or are in unsatisfactory accommodation.

“We believe that the rejuvenated skills of homeless ex-military personnel can be amplified when put back in to work. We are seeing more and more homeless in recent years and this is a social issue that is well within our powers to help solve,” KitBrix Founder & Director Robert Aldous.

The aims of Help 4 Homeless Veterans include:

  • Support servicemen and women into suitable accommodation and empower them to develop a civilian career.
  • Provide access to organisations who can offer up-to-date and accessible information on employment, further training and wider opportunities.
  • To identify employers in locations close to any accommodation occupied by veterans and to maintain and develop links with employers and other relevant agencies regionally.

Further details on the Help 4 Homeless Veterans charity can be found by visiting their Facebook page at:



Yorkshire Velo Tours launches expanded 2017 programme of fully supported rides


For regular readers it will come as no surprise to hear that we hold a special place in our hearts for the cycling in Yorkshire.

With Victoria and I both originating from ‘God’s Own Country’ we always find it comforting, rewarding and yet very challenging when we get to ride back in the homeland.

Earlier this year we had the opportunity to join an organised group ride with Ilkley-based Yorkshire cycling tour operator Yorkshire Velo Tours. The ride we joined that day was a challenging 77-mile jaunt over hill and down dale that sat long in the memory, taking in the gorgeous scenery of Yorkshire and Lancashire.

Cycling in God’s Own Country – We Ride out with Yorkshire Velo Tours

Recently Yorkshire Velo Tours Founder Charles Oxtoby contacted us with details of the company’s 2017 vastly-expanded ride programme, featuring options catering for both experienced cyclists and those wanting a more leisurely experience.


There are three tours on offer in 2017: Ilkley into the Dales, Tour de Wensleydale and Introduction to Yorkshire Dales Cycling; each typically comprises of three days riding and four nights luxury accommodation.

Two of the tours are based in Ilkley, an ideal base for routes in all directions and also there is a two base tour with overnight stays in Ilkley and Wensleydale.

Yorkshire Velo Tours is also once again offering its Challenge Rides (this is the ride we reviewed earlier in the year).

These are small group rides along classic Yorkshire routes and are hosted one Saturday a month. Each ride features a designated ride leader and comes complete with dedicated support van and mechanic facilities on hand. A weekend package is also available for these events that includes a steady ride on the Sunday morning.

Yorkshire Velo Tours has also teamed up with a local hotel to offer a corporate cycling day package as well as a ‘group cycling adventure’ for groups to book and tailor the ride and hospitality to their specification. Further details are available at:

Also a new offering from YVT is its ‘Route Store’ option, providing cyclists the opportunity to purchase details of our classic routes for £4.99 each. All the ride/map info including GPS downloads, key info for the ride, details of the main climbs are and recommendations for cafe stops using tried and tested local establishments are also included as part of the download. You also get off road parking and toilets/changing location data. Vital information for those looking to venture out for the first time on some iconic Yorkshire routes.

The route guides draw on invaluable local knowledge, which is like gold dust for a visiting cyclist and can turn an average trip into a truly memorable adventure.



MassifCentral launches ‘The Massifier’ online design portal Kickstarter campaign


UK-based design team MassifCentral has announced the launch of its Kickstarter campaign to secure funding for the development of ‘The Massifier’, an online website enabling anyone to create bespoke artwork based on data from their sporting achievements.

Utilising raw data from fitness trackers and wearable tech, The Massifier brings together art and technology to deliver highly individual visual representations that will appeal to cyclists, runners, triathletes, and hikers.

Established in 2014 by James Mason and Howard Smith, MassifCentral already has already produced artworks based on the Tour de France, the London & New York Marathons, Ride-100, Lands’ End-John O’Groats as well as hundreds of bespoke works.



“We want to develop an intuitive, user-controlled online portal that allows people to create their own bespoke MassifCentral artworks; easily pulling in their own GPX data, making choices about look and size from our carefully curated designs and adding their own thoughts and memories to an automatically populated geography,” said MassifCentral’s Howard Smith.

“We will still print everything individually and pack and ship with the same love and care we do now,” Smith added.

With an existing client base that includes Leicester City FC, Rapha and three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome, MassifCentral are confident that the month-long Kickstarter campaign will prove successful, not least because of its innovative approach.

MassifCentral is Seeking £55,000 to transform the labour-intensive bespoke design process into an accessible, cost-effective experience. For further details on the campaign visit the MassifCentral Kickstarter page.


Cycling AccessoriesSportives

KitBrix hits the trails as it announces new Maverick Race partnership


UK-based trail running series Maverick Race and KitBrix have announced a two-year partnership agreement with immediate effect.

KitBrix will support Maverick Race with its current product range and future Trail Run specific items.

Maverick Race now oversees 18 events including four marathon distance races featuring supported routes created in National Parks and other Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

“We’re really excited to be partnering up with KitBrix for the coming season. Having been long-term users of their bags we’ve really put them through their paces,” said Maverick Race’s Justin Bufton.

“We love these bags – a rare find that delivers what it promises. Designed to be tough and stand up to anything the great outdoors can throw at you and still look great and keep your kit organised. We’re looking forward to seeing and testing out the current and future KitBrix product range, ” he added.

We’re really excited to be partnering up with KitBrix for the coming season. Having been long-term users of their bags we’ve really put them through their paces.

Maverick Race’s Justin Bufton

“Picking a favourite spot is tough, but I think it has to be our Devon race; set deep in the Teign Valley on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park, it epitomises what we’re about. The start/finish area is a delightful meadow right next to the river and the infamous Fingle Bridge, sitting under the shadow of Castle Drogo. The course is an awesome mix of flat riverside trails, heavily wooded forest and monstrous hills. The whole event has a real feel of wilderness that we love, but it’s just 20 minutes off the M5,” Bufton concluded.

KitBrix aims to keep you ready, save you time and ensure you are prepared at all times, in order to take advantage of every training and race day opportunity. Much of their inspiration is taken from military kit design principles – hard wearing, practical and built to last. Spend less time searching for kit & equipment and more time doing the sport you love.

For further details visit Maverick Race at, follow on Instagram @maverickrace and email for more information.

For more on KitBrix visit, follow on Instagram @kitbrix and for more information

60 SecondsFeatured

Interview with the Vamper: 60 Seconds with Huez* Founder & Director Lorenzo Curci


It is always exciting to meet people who positively bounce with enthusiasm, both for their own brand and for the broader industry in general. One such character is the Founder & Director of Huez*, Lorenzo Curci.

We last bumped into Lorenzo at Spin this summer and we were intrigued to hear about the plans he had for Huez* and some of the innovative materials and methods they were trialling.

Fast-forward a few months and we took some time out to ask the effervescent Curci what we could expect from the brand in the future, and uncovered details about the ongoing Huez* Crowdcube campaign.

Hear what Lorenzo had to say in our Interview with the Vamper: 60 Second discussion.

Lorenzo, who or what inspired you to ride? 

I was taken by cycling ever since I was given my first bike. As clichéd as it sounds, as soon as my stabilizers came off, all I remember doing was figures of eight around two trees outside the house.

I graduated on to a curious looking eighties bike with a gear lever on the top tube that I would skid in the front drive with and try tricks on, then in my teens, a Trek 850 that I remember snapping the front fork of after jumping off a wall that was clearly too high.

When I moved onto road bikes in my mid twenties and started testing myself on the world’s most famous alpine climbs, I absolutely knew I had found my passion.

Tell us about your current favourite ride?

Up in the Tuscan hills of course… I grew up there until the age of seven, amongst the undulating countryside and hill-top towns which are utterly breathtaking and great terrain for training.

I still have a house near ex-Pro Max Lelli who I have become close friends with, he hosts a ride most weekends, taking in Manciano, Sovana, Sorano and Pitigliano – if you’re ever in the area you have to stop and ride with him.

Huez* Founder & Director Lorenzo Curci
Huez* Founder & Director Lorenzo Curci

What is your favourite piece of cycling kit, and why? 

Right now with the days getting shorter, our own Moonrider Gilet is getting a lot of use. It’s one of the only stretch reflective fabrics on the market and its dimpled quality makes it much brighter than most reflective jackets. It is also waterproof, which can only be a good thing at this time of year and we have also added our convenient quick burst zip function. It’s a piece that makes use of all the things we have learnt since we launched the brand, the integration of really technical fabrics and a studied and innovative design.

What three tracks are guaranteed to get you fired up for a ride, no matter what time you went to bed?

My taste in music is eclectic to say the least, so its lucky you have asked for three selections. I think guns and roses ‘Sweet Child O’mine’ will always get me moving pretty quickly first thing. ‘Takeover’ by Village and recent release ‘Panda’ by Desiinger puts a smile on my face.

What cycling trends do you think will be big in the next 12 months?

The use of Graphene in products is very exciting indeed – we could soon see some off the lightest, strongest bikes ever hitting the market which will blow your mind. I think cross cycling will continue to expand and the fixed gear scene will start to get the attention it deserves at the highest levels.

What has been your cycling highlight of 2016 so far?

Its funny, as a business owner, I am always looking forward and looking at what we can or should be doing better, but looking back at the last 12 months, it’s amazing to see how much we have been able to pack in. One of the highlights has got to be taking 10 riders on Santander Bikes, (each bike weighing 23kg) up Alpe d’Huez back in April.

Our goal was to leave London, drive to and then climb the famous mountain, then get back to London within 24hrs. We just missed the deadline but it was an incredible challenge and for a great cause. So far we have raised close to £30,000 for the Stroke Association and National Brain Appeal.

And finally: what’s in store for Huez*? What can we expect to see from you in the coming year?

We recently launched a Crowdfunding campaign on ‘Crowdcube’ ( which is really exciting. With the investment round successfully completed we will be able to grow the team and launch a wider marketing campaign for the brand. This will involve some awesome special projects with a race team here in the UK, and I hope some unique collaborations with our favourite brands.

We have just secured a partnership with Harvey Nichols and some great Independent Bike Shops in the London area. We are also looking to release some innovative tech-driven products aimed at improving the way we cycle in our cites and connect with other riders.