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Stories by Palu Bicycles

Meet the Rider: Euan Cattermole

Harry Bunnell


Our latest rider interview is with a familiar face at Herne Hill Velodrome, the one and only (Lord) Euan Cattermole. After a pretty storming season last year, which included a win in the Last Chance race at Red Hook London, we spoke to Euan about his aspirations for 2018.

Palu: How long have you been riding and what got you into it?

Euan: Simple answer: all my life. My Granddad raced, my dad raced, my brother raced, so I did too. I grew up around the sport and have been racing since I was 8.

Palu: What's your earliest memory of Cycling?

Euan: Probably just messing around at Herne Hill whilst my dad and my brother raced. Going up to Crystal Palace on a Tuesday to watch the racing, watching the Tour on the TV, that sort of thing.

Palu: What's your role at Herne Hill Velodrome?

Euan: I’m Head Coach and Development Officer. Basically my job is to look after cycling at the velodrome. I look after all the coaching team and training them up. I look after all the public sessions and racing. I develop pathways into the sport for women and kids, through new sessions and initiatives.


Palu: When you're not at the track, where do you train?

Euan: Out in the Kent and Surrey countryside, south-east of London, where the roads aren’t smooth at all! Proper gutty riding at times. Bit of rollers and turbo at home too. Maybe some hill sprints in Forest Hill too (if I can be arsed!)

Palu: What kind of training programme do you follow for Red Hook?

Euan: Normally like to start properly ‘training’ about a month before a big objective. I break it down into three, 10 day blocks. The first 10 days is mostly mileage, but with a few race efforts, just getting myself fit. The next 10 days I’m looking to push my race fitness, so less mileage, more intensity, some brutal rollers, turbo and race efforts. The last 10 days is the taper, more rest and recovery but trying to stay sharp. Rollers and derny sessions here for sure, getting that speed work done. In the midst of all of this I’ll do some cornering sessions on my track bike, finding the limits. Occasionally I’ll go to Crystal Palace, but mostly I do it in the centre at Herne Hill. To find out what speed you can go round a corner, you also have to find out at what speed you can’t go round a corner! I don’t think there’s any point in having the legs if you don’t have the skills. I always try and mix in a bit of skills training when I’m riding because I think it’s worthwhile but also, simply because I enjoy it so much. I always grew up just mucking about on bikes and that is something which I’m glad I have never lost. Even out in the lanes I’ll be seeing how hard I can hit a descent, come flying past my mates sitting side saddle on the top tube, or flicking drinks cans with my front wheel.

Palu: How do you find the switch between track and road?

Euan: To be fair, I’ve never done much road, only really for training. I’ve been back racing for three years and have solely focussed on track because I love it so much, but I want to get into more road crits next year, Crystal Palace especially. I never really had the attention span for road racing. I can just about sustain my attention for a few hours in the lanes, but you’re not allowed to muck around as much in the bunch during a road race so I get bored.

Euan: Do you prefer velodrome or fixed gear crit racing?

Very tough question. I’ve always had a passion for track racing and loved the sensation you get from riding a fixed gear bike. To take that same bike and apply it to a different environment is such a perfect feeling. I’m glad that track bikes made their way onto a crit circuit, for me it’s quite a natural feeling. I guess just doing track racing can leave things a little stagnant; it was nice for a bit of freshness and a new challenge. I’m quite a tactical thinker so to give me something new to delve my mind into the intricacies is quite fun. Can’t beat the crowds at a Red Hook too. Milan especially.

Palu: Do you follow a particular diet for your training?              

Euan: Well apart from being vegetarian, nothing crazy strict or regimented, but I eat pretty healthily. Normally fruit or a smoothie, with oats and yoghurt when I wake up. 3-4 eggs for brunch. Big rice or pasta based dish for lunch and then something ‘normal’ for dinner. Main thing is to make sure I eat enough to be honest. I eat a lot and often to keep myself feeling fresh. As a rule of thumb, take the amount that normal people eat and double it! Will try not to eat anything big 2 hours before a race or hard session. Constant snacking whilst out in the lanes.

Palu: How does cycling help you tackle your health issues?

Euan: I love how cycling can offer you that bit of escapism away from the pressures and stresses of the rest of your life. In terms of your head, it’s life changing; it can make you feel so free and so calm. You can be so perfectly connected to what you’re doing, without having to worry about anything else. I’ve also spent the last 6 or so years recovering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I always feel like people who do such physical sports know their bodies so well. I think having this knowledge really helped. Also having the knowledge of how to structure and progressively build training, actually really helped to improve my health, nice and gradually. It’s something I still have to manage very well, but I think because of the things it has taught me, I may well now be a better racer than I would have been without it.
Palu: What do you love about Pinarello?

Euan: Love a bit of Italian class and style but without compromising on performance. Perfect balance of style and speed. Everyone loves a Pinarello, everyone stops and tells you they love your bike.


Palu: What has been your most memorable race?

Euan: Probably the Last Chance Race at Redhook London 3, racing in the pissing rain in front of home support. Ended up there by accident to be honest, but actually revelled in the chance to get to race again. Was pretty worried at the start as to how I’d get on as I pretty much didn’t know anyone else I was racing against, really thought I’d struggle to be fair. It wasn’t long before I realised I was actually able to race the race instead of just riding round. Me and my mate Rees kept drilling the pace of the group until only the 10 qualifying riders remained in the front group. Then I had this crazy thought that I could actually win so dropped back a few places, ready to gun it on the long straight with half a lap to go. I got a big enough gap to sustain my lead through the more technical section. I remember as I kicked into the home straight that in road sprints, sprinters always move towards the middle of the road for the photographs, so that’s what I did. I popped my front wheel in the air as I crossed the line and everyone went nuts for it. All the kids I coach were there screaming for me and when I came back to the rider area all my friends mobbed me. It was a great feeling.

Palu: What are your plans for next season?

Euan: Definitely more crits for sure. More fixie crits in warmer and beautiful places but also get stuck into the local crit racing scene; Crystal Palace and the like, whilst keeping things ticking over at the velodrome.

Palu: What advice do you give to young riders getting into racing?

Euan: Get yourself some mates around you, it will make such a difference to your confidence and your drive. Starting racing when you’re new can be scary. If you’re turning up to races with some like-minded mates then you’re gonna be so much calmer. I’m quite a quiet person, but just have that confidence to say hello and strike up a conversation with someone. You’ll only need to do it once and the rest will flow. Cycling is such a social sport too. It’s one of the beautiful things about it. Make friends with people who are better than you too! Look up to them, learn from them, that’ll push you on.

Palu: What's your favourite thing about the London cycling scene?

Euan: The London cycling scene is probably the most diverse in the world. People ride every sort of bike, in every way imaginable. It’s such a broad spectrum, their truly is something for everyone. 

Palu: Grazie Euan, good luck at Red Hook!

Meet the Rider: Andrea Pasqualon

Harry Bunnell


Our latest rider interview takes us into the pro peloton, with a rider who hails from Bassano del Grappa. Pro since 2011, Andrea Pasqualon currently rides with the Belgian team Wanty–Groupe Gobert. After strong results in the early season classics, we spoke to Andrea ahead of the Tour of Flanders.

Palu: How did you get into racing?

Andrea: I really wanted it. I’ve loved cycling since I was little, but I used it for keeping a good fitness during summer time while competing in winter Alpine skiing. The passion comes from my uncles who competed at fairly good Under 25 level. It’s thanks to them I was put on the saddle, but I also believe that my self-belief helped me to reach where I am now.

Palu: When did you realise that professional cycling could become your full time job?

Andrea: I realised that I would become a professional when I won Trofeo Piva (Col San Martino). It was 2010 and my team coach Gianni Faresin (former winner of Giro di Lombardia) said “do you realise that you just won one of the most important races of the season.. which means you’ve just put yourself in the frame for a pro team contract?” That was the day I knew I would become a pro rider!

Palu: Who is your sporting hero?

Andrea: Funnily enough, my biggest inspiring person does not relate to cycling, but my “ex” sport… he’s Alberto Tomba. I would compare him with Peter Sagan.. a bubbly person always with the right humour, not seriously methodical and precise. I like his style because he never don't takes it too seriously as some other riders in order to achieve results. They are full of charisma and I love to inspire myself  from these aspects. 


Palu: What are your 2018 season goals?

Andrea: I’m looking for an important result at the North Classics this 2018. Ideally at Tour of Flanders or Amstel Gold Race which are very suitable for my best riding style and strength. I will focus at achieving a good Tour de France stage result on  fast or rolling course. Basically something that really counts for this ‘world of the pedal’!

Palu: Do you have any rituals when you race?

Andrea: I have a fairly big faith in God so 4-5 minutes of praying and thanking him for gifting me the life is something I usually do.. doesn’t take long and it’s a privilege to be lucky and able to enjoy it.

Palu: What’s your opinion about competing on disc bikes?

Andrea: To be honest I support the disc brake concept as long as every single rider uses it. I don't find it fair that half the peloton can have one type of performance and the other half cannot. This is something that spectators don’t notice but there is a timing difference between the two concepts.

Palu: Grazie Andrea, good luck at Flanders this weekend!

Meet the Rider: Kimberley English

Harry Bunnell


In the latest from our rider series we spoke to young female cyclist Kimberley English. With cycling in the family, she’s grown up racing her bike and has a very special win on her palmares. Kimberley did a test ride on a Pinarello Dogma F10 and gave us her review.

Palu: You recently tried out the Pinarello Dogma F10, how would you describe the bike?

Kimberley: It was by far the nicest bike i've ever ridden. I love that it was black and white, it looked super clean and fast. People on the street were stopping to look at it. As soon as you ride it you can feel the quality and I even felt faster on the bike. If you need any encouragement to train, having a Dogma would definitely help!

Palu: How long have you been road cycling and how did you get into it?

Kimberley: I've been Road cycling for 14 years I started racing bikes when I was 7 years old. I got into it as my Dad used to cycle for Ireland and it's always been in my family. My older brother competes professionally.

Palu: What is your earliest cycling memory?

Kimberley: My earliest cycling memory would be for going out on road rides with my dad when i was around 7 years old. This is what really made me fall in love with the sport. My dad is my biggest supporter on the bike and he used to race when he was younger so he knows exactly what i was experiencing and he helped me push myself when needed (and was always there to give me a push up the hill if I needed it!)

Palu: What do you love about working in the cycling industry?

Kimberley: I love that my job is also my hobby so I truly love what I do. I'm fortunate enough to work with incredible people who all love cycling.

Palu: What bike are you currently riding?

Kimberley: I'm actually currently riding my dads bike! It is a 1999 Titanium Airborne Zeplin.

Palu: What’s been your most memorable experience on a bike?

Kimberley: My most memorable experience on the bike was back in 2011 when I won the national cyclo cross championships. I'm definitely not a XC rider but I did it every winter for training. It was my first national championships in XC and it came as a surprise to everyone that I won! Winning a big bike race like that is a feeling you never forget. I still smile when I think of seeing my parents' face when I crossed the line.


Palu: Do you have any advice for other women looking to get into cycling?

Kimberley: My advice for women looking to get into cycling would be to source a group of a similar ability to ride with! I can guarantee it makes it a lot easier to get yourself out on the bike if you're with a group. There are so many more women getting into cycling which is incredible to see so there will almost always be groups to tag along with. It's a really great way to meet new people and gain confidence!

Palu: Do you have any goals for 2018?

Kimberley: My goals for 2018 would be to race again! I've taken four years out of bike racing and have only been riding again for the past 10 months. My fitness is improving quickly so i'm definitely looking to start racing. Herne Hill track league in April will be my debut...

Palu: If you could pick one place to ride, where would you go?

Kimberley: Vietnam. I have travelled this country via motorbike but now i would love to go back and do it on my bike! Especially the Hai Van Pass. It's a challenging climb but the views are incredible. The food is also amazing.

Palu: Thanks and good luck for the racing in 2018!

Making history in Verona

Harry Bunnell


The C50 was introduced in 2004 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Colnago, it’s a timeless bike with true racing pedigree.

Colnago has been a staple of the peloton for many years and has been the bike of choice for seven riders who have won the World Championships. 

The C50 was one of these models, piloting Spanish sprinter Oscar Freire to victory in Verona in 2004, the same year the bike was released. Riding for Rabobank on a Colnago C50, Freire outsprinted rivals Erik Zabel and Luca Paolini for this third world title. 

It was the last win at the worlds for Colnago, making the C50 a legend of the stable. It was made even more important by the fact that Verona is only a few hours down the road from Cambiago, the homeplace of Colnago.

You can own your own piece of history with our Colnago C50 HP with a special limited edition Shimano Ultegra groupset, which is etched with the Colnago logo. Full details in our online Shop.

The Pedaling Panther

Harry Bunnell



In November 2016 our friend Simon Panther hit the road for an epic trip around the world. His route took him from London to Delhi, on to the Himalayas, Burma, Thailand, then Alaska, Canada, down the US Pacific Coast to Mexico, through Panama and finally down through South America before getting back home after a unforgettable year on the road. We caught up with Simon to find out more about his adventure.

You have a history of long distance trips, why do you spend so much time travelling on your bike?

I wanted to experience the challenge of cycling around the world. My earlier trips gave me a taste for the adventure and I wanted the feeling of leaving the top of the world in snow, cycling through everything from deserts, rainforest and the snow-capped Andes mountains and arriving at the bottom on my bicycle.

What other passions do you have?

Triathlon, marathons and classic cars.


Did you experience any psychological “down side” during your ride?

Extreme climates like Alaska and the Yukon were hard. You have pitch your tent in -10 degrees and waking up to frozen solid water bottles. As was 50 degree heats in deserts such as Baja California, Mexico. Large open land masses such as Canada which took a month of 100+ mile days alone and 100 kph winds in southern Patagonia travelling at 3 mph were pretty soul destroying!

Is your body okay after all this mileage or have you suffered any damage?

I’m very used to long distance cycling and happy with my bike setup. I suffered a few twinges in the knee in cold environments and some back pain after long days in the saddle, but nothing long lasting. As long as you look after your body you are generally ok.


Have you experienced any issues finding food when really hungry in the middle of nowhere?

I carried a gas stove - an essential bit of kit. For example, in Alaska towns were 200 miles apart and often only gas stations. Water was not a problem as I could melt snow or ice but I had to carry large amounts of food. Hot deserts and remote dry mountain passes, such as the Paso Seco in northern Chile, on slow gravel roads were challenging and I found myself running out of water and struggling to find stream water.

How many tyres did you use and what kind of maintenance did your bike require?

About four sets of tyres in total. The first were Schwalbe Marathon Plus and lasted for 20,000 km! My bike broke in every way possibly, literally everything has been replaced. For example it had three broken rims, new bottom bracket, snapped gear cables and many broken spokes. Snapping the rear hub twice was the only thing that stopped me from moving though.


What would you suggest to a brand new tourer to setup their bike? 

Look at the type of roads and what products are available in the country you are cycling in. For example 26 inch wheels are now hard to obtain in South America, but the best choice for Africa.

Roughly how many people do you think you’ve met during your entire trip?

Ah man, that’s hard… maybe 1,000?! That’s one of the best things about the experience is the people you meet along the way.


This your fourth big tour… what’s next?

Tour of Africa, starting on February 1st. Keep an eye on the blog for more details.

You like to fly under the radar why your trips, why don’t you use Strava or publicise your trips?

Haha, I’m not interested in Strava. I just do it for the kicks!


You can follow Simon’s adventures on his blog and some day we hope he will start updating his Instagram @SimonthePanther, but we may be waiting a while!

Island Life in Malta

Harry Bunnell


Sitting in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea between Sicily and North Africa, Malta makes for a perfect escape for winter sun. It’s not a typical cycling destination in winter, with the Balearic Islands getting the major spoils for cycling tourists. Palu founder Alberto headed out with his Dogma F10 to check out the roads and soak up some island life.

We stayed in an apartment close to the capital of Valletta, just a short way up the hill where you have an amazing view of the city.

It was a great temperature for riding with an average of around 20 degrees. We wore full summer kit and only needed a wind gilet for the descents.

Culturally it felt like being in a Latin metropolitan version of London. There are plenty of British expats in Malta, Italians, and of course tourists. However, some of the roads are in poor condition and not the best for cycling. We discovered there are no bike shops open on Saturday afternoon and Sunday so better to buy plenty of spare inner tubes and canisters!

One of the best things about Malta is the cuisine, it has a huge Southern Italian influence and there is an abundance of fresh, local ingredients on the island. We particularly enjoyed the local speciality of Pastizi, a Pasta Sfoglia with Peas puree or with Ricotta.

The terrain in Malta is pretty rolling but there are no crazy climbs, perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy some relaxing rides around the island.

That trip has whetted the appetite for some trips abroad next year, including a home ride in Bassano del Grappa and another Spanish training camp with the MTB pro team Trek Delle San Marco.

Red Hook Crit: Milano No.8

Harry Bunnell


We recently wrapped one of our last events of the 2017 season, our home Red Hook Criterium in Milan. It was the eighth edition of the race and the sun was shining, making for a great weekend of racing and parties.

We were running the Parc Fermé for the third year, which is the area for bike checks and rollers where the riders can warm up pre-race. As ever we had a great crew of volunteers who ran it all seamlessly under the guidance of Palu founder Alberto Battaglia.

First-time volunteer and Red Hook Crit newbie Maria Grazia Arcidiacono recounts her experience of the weekend:

"We started the weekend at the track day at the Vigorelli Velodrome. It was nice and sunny and we spent the afternoon in the track circle catching up with friends, drinking beer and eating focaccia. It was nice to meet Chris from Berlin who was with the 8bar Team and understand a bit more about the history and culture of Red Hook.

That evening we decided to head to the pre-party at Santeria Social Club in the south of the city near the popular Navigli district. I hired a city bike and rode there with my husband who had his Cinelli with him after a week riding in Como. We had time for a few drinks before having to head off to find somewhere to dock and swap the bike – it starts getting very expensive after 2 hours!

The next day we walked to the circuit in Bovisa. I didn’t expect such a big setup with so many sponsors and the grand stand at the finish line, mega impressive! We checked in at the volunteers’ tent, grabbed our crew t-shirts and then had a briefing with Alberto at the Parc Fermé. 

The morning was fairly quiet, spent setting up rollers and sweeping the area… the calm before the storm! At around 12.30pm it started getting busy with riders arriving to have their bikes checked and get onto the track for the open session. Our main duties were to check rider numbers and make sure that we were staggering the arrivals by heat. There were a limited numbers of rollers so they needed to be reserved for the riders who had their qualification race coming up next. Some of the riders would get frustrated that they couldn’t warm up when they wanted, but mostly everyone was chilled.

Maria Grazia and Francesco, Parce Fermé

Maria Grazia and Francesco, Parce Fermé

It was pretty non-stop all day during the qualification races until we had a break at 5pm. This was a welcome chance to grab a beer and some food, plus go around the race village chatting to some of the teams about a cycling skincare range I’m looking to launch. After the break the racing was back on with an exciting Last Chance race, then the women’s and men’s Super Pole – a flying lap which decides the starting position of the top 20 riders on the grid. 

As the sun began to set and the flood lights came on you could feel the atmosphere ramping up for the final races of the evening, it was pretty electric. After letting in the remaining riders to warm up on the rollers I snuck off for a bit to watch the women’s race. It was amazing to see such a strong bunch of girls racing, coolissimo!

As the men’s race was starting we started packing down the Parc Fermé, breaking down the rollers, then removing the hoarding from the barriers and stacking them up. Alberto then got us inside the track to get a brilliant view of the race from behind one of corners. The men’s race fast and furious, great entertainment from start to finish.

At the end of the action we caught the podium ceremony and deliberated whether to head to the after-party. Without bikes it was looking pretty expensive by taxi so a few of us headed to a bar in Bovisa instead at around 1am for a beer and bruschetta. Not quite the crazy party we intended, but a nice way to wind down the day.

I’m originally from Catania and this was my first time in Milan. It feels similar to London, pretty modern, vibrant and eclectic. It was a great atmosphere all weekend with a bunch of like-minded fun people. I do a bit of road riding myself, but this has definitely got me more interested in the world of fixed gear. Who knows, maybe I’ll be racing next year!”

Follow Maria Grazia on Instagram @mari.arci for foraging and bike adventures in Sicily.

Meet the Rider: Federico Motta

Harry Bunnell

Photo courtesy of Scoot

Photo courtesy of Scoot

We’re proud to support grassroots racing through our sponsorship of NVAYRK; a global cycling team founded in New York which races track, crits and cyclo cross.

The team made its debut at Red Hook in 2015, and has been representing at races in Europe and the United States. We caught up with team captain Federico in Barcelona to get his low-down on the 2017 so far and plans for next year.

Palu: Ciao Federico! How’s your season been going?

Federico: The current season, I would say, has been a really positive one. Personally I had some pretty decent results. The highlights are a 5th place at La Petit Course in Paris, a 6th place at Minet Crit in London, a 10th place at Thundercrit 2 in London and a 6th place in the Last Chance Race at the London RHC which allowed me to qualify to the final after an unlucky qualifier. I definitely improved my performances from the previous season but everyone else in the peloton has done the same!

Palu: How many times have you raced in Barcelona, and what makes the city so special?

Federico: Barcelona N5 was my 3rd RHC there. It was my first fixed gear crit ever in 2015. Barcelona is unique. The RHC in Barcelona is not just a race, people usually get few days off work and spend a week across the weekend in Spain, drinking beers on the beach with fellow riders from all over the world or riding their bikes along the beautiful coastline. 

Palu: You used to be a bike courier, what got you into racing fixed gear?

Federico: Yes, I used to be a messenger in London for about two years back in 2012. I got into bicycles because of that and, since then, my life changed completely.

Palu: You race multiple disciplines; road, cross and track. How many bikes do you own? 

Federico: I own four bikes at the moment. A race track bike, a commuter track bike, a road bike and I'm about to finish my CX build.

Photo coutersy of Dani Roversi

Photo coutersy of Dani Roversi

Palu: How do you balance working full time alongside a busy race schedule?

Federico: I work as sound engineer in a post production house in Soho and I'm working on different shift every week. So depending on the working hours, I train before work, usually in Regents Park, or in the evening, at Herne Hill Velodrome. I tend to do a mid/long distance ride on the road bike at the weekends or the Saturday morning session at the track. 
It’s really not easy to fit everything in and sometimes I cannot get as much training as I would love to, but it’s not a big deal, bicycles are great but they’re are not the only thing in life.

Palu: What’s been the biggest highlight of your racing career?

Federico: The biggest highlight of my racing career is yet to come, but I would say the 5th place at La Petit Course in Paris last summer as I was very close to a podium finish. I felt strong on a super technical course but a crash with 3 to go ruined everything. 

Palu: The racing scene in London is thriving. What advice would you give to the youngsters coming through?

Federico: The cycling scene in London is getting bigger and bigger. Its great because it’s made by great people. To the youngster I would say to get out, ride, meet new people and follow your dreams!

Palu: You have Red Hook Milan coming up in October, your home race. How does it feel to race on your home roads?

Federico: Milan is next and its always very special to me. Every time plenty of friends come over to cheer at me and they give me that little extra boost needed!

Photo courtesy of Chiara Redaschi

Photo courtesy of Chiara Redaschi

Palu: Where do you want to take NVAYRK in 2018?

Federico: We aspire to great things for NVAYRK in 2018. We hope Euan can confirm himself in the top 20 riders in the RHC peloton and we are also planning to have a girl racing with us as well. Also, we will add few more dates to the race calendar like Mission Crit in SF, Dijon and 8bar Crit.

Palu: If you could pick one place to ride, where would you go?

Federico: I fell in love with downhill (MTB) recently so, at the moment, my favourite place to ride would be hitting the trails in Whistler, British Columbia. 

Palu: Grazie e bocca lupo for the rest of the season!

Federico: Thanks a lot and i'll see you on the road!

Follow Federico on Instagram @federicomotta to see how he gets on for the rest of the season.

Red Hook Crit in Barcelona

Harry Bunnell

Photo: Tornanti.cc

Photo: Tornanti.cc

This has been our third year running the Parc Fermé at Red Hook Crit. Palu founder, Alberto Battaglia, sums up the experience after a busy weekend for the 5th edition of the race in Barcelona…

It’s always a great experience with enthusiastic people and exciting racing in three of Europe’s best cities.

Our main duties in the  Parc Fermé entail checking the condition of the bikes and making sure they match up with Red Hook Crit’s standards, including levels of wear on tyres, cleats, helmet straps and making sure there’s no unsafe objects attached to the bikes! 

Photo: Tornanti.cc

Photo: Tornanti.cc

The team is usually comprised of eight volunteers, many of whom have been working together for the last three years. There is a full briefing in the morning before the practice laps start, then it’s a busy day of bike checks throughout the day with a bit of time to grab lunch.


Barcelona was extra fun compared to previous years. There is the new Superpole which makes the level of the race qualification more selective, especially their position on the starting grid.”

We get some awesome bikes coming through the Parc Ferme, but personally speaking the the nicest bike we got to check this year was Colin Strickland’s Pinarello Maat Pista. Troppo bella!

My favourite bit of the day is the party after the race. It’s a chance to relax after an intense day on the radio with the rest of the staff, have a beer (or three) and catch up with friends old and new who race or are a part of Red Hook.

Photo: Chiara Redaschi

Photo: Chiara Redaschi

Big shout out to all the volunteers who joined us at London and Barcelona this year, if you would like to volunteer for Milan, please get in touch at Redhookcrit.com/volunteer

Summer Riding in Sicily

Harry Bunnell


The month of August means holiday in Italy; people leave the city to head to the coast and enjoy long days on the beach. The climax of the summer is 15th August, known as ferragosto, which dates back to Roman times under Emperor Augustus as the “Feriae Augusti” (Festivals of the Emperor Augustus). 

For our Ferragosto we headed to the East of Sicily, to the foothills of Mount Etna. With its winding lanes spread over Etna and beautiful coast roads, Sicily makes a perfect destination for cycling for pretty much 12 months of the year.

We started our ride from Zafferana Etnea, a town famous for its honey due to its proliferation of chestnut trees. It acts a gateway to Etna, with one of the several climbs to Etna Sud starting from its basula (volcanic) stone streets. We headed north out of Zafferana, hugging the side of Etna along the Strada del Vino, climbing up through Milo and Fornazzo – following the same route as Stage 5 of this year’s Giro d’Italia. 


On reaching the North East corner of Etna, we arrived at Castiglione di Sicilia. A hilltop town at 621 metres overlooking the Alcantara Valley. The approach to the city reveals a crop of colourful houses perched on the hills, and amongst them signs of its historic past including a Byzantine and Norman churches and fortifications.

From Castiglione we dropped down into the Alcantara Valley, passing a mass of tourists around the ‘Le Gole dell’Alcantara’ getting ready for a day of rafting and enjoying the rapids. It’s a fast and rolling road along to Giardini Naxos, which passes several hilltop towns overlooking the valley.

At Giardini we joined the Strada Statale to begin the ascent up to Taormina. This is a one of the most popular tourist destinations in Sicily, however the winding climb with multiple hairpins is quiet for cycling aside for the occasional tourist bus. On reaching the centre we continued up to Castelmola, a tough 5km climb in the midday heat. At the summit we were rewarded with a great view of the coast and mainland on a clear day, as well as a good bar for a granita and brioche to help the legs recover.


With most the climbing done it was an ascent back down to Taormina to re-join the SS116 and head back along the coast, passing Isola Bella, a private island owned by Florence Trevelyan until 1990, when it was bought by the Region of Sicily and turned into a nature reserve. The final 30km along the coast road were spent dodging sun seekers attempting to park on the lungo mare, before a final kicker of a climb back up to Zafferana. 

The ride on Strava, 113 km with 2,392 metres climbing.

Photos and route courtesy of @hazbun who can be currently found cycling around Sicily on his Cinelli Experience, built by Palu Bicycles.