We’ve just restocked on all Mission Workshop bags, including the limited edition black camo Rummy, Vandal and Rambler. They’ve been ever so slightly upgraded withÂ cobra buckles for the rucksacks, and ARKIV closures for the messenger bags. MultiCam Black 500D Cordura is the highlight of the bags, bringing out that urban stealth we’ve always wanted. Available in our Changhau Lu shop, or our Taobao shop HERE.
Whether you’re going back to School, or a big kid returning to the grind-stone after the summer vacation, we’ve a deal for you. There has never been a better time to top-up the kudos meter with some of our finest swag.
For the next 10 days, we’re offering 20% discount on a different department of Factory Five.
Each day from now until August 31st we’ll have a new deal. They only last for 24hrs so keep hitting F5 with both your fingers and feet for today’s special offer.
Come join us in a specialÂ pop-up night market tonight 6-10pm at ourÂ Anken Life complex. Once in a while we like to wind down on a friday with some special people and their rather special products. It just makes sense.
Expect drink deals, a farmer’s market, locally made foods, fitness classes and craft beer on tap.
In celebration of good times, Factory Five will be serving all cocktails at 40RMB all night.
The next in our series of workshop classes will be on Wednesday, AugustÂ 26th. There’s no better feeling than a finely tuned bike – and nothing worse than a badly configured setup. We’ve been at both ends of the spectrum and here’s an opportunity to raise your game.
Wednesday, August 26th: TUBES & TYRES 101
The class will begin at 8:00pm and will take one hour. The next session, Tubes and Tyres 101 is back by popular demand. We will be covering the basics in the finest way. We’ll take you through replacing a tube, patching a puncutre, installing a new tyre and checking your rim tape. Keeping your wheels in good order and fixing problems when they arrive is half the battle.
We’ll have spare tubes, tyre levers and patch kits available for sale should you need to purchase them.
Please send us an email to RSVP for the class to guarantee use of tools. (email@example.com).
The latest exploration bike from the F5 workshop has been built with year-round commuting in mind. Using CrMo steel it has a double downtube for increased stability, an integrated rear rack and a removable front rack – both are extensions of the frame itself. The relaxed geometry has pure cargo elements. This bike is built to carry large loads through a tough urban environment.
Something that’s going to be used everyday needs to be simple. This SRAM Automatix 2-speed hub combines a good city gearing range, without the fuss and expense of extra rings or derailleurs. It shifts automatically when you bring it up to speed and is laced to TB14 black rims.
Elsewhere weâ€™re talking a fine selection of F5 Select components, this is a build that can carry anything you need through hectic traffic. We’ve built a small and large size for now, get in touch if you’re interested!
A week after the race is over and I’m still having dreams about waking up and following the purple line. Two days after Ventoux, I was having a nap on the side of the road in Italy and all I could remember was a dream about having to wake up and climb Mt. Ventoux again. It was brought to my attention later on by a friend that this dream could probably be categorized as a nightmare.
Getting out of race mode and slipping back into the comforts of real life has been great. The first night back in Shanghai I slept for 12 hours after sleeping 12 hours on the flight. My body feels hungry all the time and since the beginning of this endeavor I’ve managed to lose 5kg. A case of handlebar palsy (as Google calls it) has made the ring and pinky finger on my right hand non-functional and my wrists extremely sore, but other than that, pretty much okay. I’ve already been to the acupuncturist and am doing exercises to speed the recovery.
To anyone considering doing The Transcontinental Race in the future, I can definitely say that experience is an invaluable resource. Seeing as how I had no actual experience, I relied on the accounts of previous riders. I read a lot of previous entrants’ blogs and it shed a lot of light on what was to come. I made many mistakes throughout the course of the race, but the worst offence was the choice of route. During route planning, a friend and I had looked at the previous year’s route from CP4 to the end. We took into account the road warnings about Highway 8, but conditions change and I felt the road become unrideable much earlier on than expected. Thankfully I was on top of Kosovo and could reroute without much penalty in kilometers, but I did waste a whole day debating whether or not to continue. Looking back I would have spent a lot more time on planning the route. Google Streetview was often used, but Strava’s heatmaps could have helped a lot as well.
As for tips during the ride, moving across the entirety of Europe, you’re going to encounter every type of climate and for that I was unprepared. I had everything covered except for the cold. I hadn’t planned on some of the nights to be so cold and I figured it would only be at altitude, so I would try to avoid big climbs at night. This plan was foiled from the beginning. With a wet start in Geraardsbergen, the ride ended in 5 degree Celsius temperatures just outside of Dijon, France. Later on I had descended the 40km gravel section throughÂ Italy, in the dark.
Overall, listen to your body, eat real food at least once a day and don’t try to ride if you’re nodding off your bike. You’ll hallucinate some weird things and put yourself in unnecessary risk. My go to food during the race was chocolate filled croissants, haribo and chocolate milk.
Everything in the kit, I used frequently and would not have replaced. A last minute addition of a sleeping pad really helped as I don’t think bivying without this would have been nice at all without. I would probably have liked to have a larger feedbag or possibly double up on the same size bag. I can’t recommend more, the products from Revelate Designs, but there are other options if ordering from America is too far. The bike handled amazing and the only mechanicals were a double flat outside Plovdiv from a thorn bush and a minor derailleur adjustment issue when I crashed outside of Reims. The only other problem I experienced is not a fault of the bike, but rather 1-1/8th steerers. Though very compliant, the one or two times I descended and reached speeds upwards of 70kph, I did begin to feel unstable. As the market is moving more towards tapered steerers anyway, it’ll be an easy fix. Though the amount of times I got up to this speed made this a non-issue.
The TCR is the most grueling challenge I’ve had on a bike, but the environment that surrounds it is absolutely amazing. The participants, organizers and volunteers are all extremely kind and helpful. Great stories were exchanged in the brief encounters during refuelling and the TCR Riders were easier and easier to spot. The haggard and dusty ones that never went more than five meters away from their bikes.
I couldn’t have been more relieved whenÂ arriving at the final little climb (every climb is easier after Ventoux). Most of the ride had been dog free, but of course at the last 20km two dogs chased me on an uphill. I’ll always be looking around now before beginning a climb in search of that opportunistic dog that knows cyclists are easier to catch on the up.
Again thanks to the organizers, volunteers, riders and dot watchers. Everyone was extremely supportive and the experience was made even more special because of it. Also special thanks to my parents for giving me the genetic advantage of naturally hairless legs, the comments I got during the race were innumerous. Looking forward to next year!
The latest road bike from the F5 stable has been built with all-round pleasure in mind. Using lugged Columbus Zona tubing it has the dampening qualities of steel and will feel comfortable all day long. Itâ€™s no tourer though. The tight geometry has pure road elements. This bike is nimble off the line and will be keen into every corner.
We are huge proponents of the 1×10 drivetrain. This SRAM/Deore combination gives a remarkably wide range, without the fuss and expense of extra rings. Novatec hubs laced to H+Son Archetype rims make for a very reliable yet lightweight feel.
Elsewhere weâ€™re talking a fine selection of F5 Select components, this is a build which can go the distance from the first spin and grow with you along the way.
This Saturday and Sunday, August 15 & 16 is the Tudou Festival here in Shanghai. It’s two days jam packed with music, art exhibitions, film screenings, vendors and yes – the F5 SMASH. We’re hosting an elimination crit race where racers will chase each other one by one around a 50m track. We’ve invited the fastest, strongest riders in the city to participate over the weekend and will crown one winner by the end of the weekend.
The race starts at 1:30pm on Saturday and runs until 5:00pm, with the same setup on Sunday. Drop by and cheer on your favorite rider(s) while they tear it up in the blistering sunshine. MC Hot Dog will be performing just after the race is finished so that we can all party down.
Check out the official Tudou Festival Website for all the details, including how to buy tickets and how to get there. By bike it’s pretty simple and takes around 40 minutes from anywhere within the inner ring road (yes, you’ll have to take the ferry).
It felt like years to get the Third checkpoint. After the thrill of barreling south across France and then up and over the Alps to Italy, the remaining 75% of the journey to Turkey loomed ahead like psychological quagmire.
Weâ€™d already ridden through the night and watched the dawn rise ahead. Weâ€™d already stopped mid-afternoon and napped against trees like wild animals. Weâ€™d already eaten handfuls of tasteless fuel to stoke the fire and keep our legs pumping. Iâ€™ve never second-guessed so many junctions before, it was like being almost lost for 12 hours a day. People on the streets didnâ€™t understand, why would they? Nobody knew that two hundred of us were anonymously flowing across Europe as if on a tiny cycle crusade.
Weâ€™d already had the raw exhilaration of descending 6,000 meters from Mont Ventoux through gravel in the pitch black. Iâ€™d fallen, been chased by sheep dogs and smashed my phone. That night I had unknowingly pitched up next to a crop sprinkler and was too tired to evade the early morning drenching.
And here we were, scattered across Northern Italy with what seemed like enough Transcontinental boxes ticked to make it to the end. Except the end at Istanbul was another 3,000km away.
There was nothing left to do but hunker down and find a rhythm. The fun and games were over. Now it was time to embrace the grimace, develop a bitter rage for everything remotely human and get on with business.
By now weâ€™d loosely formed into very spread-out groups, I could sometimes recognize a wheel around the next corner and a helmet on the rear horizon. Weâ€™d take the chance to swap notes whenever a rest was deserved. The only big topics in our minds were on route selection. This and the constant internal battle of whether we could make it to the end.
An exhausted body can really play some tricks with your mind. When I wasnâ€™t thinking about wasting away into a skin-wrapped skeleton, I was consumed with the small pains at my extremities. By the 7th day I had virtually stopped all but fully essential gear changes and decelerations. My fingers ached more than anything I have felt before.
I think we all had a similar set of issues. Fingers, toes, knees, back, neckâ€¦ or the whole package. No surprises to hear so many people had scratched before halfway. I honestly thought about it often tooâ€¦. but I have the stubborn geneâ€¦ and there was one big box left to tick.
And so I crossed Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro. I managed a chugging pace which I figured could carry me to the end. I also figured it was time to soak in some of the scenery. On the road, out in the fresh air for 15 hours a day, itâ€™s easy to forget that this is a journey across some of the most beautiful landscape in the word.
That is until we hit the highway between Serbia and Bulgaria. At the last checkpoint we had a decision to make between the coast, the mountains or the rolling main roads. In an effort to avoid the wind or any form of gear changes I had headed inland. Many had before. 150kmÂ later I knew it was the wrong decision.
After twelve days of cycling and complete exhaustion, no human is built to endure the hard shoulder alongside hurtling trucks. This was a freight corridor across Europe to Asia and a little guy on a bicycle was a mere speck of dust. Veering into a bush to avoid being splattered, I ground to a halt almost ready to throw in the towel.
But before the Istanbul-bound bus arrived, another one came. It mustâ€™ve been powered by that stubborn geneâ€¦ and the pressure from my dot-watchers. It whiskedÂ me to an earlier junction, totally within TCR rules. I regrouped, plotted a new map and headed south with a few kilograms of Haribo. There was nothing left to do but outrun a few more dogs, avoid exploding trucks and sleep in a school.
Rolling out of the Bulgarian mountains into Turkey never felt so amazing. Probably.
I honestly never felt anything. 16 days, 11hrs and 13 minutes after leaving Flanders, Belgium, having ridden across 10 countries and 4,000 kilometers, I had made it to Istanbul Turkey and a rather big beer. The reflection could wait.
[Editorâ€™s note: Check back next week for Jeffâ€™s reflections and TCR highlights]