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Assen – more preparations for racing

28 May 2014

The European Junior Cycling Tour is one of Europe’s most popular & prestigious events for young riders, taking place every summer in Assen in The Netherlands. The 2014 event will be the 50th edition, and there will be a record number of British riders taking part in the week-long event.

Late in 2013 we published Paul Miller’s first timer’s guide, then in early 2014 we published Richard Maynard’s stage-by-stage overview based on his experience of taking his three children to Assen over several years.

In this new article Richard gives extra, specific information which will help you prepare for the racing as we get closer to the event. Further snippets of advice will be added to this article, and we’ll alert you through our Facebook page when we publish new information.

In a number of short items I intend to describe some of the preparations I’ll be making for our trip to Assen this year. As always these “shorts” are not intended to be exhaustive or the final arbiter on what is necessary. I’d like to create some kind of debate and Q&A session which others may wish to contribute to as I go through some of the things I’ve learned over the years in taking my children across to Holland for a six-day tour.

28 May 2014 – Bike Numbers

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See bike number attached behind the seat post

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Stiff plastic number 12cm x 8cm
with pre-drilled holes

In addition to “bib” (jersey/shirt) numbers Nieuwelingen and Junior Riders, both boys and girls, get a bike number which has to be attached behind the seat post. The number is a stiff piece of plastic measuring approximately 12cm x 8cm and has a number of pre-drilled holes. The method of mounting these varies but it’s helpful to plan forward before your departure.

The normal method of mounting these numbers on the Continent is to buy a small piece of twisted aluminium which mounts behind the rear brake caliper and has a small butterfly nut to screw the number onto. These can be bought in the UK from a limited number of outlets. In my experience they are expensive for what they are and, unless you race in Europe regularly, they’re of limited use.

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Rear light clamp used to
mount the race number

This problem can be overcome in a number of ways. The cheapest is to use a couple of zip ties. If you’ve read my comments about mounting a transponder you’ll see that some of these have already been used, so take a mixture of sizes to Assen in quite large numbers.

A more permanent solution (but one that only works on round seat posts) is to use an old, cheap, rear light mount. You’ll need an extra bolt and a few washers to spread the load on the plastic. We’ve found that these work well and hold throughout the week.

 

 

14 May 2014 – Transponders

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Dan Transponder

Note the orange
transponder mounted on
the right fork blade

For starters, transponders are issued to every rider on the Tour. These are attached to the front right hand fork of the bicycle and must be on the bike throughout the six day period. The organisation provides zip ties to attach these with but we have found these not to be up to the job.

We now take a pack of 3.6mm and 4.8mm zip ties and use the latter for transponders. Each transponder comes with a sticky pad but we also wrap a small amount of electrical tape around the fork to give the pad something to grip onto. When securing the transponder onto the bike I finish off with pulling the tail with a pair of pliers whilst pressing on the lock-end with a flat bladed screw driver to get the zip tie as tight as possible.

The accompanying photo shows Dan’s bike with transponder attached on the last day of 2013.

I intend to cover spare wheels, bike numbers and sign-on in other snippets but if there are any other topics you’d like to know about just add a comment to this page or email hello@youthcyclesport.co.uk and I’ll try to pass on any experience I have.

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Assen – more preparations for racing

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