Two hundred of us squeezed into the briefing room. We were handed our trackers and the instructions: hit the checkpoints as fast as we can and don't do anything that could be considered foul play. The atmosphere had an understandable edge of apprehension with plenty of silent characters. This would be the longest ride that most of us had ever done, times ten. It barely seemed worth getting to know anybody, in a few hours we would all be alone.
The time came and we rolled together as a pack, looping the town and then away. It didn't really feel like the start of the race, more like a group of riders heading on home. We chugged in a loose group and the pack began to dissipate after a couple hours. As per race rules we were to keep our distance to avoid drafting or team strategies. I got my head down and settled in for a long night.
And that's when it hit me. On a roundabout in the wind and rain somewhere outside Reims, a car emerged through the gloom and rode straight into my back wheel. I hit the floor, took off a few layers of skin on my palms and ended up by the side of the road replacing spokes.
Fortunately the weather cleared and I caught a tailwind down towards Dijon. The temperature dropped to 5c and I took a chance to catch a few hours sleep and find a rhythm. Little did I know I'd be back on the road before long with a sleeping bag tucked into my jersey to try and keep warm.
Distance Covered: 445.1 Km
Hours of Riding: 17:20:42
After the excitement of the first day, Day 2 felt like a trudge across France. In truth it was. Because we all have different sleeping patterns, and pace, the field had spread by the time I was riding again, so I could only occasionally spot a couple of other riders on the horizons.
The route was a grind down through Belleville and Lyon with strong headwinds. I had energy but I could feel yesterdays distance on my mind so took a couple caffeine pills to focus on the road ahead. The result was me stopping every 10 minutes to pee. I'll not be doing that again.
Distance Covered: 355.1 Km
Hours of Riding: 14:48:48
This little 48cm F5 Pista Custom is the perfect combination of elegant and timeless. A dark navy blue paint job is housed by chrome lugs, BROOKS finishings and a classic selection of high polished components. PAUL hubs, royal flush crankset and H Plus Son rims really bring it to the next level. Catch it in the streets of Shanghai!
Chrome lugs and a vibrant yellow paint job make this one standout custom F5 Pista. Complete with a PAUL Royal Flush crankset, PAUL hubs, H Plus Son TB14 rims, BROOKS B17 Special saddle and a comfy set of riser bars. The rear coaster brake makes for awesome inner city cruising!
This early 90's 56cm Fondriest road frame is in absolutely perfect condition, practically never ridden making it NOS (new old stock). It is made with Columbus Gara tubing, lugged and has a 1" chrome fork. All of the components and brand new, making it an absolutely beautiful ride. With top tube inner cable routing, front and rear brake it's perfect for city cruising or even long distance rides. Just 6,000RMB
This F5 Touring / Road bike is another new venture for Factory Five. Built with Columbus Zona steel tubing it is incredibly strong and surprisingly lightweight. This is a 57cm frame that can handle quick downhills, long distance roads and a small to mid range touring load.
We’ve kept the geometry tight, with a horizontal top-tube to maintain the responsive feel that we love in track builds. It has a modern 1 1/8" headtube coupled with a classic looking lugged steel fork.
It’s built to explore. Rack mounts in the back and a pair of lightweight wheels around H+Son Archetype rims. We’ve built it up with a 1x10 SRAM crankset, Shimano Deore rear derailleur and Tektro hood levers. The microshift downtube shifters not only feel great but complete this classic steel touring feel.
After hearing rave reviews from our overseas customers about how good this Chain-L chain oil was we knew that it needed to be stocked in our shop. It's been tried and tested, proven to be one of (if not) the best wet lube on the market. It's got superb lubrication properties and is impressively long-lasting in both wet and dry conditions. Available in shop only at 120RMB a bottle.
This weekend Mr Harry - British bar and restaurant on Nanjing Xi Lu are showing the Tour de France live on their big screen from 6pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
They have kindly offered free a Beer or Shandy for anyone who turns up to watch Le Tour in Factory Five apparel either T-Shirt, Cap or Shorts!
Mr Harry, Fifth Floor, 819 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Shimen Yi Lu, Jingan district
This F5 Road bike is a new venture for Factory Five. Built with the formidable Columbus XLR8R tubing it is unbelievably light and stiff. This is a frame which feels like it could translate every joule of power input into pure performance.
We’ve kept the geometry tight, with a horizontal top-tube to maintain the responsive feel that we love in track builds. It has oversize tubing and a tapered head-tube for improved rigidity.
It’s built to blast. Carbon fork up front and a pair of lightweight wheels around H+Son Archetype rims. We’ve built it up with some of our select components and the benchmark Shimano 105 groupset for a complete performance-ready ride that can be switched up for race day… or not.
This limited-edition F5CX build is the complete on- and off-road package. Built with performance in mind it has a cross geometry, specifically designed for speed and supreme handling.
The frame is built using the incredible Columbus Life tubing. Strong and lightweight it is the perfect match for a bike which is to remain sturdy and responsive across varying terrains.
The bike is set up as single speed on a pair of Novatec road freehubs laced to H+Son archetype. It’s fitted with uniquely wide cantilever brakes for optimum dirt shedding... with internal cable routing to the hoods and drops up front.
We’ve decked the rest with some of our most select components. This is a bike built to last the whole journey – wherever it goes.
Next week is the start of the Transcontinental Race from Belgium to Turkey. It's easily one of the most grueling bike races on the planet which will cover 2,750KM in under 2 weeks. One of the biggest challenges is packing the right kit - too much will slow you down and not enough will make your life a living hell.
Last week we posted Jeff's full bike spec, and now it's time for the kit. He's packing incredibly light and travelling with the bare necessities. Our friend Tim Posthumus was able to shoot Jeff's gear in his Amsterdam studio for your viewing pleasure. Below is the full breakdown, wish him luck!
Sea to Summit Spark I sleeping bag
REI Minimalist Bivy
Quechua inflatable pillow
Cycling Sunglasses (unbranded)
Combination Cable Lock
Topeak Mini-20 Pro multitool
Spare derailleur cable
Parktools patch kit
Topeak Race Rocket HP Pump
Spare Spokes and Nipples (2pcs)
Shimano SPD-L Cleat covers
KMC chain oil
Rouler Purist Water Bottles
F5 Team Jersey
F5 Team Bib
F5 Team Cap
Smartwool Short Merino socks
Smartwool Long Merino Socks
Craft Waterproof jacket
Sugoi waterproof gilet
Sugoi UV arm cooler
Leg Warmers (unbranded)
Hirzl Grippp Full finger gloves
Nike Running Shorts
Giro Apeckx Shoes
Petzl E-lite Headlamp
Garmin Edge 1000
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
Micro-USB Cable (3x)
Anker USB Battery pack
Revelate frame bag
Revelate Mountain Feedbag
Revelate Gas Tank