What is CrankPunk?
Good question. CrankPunk.com is a few things.
First and foremost though it is a place for people who ride bikes who just love riding bikes and who like doing it clean.
Here at CrankPunk you can read up on the latest pro cycling news delivered in a way you won't find in the mainstream bike media. You can also check out product reviews, get training advice, watch bike-related videos, check out interviews with fascinating people from the bike world, and get info on some epic bike races and sign up for those races with special CrankPunk.com discount offers available.
It's also a bike shop and a consultancy service, and a provider of bike tours in Taiwan and Spain (coming soon).
It's also a cycle coaching service, provided by CrankPunk Coaching Systems.
And it's a place for collaboration. You'll see great photographs as on the blog landing page the home page, and stunning videos that capture brillioantly this sport we love.
The videos that come prefaced with 'CrankPunk + Il Gregario' come from film-maker David Christensen, who just nails it every time. Check out his work at Il Gregaio.
It's also me.
I'm Lee Rodgers, Englishman, journalist and former professional road cyclist on several UCI Continental teams, based and living in Taiwan, in the Silicone Valley of the bike world, Taichung.
CrankPunk.com began on the 13th of October, 2012 as a place for me to communicate with people. The first article was, unsurprisingly as it came at the time of 'LanceGate', about doping. I had just left my job as editor of one of Asia's biggest cycling websites and was missing writing every day, tired of reading the usual gushing sycophancy from the established cycling media, in need of a place to vent and wanting to document my adventures racing around the world.
I write about this great passion of ours and also present CrankPunk.com as both a racer and a fan. I say ‘ours’ because this sport belongs to to all of us.
At the UCI Tour of Sumatra 2011
Why 'We Are The Sport'?
Because we are. The sport lives in every pedal stroke, every chain link, every summit, in everyone who sits on a saddle and pushes off.
To ride because you love it, because it takes you back to childhood, because it makes you smile, because you need it, because it is your therapy, because it keeps you alive, because you feel like you are flying and because you miss the hurt when you don't - this is cycling.
You are all the keepers of the flame.
We don't only win when we cross that line first.
We win every time we clip in.
Featured in CycleSport magazine 2012
What does CrankPunk.com do?
CrankPunk does heaps. The new site hosts it all: writing, coaching, the store, brand consultancy, bike tours and event organisation.
- The Blog speaks for itself.
- The Coaching I began in the summer of 2013 and that really took off pretty quickly. You can head to the coaching page to see the training packages. I am the official coach of the Taiwan KOM Challenge, the Taiwan Cyclist Federation, the Mongolia Bike Challenge, the Tour of Friendship (Thailand) and also of Everesting, the challenge that requires riders to climb the same mountian to the equivalent height of Everest. I am also a Preferred Provider for the ANZA Cycling Team, Singapore's largest cycling club.
- The Store has tees, cycling kit, wheels, bikes, components, the lot, go check it out, some decent bargains on there!
- The Consultancy offers my services to brands looking to find distributors in Asia and internationally, to identify and manage individual riders and teams to sponsor, to develop strategies for growth in Asia and to have someone in Taichung to facilitate and oversee manufacturing.
- The Bike Tours are coming soon, these will be tours in Taiwan.
- The Event Organisation so far concerns the Taiwan KOM Challenge and the Mongolia Bike Challenge, for both of which I am the Communications Director. More works are in the fire, hopefully coming soon.
I started racing originally over two decades ago, in 1987 at age 15. Stephen Roche got me, on La Plagne, Stage 17. Hook, line and sinker.
I was a 15 year old and loving racing, and wanted to ride Le Tour, as we all did I am sure, but then walked away from cycling altogether when I was 18. I found it hard to contemplate the years of hard work it’d take even if I was to scrape a bare living from the sport and I wanted to travel to far-flung places, but there was one other component in the mix - I eventually came to see no real future for myself in what I’d gradually discovered was a drug-addled sport. My generation was that of the true EPO era, and all I can say on that is that I am glad I never had to make those same choices that so many riders of my generation did – though maybe, when I walked away, I already had.
I came back to the sport in Japan (where i lived for a decade) 19 years later, at 36, after having bough a basic road bike as a way to lose some weight, but the competitive juices returned and I won my first race about two months later. Suddenly i was racing wherever I could and doing well enough, within about 18 months from my return, to get a spot on a Continental team to race in the UCI Asia Tour.
I’m not sure but I may have been the oldest neo-pro in the history of the sport, and certainly was the oldest in the peleton when I raced in the 2012 Tours of Oman and Qatar.
Highlights have been many, but basically I loved racing again and challenging myself to improve, and every ride, even now, still feels like a gift.
Interviewed at the Tour of Oman 2012
I won the Singapore Road Race National Championships in 2010 and the TT champs in 2011 and 2013, and raced in five or six post-Tour de France criteriums in 2012, against guys like Cavendish, Andy Schleck and Samuel Sanchez around cities like Heerlen and Maastricht with 20,000 mad Dutchmen cheering us on. I raced all over Asia in fascintating places like Sumatra and East Java, China and Brunei, and smiled all the way through the pain.
I felt like that guy who is sat in the crowd when the last pitcher gets injured, he raises his hand when the manager shouts out if anyone ever played ball. I raised my hand, got the kit on and lived out my teenage dreams, years after I'd first had them.
I eventually went off-road when I finally got back on an MTB after a couple of decades off. I trained on it for two weeks then went and did an easy little race to ease back in, the 7-day, 1000km Mongolia Bike Challenge. Now that was a ride!
If you'd like the full skinny on my second cycling career, there's more in this article I wrote for Cycle Sport back in 2012:
A lot of folk now think 'doping' when they think of crankpunk.com, and I sincerely wish that it wasn't the case, just as i wish that the sport was cleaner than it is. But it ain’t. However, there’s a whole lot more to the new crankpunk.com.
Thank you for reading, it's very much appreciated.
In action at the 2012 Tour de Taiwan, Stage 7.
1. A device for transmitting rotary motion, consisting of a handle or arm attached at right angles to a shaft
2. A clever turn of speech; a verbal conceit: quips and cranks. 3. A peculiar or eccentric idea or action
a. A young [or old] person, especially a member of a counterculture group. b. An inexperienced man.
Palmares (significant results listed only):
- 1st Stage 4 Mongolia Bike Challenge, Masters 1 Category
- 1st Stage 5 Mongolia Bike Challenge, Masters 1 Category
- 1st Stage 6 Mongolia Bike Challenge, Masters 1 Category
- 1st Stage 7 Mongolia Bike Challenge, Masters 1 Category
- 1st Salt Ayre Criterium, UK
- 1st Overall GC, Tour de Tayabas, Philippines
- 1st Points Classification, Tour de Tayabas, Philippines
- 2nd Stage 2 Mongolia Bike Challenge, Masters 1 Category
- 3rd Stage 1 Mongolia Bike Challenge, Masters 1 Category
- 3rd Stage 7 Stage 7 Mongolia Bike Challenge, Khan Category
- 2nd Taiwan Cyclist Federation Taiwan Club Series, Stage 4
- 3rd Salt Ayre Criterium, UK
- 4th Stage 6 Mongolia Bike Challenge, Khan Category
- 4th Overall, Mongolia Bike Challenge Masters 1 Category
- 1st Singapore National Time Trial Championships
- 1st Overall GC Tour of Friendship
- 1st Tour of Friendship (Thailand) Prologue ITT
- 1st Rosso Cycling Championships, Taiwan
- 1st Tatajia 55km Hill Climb, Taiwan
- 1st Taiwan Cycling Championships Stage 5
- 2nd Tour of Friendship Stage 5
- 3rd Tour of Friendship Stage 3
- 3rd Tour of Friendship Stage 4
- 5th Stage 7 Mongolia Bike Challenge (MTB)
- 1st UCI 2.1 Tour of Taiwan Points Classification
- 1st Hong Kong Cycling Classic Criterium
- 2nd Overall GC UCI 2.2 Tour of East Java 2012
- 3rd UCI 2.2 Tour of Brunei Stage 1
- 5th UCI 2.2 Tour of East Java Stage 2
- SURVIVED! The Tour of Qatar & the Tour of Oman
- 1st Singapore National ITT Championships
- 1st Taiwan Cycling Club Series Championships, Stage 1
- 1st Yilan Classic Road Race
- 3rd Overall GC Tour of East Taiwan
- 3rd Stage 2 Tour of East Taiwan
- 1st Singapore National Road Race Championships
- 1st Kisamura Two-Day, Japan
- 1st Kurume County Century Road Race
- 2nd GC Tour of East Taiwan
- 3rd Tour of East Taiwan Stage 2