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Escape Collective

Sports & Recreation Podcasts

Welcome to the Escape Collective podcast network. On this main channel, you’ll find episodes of the Tour Daily in July, plus Placeholders, Wheel Talk, Geek Warning, and Pretty Serious Bike Racing Podcast the rest of the year.


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Welcome to the Escape Collective podcast network. On this main channel, you’ll find episodes of the Tour Daily in July, plus Placeholders, Wheel Talk, Geek Warning, and Pretty Serious Bike Racing Podcast the rest of the year.




Performance Process: F1's obsession with cycling makes better drivers with Jack Aitken

We interrupt our regular scheduling to bring you a special episode of Performance Process to coincide with the start of the Formula 1 season. In this special episode we focus less on the processes of going faster and more on the transferable skills, processes, and obsessions between F1 and cycling with former F1 driver and Escape Collective member, Jack Aitken. Jack was the 2015 Formula Renault Eurocup champion and he competed in GP3 and FIA Formula 2 before becoming test drive at Renault F1. He is best known in F1 circles for his time with Williams F1, whom he drove for in the 2020 Sakhir Gand Prix. We recorded this episode last July when he was doubling up driving duties with IMSA’s Whelen Cadillac and DTM’s Emil Frey racing. Jack is back in IMSA (International Motor Sports Association) this year with the number 31 car Whelen Engineering Cadillac. Jack also takes to two wheels as often as any of us and has competed in both criteriums and gran fondos. We ask Jack what the fascination is with cycling for F1 drivers, and discuss the transferable skills, the leakage of talent that is F1’s loss and cycling’s gain, environmental endeavours of both sports, how breathable his underwear is, and finally rules … but of course.


Geek Warning: Getting our hooks into hookless road

The time has come for the geeks to share their strong opinions on road tubeless and the movement toward hookless rims. In this episode, and off the back of a high-profile failure, James, Ronan, and Dave dive into the growing concerns related to the many caveats around hookless road rims. Later in the episode, the conversation changes to fancier ways to hide cables through smaller headsets and the problems this may present. Then there’s a polarising PSA many probably won’t want to hear. In many ways, this episode is just our geeks ranting about the issues of modern bikes, but hopefully, it proves useful! Time stamps: 3:15 - Digging into the big topic of road tubeless tyres blowing off hookless rims 36:00 - A little promo of a podcast series not to miss 37:12 - Baum and slotted steerer tubes are on Dave’s mind 43:55 - The only good fix for contaminated brake pads 47:10 - New things from Cadex 48:05 - A new endurance road tyre from Vittoria


Placeholders: Visma flexes depth, Strade Bianche looms

This week on the Placeholders, Dane Cash, Abby Mickey, and Kit Nicholson join Caley Fretz to ponder whether anyone will remember Visma's Opening Weekend results if they can't win a Monument, who is the best sprinter right now, and whether team mechanics can disguise themselves as riders to get into races.


Wheel Talk: The 2024 Draft

In this super chaotic episode, Abby, Gracie and Loren are joined by Matt de Neef and Matilda Raynolds for an NFL-snake-style draft. Who will the first pick be? Who’s already winning by a heck of a lot points? Find out in this episode. We also chat a bit about an exciting start to the women’s Classics season at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and what it might mean for the season ahead.


How the Race was Won: Opening Weekend

If you, like us, have spent the past four months nurturing a pent-up need to be pretty serious, your wait is over. After a long hiatus during the offseason – and even through the first few weeks of this year, with apologies to the Tour Down Under! – Cosmo Catalano and Dane Cash are back with a weekly show to break down all of the racing action that took place over the past week. The podcast's aim has always been to be Pretty Serious about bike racing, and that isn't changing, but the *name* is. Since its inception, the podcast has focused on telling listeners about how events were concluded in the triumph of this or that rider, but this year, Cosmo and Dane are just going all-in on telling you How the Race was Won. Each week, you can expect Cosmo and Dane, and occasionally other voices too, to take a closer look at the moments that defined racing over the previous few days (focusing mostly on men's racing with Wheel Talk the following day focusing on the women's racing), to highlight which riders maybe deserve a bit more heralding and which might have been a bit too heralded, and to look ahead to broader storylines. Sometimes, the podcast will even attempt to venture into sports talk radio territory. This week on How the Race was Won, the crew breaks down Jan Tratnik's win at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, who deserves a bit more credit for their performance in the race, Visma's general dominance across the weekend, and what it all means.


How did the bike industry get into such deep trouble? EP4: The Aftermath

In EP3, we heard about what much of the bike industry experienced during that dramatic slowdown of bike sales, and what resulted. In this episode, EP4, we'll hear about some of the learnings and takeaways from the past three years, and put forward some tough questions for the bike industry to ask itself.


Performance Process: Aero myths and the best bang-for-buck gains with Swiss Side's JP Ballard

JP Ballard joins us for the third half of our mini-series with the CEO of Swiss Side. This week, we dispel some aero myths, discuss and imagine some aero hacks, and JP generally breaks down aero for us non-aerodynamicists. We discuss if lower and narrower is slower or faster, acid tests for assessing aero marketing, and why aero matters regardless of what speed we ride at, even uphill. We then delve into where’s best to spend your money chasing aero gains, the best bang for the buck, so to speak. Finally, perhaps the biggest takeaway is that JP doesn’t believe the rule of 105 is as critical as we once thought All told, this is a bumper episode and a fitting way to conclude this mini-series.


Draft Special: Picking the best men's racers of 2024

Welcome one and all to the Escape Collective Men's WorldTour Draft 2024! The draft, a method of allocating players into teams, is beautiful. It’s a system based on fairness, hope, and competition. Maybe perplexingly, it’s also about as American as it gets. As American as yugging down a hot dog and a Miller Light on the fourth of July, or driving in a Cadillac to Lauderhill in Florida to visit the biggest rubber band ball in the world (which if you were wondering weighs over 9,000 lbs). You’ll likely know it from the acronym sports such as the NFL and NBA, but what about if we did it with sports that had real names too? Like cycling? Well, that’s what we’re going to find out. We’ve assembled an Escape Collective crew who will be selecting squads of 10 riders for the 2024 men’s WorldTour season, accruing UCI points as they compete in real life.


Geek Warning: Chain waxing for all at last?

Silca’s new StripChip claims to take (most) of the hassle out of properly immersion-waxing your chain, but while it sounds promising, Dave’s got his doubts. Favero unveiled its long-awaited SPD-compatible power meter pedals for MTB and gravel, and although they tick a lot of boxes, pedals in general may not be the best power meter format for everyone. In big-brand component news, we read the tea leaves on Campagnolo’s new Ekar GT midrange gravel groupset to see what it might indicate for the Ekar family in general, and SRAM’s new Maven mountain bike hydraulic disc brakes could signal a sea change.


Placeholders: Knee-jerk predictions for Opening Weekend

Jonny Long and Dane Cash join Caley Fretz on the Placeholders this week for a form check as early-season racing ramps up. The crew also circles the Plugge hole (Erzen's version) and makes some knee-jerk predictions ahead of Opening Weekend.


Wheel Talk: Olympics selection season starts now

Abby, Gracie, and Loren break down the major talking points from Setmana Ciclista Valenciana over the weekend and what to look for at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad coming up on Saturday. Plus, we’re all excited about one rider on the start-list for Omloop van het Hageland!


Wheel Talk Bonus ep: A chat Down Under with Tils and Heidi Franz

Whilst down in Australia for the Tour Down Under and the Deakin University Road Race, our very own Matilda Raynolds sat down with Heidi Franz, rider for Lifeplus Wahoo, for a chat. They discussed Heidi’s last couple of years in the sport, how cycling should differ from gymnastics, popular Aussie phrases you should know, and much more. We hope you enjoy this bonus Wheel Talk episode, and Abby, Loren and Gracie will be back later this week to chat about Setmana Valenciana and the upcoming Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.


How did the bike industry get into such deep trouble? EP3: The Famine

This is the third episode in our series that takes a deep dive into what the bike industry experienced during the covid boom and how it got into the trouble it’s in now. In Episode 2, we heard from various industry professionals about the early warning signals that told them that this bubble was about to burst, and some of the reckless behaviour and pressure that was being put onto various parts of the supply chain by some big brands. But it’s not so clear-cut. We’re also beginning to hear some finger-pointing in all directions and I supposed the fragmented nature of the bike industry makes it really easy for things to slip through the cracks and in hindsight, it was perhaps a recipe for disaster. In reference to the postmortem of Wiggle/CRC and the interview with Jake Dudek done in this episode, you can read his post on LinkedIn here: In this episode entitled ‘The Famine’, we zoom into the timeframe when demand came to an abrupt halt and what the bike industry was left with.


Geek Warning Bonus ep: Colnago is sharpening its focus, and it’s probably not thinking of you

Colnago recently debuted its latest C68 model – the C68 Gravel – and while it seems like a pretty nice gravel bike in its own right, what’s more interesting is understanding more about what that new bike means for Colnago’s strategy in general moving forward, particularly since being bought by a UAE-based investment group in 2020. In this members-only episode, James sits down with Colnago CEO Nicola Rosin and Colnago’s head of marketing, Manolo Bertocchi, to get the scoop on how things have been going there (shockingly well), where Colnago wants to be (“the most desirable”), and who the brand sees as its customer base in the years ahead (hint: probably not you).


Geek Warning: The return of a loved rim brake bike

It’s time for another episode of Geek Warning. Dave and Ronan are back to discuss the latest happenings in the world of cycling tech and what’s on their minds. Ritchey and Factor have new bike (frame) releases that sit near polar opposites of the road market. Ritchey has brought back its well-loved Road Logic frames, while Factor’s Ostro VAM, a bike we’ve looked at before, is now officially official. There are new shoes from Trek and Specialized, with the former leaving Ronan a little confused over what size his feet are. And Dave shares what’s on his mind (hint, tools), and then there’s a quick wrap of other interesting tech and industry news. Timestamps: 5:03 - Ritchey Logic brings back its rim brake road frames 8:03 - Factor’s new Ostro VAM is now official and Ronan has built one 23:43 - Black Inc’s 1,270 g aero wheels 26:45 - Specialized’s new mid-price helmet and shoes 28:45 - Trek’s many new shoes, many new fits 41:45 - On Dave’s mind 46:58 - 4iiii’s new Pro 3+ dual-sided powermeter 50:40 - KMC gets into cassettes 52:05 - F+B Shift wheels bring thermoplastic carbon to a lower price point 54:52 - Giant Bicycles to be sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods


Placeholders: Rigo's retirement and some Bora brouhaha

Jonny Long, Kit Nicholson, and Dane Cash join Caley Fretz on this week Placeholders to cover all of the big news as racing is heating up around the world from Oman to Colombia.


Industry Special: How did the bike industry get into such deep trouble? EP2: The Storm Clouds

In episode one we heard about the unexpected windfall that the cycling industry saw at the start of the pandemic and how many needed to react. Of course that didn’t last forever, and in this episode I’ve titled ‘the storm clouds’ we talk about the early signs that this new demand was coming to an abrupt halt, and the types of behaviour that was happening and the causes of that behaviour that led to the catastrophe that the industry would later see.


Wheel Talk: How do you solve a problem like Kopecky?

Loren Rowney is back to discuss all the action from the UAE Tour with Gracie and Abby. They try to answer questions like: Will Kopecky’s form impact Vollering’s Classics goals, and what will that mean for SD Worx - Protime as a whole? And is there a cuter couple than Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce (there isn’t)?


Industry Special: How did the bike industry get into such deep trouble? EP1: The Feast

In this 4 part series, I wanted to explore the events that took place that led the bike industry to the troubling point it’s at now. I spoke to over a dozen industry professionals from all parts of the supply chain. From well run bike shops, forecasting analysts, distributors, the biggest bike brands in the world, and manufacturers. It’s well known that the bicycle industry went through an unprecedented boom during the pandemic from 2020 - 2022. Jump ahead to 2024 and much of the bike industry is in trouble. New demand has come to an abrupt halt. New entrants into the bicycle market have not stayed as the industry had hoped. We’re seeing massive inventory overruns at bike shops. Big bike brands are taking on extra warehousing space. Businesses such as Niner, Orange, Wiggle/CRC, have gone into bankruptcy. Otherwise profitable big brands have taken on debt to keep afloat. There are brands out there who are doing well, but they’re the exception rather than the norm. In general , I don’t think many would disagree that the situation in major cycling markets, aside from China, is pretty dire. The episode is this first of four. We’re going to bring you on a journey through the COVID feast, the storm clouds, the famine, and the lessons learned in hindsight. In this episode, The Feast, we speak to a bike shop owner, a demand forecasting analyst for a distributor, company CEOs, and a manufacturer to hear about what they experienced during the initial stages of the pandemic in early 2020.


Performance Process: Swiss Side's JP Ballard on all things aero

JP Ballard joins us once again for part one of our Performance Process deep dive into all things aerodynamics. Ballard is founder and CEO of aerodynamics specialists Swiss Side. The Swiss company produces wheels and aero calf sleeves, but the majority of its work is in offering its aerodynamic expertise to other manufacturers in the cycling industry. Ballard first joined us for a pit walk critiquing bikes and equipment of the 2024 WorldTour paddock during the recent Tour Down Under. He had also sat down with us before that race to record three hours worth of discussion and advice on aerodynamics and performance. In part one of that conversation Ballard gives us an insight into some of Swiss Side's unseen consultancy work and we discuss performance simulation tools, sail effect, the future of cycling aero, and why Ballard thinks we are not even half way to "peak aero."