despite having said a few issues ago, that i would do my level best to prevent thewashingmachinepost becoming road-centric, by attempting to include more mountain biking stuff, i fear i have failed miserably. this i know because inside my daily paper yesterday was a copy of 'singletrack', a quarterly mountain biking magazine produced by the inestimable chipps chippendale.
as a rule, i don't purchase mtb magazines. this is not a form of snobbery, and i wish i had the more cosmopolitan attitude displayed by jo burt of mint sauce fame. while he draws the wonderful mint sauce cartoon every month in mbuk he could be seen in last month's cycling plus pedalling in france on a bianchi road bike, so he obviously just enjoys riding a bike without worrying too much about whether it has flat bars or drop bars.
i have done my fair share of mountain biking over the years and i have to admit that it has a certain attraction because it can, if presented right, to be a very 'cool'(unlike other mtb magazines i could mention). and while i have appaarently reached middle age, or perhaps just passed it, i don't mind being associated with cool pastimes (this manages to happen on the very rare occasions that i am allowed to play my drumkit in public).
but for all its sparkly lycra, personalities and zebra jerseys, being a roadie doesn't conjure up the same laid-back attitude, doughnuts and espresso that are associated with the knobbly tyred fraternity. this, i can only imagine, is entirely down to the media coverage provided both by television and the printed media.
ipc produce cycling weekly (the comic) and cycle sport, both of which are essential reading if you're a roadie, but neither of which could be described as even remotely 'cool' or 'trendy'. procycling is just as essential and does manage to be bit less staid than the latter two but still doesn't quite hit the spot. it's a number of years since i have held any of the american cycling publications but on the basis of the leonard zinn's tech news (velo news) and coverage of machinery on the tour (highly informative to the road anorak) and the copies of bicycling that i've glanced through in smith's at central station have been less than inspiring.
so why is it that we have two 'types' of cycling, using different bikes, with different size wheels and tyres, ut still propelled in essentially the same way, have become so diversified in their method of presentation? i love riding my bike, i love spending money on my bike, so why can't i be cool?
you see we have folks like david millar who almost achieved the 'bad boy' image over his past few years of cycling for cofidis, but now he has acquired seriousness and the taste for victory and it looks as if the devil may care attitude will evaporate. and the guys who were mountain bikers such as miguel martinez and cadel evans and have now made the move into the first division cycling world are almost like those of us who were scruffy students, but now wear suits (not me, i hasten to add).
so is it that there is a media coalition to ensure that road biking remains portrayed as 'normal' while mountain biking, along with bmx, is seen as the cycling equivalent of punk? as long as you realise that it doesn't really matter one whit, it's an avenue worth pursuing. i appeared in a national mountain biking mag several years ago (now, sadly defunct) because the chaps running the mag saw a parallel between mountain bikes and whisky, in much the same way as the music biz seems to see a similar parallel between blues and whisky (its the reason why ninetyfive proof get asked to play to sell out audiences during islay's annual whisky festival - my fifteen minutes of fame:-) a photographer and writer appeared on the island intent on showing their readers that, not only did islay have seven malt whisky distilleries, but that there were several muddy bits which were very appealing to knobbly tyres. at the time, i did point out that i actually spent a much larger proportion of my pedalling time on the colnago, but i still had to have my picture taken sliding the muddy fox down a piece of singletrack.
and despite the continued existence of the selfsame distilleries and the fact that we are about to hold the third annual festival of malt and music in may of this year, neither the comic, cycle sport nor procycling have made any overtures to have me cycle past bruichladdich distillery (which i do every sunday actually).
and roadies, inculding the directeur sportif of vc port wemyss, constantly talk about tea stops, but almost never about espressos, capuccinos, doughnuts or carrot cake muffins (which, incidentally, you should take the opportunity to try if you're anywhere near a costa coffee outlet. yum!).
so, in a form of rearguard action, thewashingmachinepost will, from now on, being doing its utmost to change the image of road cycling in a concerted effort to make it 'cool'. this will not, however, include any phrase that uses the phrase 'dude'.
espresso and muffins, anyone?
on a slightly different note, my regular reader will have noted the addition of a 'colnago c40' rollover to the left. this contains a reprint of a recent article featured in cycle sport magazine, which they were very kind to let me present here (because i'm a colnago geek) i have also found an excellent review of the colnago c40hp here
i have been asked to add the following link to the post by wheelygoodcause. they're a cycling club dedicated to arranging epic rides for charity and do not charge charities for the pleasure. They ride because they want to, and the next ride takes them from st malo to biarittz and then across the raid pyrenees. so i have. and here it is.
Remember, you can still read the review of 'the dancing chain' the utterly excellent book on the history of the derailleur bicycle by clicking here
any of the books reviewed on the washing machine post can probably be purchased from amazon.co.uk or amazon.com
as always, if you have any comments on this nonsense, please feel free to e-mail and thanks for reading.
this column almost never appears in the dead tree version of the ileach but appears, regular as clockwork on this website every two weeks. (ok so i lied) sometimes there are bits added in between times, but it all adds to the excitement.
on a completely unrelated topic, ie nothing to do with bicycles, every aspect of the washing machine post was created on apple macintosh powerbook g4, ibook and imac computers, using adobe golive 5 and adobe photoshop 7. needless to say it is also best viewed on an apple macintosh computer.