at the end of last year, i ordered some new tyres for what we shall now call the 'old' colnago - somehow 'winter-bike' seems too degrading for such a fine piece of machinery - indeed a pair of what used to be called michelin axial pros and are now referred to as michelin pro race, even though i can't see any real difference despite the name change. anyway, since the c40 is pretty much blue, apart from the carbon fibre weave at the rear, it has a pair of blue pro race which will probably be replaced with a pair of the lighter blue and lighter blue 'pro race lights' (these michelin guys have this naming procedure nailed), when the weather stops pretending it's winter.
but what to put on the old bike? the bike is predominantly a dark purple colour with flecks of white and red so i tried to order a pair of red pro race. except at the end of 2003, michelin didn't make any red pro race tyres. there are other makes available in red, but having had success with the michelins for about four years, i was keen to continue.
incidentally, i've noticed that 'real' cyclists tend to be quite pernickety in their choice of tyres (self being an excellent example) whereas those with cheap and unbelievably heavy mountain bikes buy whatever's cheap, no matter the brand. ah well.
so, with no real option over the red tyres, i bought purple (yes, i know, i know, but it's only a colour) since that is the main hue of the old colnago (albeit of a far deeper nature), and fitted them in time for a whizz on christmas day. unfortunately the 'whizz' turned out to be considerably less than that during the last five miles, since the rear tyre blew out (in a very big way) at the airport. fortunately i was stationary at the time, having stopped to check the loud clicking noise from the back wheel. it's all very well taking a spare inner tube on every cycle ride, but since the tyre now had a large hole in the sidewall, though the kevlar bead remained intact, there was little likelihood of a replacement tube helping me at that particular point. so, with no other alternative, i cycled home on a flat tyre, a lot slower than normal.
i have never figured out what caused the blowout, and the old colnago still sits in the bike shed with the offending tyre still in place on a wheel which surprisingly suffered virtually no damage despite its five mile ride without tyre support.
in case it was a duff batch, i decide to replace both tyres to get the colnago mobile again, but you can imagine my unbridled joy to discover that michelin, obviously responding to my end of year order, had decided to introduce red pro race tyres for 2004. how many companies can you think of that respond that quickly? (though i'm quite likely to be deluding myself here), and they're a delightful fire engine red, so when i zoom past at my usual marginally subsonic speed, at least some presence will register on the islay conscience. or at least they will when i fit them.
but, the real point of all this drivel, was brought home when recently reading my review copy of 'the ras' by tom daly. daly was comparing the standard bike of the fifties with the machines of contemporary riders; the former had five speed gears, pedals with toestraps, bottles affixed to the handlebars with straws for drinking at speed and downtube levers. so does it worry anyone else to listen to themselves ordering tyres according to a colour scheme or trying to complement a carbon frame with as much extraneous carbon as possible? (and by way of a mild digression, i find it rather galling that campag have now replaced the all alloy chorus rear mech with a new one with a carbon parallelogram. the one on the c40 is only six months old and even i would have difficulty justifying a carbon replacement, though i do hanker after a campag carbon bottle cage).
if we're supposed to be 'real men' or 'real women', shouldn't we just be working on the mechanical soundness of our velocipedes or training until we drop? i mean isn't this colour co-ordination thing just a bit 'big girl's blouse'? (no offence intended to any female readers).
ah, what the heck - just wait till you see the red tyres on the old colnago. wonderful!
this website got its name because scotland's graeme obree built his championship winning 'old faithful' using bits from a defunct washing machine.
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. here's the link.
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, and imac computers, using adobe golive 6 and adobe photoshop 7. needless to say it is also best viewed on an apple macintosh computer.