thewashingmachinepost




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washing machine parts

the flying scotsman

while it seems possible that graeme obree wishes he had never mentioned that 'old faithful' had been constructed using bits from a washing machine, that's sort of the bit that has stuck, even before we take into account his quite phenomenal cycling exploits and achievements. and i don't suppose having a website called thewashingmachinepost kicking about exactly helps to bury the myth.

however, and i don't mean this to be disrespectful in any way, they haven't made a movie about chris boardman, a cyclist who arguably achieved more in his career than the flying scotsman. specifically why they made the movie, and why they altered a few of the facts to fit celluloid is probably only known to the producer, because i'm not sure that even graeme knows, but we should all be immensely grateful that they did.

when mick and andy of prendas organised a showing at their local cinema in august, they attracted over 350 of an audience, the biggest number of people seeing the film in a single showing. so it's quite likely that a large number of us would like to see the film again, or if it didn't appear at a cinema near you - or if like islay, there simply isn't a cinema near you - then the chance to view will soon be at hand when the flying scotsman arrives on dvd in a matter of weeks.

if you're a regular reader of thewashingmachinepost, you owe it to graeme and you owe it to yourself to acquire a copy for posterity, and to show to unwitting visitors to your home at every opportunity. pre-order now: this is not an option, this is compulsory - i'll be checking.

www.prendas.co.uk

posted on monday 8 october 2007.

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planet x neoprene overshoes - a very long term test

planet x overshoes

jez is so mean, that he very rarely buys anything new, even if stuff breaks - heck, even his colnago c40 is from 1999. but by way of an introduction to an occasional series of long-term tests on a variety of clothing and components i shall let the man himself continue...

this has been a long term test not just a few weeks or months, but seven years! so i thought it was about jolly time to write about them. hundreds of years ago, i used to commute a good two and a half hours each day - twenty five miles - often in appalling weather. i have tried to abuse them beyond belief (they can't touch you for it you know) but like a once loved dog, they just kept coming back for more! there's a song in there somewhere, but no need to go into it just at the moment.

the best thing is lack of a zip. you may ask why: well, don't you just hate it at the start of each winter, having placed your overshoes in hibernation for several months, you return to find that the zip has seized? these planet x overshoes have velcro fastening and on mine, the velcro back is still as good as new and still as easy to use, especially for simpletons such as i. they're especially good at resisting caking up off or on road, particularly on the salt-laden routes that seem so common nowadays. sometimes here on the outer edge, the difference can be hard to distinguish.

as a safety feature, having your feet spin around while reflecting the headlights of following cars is pretty good by our account and to do just that, there's a reflective bit around the top. the neoprene is three mm thick or so, and good enough to use on my sea swimming wetsuit in loch indaal so they're plenty warm enough. after seven years, their longevity as a regular winter item seems beyond reproach - bearing in mind winter here could be nine months long, while the bit that points down the way is well constructed with perfectly shaped holes for heels and clips. i think we can agree that they have shown extraordinarily good wear. i can't fault them, not even a wee bit.

with a very limited washingmachinepost budget for body doubles (ie none at all), jez would like it known that the above leg and foott is his own.

www.planet-x-bikes.com

posted on monday 8 october 2007.

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flying solo

on tuesday of last week, this jacket was sitting in auckland, new zealand, happily minding its own business and looking forward to a career down under, midst the acres and acres of merino wool and roads full of skinny wheels. and here we are, less than a week later and it's supping an espresso on the patio at debbie's in bruichladdich. an interesting dhl world is it not?

solo have blind-sided most of the western world by producing quality, retro style clothing as if from nowhere and are currently very much on the up and heading towards being a major player in the niche market that is cycle clothing. the solo equipe jersey adheres to rule number one regarding dressing for the road: if you're warm enough in the first two miles or so, then you're probably overdressed. heading out towards bruichladdich on a cold but sunny islay sunday morning, coolness (sartorially and physically) was mine at least until reaching bridgend around three miles later. after that i was still cool but cosy (if you know what i mean).

the equipe is available in red, blue or black, with a white contrasting hoop across the chest and back, full zip, merino wool collar and cuffs (with amply proportioned sleeves) and two generous rear pockets with button fastening. and working on the principle of art lies in the details, the buttons have solo's website monogrammed on the centre (plus solo generously supply a spare button, zip tied to the label). the fabric is a new one on me which solo use for both the jersey and their leg and armwarmers (which will be the subject of a future test/review). called mapp it basically consists of a 100% merino wool inner layer, somehow welded to a polyester outer. this provides all the properties of merino next to the skin, while presenting a windproof and water resistant outer to the world at large. the mapp fabric also has incredible inherent stretch properties that make it a delight to wear on the bike.

in order that you shouldn't mistake this garment for any other, the solo logo is flocked (can he say that?) in black onto the white contrasting hoop both front and rear. the look, as you can see from the photo is decidedly old skool, much like the wearer, and very much the better for it.

having had it travel several thousand miles to its new home in the hebrides, it seemed only right that it be taken out on the colnago to see the countryside. the mighty dave t dictated that climbing should be the order of the day, so there was a lot of puffing and panting on a remarkably sunny and windless islay day (uncharacteristic or what?) up the hill at storakaig. despite the threat of itchy and scratchy from the merino collar, that impression was very much wide of the mark - the collar was transparent in use, but kept the earl morning chill at bay. the equipe is a comfortably loose fit - not so much so that it flaps in the breeze, but warm enough that it was worn with merely a short sleeve merino thermal underneath. on really cold days, i think a long sleeve thermal would offer more cosiness on the arms - the fabric is windproof but not wind block, and while the opportunity to test the water resistance did not present itself, i think on really cold, wet, west coast days i might still pack a waterproof. what i'm probably getting at is that this is more of autumn/fall, early spring apparel than thick of winter.

i can think of one or two other manufacturers who provide for this fleeting part of the market, but perhaps not with such panache. i did feel rather distinguished in the solo equipe jersey, even if jez did beat me to the top of the pass. and always assuming that you don't mind being too bright and shiny in those apres velo hours, it's quite practical to wear the jersey off the bike - i know, because i've just done so.

give solo a call (internet will do) and order one for your own cycling wardrobe. cost is a remarkably reasonable £80 ($149) and it's available in s, m, l, and xl.

see you at debbie's.

posted on sunday 7 october 2007.

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cycling to work - a beginner's guide by rory mcmullan. paperback; green books 96pp illus. £4.95

cycling to work

there does seem to be an upsurge in this type of book of late, presumably given fifteen minutes of fame by the ever-present threat of global warming and the ever increasing cost of motoring. rory mcmullan's cycling credentials are enough to put most of us to shame and he still looks too young to have achieved half of his biog, so he is undoubtedly qualified to author this cute little volume.

i'm a great believer in starting with the negatives, because i hate the part when it comes to 'it was great, but...', so we'll just dive straight in. the first point is fairly trivial, but thewashingmachinepost has built an entire career out of trivial and i've no intetion of stopping now. despite being publsihed in 2007, it's a bit of a worry that mr mcmullan still believes that the maximum number of sprockets that he can fit to the rear wheel is nine. campagnolo have had ten back there for around seven years, so i'd really expect to be told so.

and much like the haynes book and, to a lesser extent, richard ballantine's, there is no real place for a chapter on bicycle maintenance in such a small book, since it's a major struggle convincing someone to actually ride their bicycle to work, without delving into its mechanical intricacies. how many drivers know the first thing about the innards of their motor cars? however, if we accept that its inclusion is indeed welcome, mr mcmullan should have saved his typing fingers and restrained from giving step by step details on repairing a puncture. if you flat on your way to work, pop a new tube in and fix the punctured one later - always carry a spare tube, not a puncture repair kit.

however 'cycling to work' is a very welcome addition to the book carrying cyclist. while not targeted at the regular cyclist who would probably need little persuasion, it is small enough and cheap enough to buy for you favourite wheel trembler. in fact, purchase a pile of them and give them away for christmas. the detail includes an overview of the variety of bicycles available, clothing that you may or may not need, the government's bike to ride scheme, cycle training, bike week, cycle facilities (or lack of) at your place of work. if the reader or intended victim isn't persuaded by the end of the ninety six pages, they're probably past saving. come the revolution etc.

if we all bought a copy and gave it to someone who needs a copy, and they then did the same, world domination would be ours. and probably just in time.

available from green books for £4.95

posted on sunday 7 october 2007.

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cosy, warm and happy

campag textran jacket

cast your mind back a few thousand pixels to the time when i pointed out that after years of providing the cycling world with quality clothing, campagnolo stepped matters up to the next level by providing the apparel with its very own website. hiving it off from the componentry, so to speak. it therefore seemed like not too bad an idea to road test one of the products of this new dawn from vicenza.

campag clothing is distributed in the uk by jim walker, and they very kindly despatched (just prior to the uk-wide postal strike) a raytech thermo textran jacket to the wilds of islay for a washingmachinepost test/review. you can tell from the technology imbued name that this issue is all about modern fabrics and in a similar vein to the products from their swiss counterparts. textran is a breathable and waterproof synthetic fabric, in this case backed with a warm and soft fleecy fabric. retro does not live here.

the jacket is available in a variety of bright colours plus black and white, bearing a front of breathable and stretchy thermo textran while the back of all colours is in plain black winter microfibre. the lower half of the sleeves match whichever colour you've chosen (the test jacket was blue, which spookily matched the bar tape on the company colnago) while the shoulders and top half of the sleeve are home to the fine and respected campagnolo lettering. and this is where i find my first problem. much as i have enough faith in ostentation to be deliriously happy cycling here, there and everywhere proudly proclaiming my allegiance to vicenza, why did they print it upside down? with arms by side, all seems innocuous enough, but on the bike, with arms outstretched to record carbon levers, the word campagnolo appears upside down. it's a relatively trivial point, but akin to apple computer's upside down logo on their powerbooks of yesteryear. apple corrected this, and i might humbly suggest campag do the same.

and while we're looking at problems, potential or otherwise, the jacket bears a heat applied front right chest pocket (unfortunately in black on all colours) which is obviously to appeal to the ipod generation, since there is a flapped slot through which the headphone cable can be passed. on the test model, this seemed likely to compromise the waterproofing of anything concealed within, but since i haven't had the opportunity to try the 'debbie test', i will have to reserve judgement until the chance presents itself.

minor carping aside, the jacket is flipping excellent: it's very warm, very windproof and very comfortable, though i could do with the sleeves a tad longer (i have rather long arms so this may not be something that will worry most of you). the fleece lined collar is high, with a very fetching campag embossed zip tug, and this is the first jacket where i have been able to zip and unzip while pedalling happily along. not sure why this is such a problem on similar jackets, but there you go.

campag zip tug

there are three rear pockets of commendable depth and also fleece lined (nice touch) featuring reflective patches on the outer two. there's a rubberised campag letter logo just above the pockets and a flying qr logo on the front left breast. the waistband is elastic with blobs of silicone grip strategically placed around its circumference. of course, such luxurious finesse comes at a price (£105), but if i'm to spend the winter months frequenting the outer reaches of scotland's west coast (i've heard it can be wet and windy), this jacket will do very nicely thank you very much.

to find a campag clothing stockist, pop over to jim walker, and start thinking which colour you might like.

posted on saturday 6 october 2007.

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paris roubaix - a journey through hell. the editors of l'equipe hardback velopress 222pp illus. translated by david herlihy.

paris-roubaix

the tour de france has it all: flat stages, mountain stages, time trials and pretty much everything in between. so why is it that many of us absolutely adore the month of april, when we get to watch a race that is pan flat, no hills, no mountains, no real tactics (that you can be relied upon), seriously bumpy roads, mud or dust, wind by the truckload and even a bit (a very little bit) of track racing at the end? i've probably just answered my own question, but for those still without a dicky bird of an idea of which i speak, welcome to paris roubaix.

if it came down to a straight choice between the three weeks of le tour and the one day of paris roubaix, i'd plump for the latter every time. and it's probably because it's a race that pits rider against rider - yes, the same teams that contest the rest of the pro tour also contest paris roubaix, but due to the terrain covered and the narrowness of the cobbled sections it's a lot harder for teams to contest the event as teams. and assuming alessandro pettachi ever took part, his lead out train would be about as much use as a chocolate fireguard.

this is a book to die for. if you're stuck for just that ever so special christmas present for the velocipedally obsessed person in your life, they will love you forever if the wrapping paper revealed this when torn off on christmas day. originally released by l'equipe a couple of years ago with the text in french, i had considered acquiring a copy just for the pictures, but now i am eternally grateful to velopress for re-releasing this not inconsiderable volume in a language i can understand.

paris-roubaix

and this is because the writing is of a stunningly high standard, not just informative but descriptive, emotional, involving and delightful. the same can be said of the incredible number of monochrome and colour photographs of a quality that would not disgrace a copy of rouleur. taken from the archives of l'equipe we should probably expect no less, but there is still an incredible fascination with the myriad of stars portrayed from yesteryear to the present. there's also an up to date list of every winner since the race started in 1896 all the way up to 2007. foreword is by the inimitable bob roll (who was signing copies at this year's interbike), a former rider for the 7-11 squad, perhaps better known in north america than on the european side of the atlantic. however, he does have the distinction of having competed in the hell of the north in 1988, and this is an american publication. some of the captions are more fanciful than informative, but with so many photos from the race history, i figure any of us would struggle in this department.

i have a well worn t-shirt somewhere about that says cycling is life - the rest is mere detail which pretty much sums up this book. i read 'a journey through hell' completely oblivious to the distractions around me, and much to the displeasure of mrs washingmachinepost, kept reading passages out loud to anyone within listening distance. for instance, did you know that, in the late 1890s, a revenue generating armband was introduced whereby the top track sprinter of the day would earn 20 francs per day while the armband was worn. however, he had to be open to challenges at anytime to displace him from this pre-eminent position. paris-roubaixso could that be the history behind the traditional jersey design (recently revived by rapha) which places a contrasting hoop on one, or both sleeves? who knows - it's an interesting thought.

the latter chapters of the book describe the panoply of greats from the first winner in 1896 (josef fischer) up to tom boonen and pretty much everyone in between, as well as those who are dedicated to preserving the fabric of this great monument. this really is the most comprehensive tribute to the world's greatest cycle race, and it has made my cycling year.

i'm going to shutup now.

the book's not a lightweight in either content or heft (very difficult to read in the bath) but would be worth having even at twice the price. as it is, this magnificent tome costs £24.95 in the uk (from cordee or prendas) and $39.95 from velopress in the usa.

this really is the very best - it will keep you happy and occupied for years.

posted on saturday 6 october 2007.

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a style all of your own

northwave clothing

i will readily admit to having extremely limited experience of trying to have my own cycle jersey produced, mostly because there's always a minimum that is considerably higher than the numbers i had in mind. let's face it, since there are only three of us in velo club d'ardbeg, we'd all have at least ten sets of clothing and an invoice to match. however, that's something outside our control - realistically you can't expect any clothing company to produce tiny numbers. heck, if i send leaflets to print (which is something i do on a regular basis) the printer's minimum is 500. sure, they'll print me ten, but they'll still charge me for 500.

but if we shift to a more real world situation (apparently some cycle clubs have dozens of folk) the next problem is trying to guide yourself through the descriptions of what's available, what sizes there are, what colours, which bits can the logos fit ?- everything you really want to do instead of getting out on the bike. then you've got to factor in the quality, or possible lack of it. there has to be an easier way, and that there may just be.

northwave are the well known cycle company who have succeeded in having tom boonen dress up as a gladiator, just because they've made him a nice pair of shoes. for years i thought they were an american company, but it turns out that they hail from italy, and when it comes to clothing, italian is often regarded as a byeword for quality and style. then guess what? they can provide you with a complete range of custom or semi-custom cycle clothing including winter jackets, long sleeve jerseys, bib tights, shorts et al - everything the self-respecting club chappie/chappess could need for his/her local peloton.

and if you take your club clothing checklist across to the northwave site they've even set everything out so that those of us small of brain can figure out what we need, and what they need from us. there's a downloadable pdf instruction and colour set that you can read at your leisure and orders can be placed through the uk northwave importer, jim walker. however, the best bit is delivery within six weeks from sign-off on the artwork.

minimum number is still the magic thirty meaning port wemyss road club (one member) are still at a distinct numerical disadvantage, but then we've all known that for years.

posted on friday 5 october 2007.

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fun in pixels

bikesnobnyc

although it does seem rather incestuous to recommend another bicycle site of a vaguely similar ilk to the post, in this case i think an exception requires to be made. i do receive e-mail quite regularly referring to thewashingmachinepost as a blog, and while that is conceivably the truth, when i started in 1997, nobeody had even coined the term 'weblog'. however, i will admit that the post is a darned sight closer to blogdom than cyclingnewsdom.

only the other evening, i was watching a uk tv programme called 'grumpy old men' in which well known personalities of an age not entirely dissimilar to my own, get to air their concerns about how crap modern society is in comparison to the good old days of yore. i think that's probably called nostalgia. and that leads me to the point of these particular pixels.

i was alerted today (thank you james) to a blog in the big apple called bikesnobnyc which adheres to the tagline 'systematically and mercilessly disassembling, flushing, greasing, and re-packing the cycling culture' which, on the basis of a cursory investigation of the current (and hilarious) posting, seems to be exactly what bikesnob does. however, i'm only telling you this on the proviso that you don't all take your browsers off to bikesnobnyc and leave me here on my own.

i'm warning you.

posted on friday 5 october 2007.

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spokey dokey

spoke length calculator

generally i would hope to keep any discussion about computers in these pixels to the ones that give endless frustration when fitting to the velocipede. however, since the other type of computer (like the one you're reading this on and the one i'm typing it on) is so endemic in everyday life, it was obviously not going to be long before they crept onto the post.

as i've been known to mention on the post before (you didn't know?) i am a wheelaholic, and any opportunity to build even just one is grabbed with both open hands and a park spoke key. however, faced with the opportunity to enjoy the building process for the first (few) times can be a particularly daunting prospect: rims present an endless array of profiles, and spokes arrive in boxes of anything from 72 up to 144 in 1mm increments. what's a newbie to do?

well, assuming you are positioned in front of the superior model of personal computer (you can easily tell - there's a fruit logo somewhere about), you can download a free utility that not only provides lists of rims and hubs far longer than you could ever imagine possible, but if you are possessed of a logical mind, it's database can be updated as new or unlisted products come to light. as i currently prefer italy's drc rims which are sadly missing from this excellent little piece of software, i do retain the notion of attempting just such an update when time avails.

you can download the spoke length calculator for the macintosh from macupdate. doubtless a similar utility is available for the dark side, but i don't really care. thanks to jez, who doesn't even own a mac, for pointing this out.

posted on thursday 4 october 2007.

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now we can be oscar freire (and michael boogerd)

rabobank long sleeve

the mighty dave t has, as part of his cycling wardrobe, a rather ageing and worn rabobank long sleeve jersey which he claims he would love to renew. but trying to negotiate the official rabobank on line shop is less than trivial since it's entirely in dutch. i have fared slightly better, since my pal ron (who is dutch) purveyor of islayinfo.com on his last visit to these shores very kindly brought me a rabobank casquette, podium cap and water bottle. but try searching the uk sites who seem to sell race kit by teams you've never even heard of, and you unlikely to find anything from holland's longest serving team.

that is, until now. the fearless pair at prendas have acquired everything you need to say 'tonight matthew, i'm going to be oscar freire' or, indeed, michael boogerd. for not only can you now easily purchase a rabobank jersey, shorts, socks, casquette and long sleeve jersey, but rabobank dutch national champion's jersey and shorts. and there is the bonus of that all important colnago logo on the right hand side. all the clothing is manufactured by the official rabobank clothing supplier, agu and prices start from £35 for the short sleeve jersey and £6 for socks or cap.

rabobank dutch jersey

so now the mighty dave t can ask santa for a replacement long sleeve for christmas and some of the weekly moaning might desist (fat chance), while for the rest of us, a blatant hole in the cycle clothing market has now been plugged. pop over immediately to the prendas website.

and just while we're here, the popularity of sram's new groupset, sram red cannot have failed to enter your field of vision. if it has, and you know not of what i speak, have a look here. since we only speak campagnolo here (entirely with unjustfied prejudice) it's not something that's likely to find its way on to colnago near me anytime soon, but if it has already made inroads to your daily cycling experience, you'll be happy to know that prendas have also made it easier for you to demonstrate such componential preference via head and feet. which is an extremely long-winded way (we are nothing if not procrastinators) of saying that you can now purchase sram red socks and casquette to match.

sram cap

and it's not even christmas yet.

posted on wednesday 3 october 2007.

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it's a drag

mavic r-sys

i can't say i didn't see it coming, and i doubt that it's entirely unexpected at mavic, but already the 'drag' factor of mavic's r-sys wheels seems to be gathering a modicum of criticism. with the front wheel being the foremost moving part of any bicycle, those chunky carbon spokes will be busy churning up the air and slowing any potential pettachi or boonen into the trail of their more aerodynamically wheeled competitors. except it isn't really like that.

at one time raleigh bicycles offered a fifteen year warranty on their mountain bike frames (and, for all i know, they still do). this obviously seems like a whole deal better than any similar bicycle with only a five year warranty. but of the frame doesn't fall apart in the first couple of years due to manufacturing failure, there's a better than evens chance that it's not going to. in which case the fifteen years becomes a clever marketing ploy.

if you're like me and mauricio soler (oh if only) you're probably never going to reach the point where chunky carbon spokes are going to create enough drag to seriously impede your forward momentum. no, david millar and michael hutchinson are not going to fit them to their time trial bikes, but soler fitted a front one to his cannondale and won a mountain stage. i've had a pair of them fitted to the company colnago for the last two months and still won the sprint for the 30mph sign at bruichladdich twice.

so while the naysayers may be correct in their assumption that a pair of r-sys in the wind tunnel may provide larger numbers than would be ultimately desirable, i have some doubts as to whether those numbers will ever intrude into the realms that most of us inhabit. sometimes aerodynamics and stiffness are not the only part of the holy grail.

you can read the review of mavic's r-sys wheels here

posted on tuesday 2 october 2007.

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belt and braces

belt drive

the post is generally quite interested in technical stuff relating to bicycles, though always reserve the right to be critical, hopefully from an educated point of view rather than from knee jerk reaction. and hopefully not from an ignorance of the possible virtues of somebody's hard work.

currently the jury is out on electronic gear systems - can't see the point myself: if it ain't broke, don't fix it. particularly when campag are on record as stating it helps during the last few kilometres of a lengthy spring classic when the rider is tired and the brain/digit interface may be just the wrong side of knackered. if an ageing wannabe such as myself can still change gear on the way into versailles after nearly 600km (london-paris), i fail to see how tom boonen might just slip up entering roubaix velodrome.

however, i have not yet ridden a bike fitted with an electronic system, so i'm merely passing an uninformed opinion (i do lots of that). and while we're in the specific area of drive trains, i might as well throw myself out on another limb. almost every year, without fail, i receive a phone call from some hapless touring cyclist whose chain has snapped in one of islay's more remote regions. the conversation usually continues by them asking if they drop round with the chain, could i possibly join it back together?

well, of course, i reply - but you'll have a heck of a job fitting it to the bike. this is because the chain has to pass behind the right hand seatstay and then through the rear derailleur (what's a sturmey archer?). so i need the whole bicycle.

this cycle equivalent of the mobius strip (i know, i know - artistic licence) has emerged in the recent frenzy over the carbon belt drive produced by gates corporation and employed in a prototype by orange bicycles in the uk, and spot bikes in the usa. while i have latent enthusiasm for the principle, and would dearly love to have same on bowmore post office's hire bikes (you've no idea how much trouble derailleur gears are for none cyclists), it does 'suffer' from the previously mentioned broken chain syndrome.

since the belt - toothed or otherwise - can't be split, but requires to be in order to be fitted to any type of regularly framed bicycle, then the only option is to split the bicycle. or, at least, part of it. in current practice, that part is the right-hand seatstay. while the toothed belt drive can only be used on single-speed or hub geared models at present, this failing is unlikely to trouble cervelo, colnago, de rosa et al, you can probably imagine the sort of reaction you would get from ernesto if you asked him to slice through that rather fetchingly formed carbon stay. i'd like to be well out of the way when that conversation took place.

i believe that the belt drive creates certain technical issues with high torque in a relatively low speed bicycle, a subject on which i am in no way qualified to comment, but if it doesn't work with derailleurs, why are we bothered? with the government announcement that the duty on fuel is to go up this year, and probably again next year, there may be more people who start considering the bicycle as the alternative and cheaper form of transport they always knew existed. and if that means urban and city, then a clean carbon belt drive on a mutli-speed hub gear would seem to go a long way to fitting the bill. in which case, development our way might come.

or not, as the case may be...

posted on monday 1 october 2007.

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getting shirty

stefan schumacher

well, that's the world's over again for another year, but before 2008 comes around, there are some serious strategies to be considered by most of the national teams. paulo bettini won the men's professional world road championship for another year, but when will the italian team realise that the team kit is a disaster. heck, kolobnev who came in second, could almost have been interchangeable with the winner (although admittedly, he's a bit taller) since he was encased in pretty much the same shade of blue with the occasional flash of white. far more stylish was schumacher in third place - now that's what i call a jersey. a good strong red with white stripe across the front and the word stada emblazoned thereon: plain, simple and to the point. the only thing going for bettini's jersey was printing 'italia' vertically on the back.

in fact, with the exception of the german and belgian jerseys, the others were exceedingly naff. if you saw the peloton from the helicopter shot (why was the helicopter so far away?) it looked like confetti (with too much blue) on the road.

well ok, very fast confetti. so next year, let's forget about how many leaders there are in each team and whether so and so should be banned by the uci because there are doubts about which brand of shampoo they use. do us a favour and get the flipping jerseys seen to.

posted on sunday 30 september 2007.

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