try to get it less wrong

rapha provence retreat

those of you who figure in even as minor a role as that of the post in the substantial enchilada that is the bicycle industry will likely be aware of the trade journal 'bike biz'. the existence of even very small corners of industry anywhere in the uk will almost always result in some form of publication catering to its every need, and the bicycle industry is no exception. the print edition of bike biz, gratefully received through the mail each month, is augmented by a regularly updated website, allowing the interested and intrigued to keep tabs on who is doing what, who's been promoted to where, and who is now importing the sort of stuff of which you've probably never even heard.

rapha provence retreat


it is via this excellent aid to the industrially inquisitive that i learned recently that there is such a uk distributor operating under the cryptically obscure acronym of csg uk. discovered out of context, such a business name gives no real clue as to what the company does or, indeed, that it has any relationship with speeding velocipedes. however, expanded to its full glory, the letters csg are an abbreviation of cycle sports group at which point the possible relevance of my contrivances start to dawn. and quite possibly not before time.

rapha provence retreat

i confess that i have spent no time whatsoever attempting to discover the precise nature of their place in the industry, but they were brought to my attention via the heading that graces this particular feature. it seems that mark broughton, their newly appointed managing director acceded his current position to the parting words of his predecessor "Each year, try to get it less wrong". i've no idea in which particular manner these words were intended, and to be honest, i'm not that bothered, but i think it more than likely it's a phrase we could adopt as our own.

as christmas and the new year creep up with alarming alacrity, magazines and websites are awash with invitations to join the great and the good in sunnier climes. the early season training camps show no sign of diminishing in the favour of what are normally referred to as weekend warriors. though the percentage of british cycling members who actually race is pretty small, many of these training opportunities are all but sold out, presumably to those who have need of lording it over their sunday morning colleagues later in the year, disappearing into the distance almost effortlessly, while the untanned amongst us grovel in their tyre tracks.

rapha provence retreat

most of the folks i know have either left their racing and time-trialling careers far behind or, like me, never have and never will. nor, truth be told, are we necessarily in possession of the financial wherewithal to take ourselves to the upper slopes of mount teide to chat amiably to prince bradley. we, therefore, are left entirely to our own devices when it comes to lessening the ability to find ourselves trailing in, well after the coffee cups have been washed and dried.

much of this can be placed at the door of either failing to adopt the latest techniques, or simply being unable to grasp the very ones that we were reputedly born with. each successive edition of the weekly cycling press seems to contain techniques that contradict the very words read only two weeks previously. without access to daily training and nutritional advice, freely dispensed at any training camp you care to mention, likely the best we can manage in our efforts to keep up and save face, no matter the onset of advancing years, is to 'get it less wrong'.

if ever the pelotonese were presented with a mantra worth repeating, i'm pretty sure that's it.

monday 23 december 2013

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at speed - my life in the fast lane. mark cavendish. ebury press hardback 313pp illus. £20

mark cavendish at speed

it's a strange but true fact that many actors appearing in comedy shows aren't the least bit funny. obviously they're funny when playing the designated character in the tv or stage show, but that's predominantly due to a well written script. the rest is down to a mastery of their craft and a heightened sense of timing. those who achieve fame and fortune in this manner often find themselves confused with their characters when met in person at the freezer section of their local supermarket. i think many of us would find it hard to separate doctor sheldon cooper from jim parsons who plays the part.

it's a confusion that seeps into other corners of public life. in the heyday of the world wrestling federation, who'd have bet against the baddies being of similar character in real life. mostly, however, they disappointed by being thoroughly pleasant and charitable fellows when not acting rather gruesomely in the ring. though i'm content to make this observation and point it out as if personally unaffected, nothing could be further from the truth.

though it may not always have been thus, professional cycling is currently home to a variety of separate disciplines, if for no other reason than the media have a great love of pigeonholing its various participants. those who fail to startle on the climbs or in the sprints are designated domestiques, while those who do can be either grimpeurs or spriinters, the latter often being characterised as the mick mcmanuses of the velocipedinal universe. i can only attribute this labelling of the latter to the bumping and barging that is a part of getting to the line first, accompanied by all manner of grimacing en-route. sprinting is often portrayed as a classic demonstration of brute force and ignorance, even though any competent analysis would prove otherwise.

it brings me great shame, then, to admit the very worst in relation to mark cavendish's 'at speed', appearing only a handful of years after his 'boy racer' occupied the bookshelves. if you consider how many years it took for a book to appear about robert millar, to have two in rapid succession about cavendish seems to be not only over-egging the pudding, but a serious case of rank opportunism. i'm not a great fan of the sprinting profession in the first place, and though i admire his tenacity, i can't say that cavendish would number amongst my favourite riders. so despite having been promised receipt from ebury of a review copy, the fact that it had failed to arrive well over a week later, did not give me any real cause for concern. i had resolved not to bother contacting to enquire as to its whereabouts.

but then it turned up.

unlike many of the recent outpourings by britain's cycling fraternity, at speed appears genuinely to have been written by cavendish himself; no sign of a ghost writer or collaborator anywhere. however, i find it hard to forgive the modern cliche of starting with the end; chapter one, though well narrated, concerns the very same subject as that of rod ellingworth's rainbow project; the world championship jersey. i'm partial to a more chronological scheme of things. (i should point out that, in fact, his world championship victory is not actually the finsihing point of at speed).

such personal prejudice however, is mitigated by a rather fine narrative. ellingworth referred to cavendish's uncanny sense of recall, even from the midst of a 60kph + sprint for the line, a skill that is much on display throughout the book.

'One-point five and I've lost my lead-out man. One-point four and I'm boxed. one-point three and Stannard's on the front... Gossy lets me past but I'm not looking for Gee any more. I know that Gossy will come under me before the last corner, then I'll swing onto his wheel.'

the book, despite its out of contect first chapter, leads us from cav's last two seasons with columbia htc, where his disappointment with owner bob stapleton is made perfectly clear. when telekom pulled their name from the jerseys, it seems that stapleton was relying upon their having paid the remaining contracted sponsorship monies to augment the paltry amounts that cavendish maintains were provided by both columbia clothing and htc. that the team was achieving exemplary results across the season was seen as rather iniquitous in the light of the exposure garnered by the team sponsors for relatively little outlay.

cavendish, with some justification, felt his performances deserved an increase in remuneration, to which stapleton seemed less than keen to acquiesce. if the team was achieving above its weight on the current budget, and cavendish and others were tied into at least a further year's contract, where, to be quite blunt, was his financial motivation?

meantime there was the not inconsiderable matter of project rainbow and the winning of the world championship in copenhagen. it's slightly unfortunate that this book arrives around the same time as ellingworth's, for though the latter deals almost exclusively and at length with the preparations and subsequent planned for success, at speed reiterates and echoes much of that written by ellingworth. granted, not every purchaser of this volume will have also bought the other, but i can't help feeling that the surfeit of recent cycling books are endlessly retreading the same tyre.

it is a matter of history now that on the demise of htc and the end of mark's contract with stapleton, he joined the dream team by uniting with fellow brit, bradley wiggins at team sky. the gloss, however, took not long to lose its lustre as the 2012 tour de france hove into view, when the realisation dawned that the team was either incapable (unlikely) or unwilling to divide its efforts in a quest to win yellow and green in the same race.

'at speed' isn't just about cycling however. in between changing teams, negotiating contracts and planning stage wins, cavendish had time to have his head turned by the woman who is now his wife and mother of his young daughter. like many blokes used to the bachelor life, he underlines the wholesale change in outlook on becoming a father for the first time, and pays commendable tribute to peta's fortitude. 'Over the next 17 hours Peta put my pain threshold to shame and made me glow with pride. At 10:30pm we finally had our beautiful baby girl: Delilah Grace Cavendish.'

...'I'd been under the impression that 'believing in better', as per the BskyB motto, was going to be about big ambitions, pursuing nearly impossible dreams, defying history and conventional wisdom.I felt sad and disappointed that we were already accepting compromises even before arriving in Liege for the Grand Depart. perhaps many of us were naive in believing that having signed both cavendish and wiggins, sir brailsford had his sights firmly set on both yellow and green. in fact, in retrospect, with froome in the team, perhaps he could have taken a look at the polka dots as well. however, unlike the telekom team of the late 1990s, when zabel and ulrich were both taking care of business, brailsford was apparently intent on making good his promise to put a british rider on the top step of the podium in paris. any other jerseys would be left to their own fate.

the 2012 tour is too much a part of recent history to need reiterating here, despite the fact that cavendish does exactly that. there have been so many books capturing the moment, that i was of a mind to skip these chapters. but such is cavendish's captivating writing style, i'm rather glad i didn't. that legendary sense of recall and a scarcely disguised contempt for his directeur sportif, sean yates, offers a viewpoint unheralded in any other accounts of the time. though cavendish maintains ...'I was delighted for Brad and thrilled to have contributed to such a historic moment for British cycling' i remain to be convinced, for only a few lines further on he says 'At the same time, I knew that I deserved better. Prioritising yellow over green was of course logical...(however) Ignoring the points competition and near enough ignoring me altogether, though, was not something I could accept.'

the disaster that was the olympic road race is narrated with both less enthusiasm and extensiveness than the previous year's world championship, though it is one of the few accounts of the race i have read that does not lay the blame squarely upon every other nation apart from britain. yes, he points out that one or two countries worked less hard than had been originally expected, but i saw no real propensity to offer excuses.

at speed ends with the author's departure from sky to a team he feels appreciates his talents more fully, and a team whose programme equates better with cavendish's own racing aspirations: omega-pharma quick-step. surprisingly, considering the detail with which cavendish elaborates his negotiations and disagreements with both his original agent, chris evans-pollard and with htc boss, bob stapleton, his departure from team sky is almost glossed over. perhaps for once, sense prevailed on both sides and all was as simple as it appears, but...

i can therefore do little else but apologise to both andrew goodfellow at ebury press and to mark cavendish for doubting what an excellent book this turned out to be. if nothing else, it has altered my perspective on the man himself; not only can he write remarkably well, he displays an intelligence that contradicts the reputation of his metier. he is also very self-effacing with apparently little desire to deny his less attractive traits while being particularly praiseworthy towards those he feels carry out their own duties (whatever those might be) to the best of their abilities. it's probably too late to recommend this as the very item to place in a cyclist's stocking for christmas, but it's not too late to consider the possibility of giving a new year's present.

very, very good indeed, but when the paperback is published, please consider dispensing with the moody cover photo.

sunday 22 december 2013

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riders behaving badly

kenny van vlaminck

for those who are less than familiar with his reputation during his racing career, robert millar was generally regarded as somewhat on the brusque side. though i'd be wary of trying to explain the rationale behind this less than exemplary behaviour, i believe robert saw riding to the best of his ability as the raison d'etre for being there in the first place. being pleasant to the media at the end of a hard day was hardly uppermost on a list of priorities. however, it appears this may have been a situation experienced by those outside the peloton, as within the robert millar pages on this very site resides an article entitled a funny guy, a quote from fellow climber atle kvalsvoll.

kenny van vlaminck

these days, as witnessed by his excellent articles in both rouleur and, robert seems a tad more relaxed, with a cutting yet droll sense of humour that seems characteristic of many scots. brian smith is hewn from the same cloth.

it is, however, expected by the majority of cycling fans, that today's and yesterday's riders are owned by us. the fact that we have followed their careers through every twist and turn somehow confers upon us the right to treat them as members of our peer group when in fact, the reality is somewhat different. drummer bill bruford once expressed a similar opinion in an interview; he found that simply because many of those who attended his gigs were also drummers, that seemingly placed them in his immediate circle of friends. a bizarre happenstance.

kenny van vlaminck

there's also a smidgeon of the surrounding celebrity culture seeping into the peloton appreciation society, where we not only idolise our heores, but imbue them with a sense of morality above the average grimpeur in the street. of course, we all know really that they're just the same as the rest of us except one heck of a lot faster. it is also a common (mis)conception that were it not for our idolatry, these lycra clad gods would be nowhere. perhaps living on a council estate in neasden. we therefore throw our hands up in exasperation when they fail to live up to expectation.

kenny van vlaminck

but look at it from the riders' point of view. there are far easier and more appropriate means of becoming rich and famous. imagine for a minute that you're particularly adept at cycle racing in one manner or another, having reached professional status on the back of such ability. to be suddenly pushed into the media limelight through interviews, features and even tv, might not be the sort of thing you thought you'd signed up for. unlike members of one direction, who probably had fame and fortune uppermost in their minds (because it sure wasn't musical ability that put them where they are), attention off the bike may not be the world you wanted to live in.

kenny van vlaminck

similarly, such as one who had a less than distinguished career, coming 54th in the tour of morocco yet with a reputation of being something of an expert (so he says) on the cobbles, retirement might bring baggage all of its own. i was fortunate to have met cobble king, kenny van vlaminck at the recent vulpine cyclogames along with his media nemesis, ned boulting. i have met mr boulting on previous occasions and we were able to engage in a brief catch-up. kenny was, in person, a quiet individual with a unique hairstyle, yet accepted his defeat on the rollapaluza rollers by mr boulting with good grace, though there was the occasional simmer of fire in his pre-race interview.

however, all may not be as it seemed. only in the last day or two, i received a leaked video from a vulpine video shoot featuring kenny, jools walker and nick hussey. it seems the single-mindedness that gained him that historic placing in morocco has a tendency to manifest itself in ways that are unlikely to endear him towards potential sponsors.

judge for yourselves.

kenny van vlaminck vulpine video | vulpine clothing

saturday 21 december 2013

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this is cambridge urban sprinter cycling cap

urban sprinter cap

several years ago washingmachinepost croft and surrounding properties received new gates and chainlink fencing to replace the rather gnarled version that hadn't been renewed since the houses were built. unfortunately the guys engaged to carry out the work probably wore stetsons and spurs in their spare time; let's just say that 'workmanship' was a word unlikely to be at the forefront of their vocabulary. as if to add insult to injury, the gent responsible for appraising the work on completion seems not to have made the attempt to do so, thus the manifest shoddiness was allowed to remain, while our heroes pocketed an amount of cash that presumably bore little relationship to the skills on display.

as with many initial appraisals, the gates and fences seemed pretty much ok, particularly while they remained new and sort of shiny. however, it was only a matter of months before their wholesale ineptitude became all too clear, particularly during a windy night. unfortunately the latches on many of the gates eventually failed to reach the brackets into which they ought to have fitted, meaning that the gates were allowed to swing free, repeatedly banging into anything they might encounter in their path. as blustery winds are notable by their frequency around these parts, sleeping at night has often been something of a lottery.

urban sprinter cap

a cursory glance around the estates would initially reveal nothing untoward, but live here for more than a couple of days or nights, and you'd soon see what i mean. it would be naive to think that everything else in the world inherits immediate perfection, and though there is much in the way of perfection to be appreciated nowadays, there are still a number of items that don't always live up to expectations. this is not to say they are in the same class as our garden fence and gate, but simply that all is not as it appears. like a long-sleeve jersey where the sleeves struggle to meet your wrists.

and it's an affliction that features in the latest of luxurious cycle caps from the inestimable this is cambridge. however, there are mitigating circumstances in this particular case that are probably centred on a degree of personal misapprehension.

urban sprinter cap

at this time of year, though the sun may not feature greatly in the day to day, when it does so, in the northern hemisphere at least, it's pretty low in the sky. this, traditionally, is where the hebridean tradition of riding with cap peak down under a cycle helmet offers several winter benefits. for starters, gale force winds notwithstanding, that peak keeps a certain amount of dripping precipitation from running down the lenses of my rudy projects. and to return to the sun's apparent low altitude, a downward facing peak allows the speeding cyclist to avoid being blinded by the light.

however, the grey, tweedy cap under consideration is preceded on tic's website with the words 'urban sprinter', a factor that, while it explains my predicament, doesn't entirely make it go away. urban sprinter cap having not long returned from a lightning visit to the great metropolis, i can see precisely why this squared off peak makes excellent sense. one of the biggest differences between being urban and being rural is the amount of sky that's visible in the latter environment. take a walk down grays inn road, take a left onto clerkenwell road and eventually old street, and all the hick from the country sees are buildings and precious little sky. uiskentuie strand has a diametrically opposite effect.

add to that, a greater necessity to have an eagle eye upon surrounding traffic takes far more serious precedence in central london than it ever will on the road round loch gorm.

urban sprinter cap

the workmanship, unlike that applied to our ruinous gates and fences, is immaculate. the exterior is chunkily hand-woven on the isle of man before being massaged into a fabulous looking cycle cap. the interior is fully lined and edged with an absorbent strip. though pretty much every cycle cap can be worn in circumstances that have little or nothing to do with cycling, this one is undoubtedly luxury we can afford, and more than ideal for a concentrated bout of salubrious froth supping. despite its substantial constitution, it fitted easily under the three helmets i tried it with (kask vertigo, giro air attack and mavic plasma) and keeps the head cosy even in the sort of adverse conditions you'll never see in the city centre.

if i were content to shuffle about the village on a sit up and beg (an experience that may be closer than you think), or hare around its streets and avenues on fixed gear, the shortness of peak would bother me not one whit. however, for extended struggling into headwinds that one ought not to have ridden in the first place, i figure i'll revert to my this is cambridge sunday best cycling cap. the peak is much more to my liking and my needs.

however, it is only fair that i point out my relative minority status in such matters. but if you're mark cavendish (or like to think you are) in the city centre, it's a ruddy brilliant cap.

this is cambridge's urban sprinter cycling cap is available in blue or grey tweed, one size fits all at a cost of £38.

this is cambridge

friday 20 december 2013

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it's pretty darned near christmas

specialized christmas

in order that i might update a website for one of islay's organisations, i was to have been sent an updated photograph of the association's committee. a rum bunch to be sure, but effectively not updated for over two years. last year, one of the committee was replaced through the natural process of election, and rather than have another photo taken, they sent me a pic of the new member and i 'photoshopped' them into the existing image. doubtless many of that original committee are not in possession of a portrait stashed in the attic and thus have aged a smidgeon; gracefully or otherwise.

after this year's election, things have changed yet again, but it seems the assembled multitudes cannot, in fact, be assembled, so i have been asked to replace them with an appropriately scenic picture from around the island. having acquired what i feel to be an attractive image (certainly more so than that currently in place), i find that my inbox has now been joined by several alternatives, one or two sourced from days gone by, revealed in all their black and white glory.

though i tend to figure i won't be using any of these elderly images from yesteryear, they do pay more than just lip service to the heritage that is uniquely islay's. so many of these exist, that there is apparently a facebook page concerning itself solely with old islay.

a heritage of similar proportions was amply demonstrated this past july when, in celebration of the 100th edition of the tour de france, many a volume was published detailing those past tours, illustrated with sought after photos of the greats which, curiously enough, seem to be imbued with a great deal more character than many contemporary images. this almost seems contradictory given the technological advances that have been witnessed in the realm of digital photography. it seems some of us (me) are just never satisfied, though i doubt i'm the only one who views things in this manner.

that cycling heritage is being constantly added to on a daily basis in both a monumental and trivial manner. the interweb has made access to much of this a far more simple matter than was hitherto the case. this is not always seen as a good thing, since earlier this year, around the time of lance's public admission of disgrace, i discovered that giro's web pages still provided access to the domain (a page that was removed shortly after i listed the link on twitter). specialized, however, despite their recent public relations faux pas concerning trademark enforcement, have seen fit to leave their christmas page intact, reminding us not only of the season in which it is customary to be jolly, but of those halcyon days when we still rode ten speed cassettes.

with just under a week to go, perhaps you might care to remind yourselves.

merry christmas from specialized

thursday 19 december 2013

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domestic rouleur bliss

rouleur mark cavendish

"I just love it". mark cavendish

sprinters are an odd bunch. perhaps not any more so than their grimpeur counterparts, but slightly to the left of normal just the same. perhaps the most famous in recent years, and not exactly for his prowess for being at the front of the marauding hordes, is djamolidin abdoujaparov. for the minor infraction of neglecting to notice that tour de france roadside barriers need feet to help them remain upright, abdoujaparov turned several somersaults on the champs elysees, in the process re-arranging most of his facial features.

rouleur pin badge

you'd expect that those who live their lives on the scary edge of abnormal to inhabit the fast lane when off the bike. it sort of seems to go with the territory. but rather than fill his downtime hours driving fast cars with fast women and staying up late in fast night clubs, djamolidin liked nothing better than to sit in a rickety old deckchair on his allotment near tashkent. though marginally quicker than watching paint dry, the former sprinter delighted in observing peas, runner beans, potatoes and carrots slowly growing from the comfort of that chair. and when he tired of so doing, he'd retire to the comfort of the wooden hut at the edge of the allotment to brew a strong cup of coffee and carve models of former adversaries out of twigs picked up on the walk home.

rouleur red cap

these are traits not altogether lost on currently the self-styled fastest man on earth, mark cavendish. however, rather than inhabit a small parcel of ground in the isle of man, cavendish finds his relaxing time comes when drying the dishes after a beautifully cooked meal by wife peta cavendish (nee todd). though the cavendish home has every modern convenience as befitting the sort of salary he can command from his employers at quick-step, mark prefers to grab a neatly folded tea-towel from the kitchen cupboard and cogitate on the correct line for the win at milan-sanremo.

i did say that the sprinting fraternity were a tad oddball.

this intriguing trait came to light when mark dropped by recently at the croft. after we'd both battled the headwind down uiskentuie strand, after enjoying a quiet perambulation of loch gorm, gearing up for the sprint at debbie's (guess who won?) before froth supping, we had ridden back for a fulfilling meal of pizza and chips. as is my normal practice, i headed through to the kitchen to wash and dry the dishes, intent on leaving mark to watch hollyoaks in the company of mrs washingmachinepost, but mark insisted on drying if i washed.

special occasions such as this demand more than the threadbare dishtowels that we keep secreted under the half-empty box of cadbury's mini-rolls in the kitchen cupboard. keen to impress just how au fait i am with the professional milieu, i handed mr cavendish a brand new rouleur dish towel. well what would you have done?

rouleur tea towel

i expected the conversation to revolve around just where i'd gone so horribly wrong on the approach to those 30mph signs at the entrance to bruichladdich (i'd been barely in sight of his back wheel at the point where he'd raised both arms aloft), but instead, he seemed keener on pointing out not only the admirable race convoy illustration that adorned the rouleur tea-towel, but the quality of the cotton on which it was printed. his attention to detail is legendary, so i had thought it only right and proper that i accessorised appropriately for the occasion. this consisted of wearing my hackneygt christmas jersey, a cotton rouleur cycle cap and an enamel rouleur pin badge on the jersey collar.

after we'd washed, dried and put away the dishes, it was time for the manx sprinter to head for home. not that i'm normally impressed by celebrity - and obviously it wasn't for me - i asked him for an autograph, handing over a copy of his book 'at speed' along with a pointedly sharpened rouleur pencil.

not the sort of day you forget in a hurry; at least not until you wake up.

some of the details in this feature maybe a touch on the fictitious side.

the mark cavendish figure by richard mitchelson can be bought from the rouleur store for £40. a rouleur pin badge (available in pink and yellow) costs £3, the rouleur tea towel with illustration by tom jay costs £10, a 2014 rouleur cap for £15 and a rouleur timekeepr's pencil also £15.

wednesday 18 december 2013

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mobile phone loksak


despite the onward march of communications technology, i have remained one of only two people in the world without a mobile phone. this, in essence, is not a one-person protest against the iniquities of always on sources of information, but simply what i regard as a different perspective on the relevance of owning such a device. as i write this, i am sitting next to our british telecome phone placed on the mantlepiece, and when at the office, i am mere metres away from a telephone handset. by using, or ignoring both, i am able to keep in communication with those that wish to contact and vice versa. they also offer the opportunity to have someone say that i am in a seminar and unable to take their call at present.

this luddite tendency does not, however, take into account the enormous range of so-called apps, little pockets of software without which many of the younger generation seem unable to survive. i cannot deny that my visit last weekend to the great metropolis was greatly eased by having access to a london underground app allowing input of the stations of departure and destination resulting in step by step instructions on how to get from point a, to point b. who knew there was an underground station at bethnal green?

followers of such technology will undoubtedly be as aware as am i, that the selffsame apps that function well on an iphone tend to do so just as competently on an ipod touch. this, to my mind, provides all the benefits with none of the disadvantages as i perceive them. however, though i might appear to be slightly out of touch with modernity, i do not believe myself to be completely naive; the mobile phone has weaved its way into every corner of society, particularly via the youth of today.


while standing patiently outside a cinema door recently, waiting for the previous showing to end, the exhalation of younger generation through the swing doors was augmented by almost each and every one of them staring intently at their phone screens, presumably checking for monumentally important e-mails or texts that may have been sent while their phones were on silent. other than one or two presidents and prime ministers, i cannot think of any snippet of news or information that could be deemed important enough not to wait until they got home. how did my generation at that age ever survive?

but, i am happy enough to be one of the minority for the time being. i can see the way the future is heading and hold every expectation that, within the next two to three years, i will have to eat my own words, knuckle under, and acquire a mobile phone of my own. i have already seen situations where the lack of a phone excludes me from participation in certain events, though so far those have been less than compulsive. i very much doubt things will remain that way for too much longer.

for the huge majority who are tethered to their phones, checking every few minutes to see if a knighthood has been conferred, or their stock in twitter has risen sufficiently to allow purchase of a second porsche, there are certain concerns to be addressed. the day before my daughter dropped her iphone on concrete and broke the glass on the back, she informed me that she had figured a protective case to be unecessary because she 'never dropped her phone'. add to this the fact that many manufacturers seem intent on advertising their device as a camera with a phone attached (41 megapixels anyone?), it's no wonder that jessops found themselves on a sticky financial wicket recently.

as i know through several years of snapping pics for these very pixels in less than pristine conditions, the camera has a tendency to fall over every now and again. my intended venture later today will subject the haples panasonic to an inordinate quantity of precipitation, a fact that is unlikely to aid its constitution. there are also likely to be situations where use of the camera in any given mobile phone might be subjected to swimming pool or beach use during the annual holiday. water, particularly sea water and printed circuitry do not mix well which is sort of where a loksak might prove to be a useful accessory.


distributed in the uk by nrg4, the loksak is, in essence, a small, clear plastic bag with a watertight seal at the top. according to the manufacturers, it is waterproof to a depth of 60 metres, though i'll admit if i ended up at that depth on my bicycle, taking photographs would be the last thing on my mind. it does mean, however, that while stuffed in a rear jersey pocket, you need not fear for the phone's safety riding through a sudden and unexpected deluge. and with the hermetic seal on the pack, it'll also remain immune to attacks from energy gels and bars that may have been sharing the same pocket.

though i have no cell phone of my own, i was astute enough to distribute one or two loksaks to family and friends, all of whom have not only managed to keep their phones dry, but expressed an unnatural delight that they could still access all their apps and text messages without having to remove the device on each occasion. my son has given it the hardest seeing to in his daily activity as an electrician. i cannot deny that the loksak is now scratched to the border of opacity, yet still works as designed.

so, despite not having tested this particular product on a personal basis, all the evidence from my army of assistants would appear to warrant five stars if i indeed awarded such marks of distinction. i have also kept one example in reserve for that far off day when i can avoid 24 hour communication no longer.

the loksak can be purchased in a pack of three to fit apple's iphone at a cost of £8.99 or similarly for a pack of three larger loksaks for bigger phones. it's also possible to purchase a multipack which includes an iphone size, large size and tablet size loksak for £10.99.

loksak phone cases

tuesday 17 december 2013

twmp ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................