je ne pas comprende eddy. andrew g smith. bymyi publishing 58pp illus. ltd edition of 50. £17

je ne comprende pas eddy

some of you may recall steve bauer's odd looking elongated eddy merckx bicycle that first saw light of day at ghent-wevelgem in 1993, subsequently fitted with a set of road-going rock-shox suspension forks for the same year's paris-roubaix. were its bizarre frame angles not odd enough, the shimano cranks were 185mm long; pretty much in miguel indurain territory. bauer trained on this strange machine for five months to accustomise himself to a decidedly different way of pedalling. he reputedly found the bike very stable on the rough roads of roubaix, but his 21st place overall was insufficient to convince the professional world that he may have hit upon a great idea.

it didn't re-appear for the 1994 season.

je ne comprende pas eddy

however, if there weren't individuals like bauer and others, the norm would never be challenged and then, as now, things would remain pretty much the same. despite considerable developments in sea-going vessels over the last several decades, caledonian macbrayne insist on ignoring them all and ordering pretty much the same type they've always had, only bigger. a variation on the theme of nobody ever got fired for ordering ibm

however, those with what might be termed a challenging personality trait, and bauer was most definitely one of those, continue to chip away at what is considered the norm. visual artists have been doing this for years, as have those of a more musical disposition. a lot of what we would consider mainstream on our ipods nowadays was once contained within the avant garde.

je ne comprende pas eddy

it is perhaps appropriate that this article opened with even a tenuous reference to eddy merckx, for andrew smith's je ne pas comprende eddy is a small, self-published antidote to the recently reviewed large format offering from bloomsbury in merckx's sixty-ninth year. andrew smith has appeared in these pages on previous occasions, mostly as a manipulator of pixels, and his i cannot comprehend eddy is no exception. according to andrew "This is an attempt to reconcile the mythology of Eddy Merckx with the reality of the great man himself. Ultimately that proved an impossible calculation, but these are the workings out.".

je ne comprende pas eddy

the imagery is predominantly displayed in black and white, often via a particularly low line-screen. admittedly this is mere surface dressing, but the different treatments of photos seemingly grabbed from television images brings an appealing abstract quality to many, and a most entreating diversion from contemporary state of the art. i adore the work of scott mitchell, ben ingham, camille mcmillan, chris milliman et al as much as the next man, but i cannot deny that this more low-tech approach is somewhat refreshing. however, andrew's incomprehension of the world's greatest cyclist of all time, does not rely solely on imagery.

je ne comprende pas eddy

the accompanying narrative is apparently extracted from an interview with merckx himself. read the man's reasoned discourse on his racing philosophy, and you may also share smith's lack of understanding. "I cannot say that I suffered in a bike race. I just pressed on the pedals when I wanted to, that was all I had to do.". oddly, that's pretty much the machinations we all employ each sunday morning, yet without recording some 500 plus professional victories.

andrew smith does not, however, restrict himself to printed matter. he has produced three videos that form a suite velo/entities due to premiere prior to a showing of a sunday in hell at the white cloth gallery, leeds. this forms part of an eyes on le tdf, to which rouleur magazine, graham watson and bernard thompson are the main contirbutors.

creativity in the field of velocipedinity has traditionally been well supported; even rouleur was seen as a tad reactionary on first release. andrew smith's je ne pas comprende eddy is undoubtedly idiosyncratic and perhaps every bit as odd as steve bauer's merckx bicycle, but a welcome addition to the cycling bookshelf. as stated in the title, this is a limited edition of 50; i already have number 41, so there are only 49 for the rest of you. i'd order quickly if i were you.

je ne pas comprende eddy

monday 9 june 2014

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

solo cc jersey

solo cc jersey

in february 1972, neil young released his fourth album, harvest, containing such classics as heart of gold, alabama and the needle and the damage done. irrespective of what accolades the intervening forty years may have bestowed upon the album and its creator, on release it received less than sterling reviews, not least from three know-it-all drummers at grays school of art aberdeen. educated in the way of the paradiddle, we were of a superior stance when it came to percussive matters; we had rudiments aplenty and weren't afraid to use them.

one song in particular (track one, side two, when vinyl was all the rage) old man, featured surely the most pedestrian drum beat ever heard, the sort that led to severe disparagement by the cognoscenti. we fervently wished we'd been the drummer on those sessions (in truth, it was a fellow by the name of kenny buttrey, one of nashville's foremost who sadly passed away in september 2004. he was also responsible for the drumming on bob dylan's lay lady lay) for we were all convinced it was money for old rope and the sort of thing we could have managed with one hand tied behind our collective back.

solo cc jersey

it doesn't take an honours degree in psychology to realise that we'd completely missed the point. neil's voice and lyrics are the mainstay of the song; why would producer elliot mazer have wished to dilute or obscure this with a flurry of clever drumming? the phrase, 'keep it simple, stupid' or some variation thereof was likely uppermost in his mind. as i've mentioned before, it's taken me over forty years to realise the validity of this mantra; i now feel like a complete numpty for having been so idiotically deprecating towards mr buttrey's superlative and tasteful drumming.

simplicity of effort or design holds a comparable validity in almost every walk of life other than the percussive arts. that's not to infer that complexity has no place at all in modern society, for undoubtedly there will be situations where there is no alternative. the principles behind the large hadron collider embody a certain simplicity of purpose, but there's no doubt that achieving them has incurred an intricacy beyond the ken of us mere mortals.

solo cc jersey

on a far more mundane level, there are cycle jerseys that eschew total simplicity of form in favour of coloured polyester panels that serve no true purpose other than decoration. i'm sure you know just what i mean; darts, swoops and lines that offer a swift dollop of style (perhaps) over function. far better, in my opinion to adopt a purity of form and design as espoused in the latest offering from new zealand's solo clothing: the cc jersey.

solo are perhaps more renowned for their classique jerseys, decorated with faux national sponsors, having entered the fray with the always popular st. neith french jersey around 2007. however, a bit like many tv comedy series, it's an idea that can only be taken so far before it starts to look a bit contrived. for those who found solo's stock-in-trade to be not to their taste, the cc jersey promises to re-establish them as a major player in today's almost overcrowded market.

solo cc jersey

available in three complementary colourways, the cc jersey offers more of a race fit than the slightly relaxed fit of the classique range. add to that the fact that it features a full length zip on the breathe fabric and it's a sterling garment that's every bit as at home under a waterproof in the rain as it is when left to explore the great outdoors on its own. its three standard rear pockets will swallow an incredible amount of stuff, half of which probably ought not to have been there in the first place. and for my toastie and coffee money, there's the mandatory zipped fourth.

though i'd publicly profess that there is truly no need or demand to wear special kit for riding a bike, i cannot but admit that i really, really like the fit offered by this jersey. flappy bits are never a problem on the taurus corinto, taking into account its sedate travelling pace, but it's something i'd rather avoid when impersonating andrea (tifi) tafi solo cc jersey (remember him?) on my art decor colnago. an islay summer rarely offers the choice of no armwarmers with a short sleeve jersey. actually, it rarely offers the intrepid cyclist any opportunity to ride sans waterproof jacket, so it's important to me at least that a cycle jersey plays nicely with rainproofing.

and it did.

though the word solo is the least subtle part of this jersey, overall its endearing simplicity is as much an important part of its calling card as a functionality you'd perhaps not expect. the lack of bells and whistles, just like kenny buttrey's drumming, is something to be admired and welcomed with open arms.

joy with rear pockets.

the solo cc jersey is available in sizes xs to xl in red/grey (as reviewed. it's a bit of a greenish grey), black/red or orange/blue, cost is £75. solo products are distributed in the uk by paligap)

solo cycle clothing

sunday 8 june 2014

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

cutting edge

coppi e bartali

this is the point in the cycling season that i view with both apprehensive joy, yet abject fear. and that almost goes double for this year. already i have one of the monthlies in my possession that details each and every stage of the tour de france along with a listing of the 22 teams participating. all this is accompanied by thousands of words previewing the major event of the velocipedinal year, informing just who might perform well on which stage, the best places to view the two yorkshire etapes and a whole lot of other guff that was presented less earnestly just prior to the fight for pink.

coppi e bartali

all the above is not unique to the sport of cycling; the world cup football is not far from its first kick-off and prognostications and post mortems are a huge part of that particular sport. why, i have asked for several years now, can we not just sit back with a double espresso and a brie baguette and watch the drama unfold? why is it necessary to employ a whole raft of pundits, however they wear their expertise, to sit in a studio prior to and after each individual stage? i don't really care what their views are, and i'm more than capable of figuring out the script by myself.

the entire affair nowadays, is one of marketing and sponsorship. there simply is no way in which something as large and expensive as the tour de france could take place were it not for the gazillions of euros being emptied in by both race and team sponsors. this is not a new phenomenon, nor is it applicable only to cycling. i think it quite likely that a single formula one motor race gets through almost as much money as three weeks in france (and a bit of yorkshire). what does confuse me greatly is a seeming lack of application regarding such commercial endorsement.

coppi e bartali

for instance, not so many years past, frenchman tommy voeckler contrived to spend yet another ten days in the yellow jersey, an achievement for which colnago provided a matching c59. yet the first magazine advert i saw featuring said yellow bike, was for europcar's tyre sponsor. despite the major bragging rights available, colnago pretty much ignored the apparent benefits. unfortunately and just as quizzical, there's a whole slew of other sponsors who have followed suit.

there are the exceptions to the rule, however. rapha have made much of their connection with team sky, and i shouldn't wonder that jim mcfarlane at endura will want to tell the world about nairo quintana's affection for pink. pinarello also have made the occasional noise about their own sky connection, and now jaguar cars are in on the act by designing the latter's bikes for them.

coppi e bartali

no sign of gilette, however.

i mention this by way of returning to the heyday of fausto coppi and gino bartali who appear to have garnered a neat sideline endorsing razor blades. this was in the days when men's razors held only one blade rather than close to half a dozen. it seems that the average italian male was sufficiently impressed by the faces of coppi and bartali on their razor blade wrappers to choose those brands over any others. i know this because not only do i have a beautifully framed example of each sitting on my sideboard, kindly sent by tim clarke, but i have the benefits of his research into such matters.

you might cast your mind back a few weeks to my review of a fausto coppi t-shirt printed by glasgow's route clothing and sold exclusively by stolen goat. the illustration of fausto was not the best i've ever come across, but it remained true to the original; that appearing on the razor blade wrapper.

coppi e bartali

as tim was keen to point out "The drawing was based on vintage Italian packaging dating back to the 1940s-50s. Both Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali lent their names (and faces) to razor blades. In fact, from the limited research that I've been able to carry out, it would appear that Gino Bartali was more directly involved in the production of razor blades than Coppi. He merely endorsed a German manufactured product. The Bartali blades were produced in the F.L.B. - the Fabrica Lame Bartali in Milan. I'm presuming that this might have been a (failed) business venture to both use some of the wealth gained in cycling and exploit the cache of his fame and undoubted popularity."

despite the apparent rarity of such items, given that they were last fluent currency over sixty years ago, it is possible to acquire the cutting edge all for yourself from ronde in edinburgh, the aforementioned stolen goat and via online shopping at etsy. a small range will also soon be on display but not for sale at both branches of look mum no hands!. prices range from £20 to £40, and they're available framed or unframed. if we can find appropriate wall space, the two examples in my possession will find a new home at debbie's cafe. that way, more cyclists can enjoy their presence.

as to the present day, well it doesn't look as if sir bradley or cav have much use for razor blades these days.

saturday 7 june 2014

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

a question of balance


'it's as simple as riding a bike'

a phrase that most of us will have heard more than once during our lives, though not always in reference to actually riding a bicycle. anything regarded as the very epitome of simplicity itself, though subjectively at the behest of the interlocutor, is game for comparison with the skill of riding a bicycle. yet if you can cast your mind back as far as your own attempts to become mobile on two wheels, i doubt the word 'simple' was uppermost in your mind. it sure as heck wasn't the easiest task i've ever undertaken.

though i was very late to the party, i know of kids in the neighbourhood who have been riding without stabilisers since the age of three. i have my suspicions that, in one or two instances, this may be more to give the parents several moments' (or hours') peace, but at any rate, it warms the cockles of my track mitts to see helmeted kids hammering untrammeled around the locality (we live in a pedestrianised area).


unable to get the hang of balancing on a bicycle adjudged the correct size for my nine years, i eventually resorted to borrowing that of a smaller neighbour which could be ridden around the grass in our rather large back garden. i have italicised the word borrowing because the truth is that this member of my junior peer group was provided with my big railway engine and teddy bear to play with while i tried very hard not to keep falling off his little red bicycle.

having eschewed the world of the motor car in favour of riding a bicycle, to not only get from a to b but to whizz about the principality, i now own a great deal of confidence in the saddle. granted, i have carefree open roads and a character-building headwind in my favour, but nonetheless it's all now as simple as riding a bike.


however, if you're a parent, there will be back-aching memories of holding onto a junior saddle while half-running, half-walking up and down and down and up the hearest portion of quiet, straight roadway. with luck, this soon proceeds to pretending you're still holding on while the small person blissfully rides unaided. at least, until they realise you were telling fibs. for the elderly amongst us, those days are more or less past, but for new parents (rich mitch, nick hussey and jimmy mccallum, i'm talking to you), those moments of strain may just pass you by completely.

for the aptly named jyrobike is mere days into a kickstarter campaign to raise enough cash to further develop their kids' bicycle that balances all by itself. almost. using an electronically controlled and user adjustable gyroscope inside the front wheel, teaching kids to ride a bicycle may be a thing of the past. the idea has been in development for a number of years and according to the jyrobike kickstarter page "As a child starts to tip or wobble, a Jyrobike corrects the steering and stabilises both the bike and the rider. As a result children can learn to ride without training wheels (stabilisers) and in the majority of cases in one afternoon!"


unlike a pair of stabilisers, which are either on or off, it's possible to lessen the effect of the wheel mounted gyroscope until it's off altogether, swapping out the work done by the bike and that of its rider. there's even a remote control unit available to allow the nurturing (panicking) parent to alter aspects of the 8000rpm spinning wheel within a wheel. if you remain to be further impressed or convinced, take a peek at jyrobike's kickstarter page and the explanatory video. in the time it took me to write this article, they added another $3,000 to the current total of $64,000. jyrobike needs to reach $100,000 by thursday 3 july to guarantee its future. i doubt they'll have too much trouble achieving it.

jyrobike kickstarter campaign

friday 6 june 2014

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

the great british road rides guide. clive forth. bloomsbury publishing 212pp illus. £16.99

british road rides guide by clive forth

'tis a strange set of affairs that, every couple of years, pupils at the local secondary school whose parents have the financial wherewithal have the opportunity to travel to some obscure destination either in africa or south america. though at least a portion of the trip is something of an adventure holiday, the principal reason for sending the kids so far away from home is generally to assist with some charitable work, such as helping to build new schools, assist with drainage, or generally assist the third world disadvantaged in some other way. it's reckoned to be an important addendum to their senior education.

and they could well be right.

however, the irony of the situation is that the majority, if not all, are unlikely to have visited shetland, orkney, skye, harris or berneray. on one or two occasions, several of these world travellers have yet to see edinburgh castle or the promenade in aberdeen. granted, sardinia, ethiopia and peru are possibly more attractive sounding destinations that corstorphine, lerwick or pitenweem, but it seems to me that the school are guilty of putting the cart before the horse in this respect. perhaps a visit or two to the scottish mainland would be in order during the earlier years of secondary education.

maybe they could even visit london and its plethora of museums and galleries?

i have no idea if similar practices exist throughout uk mainstream education, but if it does, maybe they are responsible for our obsession with riding bicycles in far off places, imbued with cycling myth and legend. all parts of france, spain and italy fall foul of this partial obsession, yet right here on the currently still united kingdom there are roads and routes more than worthy of our velocipedinal attention. i know this because clive forth has written a book about them. in fact, not only has he supplied the words, aboard his boardman bike and mavic wheels, he's ridden the routes to make sure they're as good as he says they are.

there's a total of fifty-five routes included, all the way from barnstaple (yes, i had to look it up) in the south, to achnasheen in the scottish highlands, though slightly disappointingly, none on the scottish islands. still, fifty-five routes of around 50km - 75km was probably more than enough to be going on with. divided into thirteen distinct regions, each route is disseminated with its red dot location on the map, total distance, total elevation, grid reference and even the postcode to have your car's satnav get you there in the first place. the key climbs are also noted, along with well a marked ordnance survey map.

forth's words are perfunctory, describing each route in detail but sparing any literary flourishes. the accompanying images, however, are what sold it for me. though the scottish photography is notable for an almost perpetual appearance of forth's mavic rainjacket, the man must have the luck of the devil; the vast majority are against a backdrop of marvellous scenery and blue skies. if you undertake any of these yourself, don't necessarily expect similar conditions.

this is what i might refer to as an action book, one that demands audience participation, and not one for lazily reading in the bath of a friday night. before you start searching for roadworthy foreign parts, might i suggest you avail yourself of mr forth's excellent book and begin traversing more local tarmac. and if the british weather makes you think twice, there's another book i can refer you to that might offer appropriate advice.

in almost traditional fashion, i have one copy of clive forth's 'great british road rides guide' to send to the first person with the correct answer to the following question:
"how many rides has clive forth incorporated in his book?"
send your answers to making sure you include a full postal address. closing date is wednesday 11 june.

thursday 5 june 2014

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

cafe du cycliste paulette shorts and simone merino polo shirt

cafe du cycliste paulette and simone

weather really isn't fair. it's discriminatory from on high, an excellent position from which to target its benefits or disbenefits. it can see us for miles and miles while we only pick up on such iniquity as it looms overhead. or, if i'm paying attention, as it heads in from the atlantic with nowhere to hide. perceived in a rational manner, this would probably explain why there are differing modes of dress in different parts of the world; perhaps even why certain combinations of garments look out of place in particular surroundings.

breathable waterproofs at the equator for example, or short sleeve jerseys and bibshorts at the top of the stelvio pass. oh, wait a minute...

cafe du cycliste paulette and simone

however, it's not only the type of garment itself that may or may not look out of place, but the manner in which it has been coloured. it would be easy to assume that, in the dank, grey atmosphere of western scotland, we'd be thrilled with pastel blues and greens, fire engine reds and the occasional splash of sunshine yellow. but instead we mostly clothe ourselves in autumnal shades of brown, green, grey and black. has no-one been paying attention? have i not been saying for year upon year that the ideal way to offer contrast is to place light against dark, colour against mute?

true to our rural heritage, however, we apparently prefer to blend in with the countryside, even in sauchiehall street which hasn't seen undergrowth for many a long century. not so in the cote d'azur, a portion of france that experiences blazing sunshine, scorching temperatures and blue skies all year round. at least, that's what the folks at cafe du cycliste tell me, reinforcing their propaganda by sending gingham trimmed dusty blue paulette shorts and a grey blue collared bottle green simone merino polo shirt. with short sleeves (though it wasn't warm enough for bare arms, so i wore a long-sleeve baselayer below).

cafe du cycliste paulette and simone

both these items form a part of cafe du cycliste's urban range, a genre slightly undermined by depiction on their website of a rider thus clad aboard a look carbon road bike. however, one man's commuter is another's world tour ride. that's pretty much the beauty of cycling as far as i'm concerned. were paulette and simone not the ideal companions for an urban ride in glorious rurality, a pair of stripey cycling socks surely completed the image. particularly once more aboard that rather grand taurus corinto for a regal trip to debbie's for afternoon froth.

the shorts are gloriously overburdened with pockets; two gingham lined at the front and two at the back, one with a buttoned flap. there are belt flaps for the less fuller figure while each leg ends in faux turnups. the small size fitted me effortlessly, easily remaining in place during even what passes for mild exertion on my part. if i'm honest, i'd have preferred a tad more length in the leg; though they're not quite into sean yates territory, too much sun and i'd be in danger of losing that sharp tan line (mrs washingmachinepost refers to it as a tide mark).

cafe du cycliste paulette and simone

the merino polo shirt, in my opinion, is the more versatile of the pairing, if only because i managed to not only wear it to work for a few days without eliciting any velocipedinal remarks, but also played a saturday evening gig thus dressed. subterfuge or what? the collar is impressively stiff in its constitution, remaining sharp and presentable whether buffeted by the wind or on the business end of a double paradiddle-diddle. when was the last time one cycling garment managed all that in its stride?

i'd be failing in my self-appointed duties if i didn't point out a couple of gripes, one of which is admittedly, highly subjective. the single rear pocket is closed by means of a faux leather noose that loops round an externally affixed button. it's not a look that i'm overly keen on, but to be honest, unless the pocket has been veritably stuffed, the loop refuses to remain in place. trivial, but true. and the buttons used to close the polo shirt neck strike me as just a tad too small and fiddly, though i'll admit they look rather smart.

those are tinsy discrepancies that scarcely affect the purpose or overall style offered by paulette or simone. i'm loathe to admit that i envy those cote d'azurians their weather or colour sense, neither of which look likely to inhabit the hebrides anytime soon. but such tangible factors from their summer catalogue can not only be worn in the middle of such scottishness, but also acquit themselves most favourably in front of a soya cappuccino and one of those small caramel biscuits in the saucer.

sur le zinc.

cafe du cycliste | taurus corinto courtesy of prontogara, parnie street, glasgow

wednesday 4 june 2014

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

not sure if this is the future, but it's certainly current

oygen e-mate

this is a bike test of sorts, but not as extensive as those i would usually feature, and this for at least two cogent reasons that i can think of at the moment. firstly, there was the time factor; i pretty much only had one hour to go for a pedal, as the guy who brought the bike to islay had other things to do and was due to leave on the afternoon ferry. but secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the review is of an electric bike, something that i would figure (and fervently hope) is not the sort of velocipede that would regularly concern the majority of those who read the post.

oygen e-mate

the aluminium framed oxygen e-mate resembles a mountain bike, with suntour suspension forks, profiled tubing and a curved top tube that's followed through by the long seatstays. the latter form is necessitated by the vertically sited battery clipped in behind the seat tube. the chainstays go on for miles. the top tube is strengthened by a welded gusset where it joins the seat tube and the down tube kinks near the top to allow for the use of suspension forks.

there's a hefty rack fitted at the rear and front and rear plastic mudguards. the front wheel is held via a quick release, while the rear wheel in which the electric motor is fitted is a bolt-on axle. i had figured it might be an industrial task to remove the rear wheel to fix a puncture, but the cable unplugs very easily and the rest proceeds as normal. mind you, it's heavy. though the e-mate rather obviously has electric assist (activated via a sensor on the drive side behind the single chain ring), it also runs twist grip operated seven speed shimano derailleur gearing. because it's apparently not possible to source a left-side twist throttle, the rear gear mech is operated from the left side of the bars. the headtube contains an internal headset and in this case, a promax height adjustable stem, via an allen bolt activated hinge.

oygen e-mate

in light of the brief period available for riding, i neglected to check the size or make of the 26" tyres, but in keeping with the chunkiness of the rest of the bike, they were wide with a substantial but not knobbly tread. braking was via tektro levers and avid bb7 mechanical discs and the bars were straight and wide. add to that a set of dynamo lights and we're almost good to go.

adjacent to the derailleur twist on the left of the bars is the little electric lcd display that not only operates the electrics but tells you what it's doing. there are four buttons: on/off, setting, and plus or minus to increase or decrease the electric assist. the battery reputedly has a range of sixty miles in average use, though obviously riding at maximum setting all-day will deplete that quicker than my attempt at a cavendish sprint depletes my glycogen stores. it is entirely possible to ride the e-mate devoid of any electric assist, but at an all-up weight of 32kg, that's not something that's going to happen too often, given the bike's intended market.

oygen e-mate

the panel displays which power-assist setting has been chosen, the time of day, speed and both battery level and a display to indicate the amount of work being done by the motor. the buttons to the left of the display did prove a tad difficult to press when wearing long-fingered gloves, but i have confidence that this will improve with use. for now, i fear i may have spent too long checking the display instead of surrounding traffic.

that bottom bracket sensor checks the pedal revolutions dependent on the chosen setting and supplies the appropriate turbo boost. the sudden injection of power via this system is mildly disconcerting at first, but it only takes a few metres to forget and get on with the job of riding the bike. the power settings range from zero to a maximum of five and can be altered up or down while riding.

oygen e-mate

first off, we (in the collective sense) are very unlikely to buy or ride one of these from choice. the weight alone would likely put you off. i've never ridden a moped, but i should imagine this is pretty much what it feels like. there's no feedback from the frame at all, and though it's undoubtedly possible to stand on the pedals to gain momentum when climbing, with an electric motor between the rear hub flanges, there's really no need.

i took the e-mate (or rather, it took me) along flat roads, steep(ish) hills, an offroad pathway and one of those utterly crap farm roads that only the hebrides can provide. it's a really odd sensation riding up an 8% gradient with the setting on five without any undue strain. at the top, it's a simple matter of dialling the electric assist back to three or two and carrying on as per usual. with most of my route encompassing single track roads, there were several occasions when it was necessary to pull into a passing place to allow motor traffic past. starting off again can be kneecap wrangling before the assist kicks in again, so i resorted to employing the throttle over-ride to gain a bit of momentum.

oygen e-mate

this is the e-mate's bete noir; it is easily possible simply to stop pedalling and motor along solely using electric power. i have a sneaking suspicion that more than just one hirer or purchaser will over-use this feature, negating any portended health or exercise benefits.

in short, it was rather fun, and i don;t mind admitting that i can almost, but not quite, see the point. i'm definitely not part of this bike's target market, but i know one or two folks who are, provided they're willing to part with £1500. though it is possible to ride the e-mate without any electricity at all, i fear you'd need a pair of thighs like chris hoy to make that work. i still wonder just how much electric power is involved in overcoming the weight of the frame, the battery and the motor. if you consider that even a half way decent road bike weighs around a quarter that of the e-mate, factor in the energy needed to shift 24kg and i think there are important decisions to be made.

unfortunately, the ease of power-assist will probably render such logic entirely mute. still not sure if this really is the future.

oxygen bicycles e-mate

tuesday 3 june 2014

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