one of our occasional cycling colleagues (and i am using the word in its loosest sense) bought himself a new bike recently, after very rarely slogging his way about the isle on something less than equitable for the task, even allowing for the unlikelihood of him being offered a professional contract anytime soon. or ever, for that matter. in the light of his new purchase (a well-respected brand no less) we had naively expected him to be more than eager to be waiting outside debbie's of a sunday morning, ready, able and willing to burn us off his rear wheel before bruichladdich became a distant memory.
i did say naive.
according to popular lore, he needs a few weeks to 'get used to it.' a phrase that smacks of an excuse. surely one of the best ways to get used to a new bicycle is simply to ride it somewhere and to do so in pleasant company (we are nothing if not self-effacing)? i mention this because throughout the years in which a motley gaggle of velocipedinists has transmogrified into velo club d'ardbeg (a similar gaggle, but with nice jerseys), we have been surly advocates for the great unwashed to join us on our perambulations. if the aging mighty dave t can still sprint for the speed signs near debbie's, there is every hope for members of the younger generation. disappointingly, our machinations seem to have fallen on deaf ears; it would still be possible to hold the club dinner dance in the phone box at carnduncan.
yet we have been assured by all and sundry that cycling is the new golf, that bicycles have been literally flying out the doors of evans, halfords and every local bike shop in between, though it would be foolish not to mention that none such exist this far west in the atlantic. however, should those recently possessed of the latest in bicycle technology steadfastly remain individualists, they're undoubtedly going to come across the sort of questions more often asked mid-peloton, and quite often answered there too. for everyone knows that each and every gaggle of cyclists in christendom has at least one real or would-be mechanic, happy to divulge the secrets of their trade.
from this point of view, the loner, to put not too fine a point on it, is stuffed.
or at least, was stuffed. for though i'm still one of only two people in the world without a mobile phone, many riders are making excellent use of those zipped pockets on the back of today's cycle jerseys in which to carry a so-called smartphone. (no, i don't understand it either.) in which case, the latest easy bike repair app from jacob obarzanek might conceivably make an on the bike substitute for a chattering peloton.
questions such as 'what crank length ought i to be riding?', 'why would i need to carry a power-link?', and 'how do i centre the brakes?' are all confidently answered by way of text and photographs and easily selected on ipod touch/iphone or android device. not only that, but it's not that hard to find the answer you may be seeking, even in the middle of a galeforce, hailstone battered uiskentuie strand. and the bike-fitting section might even assist those who have no idea what size to buy en-route to future pelotonic delights
i have every faith in my mechanical abilities, bolstered by several years of setting up review bicycles, so my lack of a smartphone in the zipped pocket does not fill me with dread. but for those new to the activity of cycling and concerned they might not recognise the difference between a dual-pivot caliper and a wheel skewer, the easy bike repair app could mean the difference between riding home and scuffing those delicate cleats on the road surface. and should that be insufficient to tempt you to either apple's app store or the similarly constituted online department for android devices, the price of only only £1.49 ought pretty much to seal the deal.
very clever in my humble opinion.
monday 24 march 2014..........................................................................................................................................................................................................