thewashingmachinepost




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interviews & features | dvds | equipment | clothing | books | videos | portland 2009

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this is cambridge
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tell them we sent you (part one)

somewhere in the world it's always going to be sunny, and the honed athlete will thus always be in need of an appropriate choice of designer/sports sunglasses. this link ought to do the trick.

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condor cycles ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

the mighty dave t's words of the week

the mighty dave t

"as i was going up the stairs, i met a man who was not there. he wasn't there again today, so maybe he decided not to bother with the sunday ride after all."

©2014 the mighty dave t, is a prendas sponsored rider and le patron of the thoroughly decent fellows. the mighty dave t recommends purple harry products

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dromarti ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

gear avoidance syndrome

campagnolo super-record mech

"it's my website, and i'll write what i want.". actually i didn't say that; well, in fairness i just did, but what i mean is that i'm paraphrasing an acquaintance of mine who said exactly that (minus the apparently necessary expletive) to yours truly. this was in retort to a request to moderate a few comments he'd made about a project in which i was involved. while the statement itself was (and is) intrinsically true, there was a distinct lack of contrition over a situation in which the plaintiff was manifestly out of order.

but, in similar circumstances, the same could be said to be true of thewashingmachinepost. just like the objectionable fellow scarcely mentioned above, i'm the boss. i need only have arguments with myself over what and what not to publish. if it looks even remotely like it might get me into trouble, i'd err on the side of safety and either change tack, or consign it to the 'to do' pile. most of which rarely gets done.

brooks cambium c15

which is all a long-winded means of explaining that the heading for today's ruminations is not mine. in fact, not only is the heading shamelessly pinched, but the idea behind it too. hopelessly unoriginal of me, for which i can only apologise.

and at the risk of being thought contentious, at least a portion of the following flies directly in the face of velominati rule number twelve, regarding the correct number of bikes to have in the bike shed. i'd still go with the velo folks as to the acquisition factor, but it's the collateral damage that goes with those bikes that i'd like to address. i'm hoping we can all agree that any given bicycle of a certain ilk has need of a functioning groupset, pedals, bars and stem, wheels and a saddle. none of the foregoing benefits from having two of any of those items.

sugar wheelworks ghisallo rims

for instance, two rear derailleurs would be something of an unconstitutional, not to say unnecessary luxury. and two sets of handlebars would also be a slightly pointless accessory. bicycles and cycling simply don't work that way. nor do cyclists.

and don't get me started on wheels. i can't be the only one who has many corners of the bike shed filled with lovely wheels, despite every accompanying bicycle being perfectly supplied with equally fabulous wheels. and possibly a box containing a saddle or two, despite the aforementioned velocipedes being also appropriately accommodated. it's what i think may well come under the heading of superfluity. supposing that to be the case, perhaps it's time to practice that advised by my nicked heading.

with the experience of last year's festive 500 still fresh on the drying rack, cycle clothing may need to be placed under a separate heading. i'd suggest that owning more apparel than would suffice for seven days of riding in less than clement weather, probably comes under the same listing of superfluity.

cielo steel stem

if any of the above apply to your goodselves - and i know they all apply to me - perhaps it's time to practice what i'm attempting to preach and indulge in at least a brief bout of 'gear avoidance syndrome'? aside from the folks at velominati probably drafting a venomous e-mail even as we speak, i'm none too sure that i'll curry any favour with the world's cycle component manufacturers. i seriously doubt that campagnolo can see anything wrong with owning more than one super-record carbon derailleur and a couple of pairs of bora carbon clinchers.

nor can i truthfully see them losing any sleep over the fact that only one might be used at any given time.

but in the interests of actually being able to step into the bike shed with ease, or have the ability to close the wardrobe doors, it might pay dividends to either resolve that no more will be added to the excess or, as probably already advised by your better half, to dispense with items that have lain unused since this time last year.

the possible benefits may actually be more time riding your bicycle. no more staring blankly and inactively at a wide range of clothing options, trying vainly and despairingly to choose the outfit du jour (yes, this really happens). and rather than the indecision surrounding which bicycle ought to be chosen (inevitably the one right at the back, and all the faff that accompanies that choice), simplicity ought to be your watchword. mind you, there's still that embarrassing awkwardness of realising that footwear options are dependent on affixed cleats and matching pedals.

however, now that i've looked at all this in cold, hard pixels, i'm not sure that it still seems like a good idea.

saturday 24 january 2015

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house industries
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portland design works 'cross beanie

portland design works beanie

when my son was in the throes of impersonating a new-born, there were, according to mrs washingmachinepost, set times for his feeds, one of which was after the time when i'd normally be tucked up in bed, hoping to achieve a decent night's sleep. not wishing to abrogate my fatherly duties, i figured it would gain me any number of brownie points if i too remained sat in the sitting room watching whatever happened to be on the telly box at that time of evening.

portland design works beanie

though most of the weekday evenings were well catered for, as it turned out pretty much the only thing worth watching on a sunday eve was channel four's broadcast of american football. so, in the beginning, that's precisely what i/we did. for the first couple of weeks, i really couldn't figure out what the heck was going on. though notionally a ninety minute game (is that right?), each match was split into four quarters, divisions that could last pretty much forever when time-outs were taken into consideration.

then there was the fact that it's seemingly quite acceptable to tackle players who were nowhere near the ball, and throw them ruthlessly to the ground. and what on earth was going on with all those footballers; how many guys do you need on one team?

portland design works beanie

however, by week three, i figured i'd got at least most of it sussed, either because of or in spite of the dramatically graphic nature of each live broadcast and the two commentators in the box. to be honest, i'm not sure that i enjoyed watching any more than i did when i had no idea what was going on, but either way, i actually found it all quite intriguing. the proof of this was the channel four broadcasts remaining a part of the sunday evening timetable, even after junior's feeding schedule was no longer a part of the structure.

believe it or not, despite feeling utterly wrecked the following morning, i actually managed to stay awake through three successive superbowls before age got the better of me. now i'm lucky if i can make it to the half-time show.

portland design works beanie

happily, as one mostly satisfied with moderation in everything, i felt no real need to dress in the home team's colours or join the nearest fan club. in fact, i don't ever recall a superbowl where i was rooting for one team over the other at the commencement of proceedings. i mean, dressing up to watch four hours of sporting activity would be a tad extreme don't you think?

which brings me to the impending international sporting event that affects a lot more of us than does the superbowl. on the weekend of 31 january/1 february in tabor czechoslovakia, with luck, the world cyclocross championships will be swamped with snow, mud, rain or a combination of all three, to provide the ideal televisual or interweb spectacle. for who amongst us would admit to walking away from the screen after watching a one-hour race that took place over a dry and dusty parcours? mud, to put not too fine a point on it, is really the only suitable answer.

portland design works beanie

it may even be a similar situation for those participating.

mrs washingmachinepost is less than well disposed towards my bringing the cyclocross hakkalugi into the sitting room, even if only for symbolic purposes, and the chunky soles on my 'cross shoes make overly visible marks on the fireside rug. the question therefore remains as to how to offer a token gesture towards being a 'cross aficionado in absentia (so to speak).

thankfully, the answer to that question has been answered by the lovely folks at paligap and portland designworks, having sent me a highly desirable black beanie with an embroidered patch on the front. i cannot deny that the current spate of islay weather has necessitated my wearing a winter cap not only when out and about on the bicycle. both the morning walk and the shuffle to work each day have made excellent use of a backward facing winter cap, a look that probably came across as a tad dorky to those less than familiar with faux belgian customs.

portland design works beanie

now, however, as i mentally prepare myself for the smorgasbord of cyclocross worlds that will be along next weekend, i have substituted the pdw beanie in place of that hard-worked winter cap. i've yet to check whether the populace of bowmore are less quizzical as to my new headgear, but to be honest, i care not one whit, for embroidered on the reverse of the inner pdw label is the following legend.

"At the risk of sounding like your mom: Put a hat on! It's cold outside! This PDX 'Cross Beanie will keep your ears warm while jumping barriers, flailing a cowbell. or exhorting your friends to GO FASTER!"

this is definitely the item of 'cross apparel that demands to be worn while watching the 2015 cyclocross world's. or any other 'cross race, for that matter.

the 100% acrylic black pdw beanie retails at $10. it seems not to be generally available in the uk, but i daresay commercial pressure could be brought to bear to change that situation. or, given the uk's less than benevolent import charges, perhaps not.

portland design works

friday 23 january 2015

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rouleur issue 51 ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

nostalgia is the new black

retro sportives

with the arrival of one more e-mail enquiring after the date of this year's ride of the falling rain (it's august 2nd, since you asked), it dawned on me that the web pages pertaining to this particular annual islay ride, are most likely in need of one or two updates. it seems like an obvious detail, and probably one that ought to have been taken care of in the days following each year's perambulation, but who ever remembers things like that?

i confess that my promotional skills for the falling rain would scarcely bear close scrutiny, no doubt at least one of the reasons for an endless stream of e-mails offering seo services (search engine optimisation) to help gain the web page a higher profile. however, in truth, it's not an aspect of the event that gives a great deal of cause for concern. so far, even in these days of overbearing health and safety suffocation and the claimed need for risk assessments, we've managed to get away with simply inviting folks to join us for a slightly longer than usual sunday ride.

retro sportives

the conceit in this approach is that if the numbers remain fairly conservative (less than 100) there will not only be no need to recruit marshals, provide food stops and offer timing chips, but hopefully nobody is likely to mention the word insurance. with no entry fee and the lack of a huge unsightly peloton to block the island's single-track roads, i'm pretty sure eveything is fine as it is.

geographically speaking, islay is fairly flat. that's perhaps not a perception you'd agree with if you'd arrived off the afternoon ferry to the sight of the 14% climb out of port askaig, but aside from a similar gradient at kilchiaran, the rest is less likely to trouble the larger sprockets on your cassette. this, it seems, very much goes against the grain as far as the average uk sportive is concerned. one could easily gain the notion that the formula for route planning is based on "they had five climbs in every ten miles, so we'll have seven." oddly, in my experience, fewer cyclists are adept at climbing than can climb.

retro sportives

the uk sportive calendar is currently full to overflowing, and without wishing to sound disrespectful, often one event can seem remarkably similar to the previous, and not that different from the next. granted, that's likely a problem experienced by the professionals; how different can liege-bastogne-liege be each year? but with 2014 witnessing the first running of the british l'eroica, it appears that the ride down memory lane is something of an ever increasing attraction.

two rides scheduled for 2015 that adhere to the description of vintage velothon or retro ride are the chiltern cycling festival and the chenies velo classique, the latter reinforcing the fact that nowadays the pelotonese seem greatly impressed by use of the word velo in everything related to cycling. it would, however, be remiss not to include the annual tweed ride as an influence on the riding of elderly, statesmanlike bicycles in approrpriate period attire.

both the chilterns (12 july) and chenies (31 august) events offer a choice of distances to suit perceived riding abilities, starting at 30 miles and stretching to the pinnacle at 100 miles. however, the ultimate bonus attached to the latter event is a 5km stretch of unpaved chiltern chalk' bridleway just to make it a smidgeon more epic. for those searching for a touch of luxury as part of their retro day out, there's a velo vip (that word again) area providing a welcome breakfast, a post-ride champagne plus an exclusive jersey.

retro sportives

of course, aside from dressing in period apparel, there is the not insignificant matter of having access to a recognisably classic bicycle. if there isn't one in the bike shed, glory days ought to be able to sort you out with a fully restored steel and leather bicycle for only £40 a day.

as one not particularly adept at planning even a few days ahead, even i'd probably manage to be organised enough to look at one or both of these events and get my entry in on time. entries for the chiltern cycling festival can be accessed here, while the chenies velo classique with its very own strada blanca can be entered here.

right, that's everyone's summer sorted. just remember the ride of the falling rain in between the two.

glory days vintage bicycle hire

thursday 22 january 2015

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bikmo cycle insurance

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extra porridge oats

green city porage oats

we are, if nothing else, creatures of habit; most of us either dislike or are resistant to change. so when a third party makes alterations that are seemingly outwith our control, not only does it engender feelings of exasperation in the face of adversity, but it can easily upset a groove that has been cultivated over a lengthy period of time.

i'd figure the groove started on the return flight from portland in may 2009. whatever magazine i had picked up in river city bicycles displayed an advert for bob's red mill, a purveyor of healthy grains and associated products based in milwaukie, oregon. this showed a very enticing bowl of porridge topped with an assortment of fruits. just the very appetising illustration you'd like to see when sat in an airbus with little or no chance of ordering a similarly constituted bowl at that moment in time.

green city jumbo oats

in the absence of any bob's red mill products in our local averagemarket, i purchasd the home product scott's porage oats (no idea why scott's spell the word differently than everyone else). however, in an effort to be more rustic than the average cyclist, i bought-in the old fashioned variety, given that they were less inclined to create a less than attractive sludge as evinced by the normal variety.

in mid-may on islay, there are very few fruits of the variety shown in the bob's red mill advert, so i opted to buy a bag of peaches and slice a fresh one of those in each bowl from there on in. disappointingly, even the fresh (and i use the word advisedly) peaches bore a closer resemblance to the constitution of a turnip than the juicy fruit i had imagined from the outset. thus the only reasonable option was to resort to tins of sliced peaches; not quite the form of rusticity that i had initially imagined, but flavourable, healthy and energy packed nonetheless.

green city jumbo oats

from the cyclist's point of view, the glorious benefit of porridge oats is the slow energy release, allegedly fuelling an extensive bike ride and preventing anything that might be considered a sugar rush as is occasionally a disbenefit of alternative breakfast cereals. though there are those who prefer to make their morning plateful with milk, my more spartan existence on the croft has it made with two cups of oats matched with two and a half cups of tap water. since i really, really don't like salt, i leave it out.

so, only a few years on from portland, having expensively tried bob's red mill oats from an online retailer on this side of the pond, my groove had settled on the daily bowl of scott's old fashioned porage oats, still with sliced peaches on top and a splash of soya milk. that was, until the averagemarket indulged in a spot of refurbishment and ceased to stock any scott's oats, opting instead to offer eighteen (sadly, i counted them all) variations of instant porridge oats with all manner of odd flavourings.

making a pot of porridge each morning takes only a few minutes, so i really fail to see the advantage in offering a microwaveable alternative for the sake of brevity. but additionally, the instant varieties tend to have both salt and sugar added; wholly unnecessary in my humble opinion. what was the intrepid velocipedinist to do?

green city jumbo oats

fortunately, debbie's cafe came inadvertantly scurrying to the rescue, pointing out that they stocked 3kg bags of green city jumbo oats. and here's where bob and his red mill met his match. aside from offering 15km of weight training when carrying one of those 3kg bags home in a musette, these are utterly ginger peachy. the real schizzle, to be equally as precise. and just to warm the cardiovascular system even firther, according to the label, they are of grampian origin, from scotland's north-east.

i have doubts as to whether green city distribute internationally, but no matter your cycling discipline (road, mtb, 'cross or any other variation thereof), if you live north of the border and indulge in velocipedinal activity, green city jumbo oats will easily fuel a saturday morning of frenetic pedalling in all weathers. disappointingly, green city's website isn't exactly awash with tantalising illustrations, but you can't have everything.

the scottish version of epo.

green city jumbo oats

wednesday 21 january 2015

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feedback sports velo hinge

velo hinge

i may have the sequence of events slightly askew, but if memory serves correctly, the original series of star trek opened with the words "space. the final frontier...". in the context of this introduction, there really was no doubt over which definition of the word 'space' was being used. and in direct contrast to all we've learned about contemporary space travel, the interior of the uss enterprise seemed possessed of acres and acres of extravagant space, despite having a sizeable complement of crew.

velo hinge

but in all the episodes filling the three-season run on america's nbc, and across all the various planets visited by those who boldly went where no man had gone before, i don't recall seeing even one bicycle. odd, when you consider how advanced this future was alleged to be. not even was there a vehicle that could be seen as a futuristic derivative fo the humble, yet highly efficient velocipede.

of course, it's always possible that the fourth series that was never made would have introduced us to the enterprise's cycle bay, just a corridor's length from the oft-used shuttle bay. and no doubt, given the plentiful space that seemed to abound in the nether regions of the spaceship, and despite it's full stock of dilithium crystals and anti-matter engines, there would have been little need to consider alternative means of storage for those interstellar bicycles.

unfortunately, that's a problem that has not escaped the attention of many of us.

velo hinge

i have the luxury of a severely dilapidated bike shed behind the house which, despite an endless array of forgotten cardboard boxes, a lawnmower, two track pumps and a workstand, still affords space for the panoply of washingmachinepost bicycles, with one empty space reserved for review models. my good friend grahame is not quite so fortunate, having need of space for bicycles belonging not only to himself, but those for the rest of the family. therefore when edinburgh distributors 2pure were kind enough to send a velo hinge manufactured by feedback sports, it seemed the only decent thing to do was to pass the hinge over to grahame and at least partially solve his final frontier problem.

that, and the fact that he's far more of a dab hand with diy than i'll ever be.

the screws supplied with the velo hinge were, in this case, put to one side and substituted with 30mm screws because the panel to which it was being affixed had cables and a window on the other side. it took our intrepid space man (see what i did there?) about 20 minutes to fit the hinge to the designated panel using the straightforward instructions.

velo hinge

when in place, grahame had the benefit of the two different means of storing his bicycle (in this case, a specialized mountain bike) offered by the velo hinge. when closed against the wall, the front wheel is lifted onto the protruding hook, holding the bicycle vertically, saddle towards the centre of the room. open the hinge, and that hook now runs parallel to the wall, and a bracket strategically placed lower on the wall to meet the rear wheel allows the bike to sit flat(ish) against the wall, especially if you loosen the stem bolts and turn the handlebars through ninety degrees.

if you've endless amounts of space available for your substantial collection of bicycles, this is probably not a device you'll find great need of. but if your living quarters or bike shed are a tad on the compact and bijou side, this might be the very solution, particularly in light of its economic selling price of around £30. it might even be possible to sell its virtues to any employer who feels that work premises have no need of being encumbered by wayward bicycles.

it's a well-made product that works in a simple, yet efficient manner and does exactly waht it says on the packet. and when sitting unrequired, the hook folds neatly and unobtrusively inside the hinge, substantially lowering the clutter factor.

feedback sports velo hinge

tuesday 20 january 2015

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the ride journal number nine ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

portland design works lars rover front light

pdw lars rover

does anyone remember when still at school, staring out of the window on a sunny june afternoon, daydreaming about anything other than the subject of the class in which you were sitting? i'd love to concur with those who answered yes to that question, but in fact the secondary school which i attended consisted predominantly of a large, sandstone building with tall windows and deep window sills that commenced more than halfway up those sandstone walls. such a method of construction had the disadvantage of rendering views of the great outdoors, other than acres of sky, somewhat obscure.

oddly, the only time i recall staring out of the window in such fashion was during exams which were mostly held in the assembly hall. that was of more contemporary design (back in the day) with lower windows affording views across the playing fields if sat towards the rear door. anyway, the reason i bring this anecdotal situation to your notice is because of the almost inevitable rebuke from the teacher or invigilator for not paying more attention to the subject at hand.

pdw lars rover

it would seem, in my case at least, that this almost pathological inattention to that set before me continues right up until the present day.

a discussion recently witnessed on an interweb not too far from this browser window involved the remarkable predilection of cycle companies to append numbers as a substitute for a memorable description of their product. its nice to ask for a campagnolo record derailleur, a zipp firecrest wheel or a brooks cambium saddle, even if only online. there's little point in arguing that a pf7000 bottom bracket, a 5703 triple chainset or 4600 road brake calipers bear any favourable comparison.

fortunately the ever so slightly eccentric folks at portland design works appear to have an entire filing cabinet of clever apellations thay have yet to use in public. one that has seen the light (see what i did there?) is their lars rover anodised aluminium front light, and it's at this point that my lack of attention has me grovelling at their hypothetical feet.

pdw lars rover

you see, the lars rover is available in two distinct flavours; the 450 and 650, a fact of which i was unaware when the light arrived at the croft for review. in my usual clumsy fashion, i managed to all but destroy the box in which it arrived, so in truth i have no evidence to show which particular model i received. thankfully, pdw's eccentricties stretch as far as colour coding the two varieties. the 450 lumen version features the same charcoal coloured rear section, but a silver anodised front. the 650 lumen contrasts this with an almost military blue surrounding the tiny led.

how did we ever manage without the interweb?

the battery is chargeable via a small usb port on the underside of that blue front section. plugged into the usb port of my macbook air with the supplied cable, the on/off button flashes blue until fully charged, at which point the blue remains always on until disconnected. according to the manual, a fully charged battery can be expected to last 7.5 hours (175 lumens), 4 hours (340 lumens), 2 hours (650 lumens) fast flashing (10 hours) and slow pulsing (10 hours).

pdw lars rover

i rarely, if ever, go riding after dark, partly because i have no real need to, but mostly because there are way too many youngsters driving matt black corsas at speeds that would do credit to lewis hamilton. they've been addicted to this sort of behaviour for so long, it almost qualifies as a local tradition. i really don't fancy becoming a wheeled trophy on their radiator grills after the hours of darkness, so i stay at home. however, should i ever have cause to venture out, the 650 lumen setting is easily bright enough to cause mild distress to oncoming traffic, and certainly provides ample illumination for even the quickest of cyclists.

though there's a heavy-duty, screw-on bracket to retain the lars rover's services across the harshest of terrain, i placed my faith in the more standard version even on my 'cross bike. this is tightly affixed to any handlebar by means of a quick release stretch rubber mount intended more for the commuter. i did have a minor conflict with this latter bracket; the release lever, allowing forward removal of the light from the bracket is mere millimetres above the retaining tab of the rubber strap. on more than one occasion, i managed to release the bracket while attempting simply to remove the light. perhaps if the light release were at the front, the problem would go away. or maybe i ought to be less clumsy.

for the more adventurous, and i would hesitate to include myself amongst such elite company, there's a strap allowing the light to be attached to the top of an appropriately vented helmet. owners of giro's air attack need not apply.

pdw lars rover

as is the case with many other similar lights, none of the brackets allows lateral adjustment of the anodised unit; at all times (helmet mount excluded of course) the light points directly forwards. there are several roads around the principality which are totally devoid of any form of street lighting, and in more than just a few cases, without white lines down the centre. in those instances, it's often helpful to have a front light illuminate the edge of the road, thus avoiding any itinerant cattle or sheep. still, it would be slighly iniquitous to level this line of argument solely at the lars rover, for the majority of competing products are similarly constituted. and in truth, i think it likely that portland design works were more conserned with the urban commuter rather than the country boy on his cyclocross bicycle.

the anodised aluminium construction makes for a very solid unit which, on current evidence, is built to withstand not only inadvertant contact with the ground, but also the bulk of inclement elements. so far it has resisted freezing temperatures, rain, hail and snow. it also has the more than favourable design feature of shielding the rider (me) from whichever lighting mode has been selected. there is nothing more irritating than riding at night and having to shield the effects of a flashing light with a piece of electrical tape.

though i've yet to reach the limits of the battery's charge time, when the top switch illuminates to warn of low battery, there's still a further fifteen minutes of safety net to hopefuly allow reaching home safely. perhaps if those corsa drivers stay at home to watch top gear, there's always the possibility i might pop out every now and again after the hours of darkness with my lars rover accompanied to the rear by a portland design works aether demon rear light. but then again, the sitting room is quite cosy after tea-time.

portland design works lars rover | the lars rover 650 retails in the uk £75 ($110) while the 450 costs £55 ($85). portland design works peoducts are distributed in the uk by paligap.

monday 19 january 2015

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powered by hippo technology

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cervo rosso strada 2.0 l/s winter jersey

cervo rosso strada 2.0 jersey

it is a well-known fact that all graphic designers wear black, a look enhanced by a polo-neck or turtle-neck jersey in the days of apple's steve jobs. because he was cool. i have no idea if jonny ive wears either black or turtle-necks, but i believe the point is perhaps well-made and likely already laboured to death. though the black look is probably a style choice, in the days prior to computers its history may be more invested in pragmatism. with items such as cow gum, felt tip, rotring and letraset, much like bicycle mechanics, black seems the ideal solution.

cervo rosso strada 2.0 jersey

but of course, graphic designers are too cool for school, the sort of people blissfully unaffected by events that would elicit a wholly different level of excitement in normal folks. and as thus, it is necessary to cultivate an aura of disdain for anything deigned to be sub-standard, one of which is the use of typefaces that demonstrate a lack of understanding of typography and the uses to which it should be put.

if you see what i mean?

though it seems no longer to be a part of the interweb, in my early years of designer affectation and wearing of black (though i stopped short at the polo-neck) there really was a website called 'designers against brush script'. i'm loathe to quote the definition of those who employ this particular typeface in their day to day entrepreneurship because it's considerably less than flattering. but much like the atomic bomb, it's not the device that's inherently bad, it's the folks that press the button.

cervo rosso strada 2.0 jersey

which is a long-winded way of raising my principal objection, superficial though it may be, against previous items of apparel received from switzerland's cervo rosso. in more than just one instance, their otherwise excellent apparel was marred by the words 'it's your ride' placed vertically over the central back pocket. the slogan itself is less than objectionable, but screening it in brush script...?

which is why there were celebrations in the croft when the strada 2.0 arrived fresh from the now financially disparaged country of switzerland. rather than any sign of brush script about its person, that central rear pocket (with outboard security zipped version) featured instead a highly admirable logo advising that this comfortable, warm, fleece-lined jersey is swiss cycling apparel. the superficiality of all this can be identified by the fact that when worn, such wording cannot be seen by the pilot.

cervo rosso strada 2.0 jersey

according to the cervo rosso website, the strada 2.0 is designed for cool weather riding, an appropriateness to which i can readily attest. though outing number one had to be curtailed due to serious crosswinds that threatened to upend both rider and bicycle, weekend number two brought the strada 2.0 to its senses. as i departed the bike shed with flashing lights front and rear, it was snowing rather heavily and the temperature was pretty close to zero but from the wrong side.

i cannot deny that, though cool weather is decidedly where it's at, the strada is not really constituted to be worn al fresco in precipitous slushy snow. therefore i augmented my dress code with a cervo rosso outer shell, packing a rain jacket just in case the weather became colder or wetter. true to form, it did both. however, as one layer midst a winter baselayer and two outer layers, the strada proved itself every bit the equal of the weather; toastiness was mine. it's also worth mentioning that pairing the strada with cr's thermal bibshorts and leg warmers was a particularly good choice too.

cervo rosso strada 2.0 jersey

the fleece lining offers a lovely soft smooth interior, and though i figure the collar could bear a few more millimetres of height, at this point in january, i usually wear a merino collar over any jersey in any case. the sleeve length proved to be almost perfectly judged, while the torso was a close, but not spray-on fit, a feature that well behoves any winter jersey.

so now i can hold my designer head high in the winter peloton, free from having to affect disdain, even though it really is my ride but not written in brush script.

the cervo rosso strada 2.0 l/s winter jersey is available directly from their website, in sizes xs through to xxl at a cost of €135 (approx £103).

cervo rosso strada 2.0 l/s jersey

sunday 18 january 2015

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sportif magazine> ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

clearing up the mess

tour rubbish

i've not been out on the bike for over a week because storm force 11 and lightweight bicycles tend not to get on too well. however, last time i managed out, having ridden the loch gorm route anti-clockwise to get to debbie's for lunch, after a swift supping of froth, i decided to return home by the same route in a clockwise direction. while this may sound like something of a busman's holiday, the singletrack roads and ever-changing wind direction mean that aside from the constant vision of loch gorm and the adjacent atlantic ocean, it feels like a completely different route.

but as i wended my less than weary way up the hill at foreland, i was considering how decidedly radical and unbelieveably cool it would be to have a slurp from my water bottle then throw it to the grass verge bordering the road. just like they do in the movies; or at least, eurosport's live race coverage. however, aside from the obvious accusations of being a litter lout, i don't possess too many water bottles, and i can ill-afford to throw away one that still has several hundred kilometres and a sachet of carbo powder left in it. and in any case, if i got thirsty further on in my homeward route, there's never a mavic car around when you need one.

it's disappointments like this that exaggerate even further the differences between being a pro and just being me.

ever since my days at primary school, i've had it drummed into me that it is not socially acceptable to throw litter on the ground, no matter that the weight distribution (so to speak) might better aid a lightweight attack on the king of the mountains jersey. this goes for sticky but empty tubes of carbo gel, the wrappers from energy bars secreted in a back pocket for those strategic moments close to the summit, or even hang tags from cycling jerseys on review that i forgot to remove before departure. it is so much greener and environmentally aware to fold them up and stuff them in a rear pocket. that's why there are three of them.

tour sheep

of course, there are more than just a few differences between the optimistic and ageing amateur and the professional peloton. for starters, there's always a team car or neutral support to hand you another bottle when you've thrown the first one away, inadvertantly or not. and when you have dispensed with the services of unwanted packaging, sat at the very back of the cavalcade is at least one bin lorry and a team of staff whose every waking hour is concentrated on picking up your rubbish.

or is there?

while the tour in yorkshire has been lauded from every point of view, from its engagement with both the cycling and non-cycling public, to the alleged immense financial gain and tourist euro brought to the north of england, it may have left its mark in other ways too. and not everybody is happy about that. according to a yorkshire waste management company (big green), there are still several signs (both figuratively and literally) of the tour still in evidence. with tour rubbish and grafitti still visible along the stage routes, a spokesman for the company said "it's like a neighbour leaving their Christmas lights up."

big green's mark hall continued "We're based right in the heart of last year's Tour de France route, and it pains us to see that the clear-up from last year's events still hasn't been completed." the apparent reason for these remains being still visible is the cost to local councils of finishing the clear-up. "It will cost them money that they just haven't got in their budgets, meaning that it's increasingly likely that nothing will be done."

tour grafitti

though this is the first time such a complaint has been aired regarding the the tour's three days in yorkshire, there has been the occasional related murmur on the continent, and not just about the tour de france. huge events such as this are almost bound to create a level of rubbish greater than the normal day to day, but as is supposed to be the case regarding political posters at election times, when the voting is over, it is incumbent on bill posters (a busy man), to have them removed in timeous fashion.

it would be a shame if the first word associated with cycling events in the uk was 'rubbish'.

"We've got another world-class event coming this May in the shape of the Tour de Yorkshire," said MarkHall, "and once again the eyes of the world will be upon us." perhaps if you live in the area, you could nip out on sunday afternoons and remove the tour stuff that shouldn't still be there. and give vicenzo a call to help, because it's at least partly his fault.

saturday 17 january 2015

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shand cycles ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

exercising our prerogative

fausto coppi

i have no verifiable data to support my theory, but i'm willing to allow myself the luxury of thinking that the majority of us who ride our bicycles, do so because we love it. and in case you think i disparage the professional, i also maintain that they too race their bicycles, even over a hard-hitting three week stage race, because they love to do so. there will be few who would argue with the jazz simile "how do you make a million from cycling? start with two million".

the majority of folks whom i have met in a professional capacity in the grand world of cycling are rarely involved in the hope of adding sizeable amounts to their bank accounts. and bernard hinault notwithstanding, the majority of former professionals still ride their bikes even after retirement has brought them a village bike shop or an hotel on the riviera.

for the rest of us, cycling does little but diminish our bank accounts. few will argue with velominati rule number twelve, though i am aware of some who have a rather liberal interpretation of the equation 'n+1'. yet despite the pressing need to continually add the latest in state-of-the-art technical clothing and upgrade italian componentry everytime something new comes along, we do so with an ever-increasing grin upon our faces.

swiss ball

yet despite the foregoing, it really isn't always about the bike. unless you're considering the foundation of a cycle museum, those n+1 bikes are there for the riding, preferably further and further and faster and faster, until it becomes necessary to buy another bicycle.

there is, of course, the satisfaction of being able to consume two soya cappuccinos, a double choc-chip muffin and a two fried egg sandwich, without even modest concern for where all those calories are going to go. frequent cycling, it turns out, apparently qualifies as exercise. who knew?

not for nothing do rapha offer to trade in items of their apparel should your incessant pedalling mean that very soon that new jersey or jacket is adjudged to be somewhat on the large side. though once more, my lack of affection for numbers means i have no specific data with which to compare, i'm pretty sure that last year's festive 500 removed around half a stone from my hoy-like physique. even the garmin recorded an average of 3,000 calories burned each day.

but while these are comforting statistics to trot out when the girls in the office are discussing diets, they're not really what our cycling is made of. if we put it to a vote right this minute, i'm confident there would be a sea of hands waved in agreement that we all go cycling because riding a bike is ruddy brilliant. however, though there might be a sizeable number of us, we are, it seems, in a bit of a minority.

tummies

a recently publicised report apparently confirms that the inactive section of the public are dropping like flies in ever greater numbers compared to even those cited as obese. inactivity and obesity are often considered less than coincidental bedfellows, but this is not always the case. there are many thin or normally proportioned folks who exhibit a higher risk of health problems than those classified as overweight.

in other words, they're not fit becasue they don't exercise.

though a mantra that has been repeated ad finitum ever since the advent of the daily school run, the report advises that more folks ought to walk or cycle to school or work. like we didn't know that yesterday morning.

british cycling's campaigns manager, martin key, stated "This is another warning that, as a society we need to urgently build activity back into our daily lives.". the only perceivable downisde to this latest information is that we become viewed as even more self-righteous than before. nobody likes a smug, skinny bloke or girl always piping up to confirm newton's third law; that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

if men require 2,000 calories per day on average to function properly, think of the leeway afforded by a bike ride that consumes 3,000. therefore, as living embodiment of that which we preach, the fact that in-depth, twelve year long research has vindicated all those years of pro-bike propaganda will surely only make us, as a velocipedinal species, even more insufferable than has been the case up till now.

just think about that during your next it's not only about the exercise bike ride.

friday 16 january 2015

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portland design works ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

national pothole day

national pothole day

i can but apologise for alerting you to this state of affairs so late in the afternoon, but my regular schedule of updates dictates that pixel re-arranging is generally left until later that same day. thus, unless you're domiciled across the pond, where it probably isn't national pothole day, there are few hours left to take any remedial action. i was always under the apparent misapprehension that any form of national day would require governmental sanction, but it seems that may not be perfectly true. today's admonishment of large or small holes in the road would appear to be at the behest of the website streetrepairs.co.uk, an online repository for public reports of street defects.

national pothole day

i have insufficient knowledge of this website to determine whether their sterling work has resulted in any demonstrable improvement in the country's road network, but at least they're trying. according to street repairs, it was "developed out of the need for a public friendly system to communicate between residents and their councils." though the same page refers to "our company", it later makes mention of being "solely reliant on donations to keep it running".

nonetheless, street repairs have had the courage and chutzpah to declare thursday 15 january national pothole day, and in the age old tradition beloved of modernity, there is an app for that. it might also be worth mentioning that additional backing to help look for holes in the road is being provided by tyregiant, the online face of uk tyre distributor boco. so, despite my joy in bringing you notice of national pothole observation day, once more, it's intended more for the motorist than the velocipedinist. however, to quote carlton reid 'roads were not built for cars', and potholes affect us every bit as much, if not more than the motorist.

national pothole day

however, despite the opportunity to download a free ios or android app to allow the reporting of holes in the road, aided and abetted by the ability to upload photographs of the offending craters, i think many of us would be more appreciative of a national pothole week at the very least. or maybe a month?

in the light of an apparent decrease in the ability of at least our local roads department to effect anything like a decent road repair where necessary, it would be nice if the app, or even the website, created space to bring such iniquities to the attention of the local council. for while we can snap a pic of each and every hole in the road, an effective backup to this process would be a retracing of steps perhaps a week or so later to illustrate how cack-handed some of the repairs turned out to be. dumping lukewarm tar into water-filled potholes then backing the truck over the top is hardly the scientific approach.

nonetheless, perhaps a single day of overwhelming pothole reporting will make the appropriate authorities not only sit up and take notice, but, repair budgets allowing, actually do something about them. but while you're listing and photographing, just think of how few sections of roubiax pave might be still in existence if france had held a national pothole day in the early part of last century.

you can't have your cake and eat it.

national pothole day

thursday 15 january 2015

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a matter of record

strava

for many, the knowledge that their smartphone photographs posted to facebook, instagram or flickr could be traced to point of origin was something of a wake up call. of course, for many others, it was really of no nevermind, but there will always be those who sometimes miss the bigger picture. recommendations have been made to the great and good that they really ought to take a tad more care over that which they post on their facebook pages. an errant history has an uncanny habit of surfacing at the most inopportune moments, particularly now that many interviews for executive positions are previewed by checking those very facebook pages on which every last ugly detail was displayed after a friday or saturday night out.

however, to briefly return to the photographs mentioned in my opening gambit, it appears that gps metadata is incorporated into each and every photograph taken by default. if you wish to keep the location of your recently furnished house when you tell everyone on twitter that you're off on holiday, you'll have to search out the appropriate panel deep in the phone's settings, and switch it off. presumably those who carry out the latter procedure are not cyclists.

strava

for how else would the velocipedinist's version of facebook (strava), have access to all the data recently colour coded, categorised and served up in a press release, detailing the habits and activities of the great british cycling public? for instance, were you aware that for all our bravado and nano-tech carbon fibre technology, the average male rider's speed was/is 23kph over a median distance of 41 kilometres. the fairer sex managed 20kph while riding a less extensive 34 kilometres. how could they know all that, if it weren't for eager strava users uploading every last detail of their countless expeditions for coffee?

i've made it quite plain that i hold what i'd like to think is a healthy distaste for a screenful of numbers sat on the handlebars, all the while reminding me of the paucity of effort displayed by those very same numbers. and if i figure that to be distasteful, it is simple extrapolation to figure that uploading them to strava would hardly be my most favourite pastime. however, though that might be a part of it all, in truth, i really can't be bothered with the faff involved. i have no real desire to extend the joy beyond a celebratory glass of san pellegrino and a hot shower. but, just like facebook usage, i have little doubt that i'm in the minority.

is it really the competitive urge that has quite so many cyclists uploading their every move to strava? does it really mean that much to be crowned king of the mountains up an obscure half-kilometre strava rise in the back of beyond, over which you are only one of three cyclists ever to ride? apparently so. yet, while warnings are heeded over gps co-ordinates embedded in smartphone images, cyclists are more than happy to offer up recorded geographical information essentially as a point of ego.

i'd be the first to agree with you that the foregoing displays a serious case of bah humbug. if i would for a minute take my own advice, i'd simply ignore that which doesn't specifically interest me, and let everyone else get on with what motivates them to ride further and faster. but just remember that, when dave brailsford gives you that call early one morning, he can easily verify everything you tell him by means of a quick look on strava.

if i were a part of the club, do you think i'd have a team sky jersey with my name on the side?

strava

wednesday 14 january 2015

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yanto barker and le col cycle clothing

yanto barker

i've said it before and now would seem like the ideal opportunity to say it again: our velocipedinal world must surely be the best served when it comes to technical apparel. likely only the outdoor market can vye with cycling for continued development of fabrics, and i believe there's a certain amount of crossover between the two genres. i'm no expert, but i'd be surprised if those who supply the world's soccer teams spend every waking hour in the wind tunnel determining the ideal shape for next season's goal-fest.

and not only are we well provided for in the technical department, but it would be a foolhardy person who complained about a lack of choice. i do not propose to list each and every cycle clothing supplier at this juncture, but i think we all know who the big players are in this plentiful market. a situation such as this, you would think, might make the smaller entrepreneurs have second thoughts about entering an almost saturated situation; the more technical the arena becomes, the more expensive research and development becomes.

yanto barker

forward looking conjecture would lean heavily on the future of road-racing being more and more defined by aerodynamics. and while it's eminently possible to make those initial steps by means of computer modelling, ultimately, you have to be looking at testing the real thing in somebody's wind tunnel. and that's where it becomes often prohibitively expensive. so you do rather wonder how the smaller suppliers compete.

yanto barker, the pushing force behind le col cycle clothing originally announced his retirement from competitive cycle racing in 2007, returing from the continent to live in devon. however, having started up le col in the intervening period, he returned in 2010 to ride for pendragon sports/le col/colnago, partly as a resurgent career and partly to promote his new cycle apparel in the competitive milieu. however, it seems that this second career has not only been successful, but rather convincingly long-lived. can we assume that there's now more to it than simple product promotion?

le col

"In short, yes. I think its called 'obsessive compulsive'. I love exercising and I'm enjoying many aspects of my career, more recently being part of a team as a senior member and imparting some of my experience to the younger and fresher guys. Helping them fulfil their potential is a big motivation for me. I love being in a team. I find it exciting interesting and rewarding."

since moving on from the pendragon le col team of 2010, yanto has ridden for several different teams, one of the iniquities or benefits (depending on your point of view) of which can be having to not only ride the bicycles provided, but team clothing, an item which frequently was not le col. does this situation ever grate slightly when yanto has to wear a competitor's product, such as last year with raleigh?

"In answer to the question, yes, but perhaps not for the reasons you would think. What makes Le Col excellent in my opinion, is an unrelenting desire to improve it and an unwillingness to accept anything less than excellence. I would be frustrated with anything that I thought was substandard, and for that reason alone. I'd find that irritating, but not because it was another brand."

le col

and that extended career that threatens to rival the original period of racing. in how many more seasons does he plan on participating?

"This one!"

le col has become one of those little guys that manages to punch well above its weight, a fact that owes pretty much everything to yanto barker. despite possessing only a fraction of the budget of the so-called 'big boys', he has stoicly resisted any desire to 'pile 'em high and sell 'em low.' whatever else le col might have in its favour, based on personal experience, quality and attention are most definitely front and centre. in the five years of its existence, has le col become more successful than yanto had expected, or are things running pretty much to plan?

le col

"Well, I am supremely ambitious so I would always say it's well behind where I want it to be, or more importantly where I think it could be. I use that to keep driving on. Quietly on special days, I allow myself a little contemplation to see where we came from and how far a young Welsh lad growing up in Devon with zero qualifications, no experience in fashion, manufacturing, retail, brand, marketing or pretty much anything commercial, has managed to get. Where Le Col is right now, is more testament to pure determination as opposed to skill.
"There is a long way to go yet though!"

it may seem a tad iniquitous to continue harping on about le col being one of the smaller players on the parcours. that is perhaps more evident to those of us on the outside looking in, than for those in the thick of it. however, looking at the bigger picture, does yanto ever find it difficult to keep up with his larger competitors?

le col

"That's a good question and most people would probably think it to be true. But what we lack in marketing budget, can be made up for with ideas. To come up with a wealth of good ideas can ultimately allow you to compete with the big boys, and even win. Essentially every piece of kit we sell is a victory over the bigger brands, because we're still so comparatively small. In this respect, we're winning all the time!
"That proves it can be done. Now we just need to keep doing more and doing it better. That in itself, is a never ending challenge, but being a competitive athlete, it's one i thoroughly enjoy."

though we'd perhaps like to think of ourselves as one nation under a groove, scratch the surface a smidgeon and underneath you'll find a number of both compatible and incompatible components. many amateur cyclists are happy to dip in and out of the various disciplines; many roadies own a mountain bike, though perhaps fewer offroaders have skinny wheels and bendy bars in the shed. at the sharp end of things, however, things are, while not divisive, possibly a bit more sepcialised. thus, while several clothing manufacturers do offer both road and mtb ranges, they tend to be classified in separate parts of the catalogue.

le col

currently, le col has both cleats firmly on the road side of things, but are there any plans to take a look at the offroad market? "Yes. And all sorts of other products, but all in good time. Better that we take our time get it right, than rush along having to go back and correct decisions at a later date. That would be expensive and we can't afford to make mistakes."

harking back to yanto's earlier contention that le col has a smaller marketing budget, and perhaps by inference, research and development pennies than at least some of their competitors, is the latter section of the business solely in the hands of yanto himself, or is there a whole host of boffins in lycra scurrying in the background?

le col

"Nowadays there are quite a few people who contribute to what you see being produced from Le col. One of the main means of technical input is a whole team of riders looking to be the best they can, always offering helpful and constructive feedback. plus we now have a marketing department with both visual and aesthetic input to the product you see on our website and in cycle shops. It's not that I'm on an ego trip. I'm not responsible for designing everything and I'm always happy to include good ideas offered by others where it makes sense."

though the washingmachinepost may not quite have taken on the mantle of seasonal predictability, there's no denying that many of the major publications run to an annual timetable. come summer, we'll be reading tips on completing your first century ride or sportive. around christmas there will be plenty of advice on training camps abroad and slip back a month or two, there will be night light group tests. 'tis the way of the velocipedinal world.

le col

apparel suppliers have their own timetables to which it has become necessary to adhere, along with a need to be at least a year ahead of the curve. as this interview progresses, it's more than likely yanto barker is alsready concerning himself with the products we'll be wearing towards the end of 2016. however, has he managed to avoid the annual spring/summer, autumn/winter release schedule, or is that something in which le col is happy to participate?

"Pretty much every company in cycling has to adhere to these buying periods. So much of the industry is set up around them. It's not just product release; there are trade and public shows, fairs, and other meetings that are all made possible to coincide with those schedules."

the element of surprise for an eager public is every bit as important as maintaining the same stance with deference to one's competitors. it's a fairly open secret that everybody buys everybody else's product just to keep tabs on the marketplace. let those secrets slip too early and there's always the possibility of being usurped by release date. bearing that in mind and recognising it's a cheeky question anyway, are there any interesting future le col developments he'd be willing to share?

"Lots of developments but none I would be able to speak about in detail. Lets just say there will always be both visual and technical developments"

yanto has assured me that when these arrive on the market, you'll be able to read about them here.

le col

tuesday 13 january 2015

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vulpine clothing ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

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synaptic cycles ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

tell them we sent you

quick mention for those intending to visit islay's shores on a bike during the summer. velo club d'ardbeg recommended coffee/tea stops - in no particular order.

club headquarters at the old kiln cafe, ardbeg distillery. excellent food as well as designer coffees with froth. the single malt is apparently just ginger peachy. open monday to saturday from easter to september, seven days from june to september.

debbie's cafe

bruichladdich mini market (debbie's cafe), a few hundred yards from the distillery. highly commended designer coffees with outside tables. we like. open all year round with a cycling wall in the coffee corner.

welcometogreatcoffee.co.uk

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as always, if you have any comments, please feel free to e-mail and thanks for reading.

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.......................................................................................................................................................................................................... thewashingmachinepost

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book reviews

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