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galloway cycling

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the mighty dave t's words of the week

the mighty dave t

"despite having an organic leg of liver for breakfast, i was still peckish at the ride's end."

©2017 the mighty dave t, is a prendas sponsored rider and le patron of the thoroughly decent fellows.


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this is cambridge

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prendas tutto scritti ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

not just for christmas

winter maintenance

i'm fully aware that the following is completely irrelevant to regular readers of thewashingmachinepost, fastidious as you are to the last man or woman in pre and post ride practices. not for us the welcome, warm shower on return from the sunday morning ride when the bicycle's welfare has first to be thought of. particularly in agricultural regions such as the hallowed isle, with roads liberally spread with belgian toothpaste, much of which seems intent on adhering to the shinier flavours of carbon fibre. we can't let that happen, now can we?

thankfully, the makers of shiny carbon fibre, particularly more recent versions of the stuff, have taken every care to ensure that the toothpaste cannot join forces with any internal cabling. this is managed by strategic placement of rubber grommets at cable entry and exit points. however, and you may have already spotted this, those grommets don't always do as they are bid, frequently making a bid for freedom along the external cabling still on view. it's not that the grit will unduly affect either standard or electric internally routed wires, but it sure as heck won't ease routine maintenance early next year.

you will be carrying out routine maintenance early next year, won't you?

i have theorised whether carbon fibre's true nature as a form of plastic may well give rise to static electricity during the course of a few kilometres. this would certainly explain why so much of the gloopy road covering makes its way onto the underside of the down tube and back of the seat tube. however, those better versed in the mores of attractive forces, assure me that i'm quite mistaken. i'm not so sure.

but to be honest, gritty gloop slathered over the bicycle frame is truly the least of our worries. spare a thought for that hard-working chain, pretty much on a hiding to nothing due to its perennially thin coating of lubricant. and in this case thin is your watchword.

in his fitter days, an elderly gentleman, once resident on the isle, but now sadly demised, rode a sit-up-and-beg roadster for his every transportational need. i cannot for one moment level any criticism in his direction for leaving the chain unsullied by suitable lubricant, but unfortunately he was not at all in the habit of cleaning it prior to adding one more dose. every time the chain began to squeak, he'd apply yet another layer of three-in-one oil. this meant that, when time came to have the bicycle serviced, apart from the many other iniquities the bicycle displayed, it was impossible to discern even a single link on that muck-encrusted chain.

if the foregoing is insufficient to shame you into attacking your eleven-speed bicycle chain with an old toothbrush and a can of wd40, perhaps i might issue a further world of warning. while valiantly attempting (and subsequently succeeding) to complete rapha's 2011 festive 500, in the habit of cleaning the chain after each day's ride, i discovered a crack in one of the sideplates. your challenge may keep you a tad closer to home, but many of my festive routes perambulate perilously close to the middle of nowhere, probably one of the least desirable places in which to suffer a broken chain.

consider yourself warned.

dividing 500 by eight offers a daily distance of approximately 62.5 kilometres. factor in a new year's day bike ride and it may well be prudent to check each and every moving part prior to commencing this festive cycling marathon, particularly the electrical bits if you have such fitted to your bicycle(s). though we are all well practised in the art of replacing an inner-tube at the roadside and can easily see the beginnings of a worn gear or brake wire, i for one would be left flailing in the dark if the electrics failed (i should point out that none of my bicycles features electronica. better the devil you know...)

if the very thought of attempting anything mechanical on your bicycle fills you with nervous dread, do the decent thing and pop it into your nearest bike shop and have it serviced. meanwhile, get hold of one of the more reputable bicycle maintenance manuals and familiarise yourself with some of the basics. i'm sure we've all heard of motorists whose recently serviced motor cars have failed only a matter of days after collecting from the service centre. a little bit of knowledge may well be a dangerous thing, but every now and again it can make the difference between cycling or walking (in cleated shoes).

as i said at the start, i realise that none of this is relevant to regular readers of the post, but i mention it in case some of your fellow peletonese are less well informed.

tuesday 12 december 2017

twmp ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
campagnolo

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rapha pro-team insulated jacket

rapha pro team insulated jacket

over the years, i have attempted to carefully craft a sustainable level of insouciance, one that borders on apparent indifference. even on the days when i am visibly struggling to keep up, i'd like to think that a) it doesn't look like that's the case or b) at any event, i could really care less. this goes way beyond appearing not to be trying when in fact i have black spots before my eyes and i'm breathing through my ears on the hills. i have long affected not to be one with any need to train, mostly because that's actually true; come the festive 500 i will deliberately avoid mentioning quite how long it has taken me to complete the distance.

rapha pro team insulated jacket

this carefully curated insouciant stance has, however, need of being skillfully consolidated. every aspect of my bicycle riding has to complete the effect. for instance, there's really no point in my asserting that the garmin sits on the handlebars merely for the clock, if i'm continually checking the numbers and it beeps at annoyingly frequent intervals. someone would twig sooner or later that all was not as innocent as it appeared. and every now and again, i take the specialized crux 'cross bike for road duties, just to ensure nobody thinks i'm trying too hard.

but then comes the question of suitable apparel. these are undoubtedly cold days, days on which it is pertinent to not only insulate the extremities, but pretty much all of the rest of me too. but that's a decision fraught with danger. hanging on the back of the bedroom door is a rapha brevet insulated jacket, a featherweight accoutrement that engenders cosy cycling in the face of sub-zero temperatures. the benefit of wearing that particular item of garmentage is that it is designed for less ferocious velocipedinal activity and thus can provide insulation without the need to appear to push the envelope, so to speak.

rapha pro team insulated jacket

but what of those who do have need of gaining an improvement of speed over the course of a weekend? granted there's the new-fangled zwift where you can pretend you're riding on a fictitious, summer-blessed isle instead of in the garage. but i'm banking on you having a great deal more mettle and character than required by indoor electronica and have the temerity to venture outdoors no matter the ambient temeperature. without wishing to undermine the quality of the aforementioned brevet jacket, it really wasn't built for unadorned speed.

rapha pro team insulated jacket

and that is precisely where rapha's latest insulation enters the fray. comfortably residing under the pro-team heading on rapha's website, the insulated jacket fulfils every aspect we have come to expect from a range of clothing initially developed with team sky. admirably, it is built of such gossamer constitution that scrunching it into a ball and stuffing it into a rear jersey pocket is a realistic proposition. however, featuring polartec's alpha insulation, the jacket is scarily close-fitting, highly windproof, amazingly breathable and pretty darned impressive at repelling hailstones.

the insulation resembles that of the recently reviewed long-sleeve pro-team baselayer; all fluffy and waffle-patterned. in fact, on days when the temperature hovers on the plus side of zero, matching the jacket with said baselayer is a more than practical option. however, on those days when minus six windchill ruled, a thin(ish) jersey underneath didn't disappoint.

rapha pro team insulated jacket

unlike many another stowable jacket, there are not only the mandatory three rear pockets, but a fourth, zipped security edition for coffee money. rapha have specifically aimed this jacket at those with speedier needs than yours truly, but in point of fact, wearing it means only that my hard-won indifference merely has to work a tad harder, lest anyone think i have dave brailsford on speed-dial.

however, while i have frequently paid tribute to the impeccable fit of rapha's clothing, i did find a couple of minor issues with the insulated jacket. it's no secret that the pro-team range is designed for the more svelte figure, but i cannot deny that fastening that full-length front zip at the bottom, was more onerous than usual. lest you think i may have had too many mince pies of late, my other pro-team apparel in the wardrobe displays no such awkwardness. and when it comes to getting the jacket on in the first place, the cuffs seem unnecessarily restrictive. this part of the equation has to be approached with care and hands squeezed as narrowly as possible.

rapha pro team insulated jacket

i can readily understand the need to keep chills at bay by providing close-fitting cuffs, but i think they may have erred just a smidgeon too close to the edge in this case. one or two others have remarked of a shortness in length of the sleeves, but i think this may be regarded as a feature not a bug, avoiding any potential conflict between gloves and cuffs.

for those of you with an unabashed need for speed, the pro-team insulated jacket can be thought of as something of a necessity, particularly if you plan on dispensing with those festive 500 kilometres in record time, no matter the elements with which you are presented.

rapha's pro-team insulated jacket is available in dark navy (as reviewed), rich burgundy or light blue. if you live in particularly agricultural surroundings (as i do), i'd think twice about ordering the latter. it can be purchased in sizes ranging from xs to xl at an rrp of £160. there is also a rapha cycle club specific version available.

rapha pro-team insulated jacket

monday 11 december 2017

twmp ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
rapha travel ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

mavic yksion pro ust tubeless tyres

mavic yksion pro tubeless tyres

a rule of thumb when defining the quality of a road bike was often simply to take a look at the fitted tyres. quality usually arrived with name brand, 700 x 23c affixed to at least moderate quality wheels. if the rubber featured more of a tread pattern, amber sidewall and 25c cross-section, fewer numbers on the price tag would indicate a more economic choice could be made. in the absence of any collateral evidence, this disparity in tyre widths seemed mostly to rest upon an ancient myth, one that could easily be categorised under the heading 'old wives' tales'.

though i'm pretty sure i've mentioned the following on more than just one occasion, at the time of gracefully accommodating the velocipedinal way, it was understood that, the narrower the tyre, the faster you'd go for the same input of energy. i have no earthly idea who may have decreed as such, but that was my understanding and also that of others just as seriously misguided.

more recent investigations, however, have totally undermined this mass misapprehension, to the extent that the serious roadie ought now to be discarding any bicycle wearing less than 28mm tyres. gerard vroomen's recently introduced single chainring bicycle offers sufficient clearance for up to 30mm tyres, those extra few millimetres allegedly allowing greater speed than hitherto understood, often accompanied by a welcome and improved degree of comfort.

for the average road-going cyclist, it seems therefore that everything we knew is wrong, learned just in time to make the subject of choice even more complex that we already thought it was. apart from deciding which gps unit best suits our strava aspirations and whether the display of watts on our handlebars is a necessary accoutrement to modernity, now we are only a smidgeon behind formula one in having to choose tyre width, tyre tread and now whether to go tubed or tubeless.

we'll leave tubulars to the professionals for now.

mavic yksion pro tubeless tyres

the standard clincher that's been around for decades needs no real introduction. pop in an inner tube, inflate to the desired pressure and cav's your uncle. and then there's tubeless, a class of tyre that has gained a dramatic increase in popularity over recent years, with more major manufacturers offering road-going models every few months. of course, these can't simply be fitted to any set of wheels; there is a compulsory need for rims that are compatible with this style of tyre. and now it's mavic's turn.

available in two widths - 25mm and 28mm - their minimal packaging would have you believe that, unless you simultaneously purchased a set of mavic wheels at the same time, the yksion pro ust are all but useless. that, however, can simply be placed at the foot of some slightly misleading marketing, for the instruction booklet subsequently advises that you need only have tubeless compatible rims. in my case, i placed the 28mm version on a pair of derek mclay's excellent wheelsmith ascent tubeless-ready wheels.

it seems a bit odd that, having purchased a pair of mavic tubeless tyres, they do not arrive with the presta valve stub required to have them inflate. granted, providing a couple of valves every time you buy new tyres might seem a tad redundant, but there's nothing on the packaging to advise that such valves might be required in the first place. and though the website and booklet advise inserting 30mm of tyre sealant, there's no indication that mavic make such a product (they do).

the easiest means of seating any tubeless tyre is to liberally spread washing up liquid along the bead and assuming you have now obtained appropriate valves, inflating requires only a couple of powerful pushes on the track pump to seat the edge of the tyre, then proceed as you would with a regular tyre. having checked that both tyres seated and inflated correctly, i deflated both, unscrewed the valve core (for which you'll need an appropriate tool) and dripped 30ml of sealant inside before re-inflating.

it should be pointed out that the foregoing is applicable to all tubeless tyres and any apparent iniquities experienced are not exclusive to mavic.

i confess that my previous experience of tubeless tyres had me initially concerned that the tyres would blow off the rims anytime the bicycle experienced less than pristine surfaces. of course, we all know that to be yet another old wives' tale, verified by the fact that i made every effort to have it happen, just to prove me right.

i was wrong.

mavic yksion pro tubeless tyres

the minimal tread on the yksion pros places more rubber on the road which i think is always a good thing and so far i've experienced no apparent loss of traction even on wet and gritty uphill surfaces. it's hard to tell whether the almost frictionless roll downhill is due to superior bearings in the wheelsmith hubs, or the reputed lowered rolling resistance of the yksion tyres. it's probably a bit of both. tubeless do offer an attractively saleable noise as they roll across any nearby road surface, not quite as desirable as that produced by bona-fide tubular tyres, but definitely more approachable than that of your average clincher with an inner tube.

so far, i've only managed a few hundred kilometres on the yksions, a less than meaningful distance on rubber that's probably designed to field a few thousand before needing replaced. however, they are quite impressive, particularly in respect of their cornering ability. an unexpectedly proximitous meeting with a rather large audi while descending, resulted in the sort of manoeuvre that would usually be accompanied by a 'don't try this at home' admonishment. the resilience of the tyres undoubtedly prevented my having 'vorsprung durch technik' heavily imprinted on one leg of my bibtights.

since the tyres are fitted to a yet to be reviewed ritchey logic steel frameset, there will be more about these sooner rather than later, but it's definitely looking good so far.

mavic's yksion pro ust tubeless tyres are available as 700 x25c or 700 x 28c versions and retail at an rrp of £52 each.

mavic yksion ust tubeless tyres

sunday 10 december 2017

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wheelsmith ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

onwards and upwards

britians greatest cycling climbs - simon warren

believe it or not, i have a higher certificate in physics, something that's probably as much of a surprise to you as it was to me. to place this achievement in some sort of perspective, i've a feeling i should probably have been awarded a nobel prize for instigating a whole new light on the subject, because i'm pretty sure i had little or no idea regarding the questions i was answering.

there may have been a full moon that night.

however, no matter how much i can recall of the lessons preceding this momentous occasion, i do not recall being taught one of the facts that i now find myself observing time and time again. and before you accuse me of unsubstantiated theorising, i might point out that i have it on good evidence that others have made similar observations, particularly during the sunday morning bike ride.

it is perhaps a tautological statement to point out that gravity acts upon any earthbound solid object. this relates to the earth's mass and its rotational forces, the combination of which conspires to keep us firmly rooted to the ground and without which, we'd all float off into space. if evidence were required to qualify this statement, witness the amount of thrust required by nasa's rockets to have them break free of this invisible force and escape earth's gravitational field and reach outer space. but the existence of gravity as originally observed by sir isaac newton, with the help of an apple or two, is not that which i wish to make plain in this discussion.

100 climbs bealach na ba poster

my son, who began cycling with the velo club peloton around a year ago, has now acclimatised himself to the vicissitudes of skinny tyres and bendy bars and unceremoniously leaves his struggling father quite some distance behind on any climb you care to mention. although aided and abetted by riding the incredible lightness of being that was the campagnolo-equipped sarto on this year's hot chillee london to paris ride, i rather thought my ascending abilities were quite impressive for an old has-been. yet try as i might (and believe me, my paternal trying has been quite exhaustive), the back wheel of his colnago never gets any nearer.

this has led to the hitherto unpublished observation, which is now so obvious it's really a wonder it has not been previously brought to my attention, that gravity quite plainly acts with greater retarding force upon older cyclists. think about it; how many youngsters in your peloton display the annoying habit of leaving you struggling in their wake on the hills? lest you think this is simply yet another example of an age-related diminution of power, when faced by a galeforce headwind, my son struggles greatly to hang onto my back wheel for any appreciable distance.

therefore, it has to be the gravity thing.

but in the scientific milieu, one can scarcely make such grand accusations against one of the forces of nature without suitable corroboration. it did not take a great deal of research to happen upon the ideal corroborator: simon warren. simon is famous not only for his highly recommended series of 100 climbs books, but for an admirable ability to continue commentating on any one of those climbs while actually riding his bicycle towards the top.

100 climbs hardknott pass poster

obviously, mr warren is still easily able to ascend any climb of his choosing with graceful aplomb, but what i'd need to know is whether he has noticed any appreciable slowing of his ascendancies between volume one of 100 climbs and the most recently published? however, a sample of two may not be sufficient to persuade the scientific authorities of the veracity of my claims. happily and quite coincidentally, simon has published a boxed set of some of his finest work, entitled britain's greatest cycling climbs, so what i propose is something similar to the principles of crowd-funding.

i can't promise you a share of my inevitable nobel prize for physics, but i'm sure even a small smidgeon of assistance will generate a warm, fuzzy feeling in all those who choose to help.

the process is this: you ask your nearest and dearest for the 100 climbs boxed set for christmas and early in the new year, set out to climb as many as possible, all the while observing the possibly unfair actions of gravity upon your ability to reach the summits. we'll pool the results, then publish the findings in gravity weekly.

it will then be a waiting game, along with my composing an acceptance speech, until the much anticipated honour is bestowed.

you know i'm right.

the boxed set of 'britain's greatest cycling climbs' has a recommended retail price of £50, but i doubt it's givig away too many secrets to state that it can be purchased for more than a few pounds less from your favourite a to z online store don't think of it as an expense, think of it as your own small, but essential contribution to science. the two posters illustrated above created in the style of the much-loved vintage railway posters, are also available from 100climbs.com shop at £17.50 each

saturday 9 december 2017

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rouleur magazine ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

an empty house

rich roat 1965-2017

in my latter years at secondary school, i joined the drama society, not because i harboured any thespian aspirations, but to keep out of the public gaze, backstage. employment in this area began with designing and subsequently painting the scenery flats, a time-consuming task due to there often being more than a single stage setting for each play. that work completed, it was a case of knuckling down to what i believe was referred to as stage management; ensuring that each actor took the stage just when they ought, cueing any musical accompaniment and making any banging noises that might be featured in the script.

keeping out of the limelight didn't end there, however. there were still posters to be designed and distributed around the school and town, as well as the particularly onerous task of ensuring all names on the programme were spelled correctly. granted, those of us responsible for the smooth running of each drama did not receive the approbation of a hopefully delighted audience, but could rest on the laurels of a job well done. all that, before it was time to dismantle and store the scenery and props for the next production.

on reaching my college years, i became particularly intrigued by the ministrations involved in typesetting, from letterpress to litho, delving ever deeper into the descenders, bowls, kerning and leading of a variety of typefaces. careful consideration of all the above factors hopefully led to legible and readable text without the reader ever becoming aware of the stage management that brought it to their inattention in the first place.

though computers were conspicuous by their absence in the graphics department of the day, subsequent acquaintance with electronica and dependent software allowed rudimentary attempts at font design. unfortunately and much to my embarrassment, much of this so-called research and development took place in the heyday of david carson's raygun magazine, when typefaces were not only very much in-your-face, but carried more than a soupcon of illegibility within their postscript outlines.

blame david carson.

it cannot be an easy or lucrative life as a type designer. despite the existence of software to take care of the more arcane aspects of digital creation, professional typefaces rarely arise overnight. ever since the advent of the apple mac classic and the subsequent creation of desktop publishing, the number of fonts available to the average typesetter or graphic designer has increased exponentially, not always to the benefit of those involved in their use or those reading the results.

however, aside from the traditional typefaces such as times new roman, adobe caslon, baskerville and helvetica, many smaller digital foundries have brought stylish and quirky typefaces that still retain the required legibility, yet augmented with a contemporary flourish. one such foundry is delaware's house industries which, under the creative and tireless vision of rich roat has engendered a level of influence far in excess of its size.

to bring this feature just a bit closer to home, thewashingmachinepost text that appears at the top of your browser has been set in the house industries typeface, velo. in fact, after featuring this typeface on the post a few years ago, rich sent me that very graphic to adorn my black and yellow pixels. sadly, only a few days ago, rich roat suddenly died at the age of 52. i never met the man, though we had corresponded by e-mail on several occasions, having been initially introduced to each other by none other than richard sachs.

having produced steel bicycles painted red and white for many a long year, mr sachs had placed the redesign of his cyclocross bicycles and team kit in the hands of rich roat, attaching no conditions to the task, the superb results of which you will hopefully have already seen. rich roat was one of those larger than life fellows who was as absorbed by the bicycle as any of us and found the time not only to oversee the day to day running of house, but to fight fires, drive the fire engine and respond to more calls than any other as an active member of hockessin fire company, something he'd enthusiastically done for the last sixteen years.

those of you who have enjoyed the trials and tribulations of the richard sachs 'cross team in recent years and who have admired the stylish decor sported on those immaculate steel frames, will probably not have realised the debt owed to mr roat; precisely the way he'd have liked it. when i recently asked him why a type foundry was involved in sponsoring an east-american cyclocross team in the first place, he said,

"Our relationship with Richard Sachs and the team goes much deeper than a logo on a top tube, cyclocross, or bikes in general. It is a relationship fueled by trust and mutual respect, two things that are very hard to quantify in terms of money or return on investment. We take a back seat to the core supporters whose logos are on the front of the top tube - quite literally. Our logo goes on the seat tube, as it does on every Richard Sachs bicycle. That's a privilege and placement that we do not take lightly."

rich roat, it was a great pleasure to have known you, even if only from across the atlantic. rest in peace.

house industries

rich roat 1965-2017

friday 8 december 2017

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hot chillee ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

getting used to it being used

hiking

over the last decade or so, we have become used to the bi-annual cycle clothing release, a straightjacket (if you'll pardon the pun) in which the cycling apparel industry has wrapped itself, willingly or otherwise. as easter hoves into view, the inevitable e-mail arrives, announcing one or t'other spring/summer release of mostly desirable items that we all hope we'll be riding in just as soon as it becomes warm enough for short sleeves and bibshorts. that's usually a few months later round these here parts.

the procedure is repeated once again come autumn and winter, a time of year that can often be scarcely distinguished from summer north of the border. those long-sleeve jerseys, thermal bibtights and cosy jackets are welcomed with open arms by those who rarely, if ever, hang up their wheels during the colder months of the year.

so inured to these seasonal markers are we all, that they are now ingrained into the mindset of the average velocipedinist, with piggy banks carefully curated until spending can occur. it is then a matter of smug satisfaction to roll up for the sunday morning ride, immaculately dressed in the latest from castelli, rapha, assos, endura or others, preferably all at the same time. of course, what we might afford a favourable reception, has probably created, aside from an increase in annual profits for the above mentioned purveyors, a rod for the backs of their clothing designers.

while technological development continues apace (see yesterday's article, for example), it rarely does so in perfect tune with those two annual clothing releases. finding new colours, new shapes, new anniversaries to commemorate and new places to put stripes, hoops or dart-shaped panels is undoubtedly becoming a harder ask. even the bona-fide retro market, as well-served by prendas, to name but one, has a finite treasure trove to mine. wearing a del tongo colnago jersey or a replica team z edition will never get old (if you will, once again, forgive the pun); even the cuboid complexities of the iconic mapei jersey design has risen to more-than-desirable status.

and well it should, but the archive isn't limitless.

but, and you'd better believe that they do exist, from where do the trend gurus and fashion consultants see the next wave arriving? will we still be wearing essentially the same garments for the foreseeable future, printed with the latest in dye-sublimation allowing us to either blend in with our surroundings, or pop out like a compact and bijou nuclear explosion? or will the trend for expensively ripped jeans infiltrate the shorts and tights portion of the catalogue, the carefully torn lycra accurately replicating the slings and arrows of discontent suffered by djamolidin abdujaparov on the champs elysées, or perhaps those endured by richie porte during this year's tour.

assuming there to be extant photographic evidence, adopting this particular train of thought probably offers the astute designer an endless mine of irrelevancy.

but perhaps cycling will follow the current trend rapidly taking over men's fashion. here, the second-hand walking jacket has become an object of desire, one which seems to currently favour those with a tad more money than sense. to offer an example of such unbridled and possibly misplaced excess, a north face supreme x jacket can realise up to £4.500 for those who may have just such an item hanging in the outdoor wardrobe. i cannot deny that i was once offered a considerably smaller amount of cash for my pink rapha mortirolo jersey. (i declined; it is still very much in my possession.) but it never became an identifiable trend.

granted, the pictorial evidence i have seen of those wearing technical outdoor jackets in faux urban settings are not for the faint-hearted nor for those who possess an acutely barbed and wicked sense of humour. i like to think that members of the world peloton are of a more prudent, sedate and conservative hue when time comes to choose garmentage designed for unbridled velocipedinal activity, but recollections of that polti jersey, really don't help my case at all.

perhaps, just round the corner, there's the latest and greatest awaiting release upon an expectant pelotonese, fit and honed individuals with eager piggy banks particularly keen to demonstrate that this truly is the beautiful sport. however, you would be well advised to keep your eyes on next years catwalks for stick thin models parading in lycra and sportwool.

after all, there's more than one meaning to the phrase "being left behind'.

thursday 7 december 2017

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sugar wheelworks ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

the emperor's new clothes

nanofabrics

i'm well aware that the rest of the velo club peloton have occasion to snigger at my use of the garmin attached to my handlebars and to be honest, they may be justified in their mirth. while the plethora of numbers aimed in my direction doubtless have my best interests at heart, to be perfectly honest, i don't really pay a great deal of attention.

some of this is due to the angle at which the unit is set, reflecting as it does, rather too much of the sky above. yes, it's my fault and yes, i ought to have taken care of this misdemeanour on return from the sunday ride. but, you know what it's like; the world is full of best intentions. aside from that, there is the perennial eyesight deterioration that afflicts the elderly and infirm, meaning that even were i interested in those numbers, 'twould be a bit of a strain to discern the unimportant.

nanofabrics

in the bottom right corner, i have set the device to display the gradient of any ascent or descent on which i may inadvertently find myself, but to be quite honest, that part of the display is very hard to view, when in the throes of one's finest marco pantani impersonation. in the light of the approaching chills of the season, i do intend to alter that setting to show the temperature, but then we're once more back to those good intentions.

as a fully paid up member of the luddite society, i remain an adherent of the mechanical groupset. not for me the (more) expensive complexities and iniquities of electronica, even though my contention that it's a solution looking for a problem has begun to wear rather thin of late. the sole wireless solution is one that keeps me awake at night with its unfettered invasion of the ether. and the only reason that i have a garmin on the bicycle at all, is my predilection not to wear a watch. no matter what, one still has to plan suitable froth supping time.

nanofabrics

yet well do i know that technology is not going to hang about in its indolence while i come to terms with modernity. boffins have needs too, just the same as the rest of us and are hard at work in their dust-free environments inventing more stuff that marketing will have to convince us we don't just want, but need. and it seems that the latest buzzword on the periphery is nanofabric, woven threads that can take care of all manner of essentially useless metrics which, back in the day, we'd have referred to as gimmicks.

but, along with strava, zwift and the almost ubiquitous powermeter, velocipedinal society's voracious appetite for a constant stream of new along with a quantity of numerical information that would have left many a schoolchild in distress, seems perfectly accepting of a situation that is the total antithesis of a once common reason for riding a bike in the first place. heroes such as graeme obree have paid testament to the power of the bicycle in offering a means of escape from the humdrum, yet here we are, apparently intent on cementing ourselves to the clothed internet of things through increased connectivity to the world we once wished to leave behind.

i'm more than well aware that currently (see what i did there?) all this remains the subject of choice; if i don't like it, there's no need to become involved. but encroachment is rarely respectful of past sensibilities. just ask yourself how dependent you now are on the smartphone in your pocket or handbag. who saw that one coming?

nanofabrics

thankfully there are those in positions of influence who, even if they don't share my luddite tendencies, have adopted a perspicacious view of reality. gents such as my friend james lamont, senior vice-president of innovation and research and development with fu hsun, supplier of fabrics to the world's major sportwear brands for more than fifty years. though astute enough not to ignore what might be an important future trend, he figures that there is no desperate desire on behalf of consumers (that's you, but maybe not me) for connected fabrics. nor does he believe there is any present stand-out product that might fuel such a demand.

so, for the time being at least, star trek and star wars are the (fictional) guardians of this alternative universe. but if and when it arrives, remember where you were told to ignore it first.

fu hsun

wednesday 6 december 2017

twmp ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
wabi woolens ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

tutto scritto

prendas tutto scritti

as 'tis the season of goodwill, i'm banking on your leniency to once more allow me to regale you with the intricacies of the percussive realm. one day, these nuggets of wisdom may come in handy during the ubiquitous pub quiz; or then again, not.

while there is no wrong way to play drums, there are both hard and easier means of entertaining an audience while remaining immune to any vitriolic barbs from one's fellow musicians. let's briefly consider the two principal grips applied to the drumsticks, in short, traditional and matched. the latter is relatively self-explanatory as both sticks are held in similar fashion, akin to the grip utilised in grasping a hammer. and i well know a number of drummers who subsequently play their drumsets as if they were indeed, hammering a nail into a piece of hardwood.

such subject matter, however, is another discussion for another day on another blog.

traditional grip, simply put, is that displayed by drummers such as buddy rich, gene krupa, stewart copeland and vinnie colaiuta amongst others. it is also more or less endemic in the drum corps of the average pipe band. for the benefit of those who could care less, i will refrain from describing the minutiae, pivot points and finger placement, but suffice it to say, traditional grip evolved in the days when marching drums were not attached to a shoulder harness, but were slung from a strap that had the drum hang at an angle.

having spent thirteen years as lead drummer in islay pipe band, the option to hold the left stick in any other manner was really not a viable option. though there is nowadays no pragmatic reason not to play matched grip, for reasons of tradition and uniformity, it's a grip rarely encouraged. thus when time came to cheerfully avoid the skirl of the bagpipes and play more conventional jazz or rock-based percussion behind a tom-tom or two and a few cymbals, it should have been a no brainer to leave behind the constraints of the marching dogma and start hitting stuff with matched grip.

prendas tutto scritti

but i like both grips and often switch between one and t'other depending on what it is i have to play. and when it comes to tuning a drumset, unlike almost every other musical instrument on the planet, there is no single means of doing so. tune the heads board tight, choose the middle-way, or have them loose or flappy; once again, depending on the music to be played, there's no correct one-size-fits-all. i am in perennial discussion with myself as to which one i prefer; i even a own a few snare drums all tuned differently in case i change my mind during the gig.

thus, should there ever be a t-shirt decrying those who play traditional grip as being from the wimpier end of humanity, you will not find me wearing one. nor am i inclined to underline any perceived superiority gained from playing matched. and there really is little likelihood of my settling on a single preferred tuning.

prendas tutto scritti

as i leave you to ponder the relevance of the foregoing to the velocipedinal world we all know and love, let me attempt to answer the question for you. citing once again the percussive world, those of us enamoured with the playing of buddy rich frequently query why contemporary drummers are in need of so many more toms and cymbals?

the parity with cycling can be encapsulated in the phrase "if it was good enough for eddy...", often demonstrated by the wearing of a molteni arcore jersey. but eddy's era was one overflowing with archetypal hard men such as roger de vlaeminck (brooklyn), franco balmamion (carpano) and jacques anquetil (helyett/lerout), to name but a few, the replica jerseys of which many of us already own and wear, always taking into account that very few of us, if any, could equal the exploits of the originals.

prendas tutto scritti

rather obviously, despite the encroaching lowered temperatures that accompany the season of goodwill, it's a tad impractical to wear one's entire retro wardrobe during a single bike ride. and the problem becomes even greater when related to the simple act of dressing as a civilian in a world populated by velocipedinal philistines. gaining parity with one of those grey t-shirts that proudly displays, in bold lettering, buddy, gene, art, max, elvin, prendas ciclismo, in conjunction with santini, originators of many of the previously mentioned cycle jerseys, currently offer an admirable, monochrome tutto scritto t-shirt, emblazoned with the logos of many an historically revered cycle team. iconic names such as mapei, molteni arcore, team z, faema, peugeot, along with many others feature in a chest-height hoop across both front and back, attesting to the cognoscenti status possessed by its wearer.

also decorating this desirable garment and only a smidgeon away from its own iconic status is the prendas logo featured tastefully on the fabric. yet, as if that were scarcely sufficient to reinforce one's status within the world peloton, in a matter of days, a similarly decorated water bottle will arrive on the prendas shelves, eager to accompany its cotton counterpart. dare i suggest that both wrapped together in one package and suitably labelled, would be most appreciatively welcomed if sat carefully below a decorated and fully lit tree?

i think you know what i'm saying.

prendas tutto scritti t-shirt

tuesday 5 december 2017

twmp ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
chrome industries ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

limar helmets ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

showers pass ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

prendas ciclismo ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

specialized bicycles ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

green oil ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

endura cycle clothing ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

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

port mòr bistro. now that the original debbie's is run by her mum, aileen, debbie has taken over the catering franchise at port charlotte's port mòr centre, where you can have some of deb's famously wonderful coffee as well as a wide range of foodtsuffs. highly recommended.

braehouse gallery, portnahaven. sited at the entrance to portnahaven village, the gallery also offers takeway coffees and a range of cakes. there's also quite a wide range of photos, islay souvenirs and other desirable odds and bits. though you can't sit in for coffee and cake, there is a table and chairs outside along with an adjacent bicycle rack for parking.

and recently opened in islay house square, bridgend in the islay studios photo gallery, a fine selection of designer coffees are now available while you admire the surrounding imagery.

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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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