how many of you out there read mountain bike magazines with any regularity? you will have noticed that my hand remained firmly in the down position, though i have previously confessed to reading 'singletrack' when i can get hold of it.
why am i asking? well, in my muddier days, when mbuk and mountain biker international were the order of the day, i remember that every issue had multiple bike tests. not only were we, as readers, regaled with several bikes that fitted into a somewhat arbitrary category (best mid-priced, best cheapos, best 'if you have to ask how much' etc), and many a feature on what the guys at the top were currently scurrying about on provided by an ever grateful bike sponsor.
and while this could become a bit repetitive after a while, at the very least us muddy readers were kept up to date with all that was good and new in the mtb world - top end as well as bottom.
enter the current world, where the interest is quite firmly placed on what the guys in the major tours and classics are placing their fit backsides on. what kind of shoes has lance got on his feat? and what kind of pedals are they clipped into? and what's this i hear about trek maybe having the audacity to provide armstrong with an oclv compact frame? and is it really true that campag are testing an electronic gruppo?
well, the above is all rhetorical because i know the answers to the lot, but i didn't pick it all up from the comic or its companion monthlies. agreed, some of the above has appeared in those mags, but what about the specialized roubaix? and why did they call it that when none of mario's stripey people were entered for the cobbled ride? it was first ridden at flanders. and did you know that dspite the preponderance of carbon and aluminium in the peloton, did you know that bjarn's boys were on steel for roubaix?
yes, i am indeed a total anorak when it comes to the minutiae of the modern cycle world and i doubt that i'm alone in this. granted it doesn't make a whole deal of difference to my regular vc port wemyss sunday ride, nor to my directeur sportif (quite happy on his coppi lombardy) but i like to know these things. yes, it may well be the cycling alternative to train spotting but, since there are no trains on islay, this'll have to do.
if you would like to know the same nonsense (did you know that lance used a 22 sprocket on the mountain stages of last year's tour) then it pays to scour the columns of leonard zinn's tech reports on velo news during the tour reports and almost every day throughout the year on cyclingnews.com (this has become a daily fix and heaven knows where i'd be without it).
but why are we not being provided with this sort of info in the likes of cycle sport, procycling or the comic?
cycle sport started a bike tech section at the rear of the magazine late a year or so ago and that is where the colnago c-40 story came from (and for all i know, 'we') crave. there is rarely an in depth test at all in cycle sport, and very rarely much about individual bikes ( a recent issue notwithstanding).
procycling has a regular bike test every month for which they are to be highly commended. these started off with washingmachinepost hero robert millar but, since he has disappeared from sight (and they refuse to tell me why), and tests are now conducted by either chris boardman or marcel wust.
but these are rarely the very latest cutting edge machinery as used by the top professionals in the peloton. and i'm not really looking for major tests of such, i just want t know what developments there are at the front end because that lets us know what might be just around the corner when next i take a trip to the colnago shop (this is purely hypothetical because there are no colnago shops on the island - more's the pity).
so, since i figure that this area of cycling is only being catered for by some of the specialist websites, i am going to do my best to bring updates on such trivia on thewashingmachinepost for the benefit of those who do not have the time to scour the cycling web for such highly important nonsense. so even those of you who don't really care that much (or at all) will have the same knowledge as us anoraks. can't promise photos because they're generally copyright.
after all, this is the information era.
incidentally, campagnolo are currently testing an electronic record gruppo on one of the saeco cannondale bikes and with some degree of success. the cervelo bike used by csc in paris roubaix - the prodigy - was constructed of steel, with a slightly longer top tube than normal in order to give a smoother ride than alu provides on the cobbles. and de rosa have produced a carbon rear triangled version of their steel corum. looks like steel might be on the way back. even the head tube and forward parts of the cervelo appear to have been chromed. how long since we've seen that sort of attention to detail?
the specialized roubaix is of chunky looking alu with a carbon rear triangle.
more when i find out:-)
on a slightly different note, my regular reader will have noted the addition of a 'colnago c40' rollover to the left. this contains a reprint of a recent article featured in cycle sport magazine, which they were very kind to let me present here (because i'm a colnago geek) i have also found an excellent review of the colnago c40hp here
i have been asked to add the following link to the post by wheelygoodcause. they're a cycling club dedicated to arranging epic rides for charity and do not charge charities for the pleasure. They ride because they want to, and the next ride takes them from st malo to biarittz and then across the raid pyrenees. so i have. and here it is.
Remember, you can still read the review of 'the dancing chain' the utterly excellent book on the history of the derailleur bicycle by clicking here
any of the books reviewed on the washing machine post can probably be purchased from amazon.co.uk or amazon.com
as always, if you have any comments on this nonsense, please feel free to e-mail and thanks for reading.
this column almost never appears in the dead tree version of the ileach but appears, regular as clockwork on this website every two weeks. (ok so i lied) sometimes there are bits added in between times, but it all adds to the excitement.
on a completely unrelated topic, ie nothing to do with bicycles, every aspect of the washing machine post was created on apple macintosh powerbook g4, ibook and imac computers, using adobe golive 5 and adobe photoshop 7. needless to say it is also best viewed on an apple macintosh computer.