book review - bikie | book review - inside the peloton

book review - team on the run - the linda mccartney cycle team story by john deering

book review - the yellow jersey guide to the tour de france

book review - a century of the tour de france by jeremy whittle

thewashingmachinepost colnago c40hp review

book review: the official tour de france centennial 1903 - 2003

book review: flying scotsman - the graeme obree story

all that glitters…

i think i've probably mentioned this before, as i'm sure is bound to be the case over so many years, but since most of the cycle mags repeat themselves (lighting features anyone?) i don't feel too bad in revisiting a topic close to my bank account.
years and years ago, i used to be an avid mountain biker, though the poor muddy fox hasn't seen much daylight for many a long year - fed up getting muddy and riding tarmac on panaracer smokes (remember them?). anyway, one of the great/annoying things about mountain bikes was the endless list of must have anodized alloy bits that appeared in order to save weight, a seemingly lost cause when the bike ended up being covered in heavy, peaty mud, or in my case, something that could easily be achieved by a decent haircut.
anyway, the attraction of road bikes was the perception that once you'd bought the skinny tyred machine, that was pretty much it. now i know many a roadie for whom that is still the truth, so maybe this all says more about me than about the cycle trade. however, i can't be alone in having observed that there seem to be many, many more glitzy bits to adhere to the very latest white carbon fibre (?) frame.
i'm willing to bet that there are people out there reading this stuff that are actually rather good cyclists, the ones with the competitive edge, and the sort of folks who could seriously benefit from a featherweight carbon frame with as many gears as it's possible to have, spun on a carbon chainset and with a modicum of titanium bits. unfortunately, i'm not one of them, but if you're regular readers, you will know that the above is a pretty good description of what i'm currently riding.
admittedly there's a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction to be gained from riding something that would give the bank manager heart failure - if he knew that i'd spent it on a bike - and i don't think there's any real harm in owning such a machine even if you don't race. but of course, that's not the end of it.
if you've arrived at this page via the rather minimalist front page, you'll perhaps have taken note of the small picture of colnago's latest, displayed at all the recent, major cycle shows across the world. and the c50 appeared only a matter of months after i'd splashed out for a c40. but then i'm used to this sort of thing in the computer world. the very machine on which i type this is only a year old and already obsolete twice over. sure it still works, and because it's an apple, it still has style, much like the c40, but its no longer the latest thing on the block.
now if you've ever been to islay, you'll be aware that it isn't the style capital of the world, so perhaps unlike regions of italy, owning a c40 when the c50 is out and about is hardly seen as a crime against humanity. in fact i'm overly concerned to say that i was milling about wearing my colnago baseball (podium) cap, when a friend asked what the significance of the word colnago was. i respectfully answered their question but only after i'd flayed them alive and sentenced them to a week of reading procycling mags. if i rushed out and bought a c50, aside from death by spouse, nobody would notice.
and yet, if you're at all like myself, you eagerly await thursday for the comic at this time of year to see the very latest from the majors at prices that a porsche owner would blanche at, all the while trying to remember just what is the maximum limit on the credit cards.
for example, the roads around here have suffered from highly inconsistent repair, resurfacing, call it what you will. some roads are as smooth as formica, others only barely fit the description of what we would normally accept as being roads. and for this reason, i ride mavic/campag 32 spoke, three cross hand-builts which survive all this with nary a tweak. but campag have just introduced clincher versions of their hyperon carbon wheelset, and i really need a set of these. downside is that the sprint versions are just this side of a thousand pounds, and i doubt the former will be much cheaper. and have you noticed how prevalent carbon bars and stems are these days? you know i really need those too, even though the old style cinellis on the colnago superissimo are about seven years old and still as rigid as the day they were bought.
granted, i took the superissimo out last sunday - my winter bike's a colnago too - and there is a noticeable difference in stiffness, comfort and weight between it and the c40. so by implication, a c50, with fatter carbon tubes and an inch and an eighth headset (just to digress, does anyone know why we measure almost everything on our bikes in centimetres and grams yet headsets are still measured in inches and fractions thereof?) is bound to be even more so. and it's only three hundred pounds more than the c40. bargain.
so what i'm saying really is that either the world of skinny tyred bikes has followed that of the mountain bike world and acquired a sheen of superficiality that covers up some of the real progress being made, or i have merely transferred my failings from one branch of cycling to another.
and maybe it's not just cycling. have you seen the latest snare drums from drum workshop?

this website got its name because scotland's graeme obree built his championship winning 'old faithful' using bits from a defunct washing machine.

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. here's the link.

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 or

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, and imac computers, using adobe golive 6 and adobe photoshop 7. needless to say it is also best viewed on an apple macintosh computer.