thewashingmachinepost




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cycling.tv makes the jump

cycling.tv, road cycling coverage for the rest of us, and racing coverage that has happily accompanied my daily travail in the office, has surrendered its autonomy and become a part of jump tv, a canadian based internet tv channel broadcaster. jumptv isn't specifically a cycling, or even sports broadcaster, but g scott paterson, chairman and ceo of jumptv, said: "this acquisition is in line with our pursuit of exclusive, hard-to-find (?) and high-affinity internet video content. cycling is a global sport with a large and passionate international following. moreover, we are confident that, as part of jumptv, the world's top cycling races will be able to afford their worldwide fans the best in an online experience." which is corporate speak for 'lots of people watch it, so we decided to buy it.' it cost them £2.44 million.

i asked anthony mccrossan if this would mean we'd still have himself and brian smith on board. he said, 'acquired lock stock and two smoking barrels!†yes - you will have to put up with us...!

so cycling.tv gets more clout, and we get to keep two of the best cycling commentators on the planet.

you can read the long-winded jumptv press announcement here

posted on thursday 9 august

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skinny wheels are cool

apres velo

if you have the time or notion, you could trawl through the post archives to find the article i wrote many, many moons ago, questioning why it was that mountain bikers always seemed to get the 'cool' of the bike clothing. things like long sleeved t-shirts, baggy sweatshirts and grungy graphics.

watch any of the interviews with directeurs sportif or riders at the tour when they're not astride a bike, and formality reigns - neatly embroidered polo shirts and the occasional t-shirt, also with the corporate logo(s). no real surprise. sponsors need to get their money's worth at every opportunity, but not many of us have such sponsors and it would be nice to 'hang tough' while saying 'i'm a cyclist' without being too polite about it.

now i'm not discounting the softwear purveyed by prendas and rapha, but something to the left side of funky doesn't go amiss now and again. what i wasn't really expecting was that the very apparel would emanate from down under.

apres velo

apres velo are an australian clothing company based in sydney australia, and distributed to the world by the brand studio of pyrmont new south wales. they sent two items from their current range: a long sleeved fuel t-shirt and a short sleeved 'tour de gargantuans' shirt. each of them bears the apres velo logo on the left breast with the respective graphic emblazoned full size on the back.

as someone not averse to the occasional espresso, the fuel t-shirt hits the spot, but the cleverest bit, which you could almost have missed at first glance, is that the teaspoon has been replaced on the saucer with an allen key. there's a logo label sewn into the collar and the sizes that it is not, are carefully sewn over, leaving only the size relevant to that item. now that's attention to detail.

but it doesn't stop there: these aren't just plain t-shirts, but what used to be described as 'grandpa shirts' meaning that they have a button up collar. and the folks at apres velo must make their products watch youtube videos over dial-up, because the fabric is totally distressed, adding to the relaxed fit and the softness of the cotton. the two examples here are medium, and they size-up large - apres velojust the way you want them for a bit of apres velo slopping about. best worn with a rapha paul smith casquette with the peak turned up.

the short sleeve t-shirt sells at £24.95 ($39.95) while the long-sleeves arrive at £29.95 ($44.95) plus postage. if you'd like to buy (and i can see no reason not to) and have a look at the rest of the range, log on to cycling-planet.

oh, and the shirts came packed into a dark blue, apres velo emblazoned light weight shoulder bag and each bore a safety-pinned cloth label. i like it when a bit of thought goes into the packaging and labelling. it shows they care.

posted on thursday 9 august

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stop press (pixels)

debbie of debbie's cafe fame had a baby boy on tuesday evening 7 august - oliver duncan. mother and child doing fine. on behalf of velo club d'ardbeg, we'd like to welcome oliver to the peloton.

posted on wednesday 8 august

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rolling carbon comfort

mavic r-sys wheels

arriving in a nice large cardboard box last week, freshly picked from the mavic warehouse, was a pair of mavic's new r-sys wheels with unique tracomp concept. a new shiny pair of wheels always adds a new level of respectability to even ernesto's finest carbon fibre, but are they all show and no go? and why do i bother writing these teasers on the front page when all you want to do is click and read the article?

to find out the former and ignore the latter, read more here...

posted on tuesday 7 august

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clear plastic pockets

ideas tend to filter through slowly out here in never never land, and hundreds of you have probably been doing this since time immemorial, but it's new to me, it's really beautifully clever and i thought i'd let as many of you know as possible. i must point out that this is not my idea, but it did come from someone else with a record equipped colnago c50, so it carries a certain weight.

if you buy rapha gear, it usually comes packed in excellent clear plastic envelopes, which are way too good to throw away, but tend to sit in front of you hoping that an earth shattering use will present itself in a blinding flash. well, i'm not sure about the blinding flash, but the smaller envelopes (you wouldn't want to use the ones for their winter jerseys) make excellent waterproof containers for mobile phones, cameras, money or anything else that needs to stay dry on very wet rides. and the plastic envelope comfortably fits in the rear pocket of a cycle jersey. thank you rapha, once again.

why did i not find this out until part way through a very wet gran fondo? i have now retrieved all those plastic envelopes from the bottom of thewashingmachinepost wardrobe - because it's still raining.

posted on monday 6 august

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brian parra

cafe de colombia jersey

even on prendas' website, you only get to see a graphic of the new, and completely superb, cafe de colombia jersey, so i thought i'd go one better and provide a real picture of a real cyclist (allegedly) wearing the real jersey. size wise, it couldn't be better: i'm around 5' 11" and a bit on the slim side, so the jersey illustrated is a medium - you can perhaps gauge what size you'd need from this. the fabric feels slightly softer than your average jersey, but the best bit of all is, these jerseys are actually made in colombia. since this means they have been manufactured at altitude, a cafe de colombia will allow you to climb mountains you never thought possible. i am now changing my name to brian parra - well, ok, but i did think about it.

cost is £39.95 ($81.50/€59)

mick at prendas tells me that pablo wilches' (dfl cycle team) father rode for the cafe de colombia team, and prendas have been helping out pablo with a few bits and pieces this season, so as the saying goes - 'it's a small world, but i'd hate to hoover it'

retro posters t-shirts

and surreptitiously sneaked onto the prendas site, when no-one was looking, is a set of four t-shirts bearing facsimiles of vintage cycle posters from the horton collection featured in the best cycling book in the world 'cycling's golden age'.

available is the vuelta ciclista a tarragona (august 1948), 1935 world championships, velodromo comunale vigorelli (illustrated) and the vuelta ciclista cataluna. all printed onto gildan heavyweight cotton and in sizes from small to xxl. cost is a 'buy it now' £17.50 ($35/€26) with free postage in the uk.

posted on friday 4 august

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what's free about it?

mavic r-sys shimano freehub

it's an old old moan, but it's still a moan for all that. while the cycle industry has been rife with incompatibility for many a long year, most definitely to the detriment of its customers, the stupidity of such has been underlined over the last few wheel tests. why is it that shimano and campagnolo cannot get it together over their freehub splines?

along with the mavic r-sys wheels that arrived at washingmachinepost towers, came the inevitable instruction manual (surely we all read the manuals?) depicting the availability of a standard shimano freehub, a campag freehub and mavic m10 freehub to allow compatibility with their m10 campag cassette. there's even a spacer at the back of the standard shimano freehub that either remains in place or requires removal, depending on the sprockets you intend to fit. and all this before we're anywhere near fitting a set of tyres and tubes.

fulcrum, lightweight and campagnolo themselves offer both flavours of freehub as options, though chris king hubs and top british hubs from hope are only available with shimano style freehubs. and the latter, unlike their italian counterparts, are smug enough in their own importance to not offer a campag option at all on their own wheels.

in order to road test the lightweight ventoux and the brand new r-sys wheels on the campag equipped company colnago, i have obtained a campag compatible, shimano fitting cassette - a bit of a pain when i have two perfectly serviceable campagnolo cassettes in the workshop. both are quite at liberty to retain their own parallelogram settings, float or non-float top jockey wheels and sprocket spacing, but surely they could get together and agree to adopt one or t'other's spline design?

personally i prefer the campag version because the splines are chunkier and give the impression of being more robust, but both implementations seem to work just as well, so to be honest, i don't really care which one it is, and i'm sure most of us would be just as happy with either. just think: every wheel manufacturer in the world could make a hub that only has to bear one spline pattern, saving a small fortune in the process. and us velocipedinists (i just made that up) could sleep easy in the knowledge that if we changed affinity overnight, those frighteningly expensive carbon wheels would work just as well no matter what.

the only fly in the ointment that i can see is that it makes so much sense, it will never happen.

posted on thursday 2 august

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a mere three hundred times

phil deeker

oh happy days.

phil deeker, he of the 300 cols in 30 days, has finally completed his task, which rather puts into perspective my daily vision of watching touring cyclists wheeling their bikes up bowmore main street, instead of pedalling - the main street is certainly between 10-14 percent, but it's only a few hundred metres long. how many of us could cycle over an average of ten french mountains in one day, then wake up each morning and do it all a further twenty nine times? respect. (and he's only slightly younger than i am).

phil was riding to raise awareness and funds for the mines advisory group and was supported in his epic venture by rapha, torq foods and stonehenge cycles, amongst others. you can read more about phil's encounters on mag's website and donate towards the cause.

we are not worthy.

posted on tuesday 31 july

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a road to nowhere

m6 motorway

i have no wish to turn any part of thewashingmachinepost into a campaigning vehicle for the anti-car lobby, even if i have certain sympathies with the cause. but it becomes very hard to remain quiet when the costs involved with increased road use become almost the preserve of a monty python script.

despite concerted agreement from most of the world's governments that it might be a smart idea to try and limit the growth of personal motorised transport in the face of global warming, it's beginning to look like this is simply rhetoric, at least on the part of the british government. in order to improve the rail network in the uk, ticket prices are increasing: in other words, the passenger is being charged more to subsidise any projected improvement. road improvements, however, are being funded by the government. does that seem like a satisfactory way to persuade commuters to leave the car behind? and does it not seem like favouritism?

although cycle use in britain increased by five percent to 4.6 billion km last year, it still rather pales by comparison with germany's thirty billion kilometres. and as if to add insult to injury, the highways agency has admitted that widening around 85km of the m6 motorway will cost almost £400 per centimetre. this in comparison to 18 pence per centimetre for a cycle lane.

i was never very good at arithmetic at school, but something about all this doesn't add up.

posted on tuesday 31 july

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it's all we ask

alternative fuel

no apologies for this, but when checking for further details regarding the single speed cyclo cross championship (see below), i arrived at river city bicycles website. and aside from much of the usual info you would expect to find on a cycle store website, i found the excellent graphic shown and the message it contains.

i'm sure you've noticed that the post doesn't operate a not invented here policy so i'm quite happy to publicise such cleverness in the area of bike-use promotion. subject to suitable permissions being received, we think we might try emulating this as a poster, but with an islay background (well, it's quite handily available:-)

posted on monday 30 july

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gist where you need it

just a brief note to mention i am reliably informed that the gist clothing which i happily tested/reviewed during the london-paris ride, is now being stocked and sold by parker international mail order. just in case you were finding it hard to obtain.

this has been a public service announcement.

posted on monday 30 july

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the bicycle wins again

i almost feel like a train spotter, having spent most of the tour calculating how many points each bicycle marque has gained during the tour. since the yellow brick road has arrived at its conclusion in paris today, i can now get back to the day job and not concern myself with this anymore (well, at least until the vuelta).

interesting to note how different the winning bicycles are from the top teams in the overall standings, but both cannondale and colnago have undoubtedly benefitted by being ridden by more than one team (barloworld and liquigas; rabobank and milram). no points have been deducted for riders or teams expelled from the race, because as i mentioned last week, the bikes don't take drugs. and in case you missed the original posting, only the top six finishers were collated and points awarded on six for first down to one for sixth. it was fun while it lasted.

standings after final stage: 1. cannondale 60; 2. colnago 58; 3. specialized 47; 4. trek 40; 5. wilier 29; 6. cervelo 26; 7. bmc 25; 8. ridley 25; 9. look 23; 10. giant 20; 11. lapierre 18; 12= scott+pinarello 16; 14. time 12; 15. orbea 10; 16. b-twin 7; 17. mbk 4;

posted on sunday 29 july

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a really, really expensive bidon

taliah bidon

i may have railed at rapha for charging what seems like rather a lot of money for a bidon (even if it does have a pink nozzle), but if you fancy paying a bit more, new york artist taliah lempert may have just what you're looking for. having made some wonderful portraits of various bicycles over the years, taliah has recently dabbled with bidons, including this fine example from le tour.

the price for one of these works of art (there are variations on a theme available) is $300, several orders of magnitude higher than rapha's offering, but unlike the latter (no offence chaps) a bidon that is likely to appreciate in value as the years go by, rather than be thrown to the lions at the roadside as you prepare for the final sprint against boonen (or did i dream that?).

as always, painted bottles and taliah's bikes in oils can be had from bicyclepaintings.com. i only wish i had half her artistic skills

maybe we should acquire one for the cycle corner at debbie's

posted sunday 29 july 2007

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it's all in the pronunciation

solo gilet

during the many kilometres from london to paris last month, conversation between myself and a newfound cycling buddy, naturally covered numerous cycling related topics, including that of clothing. this was partly brought about by my wearing of the so1o st neith clement sur liť jersey. a rather fetching item of retro fashion, purporting to be the club jersey of a non-existent club (how appropriate, in my case). this conversation moseyed along to encompass the good old gilet, and the humorous fact that one of my companion's companions apparently insisted that the correct pronunciation was jillet as opposed to the more french sounding jeelay (the latter being correct, in case you were wondering).

well, here we are about twenty eight days further on and so1o have now released their own jillet to complement their rather tasty jerseys. doubtless the apparently untimely release is due to this being the antipodean winter (so1o are based in new zealand), though due to the coolness on this island at the moment, it is a garment that would not be out of place on sunny islay this weekend. arriving in three colours (red(ish), blue and white) the jillet bears a centre white band with a reflective so1o logo printed back and front, and reflective trim on the arm openings. handily, it also has a small zippered side pocket, and can be compressed small enough to fit in a rear pocket on any cycle jersey - (especially one from so1o:-).

cost is a very reasonable £41, ($75) and you can order online from solocc.com

posted saturday 28 july 2007

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

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