every year, around early to mid october, depending on when memory kicks in, mrs washingmachinepost gathers the myriad ingredients to bake a christmas cake. i'm assuming that this cake has need of being baked this early in the year in order to allow the colossal amount of dried fruit to mature till it tastes perfect. it seems also that local tradition would require that a sozzling of single malt be applied at least a couple of times during this maturing process. despite the fact that i don't drink as a rule, and ambience of one of the local malts is not one easily ignored. even if i wanted to.
however, this marvellous delight is destined to be demolished only by yours truly. though neither of my kids were ever particularly interested in christmas cake when they stayed at home, now that they've both moved out, i am the sole consumer. mrs washingmachinepost demurs from even a small slice with her coffee.
i, on the other hand, have been known to make demands for another cake when the original begins to look sparse in the bottom of the cake tin around the end of february. every saturday and sunday morning, i cut an appropriately large chunk, caring not one whit for propriety or my place in polite company, wrapping it in cling-film and popping it in a rear pocket.
i would love to relate that my velocipedinal efforts of a morning are so exhaustive that i have need of pausing mid-ride to consume this tasty source of energy, but in truth it is mostly there to accompany a soya cappuccino after my double-egg roll for lunch. all that dried fruit, and in this case, a complete lack of icing (i don't like icing or marzipan) undoubtedly caters to over exertion and expenditure of multiple calories, but there's no denying it's not the easiest of victuals to eat in the middle of nowhere. which is why things like mule bars exist.
it would be seriously remiss to imagine that a company called mule bars offers only bars. the aptly named mule energy pack features not only five individual energy bars from the mule range, but a matching number of kicks energy gels and a couple of recovery protein bars that are pretty much double the size of each energy bar. slipped in amongst these inviting goodies is an energy guide, advising the recipient of nutritional niceties and building up to a specific event.
as can only be the case in such instances, i pretty much have to take it on spec that the contents of each bar and gel will appease my energy needs, for i have no scientific means of determining otherwise. however, it is a truism that no matter the goodness packed into every bar or gel, if it doesn't taste nice, nobody, least of all me, is going to eat it in the first place. that aspect of nutritional life was, in the first case, somethng of a two-sided coin.
once again i must protest that i'm not entirely sure that i expend sufficient energy on my regular 70-80km bike rides to need a mid-point refuelling stop, but there's every likelihood that i'm quite wrong about such matters. at any rate, expedition number one had one rear pocket filled with a lemon zinger gel and an eastern express energy bar, crammed, as the website states, with 'tasty pistachios, almonds, cashews & pumpkin seeds' augmented by 'a pinch of garam masala, salt, cayenne pepper & nigella seeds'. unfortunately, in at least a partial need for sustenance after my bike ride, this tasted horrible. happily, it's the only one of the five that elicited this response.
the lemon zinger gel was, on the contrary, rather tasty. and opening the top of the sachet in the wilderness was a lot easier than some i've tried, thanks to the partially pre-cut top. in fact, all the gels turned out to be peachy keen, even the cafe cortado which came as something of a surprise because i thought i'd packed the apple strudel flavour.
i'm not a fan of chocolate. i don't mind the odd square of plain or maybe the occasional tunnocks caramel wafer with my green tea in the evening, but for reasons i don't entirely comprehend, almost everybody's protein recovery bars feature chocolate as the principal constituent. purely in the interests of science and hunger, i grabbed the chocolate and date version direct from having stored the cielo in the bike shed.
thankfully, the chocolate flavour was remarkably veiled, though the crunchy bits didn't really taste like dates. however, other than the fact that i scarcely had sufficient energy to chew as hard as its constitution demanded, i scoffed the whole bar in mere minutes. i'd think that counts as a result.
given the wide variety of products and flavours available from mule bar, i'd recommend purchasing the very same energy pack as under review, to find out which of their products is most suitable to your needs and/or tastes. however, you'd need to be particularly difficult to please not to find more than just a few gels or energy bars to repeatedly fill at least one of those back pockets.
monday 26 january 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
you will be bored to tears by my continual referral to the shiny drum workshop kits sitting patiently in the spare room, waiting for fame and fortune to come calling. the smaller, twelve year-old jazz edition is resplendent in a natural maple finish, while the second, larger version which almost inadvertantly came into my possession, is mere months old. yet its finish ply is known as vintage marine pearl, reminiscent of those favoured by gene krupa, buddy rich, louis bellson et al. but of course, it is darned near brand new.
yet in those spare moments, when the interweb isn't looking, i spend the odd minute or two looking at bona fide vintage kits rather than those meticulously prepared in oxnard, california. despite obvious failings such as being less than perfectly round and occasionally less than pristine woodwork and internal varnishing, there's a cachet attached to vintage drums and cymbals that can only be visually replicated in the modern idiom. not everything deteriorates with age; the sound of vintage drums and cymbals is a grail constantly searched for nowadays.
oddly, however, and much to my national shame, the vintage kits and snares which i have been persuaded are the most sought after and thus on my hypothetical shopping list (as if i need more drums), are those from across the pond. yet there are perfectly good and beautifully sounding british drumsets which can be acquired for considerably less money.
i am not, however, naive enough to think that this state of affairs is exclusive to the percussive realm. despite acres and acres of carbon fibre on show in taiwan, london, freidrichshafen and las vegas, steel has resiliently refused to keel over and go away. in fact, rather than make every effort to discriminate between various levels of nano-fibres, more and more amongst the pelotonese are seeking out vintage bicycles, safe in the conviction that they made them to last in those days.
and in similar manner to that of the noisy stuff related above, much of the fascination with vintage is often concentrated around italiana with one or two ventures into the french realm. this despite the existence of iconic brands on this side of the channel such as raleigh, carlton, mercian and swinnerton, built with reynolds competition tubing and saddled with leather from smethwick. what an odd nation we often are.
i'd be the last to argue against the convenience of indexed shifting via the brake levers and ramp assisted shifting over all eleven sprockets. having been brought up in the tail end of the so-called vintage era, i still change down a gear or two before i need to, even though modern shifting systems will allow gear-changes even under pedalling pressure. it's now a chicken and egg situation; whether the appeal of rides such as l'eroica came prior to the fascination with yesterday's velocipedes is surely a matter for discussion at the coffee stop?
whichever is adjudged the priority, william alves and his wife carol have found great favour with the current predilection for days gone by. both dyed in the wool cyclists, they've spent most of their summers cycle-touring around europe with a tent and panniers, often favouring the french alps. "My wife Carol works for the Peak District National Park and as part of her tourism job, was asked to look at whether L'Eroica would work in the Peak District. So we developed the routes and when one of the original event organisers from Gaiole, Claudio Marinangeli, came to see what he thought of the countryside, we were asked if we could lend him a bike.
"That is when the idea for 'Glory Days' took off and I have been buying bikes since December 2012. I realised that people would need a steel vintage machine, so I started to acquire them."
i made mention of glory days recently when discussing the chiltern cycling festival and the chenies velo classique, both featuring the opportunity (or necessity) of riding pre-1987 steel bicycles. "We went to Gaiole in Tuscany to see L'Eroica and how the process worked there. Obviously it was a gamble to invest in buying bikes, but they can still be bought for the price of a top carbon saddle."
and saddles are every bit as important to the equation as lugged steel. while it's a bicycle component than remains mostly hidden from view while riding, you can imagine how unsavoury a sight it would be to view a peloton of vintage bicycles left against the cafe wall, seatposts topped with modern, plastic saddles. brooks leather is realistically the only appropriate solution.
"When the Eroica Britannia was confirmed as being in Bakewell, I contacted Brooks and asked them if they needed any bikes. They were bringing over journalists to cover the event and as the only person doing vintage bike hire, I had agreed to hire out 30 bikes. Finding the bikes was ok, but we had a slight panic just before June when Brooks gave us the sizes of the journalists who'd be riding the bikes."
though you'd be perfectly justified in being a tad miffed if your brand new campagnolo super record groupset played up while riding the uk's equivalent of the strada bianche, bicycles and components conceived and built prior to 1987 might not offer the same slickness of operation. in fact, there's a distinct possibility that compnentry of a certain age ought to be handled with kid gloves and treated with a degree of respect. sadly, having been even tangentially involved in bicycle hire here on islay, few hirers make that sort of thing their first priority. how did william's vintage cycles fare in this respect?
"We had several people other than the journalists renting bikes from us, and thanks to Dan my brilliant mechanic, we only had one mechanical issue with 40 bikes riding either 55 or 100 miles that weekend. Unfortunately, it's a fact of life that axle sizes and even rear dropouts varied quite a bit, so I now try and buy standard sizes. But often putting a new wheel on an old bike can involve work."
the glory days' bicycle fleet consists exclusively of british built steel bicycles (and why not?), yet the original l'eroica takes place of the limestone farm roads of italy. in order to preserve the connection and add a certain italian flavour to the british variations, you'd figure that riding elderly pinarellos, colnagos or battaglins would perhaps be an appropriate move.
"The Italian event is to celebrate the Chianti region, so I feel that L'Eroica Britannia should celebrate the Peak District, local food and drink and the amazing variety in frame builders of the 1960-80s.
"Carol had a custom frame built by Vernon Barker and last month he repaired a broken rear dropout on a Raleigh for us. He is in his eighties and still working. These steel bikes will last. And perhaps more practically, British bikes normally all have the same size threads and axles rather than the French and Italian vagaries.
"We buy local bikes, Swinnerton, Carlton, Mercian and Raleigh. The Holdsworth and Butlers come from London. We'll always try to be the best, so we now only have 531 or 501 tubed frames."
though sadly not of my origination, i've always thought that 'ride of the falling rain' is a particularly clever name for a bike ride. it's certainly a marketer's dream; if it's dry and sunny, it's a bit of a bonus; if it rains, well, we did tell you. however, we may have been usurped by a couple of the rides mentioned on the glory days website, namely the tour de frites and heroes, just for one day. aside from the joy of riding vintage bicycles, it would be worth riding both events for the names alone. whose idea were those?
"The 'Tour de Frites' is a great ride to the chip shop for great chips. 'Heroes Just For One Day'? Well it's image again. Most people are taking part because the image is great. It's surprising how many people aren't what we would call proper cyclists and don't realise how tough the event is. We want people to have a great day out, a mini adventure if you like. But to make sure they enjoy it, most of our bikes are ten or twelve speed and have puncture resistant tyres".
image, however, is everything. when sat aboard a vintage bicycle ridden at speed, dressing in a castelli gabba jacket and endura movistar shorts is unlikely to bring anything traditional to the party. in cases such as l'eroica britannia and the chiltern cycling festival it would verge on the impolite not to dress appropriately, preferably in itchy scratchy wool. even a brief perusal of the glory days website will alert you to the availability of said garments. were they an intrinsic part of the glory days strategy, or as a result of unrequited demand?
"We sold lots of vintage jerseys at last year's event and to be honest, see it as a bit of a sideline. Renting a bike, on the other hand, means at the end of the day we still have a bike, but we're aware that people want to look the part and are keen to buy suitable jerseys. The problem is finding vintage jerseys in larger sizes."
even in the world of retro, implicit contemporary pressures mean that standing still is often not the option we'd like it to be. though there may be others already offering a similar service to that of glory days, while several contemplate joining the fray, have william and carol considered future expansion or even the possibility of franchising their unique approach?"
"The whole of the retro scene is still expanding. Events such as L'Ancienne and Chenies will grow. We'll be going to Barcelona this year as well as the Retro Ronde in Belgium, meaning we'll be less dependent on just one day in June.
"We'd like to do more guided bike rides but currently it's a great hobby and we don't want to grow too big. By December last year all our bikes were already booked for June 2015 and we've had to find a few extra for returning customers. We have also lent bikes to 'VisitBritain' for film work and promotional videos."
so, just like the world of drumming, though there are many still happy to produce vintage style, yet modern products, for the true vintage experience it seems there's nothing like the real thing. which sort of makes sense really, for who would order a steven shand skinnymalinky and insist that he braze gear lever bosses at the top of the downtube?
sunday 25 january 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
"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.
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.
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.
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..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
friday 23 january 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
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.
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.
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.
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.
thursday 22 january 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
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.
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.
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?
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.
wednesday 21 january 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
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.
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.
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.
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.
tuesday 20 january 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................