in 2008, i was fortunate enough to be sent a green brompton folding bicycle for review, my principal line of investigation being just how well (or otherwise) a pair of 20" wheels would fare across olivia newton john's country roads. after all, rural farm tracks are scarcely renowned for their billiard table flatness, while little wheels are not often commended for their parker knoll comfort during the rural commute, should such a thing exist in the first place.
i will readily admit that the bicycle's foldability really only came into its own when transporting the machine to and from its brompton residence, or when finding space in an over-full washingmachinepost bike shed.
taking bicycles on islay's buses is fraught with problems. many of the larger coaches truly have no space in which to fit even a folded brompton, while the drivers of the optares chosen for the regular daily duties of getting islay folks hither and thither across the island, rarely seem particularly enamoured of any cyclist boarding while carrying a minimally sized bicycle; prams and buggies are apparently fine, just not folding bikes.
however, this is hardly the scene of untold iniquity, for i can think of no-one on islay or jura in possession of a folding bicycle of any marque who feels regular need to complete part of their journey by bus. the majority of islanders look upon the native cyclists as veering heavily towards the eccentric end of humanity, with no particular desire to follow suit. and after yesterday morning's badass bike ride in pouring rain, who could argue with their point of view?
but even riders of small-wheeled folding bicycles fall into two distinct categories. there are those who think little of covering hundreds of kilometres on a brompton or the like, loaded with a myriad of household amenities in a set of panniers, intent only on seeing the great outdoors while simultaneously extending the spectrum of velocipedinal eccentricity. at the other end of the queue are those who commute by bicycle because it is the lesser or more economic of two evils, the inherent foldability meaning either that it can be easily carried aboard public transport and without creating an onerous storage problem on reaching the office. it's possible that the latter may convert to the former at some point across their differentiating trajectories, but that would simply be viewed as a bonus.
for a number of years now, the cycle trade has been tentatively welcoming the advent of the so-called e-bike, possibly the very form of transport designed to appeal to the commuter as defined above. whether constituted by way of pedal-assist or simply the equivalent of an electric vespa, the idea that at least a portion of the daily exertion could be alleviated by a horde of electrons may well seem a more than attractive proposition, always assuming there's a spare plug point behind the office waste paper bin.
i cannot deny that this continually reiterated portent of electric assistance as manna from heaven was beginning to wear a bit thin, particularly as far as its attraction to the average cyclist was concerned. surely the market best poised to increase this demand was that of the individual considering either a scooter or moped, rather than the man or woman with posters of prince bradley on the bedroom wall? not, it would seem, according to will butler adams, managing director of brompton, the very bicycle company about which we were engaged in conversation but a few moments ago.
despite the brompton's ubiquity amongst urban and city commuters as well as healthy representation amongst the touring fraternity, it appears that brompton's managing director regaled google employees earlier this year with his appraisal that the bicycle had scarcely changed since the early twentieth century and appeared to be going nowhere. of course, it's worth bearing in mind that butler-adams is managing director of a commercial business and probably more than attracted to an emerging market which is expected to be shifting around 24 billion units within the next ten years. the giveaway phrase was delivered after referencing the average cost of an e-bike in germany to be 2,500 euros "That delivers more revenue for the industry, more opportunity to develop materials science."
i spent a few hours aboard an electric bicycle a year or so ago, effectively a re-constituted mountain bike weighing close to 32kg. at that point you begin to consider how much of the electric assist is designed to overcome the weight of the electric assist? there's no doubt e-bikes are attractive to folks who would rarely consider a bike ride to be in their top ten to-do-list. but on the basis that many have stated their reluctance to ride a bike in urban or city landscapes due to the preponderance of motorised traffic, i reserve the right to remain cynical.
next thing you know, someone will say they've invented a driverless car.
monday 19 september 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
many years ago now, buoyed with the relative success of thewashingmachinepost and oblivious of the extra work i would have been heaping upon my daily existence, i had the wizard wheeze of perhaps adding a drumming blog to my to do list. much like evrything i plan, there was in fact, no plan whatsoever; it just seemed like a good idea at the time. just in case you're now on google, let me inform you that it never happened for more than just a single good reason.
firstly, my rather remote location has provided more than the occasional headache for delivering and returning bicycles sent for review; an entire drumset would probably have been more than a few centimetres beyond the pale. however, obstacles such as these can be filed under the heading of logistics and as such could perhaps have been overcome if the spirit (and the glasgow-islay carrier) had been willing. but the largest barrier to any of this happening in the first place had little or nothing to do with any perceived impracticalities, being more of a case of confidence.
or a lack thereof.
though i have been playing drums for well over forty years and at one time could have sight-read ink blots on the back of an envelope, there is an inherent fear that i am led to believe exists for all musicians at all different levels of ability. i can comfortably play ratamacues, paradiddles, mammy-daddy rolls, flams and a passable rolling triplet half-time shuffle, but what if i'm not doing them correctly? as long as i incorporate them into my playing without announcing previous intent, nobody will ever know. but if i commenced writing about them in public, my elders and betters might just point out the errors of my ways, if they could see through the tears of laughter.
so, for the time being and the foreseeable future, the world of percussion is safe from endless and meandering essays concerning limb independence and the value of precise co-ordination while executing an uptempo 9/8.
sadly, the world of the velocipede is not spared the same imposition. thankfully, there are fewer wrong ways to ride a bicycle and having repaired bicycles for a living not too far in the distant past, i am oblivious to any potential inaccuracies or misdirections to which i may have been party. however, when the conversation turns to the racing milieu, i am at a substantial disadvantage, having never once pinned a number to an array of rear pockets and no prospect of this changing in the future.
so, when one of britain's premier cycling apparel providers is kind enough to send a jersey specifically designed for those with competitor written on their foreheads, what is a hapless reviewer to do? in this particular case, i simply forcibly inhabited a verisimilitude of the task at hand.
cyclocross races are, by and large, conducted over a period of one hour, give or take a few minutes. since there is rarely any semblance of 'cross being a team event, the strategy from the outset is often to go as hard as possible for as long as possible, the replication of which formed the basis of my cunning plan. i have made mention on several occasions of a challenging 'cross parcours through the inner sanctum of bridgend woods and it was over this that i preached that which i am unable to practice.
those of you who are well-versed in the practicalities of competitive offroad pedalling will, of course be only too eager to point out that simply riding as fast as possible through the undergrowth hardly compares with real racing, a point with which i cannot but agree. however, necessity being the mother of invention, for almost an hour, i sped hither and thither across the network of paths that form the basis of many a pleasant walk through the former grounds of islay house when the lord of the manor was once resident.
unfortunately, a plethora of dog walkers eventually rained on my parade before the full hour was attained, but you can't have everything.
my circuit, such as it is, featured gravel, grass, mud and the amorphous substances that exist between each of the above states. it even interrupts strenuous pedalling with a more strenuous uphill path over which it is necessary to shoulder the specialized crux before muting one's exhaustion on a rather damp descent.
actual racing it definitely wasn't, but the closest i could get in order to examine the competitive propensities of rapha's long-sleeve race jersey. the fabulous sleeves of this jersey are more than worthy of comment, not least for their ability to cling tenaciously to each arm in a skinsuit sort of way. nowhere is this tenacity more graphically described when attempting to take the jersey off before clambering into the shower. however, the sleeve fabric is also quite noticeably dimpled, similar to the carbon rims of zipp's wheelsets.
i had initially considered this to offer some aerodynamic advantage (and perhaps it does), but even though my cyclocross speeds would cause the best of gps units to fall asleep at the wheel, those of a more professional constitution could hardly be said to be in need of an aerodynamic advantage. large quantities of mud tend to undermine anything of such a nature. so, while i may be well wide of the mark in identifying the function of the dimples, practical experience leads me to believe they might possibly be there for wicking purposes, purely on the basis that each and every ride has demonstrated a coolness afflicting the arms, while the torso is snug in its smugness. in my humble opinion, this is a very welcome feature.
the rear pockets appear to be of greater depth than those on the l/s rpm150 cross jersey reviewed earlier in the week. the collar too is of less depth, but that's more than common on jerseys designed for the eager competitor. the right shoulder is lightly padded to offset the discomfort that a carbon top tube can produce, while the front is of commendable length when in full flight. perhaps one advantage of faux racing as practiced by yours truly is that the bona fide 'cross racer would scarcely have time to observe any delights or misdemeanours attached to any garment potentially under review. i, on the other hand, had no other purpose in mind, except possibly just where it might be nice to lie down and recover.
it has become a bit of cliché when discussing the finer points of cycling garmentage to allude to the invisibility engendered by its ideal purpose for the task. however, clichés only become so through constant use, so once more i must add to the situation by repeating the contention. so well does this jersey fit, that the only time you'll be aware that you're wearing it, is either catching sight of yourself in the small, square windows of the keeper's bothy, or one of your compatriots verbally admires the overall pattern.
as though my trials and tribulations through the woods were scarcely sufficient to have me gasping for breath, just for good measure i popped out on the road for an hour or so, simply to examine the jersey's versatility. believe me, a soya cappuccino and double-egg roll have never tasted so good.
rapha's long-sleeve cyclocross race jersey might not be for everybody, but ever willing to court controversy, i'd say it probably is, even if your bicycle does not wear 33mm knobbly tyres and a sram x1 gearset. granted, its closeness of form-fitting might look a tad out of place if your honed, svelte physique scarcely resembles a stick insect, but in every other aspect it is not stretching credibility too far to consider this as state of the art.
the oft repeated notion that one cannot be considered trying hard enough unless the ride is punctuated by falling off, seems to me designed purely to salve a damaged ego. i'm placing the blame entirely at the door of rapha's race jersey for my unplanned dismount at the northern end of uiskentuie strand. i was obviously trying harder than i thought. of course, it could have been continued ineptitude on my part, but there's no way i'm admitting to that.
rapha's cyclocross long-sleeve race jersey is available only in the colourway shown and in sizes ranging from xs to xxl at a retail cost of £140.
sunday 18 september 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
many of us have argued until we're red in the face over the provenance of the italian road bike. now that we're over midway through the second decade of the 21st century, there's every likelihood that those of us with definite views on the subject should probably accept matters as they are, shut our faces and get on with riding whichever bicycle(s) we are fortunate enough to own. yet, there's still a little voice inside me that wants my italian badged bicycle to made in italy (which, in the case of my colnago master, it is) and festooned with italian componentry, even if the latter might also be not of italian origin.
dismay would probably be a choice word to describe the advent of carbon fibre componentry, even though any disappointment has to contend with the inevitable drool factor engendered by the agglomeration of nano fibres around a hollow core. though the latter brings with it an incredible lightness of being, there is little truly to compare with polished alloy glinting in what little sun is left in the hebrides. it's something of a shame then that when alloy rears its welcome head by way of chainsets, crank arms and gear mechanisms, its potential polish can oft be hidden behind black or grey anodising.
such is the case with campagnolo's latest mid-range groupset, delightfully named potenza which vicenza point out is italian for strength or power, though it also happens to be a city and province a few miles south east of naples. emulating its more expensive and carbonated brethren, the potenza crankset features not only the new four-arm chainring spider, but the ability to be fitted with either compact or standard chainrings. if your athletic ministrations yield larger thigh muscles, tis but a simple matter to move from 50/34 to 53/39.
unlike chorus, record and super-record, there is not a millimetre of carbon to be seen anywhere about potenza's anodised blackness (some components can also be purchased in polished, naked alloy). though there is much exotica to be seen by way of carbon chainsets - and i cannot deny that just such an item was removed from the colnago master to make way for potenza - i have always had a hankering after alloy; carbon has never endeared itself to me as suitable chainset material.
the rear derailleur, with its torx bolt fitting bears a pleasing resemblance to that of chorus and record. it's a design that has served well further up the foodchain, but necessitated shifting the limit screws to the rear of the mech, a la shimano. though the threaded allen screws maintain a sleekness of purpose and form, it does now mean having to cast aside the screwdriver in favour of a particularly small allen wrench and despite the front mech still sporting two regular screws. but then campagnolo is probably italian for idiosyncracy.
this contention manifests itself in the previously mentioned need for a 14mm hex insert to fit and remove the left crank arm and the potentially annoying habit of fitting the right-hand crank bearings on the chainset rather than inside the frame bearing cup. and while i'm having a moan, can i ask vicenza if they would please consider building their excellent chains with super-links instead of that darned rivet? in all my years of fitting campag chains, i think i have only once managed a clean install without the guide pin breaking off before the rivet has even had a look at the chain link.
moaning aside, the potenza groupset has a flair that its competitors can but stand and admire, allied to the three-way ergopower levers. it seems undeniably sensible to have one lever for braking, one for changing up the block and another, ergonomically re-designed for shifting downwards. the hoods of the potenza levers offer three distinct regions under which campagnolo promise is their vari-cushion technology. at the time of writing, the potenza equipped colnago master has yet to leave the safety of the croft, but i look forward to experiencing this up-front comfort.
the brakes show little difference from the renowned skeleton editions that have graced campagnolo groupsets for more than just a few years. i can see no difference between the two calipers contianed in the shiny box; both appear to be the much-favoured dual-pivot. this is unlike the next step up to chorus where it's possible to choose between dual-pivot or single pivot for the rear where campagnolo contend less braking power is required. in point of fact, this strikes me as something that only the specialist would require. i'm sure dual pivot will be more than satisfactory for yours truly.
the potenza groupset is, allegedly, campagnolo's answer to shimano's ultegra groupset, by which measure one must assume that chorus meets dura-ace and both record and super record are in a class of their own. having ridden ultegra on a number of occasions, it will be of interest to gauge whether potenza has the measure of its rival. currently, however, campagnolo have apparently no plans to add an electronic version.
much as i hate the cliché, watch this space.
saturday 17 september 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
on sunday evening, after watching itv4's highlights of the final stage of la vuelta into madrid, i sent an e-mail to endura's jim mcfarlane, comgratulating him and the scottish cycle clothing supremos on a victory well achieved. yes, it was indeed perhaps an e-mail just a smidgeon over the top; quintana's victory could not be laid entirely at the door of his clothing. however, as endura have been keen to point out, their work with aerodynamicist simon smart at drag2zero in mercedes' formula one wind tunnel has resulted in the partnership making 'a direct impact on the development of endura's product range.'
if i might borrow a concept from the team standing second on the spanish podium, victory is often an agglomeration of marginal gains, utilising not only the advances made at livingston, but those of bike supplier canyon and the training methods employed by quintana, valverde et al. don't forget that alex dowsett made a successful attempt on the hour record, clad in a slippery, movistar emblazoned skinsuit from endura, the precursor to nairo standing second in paris and first in madrid.
present day world tour cycling is a massively commercial undertaking. where you and i would be absolutely delighted were one of the world's premier cycle manufacturers to offer us a bicycle on which to undertake the sunday ride, followed by a call from endura offering jersey, shorts and socks, formula one cycle racing doesn't work that way. it does seem somewhat iniquitous that both canyon and endura have to pay for the privilege (as indeed do the partners of all the other teams), while commitiing substantial resources to ensure that these high profile customers are not only comfortable in their lycra skins, but poised for victory.
riders who have a podium place within their grasp can be very demanding fellows.
oddly enough, though the chaps and chapesses at endura's production facility in livingston, near edinburgh, in tandem with their mamaging director can be subjected to the stresses and strains delivered by athletes who themselves are not immune from stress, it is you and i who benefit. if i might cast my reviewing persona back well over a decade, some of the garments produced by endura offered one or two misgivings.
but since the days of the former endura cycle racing team, the improvements have been, to quote a well-worn cliché 'off the scale'. had this not been the case, the partnership between movistar and endura would not have just been renewed for the 2017 season. in a rarefied and competitive atmosphere that often seems devoid of any loyalty, such news, apart from being most welcome, offers a vote of confidence that will attach itself to every endura garment for the foreseeable future.
though several of endura's the lower priced product range is manufactured in china, along with many others, those comprising the fs260 and equipe ranges are created in-house, including every custom-made item for the movistars. it's a process i was fortunate enough to witness first hand this past summer. and as one enamoured with most every cycle innovation north of the border, it endgenders a sense of pride, even though none of it has anything to do with me.
as jim mcfarlane said of endura's staff and collaborators" (they) have worked tirelessly to bring important innovations to the kit that we make for the team in Scotland and by further extending our partnership with Abarca Sports, we look forward to the demands of the UCI WorldTour's leading team and riders driving Endura forward too."
no matter the final result, it's a win/win situation.
friday 16 september 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
at the commencement of each new school year, it used to be common practice for the island's primary schools to favour the local newspaper with photos of the kids entering primary one. fresh-faced and raring to begin on rung one of the education ladder, the numbers in each photo were minimal enough to allow publication of them all on a single page. nowadays, things are a tad different. two of the island's primary schools have closed in recent years due to falling school roles and were it not for one of the primaries sending a photo a couple of weeks ago, the practice would have been all but forgotten.
which is a shame really, for aside from parental interest, it formed part of an ongoing record of island life and that of special days.
in my first year at art college, part way through the third term, large painted banners began appearing draped across stairwells, student lockers and various other vacant wallspaces around the college. these signs, which changed almost on a daily basis, alerted the college's population to the arrival of happenings week. this was a clever ploy, at least in part, for none of those in first year had any intention of alerting their seniors to the fact that none of us knew precisely what happenings week was in the first place.
and despite the size, frequency and insistence of those signs, quite what was supposed to be happening was none too clear. at least, not until friday of that selfsame week, when an enormous sign appeared draped over the stairs leading to the first floor of the building. in large painted letters, this quite simply stated 'it's happened'. after which, life at the college went back to what passed for normality.
currently, the calendar is awash with specifically designated days, a practice that i can't help thinking has all but blown itself out and totally undermined the original concept. just over a week ago, while the majority of the uk population were hard at work, someone decided to nominate a weekday as national fitness day. to my mind, this implied that no other day would do, but lessened any impact by choosing a time at which few of us could participate.
only yesterday, we had the benevolence of national cycle to work day, a pointless exercise that garners far more self-publicity than it deserves and achieves even less than a national political conference. i've made my thoughts on this perfectly clear on previous occasions, so for now, we'll let it lie.
many of these so-called days are past before any of us realise what's happening and to be honest, i'm none too sure quite what they are designed to achieve. however, with plenty of time in hand, i feel it only right and proper that i forewarn you of a one-day event that i feel sure you'll have few qualms over personal participation.
thoughtfully arranged for a saturday and in plenty of time to concoct a believable excuse not to assist with the saturday morning weekly shop is 'international coffee day'. officially agreed by the international coffee organisation' with a launch in milan, it is designed to promote fair trade coffee and raise awareness of the plight of the world's coffee growers.
i'm sure i need not reiterate the long-standing connection between cycling and coffee, one that the majority of us do our utmost to continue on at least a weekly, if not daily basis. so, in a selfless act of solidarity, i intend to ride (eventually) to debbie's on saturday 1 october and partake of a cheeky little double-espresso and perchance a soya cappuccino.
i would urge you to do likewise, whatever hardships may be have to be endured in the process.
thursday 15 september 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
during this past summer, such as it was in the hebrides, we of the velo club have been fortunate to be accompanied on the sunday ride by a wide cross-section of the cycling public. those who have found their way to the happy isle of single malts either aboard their very own bicycles or aboard a velocipede or two rented from islay cycle hire in port ellen. mr lutomski, proud owner of a distinctly less than scottish name, has grown his hire fleet consistently over the years, beginning with what could best be described as utility bicycles and ending up with some fairly impressive road bikes with carbon forks and only two chainrings.
it was on precisely such machinery that a father and son were found waiting on the patio in front of debbie's café one sunday morning, ready and willing to discover hitherto unknown regions of the loch gorm perimeter road. while it is possible to witness a display of quality cycling garmentage on the shoulders of the club's regular members, intent on suffering in style, the two gents in question were clad in running shorts and cotton t-shirts, with perhaps one cagoul between them should inclement weather intervene en-route.
it is, or rather, was, a salutory lesson in the perspective with which varying levels of cyclist view the requirement for appropriate apparel. though i have often been heard to point out just how incongruous it would be to go swimming in a pair of levis, there's no doubt it could be done, but just because it can, doesn't mean it should. the same rule could be said to apply to any cycling activity. not for nothing does a pair of bibshorts sport a padded insert, expressly to fend off the more usual complaints of a painful posterior.
that is hardly to say that riding a bicycle in running shorts and a cotton t-shirt is an impossibility; it quite plainly isn't as evidenced by the two gents mentioned above. and to call into question any sartorial impropriety would depend greatly upon a subjective point of view.
the ride itself was most amenable. both gents were reasonably well-informed as to the relative flatness of the isle, interrupted only by the short, sharp steepness of the col du rspb (as strava has named it). that said, their slightly dishevelled appearance on the return for a swift bout of froth supping at debbie's could hardly be laid specifically at the door of their perambulatory exertions. for both, the bike ride had apparently been one of those things you choose to do while on holiday, but not one that would be repeated on a frequent basis, perhaps explaining why neither appeared to possess appropriate clobber for the purpose.
those of us who are followers of the faith are somewhat inured to the need for specificity in our velocipedinal activities. on a purely superficial level, this can be illustrated by the variety of ardbeg cycle jerseys on offer. the original and the recently introduced retro versions wear their road-going credentials on their short sleeves. close-fitting cuffs and the obligatory three rear pockets. the third variation is geared more towards the offroad fraternity, with loosely flailing sleeves and not a pocket to be seen.
rapha, purveyors of excellence for just over a dozen years, are well acquainted with the need for specificity, with recent releases catering to those riding the road less travelled (brevet), close-fitting skinsuits (time-triallists) and the sartorially elegant, yet highly practical polo shirt in which i am currently attired (city-riding). perish the thought that i should arrive for the daily grind dressed in a tight-fitting skinsuit. i have no wish to engender yet another reason for my colleagues to snigger (and not behind my back either).
on my first visit to portland, oregon, the sunday morning bike ride featured a gentleman sporting the latest hup united cycle kit, with a jersey stating, on the right shoulder 'top tube goes here'. to quote from a portion of the rapha website, 'cross is coming' evidenced by a cornering masterclass by the inestimable jeremy powers. and just like hup united, the folks at imperial works are also well acquainted with the tradition of carrying the bicycle on the right shoulder while manfully (or womanfully) slogging your way up an undergrowth festooned incline.
such is the purpose of the lightly padded, yet beautifully decorated quited panel adorning the right shoulder, a minimal contrast to the deep blue of rapha's new, long-sleeve cross jersey. fashioned from rapha's performance merino, this jersey is a prime example of sublime luxury, one that advertises its munificence by appearing scarcely to exist. perhaps more so on the shoulders of the terminally inept, such as yours truly, any distraction provoked by one's attire is cast aside in favour of a pragmatism born of its couture.
were i to have ascended to the ranks of the professional, i fear i may be perceived as an individual remarkably hard to please. my hypothetical professionalism would scarcely allow anything other than short-sleeve jerseys, but personal preference would demand that of a pair of long-sleeves. thus my temper tantrums would be aimed at wishing for the latter, but with the function of the former. as a rapha rider, such as the aforementioned mr powers, i would have landed on my feet, so to speak.
rapha contend that this latest incarnation of their rpm150 merino fabric is "insulating against cool weather, but breathable enough to remain comfortable during hard efforts." there is a strong possibility that they have here, undersold themselves just a tad. though their cyclocross range features also a race-fit jersey, this particular item would seem ideally suited to the training milieu, (very) comfortably coping with the exertions of trying very hard to become better at the discipline of leaping across untoward obstacles and scaling any height that gets between me and a double-espresso.
as a lover of long-sleeves, the length of those under question is unquestionable, the collar finely judged in its height and the fit as exemplary as it's surely possible to achieve. if i have one criticism it must centre on the depth of the jersey's three rear pockets, or rather the lack of it. i can appreciate that those suffering their own purgatory in the mud for an hour have little need of cargo-carrying properties, but rank amateurs (my hand is firmly in the up position at this point) have greater needs. though my essentials case and a thermal gilet were swallowed whole, the mini-pump was more out than in (no double-entendre intended).
a fabulous jersey that is more than equal to the task set for it, and probably not averse to the occasional extra-curricular activity every once in a while.
rapha's long-sleeve jersey is available in deep blue with light blue trim, in sizes ranging from xs to xxl at a cost of £130. a review of the long-sleeve cross race jersey will follow soon.
wednesday 14 september 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
i apologise in advance for continually bringing to your attention the recently completed islay jazz festival, but in this case it is germane to that which follows, so i'll carry-on regardless. one of the principal attractions of this festival is in the myriad of locations employed all across the island. this year, there were concerts at each of ardbeg, lagavulin and laphroaig distilleries, several at bowmore's gaelic college, at least one at the rspb centre at aoradh farm and one or two at the village hall in bruichladdich.
the last of the weekend's concerts that i had designs on attending was that of my good friend, bass player mario caribe, pleasingly held in the gaelic college which is but a mere three kilometres from the croft. mrs washingmachinepost has no interest whatsoever in jazz music, so we'd agreed on delaying the evening meal for an hour or two to allow me to ride my bicycle to the venue. i'd more often than not, use the taurus corinto for such an expedition, but in view of the galeforce winds, i really needed something with a wider spread of gears.
such as the chris king cielo for instance.
those galeforce winds were accompanied by periodic rain showers and concomitant heavy cloud cover, probably guilty of making it darker than has been the case up until now. this posed no problem on the outward journey, but factoring in a 7pm finish, augmented by mutterings with musicians post-concert, meant that visibility was definitely diminishing on the trip home.
so, for the first time this year - and it had to happen sometime - i affixed a flashing rear light. as autumn encroaches, i prefer not to create any loopholes in the sorry mate, i didn't see you scenario. and i also donned my lumo harrington jacket with its flashing red tail lights and strip of flashing white lights accompanying the front zip. the waterproofing was a nice bonus.
however, it's pretty close to a year since lumo launched themselves on kickstarter, creating an outstanding success with the first of their water resistant and ostentatiously lit cycling garmentage. in the interim, they have not been guilty of resting on their laurels, intent as lucy and doug bairner are on keeping us brightly lit and safe as the nights start drawing in over the following months.
to this end, they have launched a second kickstarter campaign only this morning, offering not one, but three new lumo items for your perusal and the chance to grab some early-bird prices on each of those items.
autumn is a month frequently cited as hosting what i believe is known as an indian summer, when the days can be mildly chilly at times, but overall, just a tad on the warm side to be seen wearing a sleeved jacket. therefore the ideal item to have in the wardrobe would be a gilet, coincidentally one of the very items available from lumo on kickstarter. this is accompanied by the new clissold bomber jacket and a highly pragmatic and equally well illuminated brixton messenger bag.
it might go slightly against the grain at the moment to let go of summer altogether, but the copper coloured leaves lying on the paths at bridgend woods and the encroaching persistence of atlantic lows featuring on scotland's west coast, there's little doubt that autumn is already on its way, a season not renowned for its late evening brightness. this seems like the ideal means of preparing for the latter, particularly if you are domiciled in an urban region or inner-city. if the latter is london, you might even like to join lumo for a launch evening (tuesday 13 september) in look mum no hands! from 7pm
out here, we need some form of cattle and sheep radar for the hours of darkness. i wonder if kickstarter...
tuesday 13 september 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................