on the inside of the collar of rapha's festive 500 jersey, it quite clearly states 'glory through suffering', a bold statement which i imagine a number of you would rate as fairly typical of the imperial works approach to cycling. it's an epithet that many of us are secretly pleased to adopt, for in the light of soccer players who are carried from the pitch on a stretcher because of a grass stain on their shorts, the notion that we are the world's hard-men (and women) offers bragging rights almost beyond reproach.
i have no illusions as to how this applies to me; goodness knows i have suffered on the bicycle often enough, but the glory part continues to elude me completely. i have a sneaking suspicion that it's the same for most of us without a professional contract. but perhaps rather obviously, there are those inhabiting the upper echelon of both the ability to suffer and accepting the very real glory that results from the former. though there are a number of such individuals that spring to mind, in this particular case, i'm thinking of graeme obree, a fellow who ought surely to be classed as a national hero. north of the border, if nowhere else.
in the days when obree and chris boardman endured the media hype that placed them as deadly rivals, while the latter was approaching the problem of speed via scientific methods, graeme was sat in his back yard on a wreck of a shopping bike attached to a turbo trainer, suffering like none of us have ever suffered before. and when time came to get out on the road, he pedalled a touring bike with panniers full of rocks to provide a greater degree of resistance training. it should be pointed out that during this period, graeme was struggling with bi-polar disease, yet nabbed a couple of world hour records along with a 4,000 metre pursuit title, a couple of uci banned riding positions and a bicycle famously fashioned from washingmachine parts, ultimately providing me with the name for this very cycling blog.
i've met graeme on a number of occasions over the years and every time it's like having a chat with a guy with whom i went to school. despite an impressive and varied palmares, the man has no airs and graces whatosever. more recently his claim to fame has been the saga of battle mountain, the attempt to set the fastest human powered speed in nevada, usa. though many other competitors aiming at the same target had the benefit of university engineering departments and computer simulations to fine-tune their vehicles, in the style of a true maverick, graeme built the beastie on the kitchen table of his flat in saltcoats, ayrshire.
though it has little bearing on obree's continued quest for speed, rouleur editor, ian cleverly recently paid tribute to graeme's attendance at a dinner whereupon he ordered dessert prior to the main course on the basis that he liked puddings and didn't want to be too full and potentially miss out. when it comes to cycling, graeme has been quoted as saying "you can't tell me going to a gym is better than this." though it's an overly used phrase, there's no doubt that the man is a legend in his own lifetime.
david street's film of the battle mountain escapade has been doing the rounds of britain's cinemas over the past year or so, often accompanied by mr obree who took part in question and answer sessions at the movie's end. these screenings and appearances, if twitter is anything to go by, have been well received and remarkably popular and the film is now available on a two dvd set. the almost four hours of footage includes the entire battle mountain presentation, a documentary about the building of the beastie and several extras.
all this costs a remarkably agreeable £24.99 plus postage. having seen both the film and the documentary, i would unreservedly recommend the dvd as the ideal christmas present for any cyclist on the planet and even if it doesn't arrive until after santa's been, it really ought to be considered a compulsory part of being a cyclist. there's not one amongst us who should be allowed to identify as such unless there's a copy of battle mountain sitting beside the tv. if you saw it in the cinema, now's the chance to relive the joy.
and now that i've climbed down off my soap box, do the decent thing and click the link below; it's what paypal was invented for.
monday 19 december 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
a current point of discussion in the office has been the discovery that one or two new-build houses on the island have been directed to include dummy chimneys in order to remain in keeping with the so-called conservation area in which they sit. this despite the fact that the majority of contemporary houses have air-source or ground-source heating included and not a fireplace to be seen. this led to us questioning the sanity of argyll and bute's planning department and wondering at what point in historical proceedings was development frozen in time?
taken to its illogical conclusion, the houses round here ought still to have thatched roofs with a hole in the centre to allow smoke from the fire built in the centre of the mud floor. and it surely ought to be incumbent on the island's residents to keep their sheep and cattle in the very same house. bowmore high street comes under this conservation area, yet though there are stone-built cottages along one side, they are faced by council houses built in the early sixties that bear no physical resemblance to those opposite. and next to the former church at the far end is a monstrosity of a two storey house that would even look out of place on an estate agent's website.
several years past, when the village's sheltered housing received new windows, those facing out onto main street had to retain the look of those they replaced. the houses round the corner could apparently have been fitted with anything the owners of trust housing deemed appropriate.
yet, despite the inconsistent and highly questionable actions of the planning department, on an island such as islay, recipient of more than its fair share of atlantic gales and precipitation, it is surely the right of any resident to remain safe and warm? if the neighbours have double-glazing made from plastic, then why ought it to be deemed necessary for the house in the middle to fit wood frames? and why fit chimneys that don't actually do anything but which might conceivably be blown down in the wind?
this need to be safe and warm extends to the velocipedinal milieu. in fact, given the outdoor nature of pedalling activity, it may be seen as more of an absolute necessity rather than a simple need. cold weather creates its own demands, but also offers the opportunity to defy low temperatures by the simple act of pedalling harder. if your cycling day is anything like mine, no matter the ambient temperature, nothing ever breathes as heavily as do i. but warmth thus achieved is subject to theoretical non-interruption, an ideal not always achievable, whether stopping for tractors, flocking sheep or mechanical deficiencies.
there is, therefore, a physical demand for even the average cyclist to remain cosy and warm, the very equivalent of being wrapped in a breathable, weatherproof duvet at all times. what is needed is obviously the wherewithal provided by a multi-tog duvet but without the bulk, precisely the properties offered by rapha's brevet lightweight thermal jacket. building on the success and popularity of the brevet thermal gilet, this garment leads one to rearrange the words sliced bread, greatest thing and since into a well-known phrase. in short, it is very close to lightweight insulated perfection.
available in either black or grey, with two highly reflective hoops across the front and back accompanied by a similarly constituted trademark hoop on the left sleeve, the active ingredient in the jacket is polartec alpha, an active insulating material that is designed to regulate your body temperature, by adaptively breathing and dispensing with the need to add or shed layers during a bike ride.
as with many a garment claiming the ultimate in breathability, i'd be inclined to argue the toss with the folks at polartec. my first outing, in admittedly milder conditions than were expected, tested the jacket's breathability to the extreme, ultimately resulting in rather damp arms at the coffee stop. however, subsequent rides in cooler conditions have allowed the brevet jacket to proffer its particular qualities unhindered. i've yet to get the jacket wet (believe me, i've tried), so i'll have to take it on trust that it dries as quickly as polartec say it does.
what it does do remarkably well is compress into a small enough size to stick in a rear pocket. exactly like the brevet insulated gilet, there's a stretchy napkin ring at the high collar into which it can be squeezed to keep everything ship-shape and bristol fashion. and as any jacket should, it features a loop at the collar to allow hanging it on a coat-peg in the café. though time will tell whether the fibre-migration prevention works, on the basis of my continual mishandling having had no perceivable effect, i think we have a result here.
however, the question that most often springs to mind when out riding, is quite how something that does so much, manages to weigh so little. though i have previously averred that other cycling garments make themselves known by their invisibility, in the case of the brevet jacket, unless you look down intermittently there is no way on this earth you'd ever know you were wearing it. i have ridden like a bag of spanners where the brevet jacket kept body and soul together long enough to get home. i've sweltered in temperatures that bore no resemblance to those forecast, yet felt no appreciable discomfort and i've ridden through cold, near gale-force winds and felt as warm as an evening by the fire.
there's a modest drop-tail for those, does my bum look wet in these? moments, along with a small zipped rear pocket that cossets an ipod and probably a mobile phone (assuming it's not one of those half-way to an ipod sized objects). or perhaps just enough money for coffee and carrot cake. the jacket's stretchability allows it to sit comfortably over everything plus the kitchen sink in a jersey's rear pockets.
i try ever so hard to affect a non-partisan stance when it comes to the art of reviewing, but since i'm just exactly like everyone else out there, there are times when my enthusiasm gets the better of me. one such instance featured a couple of days ago, in my words regarding the rather excellent specialized crux elite. rapha's brevet insulated jacket has to be the second example in three days. it brings yet another definiton to the word brilliant, mostly preceded by the word utterly. don't even think of attemting the festive 500 without it.
sunday 18 december 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
though i claimed to be a tad reticent when asked, i was rather pleased to be considered once more to provide the percussive accompaniment for the local high school wind band at their christmas concert next week. i don't begin to comprehend why an old bloke like me would be preferable to a much younger high school pupil currently studying drumset in class, but i'm sure that school politics are something to which i ought to give a wide berth. meanwhile, i get to play star wars on drumset.
however, after an initial practice earlier this week, yesterday i had need of taking my own snare drum on which to play. though percussive technicalities are hardly a suitable subject for a blog that pretends to discuss cycling, just let me say that the mechanism for switching the snares on and off is totally gubbed, as those of us from glasgow are wont to say. to compound the problem, the cymbals accompanying said drumset display all the musical resonance of a set of dustbin lids. i will therefore be taking my own cymbals for the concert.
however, as if wearing a christmas jumper and being sat midst a group of senior pupils were not embarrassing enough (self-conscious? moi?), it transpires that there is also something of a problem with the drum stool, in that it fails to remain at whichever height i wish to have it set. thus, as i muddled my way through inscrutable drum scores, i was aware of slowly getting closer to the ground.
the girl directly in front of me was playing (very well) a particularly shining example of a baritone saxophone and casting a quick glance around the other members of the ensemble revealed that pretty much every other instrument being employed appeared in immaculate condition. yet here was a drumset with a non-functional snare drum, duct tape all over the tom heads and a stool that was conspicuoulsy failing in its duties. though no doubt many of you would agree with the description, it appears that the drumset is the ugly duckling of the music department.
this trait, though a totally separate issue, is one that appears also to apply to children's bicycles. i have anecdotal evidence from one of glasgow's independent cycle retailers that, after parking his range rover outside the shop, a gentleman customer expressed what bordered on outrage at the price tag affixed to the kids' bicycles on the shop floor. many an adult is content to lessen their bank account in search of the ultimate motor vehicle or carbon road or mountain bike, yet seem content to purchase the cheapest, heaviest, full-suspension mountain bike for their child's christmas. if you've ever had to lift one of these bicycle shaped objects onto a workstand, you would be forgiven for wondering how the little tots ever take to cycling in the first place.
i realise that we are not the folks who fit into this category. we are the parents whose superpower is careful consideration for the velocipedinal requirements of our offspring, parents who think nothing of ordering a correctly-sized cycle with metal brake levers, a decent length of seatpost, with no discernable princess or ninja-warrior stickers on the downtube and going to a reputable bike shop to make our choice. but just in case you have friends or relatives who are less than knowledgeable in the way of the bicycle, the responsible folks over at cycle training uk have produced a handy, wrapping paper style guide to help minimise the error of their ways.
free to download, i would encourage you to take advantage of their largesse and pass copies on to all those you feel may be devoid of the necessary superpower. and make it sooner rather than later.
saturday 17 december 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
aesop, who, like many a modern day pop star seems only to have had or used one name, was an ancient greek fabulist or storyteller who lived around 500 years before the birth of christ. though there are the remains of statues purporting to be likenesses of the fellow, proof of his existence remains somewhat thin on the ground. in actual fact, no writings ascribed to aesop survive to the present day, but there are a number of moralistic fables that have been attributed in his direction and are collectively known as aesop's fables. if you're of a certain age, you may recall those being part of the english curriculum at school.
while many of us struggle to scribble a letter to mum or dad, aesop allegedly wrote quite a substantial number (over 100 by current estimates). titles such as the dog and the sheep, the lion and the fox and the the boy who cried wolf introduced the ancient greeks and subsequent civilisations to the notion of moralistic behaviour, though the current state of the planet would tend to suggest that at least one or two folks have paid less than diligent attention. however, one aesop epithet which frequently ended several of his fables that has entered the contemporary lexicon, is the phrase 'familiarity breeds contempt'. the more time you spend with someone or something, the less inclined you'll be to find favour with them/it.
the oddity here, at least from my point of view, is of a saying that seems to be every bit as much false as it is true. i can think of a number of people and objects with which i have grown to admire or like better as time has progressed. take the 2017 specialized crux that has been in thewashingmachinepost bikeshed for the past four or so months. despite being shod with 33mm rubber that is anything but smooth while several other occupants of the shed are more specifically allied to the road most travelled, the crux has effectively become my go to bicycle for everything from a friday afternoon jaunt to debbie's to scrabbling through the undergrowth, to a good 85km of road work. i would not kid you that the latter was completed with the alacrity of the colnago fitted with specialized cotton turbo tyres, but the bicycle's balance is impeccably suited to whichever particular discipline du jour is on the menu.
though i have protected the underside of the large downtube and the back of the seat tube with clear film, the bright red and green paintwork shows no sign of wear and tear whatsoever. considering the amount of crap on islay's roads and less than controlled scrabbling when off the beaten track, that's quite impressive in my opinion. additionally, those previously mentioned tyres look every bit as good as they did when i dragged the crux from its cardboard box. given a good clean (sorry, specialized) you'd scarcely separate it from a showroom model.
at one time i was defensively proud of my mechanical knowledge and prowess, but with the advent of electrics, hydraulics and press-fit bearings, i'd be a touch more reticent to maintain that particular stance. for instance, i have yet to bleed a set of hydraulic brakes and it occurs to me that it may be prudent to check the life expectancy of a set of sram rival pads before unpalatable marks begin to appear on the rotors. meantime, those discs have both saved me and scared me; squeezing the levers with enthusiasm does stop the crux very, very quickly. impressively, other than when collecting one or two foreign bodies in the undergrowth, they have remained impressively quiet in use, with no great propensity to squeal even when wet.
however, the bits most likely to incur feelings of contempt would surely be those constituting the rider/bicycle interface, most obviously the saddle and bars. though generally i have little real problem with stock saddles, in the majority of cases, were the bicycle my own, i'd be inclined to fit a brooks cambium variation. but the specialized phenom comp fitted to the crux, one of those hole-in-the-middle doo-dads has remained firmly in place for the sole reason that it's darned near perfect, whether on or offroad. additionally, the cx pro gel bar tape is worth the price of admission alone, offering more hand protection than a tube of aloe vera lotion. though i've been unable to find it as an aftermarket item, i think mr sinyard ought to seriously consider placing it on the bike shop shelf.
though i have heard discriminatory murmurings regarding the efficacy of a single chainset married to eleven rear speeds, i actually rather like it. not once has the chain found its way off that single chainring and the tighter chain angle hasn't, so far, had any adverse effect on the sram rival gear shifting. i confess to having offered several luddite propaganda moments concerning the necessity of thru-axles on the hubs, but in the absence of any independent scientific data, i'm pretty darned sure that this innovation offers far greater steering rigidity than the apparently outmoded quick release.
granted, getting a wheel on and off is slower than with a q/r, but in the case of proper cyclocross, wheel changes are all but unheard of, while in my own case, well, what the heck. it's a teensy bit more awkward to position the rear wheel prior to fitting the axle, but in the hope that it's not a frequently repeated action that's of no great concern.
in my original review, i had the temerity to state that the crux elite may well be the finest bicycle i have ever ridden, a statement that doubtless gained more than its fair share of incredulity amongst the naysayers. having had several months to reconsider, i can honestly say i'm inclined to stand by my initial response. the bicycle's versatility remains as impressive as ever, all the more so if replacing the 33mm cross tyres with 33mm road rubber when riding into the sunset beckons.
i'm inclined to figure that few serious cyclocrossers, midway through their season, will be currently considering a new frame or bicycle, but this is a class of bicycle that plays well across all manner of velocipedinal strata. it lends itself equally well to enthusiastic non-specialists such as myself. several bottle cage mounts and a front gear hanger still in place allow not only for variations in componentry choice (if purchased as a frame) but also the ability to undertake lengthy road rides and several hours of 'cross training while remaining appropriately hydrated.
with all due respect to aesop, i'd happily modify his attributed statement to read: 'familiarity breeds content(ment).. by the truckload.
friday 16 december 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
i confess that i haven't an earthly how it could ever come to pass, but i still maintain that cyclists ought not to be allowed out on the public roads without having first passed some form of test. face it, the world's roads are becoming more and more congested with motor vehicles and quite rightly, no-one is legally allowed to drive a car, bus or truck without first having passed a driving test. and the period of learning must always see a qualified driver sitting in the passenger seat. i'm aware that such a restriction does not apply to learner motorcyclists, but i can't think of a solution to that one either.
yet any child or adult of any age can buy or acquire a bicycle and head out unfettered into the ever-increasing traffic of which i made mention only a moment or two ago. somehow that doesn't seem right, particularly as i can think of several kids of my acquaintance that are dangerous enough when walking or running. i'm aware that there is bikeability training (once affectionately known as the cycling proficiency test), but so far as i'm aware, there is no legal requirement to undergo such training, nor anything to prevent those who fail from heading out into the wild grey yonder.
that is not, however, to undermine the bikeability training, thankfully predominantly delivered as an extra-curricular part of primary school learning. the british government recently announced that more than two million children have been trained since the programme launched ten years ago, but to be honest, that's really not saying a great deal. in fact, as far as england and wales are concerned, it's only 30% of the potential number that could receive training each year. yet the association of bikeability schemes (tabs) welcomed the government's announcement without jumping up and down and demonstrating scarcely concealed disappointment.
hertfordshire county council member and director of tabs, nick truran said "Bikeability training represents excellent value for money contributing to a whole series of government targets in the areas of road safety, health, environment, childrens' personal health and well-being. It is therefore a really worthwhile investment for any local authority." that's telling them. and having triumphantly brought the dubious statistic to the fore, the government praised itself even further by announcing they'd provide training for a further one million kids in the next four years.
you will perhaps excuse the big wow.
according to tabs, an additional £12 million per year would allow every child in the country to undertake the bikeability training (add another £million or so and scottish kids could probably benefit too.) bikeability is administered in scotland by cycling scotland, but much to my embarrassment, i have no statistics to show comparable numbers north of the border.
£12 million might seem like rather a lot of pocket money, but to place it in some sort of perspective, it would pay for a mere 300 metres of motorway. and the government never seems to have a great deal of difficulty in justifying a great deal more metres than that. it depends a lot on where your priorities lie; motorways or safer children? philip darnton obe, chairman of tabs said "Learning to ride a bike truely is a life skill. Once learnt, never forgotten. It also provides the basis for sound 'road sense' that we all need throughout our lives."
i tend to agree with the admitted generalisation that if children don't have the opporchancity to learn when they're 10-11, there's a good chance they're unlikely to learn bike safety on the roads at all. the government continues to state their committment to doubling the number of cycling trips in the next decade, but if training kids of that age doesn't start soon, westminster and holyrood are going to find themselves well short of their purported target, come 2026.
bikeability is also available for adults, encapsulated in the less snappy title of national standard cycle training (nsct), so if you're a cycling newbie who has stumbled over the post while looking for a washingmachine for christmas, maybe have a word with the folks at nsct. if you're a total expert, perhaps you could volunteer as a bikeability trainer.
thursday 15 december 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
in truth, my monologue has more to do with footwear than fashion, but in my little world, they're pretty much one and the same thing, so as a vehicle for my lack of appreciation, this will do just fine.
i like to think that my choice of regular footwear (as opposed to that fitted with cleats on the sole) has progressed as i allegedly become older and wiser. no longer for me a pair of logo'd trainers; as sting mentioned in "an englishman in new york", a gentleman walks but never runs. assuming that to be true, what on earth would i need with footwear designed to have me compete with usain bolt?
i have therefore taken my lead from the more gentlemanly amongst us and opted for a pair of brogues. and while i favour the tan coloured variety, just in case the meteorologists are entirely wide of the mark, those presently slippered on my feet are winter black with chunky soles. thus, if there's a sudden influx of snow and ice, the odds are very much in favour of my remaining upright.
however, with a day's shopping to be had prior to popping south on my recent summer holiday, i took the opportunity to pay visits to one or two of the higher profile shoe establishments in the search for a pair that would differ, yet augment my current choice. distant as i am from such endeavours, i was less aware of the fashion choices (ie restrictions) that the footwear industry has seemingly promulgated. like many, there was a notional style in mind at the outset, but even after an hour or two of in and out of shop doorways, avoiding as much of the inevitable pre-christmas rush as possible, shoes were purchased but only by virtue of their having been the closest to my ideal it was possible to find.
i cannot deny that a legacy black friday discount did help ease the pain.
the fashion industry, in which even we as cognoscenti of the velocipede are embroiled, thrives on constant change. i doubt i'm the only individual to have taken account of the inevitable spring/summer and autumn/winter collections thrust in our direction. and more recently, both bicycles and componentry have had the year of value appended to their nomenclature. who'd have thought it?
though componentry is, in fact, often excluded from such iniquity, most other items of cycling tend to fall into the gender trap; specific colouring and fit either of which exclude the opposite sex. who amongst us macho dudes would be seen attacking the sunday morning sprint aboard a cycle obviously designed and coloured for the fairer sex? thankfully the latter seemingly bear no qualms if seen astride a male designated frame.
perhaps due to the innocent bequest of the tour of italy leader's jersey, the male of the species is less concerned over being seen clad in pink. if it was good enough for marco, it's good enough for us. but many a cycling apparel provider has still to spend more than a single happy hour with the felt pens, creating suitable ranges divided by their propensities. unless, of course, you happen to be russ at london town's hackney gt. having recently launched a range of made in england unisex winter jackets constructed from italian fabric, russ has discovered that the best seller is the leopard print shown above.
i confess it's a look that i'd be reticent to wear in the more conservative hebrides, but then i doubt i was ever a chap renowned for my flamboyance. in my case, however, the choice is not restricted to the verisimilitude of a wild cat. i rather favour the trackster blue also shown here. and if the bookies are lowering the odds on christmas day 2016 being the warmest on record, you may find it necessary only to join the mince pie ride, clad in one of hackney gt's renowned christmas jackets and a baselayer. in fact, should you be fortunate enough to be riding this christmas jumper friday, there may still be time to place an order and receive one in time via next day delivery.
either way, the made in england range now in stock will surely end the search for the ideal christmas present, even (or especially) if it's only for yourself.
hackney gt unisex winter jackets are available in most sizes at a retail cost of £109. | hackney gt
wednesday 14 december 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................
at one time, the velo club's sunday ride would convert to its own islay summer time by commencing from debbie's café at 9am rather than the now mandatory 10am. when autumn began to blow the leaves from the trees, we'd revert to the 10am start until spring had sprung once more. but at some time in the relatively recent past, this practice desisted for no particular reason. it would appear that one unspecified autumn, we moved to our 10am start and neglected to leave. thus it has been for an indeterminate length of time (none of us can recall when this took place, or rather, forgot to take place).
a summertime 9am start offered the opportunity to pedal all the way from debbie's to the ancestral home at ardbeg, some 36km distant. in sore need of caffeine at that point, we'd sup heartily on the black stuff, occasionally augmented with some old kiln clootie dumpling (considered something of a delicacy round these here parts), before retracing our tyre tracks for a second bout of froth supping at deb's. by the time home was eventually reached, some of us had racked up nearly 100 kilometres before sunday lunch.
the later start has, unfortunately, brought us to our knees. sort of. with an innate requirement to reach deb's by noon, the morning's ride distance has been concomitantly curtailed and we have become total softies, almost proud of our now minimal travails and embarrassingly low average speeds. yes, the roads engineer in our midst may have painted a verisimilitude of the flamme rouge on the bruichladdich road precisely one kilometre from the sprint point, but that scarcely entails an improvement on the alacrity of our pedal strokes.
in the grand scheme of things, this is of little nevermind, for none of us have any delusions of grandeur, nor is there an extra slice of carrot cake for the morning's victor. but hiding one's light under a bushel is always going to have you eventually found out.
my good friend sven thiele, he of hot chillee fame, cordially invited me to ride next year's london-paris, an event i first rode some ten years ago. in view of this notional anniversary, i thought it something of a wizard wheeze to answer in the affirmative, at the time failing to recall the 160km plus daily requirement of getting from london's hampton court, all the way to paris, france.
fortunately, the ride does not commence until thursday 20 july 2017, some seven months distant. surely that is sufficient time in which to prepare for riding in the slowest peloton, a group for which, if memory serves, an average of 25kph is the required speed? however, with this firmly in mind, the first step of my cunning plan would surely to be a regulated increase in distance before worrying about the fast bit?
though i have high hopes that the upcoming festive 500 will aid and abet my ambitions, it really didn't seem too onerous to spend my saturday attempting to clock up around 80km while hoping to get a review waterproof jacket wet. though i believe i may have left washingmachinepost croft a tad later than i figured, by the time i was crawling past kilchoman distillery, the only subject on a deluded mind was coffee and food. this particular state of affairs was preceded by my having impersonated a bag of spanners all morning. i started out that way and things had never improved.
granted, the sunday morning ride offered the ideal opportunity to redeem the situation, so i'm rather hoping that last week was busier in the office than i was aware and the future will prove that john herety was foolish not to have offered me a contract and one of those new, tidy looking condor pedal-ed jerseys for 2017. training for londres-paris will begin in earnest come january; if sven can still ride to paris, i'm darned sure i can.
you will be regaled further on such matters, i'm sure.
there may still be time to sign up for the 2017 edition of hot chillee's london-paris ride, but if not, there's always the dunkirk-roubaix escapade or the alpine challenge. all photos copyright hot chillee.
tuesday 13 december 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................