velo city

velo-city dublin 2019

with now nine malt whisky distilleries on the island, it's not hard to comprehend why so many aficionados of the amber nectar choose to visit. many of those visitors arrive individually, though more often in groups of four or six, almost always men and invariably from germany, holland or sweden. however, for several years, there have been dedicated tours from edinburgh-based scottish routes and rabbies, who operate mercedes mini-buses and spend around four days per week traipsing round the likes of ardbeg, lagavulin, laphroaig, kilchoman et al.

velo-city dublin 2019

those buses are driven by chaps and chapesses who combine the art of navigation with that of tour guide, pointing out items of interest as they move along the highways and byways to their, ostensibly intrigued, passengers. it occured to me at one point, that those of us who live here, had no idea of which they spoke during a tour; since none were resident on the island, just what were they telling those sat in the plush seating behind tinted glass?

so i contacted scottish routes and asked if i might piggy-back on a day's tour, in order to find out what was said through the microphone. my driver that day is now the forager at bruichladdich's botanist gin, having moved here from scotland a few years back. however, it was a most enlightening experience, especially on discovering that james knew a darned sight more about the flora, fauna and history of the isle than did i. though it might have been an unpopular proposition at the time, i've little doubt that residents on islay might well have benefited from an evening talk from the man.

carlton reid

it's a situation that doubtless inhabits many a differing realm all across the planet, where those with even a minor vested interest in a sport or activity, can be usurped by the views of a so-called outsider, one they view as something of an interloper. of course, that's not always the case; there are instances where events take place concerning cycling (for example), the outcome of which may conceivably affect the greater peloton, but of which we know little or nothing because of an inability or unwillingness to attend. far better to delegate to another. take, for instance, the upcoming velo-city conference to be held in dublin, towards the end of june this year.

laura laker

the programme of events for this conference, include sessions concerning autonomous vehicles and cycles: what's the future?; behaviour change and cycling; walking, cycling and driving to school on the ecological path; city changer cargo bike and many other related cycling subjects. no doubt a summary will be available of the outcomes post conference, but that presupposes that we, as individuals, are sufficiently well-informed to understand the ramifications of such discussions, which, in many cases, we probably aren't. what's required is someone attending on our behalf, willing and able to offer a succinct précis of all the goings on.

carlton reid, for instance.

it is fortunate, therefore, that carlton, along with fellow journalist, laura laker, have already elected to attend. and in order to provide the very information of which i have spoken, they have instigated a kickstarter campaign to fund their efforts. but while many a kickstarter plea bears a target of many thousands of pounds, messrs. reid and laker set their sights on a more modest £1200, a target that had already been exceeded at the time of writing. in return for financial support, the two intend to provide password-protected daily podcasts along with accompanying online material. all the content will be archived for posterity, but assuming you'd prefer to be kept up to date on an almost live basis, you can, for a minimum of £9, gain access to all the information they're willing to provide on a daily basis.

for those of you interested in what might be termed the reality of cycling, when placed in the context of other modes of transport and the future of town and city planning, i seriously doubt that i need explain the rationale behind a kickstarter campaign. the link is printed below for the clicking.

carlton reid and laura laker at velo-city dublin

monday 13 may 2019

twmp ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

blessed are the self-righteous


you would probably have had to be living the life of charly gaul to be unaware of the scientific community's warnings about climate change and the perilous state in which the earth finds itself. the ultimate decimation of many species of animals, insects, fish and plants has been placed squarely at the door of mankind,with little possibility of redress, unless we change our ways and means immediately, if not sooner. of course, in the manner of human nature, none of this actually applies to us; everybody else needs to alter their day to day behaviour, but personally, we recycle everything we possibly can and only drive to work when necessary. the fact that 'necessary', means pretty much every day is hardly the point.

governments hold regular summits to decide what should be done and how soon, then, around three years later, they meet once again to ratify the tentative agreements made three years previously. meanwhile, nothing actually happens. but that's hardly our fault; the government has everything in hand. what else is a good citizen to do?

a couple of neighbours of mine, who live next door to each other, work in the same location in the village, around quarter of a mile from their homes. yet they both climb into separate cars and drive to work. it's scarcely a distance for which it would be worth taking a bicycle from the bike shed. walking would be a perfectly sound transport solution, even if the weather were seen to be less than clement. yet, it seems not too inordinate to assume that both are aware of climate change and the dire warnings that have followed from those with greater knowledge of the situation than the public at large. and still they drive a few hundred metres to work.

according to scientific research, the single largest contribution made to greenhouse gases by residents of the western world, is through use of the motor car. any reduction in this usage can only be regarded as a good thing, yet the majority of motorists (if they can be described as such) are happy to leave such an improvement in behaviour to others. after all, how could refraining from driving those fractions of kilometres each day, possibly have any globally relevant effect?

science has stated that not only would it be beneficial to reduce our car use, but also minimise any propensity to fly. oddly enough, despite being able to deliver large quantities of co2 and other pollutants directly into earth's upper atmosphere, there are no emission regulations that apply to aircraft, other than noise abatement when in direct proximity to airports and the surrounding urban area. and given that large swathes of rainforest are cleared on a daily basis to feed cattle, it apparently behoves us well to reduce our intake of red meat. as a vegetarian, i can allow myself the occasional smug grin, but once again, this is dietary behaviour that should obviously apply to others; does no-one recall the butchers' slogan from the past 'meat to live'?

meanwhile, we're the good guys. not for us, the polluting motor car; i walk to work each day, for the office is so close to the croft, it would take longer to extricate a bicycle from the shed, than it takes to get there on foot. when out and about each weekend, my carbon footprint is pretty much non-existent, as is that of the greater peloton, for we are the self-righteous amongst the great unwashed.

or are we?

individually, assuming we cycle and walk at every opportunity, keeping car use to a minimum, we're already heading in the right direction, but from a sporting point of view, cycling is scarcely as squeaky clean as its press release would have us believe. as i type this monologue, i have eurosport's giro coverage showing in my web browser. though the peloton is rather obviously aboard pollution-free bicycles, the three cars, two motorbikes and overhead helicopter following one cyclist, rather undermines that ostensible green-ness. given that each grand tour occupies itself for three weeks, there's every likelihood that the giro d'italia will exude more pollution than the average formula one grand prix.

while i enjoy the giro, le tour and la vuelta every bit as much as the next man or woman, perhaps we should temper that self-righteousness just a smidgeon, especially in the face of potential planetary disaster. after all, carbon fibre is essentially plastic and extracting aluminium from bauxite is hardly a pollution-free exercise.

just a thought.

sunday 12 may 2019

twmp ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

threes are good

jorvik tricycles

there used to be the archetypal 'little old lady' who lived not too far from the croft and who had acquired an electric tricycle to give her the opportunitiy to get outside and gain a breath of fresh air. i'd be fibbing if i said i could remember the brand of tricycle, but i do recall the stress and strain of trying to maintain the green machine (in both senses of that colour) due to the rather convoluted transmission arrangement.

the trike was powered via a car starter motor, connected to the crankset. this in turn carried a chain to a frame-mounted sturmey-archer three-speed, and, via a secondary sprocket, drove the rear axle. the logical means of maintaining chain tension, would have been by means of an eccentric bottom bracket. but the manufacturer opted to fit the rear axle by way of two adjustable bolts. pulling the sturmey to tension the main chain, caused the shorter secondary chain to slacken, before loosening the axle bolts (on the underside of a heavy frame) to move the axle rearwards.

jorvik tricycles

the major downside to all this, was learning of those axle bolts after the chain tension had slackened, for on the lady's first tricycle, those bolts had rusted solid in islay's salt-laden atmosphere. maintenance was hardly improved by the presence of a car battery sat in a white container above the rear axle, meaning the trike had to be raised up on several bricks to allow access to the aforementioned bolts. no joined up thinking at all, for it almost seemed as if the electric motor was required simply to move the weight of the motor plus battery, never mind the rider.

jorvik tricycles

however, what is hard to deny is the fact that there are many who could benefit from riding a tricycle, rather than using the car or walking. though most of us find balancing on two wheels to be as natural as putting tomato sauce on macaroni cheese, not everyone enjoys the same luxury and as a result, feels excluded from the velocipedinal world. and even those of us who are more than comfortable on a bicycle, might find three weels a touch more pragmatic if there is 'stuff' to be carried about. over and above that, believe it or not, there is actually such a thing as an offroad trike, three wheels shod with big, knobbly tyres offering not only cargo carrying capacity on other than tarmac'd roads, but possibly rather a lot of fun.

jorvik tricycles

and just like two-wheeled machines, tricycles can be ridden using solely your own efforts, or with electrical assistance. thankfully the modern electric tricycle seems to offer a substantial weight advantage over that described in my opening paragraphs.

for those with an interest in adding an extra wheel to their daily commute, or in sore need of balanced cargo space, i might point you in the direction of jorvik tricycles tricycles, which, despite a scandinavian sounding name, actually hail from york. jorvik's existence resulted from the founder's (james walker), need to acquire a quality tricycle for his father, who suffers from parkinson's disease. the rest, as the cliché goes, is history. the range of tricycles is surprisingly comprehensive, covering classic, mountain and electric versions. i cannot deny that i figured the cost of a tricycle would be a tad higher than £440, though jorvik's top of the range electric mountain tricycle does slide in at a penny under £2,000. there are even folding trikes on offer that would allow partial use of public transport to get about.

jorvik tricycles

my experience of riding a tricycle is minimal to say the least, mostly confined to post- maintenance rides, so i'm quite happy to remain a bicyclist for the foreseeable future. but those for whom that is scarcely a pragmatic option, including those whose confidence does not extend to balancing on two wheels, or ageing parents who are either unable to afford a motor car or, like james walker's father, suffer from a debilitating illness, but would still like to perambulate the great outdoors, a tricycle seems an ideal solution.

one of these days we might all be forming an orderly queue in yorvale business park, york.

jorvik tricycles

saturday 11 may 2019

twmp ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

gravelling acceptance

shimano grx gravel groupsets

apple computer's current world share of the desktop computer market, hovers just below 14%, a figure that may surprise many. turn on any tv show these days and, if there's a computer to be seen in foregrund or background, there's a better than evens chance that it will sport an apple logo. of course, this often has more to do with aesthetics and perceived 'coolness' than anything related to computing power. virtually every serious 'gamer' sits in front of a microsoft operating system; the hardware is a darned sight easier to customise, and for this reason, the software developers are more inclined to optimise for windows.

campagnolo can arguably be compared to apple in this respect. though i have no current figures for how vicenza stacks up against sram and shimano, at one time, the italians could have seen their componentry fitted to 70% of the world's road bikes. having once entered the nascent world of the mountain bike, they pulled out in 1994 and though there were tentative toes dipped in the cyclocross ocean a few years back, currently the only two options available on their website, offer a choice between road-racing or triathlon.

meanwhile, the ascendant sram corporation has continued to develop its single-chainring groupsets, despite concerns from luddites like myself over potentially excessive chain wear. meanwhile they have captured an impressive portion of road, offroad and 'cross markets in the face of shimano's domination. essentially, the once highly aspirant road groupset, campagnolo record (or super-record), while no less luxurious, has become essentially irrelevant in cycling's grand plan. whether you think that to be untrue, or a great shame, really makes no nevermind.

but, while it may make little in the way of commercial sense, vicenza seems still to follow the path of quality, technical excellence and italian aesthetics. they may be one of the few institutions happy to let a bandwagon drive by, without feeling the necessity to jump aboard. that may explain why the cyclocross option has disappeared from the website. if it needs to be encapsulated, it could arguably be described as function over form; how that translates to the world of commerce can probably be witnessed by the aforementioned decline in market share (though there are locational manufacturing factors with substantial bearing on the latter).

at the risk of being accusatory without the information to back it up, the other two seem not only quite happy to leap aboard the first bandwagon to appear over the horizon, they're often the creators of several of those bandwagons.

i make no apology for bringing up the subject of rapha's original continental, a cheery band of individuals who, by their own slogan, chose to 'ride the road less ridden', exploring many a hidden nook and cranny of north america, many of which contained more than just a few inches of gravel road. their bicycles were all hand-crafted by several of the world's finest framebuilders and equipped with pink chris king hubs and headsets as well, in the majority of cases, sram groupsets. though campagnolo did not, to my recollection, feature at all, in essence, their absence in no way lessens my eventual point.

the continental's wheelsets ran on 28mm road rubber; several of the more astute amongst you might be keen to point out that my description phrased above, sounds remarkably similar to what we now recognise as 'gravel bikes', but long before the world's marketing departments convinced us that this was an entirely separate genre. i do not wish to revisit the cyclocross v gravel argument once again, but, when we were kids, who amongst us didn't simply ride anywhere we felt like riding, without feeling an overhwelming need to nip home and change our type of bicycle.

but, just when you thought we'd reached the end of the rabbit hole, another gravel door opens offering a horizon that i'd swear wasn't there before. it is but a matter of days since shimano announced the release of a whole swathe of dedicated, grx gravel groupsets, "the world's first dedicated family of gravel/adventure components built for both fast riding and assured capability on loose surfaces." though the rapha continental accomplished the same thing on bog-standard sram componentry, arguably others (such as movistar), have done likewise at paris-roubaix and strade bianche for more than a year or two.

it may be cute to point out that, in both those races, shimano's di2, sram red wif-fli and super-record eps were in the hands of professionals, but there's a reasonable argument to be made that all groupsets would have behaved equally well in the hands of rank amateurs. if evidence were required, i had no problem negotiating a modest stretch of roubaix cobbles on a recrod-equipped eddy merckx bike during my second. hot chillee londres-paris. and since when has a groupset been the specific point of interest when riding on 'loose surfaces'? i'd be more inclined to take a closer look at my tyres and wheels.

shimano already offer a wide range of mountain bike groupsets, any one of which, i'm sure, could be affixed to a gravel bike with ease, while functioning more than adequately. i'd even venture that you could take an off-the-shelf super-record mechanical or electronic groupset, consider the chainring size a tad more closely, and emerge from the other side unscathed. the same probably goes for sram.

it's bad enough that a whole gravel genre had to be invented in the first place, but bringing to market three 'new' genre specific groupsets is surely adding insult to injury? or have i just demonstrated my excruciating naivete once again?

friday 10 may 2019

twmp ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

northern typecasting

northern line futurist giro poster

wassily kandinsky is generally regarded as the father of abstract art. though he graduated from russia's grekov odessa art school, he subsequently enrolled at moscow university to study law and economics, success at which brought him the offer of a professorship at the university of dorpat by the age of thirty. it's something of an odd career path for one who ultimately changed the course of modern art.

the hard part of becoming an abstractionist is developing the ability to absolve one's metier of visual reference to any concrete concept. if we take the bicycle as a principal source, it is possible to emulate pablo picasso's means of abstraction and produce a cubist rendering of our hypothetical velocipede. but there's no denying that the result could hardly be described as completely abstract.

at the risk of being seen as uncompormisingly dogmatic, total abstraction is rarely, if ever, called upon to feature in successful graphic design. if i might point you in the direction of my recent article concerning richard mitchelson's collaboration with tim bonnett's bike-ninja, you may have become familiar with the fostering of a successful graphic envelope surrounding the world of the bicycle. it's hardly a new or recent concept; many posters advertising specific cycle racing events, have been successfully exhibited in artistic environments without any need for a worded apology in the accompanying catalogues.

northern line futurist giro poster

returning briefly to the career of wassily kandinsky, in 1920, at the age of 54, he taught at germany's bauhaus, until it was closed down by the nazis some thirteen years later. i mention this because the design philosophy prevalent at the bauhaus closely mirrored that espoused by the italian futurist art movement, an example of which might be considered the futurismo trentino poster, advertising the exposition of the same name. to paraphrase the aforementioned pablo picasso "a good artist borrows, a great artist steals", and as described in a recent blogpost by cycling poster supremos, the northern line, graphic designer, peter saville, made conspicuous use of the exposition poster when creating the album cover for the band 'new order''s first factory album, 'movement'.

northern line futurist giro poster

in fact, aside from a background colour change, and differing intent, there is little to distinguish between the two examples of graphic art. those less kind than the northern line and yours truly might call it plagiarism (see picasso above).

ignoring germany's bauhaus and kandinsky's country of birth, the italian connection has particular relevance to the world of the bicycle, in light of the 2019 giro d'italia beginning its three-week sojourn around the welly-boot from bologna, this coming saturday. inspired by both fortunato depero's original poster and saville's album cover, the graphically astute chaps and chapesses at the northern line have produced a highly desirable, typographically inspired poster commemorating the premier italian bike race. naturally enough, the colouring has been modified to accommodate not only the pink of the maglia rosa, but the green and red seen in italy's tricolour.

available printed at both a3 and a2 size, framed or unframed, prices start at £21 unframed or £38 framed and will form the first in a series of posters celebrating this year's three grand tours. in his book 'one more kilometre and we're in the showers', author tim hilton stated that within any given peloton, there was likely to be a disproportionately greater number of artists and designers than in society at large. assuming that to be true, the link is below.

giro d'italia futurist poster

thursday 9 may 2019

twmp ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

it just gets better and better

rich mitch

despite the continued furore over lance armstrong's cycling misdemeanours, essentially, when he stated 'it's all about the bike', he was pretty much bang on the money. at the risk of, once again, stating the glaringly obvious, cycling would be rather different without the bicycle at the centre of its universe. for starters, we probably wouldn't be holding this conversation in the first place. but accepting that the bicycle is probably here to stay, in one form or another, allows us to engage our peripheral vision and take a look at the support structure, the very aspect that makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts.

many years ago, when asked just what thewashingmachinepost entailed by way of content, a friend interjected "it's about cycling culture." you have to admit that, to a writer at least, any phrase containing the word 'culture' pretty much has to be taken as a compliment, however it was originally intended. in the intervening years, i have attempted to remain as true to that epithet at possible, though i cannot deny that the occasional product review has interrupted the velocipedinal firmament.

rich mitch

cycling and the bicycle have inspired great writings by a phalanx of superb authors, it has fostered many questionable accessories made from carbon fibre and titanium, most of which we have fawned over like schoolgirls at a unicorn conference and has been the guiding light for many an artist and caricaturist. i have included the latter because my hidden agenda concerns the inestimable richard mitchelson. many of you may recall just where you were when you first discovered his intriguing and mesmeric animation of eddy merckx, or discovered the extent of his creativity in the pages of rouleur magazine, a publication from which his skills have been absent for way too long.

rich mitch

the fortunate amongst us could once choose from a wide selection of rich mitch caricatures applied to a series of coffee mugs (or, in richard's case, tea). his portrayal of robert millar still hangs from a cup hook in thewashingmachinepost kitchen.

mr mitchelson's talents are now gainfully employed as associate creative director with big dog agency in norwich. and there, this story of independent creativity could conceivably have come to an end. that could well have been the case had it not been for the fortuitous intervention of bike ninja's tim bonnett. the shop section of richard's website has been recently absent from its pixels, but that situation has now been remedied by the meeting of mr mitchelson with the above mentioned bike ninja.

rich mitch

"I met Tim at Bike Ninja a few years ago when he asked me to create the artwork for the #rideforcharlie foundation. I knew he would be the best choice to take control of my shop, with new products, ideas and designs by me."

we know why richard has a smile on his face, but how does tim fit into the equation? "I've been a fan of Rich's work for a long time, from the 'Legends' series and the other varied and diverse work in his portfolio. My first contact with him came when trying to think of a way of supporting the #Rideforcharlie foundation. I thought of the legend portraits he had produced and approached him about commissioning Charlie Craig's illustration. Rich was very keen to help, fully aware of the tragic story of Charlie and offered to do the work free of charge in support of the cause. As a result of his illustration of Charlie, we have been able to donate thousands to the foundation through product sales."

rich mitch

i too have cause to appreciate rich's dedication to the cause, though on a considerably smaller scale. when rapha launched their cycle clubs, i thought it a wizard wheeze to create an rcc on islay at debbie's just for a bit of a laugh. i asked rich mitch if he would be willing to send over a few of his heroes illustrations with which i might skew the decor in a more cycling-related fashion, to create the desired ambience midst coffee and cake. he duly sent over a selection of images in support of my dubious project. actually, they're still there in all their framed glory.

but, let's face it; i've met rich on many occasions and you don't see any of his products available on the post. what made the difference for tim? "Since that first meeting, I've stayed in touch, hoping that one day I would be able to work with him. Over the last few months everything seemed to slot into place. Rich started a new full-time job meaning that he didn't have as much time to focus on running a shop or the admin that goes with it. After knocking around a few ideas, the light bulb moment happened and we decided that it was time.
rich mitch The new range, including mugs, coasters, t-shirts, long-sleeve t-shirts, art prints and mouse mats, is now available from the Bike Ninja website and all items are printed from the Bike Ninja office in Suffolk."

though i believe lance may have participated in the odd mountain bike adventure during the course of his sullied career, in essence, the bike about which he spoke featured skinny tyres and bendy bars. however, in a bicycle world that insists on blurring the lines between road and offroad, tim mentioned that he and rich mitch have discussed "...introducing some MTB legends to fit in with the large off-road side to Bike Ninja."

and as if to cement the partnership, it transpires that mr mitchelson's relocation to norwich brings him within twenty-miles of tim's office. no longer will it be necessary for them to share only virtual 'tea-fuelled creativity'


wednesday 8 may 2019

twmp ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

chater-lea grand tour pedals


it's sort of an odd concept, being securely fastened to the pedals on our bicycles, particularly since the impetus for so doing appears to have come from the sporting milieu. if you consider racing hell for leather towards a finish-line or hammering up a steep hill, ensuring that your feet do not take on a trajectory all of their own is perfectly understandable. the jury is still out as to whether it's actually possible to 'pull-up' on the pedals while climbing, but even if that turns out to be a self-convincing fallacy, psychology, it probably has the same effect.

but what if you're just out for a saturday ride, before and after some lunch and froth-supping, where the notions of power output, average speed or managed cadence, are just so much fluff and nonsense? though toe-clips and clipless pedals have become de rigeur amongst even the least concerned of one-person pelotons, are we guilty of emulating the kids who followed the pied piper, or, closer to home, behaving like sheep?


for cyclists (and even motorists) of a certain age, the words chater and lea were stated not only with reverence, but often with concomitant enthusiasm. arguably, the quality the name espoused, rivalled that of campagnolo's position in the racing world. founded in 1890, chater-lea produced not only quality cycle components, such as pedals, chainsets etc., but even motor cars. however, such are the vicissitudes of the commercial realm, around thirty years ago, chater-lea was no more.

until now.

at this point, enter stage left, andy richman, british by birth, but currently resident across the pond. richman had inadvertently made himself aware of chater lea's history and reputation for quality componentry, all of which convinced him to revive the brand as a british-made project, rather than outsource production to the far east, in common with most of the contemporary bicycle industry. "this is the kind of stuff that needs to be made in the uk". this revival was announced on twitter just over two years ago, at which point i sent a speculative e-mail enquiring as to what sort of product range we could expect to see.


to cut a long story much shorter, a few week's ago, i was sent a pair of chater-lea grand tour pedals, the first, british-made product to result from the company's revival. compared to a pair of tom ritchey's micro-road pedals, these are enormous. crafted from 316l stainless steel, the rear-facing portion of the serated pedal cage, brass-rivetted to the spindle housing, features a laser-cut 'cl' logo. the pedals are fully serviceable; removing the large domed cap from the outer end, reveals a cup and cone spindle assembly, manufactured from 17-4ph hardened stainless steel, running on 4mm, grade 10 chrome steel bearings. these are lubricated with high performance calcium sulphonate-based marine grease.


the main bone of contention, if twitter is anything to go by, after their launch at this year's bespoked bristol, seems to be the weight. i'd be surprised, however, if anyone reading the last paragraph, expected these to be in the featherweight category; i seriously doubt that chris froome will be seen queuing outside the chater-lea offices, keen to add a pair to his tour de france bicycle. a bit like yours truly, these are not built for speed, nor to find themselves atop any chart drawn up for the weightweenies website. i have not entrusted my review pair to the care of mrs washingmachinepost's kitchen scales, but i figure each weighs in around 400 grammes. it seems this might be a deal-breaker for some, even if heft plays scarcely a significant part in the daily travail of many.

i doubt andy richman would be overly upset if i bluntly stated that these are definitely not for the weight conscious cyclist, nor my contention that, for non-competitive cyclists, weight is an often overwrought concept.


i fitted the review pair of chater-lea grand tour pedals to a pair of carbon, campagnolo record crank arms, where, rather surprisingly, they looked far less out of place than i had feared. unlike many a clipless pedal, these do not feature an allen bolt recess at the threaded end of the spindle, requiring a good old-fashioned, 16mm pedal spanner, a tool that has regrettably languished unused for too long on the bike-shed toolboard. and though it seems a tad supercilious to mention, the spindle flats are engraved 'l' and 'r'. all too many pedals nowadays leave choice of crankarm entirely to chance.


beautiful pedals such as these, deserve appropriately constituted footwear, in my case, in the shape of a pair of lace-up leather quoc pham shoes that would not have looked out of place if matched with a molteni jersey and a pair of sideburns. these possess a ribbed sole perfectly at home on the chater-lea stainless steel serated cage tops, however, depending on your sartorial perspective, you could wear any darned flat sole shoes you choose.

it is many a long year since i have ridden pedals that did not demand a cleat of some description or other and even longer since i squeezed my toes into a pair of toe-clips. the fear, i don't mind admitting, was that my feet would continually slip off the pedals and perforate my shins with alarming and painful frequency, especially when standing up to climb. these fears arose despite once being like every other kid on the block and riding here, there and everywhere on (considerably less sturdy) pedals. as it transpired, those fears were completely groundless. despite having ridden the grand tour pedals for several weeks, neither right nor left feet ever left the safety of those pedals other than on purpose. and while i am hardly the heaviest of riders, my weight made an excellent job of keeping feet on pedals even when ascending out of the saddle.


it's also a really odd feeling to simply step off the bike without an outward twist of either foot.

i can but pay tribute to the inherent smoothness of a set of campagnolo record bottom bracket bearings, but that was immeasurably enhanced by the silky smoothness of chater-lea's pedal bearings. ultimately, the weight remained precisely where it ought to remain: firmly in the technical specifications on chater-lea's website. which, incidentally, is the only place from which you can make a purchase, for the revived company has opted to inhabit the world of the digitally native vertical brand. and to keep these beautiful pedals at the attainable end of desirable, they carry a reassuringly expensive price-tag of a yet to be confirmed £275 per pair.

chater-lea's grand tour, stainless steel pedals are, to be frank, a niche product. they will not appeal to every cyclist, nor are they intended to. on the basis of several bicycles i have witnessed over the past couple of weeks, they'd be an ideal fit for the intrepid touring cyclist, particularly in light of their build-quality, ease of maintenance and promise of longevity, the latter backed by a lifetime, original-owner warranty.

it seems there may be hope for the world after all.

you are currently invited to register your interest in the grand tour pedals on the chater-lea website.

tuesday 7 may 2019

chater-lea ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................