several years ago washingmachinepost croft and surrounding properties received new gates and chainlink fencing to replace the rather gnarled version that hadn't been renewed since the houses were built. unfortunately the guys engaged to carry out the work probably wore stetsons and spurs in their spare time; let's just say that 'workmanship' was a word unlikely to be at the forefront of their vocabulary. as if to add insult to injury, the gent responsible for appraising the work on completion seems not to have made the attempt to do so, thus the manifest shoddiness was allowed to remain, while our heroes pocketed an amount of cash that presumably bore little relationship to the skills on display.
as with many initial appraisals, the gates and fences seemed pretty much ok, particularly while they remained new and sort of shiny. however, it was only a matter of months before their wholesale ineptitude became all too clear, particularly during a windy night. unfortunately the latches on many of the gates eventually failed to reach the brackets into which they ought to have fitted, meaning that the gates were allowed to swing free, repeatedly banging into anything they might emcounter in their path. as blustery winds are notable by their frequency around these parts, sleeping at night has often been something of a lottery.
a cursory glance around the estates would initially reveal nothing untoward, but live here for more than a couple of days or nights, and you'd soon see what i mean. it would be naive to think that everything else in the world inherits immediate perfection, and though there is much in the way of perfection to be appreciated nowadays, there are still a number of items that don't always live up to expectations. this is not to say they are in the same class as our garden fence and gate, but simply that all is not as it appears. like a long-sleeve jersey where the sleeves struggle to meet your wrists.
and it's an affliction that features in the latest of luxurious cycle caps from the inestimable this is cambridge. however, there are mitigating circumstances in this particular case that are probably centred on a degree of personal misapprehension.
at this time of year, though the sun may not feature greatly in the day to day, when it does so, in the northern hemisphere at least, it's pretty low in the sky. this, traditionally, is where the hebridean tradition of riding with cap peak down under a cycle helmet offers several winter benefits. for starters, gale force winds notwithstanding, that peak keeps a certain amount of dripping precipitation from running down the lenses of my rudy projects. and to return to the sun's apparent low altitude, a downward facing peak allows the speeding cyclist to avoid being blinded by the light.
however, the grey, tweedy cap under consideration is preceded on tic's website with the words 'urban sprinter', a factor that, while it explains my predicament, doesn't entirely make it go away. having not long returned from a lightning visit to the great metropolis, i can see precisely why this squared off peak makes excellent sense. one of the biggest differences between being urban and being rural is the amount of sky that's visible in the latter environment. take a walk down grays inn road, take a left onto clerkenwell road and eventually old street, and all the hick from the country sees are buildings and precious little sky. uiskentuie strand has a diametrically opposite effect.
add to that, a greater necessity to have an eagle eye upon surrounding traffic takes far more serious precedence in central london than it ever will on the road round loch gorm.
the workmanship, unlike that applied to our ruinous gates and fences, is immaculate. the exterior is chunkily hand-woven on the isle of man before being massaged into a fabulous looking cycle cap. the interior is fully lined and edged with an absorbent strip. though pretty much every cycle cap can be worn in circumstances that have little or nothing to do with cycling, this one is undoubtedly luxury we can afford, and more than ideal for a concentrated bout of salubrious froth supping. despite its substantial constitution, it fitted easily under the three helmets i tried it with (kask vertigo, giro air attack and mavic plasma) and keeps the head cosy even in the sort of adverse conditions you'll never see in the city centre.
if i were content to shuffle about the village on a sit up and beg (an experience that may be closer than you think), or hare around it streets and avenues on fixed gear, the shortness of peak would bother me not one whit. however, for extended struggling into headwinds that one ought not to have ridden in the first place, i figure i'll revert to my this is cambridge sunday best cycling cap. the peak is much more to my liking and my needs.
however, it is only fair that i point out my relative minority status in such matters. but if you're mark cavendish (or like to think you are) in the city centre, it's a ruddy brilliant cap.
this is cambridge's urban sprinter cycling cap is available in blue or grey tweed, one size fits all at a cost of £38.
sunday 15 december 2013..........................................................................................................................................................................................................