desktop publishing is the best comparison i can think of, not because it has any relevance to cycling, but it's the only other subject in which i consider myself reasonably well-versed. the software available for the purpose has become ever more sophisticated, often allowing the designer to express ideas previously unattainable, but more often than not, the tweaks and improvements simply make life oh so much easier when trying to accomplish the relatively mundane. but yet no matter how futuristic it might become, its roots are still in the good old days of hot metal, good old days, i might add, of which i was never a part.
scanning an experienced eye over a heading, it might conceivably be considered a visual improvement to increase or decrease the leading, (as in the metal), or perhaps tighten the tracking to better fit the space. perhaps, on closer inspection, the kerning between certain letters might be adjudged less than optimal. now the majority of you will have little or no idea as to which i refer, and in truth, there's no real reason why you should. many an activity, genre or subject has a language all of its own, mostly known only to practitioners of the art and totally misunderstood by those approaching from the sidelines.
unfortunately, though the obvious method of induction would be for the former to instruct the latter, a mischievous arrogance often promulgated to protect a comfortable level of seniority amongst the cognoscenti prevents this happening with ease. basically speaking, "i ain't telling you what i know, because maybe you'll steal my job." so how else is the newbie to progress from ignorance to a place of knowledge?
nowadays there's always youtube, facebook or twitter, though as i know from personal experience, the latter is oft inhabited by those beloved of the smart-ass one-liner. velominati's the rules might help just a tad, but in all honesty (spoiler alert) some of them are posited with tongue firmly planted in cheek. what's needed is a book written by someone who not only has the knowledge, but understands life from the point of the ignorant. the ignorant cyclist that is.
peter drinkell is undoubtedly that fellow.
his latest published offering is stealthily entitled the road cyclist's companion, giving the impression that inside its black, hardback cover, is a wealth of information of use to the average and not so average road cyclist. the title ensures that, were a copy to be found in the pocket of peter sagan's jersey pocket, nobody in the cannondale team car would go so far as to raise an eyebrow. but that is the genius of mr drinkell and his publishers at cicada.
"Cycling can be a minefield to the uninitiated. There are literally thousands of unwritten rules - from the length of your socks to the 'luft' of your cap..."
this education into the intricacies and arcane nooks and crannies of the roadie's pelotonic world is thoughtfully divided into thematic sections, all the better to provide the earnest with a logical means of their future education. kit, bike fit, group riding, technique and training. the very basis of a professional apprenticeship, should your tenacity take you that far.
some of the summaries following on from drinkell's opening paragraphs could be thought of as mildly derivative, echoing one or two of the rules as described by velominati. if nothing else, it shows how deeply the latter have impressed themselves upon the velocipedinal psyche. but in general, the man has the roadie scene well sussed and deftly caricatured while maintaining an impressively straight face. peter drinkell displays a subtly authoritative tone throughout, leaning more towards suggestion than diktat, even though the outcome is likely the same.
even the illustrations are knowledgeable.
of course, i would never dare suggest that those of us gathered here could possibly find anything of value in the road cyclist's companion. so well-versed are we in road cycling lore and practice that we could sit an exam on the subject at he drop of a poc octal. couldn't we? so, on purchasing a copy for a less well-educated colleague, there would surely be no earthly need for any of us to peruse its pages, even if only to check that mr drinkell spelt cocky and erratic correctly?
which he did, by the way.
saturday 17 may 2014..........................................................................................................................................................................................................