much has been made in the news recently of the iniquities of social media. i seriously doubt that the progenitors of either twitter or facebook had in mind some of the negative tendencies of those using either, but a bit like nuclear weapons, not only can they not be uninvented, but in and of themselves, they are neither good nor bad. that's down to the folks that use them, or in the case of the former, press the red button. however, in the same way that people on the island are more likely to inform of others' bad points than their good, the negativity surrounding all forms of so-called 'social media' is more likely to sell newspapers than the good stuff.
i've been on twitter for years while simultaneously avoiding facebook like the plague. trade magazine bikebiz featured twitter several years ago, keen to point out that those in the trade who avoided using it, did so at their own risk. while i don't strictly consider myself a part of the bicycle trade as such, i still figured the only way to gauge its effectiveness one way or the other was to sign up and use it for my own purposes. and those mostly consist of smart-ass one-liners.
still, that's twitter's fault, not mine.
however, as many will be aware, there's more to social media than simply twitter and facebook. there are a panoply of others that, in truth, mean as little to me as the physics surrounding black holes in space. but one other that i have dabbled in for a very short period of time is instagram. a bit like facebook, it's a facet of modernity that i'm not sure i quite comprehend, though a lack of a smart phone in my pocket may have quite a lot to do with that. however, my friends in portland both at rapha and chris king amongst others applied untold pressure to have me join. quite why they had interest in where i was or what i was doing at any time of the day or week is beyond me. still, there's no accounting for taste.
though i have no iphone or similar device, i do own an ipod touch which features a camera of admittedly rather dubious resolution. so i capitulated; i signed up with instagram a couple of years ago, determined to let the whole world in on my weekend velocipedinal activities, for better or worse.
those of you already on instagram will doubtless query my reservations, but let me list what i perceive as the unnecessary paraphernalia that restricted its use in my hands. firstly, i am not a natural photographer; i generally only point the lens at subjects necessary to illustrate features and reviews on thewashingmachinepost. i can honestly say i have not recently been overcome with a sudden need to stop en-route to somewhere and snap a picturesque scene. therefore the imposition of instagram upon my day to day lent a certain artificiality to my machinations. what on earth was i supposed to photograph? why would anyone be the least bit interested? and wouldn't stopping every now and again only serve to interrupt a pretty decent bike ride?
all those, however, paled into insignificance when i actually made the effort. ok, so it was in the month of february, but stopping, extricating the ipod from its waterproof pocket and snapping a pic was the simple bit. since there's no wi-fi on the high road, there was no means of immediately uploading any pics, so they had to be saved for later. but then instagram wanted me to title the pic and add keywords and other such paraphernalia, all this with gloveless fingers; how else to work a touch screen?
so not only was i cold, but so were my hands, stood in the middle of the high road in early february, taking pics of passing place signs for folks who were likely still asleep across the pond and who might scarcely be interested in the first place. the social bit of all this was beginning to escape me. but now, notwithstanding the fact that i'm still no closer to feeling the need to take photos in the first place, i might revitalise that instagram account.
the reason has been provided by the folks at isadore clothing in slovakia. providers of rather sleek and svelte cycle clothing, they have recently brought to market a pair of merino/lycra gloves featuring touch screen friendly fingertips. now, assuming my inspiration forces the need for instant digital imagery, i can navigate my ipod screen with cosy fingers, while pressing the shutter button in similar circumstances. that alone would make them ten fingers worth of one trick pony were it not for their seamless construction, sturdy cuffs and silicone grippers on the fingers and palms.
it's kinda nice that modernity is accommodated even in the rarefied world of cycling. granted, there's phones, tablets and even gps devices with touch screens everywhere you look, and it might be silly to buy gloves solely for such purposes, but even if you're something of a luddite in such matters like yours truly, these are pretty nifty gloves, stretchy enough to fit over a regular pair of cycling mitts if you feel the need for padded palms. if you're a techno whizz, leave subtle hints with your bestest for christmas.
isadore merino gloves are available in sizes small to xl at a cost of 35 euros (£25) direct from the isadore website.
sunday 9 november 2014..........................................................................................................................................................................................................