i have stated this on previous occasions, but nothing that has transpired since then has given me any cause to reconsider. sheep are undoubtedly the most predictably unpredictable animals on the planet. this may have something to do with both an alleged short-sightedness and the salient fact that they are hardly camouflaged in any way. if any of you watched the recent tv production about loch lomond, narrated by ewan macgregor, you would have become acquainted with the snow rabbits, animals whose fur alters colour to white during the winter, then back to a dullish brown when spring has sprung.
thus, in the colder months, when predators are anxiously and aggressively looking for food, those little bunnies are effectively hidden from sight while plainly in view. if you catch my (snow) drift? sheep, on the other hand, are white all year round, something of a stark contrast with green grass, a covering that has inflicted itself copiously upon this most southern of the inner hebrides. yet despite the fact that those in the field behind washingmachinepost croft rush eagerly to the sound of a quad bike when feeding time arrives, those met most often on uiskentuie strand are prone to running away from a bright orange/line green specialized cyclocross bicycle, even when its pilot shows no interest in their whereabouts at anytime.
the strand is a three kilometre stretch of grassy dunes that i frequent most often when on a 'cross bike, so you would expect a level of familarity to breed contempt whereby those sheep would be inclined to all but ignore my presence. however, i have ben advised by members of the farming fraternity, that shaun the sheep would be better off wearing spectacles. by this i infer that they really have no idea that it is me once more, thrumming my way through the grassy tussocks. it would certainly explain why they have an uncanny and potentially dangerous habit of walking in front of motor vehicles, seemingly unconcerned.
all this would be of purely academic interest were it not for the fact that, in common with many of us when given a real scare, sheep have a tendency to pepper the grass less travelled with little browny/green droppings, poops that are pretty darned difficult to avoid when carrying off one's world famous impersonation of jeremy powers. and given that even slightly knobbly 33mm tyres are possessed of rotational qualities, those little defecations are then spread all over the seat tube, down tube and seat post. i think most of us would agree that a bicycle thus decorated is most unlikely to garner new friends and compatriots outside the coffee stop.
but social niceties aside, there is a distinct possibility that such organic augmentation could also play havoc with the bicycle's paint scheme over a period of time, one that may result in odd discolourations and the inevitable scratched surfaces that result from use of aggressive cleaning techniques. how then to protect one's prized velocipedinal possession(s) from such manifest irritation?
there has long been the opportunity to purchase small, circular or oval plastic patches to site under brake or gear cables where they make contact with the frame, patches that offer protection from chafing. surely the simple expedient of enlarging those patches and configuring them to be applied over much larger areas of the bike ought to do the trick and without detracting from the colourfulness that encouraged you to purchase the bicycle in the first place?
the clever people at lizard skins, makers of particularly fine, grippy bar tape, have obviously come across flocks of sheep in their own perambulations, for true to form, they have produced a comprehensive set of clear, sturdy stickers with which to protect not only the possibility of frame-rubbing cables, but larger, cleverly designed stickers that offer protection for the underside of even the largest of down tubes as well as the hapless rear section of the seat tube.
i have had one set of these affixed to a specialized crux elite for a matter of several weeks, only a couple of dirty finger marks (should've washed my hands first) alerting the onlooker to their existence. the kit consists of two large and two medium patches, three small and two large frame protectors, all for the princely sum of around £32. a small price to pay for maintaining a sense of chromatic elegance. and if the clear stuff ever becomes too shabby, it's a (relatively) simple case of peeling it off and applying a new protection sticker.
sunday 21 august 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................