i am generally of the opinion that i work quite hard at my cycling. even on sunday mornings, when the rain is falling and the wind is blowing, i stoically refuse entreaties from mrs washingmachinepost to pull the covers up around my ears and "just go back to sleep". i cannot disagree that there is something rather perverse about eagerly rising on cold, dark mornings, to spend a few hours wrapped in the finest weatherproofing that modern-day cycling apparel can provide, simply to churn through weather conditions to protect ourselves from which most of us have installed double-glazing.
and if that seems a situation that requires some explaining, then the fact that our choice of sunday morning routes is somewhat limited if we wish to arrive back at debbie's in time for coffee and cake is probably utterly inexplicable. yes, we can congratulate ourselves on an implicit degree of badassery, particularly throughout the winter months, all the while confident that, despite the coffee and cake, our waistlines, if not receding, are remaining static and the collective state of health remains largely positive.
but ultimately, there's still the nagging feeling that we're only going round in circles (a truism if ever there was one). reading the shop edition of the comic keeps up the fabrication that were it not for the day job and her indoors, we'd all currently be tapering our training schedules in preparation for those three weeks in july. and that new bike rack that buildbase have promised for debbie's outdoor area would be populated with team liveried pinarello, canyon and specialized carbon fibre.
you can perhaps see why we figure we're going round in circles.
there is, of course, an antidote to our restricted perambulations, one that has existed more or less since the advent of the first bicycles, but one that has recently become a tad more fashionable. i have just boxed up and returned a rather excellent specialized awol adventure bike, a steel machine that has carried me to the hitherto unexplored nooks and crannies of islay (i never quite made it to jura. next time; i promise), armed and potentially dangerous with bike luggage, bike packs and now an ingeniously engineered device all the way from portland city that is ready and willing to aid and abet my recently discovered exploratory fortitude.
i'm sure they won't mind me saying that they're a quirky lot at portland design works, if only for the process by which they tend to name their excellent products. where else, you may ask, would you find an alexander graham bell, a lars rover and a 3wrencho in the same catalogue? the fact that two of my bicycles feature a bird cage and an owl cage only serves, i believe, to underline my original point. however, the concomitant fact that each and every pdw product i have had the pleasure of reviewing has fulfilled its promise, in my opinion, gives them free reign to call stuff whatever they want.
which brings me to the bindle rack, a device that clamps to the seatpost and is suspended via a clipped, adjustable strap threaded through the saddle rails. though the brindle rack is scarcely wider than the tail end of your saddle, it is styled to carry bicycle luggage such as that recently released by rapha + apidura. though their handlebar pack features straps to keep it in situ, its shape and form factor make it admirably suitable to be carried on the brindle. of course, there is no need to avail yourself of a rapha+apidura pack; there are more than just a few brands on the market that would be happy to encase those weekend touring essentials.
though pdw have affirmed no maximum weight limit for the brindle, its overall size would seem to make it unlikely that normal touring constraints would be overly heavy. after all, this is the new dawn of riding far, but riding light. the rack's construction is of strong, lightweight coated aluminium that adds only but a few grams to the bike, with a removable, plastic coated centre web to support your tent or dry bag when loaded. there are further two webbing straps that will keep everything where it's supposed to be. the rack section is pinned to the seatpost bracket by two allen bolts that allow a modicum of hinging, ensuring a welcome degree of flexibility.
the only downside i perceived in the course of my adventuring related to the chunkiness of that seatpost clamp. held in place by two strong allen bolts and featuring a plastic gasket to prevent scratches or other damage to the post, its solidity and width created a tendency to rub on my inner thighs. though this was hardly an onerous level of discomfort, perhaps some curved moulding of the bracket might be effected to minimise this effect.
clamped and strapped in place, with a modest level of luggage aboard, no amount of half-assed chuntering across unkempt terrain gave any cause for concern. having slightly misjudged my exit on the corner of a loosely gravelled track, the involuntary hop, skip and jump that thankfully kept body and soul together had no effect whatsoever on the bindle or its luggage. which is, i believe, precisely as it should be.
pdw's bindle rack sold out of its recent pre-order, with main stocks arriving by mid-july. at present i've been unable to pin down a uk price, and with all the financial hoo-ha following the recent eu referendum, that might be hard to do anytime soon. however, the north american price is $88 (currently £61). a small price to pay for no longer going round in circles.
'take it easy. but take it.'
thursday 30 june 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................