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fassa bicycle protection

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the mighty dave t's words of the week

the mighty dave t

"i'm not sure that sunday's quite my day anymore."

©2019 the mighty dave t, is a prendas sponsored rider and le patron of the thoroughly decent fellows.


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this is cambridge

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ritchey wcs upgrade ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

it only hurts when i laugh

zwift indoor racing

i'm presuming i wasn't the only one to receive an e-mail from rouleur magazine recently, stating "we want to better understand your needs as an indoor cyclist.", a statement of intent that i find slightly disturbing especially when this was followed by a request to participate in a survey concerning my use and experience of indoor cycling. it took only a matter of moments, clicking through the questions, to realise that i was unlikely to be of any assistance in their quest. in fact, when asked if i'd heard of various examples of indoor cycling software, zwift was the only one i'd come across.

zwift indoor racing

and not only do i not possess an indoor trainer of any description, but i have no intention of altering that situation.

'rouleur magazine' was founded by guy andrews, (currently the mastermind behind bluetrain publishing), as a quality journal, covering cycle sport in a similar manner to the way it was portrayed by rapha in its early days. in fact, on one of my first visits to the original imperial works in the middle of last decade, guy was one of the few occupying a desk in the office. during my visit, he showed me a small book of black and white photography by stephan vanfleteren entitled 'flandrien', a copy of which i immediately ordered on my return home.

it still sits in the bookcase on the upstairs landing.

zwift indoor racing

this book almost single-handedly encapsulated what it was that many of us wished to identify as the grittiness of cycle sport. in fact, the very image that rapha, along with ben ingham's photography, were keen to curate in the spirit of black, white and pink. far be it from me to suggest that rouleur's basic values have changed over the years, but it seems more than likely that such would be the case. there's nothing surer than change, and in the age of wall to wall social media, the traditional media have to move with the times, or risk becoming irrelevant.

zwift indoor racing

the current issue of the magazine, concerning itself specifically with the upcoming spring classics, presents a full-page advertisement for zwift, the computer-based, indoor cycling app, which recently initiated a racing series all of its very own. word in the peloton would suggest that the uci, no less, are currently taking strides to regulate this new form of competition, one that doesn't require all of its participants to be in the same place at the same time. quite how that affects their drug-testing programme remains to be seen.

having spent an enjoyable weekend's riding in galeforce winds, i completely fail to see the attraction of riding indoors in front of a computer or television screen. i fully understand that the effort required is probably greater than that expended by yours truly, but by my definition, cycling is only cycling if it takes place in the great outdoors.

zwift indoor racing

however, in much the same way that i have spent hours watching neil peart videos on youtube, fervently trying to understand why so many drummers consider him to be a true deity, when those random perusals brought up more than a single instance of zwift racing videos, several lasting well over an hour, i felt compelled to set-aside my misgivings and at least take a look.

oh how i laughed.

were the chosen zwift race to have taken place in real-life, the entire peloton would have ended up in an inglorious heap before the first corner. i have no idea how the software places the virtual riders in spatial relation to each other, but because they are not flesh and blood, banging into each other would appear to result in no negative effects. in the world of virtual reality, newton's third law of motion (every action has an equal and opposite reaction), apparently doesn't exist. assuming that to be the case, i fail to see how participating in a zwift event prepares its adherents for the rough and tumble of the 'real thing'.

zwift indoor racing

yet several individuals have already been presented with professional road contracts as a result of competing in and winning 'virtual' events.

it's almost inevitable that the state-of-the-art, pertaining to realistic portrayal of onscreen virtual events, will improve as the software matures (watching the peloton effectively cycle through the camera, for example). currently, it verges on the laughable.

i am nowhere near naive enough to confuse indoor virtual racing or training with that of the real thing. but i'm seriously beginning to wonder if the same can be said of many, pertinent others.

zwift racing

monday 18 february 2019

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rouleur magazine ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

making a difference

foreland towards saligo

just because i can, for the past three years, i have tutored students at the local secondary school in the twists and turns of higher and advanced higher drumming. the music department in this establishment is particularly well-equipped, from a recently constructed recording studio to a number of practice rooms, featuring tuned percussion, drumsets and pianos. the music room itself is festooned with electric and acoustic guitars on the walls, along with a number of electric keyboards, bass guitars and a vibraphone and xylophone which move from room to corridor, seemingly of their own accord.

the confounding factor in the above described equation is that none of the music students seem willing to form themselves into school bands and it may be that the lack of a sense of rebellion, is the invisible obstacle that prevents this happening. when at that age, the music department to which i was compelled to attend, brought only lessons in the art of singing sea-shanties and excerpts from gilbert and sullivan productions. therefore (i believe), we were drawn to form our own rock bands as a reaction against both parental influence and an education system that failed to cater for such outpourings of musical angst.

not that any of us had the faintest idea what angst was.

i had originally hoped to be either a guitarist or bass player (the first refuge of the failed guitarist), but faced with a peer group who seemed to have acquired those skills well in advance of my own feeble efforts, all that remained was the drumset at the back of the stage. fortunately, i appear to have had percussive abilities beyond my ken and my introduction to 'the yes album', the third outpouring from messrs anderson, bruford, squire, howe and kaye, and their most successful to date, confirmed that this was what i wanted to do. that was 1971 and bruford's abilities on the drumset brought me to my first instance of hero worship.

bruford retired from performance and recording in 2009 at the age of sixty and subsequently studied for a phd at surrey university. the subject of this study was the creativity, or otherwise, of the drumming fraternity, encapsulated in his recent, studious publication 'uncharted'. only the other evening, i listened to an interview with bill in which he explained that one of the reasons for his study was a personal need to leave a legacy to the percussive realm.

while i'll admit this would appear, at least on the surface, to be a somewhat arrogant assertion, though bruford frequently comes across as loquacious and intellectual, in truth, he appears to be quite self-effacing. i hope, therefore, that you'll afford me the same understanding when i state that i think i might follow bruford's footsteps into the world of academia. when i finally reach the stage where i can no longer keep up (several would say i'm already there), i think i'll apply to study for my own doctorate. and my chosen subject will be 'the psychology of the motorist'.

were you to assert that there must have been a series of incidents that brought about this state of affairs, you would indeed be correct. while perambulating the estates on saturday morning, as is my wont, i heaed along the singletrack road that passes through gruinart flats, a region of wetlands owned by the rspb. the latter fact will explain why this road features more passing places per square metre than any other on the island; to cater for motorised twitchers, whose predilection for stopping whenever they viewed something of interest, was once likely to block the road for other users.

as i headed along, ultimately en-route to deb's for froth and a double-egg roll, i espied a white car stopped in one of the aforementioned passing places, well towards the other end of the road. as i reached only a matter of metres from their stopped location, they pulled out onto the road, far enough ahead not to cause any distress, but close enough to force me into an adjacent passing place.

why?

had they waited but a matter of 15 to 20 seconds, i'd have been past (i had a tailwind), but apparently that was not a thought that had occurred. and not entirely unexpectedly, precisely the same situation occurred but half an hour later. then as i trundled my way homeward on a two-lane road, following a pleasant and satisfying lunch, i was passed by a car, mere inches from my right elbow, when there was nothing coming in the opposite direction to cause such proximity. the car behind it, passed on the other side of the road, offering at least the recommended three metres.

i fail to understand any of the above mentioned driving behaviour and i'm sure there are many fellow cyclists who find themselves similarly confused, mystified and enraged on a daily basis. so, in an attempt to this off at the pass and provide some level of closure for the cycling fraternity, the only apparent recourse i can bring to the table, is intensive, academic study of the reasons behind what might be termed motorist psychology.

i'm sure bill would be proud.

sunday 17 february 2019

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sugar wheelworks ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

grounds for success

coffee fabrics

under the auspices of a previous editor at our local newspaper, a small, domestic espresso machine was purchased allowing for a daily soupcon of rocket fuel. or at least, that was the plan. in point of fact, though that machine creates a visually stimulating crema atop that small cup of java, the brown liquid beneath the frothy surface does leave something to be desired. strength, mostly.

and once again, telling personal tales out of school, the receptacle in which the ground coffee is placed prior to brewing, features a flippable plastic lever, the purpose of which always escaped me. only by accident did i realise that flipping it forward allowed the disposal of waste coffee grounds into the kitchen bin without also disposing of the perforated holder. thus, i can now indulge in the age-old practice of noisily battering it against the inside of the bin in the vain hope that those caked coffee duds will easily fall out.

it's a practice that takes place all across the world, given that coffee is still, by far, the most common hot drink in the western world. that very newspaper mentioned above, recently printed an article based on a press-release from caledonian macbrayne ferries, pointing out that, across all their west-coast routes, coffee outsold tea by a ratio of almost two to one. we don't possess what is often termed 'the high street', yet, aside from debbie's, there are now several hostelries across the principality, offering various qualities of coffee, all of which must be producing a substantial quantity of waste coffee grounds.

and if those simply end up in landfill, it quite literally is 'waste'.

this is a state of affairs that has probably occurred to several individuals in the course of a visit to costa or starbucks, but in particular to jason chen, who turned his observation into a business opportunity. only 0.2 percent of the ground coffee actually ends up in your cup, meaning the other 99.8 percent might well be practical for use elsewhere. garmentage, for instance and to be more specific, cycling garmentage. and, as it turns out, coffee grounds emulate one of the principle benefits of merino wool: they take away body odours.

in an ideal world, creating fabric from coffee grounds would prove to be an entirely ethical and environmentally sound process, and rather fortunately, that has turned out to be the case. to turn coffee into fabric, it has to be combined with strands of polyester, the latter being sourced from recycled plastic bottles. once combined into a fabric, it not only becomes an odour-eater, but fast-drying, virtually waterproof and almost impervious to ultra-violet light, protecting pigments and fibres. timberland has used it in shoe fabric, helping to prevent stinky feet.

one t-shirt requires three cups of coffee grounds and five recycled plastic bottles. given that taiwan alone (where mr chen and his s.café business are based) produces 30 tonnes of coffee grounds from six million cups of coffee, that's a lot of t-shirts.

scotland, to state the glaringly obvious, is a considerable distance from taiwan, party to weather conditions and temperatures that those in the south and east china seas would scarcely countenance. it would be naive to think that the taiwanese have less requirement for waterproofs than do we, but smartly, scottish outdoor clothing supplier, findra has launched the 'stroma technical jacket' utilising this rather clever coffee-based fabric.

it now needs only a visionary entrepreneur to find a means of massaging used tea-bags into a pair of thermal bibtights, or waterproof overshoes.

findra outdoor clothing

saturday 16 february 2019

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wheelsmith ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

the more things change, the more they stay the same

gravel road

it was mrs washingmachinepost who first separated me from four wheels and put me on two. my initial place of employ on leaving college was a shade under five kilometres from my home and using the car for such a short journey (one that i had walked daily when employed as a student in the summer months), was swallowing more petrol than i had budgeted for. prior to the days of electronic engine management systems, motor cars had a manual choke fitted to the carburettor, allowing for a greater influx of fuel when the engine was cold in the mornings.

on such a short journey, the choke was open fully on the way to work and again on the return journey some eight hours later.

so mrs twmp kindly ordered a steel viscount road bike from her mail-order catalogue and the future die was set. i dare any one of you to deny that, in similar set of circumstances (ie, that of your first bike), you wouldn't immediately look to improving and upgrading the constitution of that plain gauge machine. unfortunately, due to considerably less research into the subject than would have been prudent, the viscount's eventual replacement was scarcely any better than its predecessor. despite the manufacturer ostensibly offering an internal corrosion warranty, when said bicycle started to exhibit a bubbling of the paint due to such a malfeasance, the bike shop seemed less than concerned.

with these circumstances coinciding with the advent of the new-fangled mountain bike, i decided enough was enough and plunged a substantially greater amount of cash into one of the first muddy fox couriers to reach the uk market.

like many an early purchaser, i had no earthly notion of coming within a hundred miles of a mountain, notwithstanding the fact that there was scarcely anything resembling a mountain within a hundred miles. however, the spread of gears via the ubiquitous triple chainset, wide, comfy tyres and a more upright stance than encouraged by a set of drop bars, made the courier the ideal commuting bicycle, though the componentry was still in the early stages of development and didn't quite match the claims made for such machinery by muddy fox's marketing department.

it would be wrong to portray myself as a confirmed roadie who had been stealthily snaffled by the lure of the offroad fraternity, for in truth, i was utterly unaware that such a scene existed. yet, through frequent visits to local bike shops to accessorise the mtb, it became plain that there was a growing, if small, community intent on throwing themselves down the side of big hills that presumably qualified as an ideal and safer substitute for the lack of local mountains. however, as a confirmed wimp who needed to arrive in one piece for work on a monday morning, the rationale behind this nascent mountain bike scene remained an obscure, incomprehensible anathema, no matter how promising the advertisements.

industry-wise, the mountain bike was regarded as its saviour. though i was hardly involved in such matters at the time, i believe sales of road bikes and other flavours were essentially flat at the time, but the arrival of knobbly tyred bicycles quickly turned that around. i doubt many had the faintest idea as to who tom ritchey, charlie breeze and gary fisher really were, happy simply to acquire a piece of americana, simply because that's where the cool kids lived.

velocipedinal life has changed noticeably since those halcyon days of yore: mountain bikes are still around, but more closely resemble farm gates with springs and currently in serious danger of losing two of those three chainrings, if that has not already come to pass. so-called downhill bikes thoroughly deserve that apellation, since the majority cannot easily be ridden uphill under any circumstances. and there was even a point in relatively recent history, when the marketeers had named dual suspension machines as 'playbikes' in order to divert attention away from the emperor's new clothes that few, if any, really needed to wear.

yet, here we are, approaching the end of the second decade of the 21st century and america, followed blindly, it seems, by britain and europe, has once again decided to espouse the desire to leave the road-going world behind and embrace the offroad lifestyle, by way of reinvention. except this time it has by-passed the mountain bike, handing us instead, the gravel bike, a genre of bicycle that we were once happy to address by its more historic name, that of cyclocross.

yes indeed, there are differences, but they are small and ostensibly superficial. unburdened by the need for a governing body, tyre width rivals that of its mountain bike brethren and already moves are afoot to offer front suspension. in many cases, gravel has only visually retained its origins by way of a set of drop handlebars. you may well be thinking, 'so why should i care?', and in essence, i'd be inclined to agree with you, were it not for one salient message from the recently acquired evans cycles' trend spotting exercise.

aside from stating the obvious: that discs and e-bikes are here to stay, while front mechs might well be persona non grata offroad, they prognosticate that gravel and adventure riding are two sides of the same coin that is soon likely to experience a boom time, if it is not already doing so. according to the once troubled high street bike store, 'venturing off-road on drop bars is the quickest, most sure-fire way of injecting some fun and adventure into your riding.' i'm sure that mountain bikers and cyclocrossers will find that more than just vaguely familiar, while roadies might find it just a tad insulting.

with 'gravel specific' wheelsets, larger volume tyres and allegedly specific componentry, clothing and footwear, it's hard to think of an argument as to why the road bike, cross bike and mountain bike should not be joined by a fourth variant just in time for summer. or maybe not, as the case may be.

mind you, i'm eager to see how zwift deals with this trend.

friday 15 february 2019

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hot chillee ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

fandom?

paris-roubaix aso/gruber images

with the imminent approach of what might be loosely termed the 'spring classics', my cycling fandom is gaining a welcome shot in the arm and a rejuvenation of enthusiasm. do not misunderstand; i am continually a cycling enthusiast, but determinedly old skool in my interpretation thereof. once upon a time, the tour of lombardy signalled the end of the professional cycling season, when the intrepid cycling fan could look forward not only a to a brief season of idiosyncratic hill-climbs (it's a brit sort of thing), but a six-day track season that has sadly diminished as the decades have rolled by.

and that's to say nothing of an imperative and compulsory cyclocross season.

but then, the uci, in its infinite wisdom, deigned to globalise the sport, with january's 'tour down under' being arguably the most high-profile example of that, effectively signalling professional cycling's mobius strip; the never-ending season. much as i hate to be a party-pooper, i have never managed to raise the enthusiasm for australia's pre-eminent cycling event. much to my embarrassment, i couldn't even tell you who won this year's race.

there is, of course, the potential for accusations of weather-envy. while the antipodes 'suffers' (if that's the correct word) from a heatwave, the hebrides has scarcely been worthy of comparison. though last year's festive 500 was probably the easiest in recent memory, it still necessitated a complementary degree of layering, in order to maintain a suitable core temperature. i'm happy to have the eccentric finger pointed in my direction when i admit that i rather enjoy riding in the wind and rain.

lest you think i am the sole harbinger of inclement velocpidinal activity, several recent conversations have brought me to the conclusion that this is not something that i practice alone. i do recall the days when i moaned incessantly that every hebridean weekend seemed fraught with gales and horizontal precipitation, timeously curated to place regualr obstacles in the path of cycling serenity. quite when that situation ended, i'd by fibbing if said i knew, but it transpires that more than just one of my pelotonic colleagues has found themselves blessed with a similar change in attitude.

maybe we're just collectively eccentric.

but then, when the aforementioned 'spring classics' finally arrive via eurosport or an internet sporza feed, we are able to identify if not with the speed of competition, at least those hard-man tendencies. and that goes for the women too. while the creme-de-la-creme of the tour de france are exhibiting their outward namby-pambyness, perambulating the inner recesses of las canadas in tenerife, our heroes clad in bib-threequarters, belgian winter caps and overshoes, are either being unceremoniously blown from one side of an echelon to the other, or bouncing their way across cobbles the size of small buildings.

it would seem, in my opinion at least, safe to assume that the majority of cycling fans are similarly engrossed and enthused.

but as i work myself into a frenzy a mere fifty eight days from this year's paris-roubaix, a pin emerges to puncture my self-created bubble. though by now i really ought to know better, i have always believed and inferred that those responsible for bringing pixelated cycling news, or the glorious colour that is ed pickering's procycling magazine, are as similarly obsessed as are we. but it takes only the corporate speak of a ceo to disavow me of that apparently mistaken notion. the colourfully named zillah byng-thorne of future publishing, welcoming the company's purchase of both cycling news and procycling (did they not previously own both?) used language that seems an entire ronde van vlaanderen from the wordage we'd use ourselves.

"The acquisition of these titles will expand our presence in the sport and outdoor leisure vertical, and is a clear demonstration of our strategy to leverage enduring content on our technology platform to further diversify our revenue streams."

and we thought that the uci were our biggest problem.

photo: aso/gruber images

thursday 14 february 2019

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endura cycle clothing ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

the way to go

raid cycling

many, many years ago, in a land far, far away (in mitigation, almost everywhere is far, far away from here) i had been invited by the very nice people at london's imperial works, to join them for the inaugural rapha travel to le grand banc in the provence region of france. naturally enough, as a seasoned travelling cyclist (no sniggering at the back), i had ridden in france on two previous occasions, by way of hot chillee's london-paris ride, but this was different. based in what had once been a small hamlet atop a hill in the middle of nowhere, i, and my fellow velocipedinists were tended to, hand and foot, while we explored the surrounding countryside, guided by those far more experienced with the trials and tribulations of cycling and that particular region of provence.

raid cycling

led by rapha travel's head of ceremonies, californian, brad sauber, i have no earthly idea of where we pedalled each day, though a prospective summitting of mont ventoux had to be abandoned in favour of one of the finest days' riding i have ever experienced, along the gorge la nesque. not only were we supplied with pinarello dogmas on which to perform our daily ministrations, but on each day's return, these were fettled by a resident mechanic while our tired and weary legs were fettled by thor hushovd's masseur. all this took place prior to the consumption of a home-cooked repast to refuel for the following day's struggle.

raid cycling

and the support vehicles were black, ex-team sky, jaguar xk estate cars.

it will ruin my well-earned, if a tad dubious, street cred to announce that, at dinner on our final evening, i was presented with a lanterne rouge cap as a result of my daily position in the peloton. not one who has ever been overly concerned by the latter, i enjoyed every single minute of that excursion, pretty much entirely due to the care, attention, humour and patience shown by mr sauber and his band of merry men. on my return to civilisation, i sent brad a small, fluffy highland cow for his desktop, proclaiming him to be an honorary scotsman, in view of his tenacity in the face of a bout of inclement weather that really did not equate with his californian temperament.

brad sauber

though you may or may not be immediately aware, rapha's travel project is in the process of coming to an end. and while i'd like to feel sorry for those who feel they may not now have the opportunity to experience a similar level of customer service, as outlined above, in truth, there is no need for such sentiment. for as of today, brad sauber unveils his own answer to the demise of the rapha operation: raid cycling

"After more than 30 years of riding and leading groups of cyclists around the world, I have created RAID to combine the best of cycling and travel for those who consider cycling a passion and are comfortable getting out of their comfort zones.
raid cycling "RAID experiences are more than the bikes and routes; we immerse our guests in local communities and culture through distinct lodging and restaurants along the way. We leverage our local teams and partner relationships to ensure every trip is as unique as every rider."

i should make it plain that this is not a hijacking of the rapha operation by a devilish usurper. as brad told me "With the sunsetting of Rapha Travel, I had to keep the adventure going! So many wonderful guests and incredible staff wanted to keep doing it! So I've done my best to keep the Rapha Travel spirit alive!" you will hopefully believe me when i say that, if anyone can achieve the latter, it's the man who effectively masterminded those few days in less than sunny provence.

raid cycling

raid cycling's travel programme for this year includes trips in japan, corsica, brad's californian locale, colorado, new mexico, america's pacific coast, utah and hawaii. each trip will include the highest level of attention, including support from an experienced race mechanic. each afternoon, a 'recovery lounge' will offer recovery, compressed air massage, along with local cuisine, augmented with a sampling of beers and the sort of beverages to which you wish to become accustomed. however, unlike the rapha setup, riders are encouraged to travel with their own bicycles, which will be prepared by raid's professional mechanics and repackaged for travel at the end of every trip. those for whom taking the bike is either impractical or undesirable, brad's crew can help with local bike rentals.

raid cycling

any who fear that such trips are for those just a peter sagan baseball cap short of a professional contract, i need only refer you to my experience in provence. no matter how far behind my co-travellers i drifted, i was always accompanied by a guide and periodically visited by a 'team' car, just to check i was surviving with a smile on my face. and when i arrived at the finish-line looking like i'd been dragged through a hedge backwards, i was immediately brought a reviving fruit and custard danish. brad says the rides are designed for "experienced intermediate to advanced riders", but would be happy to tailor trips for all skill levels all the way down to my level, at any one of a number of destinations.

if your spring/summer schedule is currently looking a tad empty, might i suggest that you pop over to raidcycling.cc and take a gander at the options on offer. i might even go riding with brad myself, some day, though for his sake, i'll choose somewhere warm and dry.

raidcycling.cc

wednesday 13 february 2019

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prendas ciclismo ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

it's a wrap

wrapping handlebars with ritchey

for those who read yesterday's review of ritchey's ergomax bars, you might have noticed my truthful and painfully embarrassing admission that my completion of the final stage in the equation, left more than a little to be desired. in common with my total misapprehension of the ability to mount and dismount a cyclocross bicycle, applying bar tape to a set of handlebars, is often mistaken (mostly by me) as a natural gift possessed by those with a history of bike fettling. my aberrant history of so doing, easily disproves that theory with vigour.

wrapping handlebars with ritchey

several of you may think an easy solution to the problem would be simply to reverse engineer the process by unravelling the bar tape on a review model, and i can't deny that the same thought has occurred to me. however, the concern here is that, far from uncovering (see what i did there?) the secret formula, i would create an unholy mess that would subsequently need to be explained to the lender of that review machine. i can foresee the telephone conversation even now: "hello, specialized? you're going to laugh when i tell you this, but...". though i prefer not to shift responsibility, rather you than me.

wrapping handlebars with ritchey

and it's not as if i've mastered the bulk of bar-tape wrapping, only foiled by a single facet of the technique. every book and video i have laboriously read or watched, commences with beginning the wrap by overhanging the end of the bars in order that the bar plug has material on which to gain purchase and to prevent all my hard work from unravelling during our first bike ride together.

no-one has (with perfectly good reason) suggested that the bar plugs be inserted at this early stages of the car crash, but oh, so often, when having unsuccessfully completed the wrap, i attempt to fit said plugs, there's always a tiny portion of the overhang that steadfastly refuses to do what it's told. and then there's the often exposed brake/gear lever bracket.

wrapping handlebars with ritchey

the latter aspect is often intended to be catered for by two short strips of tape included in the box, almost always longer than necessary and which rarely manage to seamlessy achieve the purpose for which they were designed. i should point out that we are still discussing my own shortcomings in this respect and not attempting to disparage the fine folks who created this essential component in the first place. and should you think this to be a rather trivial observation, let me advise you otherwise. on my first foray into the big, bad world after fitting and wrapping those ergomax bars, i was faced with a right-hand flip-lever on the record ergo-power that refused to change up the block.

wrapping handlebars with ritchey

since the lever had worked perfectly well prior to re-installation on the new handlebars, this aberration was obviously a case of pilot error. it transpired that one of those short strips of tape was preventing the downshift thumb-lever from fully retracting, thus stopping the flip-lever from doing its job correctly. thoroughly pleased with myself for diagnosing this malfeasance while riding, the problem was solved in minutes 'pon my return. but if i'd wrapped the tape properly in the first place...

however, the most common iniquity of wrapping bar tape to afflict the majority, is a smooth and professional finish at the end of the tape, adjacent to the stem. i can't be the only individual to find one side ending in a different position than its mirror image. i have usually managed to conceal this manifest incompetence by fitting a garmin bar bracket and disguising the greater gap at one side, than the other. however, on the basis that i'm always afraid that someone will notice, just when it matters most, i really need to master each and every aspect of wrapping bar tape in a repeatable and professional manner.

wrapping handlebars with ritchey

one has one's image and street cred to maintain.

it is, therefore, highly appropriate that those who 'created' the problem (so to speak) - in this case, ritchey bicycles - are also the providers of the perfect solution. in fact, so logical and apparently simple does this solution appear to be, that i was moved to e-mail my benefactor at the above mentioned industry (thank you mr beatson) to remark on how very much i wish i'd been aware of this prior to demonstrating my incompetence to the velocipedinal world at large. i have helpfully included a link below to their instructional 'how to wrap handlebars' youtube video. i do so, safe in the knowledge that there is probably an eager audience of thousands with as little idea as yours truly.

meanwhile, i'm off out to re-wrap those ergomax bars.

how to wrap handlebar tape by ritchey

tuesday 12 february 2019

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specialized bicycles ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

campagnolo

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showers pass ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

riding is the answer ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

galloway cycling

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wabi woolens ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

tell them we sent you

quick mention for those intending to visit islay's shores on a bike during the summer. velo club d'ardbeg recommended coffee/tea stops - in no particular order.

club headquarters at the old kiln cafe, ardbeg distillery. excellent food as well as designer coffees with froth. the single malt is apparently just ginger peachy. open monday to saturday from easter to september, seven days from june to september.

debbie's cafe

bruichladdich mini market (debbie's cafe), a few hundred yards from the distillery. highly commended designer coffees with outside tables. we like. open all year round with a cycling wall in the coffee corner.

welcometogreatcoffee.co.uk

braehouse gallery, portnahaven. sited at the entrance to portnahaven village, the gallery also offers takeway coffees and a range of cakes. there's also quite a wide range of photos, islay souvenirs and other desirable odds and bits. though you can't sit in for coffee and cake, there is a table and chairs outside along with an adjacent bicycle rack for parking.

and recently opened in islay house square, bridgend in the islay studios photo gallery, a fine selection of designer coffees are now available while you admire the surrounding imagery.

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