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the mighty dave t's words of the week

the mighty dave t

"the word of the week is 'depleted', as in 'peloton'."

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


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cafe du cycliste

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clever

lachlan morton three peaks race

i've pretty much had long hair since i was in my mid-teens, or at least, at a length i could get away with while living at home with distinctly middle-class parents in suburbia. attending college on the opposite coast from home and considerably farther north, was a convenient distance at which to let it grow half-way down my back, augmented by sartorial choices that were also well outside any parental approval. however, though my appearance may have given occasional (who am i kidding?) cause for concern, both parents were well aware that i didn't smoke, didn't drink and never dabbled with drugs, despite the unfettered availability of the latter at college.

lachlan morton three peaks race

while attending the official opening of a new development by my father's employers, he was asked by a colleague whether the dishevelled figure clad in patchwork jeans was indeed, his son. he applied in the affirmative, but cited my clean-living as a reason for some laxity over the length of my hair and less than pristine appearance. that colleague replied to the effect that perhaps my father might buy me some cannabis and tell me to get a decent haircut.

lachlan morton three peaks race

the basis of my father's concern was, though tempered by my goodie two-shoes personality, that his circle of distinctly middle-class friends and colleagues might be less forgiving. sadly, for him, i could care less. my brother was (and still is) a tad more straight-laced, fitting the pre-determined mold more successfully than number one son. to place this in a more velocipedinal context, while my brother could be defined as the archetypal roadie, conversely, i fitted more into the generic appearance and attitude of the archetypal mountain-biker.

lachlan morton three peaks race

it's hard to tell if i've changed much during the intervening years, but mrs washingmachinepost assures me not, aside from the fact that there exists not a single mountain bike in thewashingmachinepost bikeshed.

the very nature of professional road racing rather mitigates against the more laid-back attitude that allegedly pervades a similar level in the offroad world. though we are constantly advised against judging the proverbial book by its cover, place one of the athertons alongside chris froome and there would be little mistaking one for the other. none of the above has any bearing on the enjoyment foist upon the practitioners of either road or offroad cycling, merely an unsubstantiated observation of their most obvious differences.

lachlan morton three peaks race

though i'd be the first to admit to to gratuitous and sweeping generalisations, i think it possible that i am not alone in my perceptions. the big difference is that, while i can but promote a singular stance, unrecognised and mostly unheeded by my peers and the civilian population at large, assistance is being leveraged by those with a great deal more strategic and financial clout than that to which i could aspire. rather delightfully, the team responsible for achieving this, wears the logo of 'ef education first' on their tie-dye rapha jerseys. it is a collaboration between the latter and ef rider lachlan morton that has arguably begun to alter the perceptions of what it means to be a 'roadie.

lachlan morton three peaks race

nowhere is this more apparent than in the recently posted video on 'youtube' featuring lachlan morton's first attempt on britain's premier cyclocross event, 'the three peaks' race. it's a race that is somewhat different from the average one-day road classic, but morton's persona and appearance serve to undermine the more serious attitude normally ascribed to the career roadie. the entering of education first riders into endurance events such as the dirty kanza, leadville, the gb enduro, and now the three peaks, is unlikely to bear any resemblance to the lists pinned to the fridge doors of egan bernal, or adam yates.

rapha have been oft criticised on several counts, sometimes justifiably so, but they deserve several rounds of applause not only for their well-judged partnership with ef education first, but for the subsequent graphic portrayal of the fruits of that partnership.

lachlan morton: ef gone racing

thursday 17 october 2019

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

investment semantics

fazua evation electric propulsion

in a previous life, i was in charge of ordering foodstuffs and associated products for flight catering at one of scotland's former transatlantic airports. all those little foil trays that featured on flights to the united states, were my responsibility, as were the ingredients of the meals that sat cosily within their aluminium foilness. i make no claims for the nutritional value of those foodsuffs; that was someone else's responsibility, nor indeed was the onus on yours truly to ensure the cleanliness of the crockery or cutlery to be found aboard a new york bound 747.

however, maintaining a regular stock of cleaning materials for the house-sized dishwashers employed at the catering facility was indeed, all my own work. many of the necessary products to achieve the required standard of cleanliness were sourced from a company named diversey based in annan, dumfriesshire, who offered a substantial range of liquids and powders with a sole purpose in mind. such is the nature of that particular line of work, however, that products would often be superseded by the new kid on the block, most often denoted by the word 'new' pre-fixing the original name.

the flaw in this arrangement was that the suffix would remain in place on the label, until the company boffins saw fit to bring a new substance to market, at which time, the name would often be changed, since new, new' in front of the original would have looked a tad clumsy. this system often entailed that the new dishwasher product continued to be referred to as such for several years, by which time it was hardly new.

though its remit has now changed substantially, mostly in line with concomitant changes in name, the one time highlands and islands development board (hidb), became highlands and islands enterprise (hie). this was further devolved into smaller, regional variations, meaning our local needs were often met by 'argyll and the isles enterprise (aie). over a decade ago, someone decided this perhaps involved too much bureaucracy, and the latter organisation was abolished, leaving the inverness-based hie to cater to scotland's enterprise needs. initially, these quangos were set up to foster innovation throughout scotland, by funding what looked like promising developments, but ultimately, the remit changed once again and funding was seen to be the province of the already successful entrepreneur.

whether hie could be seen to be fulfilling its original purpose in life, seemed to depend a great deal on just how you'd define the word 'innovation', a situation that is apparently not constrained by geographical boundaries, nor those of nationality.

as evidence for the prosecution, i would imagine many of us would agree that, simplistically put, the definition of an e-bike, would be that its propulsion is engendered either wholly by way of an electric motor, powered by an associated battery, or, more commonly, one which offers pedal-assist via similar means. electric bikes, in one form or another, have been around for several years, thus hardly a technology that could currently be designated as 'innovative'.

i am willing to accept that there is continued development of the original principle, making motors smaller and more efficient and slimming down the profile and weight of the batteries required to turn the pedals. not every cycle manufacturer has chosen to follow the path carved by the likes of specialized, who opted to develop both batteries and motors in-house. for those such as canyon, wilier, look, and pinarello, amongst others, there are suppliers such as germany's fazua, from whom they can acquire the necessary frame-fitting technology.

and it is fazua that forms the subject of this particular monologue, resting primarily on the definition of the word 'innovative'. for the company has just received €12 million from the european investment bank (eib). the cash arrives by way of the bank's venture debt product, risk capital designed to aid 'innovative' companies. however, always the cynic, i find it hard to equate the production of batteries and electric motors as 'innovative'. though i have no doubt that fazua would dispute my cynicism, the statement from eib vice-president, ambroise fayolle, does little to lessen my suspicions that here is yet another bandwagon being jumped upon as a currently trendy source of return on investment.

fayolle said, "with our higher-risk financing operation for fazua, we are closing a gap in the market for highly innovative, small to medium enterprises, which need long-term growth. they can now fully concentrate on business growth and the development of follow-up products."

i have looked at fazua's website, which describes their compact and bijou electric transmission system, and also provides links to the manufacturers that have availed themselves of the technology. however, it does concern me slightly that e-bikes are still considered innovative in any particular way, conferring upon them a status that appears designed to usurp the humble, non-electric bicycle. there are many folks who can benefit from the electric assist bicycle, and potentially, it could lessen our dependency on motorised transport, but i think the majority of us are happy to accept it as a part of everyday life that no longer raises an eyebrow in polite company.

sram's wireless gear-changing system could be regarded as innovative, but electric bicycles have ceased to be so, particularly in the light of the first patent for an electrically powered bicycle having been registered in 1897. fazua's 'development of follow-up products' most assuredly comes under the heading of 'research and development'; but that's not quite the same as innovation.

wednesday 16 october 2019

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sprint buzzard

glasgow city

i have, for the past thirty something years, ridden my bicycle hither and thither across the principality, for fun, for transport, as a commute and for leisure rides such as the 'ride of the falling rain'. at one point in the dim distant past, i was the sole representative of the velocipedinal community, becoming as much a point of interest for tourists, as bowmore's round church, the ruins at loch finlaggan and the museum of islay life at port charlotte. unsurprisingly, this was not my intention; i simply have an inherent dislike of driving a car, and i had the physical ability to move about a relatively small island by bicycle.

the opening of the youth hostel in port charlotte several years ago, made a substantial difference to the number of cyclists visiting the island, offering convenient and affordable accommodation for folks with panniers and cagouls. whether more bicycles on the island's roads was the catalyst for other resident cyclists to gradually join the sunday morning peloton and prevent yours truly from getting lonely, i know not, but the first to join was definitively, the mighty dave t, after he retired from down south, to a small white cottage in port wemyss. though our collective pedalling might conceivably offer a smidgeon of irritation to motorists intent on avoiding the passing places peppering the singletrack roads, the velo club peloton has scarcely created footprints of note, either carbon or physical.

it's hardly a hitherto unknown fact that electricity is not a naturally occurring element. it has need of being generated by one method or another, whether that is via renewables, coal or gas-fired power stations, or the elephant in the room, nuclear. for all the hype surrounding electric cars, e-bikes and e-scooters and their life-enhancing propensities, the fuel upon which they rely has not only to be manufactured by one means or another, it has subsequently to be delivered to points of convenience.

modern household waste management requires, depending on the region in which you live, that our rubbish be separated into designated wheelie bins, the numbers of which have proliferated considerably in recent years. this has entailed many an attractively built house being augmented by up to four differently coloured bins sat regimentally along the house-front, under the sitting room window. as is unfortunately often the case nowadays, the solving of one problem creates a second. islay's singletrack glen road, running from the high road to ballygrant in the north, passes several farms along the way, offering clear views towards the island's highest point of bheinn bheigeir. at certain times of year, near dunlossit estate office at knocklearach, it can also afford sight of stags and the occasional deer herd.

unfortunately, due to council demand, one of the remote homesteads along the way, has need of leaving its wheelie bins adjacent to the deer gate. thus, in order to aid the environment through waste management, the unassailable sight of plastic bins has a tendency to spoil the view of our environment.

and that's a distinct possibility engendered by the rapid growth of electric vehicles. the worst case scenario would be a spaghetti of cables stretching from house windows, across pavements and gardens to charge a congestion of surrounding electric cars. and the bicycle is not immune from such visual pollution; earlier this month, glasgow city revealed the addition of 63 e-bikes to its current fleet of 650 standard bicycles. while that can be ultimately viewed as encouraging, allowing the less than intrepid to eschew public transport or the taxi-rank at buchanan bus station, and e-cycle to their destination, the potential downside is the concomitant installation of 21 charging stations.

glasgow city convener for sustainability and carbon reduction, councillor anna richardson, said, "adding e-bikes to the hire fleet is another clear demonstration of our commitment to pursue more sustainable forms of transport in glasgow and add to our effort to decarbonise how we travel across the city."

extrapolation of this announcement relies upon the success of glasgow's electric venture. more e-bikes would presumably equate to more charging stations, no doubt joined by the increased number of electric car charging points, should that mode of transport increase exponentially. it's already common to see car charging points in car parks, but there's no reason to suppose they'll remain in such seclusion. it's debatable whether a smattering of bicycle docks across any of our major cities, can be considered an enhancement, to say nothing of the charging stations mentioned above.

of course, there's no doubt that climate change revelations will demand drastic actions being taken in order to soften the blow, but i somehow can't imagine that increasing our dependency on electricity is quite the way to go. but then again, if reliance on motorised transport can be alleviated by imploring society to switch to e-bikes (not e-scooters; there are limits), an equitable balance might be achieved.

of course, if zwift subscriptions increase to netflix proportions, we might be right back where we started.

my heading refers to a diversionary tactic employed by a well-known scottish cyclist in order to pre-empt any competition in the finishing spring.

tuesday 15 october 2019

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galloway cycling

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this is not a bike

world bicycle relief

like many of you, i tend to have my cycling hours dictated by the necessities of work, meaning any perambulations are usually confined to the weekend. occasional forays into the land of photoshop tuition sometimes allow for a midweek ride to the place of business, but that's scarcely something that happens on a regular basis. i had hoped to escape briefly this coming midweek to be blown and rained upon in the quest for a decent waterproof review, but once again, the forecast has changed for the better, and it seems i'm likely to find myself high and dry (so to speak).

world bicycle relief

this past saturday, my bicycle ride took me quickly round the loch, in order that i might arrive at the homestead in time to watch the last 40 kilometres of the 'tour of lombardy'. of course, when i say 'quickly', i am talking in relative terms.

ostensibly, the summer season has ended, but it would be a foolish islander that equated this with a reduction in visitor numbers. distilleries are hardly seasonal, open for most of the year, and continuing to attract cyclists, motorists and coachloads of aficionados of the amber nectar, all of whom, of necessity, must trammel our single track roads. i have recently paid tribute to the painting of directional arrows on the island's two-lane roads, augmented here and there, along the singletrack roads, of signs denoting the numerous passing places. it would be nice to think that oncoming motor traffic, finding themselves closer to a passing place than yours truly, would use it to allow my safe and unhindered passage. however, i ride in the expectation that this will not happen.

world bicycle relief

and mostly, it doesn't.

in summertime, this is less of a problem than it is currently, because at least the grass verges tend to be drier than they are now. having to dip a tyre onto the verge between now and easter is most likely to result in a tricky situation. therefore, the three motorists who, on saturday, carried on without heed for this potential velocipedinal iniquity, can now consider themselves well and truly off the christmas card list. and the driver who overtook on the blind corner into bruichladdich village is lucky that my secret identity is that of mild-mannered, clark kent.

world bicycle relief

but these are minor incidents, none of which resulted in any damage or injury. as i pointed out to one of my fellow froth-suppers in debbie's, i am but riding round in circles, with no specific destination in mind (other than debbie's). when i have finished so doing, i will have a warm shower, get changed and, as explained, watch cycle racing on eurosport player. no harm done.

the above are what might reasonably be described as first world problems, describing a use of the bicycle that verges on the superficial. granted, there are many who use their bicycles to get to and from work or school or the shops; a more fruitful and pragmatic use of two spoked wheels and a saddle. however, no matter whether you would admit to the description weight-weenie, it is a term applicable to many. whenever i receive a new bicycle for review, several of my colleagues are likely to lift it by the top tube, using as few fingers as possible, in order to gain an appreciation of its proximity to the number of grammes in a feather. that, not to place to fine a point upon it, is something of an irrelevant conceit.

world bicycle relief

it seems highly unlikely that receipents of the inimitable buffalo bicycles, will extend this tradition to portions of the african continent.

buffalo bicycles are those delivered by world bicycle relief, to those deserving of the true power of the bicycle. far from featuring carbon nano-fibres, integrated, tapered headsets and press-fit bottom brackets, the buffalo bicycle is composed of a welded steel frame, with a height adjustable, quill stem, bordered by a front light bracket. it sports a rear carrier with a rated capacity of 100kg, while the all up weight of the bicycle is 24kg, almost four times the lower race limit set by the uci. the bottom bracket is of the tried and tested, square taper, cup and cone variety, playing host to a single chainring which is protected by a chainguard.

because, while the velo club peloton collectively despairs of the unkempt nature of many of our roads, it has to be admitted that they are several levels above having no roads whatsoever. such a state of affairs is exactly what the buffalo was designed to accommodate, where a bicycle can mean the difference between advancing and stagnating, between gaining an education or remaining at home, between walking miles to market or transporting goods more easily and efficiently. in short, most of us scarcely know we're born.

world bicycle relief

to present a child or adult with a buffalo bicycle, costs wbr approximately £99 ($125), so the more money donated, the more bicycles will head in the right direction. the simple thing to do would be to send money via the world bicycle relief website, but what do we get out of it? usually it's simply the warm glow inside of knowing we've contributed and made life better for those less well-favoured than ourselves. but there's another way, one that will allow other members of the peloton to learn of your (admittedly minimal) largesse.

purveyors of fine cycling apparel, shutt vr have added to their online store, a cycling cap featuring the world bicycle relief logo front and centre. retailing at £15, shutt will donate £5 from each sale to wbr. that promotes them from mere accessories, as categorised in shutt's online shop, to that of'necessities'. world bicycle relief has already delivered 470,000 buffalo bicycles to those in greatest need of the true power of the bicycle; it's your mission, should you decide to accept it, to help propel them towards half-a-million, with the simple acquisition of this necessary casquette.

shutt vr world bicycle relief cycling cap | donate toworld bicycle relief

monday 14 october 2019

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

savour the ambience

2019 tour of lombardy

i'd imagine that very few of you will be familiar with the 'amen break', allegedly the most sampled drum break in the history of contemporary music. the 'amen break' is a mere four bars, or seven seconds in length, performed by drummer gregory coleman and got its name from the song ('amen brother') of which it forms a small, but important part. intriguingly, the song, released in 1969 by soul group the winstons, was the b-side of their single 'color him father'. it wasn't a record that troubled the hit parade much, but with the rise of hip-hop, drum and bass and jungle, those seven seconds of drumming became the holy grail for the sampling brigade.

2019 tour of lombardy

in 2011, the bbc even broadcast an hour long documentary about the amen break, yet the winston's leader, richard spencer, who owns the song copyright, has received nothing by way of royalties from any of those samples. neither, come to that, has drummer, gregory coleman. but trawl through youtube (to save you time, i've appended a link to the end of this article) and you can find a loop of the amen break, lasting ten hours. needless to say, even as a drummer, i figured you could have too much of a good thing and 600 minutes of a seven second drum break seemed to fit that description perfectly. if my calculations are correct, those ten hours will repeat the four bars of percussive royalty 416.5 thousand times.

2019 tour of lombardy

yet clicking the play button and letting it run while getting on with far less important tasks, isn't as utterly pointless as you might think. the repetition of hi-hat, snare and bass drum soon verges on the meditative, though depending on your musical proclivities, your mileage may vary.

though i have no wish to confirm your suspicions that i live my life vicariously through the pixels of youtube, in order to pass the time early on a saturday morning, waiting patiently for the post van to arrive and collect the boxes of newspapers, i tend to click over to this insidious video channel and take a look at the delights on offer. doing so yesterday morning, i happened upon several hours of tibetan meditation music, to which one might either meditate, or simply relax, allowing the synthesiser wash of sounds enter every pore of your being, arising many minutes later, chilled beyond belief, ready to wrest the bicycle from the bike shed for a handful of kilometres.

2019 tour of lombardy

you will perhaps respect my restraint in not pointing out that tibetan monks are not renowned for their moog programming skills.

it scarcely occurred to me at the time, that cycle racing, which procycling magazine describes as 'the world's toughest sport', could also form a part of this ambient wallpaper, designed to improve our mental wellbeing and, perchance, lower an already impressive resting heart-rate. yet it seems that eurosport, 'the home of cycling' is already several steps ahead in such matters. ignoring the fact that they, once again, have altered their online player, inserting one of those dreaded captcha security checks to prove that i'm not a robot (does anyone know if robots actually watch eurosport?), on checking in to watch saturday's coverage of the tour of lombardy, i was presented with two options. one was the standard fare with commentary and interminable adverts, while the other promised 'ambient sound'. disappointingly, this was not the addition of a brian eno soundtrack, but, almost as good, sported simply the racing accompanied by the sounds of the motorbikes, the whir of chainrings and the applause of the spectators. nary an advert was to be seen and not a commentator to be heard.

ambient bliss.

no disrespect intended, however, to eurosport commentator/pundit, brian smith, who is undoubtedly scottish ambience personified.

ten hours of the amen break

sunday 13 october 2019

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a tall story

indoor smart trainer

the principal thrust of the following discussion has, of necessity, to begin with a humorous anecdote; in the real world, it would probably be referred to as a joke.

a non-too bright individual is employed by bt openreach as a labourer. the first job the foreman requires him to undertake is to measure the height of each of a pile of telegraph poles lying in the yard. the foreman heads out to take care of other matters, returning just before lunch to check on the new employee's progress, only to find him with a single wooden pole leaning against the side of the building. the fellow is atop a set of ladders, holding one end of a measuring tape.

he shouts up, enquiring as to what he thinks he's doing. the reply is that he is doing exactly what he was asked to do; measuring the height of the telegraph pole. mystified, the foreman asks why he didn't simply measure the poles where they lay in the corner of the yard. "but you said you wanted the height, not the length", came the quizzical reply.

hopefully the above is not derived from fact, but the point is probably well made, possibly sourced from the knowledge that one man's floor is another man's ceiling. it is, in essence, akin to the zen buddhist koan "where does my lap go when i stand up?", all resting on human imposed nomenclature that really only applies in a singular state. for instance, i know of no cyclists who would relate to feeling pain in their lap, when climbing a steep gradient. at that point, we'd be more likely to employ the term 'thighs'.

we are currently set similar linguistic conundrums when referring to the constituent parts of the modern bicycle frame. with aluminium and steel occupying niche markets, the bulk of today's bicycles, ranging from low cost to astronomical, are produced in the far east in particularly costly molds. carbon pre-preg matting is laid strategically in each side of the molds, which, when fully cured, can be joined together to form the infamous double-diamond construct that we all know and love. but, without putting too fine a point on it, referring to each carbon plane as a tube is perhaps, technically, incorrect.

it's a quandary i come across every time i review a non-metal bicycle. since a carbon monocoque frame is, essentially, a one-piece construction, there really is no end to one tube and the start of another. for simplicity's sake, i, and the manufacturers' sizing-charts, still refer to a seat-tube height, and top-tube length, entirely in respect of convention. we all need to know that the bicycle we're possibly about to purchase will not be an expensive mistake, when it turns out that we need step-ladders to climb aboard an oversize bicycle, or repeatedly hit chins with knees when it transpires we bought too small. but it's still conventional to refer to those parts of the frame as tubes; to be honest, i wouldn't know how else to describe them.

but our understanding of conventional measurements or descriptions has now received a further slap in the face, due to the incumbency of indoor, virtual cycling. i recently remarked on twitter, in reply to a hot chillee posting about an upcoming virtual training session on zwift, that this may be the end of the world as we know it. though there's a certain amount of sincerity contained within that ostensibly humorous retort, it would be a naive individual to bet against there being a virtual london-paris ride in the not too distant future, even though so doing would surely threaten the very point of the ride in the first place.

however, on pursuing this further, by way of the hot chillee website, it is possible to peruse this week's leader board on the associated strava page, with concomitant justifying data. this display includes the riders'names, number of rides, average speed, elevation gain and total distance. all well and good, except that, throughout the acquisition of their individual placings, none of them have actually travelled anywhere at all, nor departed from the height above sea-level level at which they commenced. in strict adherence to the definition of the words, it is clearly impossible to have travelled a smidgeon under 600km while remaining stationary and ascended nearly 12,000 metres, while affixed to an indoor turbo trainer, smart or otherwise.

quite literally, words fail me.

saturday 12 october 2019

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

history repeating itself

felice gimondi

it will surprise you not that one of the magazines i collect monthly from the newsagent's, is america's modern drummer. though i find myself particularly displeased with them, partly over their lack of reply to my singular communications, my principal moan centres around a complete lack of a feature on raising sand and 'god willin' and the creek don't rise' drummer, jay bellerose. over five years ago, i e-mailed to enquire whether there was any likelihood of the chap being featured in the ever diminishing pagination of the magazine, at which time i was informed they had their collective eye upon him, just waiting for a suitable opportunity for a feature.

five years later, and nothing. i have tactfully e-mailed every year since, asking whether it's going to happen anytime soon, but not entirely unsurprisingly, they never reply. thankfully, drumhead magazine recently published a very fine interview with mr bellerose, a copy of which i managed to purchase online. however, with the demise of every uk percussion magazine sealed when rhythm magazine ceased production early this year, the serious amateur has need of gaining inspiration from somewhere, even if it is from across the pond.

given the time delay between usa publication and its arrival at my local newsagent, the issue i'm currently reading is pretty much one month out of date. however, the central issue under discussion in its pages is that of the 1960s and the drummers that formed a major part of the music scene at that time. among features on santana drummer, michael shrieve, and ringo's natural maple ludwig kit, there is an excellent tribute to session great, hal blaine. as the mainstay of a group of session players known as 'the wrecking crew' blaine is reckoned to have played on over 3,500 records, most of them chart hits. it's interesting to note which noted band drummers of the era were deemed insufficiently capable of playing on many hit recordings, replaced by hal blaine at the request of the producer.

aside from tributes worded by many of today's percussive greats (blaine died earlier this year), a brief interview elicits that the 1969 hit dizzy by tommy roe, featured drumming by blaine, notable for one or two 'hooks' that helped turn the song into a number one hit on both sides of the atlantic. sad to say, i was in my early teens when the record was being played on the radio, but i had to go and listen once again to learn of the drumming 'ticks' that would inevitably have passed me by at the time. this, predictably enough, led to auditioning other songs from the era, to experience the differences between drumming, then and now.

one other magazine that i have reserved on a monthly basis from the selfsame newsagent, is ed pickering's excellent procycling, which proudly proclaims on the cover 'inside the world's toughest sport'. this magazine makes no pretence of being anything other than a compendium of articles and features concerning the professional peloton, both male and female, analysing recent races and the participating riders. but punctuating those commentaries, are pieces concerning riders and races from cycling's rich heritage. oddly enough, those are the articles i tend to read first, particularly when, as in the current issue, one is written by the inimitable herbie sykes.

i would dearly love to write as well as herbie does, particularly when his subject is the late, lamented felice gimondi.

it does concern me slightly that, in an issue paying close attention to vuelta winner, primoz roglic, including his state of the art and eccentrically decorated bianchi oltre xr4, along with more than a passing mention of cannondale's super-six and garmin's edge 530, it is herbie's testament to gimondi and will fotheringham's look at the career of joop zoetemelk that held my attention.

of course, the success of any publication is encapsulated in its ability to appeal to more than just a narrow audience, something that procycling has long been a master of. however, part of me wonders if, in fifty years time, will whoever is writing the equivalent of thewashingmachinepost, delight in reading about chris froome and alberto contador. because, let's face it, neither of them will appear in black and white.

hal blaine

friday 11 october 2019

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this is cambridge

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unreliable weather

wednesday's weather

because i spend most of my day sitting in an ergonomically designed chair, staring intently at an admittedly large screen imac, i am in the habit of taking a two kilometre walk each morning after breakfast. though it doesn't exorcise all the creaks and groans from the daily grind, i'm of a mind that it ameliorates the worst of them. the difficult part of that equation, is making myself aware of the wind direction prior to heading out the back door; a failure to do so, inevitably means that the blue sky seen from the kitchen window may be about to be obliterated by a thunderous shower approaching unseen from the opposite direction. it's a situation that has occurred on more occasions than i feel it is safe to admit.

thursday's weather

yesterday morning, however, i was able to leave the showers pass waterproofs in the porch and trammel those kilometres unfettered by calculated breathability. highly pleased with myself, i subsequently toddled off to the office to face apple's mojave operating system, with its soothing dark mode. i had but awoken it from sleep before the office window announced its external suffering from torrential rain, a heavy shower that persisted for longer than i'd have hoped, despite being safely and cosily ensconced indoors.

friday's weather

though there is evidence of greater localised flooding around the island than was the case less than a decade ago, it is not a subject that has benefited from joined-up thinking. several years ago, accessibility legislation demanded that the pavement kerb just outside the office door be lowered to allow pedstrians to cross more easily from the opposite side of the road. unfortunately, there is a drain sited just where that dip in the kerb now appears, a drain that frequently overflows during heavy rain showers such as that described above. previously, that overflow would follow the curve of the kerb and flow speedily down main street. now, however, it simply runs down the pavement, creating a fast flowing river and making life difficult for pedestrians of the village.

saturdayday's weather

of course, that's not strictly speaking a problem that affects the intrepid velocipedinist, but it is a problem that's probably about to fade into the background for longer than i'd prefer. the happenstance that is likely to encourage this change in meteorological fortunes is yesterday's arrival of a waterproof jacket for review. should you require concrete evidence for this supposition, just take a chronological look at the accompanying illustrations. this particular week, i will occupy said office until at least friday lunchtime.

note that the accompanying weather forecasts, gleaned from xc weather, show islay to be a tad breezy and wet all at the same time, until, (you've guessed it) friday afternoon. on saturday, traditionally the day when i can let loose on the bicycle, it looks positively balmy, with winds considerably less than 20mph. there's a smattering of rain on an overcast sunday, but by then the wind speed has dropped below 10mph. and all because a state-of-the-art waterproof jacket arrived in the mail.

if ever there were confirmation of chaos theory, this is surely it. my colleagues have pressed for me to more frequently request waterproof jackets for review.

thursday 10 october 2019

twmp ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

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

evans vintage  cycle advert

on my first visit to portland town, some ten years ago now, the very nice people at chris king were kind enough to lend me an early model of their now sadly defunct cielo hand-built bicycle. this kindness extended to fitting a campagnolo chorus groupset, having been unintentionally made aware of my preference for italian gearing. it was several years later that they announced a campagnolo combatible cassette hub, so that fitted to my 'loaner' was apparently sourced from shimano's dura-ace range. this information i discovered only when handing the cielo back at the end of the week; according to the engineers at ck, when the number of sprockets reached ten in number, to be honest, there was very little difference in spacing between japan and italy.

at the beginning of my week-long visit, i stayed with friends, but there were two days during that week when it became more practical and convenient to take a room in an hotel. this led to a few fraught moments of concern, when i became perturbed over where the bicycle would be stored while i slept soundly in the enormous bed occupying my room.

as something of a revelation at the time, everyone around me assured me that the hotel would be quite happy for me to simply keep the bicycle in my room. if this seems a perfectly normal state of affairs to some of you, try doing the same thing in a uk travelodge or premier inn. i'm sure the word 'yes' would not be one included in the conversation. so, despite my misgivings, the metallic blue cielo spent the evening leaning against the wall next to that enormous bed mentioned above.

the tricky part, born of a traditional scottish upbringing, was the onset of rain the following afternoon, meaning i returned to the hotel at tea-time astride a very wet bicycle displaying a propensity to dribble muddy water across any surface within tyre distance. in this case, that included the hotel lobby. plainly, the hotel had no direct policies against misguided foreign guests taking their bicycles into the bedroom, but i figured doing so with a dripping wet velocipede, quite probably crossed a hitherto uncrossed line. i therefore crept into the lobby while the receptionist was otherwise engaged, but as i soft shoe shuffled towards the elevator, she looked up in my direction, commented on the inclemency of the weather and returned to the task in hand.

job done.

i cannot deny that i was impressed by the hotel's leniency in such matters, conditions that i'm sure were not being solely applied to yours truly. and since you ask, i did enquire of one or two glasgow and edinburgh hotels whether they would have been happy to extend the same graciousness in the face of dripping adversity. the answers were considerably less positive than those offered by the red lion hotel in portland. despite this scottish negativity, i now wonder whether i am selling myself short in my hebridean dwelling?

i have frequently mentioned the delights of the ramshackle bike shed in the back garden, one which is in sore need of some tender loving care and a liberal coating of wood preservative. however, it still fulfils its sole function as repository for more bicycles than any cyclist can reasonably be expected to pedal at one time. however, the weather has recently shown its more autumnal colours, with the forecast for the week ahead projecting 60kph winds for at least another 48 hours, not to mention intermittent heavy rain whenever stepping outside the front door.

with no electrical power avaialble within the shed's four approximated walls, those bicycles are unlikely to have the warmest of evenings between now and next easter. so might it be a wizard wheeze to impress upon mrs washingmachinepost, a perceived need to store at least three of those bicycles in the much cosier and plush surroundings of the master bedroom? obviously enough, she'll have to be a bit more careful if nipping to the loo during the hours of darkness, but we all have to make sacrifices.

my only fear is that, if this doesn't all go to plan, it could be me who ends up sleeping in the bike shed.

wednesday 9 october 2019

twmp ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

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

why aren't we more like the belgians?

bicycle christmas tree decoration

rapha today announced their collaboration with long-time waterproofing/breathability experts, gore-tex though, to be honest that's more or less incidental to the following discourse, which, not entirely unnaturally, was inspired by the weekend's serious level of rainfall. with autumn having officially commenced last week, the seasonal norm would dictate that the climate is hardly like to improve much over the next six months, though as i write, i realise that this viewpoint depends greatly upon your own point of view.

personally, i am more than welcoming of these end of year seasonal variations, which i am fervently hoping is the result of having lived on the outer-edge for three decades, rather than some personality abnormality. though getting dressed for the sunday morning ride takes a smidgeon longer than usual - bibtights and overshoes will always take longer than shorts and track mitts - there's that intangible feeling of robustness when clad in a waterproof jacket. and as i have pointed out on many a previous occasion, ultimately, we're only going round in circles, before we head home for a warm shower and a change of clothes.

i'm more than willing to admit that my appreciation of a rainy day might take on a different hue were i to have a daily commute to undertake.

however, though a mere portion of autumn has passed by, there's no real doubt that the latter part of the year has little other purpose than leading up to the commercial frenzy that we like to call christmas. lest you think me a tad previous, at least one satellite channel has already begun showing the dregs of film-making, colloquially referred to as the christmas movie. and once again, as i pressed fingers to keyboard, disneyland paris broadcast a tv advert to entice parents into taking their offspring to france to meet santa and his plethora of helpers. i therefore absolve myself of all blame.

with no kids young enough to be still living at home, but two grandchildren who seem happy to adopt their mantle, christmas still equates to spending more money than is reasonably justifiable, though this applies more to mrs washingmachinepost than to yours truly. it was always the time of year when parental spending, under the guise of a red suit and large white beard, received a temporary reprieve from any predetermined financial restrictions. therefore, on my birthday i would receive an enticing present and some cake; but for christmas, it was well within bounds to ask for something utterly colossal.

and, traditionally, it was the time of year when that parental wallet seemed more than happy to justify the cost of a nice, new, shiny bicycle.

those who were similarly blessed, will doubtless recall the resounding joy of popping into the downstairs sitting room at stupid o'clock on christmas morning to behold a bicycle shaped agglomeration of yuletide themed wrapping paper. it was all i could do to scoff an incredibly brief breakfast, desperate to get out and ride that highly desirable velocipede. and that, not to put too fine a point on it, is where the house of cards began to pale; if you live in scotland, you will already have sussed what's coming next, while, just to briefly return the conversation to rapha once again, fellow festive 500 participants will also be fully conversant with...

...rain.

yes, despite christmas being the one time of the year when bicycles are very definitely free from stipendiary limitations, it's also a time of year when little kids should probably be introduced to gore-tex. this is a state of affairs that pertains more to scotland than to other portions of the united kingdom. while average rainfall south of the border is pinned at around 885mm, a depth considerably outdone by welsh wales at 2464mm, scotland emerges as one of the wettest countries in europe with an average 4577mm of rainfall. and to think i wondered why avonvogie road was flooded on sunday.

but, for all its reputation as the european country that continues to foster a series of cycling hardmen, seemingly happy to train in the foulest of conditions throughout the winter, producer of cyclocross champions such as wout van aert and the great sven nys and home to the cannibal, eddy merckx, belgium's annual rainfall fails to reach even that of england. so the question asked in my heading remains something of a quandary. with a long tradition of providing the nation's youth with bicycles at the most inappropriate time of year, why is scotland not at the forefront of the spring classics, or carrying off rainbow bands on the 'cross circuit?

it couldn't be christmas rain that's put them off? could it?

tuesday 8 october 2019

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

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

campagnolo

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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

kilchoman distillery features a rather inviting café and restaurant, sited just off the road overlooking loch gorm on islay's west coast. now retailing a particularly attractive cycle jersey all of its very own, it's the very distillery to drop into while perambulating the atlantic coast, for both coffee and perchance a tour and a dram.

opened in april 2019, ardnahoe distillery features a particularly expansive visitor centre, with superb views over the sound of islay and the paps of jura. on a clear day you can see north to colonsay and mull. ostensibly open seven days with a particularly attractive menu in the illicit still restaurant and café and an espresso to be proud of. for single malt aficionados, it's unlikely there will be any homegrown product available for several years yet.

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

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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as always, if you have any comments, please feel free to e-mail and thanks for reading.

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.......................................................................................................................................................................................................... thewashingmachinepost

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