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the mighty dave t's words of the week

the mighty dave t

"christmas break starts now."

©2020 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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form follows function

white bicycle

the inimitable richard sachs, pre-eminent north american frame-builder, has mostly refused to share the awe and adoration of many of his customers, when time comes to admire his finished handiwork, maintaining that his frames are first and foremost, items of function, rather than atoms of delight. i can see where he's coming from, particularly when his skills are compared more to those of a sculptor than a provider of transport, though i tend to side more with the acolytes than agree with richard's own opinion.

but he does have a point; irrespective of the artistic values apportioned to his frame-building skills, a bicycle is ultimately destined as a means of transport, whether that entails pragmatically moving from point a to point b in an efficient manner, or simply riding in circles of a sunday morning, with no particular destination in mind. transport is a remarkably flexible word, under such circumstances. the skills of the velocipedinal artisan are, however, arguably more greatly appreciated under the latter set of circumstances, than when designating the bicycle as a tool, rather than a transport of delight.

this, more than likely, countenances the variety of shapes, profiles and proffered style of the current crop of road bikes. where once tubing was functionally round, it can now be made to emulate any shape you darned well like. the squiggly forks and chainstays once beloved of pinarello were likely more form than function. i base this conclusion on the knowledge that ferrari's engineers are renowned for having pointed out to ernesto colnago that, contrary to original thoughts, straight forks absorbed road-shock more efficiently than did a curved fork. it seems unlikely that squiggles would undermine such mathematical principles.

even the ornate lugwork applied to many a steel frame in the forties and fifties, served greater functional purpose than that of decoration, providing a level of individuality to distinguish one builder from another. (think 'curly hetchins'). though steel tubing came in a variety of butted flavours, essentially, one steel frame looked like another when the only reliable means of joining them together involved the aforementioned lugs.

carbon, however, is seemingly possessed of almost infinite malleability, though despite decreasing costs, it's not yet the first choice of the commuting or leisure cyclist. aluminium looks to be intent on retaining its crown even as pedal power becomes battery assisted. what has changed in recent times is the apparent subsuming of art and engineering to the vicissitudes of computer software. i cannot claim to have even the faintest inkling as to the input variables required of computer aided design, or computer fluid dynamics, but since many bicycles are born from a need for speed, whether the latter is held to be true throughout the entire food chain, i would tend to suggest that, if everyone is asking the same questions, the software is likely to be providing similar answers.

evidence for this conclusion can be seen not only in the world of the road bicycle, but perhaps even more so in the automotive world, where differences between models often seems based entirely on the radiator grill and badge. i'm hardly au-fait with the offroad world, but the often 'agricultural' appearance of many a fully-suspended mountain bike, may be closer to the 'form follows function' paradigm than the (aero) fashion conscious world of the road.

outside the front of debbie's café in bruichladdich, is a quite substantial and rudimentary bike-rack, donated by the local builders' merchant a few years past. its tubular construction is made use of by the velo club each and every sunday morning, when pedalling is interrupted by a need to sup froth. however, on saturdays, i am more often than not, flying solo, and tend to lean the ritchey against the porch wall. except, last saturday, on arrival for lunch, i was confronted by the small, white, ornate and perfectly formed bicycle shown above.

a timely reminder that, as an icon, the bicycle exists outside the constraints of both form and function. long may that continue to be the case.

tuesday 1 december 2020

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world bicycle relief

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the continuance society

drum practice

in my ministrations to the percussively challenged at the local secondary school, i have been at pains for many a long year to emphasise the need for regular and methodical practice. it may be that some, if not all, of the drum charts they are required to play, present ever-increasing challenges, particularly the frequent bars of drum-fills on which rest so many of the final marks. reading and making sense of their structures may take a few attempts, but mastering them to the point where mistakes are all but impossible to make, requires assiduous practice. unfortunately that seesm to be a concept on which few, if any, are willing to spend the time.

i have often, only half-jokingly, mentioned that, if i do not receive complaints from their parents about the incessant hammering received by the house furniture, then i will know that insufficient practice is being undertaken. in truth, it's scarcely a realistic demand; kids nowadays have so many other distractions, many of which seem concentrated around social media on a never-ending array of smartphones, that taking time out of such a busy social calendar to drum a paradiddle or two, must be seen as excessive demand. this, particularly when drums are but one of two instrument choices required for final exams.

that said, compliance appears to depend greatly upon the personality of the individual. i do have one fellow who seems keen enough on drumming to actually practise on his own initiative, and is making excellent progress. however, by using him as an example to the others, i never know whether i'm making him seem like teacher's pet and a bit of a swot, or enhancing his standing amongst his classmates.

i've no doubt there are parents amongst you, fervently wishing that your offspring would pay as much attention to their studies as they do to their instagram/facebook/twitter (delete as applicable) accounts, but it seems that's just the way life is these days. personally, i can still be found each evening with a practice pad on my knees, agonising over whether i should continue with traditional grip, or be a tad more progressive and switch to matched grip. and in between ruminations, there is an endless stream of ratamacues, flams, stroke rolls, punctutated by the occasional four-stroke ruff. and i've been playing drums for over 50 years.

but it's not only the percussive milieu that suffers from a lack of attention to detail.

earlier this year, number one son and his wife became parents to a delightful little girl, on which they and mrs washingmachinepost devote many hours of their time. however, as has been the case with another member of the sunday morning peloton, the arrival of offspring either cuts into available cycling time, or obliterates it altogether. the latter has proved to be the case for my son.

so, during our recent staycation, with a distinct increase in available spare time, i invited him to join me for a few hours' of cycling time on the wednesday afternoon. for starters, the intrusion of a new member of his family had apparently also played havoc with his cycling wardrobe, many of the necessary accoutrements no longer where they were expected to be (i'd to lend him a pair of bibtights). the distance in kilometres, given his lengthy absence from the jedi faith, was minimal, numbering in the low twenties, but when i suggested we might take a minor detour on the way home, he demurred on the basis of beginning to lose feeling in his legs.

i can't say such an outcome was unexpected by either of us. we'll all be well aware that no matter how long it takes to acquire a reasonable level of fitness on the bike, even minimal inactivity will have it disappear like snow off a dry-stone wall. however, once again, i believe persistence may rest to a great degree on the rider's personality. since i began cycling in my mid-twenties, i cannot recall an extended period away from the saddle. same goes for my percussive activities; though on moving to the hebrides i attempted to leave drumming behind, it caught up with me nonetheless.

the implication that having learned to ride a bike, is an ability that never goes away, is probably perfectly true. i've never had cause to test the hypothesis. but for many of us, it's an addiction, even amongst those who deny any form of addictive personality. i realise there are many sets of circumstances that can get in the way of this addiction; life's like that and some are simply insurmountable. but just like the often disregarded advice to my drumming students, might i implore you, should you find yourself in need of being implored, to ride your bike(s) as often as time allows. and if it doesn't allow often enough, increase your efforts.

i'm afraid my imploring is designed to exclude any proclivity towards zwiftness, but that's easy for me to say. embrace the rain and the headwinds; one day you'll thank me for it.

monday 30 november 2020

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

'tis better to give...

black friday bike ride

i'd imagine that there isn't a soul in the land (and further afield) who hasn't found the majority of this year to have been the strangest in their lifetime. at the newspaper where i ply my trade, many of the staff have been on furlough, the premises have been closed to public access, and basically there have been two of us responsible for producing a publication every two weeks. that has entailed an extra level of creativity, for with nothing happening anywhere on the island, and all the distilleries closed in the early months of lockdown, there's been none of the usual events on which to report.

though we've been remarkably well-favoured across pretty much all of scotland's west coast islands, the rest of the country has been categorised into various levels, travel between which is ill-advised, while south of the border, a second lockdown has been all enveloping. and now i believe there is rising consternation about the tiers into which each county is expected to be placed before the end of the coming week.

for many of us, the days of the week have taken on considerably less significance. not only can i rarely recall in which day of the week i'm living, were it not for the daily act of changing the date on my ardbeg calendar, i'd probably be operating in limbo. i'm sure i'm not alone. and though i'm relatively ambivalent about christmas and the whole 'festive season' thing, it was only when the subject of this year's 'mince-pie ride' arose, did i have to check the calendar to discover on which day christmas lands this year. traditionally, the 'mince-pie ride' takes place on the sunday prior to santa's arrival; so 20 december will be the very day on which i retrieve my christmas cycle-jersey from its hibernation.

but aside from mince-pies, christmas jerseys and the impending arrival of another year's 'festive 500', it wouldn't be entirely illogical to classify the whole month of december, or at least its latter days, as a time of giving. mrs washingmachinepost, organised individual that she is, has not only personally increased the riches of jeff bezos, but parcelled every gift that has need of being delivered to friends and relatives on the mainland. would that i were that well orchestrated.

my plight is only highlighted by the inclusion of a christmas gift guide in this week's comic. despite having received many a missive from various cycling sources in recent weeks, seeking selection in any washingmachinepost gift guide that i might be considering, it's a subject that i've not actually considered yet. and by the time i get round to such considerations, there will scarcely be any time left to acquire any gift i might suggest.

however, while we're on the subject of giving, you may recall that i recently mentioned rapha's black friday ride, an alternative to imperial works holding a black friday sale as has taken place in previous years. the company's largesse extended to closing all its offices and clubhouses, allowing the staff to go ride their bicycles. and, with the possibility that all that collective pedalling might reach one million kilometres, the rapha foundation were set to donate the value of 1,000 bicycles to 'world bicycle relief'.

i had suggested, in my article, that though many of us might not have so-called black friday off work, we could probably partake in our own rides over this weekend and send the distances covered to rapha for inclusion in their collective total. well, though i figure all those prospective bike rides should still take place, there's apparently no need to concern yourselves with the distance; rapha happily reached their total on friday, and 'world bicycle relief' will soon be in a position to distribute another 1,000 buffalo bikes to those who need them most. but, in the spirit of christmas and the season of giving, i still figure each and every one of us should donate at least a tenner (or your currency equivalent) of our own. the link is listed below.

and, just to round things off, i'd like to end with a quote sent to me only yesterday by a good friend of mine (thank you james). it's from a blog by grant petersen, owner of rivendell bikes in walnut creek, california, to which all credit is due.

"Remind yourself once a year that you're lucky you can ride a bike.
Tons of people are injured, ill, or too old to ride a bike. They'd love to be able to pedal up a hill or into a headwind on a hot day, legs burning, to feel their bodies responding to an effort that makes them huff and puff. When you can do that at will, it's easy to think, no big deal. It's a gigantic deal! To be able to ride a bicycle is the best thing, most wonderful and amazing thing in the history of life, and you can do it! I have never liked riding a bike as much as I do now, so I can tell you with some degree of sureness that if you're twenty-eight now and you like to ride, you'll still like to ride in forty or fifty years. It actually gets better, as you jettison the posturing, pecking order, peer approval, funny smelly clothes, clicky shoes, group rides that turn into races, and looking at yourself and your bike in the third person to see if you fit in with the group you want to fit in with. You'll do it when the time is right. For some people that's never, others just need to go thru those phases.
"That's sort of the Unracer thing I bring up now and then. But 'Unracer' isn't a category to fit into, and Unracing is just an approach to riding that gets you to stop trying to fit in with anybody, even other Unracers. Find friends who don't race you and have fun, or ride solo and have fun. No ride is too short, some are too long. Don't force rides. Also don't drive a car for any trip that you can make on a bike in ten minutes or less... unless you have to carry gangly chairs with you."

animated illustration courtesy of rapha

rivendell bikes | donate to world bicycle relief

sunday 29 november 2020

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

circumvention

uci aigle

according to common lore, 'give a man a fish and he will dine well for a day. teach a man how to fish, and he will dine well for life.' or words to that effect, and obviously the epithet is just as applicable to women as to men. though perhaps not quite in the same vein, give one of either gender a bicycle and it will provide a pragmatic means of travel. give two people a bicycle each, and suddenly you have provided the means of competition. for almost inevitably, one will consider themselves faster than the other and attempt to prove it.

sad to relate, the likelihood is that the loser in such competition, assuming they possess the competitive gene, will subsequently try to circumvent the inevitable result. in an equitable world, this circumvention would be by fair means rather than foul; resorting to training, nutrition or other 'legal' means of achieving victory. i doubt that anyone in thrall to modern-day cycle sport is oblivious to the fact that cheating, by one means or another, has seemed endemic since at least the mid 1990s, preceded by arguably less serious means of augmentation since cycle racing began in the latter years of the 19th century.

yet cycling's competitive milieu has often congratulated itself in remaining at the cutting edge, adopting various aspects of rider telemetry, the better to inform an expectant tv audience, and providing the ability to view a photo-finish mere minutes after the line has been crossed. with the advent of the coronavirus that has afflicted every nook and cranny of human existence, cycling once again gave itself a congratulatory pat on the back, by allowing the conitnuation of competition within the pixelated realm of zwift, a digital platform that not only allowed many to continue training indoors, but several high-profile charitable rides.

fulfilling its role as the sport's governing body, the uci is doubtless filling many a boardroom with discussions over how to regulate the online version of competition, made considerably harder that the peloton, in this instance, is scattered across every corner of the globe, and inevitably within the confines of their own homes. quite how such regulation can be ultimately enforced, must prove something of an endless conundrum. how, for instance, is it possible to tell whether a competitor is sat upon an e-bike, and competing against those on regular bicycles?

currently, uci sanctioned e-racing requires that competitors supply, for example, specific information concerning the power data from their smart trainers. this has to be validated by data from a second source, such as an external power meter. and not without good reason, those sources must be suitably calibrated. quite how it's possible to guard against personal doping, i know not, since there are already instances on record where sportive cyclists have doped, so don't think it won't happen in e-racing.

but it's not purely the uci who are keeping an eye on these matters. zwift, for all that i have disparaged their raisons d'etre, are particularly vigilant in such matters, having recently banned two female competitors following discrepancies in their supplied data. in at least one of these cases, the error was adjudged as a possible mistake by the rider, but if you were appraised as to the nature of the error and the conflicting file formats that gave rise to concerns the data had been manipulated, you, like me, might be none the wiser. so whereas in professional teams, there would probably be a member of staff whose job it was to prevent such mistakes occurring and subsequently being submitted, the onus is now on individuals to become familiar with some arcane computing concepts, in order to compete.

one rider contended that their garmin device had paired with the smart trainer and not her power-meter pedals, a contention disproven by zwift.

in the second case, the competitor had allegedly relied on her power meter to provide race data, when the rules state such information ought to be from the turbo trainer. since dual recordings are required, the lack of any variance between those supplied, apparently suggested that one was, in fact, a duplicate of the other. it's not so very long since the uci required frame manufacturers to submit examples of their handiwork to the technical boffins at aigle for verification of race-worthiness. perhaps soon the same will be demanded of both power-meter manufacturers and smart trainer purveyors.

but whether such measures come to pass, the individual athlete, whether innocent or otherwise, must now familiarise themselves with aspects hitherto the province of technicians, rather than sports men and women. no longer, in the case of e-racing at least, is it sufficient to satisfy the usual athletic demands of the sport. perhaps messrs. friel and rutberg will need to append another chapter to their recently reviewed publication 'ride inside' explaining these 'extra-curricular' demands of the discipline. though there is a chapter on indoor cycling equipment, at no stage does it discuss any of the factors alluded to above.

remember the days when we just went for a bike ride?

friday 20 november 2020

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galloway cycling

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the cost of living

bmc masterpiece

last week, apple computer announced the arrival of several new models of computer featuring their own m1 processor, having become a tad weary of waiting for intel to produce their own upgraded processors. but much of the intrigue and machinations surrounding the computer company's second chip switch in the last couple of decades (they previously ended their partnership with motorola's power pc chips to switch to intel), has arguably more to do with marketing than raw computing power.

like many others in the industry, apple has a pre-programmed upgrade schedule to cater for a customer demand they themselves engineered in the first place. thus design and manufacturing of the latest macbook air, imac or macbook pro generally revolves around an eighteen month release, one that has apparently been hindered by intel's tardiness. thus, in order to place themselves in charge of their own destiny, they have opted to develop their own computer chips, of which the m1 is the first to market.

for many of us, this really makes little difference. when we need a new computer, we'll buy one. the name on the chip not only can't be seen in day to day use, and we could probably care less. whether our favourite software runs comfortably or not, is someone else's problem. the intel inside sticker beloved of currys/pcworld means pretty much nothing at all to the majority, though many will accept it as a purported badge of quality.

bmc masterpiece

however, in order to justify to the masses, this switch of processing power, apple are honour bound to to have their marketing department justify this singular action, just in case there's any backlash from the cognoscenti. and just like the art of selling motor cars, this justification revolves around speed. the fact that a motor car can accelerate from 0-60mph in less than six seconds is really of academic interest, since there are few sets of traffic conditions in the uk that will allow for such a dramatic increase of pace.

and comparison of computer speed, at the consumer level, could be seen as every bit as pointless. for instance, apple says of the new m1 chip "cpu (central processing unit) speeds up to 3.5 times faster. gpu (graphics processing unit) speeds up to 5 times faster.", all of which sounds quite impressive. until, of course, you realise that the processor with which comparison is being made, may have been capable of making calculations in three milliseconds, whereas the new chip can do so in one millisecond. let me assure you that neither you nor i can distinguish a difference of two milliseconds. granted, spread that over several processes, there may be a tiny appreciable difference, but if web browsing, e-mailing or typing in microsoft word: no difference.

bmc masterpiece

thankfully, and very much in apple's favour, they appear to have kept the retail price for their new computers pretty much on par with their predecessors. however, the occasional jaw will likely have dropped on bmc's announcement of their masterpiece carbon frameset, available to order with a price tag of €10,000 (approx £9,000), far more than most of us would be willing to spend (or could afford) on a complete bicycle. so, what do bmc claim for this eye wateringly expensive carbon sculpture?

aside from the contention that the masterpiece is 'an exclusive and unparalleled example of what can be done when no expense is spared' the accompanying rhetoric simply leads towards the self-effacing admission that the frame was created simply 'because we can'. pretty much what campagnolo said a few years ago, when quizzed on why they'd opted to create an eleven-speed groupset. apple at least offered some tangible reason for their choice to produce their own processors. the masterpiece sounds simply that it arrived at the behest of a whim, rather than any great desire, need or intent to push the cutting edge a few millimetres or grammes further forward.

bmc masterpiece

it's not unreasonable to consider that bmc either have, or will, incorporate some of this technology into the bicycles they provide to their sponsored teams, but i'm not so sure that the ordinary cyclist on the street has need of reducing their bank balance by such a large amount. however, to carp at the price of admission could be viewed as similar to those who moan at the price of rapha or assos clothing. rapha, in particular, seem to have received more than their fair share of flak on the basis of the attached price tags. however, that seems mostly to have come from those who would love to wear rapha, but can ill-afford to do so. perhaps my carping over the astronomical cost of bmc's masterpiece say more about me than about them.

actually, i don't think that's true, and i'm sure it's every bit as untrue for many others, so why am i bothered?

it's all a matter of perception. prices for all manner of items rise on a regular basis, but concerned as we are about every aspect of the bicycle, this hits home just a smidgeon harder. if i might use yet another indirect comparison, as i peruse drumshop websites and look at the cost of cymbals from zildjian, i occasionally wonder why their prices are so much higher than those of the italian marque i tend to favour. the answer to that is pretty straightforward; zildjian sponsor more pro drummers than at which you could shake a stick, sponsorship for which someone has to pay. guess who that is?

bmc masterpiece

though i'm not saying that bmc do likewise, it's notable that another cycle manufacturer with a commercial tie-up to peter sagan, are close to charging a similar amount of dosh for their bicycles featuring his name. headlining releases such as the masterpiece create a perception that road cycling is, or can be, an expensive leisure pursuit in which to invest. no doubt that plays to the egos of those who have already placed an order for their very own masterpiece, all of whom are currently procrastinating over which expensive componentry will festoon its person.

it used to be that, locally, we failed to recruit any new, younger members to the velo club, based on the perception that we 'ride too fast'. next thing you know, those wannabes will be choosing golf as an alternative, because a year's adult membership at islay's machrie golf links is a mere £410. even the price of admission to donald trump's turnberry golf club is a 'only' £2,500.

maybe cycling is the new golf? (mind you, i've just looked at the cost of some individual golf clubs which has seriously undermined the gist of my argument). what the heck - just place your order.

thursday 19 november 2020

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integrated integration

zipp quickview

i'm sure that i have wittled on to the point of boredom, that my introduction to the way of the road was almost entirely on the basis of its relative simplicity. a lugged steel frame, festooned with shiny componentry, brake cables that exited the top of the hoods and two gear levers affixed to the upper portion of a respectably narrow downtube. even bar tape was less complex than it has become, wound around shiny alloy handlebars featuring the classic curve with not an ounce of anatomical science to be seen.

zipp quickview

as one who moved from the darkside, it was a breath of fresh air. mountain bikes had taken remarkably few years to become bloated with all manner of anodised widgets, while the tubing had already embraced aluminium and was slowly increasing in diameter. with three chainrings, the innermost of which seemed to decreased in number of teeth, proportionally to the tube diameter increase, indexed gearing actuated from sophisticated handlebar levers, actuating rear mechs that travelled over more and larger sprockets.

that, so went the mantra, was progress.

much has changed in the world of the road since those early days in the 1990s, with the adoption of many so-called innovations from the offroad world, whether they made sense or not. but just like many offspring given a start in the world, the road-bike has since developed its own original ideas, such as electric gear changing, carbon fibre development, predominantly at the behest of the great god stiffness and the weight-weenies, and anatomic bends in the handlebars. and roadies have arguably adopted the moral high ground when it comes to the number of sprockets that can be squeezed between dropout and hub flange.

zipp quickview

it would be naive of me to disparage any or all of those developments, even though simplicity appeals to a greater degree, for many of them have been responsible for a successful road-bike industry, and satisfied the needs of the technologicallly curious. however, like much of the modern world, it has brought road-cycling firmly within the grasp of fashion, with tube shapes morphing from round to ovalised to square, incurred the commonality of wind-tunnel testing and aero everything and created a hitherto unrealised market for hydraulic disc-brakes.

technology is pretty much taken for granted nowadays. i recall my parents owning a television set in the early seventies, replete with a first-generation remote control. sadly, the early days of 'remoteness', were conditioned by the length of cable existing between the device and the socket on the rear of the television. compare this with the tv that now sits opposite, one which can, if push came to shove, be manually switched on beneath the flat screen (as if anyone actually would). but it still requires a (wireless) remote control to change channel.

zipp quickview

though braking still demands 'user intervention' with discs, it's the hydraulics that take the strain. and instead of pushing a lever to change gear, many have opted for buttons. however, in the halcyon days of yore, the concept of telemetry was confined to the world of aircraft and space craft. only a few years ago, the idea that the intrepid cyclist would have need of such data would have been laughed out of the morning tea-stop. yet only a couple of days past, strava, founded a mere eleven years ago, raised $110 million in funding, valuing the company at $1.5 billion, all at the behest of cyclists and runners uploading a never-ending stream of gps data to the cloud.

zipp quickview

and at the risk of stating the glaringly obvious, that gps data has to orginate from somewhere, mostly via devices fastened to the front of the handlebars on our bikes. in addition, information such as speed, heart-rate, power, distance, calories, temperature and gradient are all part and parcel of the modern velocipedinist's need for digestible data. this is generally at the behest of training, real or imagined, and shared to acquire strava koms or bragging rights within the peloton. few of us simply go for a bike ride these days.

i cannot deny that i frequently ride with just such a device attached to my set of ritchey handlebars, though i daresay that any protestations that this is purely to learn the time of day are beginning to wear a bit thin. i can confirm, however, that strava has no idea of what i'm doing. up until now, devices such as those presenting gps information, and cameras recording the constant stream of near misses from passing traffic, have had to be affixed pretty much ad hoc to handlebars that are already home to hydraulics and electronics. as all of the above becomes more and more an accepted 'necessity' of life in the saddle, 'integration' is going to become as much a buzzword as 'aero', and probably every bit as fashionable.

zipp, along with others are already on the cutting edge, offering their 'quickview' integrated computer mount (illustrated above), fashioned as part of the stem faceplate. according to zipp, it's "...an easy way to add elegant integration to your road bike."

the magic word has already entered the velocipedinal lexicon.

wednesday 18 november 2020

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

do or don't?

mudguards

in regard to the persistent argument over whether roadies ought to feature mudguards (or fenders, if you prefer) on their bicycles during the winter months, i can still recall a pertinent quote from the comic's dr. hutch (michael hutchinson). he pointed out that mudguards on a road bike, were 'unfashionable in the same way that a brown stripe up the back of your jacket wasn't'. which is pretty much on point. it occupies a similar philosophical airspace as my mother's oft-repeated proverb statement, 'pride bears no pain'. basically, if you don't fit guards to the bike, it's no use moaning about how dirty your jacket has become.

the inestimable matt seaton, in his much-missed guardian column, two wheels, frequently mentioned that, in his opinion, such accoutrements should feature on all winter bicycles. i remember replying to mr seaton to the effect that the winds round these here parts, tended to render mudguards somewhat ineffective, a point which arose only this past weekend.

though sunday was pretty much windless (from an islay perspective), riding behind one of our trio, despite his front and rear guards, still resulted in a spray of water on my rudy projects. on pointing this out, he replied, tongue-in-cheek, that such was hardly his concern. this is not the first time such remarks have been made, but i have noticed on several occasions that the wind strength regularly blows tyre-spray sideways from beneath the guards, rendering them, if not actually useless, certainly of minimal purpose.

but, though there are still many clubs in which guards are compulsory on rides in both summer and winter, such accoutrements are not fitted specifically to protect your fellow riders. i've already mentioned the muddy stripe on the back of a jacket or jersey, but the front guard has its own part to play in proceedings, by keeping front wheel spray from soaking into your footwear. though mudguards can often provide serious levels of faff to fit, and many rattle to the point of distraction, the big limiter in many cases, is fashion. however, it strikes me that it's an aspect easily countered by the rule-makers in aigle and the professional teams.

if you think i exaggerate, i might cite the case of disc brakes. the majority of us were quite content with regular caliper brakes on our road bikes, as, indeed were the professionals. in fact, jumbo-visma's bianchis regularly eschew discs, ostensibly for reasons of weight, but not a component choice that seemed to slow them unduly. though roglic may have succumbed to the greater speed of pogacar in the tour's final time trial, i seriously doubt it was his caliper brakes that were at fault. and then he triumphed in spain, again, frequently with calipers.

disc brakes have become all but de-rigeur on road bikes, pretty much at the behest of the manufacturers. if you can persuade the great unwashed that disc brakes are a must-have item, given that they cannot be retrofitted to either aluminium or carbon frames, you're almost inevitably going to sell more frames. since the thru-axles that are a necessary part of disc-brakes have frequently necessitated replacement bikes rather than wheels during tours and classics, surely it opens the door for compulsory mudguards?

since we are mostly in thrall to the minutiae of the professional milieu, likely to follow wherever primoz, tadej, wout and peter lead, were they to race with mudguards, we would be almost bound to do likewise, just like the sheep we all deny we are. however, in this case, it might be a trend worth following.

i have a pair of bicycle quickguards which i reviewed last winter and which remained on the bicycle until the foothills of summer this year. with a lengthy period of dessication through the months of may, june, july and a smidgeon of september, i removed them as i rode alone for most of those months, and an absence of rain rendered them unnecessary. these fit comfortably and easily on any road bike, clamping to a longer, splined replacement for the q/r nut on the drive-side of the bicycle (there's also a version available for thru-axles). though the rear version stops at the brake caliper, and the front ends behind the fork crown, they both fulfil the purposes discussed above, with the distinct advantage that they even look okay on a bike with deep carbon rims.

road bikes may not be the most practical means of velocipedinal transport, but that shouldn't prevent us from adopting at least a modicum of pragmatism in the face of inclement weather. even if you fancy yourself as a refugee from the peloton. for more on winterising your bike, take a look at dave arthur's youtube advice

bicycle quickguards

tuesday 17 november 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

this is cambridge

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campagnolo

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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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