on the road to bunnahabhain distillery and village, there's a whisky cask on which is inscribed the words bunnahabhain 1/2 mile, probably a help to those intent on visting the distillery at the end of a three mile twisting road featuring no signposting other than the cask. the current incumbent has managed to remain in place for several years now, after all the previous, smaller casks were pinched by whisky aficionados keen on a larger souvenir than normal.
the previous distillery manager became so fed up with replacing these casks, that he took the largest example and filled it with water. "if they can lift that, they're welcome to it" he said at the time. the fact that it's still there is testament to his thinking.
by bicycle, the road is easier to traverse on the journey to bunnahabhain than the return trip. those freewheeling descents, including the final one into the village are a bit of a slog on the way back, particularly the ascent at ardnahoe, a short, sharp burst that briefly encounters a 20% gradient just past mid-distance. however, having ridden out from the village, on encountering that selfsame cask once more, if heavy breathing and red mist over the eyes has cleared, it is notable that the other side of the barrel says 'other places'.
in this case, those other places refers only to villages and hamlets on the principality. but thoughts of other places far, far, away bring into play checklists of one kind or another at least amongst the organised or wannabes. i have been fortunate to rarely have need of my own bicycle when undertaking distant rides; on the few cases to which i'll admit, generous benefactors have provided bicycles that i might not only ride, but review in the process. rather obviously, that cuts down drastically on the luggage.
and that, dear reader, is where a list is necessary. the big stuff is pretty much self-evident: helmet, jersey, shorts, baselayer, shoes, pedals etc. that's always been my starting point, and i don't doubt that it's been yours too. but it's the little things that make all the difference between a modest degree of purgatory and unbridled joy no matter the conditions that pervaded the subsequent bike rides. i have specifically in mind thoughts of gloves and socks; easy to overlook but likely to make a considerable difference to one's velocipedinal machinations.
kings of the ancillaries, no matter your country of residence are the fine fellows at prendas ciclismo, ready and eager to cover those hand and foot extremities in the face of incoming adversity.
i have offered houseroom to several of their excellent pairs of socks on previous occasions, but in this particular instance it's a rather natty pair of gloves that are easing the autumnal chill, and would thus be elevated to the top of any list that needs to be made. i have yet to make lists for the sunday morning ride, but in view of the items regularly forgotten at the supermarket, it can't be too long before that becomes something of a necessity.
the rather excellently named prendas super roubaix gloves portend of a heft and bulk that was not the case on opening the package. recommending a size smaller than usuall (i downsized to a small), they're very light and flexible long-fingered mitts featuring a white prendas logo on the back and little bobbly bits on the palm and first and second fingers, the latter to more easily shift a gear or two, and perhaps stop every now and again.
though in these early autumnal days their lack of substance is a major boon, the thinness of material would allow use as liners inside chunkier winter gloves. but to explore coolness of intent (in both senses of the word), a cyclocross day informed their first outing, undergrowth scrabbling of the first degree in which my efforts to remain upright engendered not just a modicum of heat energy. it would not be too much of an overstatement to recommend that the super roubaix gloves may have been born for cyclocross.
however, well aware that many of you may not be of the muddy persuasion, i might testify to their fortitude when confronted by road-bound drop bars. though their constitution is deft enough to keep happy little fingers warm, yet not overly so, they're breathable enough to prevent overheating even in unseasonally mild conditions. i have every confidence that this will continue into colder conditions, right up until they slide inside heavier winter gloves or are replaced by something else from the prendas stable.
undeniably, art does live in the details, a box that, in this case, has been lightly and comprehensively ticked and for a remarkably modest £17.50. order them now, because they're italian made and they're from prendas.
thursday 25th september 2013