you may have seen the tv advert. it revolves around the realisation that the kids of today have a far better grasp of technology than those of us who are often characterised as 'older but wiser'. i'm inclined to attribute the wisdom part to knowing when i'm beaten, but in this instance, the basis of the tv advert (for virgin tv if memory serves) is that seven year-old kids can access any of the plethora of modern-day television in a heartbeat while we're still vainly searching some website or other for the instructions.
several years ago, i voluntarily taught a school's extra-curricular computer class after work, during which time i attempted to have the children design and ultimately print a poster for their forthcoming christmas pantomime. due to my being in school for about an hour after classes had finished for the day, several of the teachers took advantage of this fact to complete additional work. during this time, they would frequently ask one of the kids to assist them with one or two computer tasks on the basis that "they're so much better at this stuff than we are".
i did point out that, as teachers, using the above as a get out clause really wasn't an option in this day and age. if computers were to form an ever-increasing part of the current education curriculum, it was surely in their best interests to become more acquainted with the digital realm?
i've not taught such a class for quite some time, principally on the basis that my own predilection leans towards apple macintosh computers, while the school has now demonstrated a greater investment towards microsoft windows, an operating system i prefer to keep at arm's length. the fact that i have also eschewed any association with the smartphone means that my own computing knowledge is now concentrated on more specific tasks utilising specialised software.
however, that has scarcely put a dent in the avowed confidence and surety of the younger generation. this state of affairs, however, is occasionally put to the test in the velocipedinal realm. my son, now in his mid-twenties, has finally seen the light and adopted the pelotonic path with great gusto. as with many an individual, this originated in the desire to improve a non-existent fitness, but repeated exposure to the sunday morning peloton has proved a tad more addictive and i now have a young man who is every bit as keen to get out on the bicycle as am i.
however, there are specific niceties that will hopefully arrive with experience, niceties such as carryng a tyre lever in his on-bike toolkit. this particular omission came to light after a particularly gravely descent past the rspb farm at aoradh. as i was aboard the rather sturdy specialized crux at the time, the road surface was more or less of no nevermind, but the lad was on a colnago which featured 25mm road tyres, one of which was so upset at the surface, it decided to let go of all the air in its tube.
as an allegedly responsible parent, i thought i had impressed upon him the necessities of cycling life, not least of which was the carrying of at least one tyre lever. sadly, this appeared to have fallen on deaf ears; though there was an inner tube and a mini-pump at his behest, a tyre lever was conscpicuous by its absence.
this would have been one of the ideal moments to bring his attention to the particularly brilliant and stunningly clever ritchey barkeeper lever, a tom ritchey invention that is so simple and effective, you have to wonder why no-one has had the perspicacity to think of it before. as the name would suggest, the barkeeper lever fulfils two necessary functions; firstly, it fills the hole at the end of a pair of drop bars, whether fashioned from alloy or carbon, and thus keeps the bar wrap from inconsiderately unfurling in use.
but secondly and more importantly, the barkeeper lever forms a practical and sturdy tyre lever, one that's arguably less likely to go missing in action. the fact that these levers arrive as a carded pair has the potential to make airless life in the wilderness far less of a problem than would have been the case had my son been out for a bike ride on his own. currently, these occupy bar space on the ibis hakkalugi, where they are far less prone to distancing themselves from the bicycle than in the more usual space reserved for the purpose in the seatpack.
no bicycle should leave home without them.
recommended price for a pair of ritchey barkeeper levers is around £15.
tuesday 17 january 2017..........................................................................................................................................................................................................