it's long time since anyone has made a western movie of any great note. gone, seemingly, are the days of john wayne and clint eastwood, when the indians were defending their lands yet depicted as the baddies. and how long since we've seen two stetsoned individuals face each other in the dusty main street, ready and willing to find out who's the quickest draw. nowadays it's all about motor cars that convert themselves into sizeable mechanical monsters, or small, large footed creatures that inhabit middle earth.
bob dylan may well have been on the money when telling us that the times they are a changing.
but some of the more obscure differences between westerns then and modern life concerns trains. granted, even the americas have progressed to diesel and electric locomotives, but i believe they still require prospective passengers to board the carriages from the ground rather than from a raised platform as on this side of the pond. and then there's the small matter of moving from one carriage to another when chasing the baddies the full length of the train.
you will perhaps have made note of the fact that, in pretty much every western movie, there is often simply a door at the end of each carriage, leading to a wide step from which a leap of faith need be made over the coupling mechanism to reach the next carriage. health and safety would have a fit if we had maintained that situation. the last time i travelled south on one of richard branson's red trains, each successive carriage offered simple access, guarded from the iniquities of a speeding outdoors by means of a juncture resembling little more than an accordion. i doubt anyone would mind if i referred to this as an interface, a feature that has its place in contemporary cycling, particularly at this time of year.
i'm thinking here specifically of the inevitable gap that manifests itself between the collar top of whichever winter jacket you may be wearing and your neck and chin. though many winter jackets feature tall, zipped collars to exclude the elements, there is a limit to their practical height and flexibility. what's needed is something many of us have been wearing for years; a soft collar that commences atop the jersey below and extends to just under the chin, offering ample length that it might be pulled up over frozen jaws, should the need arise.
speaking from experience, the ideal material for this interface has to be merino wool. a ribbed knitting pattern offers just a tad more constitution, while a seamless knit obviates any areas of possible irritation. just like that from leicester's velobici. their merino ribbed collar must surely be one of the finest examples on the market, combining practicality with a rather luxurious demeanour? and fear not that its coiffure might not fit between a tightly fitting jacket collar and an exposed neck. it's something that simply never happened.
the interface metaphor is also extended to their, once again, seamlessly knitted merino gloves, this time with a white thumb tip to complement the collar. do not for a minute consider that i'm suggesting you wear these wafer thin cosy gloves as the sole means of grasping the bars or ultrashift levers. we are not uninformed to the benefits of layering; that's the sort of info no cyclist should ride without knowing. thus, should it become a tad parky outdoors, wearing the velobici merino gloves under a properly constructed pair of winter cycling gloves is, in more than just a few cases, a sensible thing to do.
of course, other than the word velobici applied to both products, there is nothing that overtly suggests that cycling may be at the base of both items. thus it is that a trip to the newsagents on a cold winter's day might usefully be augmented by wearing both or either, well away from any nearby colnago or pinarello. both are fabricated from high quality merino wool, offering all the thermal benefits for which the material is renowned. and at £35 each, style and warmth is every bit as accessible to the civilian in your life as to your goodself.
friday 2 january 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................