closed sunday - gone cycling

port charlotte stores cycle jersey

earlier this year, one of the foremost members of the sunday morning bike ride journeyed to belgium to participate in the ronde van vlaanderen sportive, before watching the professionals ride the parcours a lot faster the following day. and just exactly as any of us would have done, he returned with two lotto banners and a lion of flanders flag. i'm pretty sure we can all identify with that. however, the downside to doing so is just what to do with them on return to an island where mentioning 'kop van de westrijd', or 'achtervolgers' is likely only to garner odd looks from passers-by.

what you really need to do is find somewhere not only to display said items, but to do so with particular relevance. it was of great joy, therefore, on sundy morning, as we approached the sheep fank atop the muur de voorlaandsbergen, that the two lotto banners were zip-tied to the farm gate, while the lion of flanders flapped impressively in the breeze. and along with mini-chocolate cakes, the local lion of flanders (tom van hunterberg) was stood alongside rattling the largest cowbell you've ever seen, wearing a belgian pattern big bobble hat. as the big bang theory's leonard hofstadder once said, "that's the way we roll in the shire."

port charlotte stores cycle jersey

yet despite the above scenario, it may surprise you to learn that the gent and his mrs, who are the proprietors of port charlotte's village shop, have produced a cycle jersey which is entirely bereft of any belgian tokens whatsoever. in fact, the long-sleeve versions, in which at least three members of the sunday peloton were clad, feature the shop logo over a background that fades from light purple to a darkish blue. this was apparently the result of a compromise between two alternative views. but under the logo on the back of the jersey, they purport to be a source of fuel for islay's cyclists (that would be us); given the generous dispensing of mini-choc rolls on the muur de voorlaandsbergen, that seems a highly respectable and fulfilled ambition.

and closely related to the signs often to be seen in the shop windows of movies, those which inform the general public that the proprietor has closed up and gone fishing, the rear pockets on this endura produced jersey proudly proclaim port charlotte stores to be closed on sunday as a result of the owners gone cycling. i'm willing to bet there are any number of shop owners who would sympathise with that particular sentiment.

port charlotte stores cycle jersey

these particular jerseys were built-to-order, but i am led to believe that there may be one or two spare if any of you have a hankering to bolster your islay connections (however tenuous those might be). if so, drop me a line and i'll put you in touch. after all, how many village stores have their own cycle jersey?

port charlotte stores cycle jersey

monday 23 october 2023

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a change is as good as a rest

on the beach

i'm sure many of us adhere to a similar cycling structure, predominantly centred around the two days at the weekend. i was moved to mention to mrs washingmachinepost last week, that i thought the weekend ought to be expanded to three days, but then that's simply another way of looking at a four-day-week, and i have doubts as to whether i fancy heading down that road. however, as things stand, for most of us, the days between sunday and the following saturday simply get in the way of heading out on the bike, no matter the genre of riding that floats your boat.

the only logical alternative to that outlined above, would be for those with a smart trainer folded behind the sofa, ready for a quick session in front of the tv of a weekday evening. however, i have already made my thoughts on that particular diversion perfectly clear, thoughts which do not consider such actions to be 'real'cycling, however lifelike the pixelated parcours. so for the time being, we'll concentrate on the art of riding outdoors.

this particular year i have been fortunate, (or unfortunate, depending on your point of view) not to have had a holiday. i did spend a week visiting my elderly mother in august, but i was still present in the principality for weekend rides both before and after said visit, so for 2023 at least, i have had perfect attendance. and i still look forward to a wednesday, to which one twitter feed continues to refer as 'hump day', because it's the middle of the working week, and all downhill from that particular 'hump'.

however, yesterday's ride on the 'cross bike was a close replica of one experienced a few weeks past when my riding ability could best be described as much like a bag of spanners (as the mighty dave-t would say). while the cardio-vascular system appeared to be in tip-top condition, i seem to have fitted someone else's legs, and not someone who appars to have accomplished a lot of cycling.

following the substantial breeze resulting from storm babet that strafed the principality on friday, saturday was a tad more restful, with scarcely a draft to be felt, and sunny blue skies for the majority of the ride, yet my modus operandi would best be explained by the word struggling for no appreciable reason. but perhaps the reason for this velocipedinal aberration could be found in the pages of a recent issue of the comic, through which i perused while munching my double-egg roll. according to those more learned than yours truly, it well behoves the persistent cyclist to take a break now and again, something i have avoided since november last year.

but, my understanding would relate the apparent need for a break to pertain predominantly to those adhering to some form of training regime, designed to eke out the last drop of energy in the pursuit of victory. that, as we all know, is not a target that has ever loomed large on my personal horizon. yet could it be that the need for a break is also applicable to the self-styled leisure cyclist?

the most logical approach would be simply to refrain from cycling over one weekend, then assess the result. would i find myself skipping to work on monday morning, revitalised from the extensive period rest spread across a single weekend? could it be that the entire cycling nation has been doing it all wrong for so many years? but what would there be to look forward to during the previous week? would i reach hump day only to realise that that's as good as it gets? you see, i worry that i might give up two days worth of cycling only to find that there was no difference whatsoever, and i had simply squandered nearly 140km of pedalling. speed and training have never been of particular concern; my usual approach to cycling would, i have been told, scarcely fulfil that practised by the professionals on a rest day.

maybe, for the rest of us, there will be days when our comparison to bags of bicycle tools are all but inevitable. after all, if we might assume that the professionals do everything just right, according to the commentators on eurosport/gcn, even they are likely to experience an off-day during a three week tour, so a couple of off-days for the great unwashed across the course of a year of weekends seems, on reflection, quite equitable.

however, should any of you find yourselves in the position of taking an enforced break from the joy of cycling, please let me know if the following weekend had you riding like tadej. all this consternation could easily have been solved had the author of the cycling weekly article been a tad more specific as to the type of cyclist to which he was referring. maybe british cycling ought to instigate a short exam, the result of which would provide some form of relevant categorisation.

or am i just overthinking the situation?

sunday 22 october 2023

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where did it all go so wrong (part 143)?

chain reaction

for the past year or so, in both online and print versions of the cycling media, there have been many questions surrounding the rather dramatic increase in the cost of top-level road and mountain bikes. i have always been a firm believer that 'the price, is the price, is the price', particularly when reviewing apparel, componentry or bicycles; provided the item in question performs as you'd expect or hoped for, the price is, to a certain extent, almost immaterial. i can perhaps illustrate that contentious point more easily if i point out that any review of a ferrari, for instance, that criticised the price of admission, is highly unlikely to have the italian manufacturer make an about turn and reduce the cost of their testarossa.

simply put, if you want a ferrari, that's what they cost. no amount of moaning or pleading poverty is going to alter that. for many a long year, rapha bore the brunt of a similar situation, with several observers pointing out that many protesters were doing so because they wanted rapha, but couldn't afford it. those who didn't want rapha were unlikely to moan, and most of those who bought rapha, did so because that's what they wanted to wear irrespective of price.

whether that is applicable to bicycles, i confess i'm somewhat unsure.

several months ago, while perusing an issue of the comic in debbie's of a saturday lunchtime, trying valiantly not to spill runny egg yolk on the unread pages, i came across a review of a 2023 scott foil, the price tag on which was in excess of £15,000. that's roughly ten times the price of the ritchey frame in thewashingmachinepost bikeshed. i'd be very surprised if the former was not several hundred grammes lighter than the latter, but speculatively, i doubt i'd have ten times the fun or satisfaction on a scott, as opposed to my ritchey.

were the scott bicycle to have proved a singular example of high cost (available on bike shop floors during a readily acknowledged cost-of-living-crisis), it would have been up to the manufacturer to justify that price tag, even if only used as a means of publicity. however, that is very far from the case, with colnago offering versions of the c68 exceeding the cost of the scott, and several other manufacturers only a few pocketfuls of loose change behind.

whether it actually costs that much to manufacture a top level road bike is probably something about which we'll never really know. is it a corollary of supplying bicycles to professional teams? is there really a demand for bicycles at that price? the advertising model for many has been to construct superlative machinery for which only the true professional has a need, then compare that favourably with the demands placed by you and i. the problem is that neither of us is ever likely to push something like a scott foil or a colnago c68 to the sort of extremes demanded of a grand tour rider, but the copywriters have to convince us otherwise. and in order to balance the books of supplying countless free bikes to the professionals and paying for the privilege, you end up with a five-figure price ticket.

of course, i do not own or operate an international bicycle company, so any suppositions i might make about the pricing tactics of those who do, are based on pure supposition. if scott figure they'll sell enough foils to justify its manufacture, then i can only presume that they know what they're doing. but at the other extreme, which includes you and i debating whether a new bicycle is necessary, and if so, whether it might be possible to acquire something that won't result in our other halves calling a divorce lawyer, things are a tad different.

though there will always be those who have the financial wherewithal to purchase whatever their hearts desire, the majority of us will scour the interwebs to find a good deal on tyres, tubes, saddles and, yes, even bikes. tactically, now is the time to look for a new bicycle, because both manufacturers and shops are already making way for the 2024 ranges, and may have one or two of this year's inventory to clear at a discount. only the other day, i received an e-mail from sigma sports advising of that very tactic, offering the opportunity to save almost £2,000 on some models (thanks chaps, but i'm quite happy with my ritchey logic).

in some cases, it's possible to save a tad more, due to the inequalities of comparing bricks and mortar with pixels. the larger online retailers are likely only to possess large, relatively unattractive warehouses, as opposed to the likes of sigma sport who have shiny shops to maintain, all the better to entice us through the front door. but then again, these black and yello pixels have unfortunately had to pay tribute recently to the potentially dire situation in which cycling finds itself these days. following the halcyon days of lockdown across the world, it seems that many in the industry inexplicably fell for the tale that promised milk and honey for evermore.

during the covid years, cycling provided a solution to a problem. but once that problem had receded, just as water finds its own level, everything pretty much returned to what was previously regarded as 'normal'. the same thing happened on a smaller scale in the uk following the 2012 olympics, where the so-called bradley bubble exaggerated the membership of british cycling. but as soon as prince bradley and sir hoy became yesterday's chip wrappers, the lustre dulled by several lumens. lockdown may have offered temporary salvation, but many (including wahoo, peloton, specialized and several notable others), seem to have mistaken the definition of the word temporary.

i may be talking out of turn, but it seems eminently possible that this malady may be at the root of the problems recently divulged by signa sports, owners of wiggle and chain reaction cycles, citing severe liquidity and profitability challenges, eventually leading to the company delisting from the stock exchange. at least part of signa's profitability concerns must surely have been wiggle's posting of an almost £100 million loss, which now seems to have had a more direct impact on the amalgamated business comprising wiggle and chain reaction.

reports over the past couple of days assert that wiggle/chain reaction are to enter 'self-administration', allowing them protection from their creditors while they attempt to find some means of funding their continued existence. though i am very far from being an expert on the machinations of the cycle industry (or any other, for that matter), signa sport is owned by signa holdings who had intially promised funding of £150 million to its subsidiary. however, it now transpires that this funding is no longer available, leading to the predicament in which wiggle and chain reaction now find themselves.

according to industry reports, if funding and restructuring explorations come to nought, there will be no alternative but for the company to enter financial administration.

once again, diving in where i have no right to tread, i recall thewashingmachinepost and several others commenting over the years, that the rounds of investment in cycle companies by those who could scarcely identify the difference between a schrader and a presta valve, was possibly not quite as welcome as it seemed at the time. investment companies are in the business of doing precisely that, the sole objective being to make money for their shareholders. it has frequently been pointed out that, when bicycles are no longer the flavour of the month, the investors are likely to withdraw and go looking for something else in which to invest.

the cliché that states in order to make a £1 million from bicycles, you'd need to start with £2 million', might well be more reality than joke. however, it leaves those of us besotted with our bicycles and their upkeep in something akin to limbo. yes, there are several other online retailers who will be happy to supply those of us who live at least a two hour ferry journey and a three hour bus trip from the nearest bike shop (or equivalent), but they are presumably beholden to the same set of economic circumstances that have afflicted wiggle and chain reaction.

how they and the nation's independent bike shops cope with those circumstances will have significant impact on how practical it is to leave the car at home and travel by bicycle. and that's to say nothing about how the velocipedinally obsessed might have to cope.

a set of bearings for your proprietary integrated headset you ask?

saturday 21 october 2023

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drum workshop colours

our local newspaper has reached the grand old age of fifty, the first issue having been published in october 1973. this has created something of a quandary as to how to celebrate an impressive anniversary without appearing to go overboard. when the paper celebrated its 25th anniversary, those in charge at that time, had several large perspex panels created, displaying articles from across that quarter century, all of which were displayed at an event held in one of the island's village halls. disappointingly, but not unpredictably, very few attended said event.

folks on islay would moan if the paper did not arrive in the shops on saturday morning every two weeks, and i'd be fibbing if i said that no-one cared it has reached the grand old age of 50. however, the majority will be happy to read of the milestone in this week's issue, and to cast a glance at the happy 50th birthday helium balloons to be seen in the office windows. but by monday, most will have forgotten. therefore, in order to remain relatively minimalist in the celebrations, this week's issue will feature a wraparound outer cover, printed on cream paper, featuring a reproduction of the very first cover page, followed by a few articles and adverts from early editions.

the real cover page simply has the number 50 in gold writ large, underlined by the dates 1973-2023 in white on a gold background. the 25th edition was printed on an offset litho printer using metallic silver ink, however, said offset printer is now a distant part of the paper's past, with digital printing now the economic and pragmatic order of the day. therefore, to present this in gold, meant that i'd to resort to a cmyk (cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black)) representation printed with toner rather than liquid ink.

the problem with such situations is that it's not possible to colour-match a commercial laser printer, meaning that what appears as a reasonable simulation of gold on an imac screen, offers sometimes considerable variation when printed on paper. therefore, to exclude as many hurdles as possible, i opted to use the same cmyk numbers that ardbeg distillery use for printed gold, when the metallic pantone ink is unavailable. folowing a couple of tweaks to the calibration and colour matching, the results were deemed acceptable.

and that appears to be the current modus operandi of several component parts of the cycle industry. only yesterday, i received one of the regular e-mails from rapha, this time promoting their less expensive core range. the e-mail was headed new season colours, indicating that the apparel itself had remained pretty much the same, but was now available in (as it transpired) a very attractive set of autumnal hues. it would be unfair to single out rapha as being alone in this practice, as they have been preceded, this year at least, by pinarello, who recently recoloured their dogma range, and now equalled by brompton who are offering new colours for the 2024 range.

i think we probably all realise that innovation has to end at some stage in its life; there has to come a point in time when stuff reaches the point where it's as good as it's going to get. it's also possible that there are those who began their commercial life offering the expected seasonal upgrades (spring/summer and autumn/winter), year after year. it strikes me that this is something that's also unsustainable; and with climate-change high on many agendas, environmental considerations have made the twice-yearly stance harder and harder to defend. in which case, we should perhaps become used to the changing of the colour guard.

i figure i can comfortably live with that, but in case it's of any interest, drum companies have been doing this for years.

friday 20 october 2023

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are we safe?

blurred peloton

a study by america's consumer product safety commission (cpsc) has determined that injuries and deaths within the field of micromobility, the catch-all term for any form of transport with a battery that's not a car, increased by a substantial 21% over the figures for the previous year. i confess i'm at something of a loss to comprehend why electric motive transport needs to be separated from its acoustic counterpart, particularly when the cpsc concedes that the top hazards associated with e-bike fatalities include motor vehicle accidents. one would imagine that those are less than dependent on the type of bicycle ridden.

however, among those numbers are featured what are anonymously categorised as control issues. in the absence of any further information, one can only imagine that this refers to e-bike riders with insufficient experience of handling machinery that has the ability to perhaps travel faster than expected. that said, the organisation has included fires as a significant hazard affecting all manner of so-called micromobility devices, such as e-scooters, hoverboards and e-bikes.

though the survey pertains specifically across the pond, it seems logical to infer that, perhaps proportionally, a similar scenario exists on this side of the atlantic. those of my acquaintance who possess e-bikes have often remarked on the weight of those bicycles; that many are new adherents to the way of the saddle could be extrapolated to infer that unfamiliarity with riding in traffic, coupled with the aforementioned weight, might be a contributing factor during any potential bicycle/motor car interfaces.

the fire risks incurred when charging with incorrect units, or battery replacement with other than the manufacturer's recommendations, have already been brought to your attention in these very pixels. the likelihood that this has as much to do with cost as a lack of sense, has been mentioned by several, other than by yours truly. with the uk average amount spent on an e-bike reputed to be marginally less than £3,000, in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, it doesn't take a genius to figure out why.

but while all of those who choose to cycle will have safety concerns to some degree, irrespective of the type of bicycle they opt to ride, it seems that a coalition between bayes business school and dublin city university contends that elite cycle sport suffers potentially greater risk than you or i.

a report released by the above institutions clearly demonstrates that the sport's governing body, the uci, seems to harbour a rather cavalier approach to safety, relying on the iso 4210 as the minimum requirement demanded by its in-house equipment certification, which, the report states, "means it has absolved itself of any formal safety critical inspection duties, or the setting of any specific and prescriptive safety standards." it's a point with which it is hard to argue. and while formula one motor racing, demonstrably riskier than cycle competition, created its own safety institute almost twenty years ago, the uci's administration fails to features even a director of safety or equivalent position.

so while the uci happily includes gravel racing into its extensive panoply of event types, outwardly at least, it seems to be less than concerned for the safety of the participants. in recent years, there have been several calls for a reduction in the number of motorbikes and motor vehicles infiltrating the professional peloton, and notable concerns expressed from not only the riders, but even tv commentators over the start of the 2023 vuelta a espana in encroaching darkness and heavy rain. then there's the matter of equipment failures such as the australian cycling olympic incident that witnessed a set of carbon handlebars snap off during competition, something that i recall happening during one of this year's grand tours.

while the majority of industries are regulated by health and safety rules that are legally enforceable, it often seems that professional cyclists are being left to their own devices, performing in conditions that frequently include fast, steep descents with little to protect them from the abyss bordering the road, and having them ride through tunnels of flag-waving spectators with no visible risk management strategy preventing likely injury. that there have been very few specific incidents as a result is more by luck than design.

in modern society, risk is an ever present factor, greater for some than others. there's no realistic means of nullifying every possibility, but in the grand scheme of things, it appears that cyclists might be perilously close to the bottom of the pile (though admittedly sometimes as a result of their own folly).

thursday 19 october 2023

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how does he do that?

thibau nys - water, wisconsin

in case you hadn't noticed, bicycles have changed, but they've not changed as much as the manufacturers would have us believe. granted, we've moved on - subjectively - from colnago's remodelling of their lugged steel master frameset into a carbon replica of the very same. that particular model retained the lugs, with the clover cross-sectioned top tube bonded into head and seat-tube carbon lugs. it's possible that so doing was a tad unnecessary given subsequent developments with carbon monocoques, but it doubtless satisfied luddites like yours truly who figured there was nothing wrong with lugged steel in the first place.

as if in confirmation of my contention, witness the mild hulabaloo that surrounded the release of the colnago c68, with the disappearance of the downtube/headtube lug altogether. up till that point, colnago's c-series had seemed like the safe repository of lugged construction.

there's nothing to deny the oft-held supposition that, had the uci not issued a three-line whip with regard to the double-diamond design, the above mentioned change in the construction of the road-going bicycle and its related variants might have been somewhat more dramatic. witness the roadworthy edition of boardman's medal-winning lotus, or the occasional oddities produced by pinarello and trek. the difference is undoubtedly carbon fibre, which has proved almost as malleable as plasticine, offering the intrepid designer plenty of variants in tube shape. but it's hard not to view the adherence to tube nomenclature as a throwback to the days of steel, aluminium and titanium; though monocoques closely resemble their tubed predecessors, in truth, they are anything but.

of course certain alterations need to be accommodated; while a lugged steel bottom bracket can provide substantial rigidity, a direct copy in carbon monocoque form needs a tad more carbon sustenance, hence the rather large, ungainly bottom brackets seen on the current crop of frames. additionally, unlike even butted steel tubing, carbon can be tweaked to offer strength just where its required; witness the extremely skimpy rear of square-section top tubes where computational fluid dynamics would suggest little in the way of vertical strength is required, or even desired. the jury is still out on the aesthetic values of such tweaking. is it done for engineering reasons, or just because they can?

an as for those dropped seatstays...

however, as i have pointed out on more than one occasion, despite the manufacturers' claims and sponsorships, it's not actually the bicycle that wins races. i am not the only one to point out that roglic, pogacar, vingegaard or van aert would probably be every bit as successful on halford's finest.

but though there have been continual strides undertaken in the development of carbon fibre layup and composition, van der poel's world championship winning canyon looks not too dissimilar from the peugeot ridden by tommy simpson in the 1960s. placed side by side, there are differences, but to the ordinary chap in the street, they're cosmetic, rather than earth-shattering. however, while purported advancements in bicycle design might reasonably be apprehended as relatively minimal, it's entirely possible that they have enhanced the abilities of those who ride them.

many will have viewed wout van aert outstrip even his own reputation during this year's tour de france. having completed a lengthy stint at the front of the peloton, dragging his team leader towards the finish line atop an impressive gradient, van aert pulled off almost to a standstill. learning of vingegaard then finding himself unsupported and potentially in difficulty, he not only caught up with, buts rode past a struggling peloton, to reach the front once again, and bail jonas out of difficulty. i need hardly point out that this was probably 99% wout and 1% cervelo.

then on sunday, trek's backyard in waterloo, wisconsin, played host to round one of the uci world cup cyclocross trophy, a race won by twenty year-old thibau nys, son of 'cross legend, sven nys, coincidentally, cyclocross race director for the trek bicycle company. along with others, following thibau's victory in the beringen round of the exact cross series, i mentioned that this likely heralded the advance of the new generation, a consideration that was not undermined in waterloo, with nys' 22 year-old team-mate, pim ronhaar in third place on the podium.

however, what was of particular note in sunday's race was the bike handling demonstrated by nys, not only riding a very steep grassy slope on successive laps, while everyone else shouldered the bike and ran, he also rode the steps section on which puck pieterse came slightly unstuck during the women's race, and over which every other elite rider had to dismount. these exploits were even highlighted on gcn's weekly round up on youtube. this could also be cited as graphic evidence that the continual development of trek's cyclocross bicycles has enabled even greater deeds of derring-do by their contracted riders.

or it could just be that nys is in a class of his own, and could have achieved the same on the specialized that resides in thewashingmachinepost bike shed.

wednesday 18 october 2023

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vittoria corsa tan sidewall

it seems more than possible that those of us who protest we harbour no concern for style on the bike are not only fooling ourselves, but simultaneously failing to convince those who might accuse us of less than honesty in such matters. this lack of honesty is not always at the behest of intention to deceive, but more as a result of having successfully deceived ourselves in the first place. for instance, though i do like to think i'll don whatever cycling apparel is drawn from the cycling wardrobe prior to the grand départ, in truth it's a bit more complex than that.

having appraised myself of the meteorology into which i'm about to pedal, i'm able to rationalise in which section of the wardrobe to begin my investigations. however, well-supplied in the garmentage department as i am, i think it only right and proper to ensure that tops and bottoms are sourced from the same purveyor. how could any self-respecting velocipedinist, for instance, be seen in public wearing an assos jacket, paired with castelli bib-threequarters? this discrimination extends even to headwear; honestly, an endura jacket matched with a rapha winter cap? get real.

i'll grant you that this particular habit is devolved from my years of reviewing cycling apparel, where i felt it only fair that the manufacturer who had supplied the clothing, ought not to suffer the ignominy of being photographed in proximity to an item from a competitor. however, though i know only too well that the clientele in debbie's wouldn't know a showers pass jacket from one originating in imperial works, it would bother me, because i can tell the difference. i'm almost scared to broach the subject of wearing team jerseys on which the sponsoring bicycle company is not that writ large on the downtube of the bicycle on which i happen to be riding.

and at some point in the equation, velominati's rules are going to rear their ugly head. most of us are aware of their tongue-in-cheek constitution, yet still offer our loyalties. hands up all those who'd be happy to join the sunday ride wearing a credit lyonnais yellow jersey? how many of you have a pair of white bibshorts in the top drawer? see - it's not just me.

only a matter of days past, i reviewed a pair of challenge grifo cyclocross clincher tyres, remarking upon the battle between tyre and fitter, one only resolved following 75 minutes of hand-to-tyre combat, aided and abetted with a tyre-jack to allow continued use of my thumbs. those tyres, at point of purchase had to feature a tan sidewall; nothing screams professionalism more than tan sidewall tyres. and in that context, i have discovered what might be the sole advantage to be gained from hydraulic disc brakes; they produce no gloopy brake dust in the rain, meaning those tan sidewalls will remain almost pristine for an extended period of time.

roll forward a week or two, and a recent sunday morning puncture necessitated a new pair of roadgoing tyres. in this case, i opted for a pair of graphene inflected 700 x 28c vittoria corsas with (you've guessed it), tan sidewalls. gratifyingly, i can attest to the relative simplicity of installation; having allowed the presumed necessary 75 minutes, both were fitted, inflated and back on the ritchey with an hour to spare. however, there are penalties to be paid for the choice of tan sidewalls, one of which is realised in the shape of greasy fingermarks. though i studiously cleaned both wheel rims and wore gloves, the rearmost tyre still ended up with random and embarrassing black marks around its circumference.

to salve my unadmitted sense of style and propriety, these marks were deftly removed by means of a clean rag and a few well-directed squirts of wd40. were matters to end there, to be honest, i'd scarcely have begun this monologue, but the worst is yet to come.

my mother was a stickler for refraining from the first wearing of new shoes in the rain, the reasons behind which i still remain in the dark. however, had her advice stretched as far as tan-walled vittoria corsas, i might have paid greater attention. you see, the ritchey logic sports a pair of campagnolo record dual-pivot rim-brake calipers, the pads of which disperse brake dust when the brakes are applied. in the rain or on wet roads, that brake-dust combines with the available precipitation to create a dark-grey gloop that then dribbles over those tan sidewalls. ride in the rain with any frequency (a common state of affairs round these here parts), and that grey gloop begins to obliterate the professional-looking tan sidewalls.

pragmatically speaking this is really of no nevermind; that gloop infringes not one whit upon the efficacy of either the tyres or the brakes, but i think we're all agreed that it is not a good look, especially if those corsas were installed only the previous afternoon. i am, therefore, scouring the innards of thewashingmachinepost bikeshed for the small scrubbing brush i know resides within. and on saturday, when time comes to clean the chain (yet another concession to the style i deny exists), those tan sidewalls will be scrubbed within a millimetre of their graphene.

i had, originally, intended to call a halt at this point, but i now realise that that tread pattern on those corsas is not the herringbone file tread with which i am quite besotted. let's face it, who pays much, if any, attention to the tread pattern on a 28mm wide section of rubber? sadly, it turns out that i do.

will this purgatory never end?

tuesday 17 october 2023

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