book review - bikie | september 03
book review - inside the peloton | november 03

a drip in the making

it seems quite likely that those of you who read the washing machine post (and at this point i must apologise for the delay in its appearance this time round but every now and again a guy has to earn a crust), don't actually read the ileach newspaper, on or off-line. but in the current dead tree offering, margaret storrie - she of 'islay-biography of an island' fame, has written a lenghty and interesting piece about the weather and the recording of same.
so when i spoke to margaret the other week, i happened to mention that over this past year, with the exception of my weekend trip to new york (with islay pipe band), i had managed to get out on the colnago every weekend since last april (2001), she was rather miffed that this was in direct contrast to her findings that it was, at least on islay, getting wetter through the winter months.
now this says one of two things: either the rain tat we are now increasingly receiving over the winter months on islay happens midweek and therefore doesn't actually affect me, or i just don't care anymore. since we are unashamedly on the outer reaches of the west coast of scotland, it seems largely unremarkable that rain and wind plays a big factor in everyday life. granted, most of that time i am ensconced in an office somewhere, blithely staring at the macintosh gui and hoping not to get too wet on the way home, or nipping down to the co-op at lunchtime. however, come the weekend, and there are at least 52 of them per year, i can hear the colnago calling to me from the recesses of the bike shed and i am apt to respond favourably.
at one time, i wouldn't even consider taking the bike out with me on it if the prospect of rain was in the air and, based on what i have just said above, this had a marked tendency to limit the velocipedal activity of a weekend. if i was caught in rain when i was out cycling, well, that's life, but i would rarely venture should clouds promise same. as i'm sure i've mentioned before, laphroaig distillery used to run a series of advertisements many years ago giving credence to the theory that on islay, you could experience all four seasons in one day - and believe me, this factor still exists to this very day. so it was and is, eminently possible to go out in short sleeve jersey and shorts in blazing sunshine and be pelted with hailstones on approaching the westerly parts of the isle. or the southern. or the northern. anyway, you get the point.
however, it got to the stage last year that, with a family who often insisted, if not necessarily directly, that father take them off for a drive on a saturday and sunday afternoon, there was not the same amount of time during the normal cycling part of the day (from 9am to 9pm) to get the colnago out for whizz. so the obvious solution was to arise at some ungodly hour, put the cycling togs on while all else remained sound in their beds, and venture forth on almost traffic free roads. the catch was that, having reached the back door, one was often to discover that vast quantities of precipitation were smothering the ground and therefore, by implication, the errant cyclist. standing at the back door in shorts, jersey, cleated carnacs and giro helmet, it would be to admit defeat to the dog if i closed the door and went back to bed. so i would go out and frequently get soaked. but then there are loops that play football any day of the week in pouring rain and often in gale force winds. so why shouldn't i be just as crazy as them (though cycling seems so much more civilised).
consequently, i think margaret storrie could be perfectly correct in her assumptions about the weather (though part of me doesn't remember that many wet weekends) and i ust now resign myself to the joyous prospect that i really don't care any more whether it rains or not, i just want to get out on my bike. there have, of course, been one or two weekends when i should have stayed at home. the winds can be really fierce out here, and there really isn't enough of me to resist if caught in a crosswind - some weekends have been exercises in bike handling and forget the cycle training.
you should get over here and try it for yourself.

Remember, you can still read the review of 'the dancing chain' the utterly excellent book on the history of the derailleur bicycle by clicking here

any of the books reviewed on the washing machine post can probably be purchased from or

as always, if you have any comments on this nonsense, please feel free to e-mail and thanks for reading.

this column almost never appears in the dead tree version of the ileach but appears, regular as clockwork, on this website every two weeks. (ok so i lied) sometimes there are bits added in between times, but it all adds to the excitement.

on a completely unrelated topic, ie nothing to do with bicycles, every aspect of the washing machine post was created on apple macintosh ibook and imac computers, using adobe golive 5 and adobe photoshop 6.0.1. needless to say it is also best viewed on an apple macintosh computer.