just a brief burst of info before the next 'proper' post. grab yourself a copy of the current issue of singletrack magazine (issue 19) which has five pages about a singletrack visit to islay when the weather was so bad, they never even made it offroad (or very many other places either). really good article and great plug for islay.
before the next issue of the post appears, a redesign should appear, since i am now in favour of adhering to web standards and this site currently doesn't. and frames are so old hat these days. already partly done so should manage an update within two weeks. this means that the archive may temporarily disappear but the idea is to collect them altogether in a downloadable pdf format, meaning you can print them all out and help get to sleep at night.


101 bike routes in scotland - harry henniker mainstream publishing £12.99

101 bike routes in scotland

let's get the not so good stuff out the way first. the best way to have bound this book to make it useful for cyclists would have been spiral bound, then it could be opened out flat on a handlebar bag, or a handy roadside rock while you figure out why you're not where you thought you were. and a slightly larger format would have been more helpful, since the maps are a mite on the small side, especially if you fancied looking at them while pedalling in the rain (or bright islay sunshine, come to that).
probably the ideal way to use this book would be to buy a copy, figure out the rides that appeal, then buy the necessary ordnance landranger maps and scribble the necessary information on the maps, since the map detail ain't great from the point of view of navigation. unfortunately, there is no included gps information, particularly since gps devices are a practical reality on the handlebars these days. nor is there any map reference details enabling the geographically challenged (such as myself) to figure out where some of the routes are.
not really being one of life's intrepid explorers, i haven't cycled round very many of the routes depicted in this book, so the only ones i can realistically comment on are the two referring to islay and jura. the inclusion of these two routes is a pleasant surprise, since sustrans refused to answer my query as to why the western islands were apparently not worthy of being included in their plans for world domination, and when a recent publication 'cycle routes in argyll and bute' missed out islay and jura completely, i was unable to ascetain as to why this was so. argyll and bute doubtless has miles and miles of exciting cycling, but quite how missing out two of the largest islands in the district could be justified is beyond anyone's logic.
anyway, this book includes a circular route round the rhinns of islay, taking in bridgend, gruinart, kilchoman, kilchiaran, portnahaven et al which is quite probably the best part of the island in which to pedal. however, i'm mystified as to what type of bicycle mr henniker advises, since he has included the very narrow and grassy track at granny's rock, kilchiaran, approached along a rather steep and rocky road from the farm.
long time ago, i did this with some folks from a mountain bike magazine and it needed suspension forks and a good deal of grunt to get up the gravelly bit, and nerve to thump down the squidgy bit at the other side. i wouldn't fancy attempting this on the colnago (in fact, i wouldn't dare) and i wouldn't do it on a loaded tourer. still each to their own.
the jura pedal is a bit pointless in a way: not only is there an accompanying map, but descriptiveness, which may seem not unusual 'cept there is actually only one road on jura and it goes from one end to the other. tempered by the fact that the last eight miles are unpaved and take the chappie who lives up there almost one hour in a land rover. again. one wonders what kind of bike harry henniker had in mind.
so, i hear you ask, what about the good bits. well, the man has obviously done his research into the routes and must have cycled a fair mile in the compilation of same. but i can't help feeling that it could have been so much more.
those of us used to the pull out sections in the monthlies using coloured maps based on ordnance survey complete with grid references will find this a bit underwhelming. it's a nice book to have on a wet windy day in front of the fire, but not of too much use out on the bike. best bit is actually the black and white photo on the back cover of harry and his brother david aged five and three.
apparently this edition is fully revised in 2004 from the original publication in 1996, so the info should be pretty much up to date.
a bit disappointing really.

by the way, i've already had promises of photos for the velo club d'ardbeg web page, so just a reminder: if you've bought an ardbeg cycle jersey, get a photo of yourself wearing it along with your favourite bike, and we'll put them up on a vcd'a page on the post, before we start hassling the good folks at ardbeg to incorporate similar onto their own website. and remember, the official tea stop and club hut is at the old kiln cafe at ardbeg distillery. wear your jersey anytime you visit.

rss stands for really simple syndication. what it means is that, when i update the post, i set up a brief description of what i've written, and using a newsfeed reader (on the mac, newsfan is a good one) you can be alerted when a new post is on the server complete with a link to take you there. if you're on the darkside (windows) try using newsgator

set your newsreaders to check and every time you scan the rss feeds, it'll tell you if there's anything new.

if you missed the ardbeg cycle jerseys, click here for a look see.

i had an e-mail from john houston of falkirk bicycle club whom i met a few years back cycling (he was) on a whisky/cycle trip to the island. since john has been gracious enough to link to the post, i am reciprocating.

this website got its name because scotland's graeme obree built his championship winning 'old faithful' using bits from a defunct washing machine.

on a slightly different note, my regular reader will have noted the addition of a 'colnago c40' rollover to the left. this contains a reprint of a recent article featured in cycle sport magazine, which they were very kind to let me present here (because i'm a colnago geek) there are also links to cycling weekly reviews of the colnago c50 and colnago dream b-stay. i have also found an excellent review of the colnago c40hp here

i have been asked to add the following link to the post by wheelygoodcause. they're a cycling club dedicated to arranging epic rides for charity and do not charge charities for the pleasure. They ride because they want to. here's the link.

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 powerbook g4, and imac computers, using adobe golive cs and adobe photoshop cs. needless to say it is also best viewed on an apple macintosh computer.

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