cafe du cycliste charlotte softshell jacket, jeanne rain bibshorts and loulou legwarmers

cafe du cycliste

i think gravity might be at least partially responsible, though i'm willing to consider that the principle of saturation may be every bit as much to blame. it strikes me as a gap in the market, for in all the years i've been reviewing clothing from the world's major cycle clothing manufacturers, i've only come across one pair of waterproof bibtights that can be zipped over the top of my waterproof overshoes. this is a reasonably big deal, for it will not be news to any of you that either tucking tights or leg warmers inside your socks, or over the top will only end in tears.

cafe du cycliste

and wet feet.

you see, as everything becomes a lot wetter in the rain, once water has permeated your preferred legwear, gravity drags it down into your footwear or, as in the most recent outing, inside a pair of previously impermeable waterproof socks. lest you think those socks to be errant in their constitution, let me point out that the water inside was unable to get out until they were subsequently removed.

it was certainly something to discuss at length while huddling round the electric fire in debbie's, having spent the better part of an hour and a half in that horribly drizzly rain that soaks everything in sight. it was also worth having a few words about the permeability of the café du cycliste charlotte jacket that had been my companion on more then one wet bike ride. in fact, its first outing was something of a baptism by fire (so to speak), consisting as it did of the early part of storm abigail; gale force winds and torrential rain and sleet.

cafe du cycliste

i remain to be fully convinced by the latest implementation of waterproofing technology, mostly in the shape of highly flexible softshell jackets. the charlotte fits that description, and rather attractively too if you don't mind my saying, featuring as it does a large, light-grey check pattern. the softshell fabric is stretchy in every direction, offering a close fit with no flappage, a stormflap over the full-length front zip, high collar and three ample rear pockets with a zipped fourth for coffee money and the like.

as i understand it, the powers that be have realised that keeping us breathably bone-dry inside while providing waterproofing that a deep-sea diver would be proud of, combines two mutually exclusive factors. so rather than listen to status quo records all day, they have adopted a compromise that hopes to ameliorate external dampness by keeping us comfortable when wet. i do sort of understand the principle, but i'm just not sure my traditionalist attitude matches the technology.

cafe du cycliste

despite sporting a durable water repellency coating and fully taped seams, each and every expedition into the rain resulted in my getting appreciably wet both inside and out. i will grant you that i was really only aware of just how wet i was when preparing for remedial froth supping in debbie's, but i confess i had hoped to be just a tad drier inside. that said, the charlotte jacket is no different in this respect than its competitors, so it is more than possible that it's me that's out of step, wondering if this is a clever case of the emperor's new cycling jacket. there is no doubt, however, that the jacket, even when wet, maintained a level of comfort that a strictly waterproof/breathable jacket might not manage so well.

cafe du cycliste

the jeanne winter bibshorts are a whole 'nuther kettle of precipitation. though their public relations would propose that they may be at least partially impermeable to a smattering of rainwater, you and i both know this is an achievably unrealistic goal. thus, my expectations of keeping impressively dry below the waist are condierably lower than applicable to their jacket brethren. they will deflect mild quantities of road spray and a brief shower left them unsullied. persistent or torrential rain, however will find them soaked through pretty darned quickly, at which point they prove to be you very best friend.

cafe du cycliste

lined as they are with fleecy stuff, no matter the external temperature or the amount of rainwater absorbed, their excellent ride quality remains every bit as immaculate as when first removed from café du cycliste's quirky packaging. the cytech pad is comfort personified, wet or dry. the brilliance of their wide elastic bib straps has to be seen to be believed. being somewhat of a wimp, i matched the shorts with a pair of lou lou leg warmers, though sadly not the water repellent version. nonetheless, even when referencing my opening problem with gravity induced sock saturation, the shorts and leg warmers are something of a match made in cotê d'azur heaven.

cafe du cycliste

the softshell technology may better suit the racers in the family, fellows who care more for high-speed comfort devoid of flappage than for total rain protection. fortunately, for those moments when arriving at the coffee shop a tad less damp than was the case yesterday, there's always café du cycliste's regine waterproof jacket, albeit at a few pounds more. what cannot be faulted is café du cycliste's impressive build and design quality.

the charlotte jacket is available in the grey check as reviewed or a rather delectable red. sizes are xs to xxl at a price of £163. the jeanne rain shorts are available in black/blue or black/green in sizes xs to xxl at a fairly incredible cost of £116 while the loulou leg warmers can be had in either small, medium or large for the lowly price of £33.

café du cycliste

monday 16 november 2015

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shoulder to shoulder. bicycle racing in the age of anquetil. the horton collection. velopress hardback. 114pp illus. £12.99 ($16.95)

shoulder to shoulder

you've seen it happen probably just as often as i have. the team car drives up alongside one of their riders, invariably on their right, and the guy in the driving seat hands up what has become empirically known as a sticky bottle in the vague pretence of the rider needing a quick slurp of rehydration. the sticky bit comes from the length of time both retain their grip on the bottle and the fact that the driver seems inadvertantly to have increased the car's speed, taking the apparently hapless cyclist along with it.

of course, do this sort of thing too often or hang onto the bottle for too long and a commissaire will scribble the rider's name in his little black book. what is obviously needed, is some form of pretence other than the customary bottle hand-up. oiling the chain, for instance.

in case you think i've found a gap in the market, so to speak, it has already been done. in fact, as far back as 1962 in the circuit des boucles de la seine, perpetrated by the liberia-grammont team. and to make matters worse and eminently more transparent, the oil was squirted from an oil can held by the car's driver, despite a willing and able mechanic leaning out the rear passenger window.

shoulder to shoulder

what's a poor commissaire to do?

and while we're on the subject of tending to speeding bike riders, can i be the only one who wonders why a mechanic hanging out a rear window wielding a magic spanner, does so in the face of potential danger? aside from the likelihood of the poor chap's fingers being separated from the rest of his hand, it looks like a less than comfortable position to assume at high-speed. why couldn't they fit a rear door offering a lower vantage point?

yet again, i am foiled by the fact that a mercier team car sporting this very modification was used to service raymond poulidor's derailleur in the 1969 tour de france. it seems there really is nothing new under the sun.

shoulder to shoulder

of course, in order to impress you with my arcane knowledge of such velocipedinal facts, i have spent several hours in deep reverie, slowly turning the pages of velopress' shoulder to shoulder, a book subtitled bicycle racing in the age of anquetil. it features 101 black and white photographs from the famous horton collection, more than just a few picturing maitre jacques; in some of the early images from the 1950s, he looks as if he ought still to be at school. such a compact, bijou and ultimately desirable book illustrates the handing over of at least two batons. the opening image is of fausto coppi meeting jacques anquetil, while later in the book (page 105 to be precise) anquetil is seen with the next campionissimo, eddy merckx.

shoulder to shoulder is, by any other name, a coffee table book; or at least it would be if it had assumed more gargantuan proportions. happily, it is less than half the size of its larger siblings and all the more manageable and enjoyable for that. the minimal introduction places the era in some sort of world perspective...

shoulder to shoulder

"But in the same way that the Beatles could never have defined the music and mores of the '50s (the Rolling Stones are another matter), Anquetil was the essential figure to bring cycling out of the Fausto Coppi era."

there are many observations to be made, from the fact that riders had only minimal seatpost showing on determinedly larger steel frames, to the fact that team cars with bikes up top, had to be craned aboard a steamer for a transfer to corsica during the 1961 giro d'italia. a whole 'nuther era. it's a book that may feature anquetil in the title, but "This is not to say that there were no other stars, no other cycling personalities to capture our attention and affections as the new decade dawned. This book is full of them."


cordee books | velopress

sunday 15 november 2015

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hubba bubba

wheelsmith disc wheel

life used to be simply complicated, if you catch my drift. freehubs and cassettes had yet to be invented, and we referred to the cluster of sprockets on the back wheel as a block. better still, there was scarcely more than five toothed sprockets combining to create said block which, matched with a 52/42 chainset up front offered the archetypal ten speed racer. ah, the halcyon days of yore, when manoeuvring the chain from first to second gear required an acquired level of skill via a couple of levers clamped to the top of the down tube.

i figure around half of you will remember such days, though perhaps not all fondly, while the other half won't have the faintest idea of which i speak.

the one bit that wasn't any different from contemporary velocipedinal life was that of transmission wear, requiring that every now and again, the chain and block would need replacing. allegedly, the gap between carrying out such essential maintenance was greater than it is now, something that the increased number of sprockets and thinner chains would lend credence to. however, unlike the modern cassette, the block screwed onto the rear hub and was thus continually tightened under normal, day to day cycling.

wheelsmith freehub

obviously enough, this often meant a great deal of heavy-lifting when it came time to removed said cluster, especially as seems to have been the case with ageing raleigh bicycles, little or no grease had been applied to the threads prior to factory fitting. problem number two concerned the almost limitless number of differing removal tools, depending on which make of freewheel was affixed to the rear hub. attempting to hold a chain whip with one hand while applying an impressive dgeree of leverage with a three foot stilson clamped to the freewheel remover with the other was often more than just a stumbling block (if you'll pardon the pun).

then along came that freehub with slide-on sprockets, essentially alleviating several problems in one fell swoop. not least of these was curing rear axle breakage; since bearings could now be fitted at the outer edge of the freehub, no longer was there a length of unsupported axle just waiting to bend or break and ruin a perfectly good, if overloaded bicycle ride.

though shimano were more or less first to the freehub party, they may have had less of an eye on the future than their italian counterparts, for now that we've reached eleven sprockets all round, the japanese have found it necessary to elongate their freehubs by a smattering of millimetres, while campagnolo had no need to make any alteration at all, and here's where my most recent iniquity arrived.

wheelsmith rear hub

sat in the bike shed for way too long has been a pair of disc equipped wheels from derek at wheelsmith. this was an erroneous situation brought about by yours truly, having failed to notice the disc nature of the hubs prior to dispatch. in case i've not mentioned it before, i don't have any disc-equipped bicycles in the storeroom, rendering the wheels rather inert for a longer period of time than was originally intended.

however, the recent arrival of a disc-equipped cyclocross bike for review, seemed to offer the ideal opportunity to hurl myself hither and thither on the wheelsmiths and conduct an appropriate review. at which point the cunning plan was foiled once more by the number of sprockets on the bike compared to the amount the original freehub was willing to accept. a few days later, a replacement freehub arrived in the mail and at this point, modernity played its trump card.

after recalling the stresses and strains of trying to remove a recalcitrant block, taking the ten-speed freehub off the wheelsmith hub and replacing it with the eleven-speed was quite literally child's play.

despite the dying throes of abigail, the weekend has remedied the long-time, non-riding situation. irrespective of my ensuing words regarding this particular pair of wheels, i cannot recommend their maintenance properties highly enough. really i can't.


saturday 14 november 2015

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hackney gt: made in england

hackney gt made in england

the motor car fulfils more than just a single function, some of which have little or nothing to do with transport, an idea that can be illustrated with a simple comparison. if we consider such vehicles purely in the light of their transportational properties, getting from a to b will be every bit as easily accomplished by driving a fiat 500 as in a maserati ghibli zegna. the latter may offer hitherto unheard of luxury combined with speed that the majority of us would have no apparent use for, but on britain's congested inner-city roads, speed is really of no nevermind. thus, the moving of persons unidentified in either vehicle is likely to be every bit as efficient, though admittedly possibly more so in the fiat.

hackney gt made in england

the external feature pertaining to both is likely to be that of visibility on the part of an as yet unidentified third party. in short, arriving in a maserati would apply a more impressive profile to the occupants than to those emerging from a tiny fiat. thus, the motor car, and i realise i'm telling you nothing that you didn't already know, can assume the mantle of status symbol. i have a sneaking suspicion that more than just one or two are designed and built for precisely that purpose.

hackney gt made in england

this less than stunning realisation applies all across the board; there are no real exceptions. while you and i, as poverty-stricken cyclists, would strive to own the fiat 500 abarth, with a go-faster stripe down the centre in order to differentiate us from those with the standard model, similar principles apply at the porsche and bentley end of the spectrum. this situation continues into the lengthy peloton of vehicles following the real peloton. it's something of yet another point of order to note that the chief race commissionaire is often in a more luxurious model of skoda than a mere ordinary commissionaire and the better funded teams drive audis, jaguars or volvos rather than the less salubrious skoda estates (no disrespect intended) fielded by several of the others.

hackney gt made in england

however, none of this takes account of quirkiness. if you're willing to accept this theory, then the fiat 500 trounces the maserati without so much as a folded wing-mirror. and if quirkiness is to be our watchword, then the two obvious candidates would be either a citroen 2cv or the original volkswagen beetle, beloved star of herbie rides again. this is the very car in which it was necessary to slightly open the windows in order that the doors might close, such was the hermetic nature of its build.

hackney gt made in england

hackney gt, the bricks and mortar expression of cycling fanatic russ jones, has not only a shiny new website, but a metallic red volkswagen beetle with a bike rack on the roof. it's a level of quirkiness that is amply demonstrated in jones' determination to offer a full range of quality, made-in-england cycle clothing, a feature that seems very much at odds with the made-in-china labels that adorn many of his competitors' jerseys.

as russ says "At the beginning of 2015 we decided to start producing in the UK. It has been a bit of a struggle, but we now have some cracking kit that we are really proud of." as a totally impartial cycling media person, it ill behoves me to have a favourite amongst this british-made kit, but now that the gales have landed accompanied by cold, wet, rain, the notion of a soft, cosy merino bobble hat has never looked more inviting. of course, as part of a growing range, the hat is currently partnered by a short sleeve jersey and soon to be joined by jackets, baselayers, bibshorts, socks and the almost obligatory much, much, more.

hackney gt made in england

with an almost wholesale demise of home manufacturing, there's always the danger that the made-in-england tag would lead to thoughts of maserati prices. after all, wasn't it domestic production costs that drove everyone abroad in the first place? however, the nottingham made 100% merino bobble hat in either blue or red costs an admirable £28. the jerseys, continuing the theme of applied quirkiness, cost a fiver less than £100 complete with armwarmers to improve their versatility into the winter months.

it would be an inquitous request that you consider supporting the homegrown produce from a compact and bijou cycle shop in london's leaside road, were it not that the quality is manifestly equal to its claims. with british cycling still riding the crest of its wave, perhaps as a less status occupied cyclist (you are are you not?) the onus is on us to spread the love just a smidgeon further?

hackney gt | photographs by the percussively brilliant geoff waugh

friday 13 november 2015

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everybody's friend. the life and career of dave rayner 1967-1994 and his legacy to cycling. peter cossins. pavé publishing paperback. 144pp illus. £10

everybody's friend by peter cossins

in my early twenties, before the cycling bug had taken serious hold, my spare time was filled with drumming in pretty much every shape and form. that was predominantly how i made a living, of sorts, by taking every gig that came my way, no matter whether i considered the music to be my thing or not. so all-consuming was this percussive obsession that i had decided that would be my future career path, a choice that seemed to leave me no option but to move self and drumset, lock, stock and barrel to london town.

there was a modest amount of studio work on offer which i figured i could accomplish with sufficient aplomb to guarantee the offer of more. accommodation was initially likely to consist of sleeping on someone's floor or sofa but, optimist that i was/am, i reasoned that it couldn't be that difficult to quickly find a flat of my very own. the reason, however, that you have the dubious delight of reading my daily musings on the state of the cycling nation rather than the benefits of maple/mahogany drumshells, is that i chickened out.

suddenly the thought of being alone in a great big city instead of a scottish west coast town, with only a drumset and a few cymbals for company and conversation, seemed just this side of terrifying. the usual concerns of 'what if i'm not good enough?', 'what if i run out of money?' or 'is this really what i want to do?' pretty much put paid to an illustrious career as a megastar.

many would doubtless sympathise, because not all of us possess the derring do and sense of adventure exhibited by indiana jones or luke skywalker. or dave rayner.

"In early June of 1976, as Britain began to bake at the start of a summer that would lead to drought and water rationing, the Milk Race rolled into Bradford for a short stage that would start and finish in the West Yorkshire city. Among the many fans who streamed up to the start at Odsal Top were John and Barbara Rayner with their nine-year-old son David."

so begins peter cossins' excellent book entitled everybody's friend', outlining the determined, yet sadly short career of dave rayner. "Mum, I'll be in one of them one of these days." the youngster said to his mother and entirely unlike yours truly, that's precisely what he achieved. having managed to do neither, i have no idea whether being a professional musician is any harder than becoming a professional cyclist, but suffice it to say both are probably a tad more onerous than studying to be an accountant (no disrespect intended). though the modern cycling milieu, even in traditionally agnostic britain, is more accepting of the aspiring professional today, in the early 1980s, that was very much not the case.

grit and determination, allied to a probably unhealthy dose of pain and suffering.

rayner had accrued a reasonably impressive palmares in his early years as an amateur rider, including that of uk junior champion in 1984, but it was a further three years before he signed his first professional contract with the less than snappily named interent-yugo. but, as the saying goes, everyone has to start somewhere and rayner's professional career, at least in terms of international profile, probably peaked on his signing with jan raas' buckler team. as cossins reasons on the basis of comments by several of his peer group, they were surprised at his move to a team that concentrated on the one-day classics, when his build ("He was paperweight category...") would have perhaps suggested more success in an italian team that raced in the mountains.

despite the inevitably sad ending to cossins narration of the rayner story, this is an upbeat book. even his unfortunate death ("An unnecessary tragedy") only five weeks after his marriage to girlfriend, serena is rightly presented as the beginning of dave rayner's legacy to british professional cycling. the dave rayner fund. as detailed in my recent feature on the prendas ciclismo/rocket espresso rayner fund initiative, the substantial amounts of cash raised to assist aspiring british professional riders has helped britain to reach the forefront of the sport. and as pointed out by cossins, it inspired fellow professional rider brian smith, to found scotland's braveheart fund along similar lines.

'everybody's friend' underlines the esteem with which rayner was held by his fellow professionals, with contributions from smith, dave mann, jon clay, bernie burns, chris walker, keith lambert, mario cipollini (a team-mate of rayner's in the early days) and many others. for those who know only of the dave rayner fund and little of the rider whose wretched death brought about its existence, this is a marvellous and sincere tribute to a young man whose legacy has played a major part in britain's international cycling success. it would not be too great a claim, i would think, to state that we probably couldn't have done it without him.

everybody's friend by peter cossins is available direct from the dave rayner fund website at a cost of £10 (+p&p). compulsory would not be too strong a recommendation.

everybody's friend by peter cossins

thursday 12 november 2015

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this is cambridge waxed cotton cycle cap

this is cambridge waxed cotton cap

john barbour and sons began as substantially less of a luxury brand than it has subsequently become. barbour, a scotsman from galloway, founded his company in 1894 as an importer of oil cloth, based in south shields, england. his grandson duncan, apparently a keen motorcyclist bears much of the responsibility for taking the company into waxed cotton attire, when it became the originator of motorcycling jackets and suits.

through both fortuitousness and clever marketing, the barbour jacket has become synonymous with the same section of society that favours the range rover and frequenting scottish shooting estates. this image is no doubt bolstered by the company having received royal warrants from the queen, the duke of edinburgh and the prince of wales, leading almost inevitably to a me too sensibility, that finds many of lower social and financial classes dressing in similar fashion.

some of the latter, however, can also be a means of fitting in with rural society in the often mistaken belief that dressing in such a manner may foist an unspoken acceptance upon the incumbent. i know this to be true, since only a matter of months after moving to the hallowed isle, i figured the wearing of a (non barbour) waxed cotton jacket and flat cap would make me less conspicuous as i roamed the cliffs at sanaigmore in search of suitable subject matter for sketching.

this is cambridge waxed cotton cap

i can laugh about it now, but the mental picture of a long-haired cyclist pedalling past sheep filled fields clad in a dark green, heavy cotton jacket simply not cut for velocipedinal activity must surely have made me stand out even more than the simple act of cycling around a demonstrably non-cycling island in the first place.

it would, however, be foolish to ignore the benefits of cotton fabric imbued with the waterproofing and windproofing qualities of wax. in fact, so practical is such a material in regions such as the west of scotland, that i may have been ever so slightly erroneous in my castigation of the range rover set. i tell you this because i have, once again, been drawn to the benefits of the fabric, though as yet not accompanied by any form of vehicle from rover.

despite a predilection of andrew and daphne at this is cambridge for taking seemingly frequent trips to the french alps while indulging their passion for cycling, there is a connection to one of the scottish islands a tad more inboard of the west coast than my home. you may recall several months ago, i reviewed arran emblazoned cycling kit from the very same persons. the isle of arran hides on the other side of the kintyre peninsula, even having the existence of a single malt whisky distillery on its north west coast at lochranza.

this is cambridge waxed cotton cap

it's an island not quite so susceptible to the gales that ravage islay, but i'd be surprised if its annual rainfall was considerably less than our own. this would make the tic waxed cotton cap every bit as beneficial to cyclists on arran as to those of us on islay. by way of validation, i have worn the cap in the worst that an early november weekend can provide; substantial torrential rainfall and winds gusting to around 45mph. the latter resulted in my domestique and i riding up uiskentuie strand with an angle of lean to the right that would be most unseemly in polite circles.

while pretty much everything else had succumbed to a good soaking on reaching the coffee house, including, unfortunately, the spare gloves stashed in a rear pocket for the journey home. happily, while we huddled about the faux coal effect electric fire in the corner, the top of my head had been saved the ignominy of inheriting the wet look that coloured the rest of my demeanour. to add to its hefty degree of pragmatism, the cap features one of those peaks that can be angled downwards to cover the top of the nose when skulking in a café corner, lingering over a cappuccino and a piece of carrot cake.

i'm sure you know precisely of which i speak.

this is cambridge waxed cotton cap is available in sizes ranging from xs to xl and in blue green or red at a cost of £30. if you own a range rover, or want folks to think you might, go for the green.

this is cambridge waxed cotton commuter cap

wednesday 11 november 2015

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bicycling emoji keyboard

bicycling emoji keyboard

there's a theory of human behaviour that posits all our external activities are simply convoluted means of communication. though more obvious methods involve the use of signs, pictograms and the more usual verbal means, everything else we undertake is apparently sign of an endless striving to make ourselves heard midst everyone else's similar attempts. though i may well be guilty of reading more into this than is there in the first place, that might explain some of the controversy once in evidence over coffee in debbie's.

for those who have visited the above emporium, our frequenting of the establishment is evidenced by copious numbers of framed posters, jerseys and banners all relating to the practice of cycling. though the reason for covering a couple of walls in this manner was done in all innocence, a few of our fellow coffee drinkers and toastie munchers took slight exception on the basis that their own favoured activity was that of golf.

yes, we all laughed too, and that may have been the start of the minor conflict. if you dig through the pile of cycling magazines sitting at the end of the coffee bar, you might well come across an aging copy of golf monthly or some such. this was placed there not so much in the fervent hope that an itinerant visitor would find it of eminent interest during froth supping, but more by way of revenge.

bicycling emoji keyboard

a not so colloquial means of extending the range of human communication.

despite almost wall to wall smartphones now infiltrating the modern world of social media, few of them seem to be principally employed as verbal communication devices. i can't be the only one to have noted sony's recent tv advert where their phone's communication features were totally excluded in favour of its photographic abilities. both my kids own apple iphones, on which the applicable contracts offer an infinite number of texts per month in partnership with endless minutes of talk-time. at the end of each month, there are almost the same number of talk-time minutes unused as stated on the contract.

nobody speaks to each other any more. everything is done by means of facebook, twitter and instant messaging.

e-mail was once my principal means of digital communication, but successful use of that depends entirely on the folks at the other end doing likewise. sadly, for me at least, e-mail has morphed to imessage, a means of communication that i am reluctantly having to adopt where time is of the essence (bear in mind that i am still one of only two people in the world without possession of a smartphone.)

bicycling emoji keyboard

but for many, even the act of typing often incorrectly spelt words is more effort or thought than most are willing to expend. in the case of the avid velocipedinist, animator and illustrator richard mitchelson in partnership with bicycling magazine has come to our aid with the free-to-download emoji keyboard. this addition to the world of messaging features a host of cycling specific emoji which can be typed into the semblance of an informative phrase, then copied into the body of a message. i have even succeeded in copying the necessary characters and pasting them into an e-mail. pointless? maybe, but just ginger peachy by me.

at the risk of stating the geographically obvious, trail-runner and tea drinker, rich mitch lives near london village, whereas bicycling magazine resides in emmaus, pennsylvania, usa. who asked who?

"I was approached by Bill Strickland (Bicycling Editor). He mailed me about a year ago and then we had a chat on the phone about the whole thing and his plans. I'd created a one off print for Bill in the past, and he felt this project was the perfect match between me, my style of work and Bicycling magazine."

at least at this point, the lines of communication used the spoken and written word, where the concept of emoji is that they consist of a series of small pictograms that can embody an idea or principle either singly or in tandem (see what i did there?) with others. that cycling constitutes an expression of communicative drive can be demonstrated by an ultimate agreement between two individuals on differing continents over what constituted the ideal set of symbols. but presumably, richard 'simply' drew the graphics and the guys at bicycling took care of the functionality?

bicycling emoji keyboard

"I worked on the emoji and designed them with feedback from Bill and Jesse at Bicycling. The aim was to try and get as much as we could from a story point of view out of each small drawing. The size of them and how they appear on the phone meant we had to strip back the look quite a few times so you could see at a glance the story you wanted to tell. The functionality was then taken care of by the guys at Bicycling, and when I first saw it on my own phone a few months ago it was pretty exciting."

perhaps one of the most exciting, yet infuriating situations that a designer/illustrator can find themselves in is by way of a client who asks for a new logo (for example), yet who has little or no idea of what they are actually asking for. and then to discover that they don't know what they want until they view just what they don't want. it's a scenario that must be played out every day of life, one that can lead to the sort of communication often bleeped out on television shows. in this case, was richard provided with a brief, or was he given free reign?

"The emoji and which ones we wanted, was a collaboration between the three of us. The initial list came from Bill and then we tweaked certain ideas and brought in new ones. There were tricky moments where some of them didn't make it because it was difficult to get across the idea or word on such a small scale; wheel-sucking for example, but we found you could combine the ones we already had, to tell that part of the story in a clearer way. So it worked out really well in the end."

bicycling emoji keyboard

in my own meanderings with the bicycling emoji keyboard, i found myriad ways to combine the emoji conveying the very messages i was trying to get across. granted, a great deal depends on the recipient being not only au fait with the mechanics of the sunday ride, but with sufficient perspicacity to fathom what the heck i was on about in the first place. this led to more than just a few moments of laugh-out-loud humour on discovering the errant deciphering that had occurred at the other end.

however, given the overstated common interest, it took only a few return messages to establish a code of conduct and conversation. were richard and bill thinking in terms of cogent messages that could be sent via the app, or are they 'random' cycling-related icons?

They weren't random; the plan was to think of the most prominent cycling ideas, words or notions and get them down, so people could combine them in the story of their ride that day. I think when you look at them one at a time they can look a bit random, but as soon as you start to tell the story and think about your ride they come together really nicely and it's fun!"

in order that richard and bill's ministrations on our behalf are not seen to have been in vain, click the link below to download the app, or simply search for bicycling emoji keyboard. extending the cycling conversation one pictogram at a time.

bicycling magazine emoji keyboard app | rich mitch

bicycling emoji keyboard

tuesday 10 november 2015

twmp ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................