short stories

kneewarmers and shorts

for those of us who live in the uk, 2am on sunday morning marked the end of greenwich mean time and the start of what is euphemistically referred to as british summer time. it's the night when the clocks are put forward one hour, losing sixty minutes of sleep and making the sunday morning ride a smidgeon more lethargic than usual. however, when checking my facts a few days past, just to make sure that it was this particular weekend, on typing british summer time into google, i was appraised of what seemed like a far closer approximation of that definition.

"british summer time will begin on friday 6 july and ends on saturday 14 july." i'm sure many of my fellow residents would agree.

however, this eight-day period turned out to be that of a music festival, taking place in london's hyde park between those dates. should this have piqued your interest, artists including bruno mars, the cure, roger waters and eric clapton will all be making appearances, though i believe tickets for the second in line have apparently already sold out. not bad, one would imagine, for a band that originated in 1976.

but on realising the error of my ways (or of google's), 'twas but a matter of seconds to find out the correct answer to my search. and purely coincidentally, the advent of proper british summer time brought us blue skies, little in the way of cloud cover and a sun that could be viewed for more than a few micro seconds at a time. it also coincided with my having received two pairs of bibshorts for review, both of which were sensibly accompanied by long-sleeve jerseys.

psychologically, but a few weeks after the 'beast from the east' dumped snow over the home counties, brought pretty much everything to a standstill and mysteriously left our local averagemarket bereft of potato crisps for just over a week, the last week in march is not one i would readily associated with the wearing of bibshorts. should evidence be required, you need only take a quick peek at the bibtights drawer, one which remains open even now, ready to protect those spindly legs/chris hoy thighs (delete as applicable) from the less than equitable hebridean climate.

however, at least partially to fend off taunts of rule#5 from the great unwashed, and lest you think me a total wimp, augmented by a pressing need to review the aforementioned bibshorts, the bibtights remained ensconced in their open drawer. in case this makes me seem brash and wanton, let me advise that those sculpted calves were not left al fresco. not for nothing is there a ready pair of kneewarmers atop the wardrobe.

so, despite any misgivings i may have harboured, the psychological barrier has been breached, several weeks ahead of time. i will not, however, be getting in front of myself and indulging in needless complacency. a look at the forecast for the coming week does not advise of any welcome increase in the ambient temperatures, though it does appear, if the numbers are to be believed, that there is scarce need for concern over any unwelcome windchill. the next big step for mankind will be the adoption of the short-sleeve jersey, but i fear those days are still some kilometres over the horizon.

but you just never know.

monday 26 march 2018

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the bike tailor

bike tailor at prestige cycles

as if there wasn't enough of a choice when it comes to purchasing the new bicycle du jour, i received a communication earlier this week from yet another new kid on the block, intent on making their mark on the world's peloton, promising marked difference from the existing competition. i do not offer the latter by way of a snide scoff at their optimism; they might well be right. but nowadays, it's arguably even harder to make that final choice when there's so many options from which to choose.

let's face it, modern componentry, when correctly setup, is darned near faultless. the only reasons i can think of to aim higher, rather than lower, would be less weight (if that's your jam) and usually, better quality and thus greater longevity. succinctly put, everything performs the same when new, but the more expensive stuff ought to continue to do so for longer. so if we assume that there's a budget for this sort of thing (and though your mileage may vary, i think that to be pretty much a truism), your frame/bicycle choices lie between brand identity, colour, aesthetics and presumed or verified performance.

though most of the big boys are into the sponsorship game to a greater or lesser extent, with one or two exceptions, they rarely capitalise on victories offered by their riders. who can forget voeckler's days in yellow aboard a custom painted colnago, yet the only ad featuring both was promoted by the tyre supplier? but as quickstep manager, patrick lefevre has been quoted as saying, "i don't pay my riders to be comfortable.", a statement worth bearing in mind if opting for the top of the range bicycle from almost any manufacturer. never forget that professional, world tour riders place far greater strains on their bicycles than we can ever imagine; or, indeed, equal.

but, assuming you've made your choice, have the money in the bank and a convenient space arranged in the bike shed, there's the not inconsiderable problem of getting the size right. manufacturers such as colnago, offer a wide-range of frame sizes in 2cm increments. they are also one of the few to offer both sloping and traditional in the same frame model. trek won't let the shop send out a bicycle until the prospective owner has been sized, but the really big problem is figuring out the variations, for not everyone measures in the same way.

bike tailor at prestige cycles

several years ago i made the suggestion that all manufacturers ought best to measure from the centre of the bottom bracket to the top of the seat tube. this was on the logical basis that such a measurement would offer the minimum height to which the saddle could be set. the maximum height would be conditional on the length of the seatpost and how flexible you might be in leaning over towards the bars. unfortunately, as with most of the stuff about which i write, this suggestion seems to have fallen on deaf ears, leaving us right back where we started.

but there is another way.

along with many others, brighton's prestige cycles offer a bike fitting service which they have named 'bike tailor', one that differs from the competition by offering to come to you, in case your busy schedule prevents you getting to them. in an ideal world, you'd get a bike fit before buying the bike; armed with a sheaf of accurate paper work, it ought surely to be simplicity itself to acquire a bicycle of appropriate dimensions. but, mostly to play devil's advocate, i asked owner and bike-fitter, stephen roche (no, not that steven roche), is there any point in the average member of the pelotonese subjecting themselves to a bike-fit in the first place?

"Regardless of the quality of components available, or quality bicycles, we are all built differently, and the full body-fit with riding position, is something that should be available for everyone. (In my opinion) it is something that simply isn't available on a wide enough scale."

so, if i can assume that we're all amenable to having the length of our arms, inside leg and shoe size accounted for in the quest for the ultimate bicycle, it's presumably then down to checking that busy social diary to find a suitable time to succumb to the measuring tape. but at the risk of over-egging the geographical pudding, might i point out that i live quite some considerable distance from stanmer park in brighton. yet the bike tailor service quite clearly states that "We offer a complete bike tailoring service in the comfort of your own home, office or at the Assos Concept store in the heart of London's West End." so would that include a quick excursion to the hebrides?

"There really are no geographical limits; we have fitted clients with bikes in London as well as all over the UK and central Europe. We work within the requirements of each client and work out an affordable option that suits the budget available. We fit peoples' current bikes, supply components if required and build full, new bikes. It's a service for everyone."

bike tailor at prestige cycles

there is, however, no doubt that whatever you've budgeted for your bike purchase, a bike-fit is either going to be added on top, or subtracted from the top line; often a hard decision to make. and, rightly or wrongly, it's a decision in which many elect not to involve themselves at all, often on the basis of being highly suspect of the ultimate value of a professional bike-fit. are there still sufficient potential customers who can see past the manufacturer specified, complete bicycle? those who prefer to fit the bike to themselves rather than vice versa?

"In our experience, a large percentage of keen cyclists understand the benefits of a bike fit, and can see beyond 'complete bikes'. So the customer base is plentiful. The number of road cyclists who want the bespoke service to fit around their current lifestyle is also growing year on year."

however, as i mentioned above, bike tailor is hardly the only show in town. personally, i've already subjected my honed physique to two separate bike fits over the years and i know of many others, many of whom claim to offer the finest of services. aside from the bespoke visitation service, what does stephen figure sets bike tailor apart from the competition?

"We work to the needs of the customer. Nobody else offers that service. We have hand-delivered bikes to central London offices at 6am, flown to Zurich and fitted up ironman racers and travelled to cottages in the Cotswolds to fit cyclists on their bikes before a cycling weekend."

at one time, having a handbuilt custom bicycle necessitated around half an hour with a measuring tape. in many circumstances, that's still the case today. but, in common with pretty much every nook and cranny of the velocipedinal life, technology has intervened. and similar to that of frame construction and component design, it's an intervention that refuses to stand still. what constitutes the current state-of-the-art with regard to bike-fitting?

"The state of the art technologies we use are from VelogicFIT & Saddle Pressure. VelogicFit is a full-body, 3D motion mapping technology. The system provides simultaneous evaluation of key body angles, lateral joint motion and knee path down to the last degree and millimetre. For Saddle Pressure Tech, saddle covers with pressure sensors for pressure detection during pedaling. This consists of 58 resistive sensors, all extremely flexible without risk of breaks, Bluetooth connectivity to smartphones or iOS and Android tablets and magnetic connection between the saddle and the transmitter unit."

bike tailor at prestige cycles

on sunday mornings, as we congregate outside debbie's in bruichladdich, aside from the sportwool, lycra, carbon and helmetage, there is little else to connect us as brothers (or sisters) in arms. to an extent, that's probably a mark of many different sports and activities, but in our case, a quick survey of the bicycles in the cycle rack will reveal a substantial difference in purchase price. so if there's little or no standard to be seen in this particular amateur peloton, is there a strata of cyclist that personifies a bike tailor customer? what is it they figure a bike-fit might do to improve their cycling?

"Anyone who is keen about their cycling. But there's not a 'typical customer' for The Bike Tailor. We bike-fit for club riders, category racers, ironman racers as well as businessmen and women who want their weekend bikes to be perfect for them."

so far, so good. the arguments for getting a professional bike fit, particularly one that's willing to travel to your front door, seem quite convincing. after all, assuming you've saved every last penny for the bicycle of your dreams, it would seem somewhat naive, not to say a tad silly, to risk that bicycle providing a new set of aches and pains that weren't engendered by its predecessor. scarcely a week goes by that the classified ads at the back of 'the comic' don't contain a cycle that's being sold due to the owner having bought the wrong size. pride bears no pain might be acceptable when related to a pair of shoes or a replica team jersey, but a bicycle...?

that doesn't however, take into consideration the financial wherewithal to make it all happen, if we exclude the necessary additional fee incurred if asking stephen to pop round after breakfast, is there such a thing as an average price for the bike tailor service?

"The bike-fit service starts from £250 and can go up to thousands, depending on what it is the customer is purchasing. As you can imagine a fully spec'd up dream machine can go north of £10k quite easily. But the important thing to realise, is that we offer a service that's affordable for all budgets. £250 £300 for your road/tri/mtb bike to be fully-fitted and your body, riding position, bike set-up to be 3D mapped, represents excellent value, all worked around your schedule."

start saving.

bike tailor at prestige cycles

sunday 25 march 2018

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booking dot yeah

bikecation cycling holidays

easter is but a matter of days distant, a fact that, were we previously unaware of it, was brought forcefully into focus on learning that, once again, islay will field only a single ferry on good friday. those of you who are bored to death with the woes of an islander would probably be well-advised to pop out for a 50 kilometre bike ride and join us again when you're back.

bikecation cycling holidays

as could probably be surmised, the easter holidays sees an annual influx of visitors to the hebrides, visitors keen to sample islay's principal export, after being shown around the premises. some folks are maybe keen to indulge in a weekend of headwind slogging, but i tend to think they're in the minority. however, getting all those folks there and back, across that intervening stretch of water requires some heavy lifting, supposedly undertaken by two ferries. yet every year, almost without fail, and despite promises from calmac, one of our two ferries is apparently needed elsewhere, either due to a breakdown (this year's excuse), or because another boat is late out of dry-dock after the annual refit.

bikecation cycling holidays

the ferry company is currently trumpeting that it has managed to re-book all those originally scheduled to sail on the missing boat, but it means that currently, there is no spare capacity one week from easter, either for visitors or locals alike.

in an ideal world, all those with intentions to travel in either direction would have made the requisite bookings well in advance, but honestly, how many of us are guilty of procrastination, leaving everything until the last minute? the weather forecast for the coming week threatens a lowering of temperatures once again, even indicating the odd flurry of snow this far west. easter should, all being equal, bring warmer temperatures to the principality, but in case those fail to materialise, one or two of you might figure on booking a brief cycling holiday abroad, offering the opportunity to commence work not only on early-season fitness but maybe those all-important tan lines.

bikecation cycling holidays

thing is, how to find some last-minute breaks?

thankfully, for the intrepid velocipedinist, intent on ignoring both rules five and nine, bikecation have got our act together for us. rather than spend fruitless hours or even days attempting to book self, bike and luggage onto a late flight, fervently hoping that the hotel at the other end is as cycle-friendly as you hope it will be, the folks at bikecation have researched all the flights and all the hotels to make sure you're not met with a stern "not in my hotel, you're not" when you arrive off the plane carrying state of the art carbon fibre. the recently re-vamped website offers the intending traveller the ability to add bikes and/or sports equipment at will.

at the time of scribbling all this, it may still have been possible to go riding in lloret de mar, mallorca or lake garda for possibly less than you or you bank manager might think. and that's only a brief selection. if your interest has been piqued and an easter at home with the in-laws looks like becoming bike-less purgatory, i have conveniently posted the necessary link below.

all i ask is that you send a postcard.


saturday 24 march 2018

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not a cycling photographer's cycling kit

velobici/scott mitchell modernist kit

i count myself among those who have predicted that it will not be long before the cycling world is introduced to a 'televised' zwift - based cycling event, with a peloton comprising riders all across the globe. by implication, the televising of such a race will more closely equate to hanna-barbera's wacky races, probably both visually and strategically. along with others, should such a derivation come to pass, i would consider it to be the end of the world as we know it, negating any need for top of the range bicycles to feature any form of nano-fibres or lightness of weight. the world's wind tunnels will need to search elsewhere for additional custom.

velobici/scott mitchell modernist kit

currently, cycle racing is one of the world's greatest visual sports, featuring as it does, grand international backdrops and scenery to die for. given the current state of the computer rendering art, i don't doubt that many of these accoutrements can be easily and realistically reproduced in software, but, to be quite honest, that's hardly the same thing as clicking through an online photo gallery. nor does it even come close to perusing images, lovingly printed on art quality paper, cloth bound in coffee-table format.

i have said often that cycling fans worldwide should count themselves as amongst the graciously favoured, based solely on both the numbers of expert photographers following the peloton and the inestimable quality of their portfolios. you need only subscribe to any of the cycling monthlies to check the veracity of that statement. i think it also says much for the attraction of the imagery engendered by the pelotonese, that more than just a few of those behind the long-lenses, or sat on the back seat of a motorbike would, at one time, not have described themselves as cycling photographers. and one of those number, who told me as much only a few years past, is edinburgh-based and currently team photographer for team dimension data, scott mitchell.

velobici/scott mitchell modernist kit

scott's initiation into the professional velocipedinal world came via his friendship with bradley wiggins, having collaborated with the former team sky rider on a diary/photography book entitled on tour, published by orion books in 2010. utlimately, he became the official team sky photographer, posting a whole series of superb online race galleries on the team's website. up to a point, scott's claim not to be a cycling photographer was a genuine one; there was little doubt that his observations of the day to day activities of a professional cycling team were a tad different from those who set out to make cycling imagery a career choice.

but eight years later, entrenched with cav and his buddies at dimension data, there's more than just a faint chance that scott is now officially, a cycling photographer. and if there is need of settling the argument, it actually says so on the poster. for, market bosworth- based quality cycle clothing purveyors, velobici, yesterday launched their modernist collection, a collaboration between themselves and the very scott mitchell we've just been talking about. does this mean scott has succumbed to the inevitable?

velobici/scott mitchell modernist kit

"Ha. I didn't write the poster, but yeah I suppose I kinda am. I think a good photographer should be able to shoot most things, but it's good to have your own style. I still shoot bands etc., which I love."

so, it seems that scott is hardly likely to go in a huff, if i describe him as such next time we meet. but in view of this latest collaboration, it seems that acceding to the obvious has more than its share of fringe benefits. velobici founder and owner, chris puttnam, started the clothing company with made-in-england knitwear for those off the bike velocipedinal moments, augmented by the hidden advantage that this knitwear also performed rather well on the bike. this made in england philosophy, endemic to velobici, has served the company well and it's therefore probably no surprise that quality kit espousing the more than british values of the mod(ernist) movement seemed an ideal (and arguably overdue) addition to the velobici range.

velobici/scott mitchell modernist kit

the twist in the tale would surely be that, rather than form an alliance with a mod-leaning rider such as romain bardet, chris chose a photographer who says he's not a cycling photographer. so who asked who?

"Ive had a long friendship with Chris, who's always sending me new products to try and me offering feedback. Generally I'm into how it fits and looks; the performance side I leave to him.
"It was Chris who asked if I was up for designing a kit, something that totally wasn't on my radar, but I really became fascinated with the process."

i can readily attest to mr mitchell's sartorial nous, particularly when set against my own designer scruff. i make no secret of the fact that while he was adopting the way of the lambretta, i was more aligned to the hippy end of the social spectrum. thankfully, no-one has so far asked if i'd like to collaborate on a sportwool khaftan. but scott's true mètier is undoubtedly that of image maker, despite the avowed brilliance of the velobici modernist kit. (i feel confident in making this assertion based on the fact that the initial shipment of jersey and bibshorts has sold out.) apart from the above components, the collection also sports premgrip socks and a hand-made cotton cap, officially launched yesterday (thursday 22 march).

velobici/scott mitchell modernist kit

however, even successful careers allow for minor or major diversions now and again. with that in mind, does scott think he'd like to delve further into this clothing lark? or is he happier behind the lens?

"I'm really proud of this collaboration and yes I'd like to do some more stuff. We're already talking about a jacket, but I really like the idea of a lace-up pair of cycling shoes. Not like my Giro Empires; maybe a bit more retro. More a case of style over practicality, as per usual."

if you need the ideal kit in which to listen to the jam, the who or paul weller, form an orderly queue before 9 april.

velobici modernist collection

friday 23 march 2018

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the great indoors

cycleops turbo trainers

i have never been a great one for joining clubs of any shape or colour. a bit like the kid who doesn't like dogs because they were bitten by one when small, my first membership scared me enough to apparently put me off for life. when the summer holidays used to last almost forever, but every day featured blazing sunshine, my friends and i used to play tennis on the local courts, inspired muchly by the robinson's barley water on offer at wimbledon. that, and the strawberries and cream.

since we intended to be there at 9am every morning and stay until mum and dad came looking, it transpired that the weekly pocket-money could be stretched further by joining the tennis club as junior members. aside from a membership card and access to the clubhouse, tennis courts could be booked and hired for a substantial reduction over the regular price, leaving more money for barley water and the occasional strawberry from malcolm campbell's grocer's shop in main street. surely it couldn't get any better than that?

actually, it turned out that things could get a good deal worse, a situation that advertised itself rather blatantly by a typewritten sheet pinned to the clubhouse noticeboard. only a matter of days after joining the tennis club, it appeared i had been drawn against a much older member in the first round of the annual junior club tournament. nobody had bothered to tell me that was a condition of membership. my friends and i could barely play tennis; most of the time we were just hitting the ball back and forward across the net, spending more time running to retrieve it from the corners, than indulging in anything resembling a tennis match.

out of sheer fright, i immediately scratched from the tournament, rather than face the slings and arrows of embarrassing discontent. though there have since been clubs that either i should have or could have joined, my wallet has been mercifully free of membership cards. just the way i like it. because clubs also have rules and the latent rebel in me doesn't really like rules.

the lax rules pertaining to g.c. ristorante debbie's are only two in number: 1) there are no rules, and 2) see rule 1. yet cycling does have a greater range of unofficially abiding rules, if velominati are to be believed; we're particularly keen on rules five and nine. if you're unfamiliar with either, might i suggest you click the link at the foot of this article. rule#5 is the ideal answer to almost any velocipedinal situation, but rule#9 ("If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.") is one over which we have very little control, but almost religious adherence. and with a phalanx of state-of-the-art waterproofs in the cycle wardrobe, there really is no reason not to cover ourselves in glory in front of less than interested friends and relatives.

disappointingly, if recent trends are anything to go by, there are a substantial number of cyclists who are probably needing to attend a cycling symposium, in order that the error of their ways might be forcefully explained. cycling distributor, paligap have taken advantage of 'significant growth in indoor trainer use' to promote the opportunity for independent bike shops to become cycle-ops smart training demo centres. cycle-ops have cited the success of zwift as one reason behind the trend for year-round increase in indoor cycling.

"harden the f*** up." outside is free.

velominati's rules of cycling

thursday 22 march 2018

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the train line

turbo training

as i may have indicated, a few weeks past, i was invited to address a group of second year pupils regarding a forthcoming cycling trip they are due to undertake at the beginning of may this year. though i'm sure i could probably bore for scotland on the subject of correct gear selection, while subtly introducing the concept of retaining a less than acute angle on the chain, it's possible that i may also have considered bringing to their collective attention, correct braking procedures and the ideal means of swiftly climbing steep hills.

but i didn't.

it's hard enough to interest the playstation generation in cycling in the first place, without harming one's case by bringing it all down to the level of utter boredom, so i introduced a soupcon of humour into the equation. the punchline of my opening gambit rested largely on the less than svelte athleticism of one of the teachers who will be accompanying them on the trip. having to hand a sheaf of papers that, in truth, were destined for another teacher in another department, i explained that they constituted a comprehensive training plan for the upcoming easter holidays that would hopefully gain them the fitness they'd need to push the aforesaid teacher up that whacking great incline, one that features large in the ride's opening salvo.

this was, of course, utter nonsense, but it did elicit more than just a few smiles, not least from the teacher in question.

realistically, a training plan might not have been a bad idea. having met, at the weekend, one of the schoolkids undertaking the bike ride, she was less than embarrassed to admit that even since my talk, she has yet to turn a pedal on her full-suspension bicycle shaped object. though the girl in question seems to participate in more sports activities than i realised were on offer at the school, i think the lack of cycling is going to come back to bite her on a 14% climb not that far from this very website. in which case, adding a smidgeon of structure to cycling playtime might not be such a bad idea.

but is that also a state of affairs applicable to the rest of us?

i'm sure that more than a fair proportion of you indulge in some sort of cycle training, even if you'd prefer not to refer to it as such. strava's regular weekly/monthly challenges seem to be sufficient for many, but to be perfectly blunt, those merely exist on the fringes of the world we'd call training. the acquisition of a specified number of kilometres, with no imposition made on the regularity of speed or distance, could simply be defined as cycling. training, as a concept, implies the notion of improvement over a given period of time, by means of specific exercises and routines designed to act upon any perceived weaknesses in our velocipedinal armoury.

as evidenced by my recent feature on jimmy mccallum's what's your meta training facility in edinburgh, there are enough of us convinced of our apparent failings, to seek some form of structured help, often solely in order to dominate the sunday morning sprint, rather than a career length desire to be west of scotland veteran champion. that, however, perhaps says more about me rather than you.

you will be relieved to learn that i am not about to embark upon a twenty-seven part training series, purely on the basis that i'd scarcely know where to start. if that's your meta, as jimmy would probably say, you'll have to look elsewhere. much as i perceive my teetotalness and vegetarian status to be both personal decisions, not necessarily applicable to anyone else, similarly, my reluctance to indulge in anything that might look like training is also a singular decision. i do have a tacit agreement with rapha's simon mottram that neither of us will accede to training, but given that he has pictorially demonstrated ownership of a zwift subscription, i think that agreement may now be null and void.

which is just as well, because he's already a lot faster than am i.

oddly and contradictorily enough, i feel no remorse at all in spending many a happy hour improving my percussive technique and sight-reading abilities, even to the extent of taking time out of the day to day, so to do. in mitigation, the latter may be as a result of an inherent desire to benefit others. the drummers amongst us well know that pursuing a career as a solo percussionist is unlikely to be either lucrative or popular. in the process of musically accompanying others, being able to read and play one's designated part, can only be seen as a popular move.

a bike ride, on the other hand, can be easily undertaken as a solo venture, at whatever speed you so desire and without any numerical device attached to the bars. provided you have the fitness to at least remain the sunday ride's tail end charlie without the peloton having to call out the coastguard, life can continue with a minimum of embarrassment in polite company. however, if you have mischief in mind, having a few extra watts surreptitiously stored in the bank, might be just the ticket.

perhaps training might have its uses after all.

wednesday 21 march 2018

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everyone's a winner (baby)

milan-sanremo 2018

other than moaning about the imposition of commentators and pundits on a sport that seemed to be managing just fine on its own not so very many years ago, thewashingmachinepost tends to maintain a respectable distance from the world of professional cycling. there have been moments of note throughout the last twenty-two years (yes, it has been that long), one or two which may even have reached the status of memorable (if only i could remember any of them), but of late, i've found the the various intrigues well outside my sphere of influence and better left to those who know more about that of which they write. for this, you should probably be eternally grateful.

milan-sanremo 2018

however, if i might repeat a quote from philippa york "never forget, it's all entertainment", one that resurfaces every so often, just to remind me as to the nature of a sport which many of us hold (or used to hold) in high esteem. the very fact that a surprising majority of contemporary races are shown live on television, really ought to head off at the pass, any notion that cycle racing is other than entertainment. admittedly it's a form of entertainment that engenders remarkably expensive carbon bicycles that none of us mere mortals really need or, in a majority of cases, could ever afford.

milan-sanremo 2018

(the current issue of cycling weekly trumpets the fact that they have been loaned a colnago c64 with campagnolo bora carbon wheels and super-record eps, featuring an eye-watering price tag well in excess of £10,000.)

there are, of course, two points of view to this assertion, depending on whether you a) ride for a world tour team b) manage same c) sponsor same, or are simply a civilian watching from the roadside/television/web browser. for the former, there is so much time, effort and money involved, it is hardly surprising that the entertainment value may have become somewhat lost in the mix. it would be hard to justify spending many an expensive hour in the wind tunnel to develop a bicycle frame and/or clothing to provide that extra special edge as an amusing diversion from real life.

milan-sanremo 2018

and as for the sponsor who likely provided the financial wherewithal to pay for that diversion, the very least they'd expect from their financial largesse, would be ear-to-ear smiles at the finish line and a signed jersey for the boardroom wall.

on the other hand, to be almost topical for a moment, those of us who are besotted with the spring classics, will keenly scan the eurosport broadcast schedule for our weekend fix of velocipedinal entertainment. those expressing an affinity for a particular rider or team may feel some dismay should either fail to podium (to incorrectly use the word as a verb), while the rest of us, more inclined to simply enjoy the televisual spectacle with no specific vested interest, can offer the "you dancer" exclamation, no matter who crosses the line in first place.

milan-sanremo 2018

though i'm willing to stand corrected, while 'researching' my recent admonition of the current rich vein of punditry that accompanies the upper echelons of our sport, i do not recall anyone tipping vincenzo nibali as a possible victor in saturday's milan-sanremo. yet not only did the italian win quite convincingly, the manner in which that victory was achieved, quite possibly provided one of the most entertaining finishes to a one day classic in recent memory. quite conceivably, nibbles has single-handedly righted all the recent tue and jiffy-bag wrongs visited upon the peloton and simultaneously had us on the edge of our seats.

don't you just love it when a plan comes together?

tuesday 20 march 2018

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