timing is everything

womens world championship cyclocross

islay's competing pipe band, as opposed to the community version, currently play at grade two in the royal scottish pipe band association (rspba) competition series. disappointngly, there are only around five or six islanders currently in the complement of around 28 members, not a particularly unusual situation in the pipe band world. a piping acquaintance of mine, from inveraray, was once a member of canada's simon fraser university pipe band and was required to travel to north america several times during the season for band practices.

shotts and dykehead pipe band once featured a texan in the tenor corps.

the international nature of scottish pipe band music can perhaps be displayed by my having to travel to kansas city in the middle of last decade for winter storm. this was a weekend of piping and drumming tuition carried out by scottish grade one drummers and pipers in america's midwest in the depths of a freezing winter. i did ask the senior drumming tutor, jim kilpatrick, where i could access such tuition in scotland, to which he replied "you can't". the impression was that, on the basis that the scots invented the genre, why would they need taught?

of course, i may have picked that up incorrectly.

however, it is a common state of affairs within pipe bands of any flavour, that though constituted as a single entity, there is often no love lost between the two distinct sections. it is not unheard of for an entire drum section to up sticks (see what i did there?) and transfer their affections and affectations to an altogether different band. this may go some way to explaining why members of any given band do not necessarily hail from the region after which the band takes its name. additionally, and it is this which specifically explains the islay situation, points mean prizes, so when recruiting good drummers or good pipers who can take the band further up the food chain, geographical location is the last in the list of check-boxes.

however, should it be found necessary to classify the two musical sections by way of collective nouns, we had roundly settled on a 'tuning' of pipers and a 'waiting' of drummers. though i'm perfectly willing to admit that the playing of the highland bagpipe hardly looks like the world's easiest of tasks, they do have a distinct tendency to go out of tune remarkably quickly, particularly in the hour or so that punctuates any outdoor performance.

but the other misgiving prevalent between drums and pipes is that of timing. the hierarchy goes something like this: the pipe major will indicate the tempo of the piece by means of tapping his foot, prior to the the bass drummer acceding to this tempo when co-ordinating the two, three-pulse rolls that introduce virtually every pipe band tune known to man and womankind. however, not only is it common for the pipers to slow or speed up after these rolls of introduction, but inevitably the drum section will be blamed for this apparent insurrection. it is a well-known, yet disputed fact that pipers are generally not good timekeepers.

as an example, in my days as a member of the competing band, the pipers would often feature an unaccompanied slow-air. as with every performance, the pipe major would indicate the tempo in the accepted manner, but were you to observe the feet of the pipe corps, you would frequently note that each individual often maintained a slightly different tempo even to that of their nearest neighbour. of course, it's quite possible that the drum corps might exhibit similar proclivities, but that's not something readily admitted in polite company.

this has, not unaturally, led to my delineating anyone who fails to arrive at the appointed time, by way of having been a piper in a previous life, thus explaining their apparent tardiness. the implication here is that, as guardians of the beat, this is a state of affairs rarely, if ever, exhibited by the drumming fraternity.

but once again, it seems i am hoist by my own petard.

in tribute to a weekend of world championship cyclocross from bogense, i allowed the crux to take me out on saturday for a bout of undergrowth worrying in the morning. unfortunately, the recent cold spell still exhibited its last vestiges of sheet ice in bridgend woods, leading to a curtailed scrabble amongst the gravel. prior to the grand départ, however, i had studiously checked eurosport's schedule for the women's world championship race on saturday pm, intending to ensure my perambulations would bring me home in time to watch.

'pon that scheduled return, i showered, changed and sat down in front of this very macbook air to enjoy an hour's worth of world level 'cross, only to find myself watching an interview with a muddied sanne cant who, it transpires, had emerged victorious over the distinctly odd championship parcours in denmark. i am still soundly confused as to quite how i managed to misinterpret the start time which, for once, was not the result of a live snooker over-run.

never one to be late for the sunday monring bike ride, i can only put this down to a momentary aberration, or lack of concentration. but i can readily assure you that i was never a piper in a former life.

monday 04 february 2019

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cycling with benefits

world bicycle relief buffalo bike

oddly enough, the recent cold spell of weather actually deposited a tangible amount of snow on islay's roads, fields and, naturally enough, the pavements and pathways. a co-ordinated campaign of gritting by the council had cleared the bulk of the snow from the main roads by morning time, though they failed to cover themselves in glory when it came to the pavements (sidewalks). having taken one of the kids in the charge of mrs washingmachinepost to nursery the other morning, on my return, and with everyone who needed to be in school, now in school, the pavement gritting began.

about an hour and a half too late.

come the weekend, there were still pockets of ice and snow about the estates, so it seemed a prudent move to board the specialized crux and footer about bridgend woods, pretending that my bike-handling skills were up to scratch. with fairly consistent tree cover along the main path, there were still deposits of snow and ice where the sun had failed to breach the branches, but nothing that would call a halt to forward motion.

unfortunately, the opening gambit of my regular 'cross course was infested with large quantities of sheet ice, sadly pretty much all the way up the initial climb. in the finest tradtion of cyclocross, i shouldered the bike through the snow and retreated to the nearest clearing, only to discover that the cleats were clogged with ice and wouldn't clip into the pedals. another use for a sturdy tyre-lever.

first world problems.

though it perhaps seems an odd thing to have thought of at the time, i was rather grateful that the conditions that infected the hebrides this past week, and doubtless still do so in other parts of the united kingdom (to say nothing of chicago), had not seen fit to interfere with last year's festive 500. granted, there is currently scarcely a breath of wind, but it still behoves the intrepid cyclist to pay particular attention to apparently damp regions on the road ahead. as many of you will know, it's often hard enough accumulating the daily kilometres, without having to pay attention to extraneous and potentially dangerous obstacles. i had enough of that in 2010.

however, let's not forget the salient fact that we are but travelling in ever-decreasing circles. the festive 500 is/was a personal challenge that carries no real onerous weight. if you complete it, the world still rotates; if you don't complete it, the world still rotates. after pedalling has been completed for the day, we all get to return to our nice warm, cosy homes and indulge in a large mug of hot, winter spiced ribena. naturally, this is after the bicycle and its chain have been cleaned and lubricated.

however, not everyone has the freedom to view the bicycle as an expensive toy. recognising this to be the case, this year, the fine folks at imperial works gave festive five-hundreders the opportunity to decline an embroidered roundel in favour of a donation to world bicycle relief. it's the very same sentiment that guides the ride of the falling rain; while we enjoy the world of carbon fibre, those whose lives actually depend on the bicycle, can benefit.

according to rapha, enough of us embraced the spirit of festive altruism to enable the purchase of more than 60 buffalo bikes, each of which costs, i believe, around £99. if you were one of the many, now would be a good time to pat yourselves on the back.

world bicycle relief | rapha

sunday 03 february 2019

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the sound of silence

crescendo cycling band

though i figure i ought probably to pay a tad more attention to the world of politics than i do, it's very hard to work up the enthusiasm for a part of society that i feel all but powerless to influence. the majority of the western world regularly congratulates itself on offering its residents the benefits of democracy, but in many cases it could be seen to be a case of 'it's democracy jim, but not as we know it.' no matter your own political proclivities, it often seems that, no matter who gains the upper hand in an election, they rarely carry out the promises detailed in their manifesto.

however, leaving the currently tedious and repetitive ministrations associated with britain's intentions to separate itself from the european union, ever since the financial crash in 2008, budgetary restrictions appear to be t-shirt slogan of choice. all across the country, councils have been reducing or removing services as a result of less money being dispensed from central government, whether that be westminster or holyrood, much to the displeasure of council employees and those of us who are beginning seriously to wonder what it is we gain in return for our taxes.

perhaps the most obvious impingement on road users has been ever-decreasing maintenance budgets. coupled with an apparently steady increase in the number of vehicles using the nation's roads, this has led to a dramatic increase in the number of potholes appearing across the nation. in the case of argyll and bute, of which islay is a part, the roads budget has all but halved in recent years, yet the island's output of single malt whisky has dramatically increased. only a matter of days past, diageo announced their plans for the revitalising of port ellen distillery. this closed in 1983 and was largely demolished, apart from the two pagodas, only a matter of a few years ago.

when up and running in the early part of the next decade, it will produce around one million litres annually; not a huge amount, but considered overall with the output from the other nine, it will only add to the commercial service traffic, to say nothing of those for whom islay is their single malt mecca. an 'enough is enough' group has already been established to object to the planning application for an eleventh distillery near laphroaig, for the granting of planning has seemingly little or no need to take into account the road infrastructure that might service the plant.

all the revenue from single-malt whisky is gathered at point of sale and not at source, transferring directly to the national treasury. our roads may be crumbling because of the weight of whisky-related traffic, but it has not resulted in inreased inward investment. it's unsurprising that several of the locals are a tad dismayed.

however, it seems that a decrease in road and transport funding is not the only cause for dismay. on friday of this past week, midlothian council on scotland's east coast, became the first to axe all musical instrument tuition in its schools, other than for those studying highers or national five. farther north, moray council has announced plans to increase charges for instrumental tuition to almost £700 per year, making them the highest in scotland.

the fragility of arts education is not one that is new; it is often portrayed as one of the more frivolous portions of modern education, of less importance than subjects such as maths, english, history, geography etc. i'm not necessarily arguing that to be or not to be the case, but currently, the music industry is reckoned to be worth £4.5 billion to the uk economy, supporting almost 150,000 jobs. globally, the music industry (howsoever that is defined) is worth approximately £13.5 billion. apple computer recently reported of £7.5 billion in revenue from itunes and apple music.

so what, i hear you ask, has any of this to do with cycling? does this simply mean that we'll have nothing new to listen to on our ipods when stuck on a turbo trainer n front of zwift? as if i would be so superficial.

all governments pay heed to lobbying, an activity that frequently shouts louder, the more money that it has behind it. that's one of the principal reasons for the motor car's domination; the motoring lobby is particularly well-heeled. i don't have uk specific figures relating to the motor industry's contribution to the exchequer, but worldwide, it amounts to well over £1,260 billion, nearly 100 times as much as the music industry. that doesn't mean that music is intrinsically less important than the motor car, but it scarcely generates enough income to be afforded similar consideration when push comes to shove.

cycling's benefit to the uk economy is conservatively reckoned to be around £5.4 billion. that's more than the steel industry, but only a matter of a billion more than music's financial contribution. you will recall, i trust, my earlier remarks, that music revenues have scarcely set instrumental teaching in schools as flavour of the month. so when the velocipedinal community starts shouting at government ministers that we are in dire need of an improved cycle network and facilities, though we are undoubtedly correct, why should they listen? many of those prospective facilities would undoubtedly impinge upon either the current road network, or spending on same, but since motorised users of the latter have a much louder voice than have we, which one is going to be heard?

i agree that music tuition and cycling facilities have apparently as much in common as have strawberries and bricks. but convert them to financial contributors to, or detractors from, the treasury and they begin to look remarkably similar. short of nipping out to the local bike or music shop and buying about ten bikes and four grand pianos each, there's probably not a lot we can do to increase the size of those figures. but i seriously believe that it's not outwith the realm of possibility that we could gently persuade those currently commuting short distances by car, to look at the more efficient alternatives, one of which would obviously be the bicycle.

every journey begins with a single turn of the cranks (double-meaning intended).

saturday 02 february 2019

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colouring inside the lines

sugar wheelworks - chris king - nox composites

look closely enough at bicycles and you'll discover there's a commonality threaded amongst each year's subsequent model release, both in the hardware department and that of softwear. to take the humble bicycle frame as a prime example, ever since the uci outlawed machinery such as boardman's medal winning lotus and similarly constituted machinery from the likes of pinarello (the sword), the main constituent part of any bicycle has reverted to the famed 'double-diamond'.

originally built from metal tubes which were either conjoined by lugs or, more recently, tig welding, the subsequent malleability of carbon fibre has allowed all but the least adventurous of manufacturers to dictate the profile of each tube. the latter, in truth, is something of a misnomer in most, if not all, cases, with the notable exception of colnago's 'c' series. taiwanese monocoque construction entails that the majority of modern carbon-fibre frames consists of two halves, subsequently joined to make a single edifice. by common consent, however, it seems we still refer to the parts creating that double-diamond as tubes.

contemporary bicycle frames are now predominantly the product of computer-aided-design software, with profiling achieved by means of computational-fluid-dynamics. if you've ever attended a large cycle exhibition and noted the remarkable conformity amongst differing brands, it's because everyone is asking the same questions of their software and thus receiving similar answers. tubes have gone from round, to oval, to square, to flat and pretty much everything in between.

but they all seem to make the same transitions in the same year.

it seems perfectly credulous that, within the restrictions imposed by cycling's ruling body, we're probably very close to having explored every option the standard frame has to offer. meaning, rather obviously, that next year's bicycles will probably not look all that different than they did this year. this entails some form of differentiation, the most recent of which appears to be affixing the seatstays well below their previous juncture at the back of the top tube. and then changing the colour.

this is a fashion long espoused by the apparel industry. the humble cycle jersey has changed little in shape since the middle of last century, even if the fabric from which it is hewn has altered considerably. three pockets at the rear has become a mandatory solution, forcibly augmented in recent times by a fourth, zipped option in which to stow keys, coffee money or a smallish smartphone. a sign of the times, so to speak.

short sleeves have occasionally lengthened below the elbow, while the outer pockets adopt a scalloped appearance, but generally speaking, a jersey, is a jersey, is a jersey. in order to sell more to those with an already bulging wardrobe, attractive changes must be effected, most often by way of colour. it is, as they say, the modern way.

componentry, on the other hand, though considerably more technologically advanced than its forebears, has remained visually similar, though groupsets are guilty as charged for regularly acquiring additional sprockets and variable numbers of chainring teeth. yet, while we're discussing components, it ill behoves me to admit that i'd scarcely given second thoughts to the humble wheel.

you may well point out that the bicycle's second most important component has surely undergone a whole slew of changes, all the way from the number of spokes, to the material of the latter and the depth and fabric of the rims. and it is at this point that we come across the bicycle's equivalent of an approach to the 'singularity'.

we can argue until the cows come home over which came first; some will argue that it was the need to increase the diameter of an aluminium tube to offer similar strength to that of steel. others, more cynical, would have it that so doing played directly into the hands of the marketing department, who now had an enlarged canvas on which to portray their branding in an ever brighter and varied range of colours. could it be the latter who influenced the former? it's just possible that the tail may well have wagged the dog.

deep carbon rims have surely offered a similar opportunity. witness the graphics applied to specialized's roval wheels, campagnolo's bora range and even those phenomenally expensive lightweight hoops. campagnolo have at least opted for a soupcon of colour on the boras, but by and large, wheels have remained oddly conservative with predominantly white decals on black. at least that's what i thought.

portland's chris king components have been at the vanguard of anodising their hubs and headsets, the range of which seems to have increased every time you look. and while wasting time on twitter only the other evening, i came across the pair illustrated above, featuring red ck hubs co-ordinated with rims from tennessee's nox composites. i confess i have no first hand knowledge of the rims, but i am well-acquainted with chris king products and even more familiar with the wheelbuilding skills of jude gerace at sugar wheelworks, the woman responsible for those seen atop the page.

colour is the new black.

nox composites | chris king precision components | sugar wheelworks

friday 01 february 2019

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the corporate image

endura brompton range

in the first year of this century, tired of trying to find a vintage gretsch be-bop drumset, i opted to go more modern and ordered a drum workshop collectors maple set from wembley drum centre in london. for those with little interest in the mores of the drum world, that would equate to purchasing a colnago, pinarello or other top-line bicycle. trivial though it might appear, i had chosen this particular marque at least in part, because the shells featured internal, top and bottom reinforcement rings. though originally featured in older drums to maintain their roundness, modern-day construction methods have all but rendered those superfluous. however, i'm sure that they have a beneficial effect on the sound.

check any drum website or catalogue and you will note that the front head on the bass drum features the company logo script, all the better to identify the drummer's excellent taste (or otherwise) to a less than adoring public, one that is most likely to be wrestling with the sequence of steps for the dashing white sergeant, or an eighthsome reel. it's exactly the same badge of honour that often features writ large on a bicycle downtube. it's not hard to reckon on having greater bragging rights should those letters display s-works, rather than simply specialized.

drum workshop's collector series is very much the top of the range, evinced not only by the exhorbitant price of ownership, but the fact that it's possible to custom order additional drums when asked by geddy lee and alex lifeson to join them for the next rush world tour.

but what happens when, in a social situation, whether in daylight or after dark, if that drumset is nowhere to be seen? or even in situations where that luxurious drumset is still within its cases, waiting patiently to be set up on a stage that is as far as possible from the access door. that's where team kit comes into play. and by team kit, i don't mean a three rear pocket jersey and bibshorts.

in my own situation, i was tempted by a black t-shirt featuring a large, white dw logo front and centre, despite that fact that i'd scarcely describe myself as a t-shirt' sort of guy (though i can often be persuaded by a long-sleeved garment). drum workshop is based in oxnard, california, so despite offering a substantial range of branded apparel, uk outlets tend to be less well supplied than their website would suggest they could be. just like those oval tan spots on the back of your hands in summer, the cognoscenti can thus distinguish not only a drummer midst the great unwashed, but gauge the level at which that individual might see themselves by the brand of drums proclaimed on (in my case), a black t-shirt.

though perhaps not envisioned as such by various marketing departments, this could be seen as representing the corporate image. those of us involved in all manner of musical or sporting activities are suckers for advertising our proclivities to a nearby peer group and anyone else who might be in the vicinity. this state of affairs is greatly underlined by the quality of the apparel available, every bit as good as the reputation garnered by the name on the downtube.

many years ago, i owned a landbouwkrediet colnago jersey to match my completely differently coloured c40. and in order to look totally cool when standing adjacent to my specialized crux elite 'cross bike, i have a red specialized hoodie. because that's the way i roll.

however, for the cyclist less concerned with the competitive milieu, but more in thrall to the quality end of the commuting world, folding bike specialists brompton have collaborated with scotland's endura clothing, to produce their own corporate image. this new range, due to reach dealers in late summer this year, and primarily designed with autumn/winter in mind, will initially consist of a london 3l waterproof jacket, barcelona windproof packable jacket, new york insulated reversible gilet, amsterdam performance knit, london windproof gloves, barcelona coolmax reflective socks and a new york merino multitube.

brompton's head of product development, joe natale said, in conjunction with endura's jim mcfarlane, "we're extremely proud of what we have created". i get the london connection easily enough, but given endura's more northerly location across the border, i'm surprised to find no reference to edinburgh cargo shorts, glasgow bobble hats or even an islay tweed hooded sweatshirt.

still, it's early days yet.

brompton bicycles | endura cycle clothing

thursday 31 january 2019

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cycling is good for you

when my son was going through his 'insolent teenager' phase, the trend du jour was skateboarding. it's an activity that seems honour bound to alternate with bmx as the sort of youthful pastime undertaken to develop an insouciant level of cool with one's peer group. particularly if the latter consists of at least a few members of the opposite sex. though islay features no specific facilities for either skateboarding or bmx, the relative lack of traffic and co-existence of a large blaze pitch adjacent to bowmore's schools, meant there was never a total shortage of areas in which to practise their skills.

of course, the more astute amongst you will be eager to point out that a flat area of gravel, however large, scarcely possessed items such as half-pipes, quarter-pipes and ramps. all of the above are apparently necessary to demonstrate an acquired ability to jump, spin and, presumably, fall off. though i wish not to join the ranks of those who view the past with rose-tinted glasses, had either of the activities under discussion been those in which i might have participated when of similar age, we would have begged or borrowed suitable chunks of wood with which to construct our own verisimilitude of a skatepark.

as was the case, when in my early teens, my friends were heavily into rugby as a sport, one for which i was remarkably ill-suited. however, accepting that majority rules, i dutifully fell into line and played the game (after a fashion). in order to better facilitate our period of scrummage, we managed to acquire three sizeable planks of wood with which we constructed a scaled replica of rugby posts. these were planted in the ground adjacent to the town's indoor bowling rink and i did my level best not to be pummeled into a mulch by my larger and faster friends.

however, in the minds of my son and his pals, this scenario scarcely passed muster. they spent most of their downtime complaining that the local council surely ought to provide them with the very facilities they desired. though i painstakingly attempted to point out that, by the time they petitioned the council, any ensuing success would still result in a lengthy delay while the powers that be found the necessary finance, issued the project to commercial tender and finally had it constructed. by that time, he'd probably have left school and moved onto more mature pastimes or, heaven forfend, paid work.

the fact that the town in which my friends and i prepared a faux rugby pitch, had built, opened and subsequently demolished a skate park (due to lack of use), had no material bearing on his grasp of our familial discussions.

at the risk of appearing unbearably arrogant, it seems that a similar situation may be in danger of invading the psyche of the would-be cyclist. this i have inferred from an article appearing in mondays edition of the 'guardian newspaper'. the heading contended that cycling could substantially reduce instances of depression and cancer; approximately 34,000 within the next twenty years we are led to believe by sustrans. this, of course depends on the national numbers of cyclists increasing to the levels currently seen in london. the latter has seen a doubling in numbers since the turn of the century, while cycling numbers in the rest of the country have apparently remained pretty much static.

naturally enough, blame for this set of circumstances has been squarely placed at the door of the government. their spending on walking and cycling outside of the well-funded capital has decreased from £2.16 per person in 2016/17 to a prospectively embarrassing 37 pence in 2020/21. as is often the case in politics, the money available rarely equates with rhetoric spouted by wesminster or holyrood. but, (and here comes the arrogant bit), why is this something that depends on the government? are we not capable of exhibiting freedom of choice and doing this for ourselves?

as i never tire of pointing out, there are many, too many residents in the mile long village of bowmore who drive to and from their place of work. this has nothing to do with a lack of facilities and everything to do with sheer laziness. i'm willing to bet this is the case in small towns and villages all across the country. i get that it can be a harrowing experience, attempting to ride a bicycle in the cities; no doubt the placement of suitable facilities in larger conurbations would ease the situation, but in this instance, i'm happy to trundle out the well-worn saying 'where there's a will there's a way'. in other words, if you want to potentially reduce the inconvenience of contracting diabetes, stroke, cancer or depression (and who wouldn't?), find your own way to safely ride to work, school or the shops.

if we wait for the government to save us, we'll still be having this conversation several decades from now.

wednesday 30 january 2019

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what goes around, comes around

cyclist off-road magazine

in the mid-1990s, fed up with moaning about the lack of warranty service on a rusting townsend ten-speed racer, i bought myself one of the original muddy fox courier mountain bikes, a model sold as an alleged loss-leader in order to shift more units, and bring even confirmed roadies into the offroad fold. totally unknowingly and coincidentally, i actually purchased this bicycle from a shop in kilmarnock, part-owned at the time, by graeme obree.

like the majority of those buying into this new world of repack rides, wide open spaces and a lifestyle the likes of which britain had never seen before, i spent most of my ride time travelling to and from my place of work a few miles distant. though it offered a wide-range of gears through a triple chainset up front and a dinner-plate of a large cassette sprocket at the rear, in truth, i had little need of any of those features. nor, it transpired, was there any real necessity for 1.95" knobblies, though the sturdiness of that tange plain-gauge steel frame did add a frisson of bullet-proof-ness. best of all, it was a nice bike to ride.

though my riding menu never actually changed, as the years went buy, the mountain bike magazines which almost became a compulsory purchase order, decreed a steady diet of coloured, anodised aluminium widgets, few of which made any real difference to enjoyment of the bicycle. but in much the same way as visitors to the isle seem to find it necessary to wear barbour jackets and drive range rovers, it seemed only polite to adopt the trappings of the offroad lifestyle, even if i wasn't actually participating.

at least it would look as if i was.

however, though the courier subsequently found itself converted to a touring format, it was replaced with yet another bike from the muddy fox range, this time fielding rock shox forks up front. what i believe would now be referred to as a hard tail. superficial to the last, i eventually rid myself of any mountain bike trappings in favour of skinny wheels and bendy bars because i was fed up riding tarmac on two inch plus rubber to reach the enticing undergrowth. that and the fact that i really don't like flat bars very much.

my own disaffection with the mountain bike preceded that of the nation by some number of years. while i was drooling over campagnolo croce d'aune hubbed wheels and downtube mounted index levers, jo burt's mountain-biking sheep was still keeping the cognoscenti intrigued and amused. but as with almost everything in the world, change was inevitable and the road bike subsequently gained the upper hand, joined by a slew of new bike shops and more than a single magazine with its heritage based on the ten-speed racer.

the bicycle industry of the 1980s was pretty much saved by the advent of the mountain bike, but it eventually looked as if that had happened purely to pave the way for the rightful ascendancy of the road bike.

despite no longer owning a mountain bike, i continue to subscribe to chipps chippendale's excellent singletrack magazine, partly because it's a good read, but also to maintain some level of interest in the dark-side. that interest was piqued even more when the folks at rouleur produced the truly excellent and still greatly lamented privateer, the very magazine that i naively thought the the offroad world had been eagerly awaiting. its relatively short life and subsequent demise came as a bit of a surprise, but perhaps only served to underline just how much those springy farm gates had fallen out of favour.

i do not kid myself that i am a qualified analyst of industry; i just like looking at the pictures. however, the announcement that the publishers of cyclist magazine plan to introduce an off-road magazine, might just signal a resurgence in the genre. that assumption might, however, been slightly mis-directed, on reading that one of the avowed aims of the new publication is to "...inspire road riders to venture away from the tarmac and explore new routes." personally, i'm not sure i see that happening, but there's every chance that i'm quite wrong on that count.

however, though there have no doubt been many meetings, dummy-runs and focus groups preceding the fomenting of the upcoming publication, it might have been more prudent to have equalled those hours when choosing the name on the masthead. 'cyclist off-road' is every bit as bad as recording your first album and naming it after the band. considering the number of titles occupying shelf-space in w.h. smith, a title that lept forward and slapped you on the face ought surely to have been number one on the consideration list?

i will watch with interest.

tuesday 29 january 2019

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