goodyear eagle all season tubeless tyres

goodyear eagle all season tubeless tyres

time was, if you were serious about road-riding - and i'm well aware that the advent of the 'mamil' has altered the definition of the word 'serious', in this context - your bicycle wheels would be fitted with tubular tyres, painstakingly festooned with glue, before being stuck to the rim. without the ability to simply slip a new tube inside, should a puncture be suffered in the pursuance of one's business, it was necessary to have a third, ready glued 'tub' stuffed under the saddle. it all sounds a bit of a faff nowadays, and no doubt it was precisely that at the time, but with no viable alternative, the world's population of roadies doubtless considered it yet another necessarily acquired skill.

though that particular skill is one that i admittedly do not possess, having arrived at the road-bike as a part of the 'clincher generation', i get the distinct impression that fitting clinchers was almost seen as an admission of a possible dilution of effort.

but these are changed days. the tubular still survives in little retro pockets among the cognoscenti and still features with a substantial presence in the pro peloton, but even there, things might be changing. i am insufficiently well-informed to know how many, if any, of the professional teams ride on clinchers, but i do know that several have exchanged their tubulars for the new kid on the block: tubeless. and when i say 'new', i use it as a relative term. and, along with this change in tyre technology, comes a substantial change in tyre width, eased and welcomed by the now almost ubiquitous disc brake.

goodyear eagle all season tubeless tyres

to come ever-so-slowly to the point, in order to review a pair of tubeless-ready carbon wheels (which will be the subject of a future review), the fine fellows at paligap were kind enough to send over a pair of goodyear eagle tubeless-ready tyres. having decided to re-enter the bicycle market around twelve months ago, goodyear now offers this particular road model in four widths, from 700x25 to 700x32. ever the conservative follower of trends, i requested the 28mm width, but with these temporarily out of stock, i was sent the 30mm.

though my ritchey logic promises that such a width is within the bounds of possibility, in this case, the tyres and wheels were fitted to the specialized allez comp disc, which, with its shimano 105 hydraulic discs, offered vast amounts of clearance. even the 32mm would scarcely have troubled fork legs or seat and chainstays.

as the variety of factory-built wheels expands, so does the number and variation in tyre availability, both clincher and tubeless. in this particular case, the option to fit the goodyears as clinchers was seen to be missing in action. the carbon wheels mentioned above, feature a 64mm deep carbon rim, one that could scarcely offer access to the valves on an inner tube without use of extenders. the wheels arrived with tubeless valve stems already fitted, so 'twas merely a case of fitting the tyres and heading into the wide blue yonder. however, i have fitted enough new tyres in my career to know that the word 'merely' is often a darned sight more strenuous than its simplicity would imply.

goodyear eagle all season tubeless tyres

though your own process might vary slightly, to fit tubeless tyres, i generally put washing-up liquid along the tyre bead, which not only eases the tyre onto any rim, but helps with the seating process. it is then necessry to give the track pump a couple of swift, hard pushes to 'blow' the tyre beads outward onto the rim edges allowing it to be further inflated. this generally seats the tyre properly, after which the valve core needs to be removed and sealant gloop poured inside, not only to finish sealing the bead to the rim, but to fill any subsequent, small holes that might be incurred during one's perambulations. if you do this in the kitchen a) make sure mrs washingmachinepost is away for the weekend and b) place some newspaper on the floor under the tyre. that gloop has a tendency to wander.

overall, fitting a set of tubeless tyres is accompanied by a great deal more faff than sticking a tube inside and inflating to pressure. whether they offer realisable advantages, such as a reduction in weight, depends on your point of view and appetite for gloop lubricated faff.

the goodyears occupied their place on the carbon rims with relative ease; just as well, because i failed to note the direction indicators on the sidewalls (yes, on both) and had to turn them round. inflating to pressure was pretty straightforward; with 30mm of width to deal with, i chose to stop at around 85psi (5.8 bar), a pressure that seems to straddle the fine line between rolling resistance and comfort. it did take one or two re-inflations to have the tyres seal properly and retain the set pressure, but that seems a common occurence on tubeless tyres.

goodyear eagle all season tubeless tyres

so, what are they like? i'm not naive enough to consider a few hundred kilometres as the ultimate test for any pair of tyres. for starters, there's no way to gauge the expected wear rate, or any number of other untoward details that might raise their heads under normal and not so normal conditions. admittedly, this particular pair will never be subjected to the vicissitudes of competition, but i tend to think the majority of purchasers are also unlikely to race. happily, in one sense at least, islay is currently peppered with crumbling and potholed single track roads, occasionally punctuated by less than pristine cattle-grids. if ever there was an ideal playground for the intrepid tyre reviewer, this could be it. the tread pattern would seem to offer the best of both worlds, providing a smooth centre portion, bordered by more tactile edges to grip the road when cornering hard.

as mentioned above, it's a bit early in the process to provide concrete answers to any questions you, or i, might have concerning the veracity of their constitution, but i can testify as to their superior grip. carbon wheels with 64mm deep rims have a distinct tendency to catch the wind, particularly when inadvisedy ridden in galeforce crosswinds. just such an occurrence took place during the second outing on the eagles; emerging from tree shelter into an opening, rider and bicycle were caught unawares by gusts in excess of 35mph, necessitating a brief period of riding at an angle not to be recommended to the faint-hearted.

goodyear eagle all season tubeless tyres

while the road surface was sufficiently unkempt to offer considerable grip, preventing the entire house of cards from coming to an unfortunate end, the damp, slippery metal cattle-grid midway along the open road was a different proposition altogether. not for a long time have i been so grateful for the vice-like grip offered by goodyear's use of all-season silica. given that these are still the early days of march, i have yet to ride with an absence of an infernal atlantic wind. in fact, i've had little in the way of opportunity to ride on dry tarmac either. those 30mm offer a confidence in the heat of battle that is more than welcome, particularly at present when strenuously trying to mitigate the often scary part of riding deep rimmed wheels in galeforce winds on wet roads.

i plan to offer an update when more kilometres have been travelled, but if you can't wait that long for a decision, i see little reason as to why these would not provide you with as much comfort and confidence as they have, so far, offered yours truly.

goodyear's all-season eagle tubeless tyres are currently available in black only, in sizes 700x25c, 700x28c, 700x30c (as reviewed) and 700x32c. price is £60 per tyre. the price does not include either valve stems or sealant, the latter, depending on brand purchased, usually costing more than an inner tube.

goodyear bicycle tyres | paligap

monday 4 march 2019

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

ashmei bib shorts

ashmei bibshorts

many years past, i travelled south in daylight hours, by national express coach, stopping at most of the major conurbations encountered en-route. unlike glasgow's buchanan bus station, however, those city centre coach stops played host only to buses heading to locations outwith the area in which the bus stations were situated. buchanan street, my point of origination, was the only bus station to feature local service buses, connecting not only locations within the city limits, but also stops as far distant as ayr and kilmarnock.

islay, being a considerably more rurally constituted isle, sees only one bus company offer a daily service apart from sundays. mundell's coaches operates on behalf of argyll and bute council, travel between the island's principal villages, as well as the daily school runs in the morning and late afternoons. they are also timetabled to meet the morning and afternoon ferries, offering islanders and visitors alike, a regular, if infrequent, means of transport. it's a place where the clichéd phrase referring to having waited ages for a bus and then two arrived simultaneously, has never been given cause for use.


ashmei bibshorts

the same cannot truthfully be said about the weather. for after waiting a lengthy period for suitable days in which to ride in bibshorts, predominantly for the purposes of offering salient reviews, precisely none arrived at the same time. you may have perused my recent review of velobici's rené shorts, one that i had fully expected would be rapidly followed by the reassuringly expensive bibs from ashmei; except, it wasn't. and to be perfectly honest, the days in which i did manage to complete my perambulations while clad in such finery, proved ultimately, to be less than suitable.

if i might offer qualification of that statement, unsuitable for the rider, rather than for the bibs.

ashmei bibshorts

ashmei have been crafting fine cycle clothing for many a year, my last review of their bibshorts appearing almost five years ago. these, the only pair in the range, are the upgraded version, but still feature the almost paper thin, yet highly water and wind resistant fabric that proved favourable the last time round. additionally, their high-density foam pad reputedly does not absorb moisture in similar fashion to those featured in competing bibshorts from other apparel purveyors. thus, ashmei maintain, you could wash them of a morning and be ready to fit in a another bike ride, come the afternoon.

i cannot claim to have attempted, this, but after one particularly wet and windy ride, the pad was noticeably less staurated than you'd be likely to expect. allied to the water resistance of the rest of the shorts, this made sitting in debbie's one particularly inclement saturday lunchtime, a far more amenable situation than would normally be the case.

ashmei bibshorts

i have long maintained that a well-fitted pair of bibshorts ought to be a tad strugglesome to put on, though i fear ashmei's bibs might take this a smidgeon too far. possessed of a small waist, i am in the habit of requesting small sized bibs, these being no exception. however, though the material from which they are fashioned bears some degree of stretch, this is limited in comparison to a regular pair of lycra shorts. it may pay to size-up one step if you normally find yourself on the cusp of sizing limitations. however, once in place, this spray-on fit becomes their secret weapon, for no matter the gymnastics performed trying to outwit a galeforce crosswind in horizontal rain, they budged not one millimetre.

ashmei bibshorts

it seems possible that this lack of movement allied to their comfort, is attained, at least in part, by the mesh panels that join the bibs to the shorts. this keeps everything in place, yet allows a flexibility occasionally missing from other bibshorts. the frontispiece is also conveniently low to allow for unexpected calls of nature along the glen road, en-route to mulindry, but we'll just keep that to ourselves for the time being.

and while i'm here, allow me to apologise for the lack of pertinent imagery accompanying this review. on the designated photography day, the weather turned out to be far worse than anticipated and i feared for the life of my camera. additionally, i had need of matching the shorts with a pair of kneewarmers; i might be big and tough and strong, but i'm not stupid.

it could be (probably erroneously) assumed that one pair of bibshorts is remarkably similar to the next, give or take the occasional price tag, but these are idiosyncraticatically superb and supremely comfortable enough to disavow you of such a notion. their ability to fend off the worst of the weather only makes them even more lovable. with so many bibshorts available on the market today, distinctiveness is probably every bit as important as the more usual criteria.

ashmei bibshorts are available only in black, in sizes ranging from xs to xxl at a retail price of £235.

ashmei bibshorts

sunday 3 march 2019

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

the incredible lightness of being

s-works exos_99

there are four principal factors affecting pretty much every centimetre of our velocipedinal existence, all, except one, that rely mostly on external factors outwith our control, but not outwith the reach of our bank balance. in no particular order, i'm talking about aerodynamics, stiffness, compliance and weight. those are not necessarily exhaustive in their coverage, but tend to be the ones most often discussed in the midst of the sunday morning peloton. it is arguable as to whether some, or all, of these directly affect each and every one of a wide range of cyclists, but in truth, it's whether we think they do that tends to be of greatest importance.

i do not intend to resort to a box ticking exercise here and in the parlance of the well-worn cliché, your mileage may vary (considerably), but for the purposes of illustration, i will fasten all of the above to my own particular situation. i'm assuming you will no doubt extrapolate the following paragraphs to suit your own situation or that of the most prominent or loudest members of your own peloton.

let's go for aerodynamics first; though i'm relatively slim, as age gets the better of me, i'm certainly not as flexible as i once was. thus my position on the bicycle, while mostly comfortable, takes little heed of any aerodynamic drag that could perceivably be slowing me down. taking into consideration the commonly galeforce winds in which i ride, altering this situation could conceivably have me riding faster without any great or noticeably demanding increase in power output. and free speed is always an attractive proposition. endura's banned skinsuit springs to mind at this point, only banned in the competitive realm and not in the race to get to debbie's first.

s-works exos_99

stiffness and compliance are effectively two sides of the same coin. mostly derived from the reviewer's arsenal of vacuous statements, they can be frequently seen describing the performance of a carbon frame, to wit: laterally stiff, yet vertically compliant. since that's sort of what you'd hope for in a racing-bicycle frame, it's a phrase that's become somewhat redundant through overuse. however, stiffness is very much what the average professional requires; there's little point in strenuously working on your maximum power output, only to have it squandered by a noodly frame. unfortunately, due to the vicissitudes and expense of producing a carbon monocoque frame, it's rarely economic to build an entirely different version for the likes of us.

if there had to be a hierarchical list for such attributes, many of us would probably opt for compliance first and stiffness later.

which brings us neatly to the subject of weight, a subject with two distinct sections. i'll go for the more unpleasant factor first; that of personal weight. at the risk of stating the obvious, should the road rear up ahead of you, the less weight that has to be transported vertically, the easier it will be. thus, lowering your weight while either increasing or maintaining power output, can but make you quicker.

s-works exos_99

but then, on the other hand, there's the intrinsic weight of the bicycle and its attendant componentry. to all intents and purposes, the frame is dead weight. yes, if we return to our friends stiffness and compliance, that frame can provide a spring to your step, but otherwise: dead-weight. same goes for componentry, apart from the wheels. here's somewhere that lateral stiffness is more than welcome, but also where a reduction in weight can be every bit as welcome due to its rotational qualities. reducing rotating weight is always a good thing. unless of course, you're intent on time-trialling. heavier wheels carry greater momentum once up to speed, even if they require more rider input to get there.

but so far, we've scarcely touched upon garmentage, something that will always inevitably add weight, however, little. if we assume that, as an intrepid member of the sunday morning peloton, you have already blown the gdp of a small african nation on the lightest bicycle you can find, and you're wearing a skinsuit that makes your toilet paper look obese, where does the next marginal gain come from? in my own case, a decent haircut would probably do the trick, but the fine chaps in the lab coats at specialized's s-works have just released a pair of frighteningly expensive and all but non-existent (weight-wise) road shoes. how lightweight, i hear you ask? well, if you can fit your tootsies into a size 42, then 99 grammes lightweight. that's slightly less than four ounces in old money.

s-works exos_99

personally i'd be wondering whether my £600 would buy me shoes that would last longer than a peter sagan sprint, but according to specialized, i need have no worries on that count. though we're loosely discussing weight at this point, these shoes offer a factor 13 on specialized's stiffness index, a number arrived at by applying a load of 40kg to the carbon shoe-plate. this resulted in a deflection of between 1.32mm and 2.11mm. to save you the bother of working it out, that's impressive.

"For the upper material, we used an exclusive blend of four-way, non-stretch Dyneema and by applying a backing mesh, we were able to transform these fibres into a very strong, lightweight, and adaptive material that requires no reinforcement.
"The new carbon outsole, developed with the help of the carbon engineers who created the Tarmac, uses pressure mapping. This enabled us to identify where we could remove weight from the outsole without sacrificing stiffness. It's why there are cutout holes on the bottom of the shoes."

of course, aside from the price, the exos 99 footwear bears the distinct disadvantage that specialized have only made 500 pairs and there's every likelihood that most of them have already gone to good, but financially poorer homes. however, fear not, for there is also an exos version which is a smattering of grammes heavier and without one or two of the sooper-dooper additives, but retails at a slightly friendlier £450.

you pays your money and you takes your choice. or maybe it's time to take another look at that diet?

specialized s-works exos 99 road shoe

saturday 2 march 2019

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

the art of cycling

over moor and dale - mackenzie thorpe

at both primary and secondary school, i was reasonably good at drawing and painting, though completely useless at anything involving 3d representation of anything you'd care to mention. sculpture thus left me cold, a factor that became imeediately apparent on my entry to art college, where sculpture was the discipline that dropped me at the end of first year. regretfully, i chose to be pragmatic at the end of my second year, looking inevitably towards employment when my years in the ivory castle came to an end. thus, rather than opting to continue in drawing and painting, at the time, easily my greatest forté, i involved myself in graphic design. though that forms a large part of my current career (such as it is), i still occasionally yearn for the aroma of linseed oil and the tactile excitement of the palette knife.

though regular visits to the local city art gallery were actively encouraged during those years of further education, my current place of residence is less equanimous in this respect. there are occasional travelling exhibitions that feature in the local gaelic college and there is a worthwhile, privately run art gallery miles from anywhere at sanaigmore on islay's north west coast. however, it would be a serious falsehood to imply that either of those locations every play host to the great masters. for inspiration at that level it is necessary to visit edinburgh, glasgow or london town.

mackenzie thorpe and gary verity

an art education introduces the innocent student to the works of the greats; cezanne, picasso, degas and van gogh, for example, or further back in time, works by michelangelo, boticelli and leonardo da vinci. but for rather obvious reasons, any visual reference to works by the above are largely confined to books and slides. i seriously doubt that the national gallery is too keen on allowing the intrepid student to take home original works by canaletto to allow further study as it hangs on the sitting room wall, over the fireplace.

i mention this restriction purely on the grounds of the incredible visual and emotional impact to be gained from perceiving original works of greatness at first hand. my first viewing of paintings by paul cèzanne in london's national gallery, quite literally separated me from my breath and i had to take a short break outside the gallery before entering for a second look. i experienced a similar condition attending an exhibition by the more contemporary, frank auerbach, whose output has a presence that the catalogue could never hope to equal.

riding with grandad - mackenzie thorpe

the joy of apprehending a painting of great magnitude, can quite legitimately be compared to that of attending a major cycle race in person, as opposed to watching it on television. while i doubt anyone would argue that the latter means of viewing will offer a more comprehensive appreciation of the event, i recall attending the prologue of the 1998 tour de france in dublin's fair city and having to earnestly and actively seek out the final results. my vantage point was at some distance from the finish line and the commentary was easily drowned out by the noise of spectators revelling in seeing their heroes in the flesh.

it should come as little surprise, therefore, that combining the two worlds described above, would result in a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. and lest you think this is a state of affairs concocted by yours truly during the last vestiges of a weekend bike ride, let me disavow you of that notion right this minute.

the boy without a bike- mackenzie thorpe

taking place in early may (2nd - 5th), this year's tour of yorkshire has had the perspicacity and joie de vivre to appoint an official artist in the personage of middlesborough's mackenzie thorpe. though i like to consider myself something of a connoisseur of the visual arts (disappointingly, very far from the truth), his is not a name i have previously come across and i was rather wary of the preciousness and possible prententiousness of a cycle race appointing an official artist. this, it seemed to me, scarily akin to a car tyre company describing itself as official partner of a national football team's inclusion in the world cup.

however, on viewing the four works currently on display at thorpe's arthaus gallery in richmond, north yorkshire, i found it rather comforting that the organisers had seen fit to choose an artist whose work appears to concentrate more on cycling's emotive qualities, rather than any attempt to encapsulate personalities or machinery in any succinct photo-realistic style. in short, these four artworks display everything that is wonderful about cycling and the yorkshire countryside.

in describing his motivation in painting those illustrated here, mackenzie thorpe said "...thinking about the images, I knew I wanted to create a collection which also reflected the broader impact the race has on people. So, alongside images of peak fitness cyclists speeding through our glorious hills, dales and coast, there is (for instance) 'Riding with Grandad', which shows a child in a Yorkshire town, learning to ride a bicycle, aided by their grandfather. Or 'The Boy Without a Bike'; a lone child standing watching the racers speed past and dreaming of the day that he too might ride like the wind on a bicycle all of his own. This is what the race is all about for me; who couldn't fail to be moved by the sheer spectacle and impact the race has on anyone who comes into contact with it." they may not have the impact of a cèzanne or a michelangelo, but i hope that more cycle races begin to think outside the box, in this outwardly artistic way. it brings new meaning to the phrase 'the art of cycling'.

you can disagree with me if you like, but you're wrong.

mackenzie thorpe

yorkshire coast- mackenzie thorpe

friday 1 march 2019

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

club mentality

british cycling indoor training manual

in my mid-teens, when domiciled in other than the civilisation i am now resident, i joined the local tennis club. as with many a sporting activity and apparently concomitant with new year's gym memberships, the appearance of a major sporting event on television (in this case, wimbledon) was likely to increase memberships numbers, enthused by the sight of others achieving on-screen greatness. in my case, though this was likely the catalyst, the major advantage to joining the club, was an immediate reduction in the cost of court hire, enabling my young colleagues and myself, to make a nuisance of ourselves for longer, until our pocket-money ran out.

british cycling indoor training manual

as with any perceived advantage, however, the yin and yang had to be balanced by way of a disadvantage. this became quickly apparent when my name appeared in the draw for the club championship, an occurence that had not been explained when being handed my membership card. i immediately withdrew from the competition, purely on the prescient basis that my first opponent was not only better than i, but considerably bigger and older. i have had little or no truck with formalised societies ever since.

that may partially explain my total ignorance of the existence of road-cycling clubs in my later years. yes, i had witnessed cyclists speeding along the bypass with numbers on their backs, while fluorescently tabarded officials stood nonchalantly at the roundabouts, but thankfully, it never occurred to me that i could have filled the shoes of either of the above personages. even the posters scrappily pinned to the notice boards in both the local cycle shops, failed miserably to pique my interest; i remained a slow, but solo rider until a few decades past.

british cycling indoor training manual

this lack of any club mentality has, i believe, served me well. there used to be a saying at college that anyone with a mind to stand for union office, ought surely to be barred from so doing. for it is well-known that those in office frequently hold agendas at odds with that of the membership. the velo club rule book (entirely hypothetical, you understand), contains only two rules: 1) there are no rules. 2) see rule one. that seems to me to be the fairest and most democratic way to proceed. but then, there is membership of the national body, in my particular case, cycling scotland, though in reality, simply another page on the british cycling website. we've been here before, so i shall refrain from revisiting any nationalistic tendencies at this point of the discussion.

having paid my annual subscription to scottish/british cycling, it is then down to my own predilections as to how best i feel they can serve my velocipedinal needs. the immediate reason for joining was the accompanying third-party insurance, something i strongly feel ought to be a part of every cyclist's armament, no matter their particular reason(s) for cycling a bicycle in the first place. secondly, i notionally wish to be kept informed of all related matters, something achieved by way of a regular, weekly e-mail. sadly, i rarely pay any heed to those, but i'm happy in my ignorance.

british cycling indoor training manual

however, it is readily apparent that, if british cycling does have the 100,000 plus members it claims, there will be a wide variety of demands upon those memberships. though it is a truism that you simply cannot please all of the people all of the time, it well behoves a national body to try. so even if scottish cycling's tom bishop and british cycling's bob howden find the advent of serious indoor cycling to be as potentially laughable as do i, they must subsume their jocularity and attempt to satiate the demands of the indoorsy types. which, some of you will be glad to hear, they have.

available from the british cycling website is a freely downloadable, twenty-page e-book (pdf) which british cycling have entitled 'the ultimate guide to indoor cycling'. i have serious doubts as to whether that claim can be satisfied in only twenty pages, but at least they are trying. perhaps i should have taken a closer look at my condtions of membership, for already they seem to have me pinned down pretty well.

"Some riders will knock indoor trainers and say that they're a 'soft option', 'there's no such thing as bad weather only bad clothing' or that 'you should harden up and ride for real'". they took the words right out of my mouth.

british cycling indoor training manual

however, those of you who have read graeme obree's idiosyncratic book on training, will be well aware that he almost singlehandedly validated the art of cycling indoors as the only true way to compare daily fitness readings. though i figure that outdoors trumps indoors at all times, when discussing bike rides, i cannot deny that performaces can be promoted or denied by variations in the weather conditions. why else would all the local strava sectors have been kom'd during galeforce winds?

prior to outlining ten indoor training sessions, none of which i could bring myself to read, there is a brief resumé of the various types of indoor devices which may help you decide which is the best option for your level of cycling and bank balance (see dan russell's price list from yesterday). but once those allegedly serious bouts of training are over and done with for the day, don't forget to ride outdoors, if only to remind yourself of why you wanted to ride a bike in the first place.

i know it makes sense.

british cycling indoor training manual

thursday 28 february 2019

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

dan's the man

indoor trainer - zwift

i can but apologise in advance for the following diatribe, where, with some assistance from across the pond, i will probably manage to be arrogant, critical and cynical in a matter of a few paragraphs. however, though the nature of the north american assistance gained will become apparent as my monologue rolls along, it seems only fair to mention mr dan russell, a long time correspondent of mine, who selflessly spent more time perusing the internet than he'd care to admit.

please read on.

though i have no idea if he was the originator of the hashtag/slogan, but during my days in provence several years ago, rapha continental rider, ben lieberson, was to be seen wearing a t-shirt inscribed with #outsideisfree, a phrase that i have introduced on many a previous occasion. of course, though the actual outside can be regarded as free at the point of consumption, if we relate it to the act of cycling, the 'free' bit tends to become less forceful.

many of us own bicycles that, if push came to shove, we'd admit are just a smidgeon outside of our own personal realms of necessity. i shouldn't think that peter sagan would have any difficulty in justifying the £10,500 demanded for his s-works venge, or indeed, the price of any other bicycle he deemed likely to carry him to victory. however, i don't mind confessing that, personally, i'd have a heck of a job trying to convince mrs washingmachinepost and all of the chaps in the sunday morning peloton, that such expense could ever be justified by my level of cycling ability.

and though i can see hands being raised at the back of the room, i figure that remarkably few of you are any better qualified when it comes to such extravagant expenditure. but, in reality, that matters not one whit. though there's little doubt that expensive bicycles offer enormous bragging rights and often sumptuous ride quality, it's every bit as possible to enjoy a bike ride on something a whole lot cheaper.

if it's proof that you're looking for, last summer, when on the nearby island of arran, finding myself with a day-off from percussive duties, i borrowed a dreadful mountain bike to cycle a matter of 100km or thereabouts in roasting heat to visit the cycling café at lagg on arran's southern coast. misfiring gears, perpetual chain suck and a saddle that offered the comfort factor of a coal bunker didn't stop me from having a grand day out. and i wasn't even wearing cycling gear.

however, following on from the knowledge that today's youngsters apparently spend more hours on screen-time than in the great outdoors (which, if you recall, is free), there's that branch of velocipedinal activity intent on following suit. and, surprise, surprise, that is very far from free. which brings me conveniently to the selfless research carried out by dan the man into the cost of remaining indoors.

while recovering indoors following a period of illness, dan researched the cost of a relatively economic (no sniggering at the back) zwift setup. as he himself stated " good enough to take advantage of the platform's best features (and far from the indoor pain cave crowd's idea of an 'ultimate' set-up)." apologies for the dollar prices, but it's dan's lingua franca. and while i like to present myself as an expert in all matters velocipedinal, i confess that there are a few items on the following list that i'd be hard-pressed to explain.

$1,400 Tacx Neo Smart Trainer II
$1,900 Dell Alienware Aurora gaming PC console (8th gen. INTEL i7 + Nvidia GTX 1080)
$600 Samsung 50" NU7100 smart UHD 4K monitor
$250 Wahoo Headwind smart fan
$250 Wahoo bike desk
$90 AllCam T940 tripod TV floor stand
$90 Dell wireless keyboard + mouse
$70 Wahoo training mat
$30 Garmin Ant + Sticks for Zwift
$25 Tacx sweat cover

adding up the above dollar prices shows the basic price of admission to be $4,700, which dan has calculated as equivalent to £3,600. tellingly, the above doesn't include the cost of a peter sagan replica s-works venge, nor dan's existing garmin, cadence sensor and a heart-rate monitor. though his perspective and location is a bit different than our own, on this side of the pond, he told me "I could either spend $4700 to ride Zwift's virtual Richmond World's course, or pump $30 worth of gas into my car's tank, put a bike on the roof, drive 100 miles and ride the actual course."

though i can see many faces querying quite what my point might be, consider this: suppose there was an international rule that said you had to spend this kind of dosh, simply to ride your bike. a bit like joining an exclusive golf club.

i thought that might do it. just ride your bike.

wednesday 27 february 2019

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

an embarrassing chain of events

campagnolo 12 speed chain

we've all been there; out on a heck of a bike ride, pounded by galeforce crosswinds, grovelling into a similar strength of headwind and all but drowned with horizontal rain. purgatory at the time, but positively heroic to anyone who asks. maybe you've endured much the same only the wind's been a tad less onerous and the rain a smidgeon less horizontal in its trajectory. but the end result's been much the same.

i've experienced a couple of weekends like that, easily playing into my bram de groot or gerben de knecht personas, ready, willing and able to don a quick-step jersey at the end of the month, should they find themselves short of a classics specialist. which, of course, i am until the alarm goes off in the morning. but in the case of the professionals who participate in those spring classics (paris-roubaix is but 46 days distant), no matter the weather in which they find themselves, on arriving at the finish line, there will be soigneurs to make them more socially presentable, and a team of mechanics, whose sole purpose in life is to clean and fettle the bicycles, ready to do battle when next required.

if i've gained no other inspiration from watching the professionals at work, it's the sparkle and shine of their velocipedes that has ingrained itself in my psyche. when the motorbike cameraman decides to hold the lens at axle height, showing an immaculately shiny chain spinning noiselessly through rear jockey wheels, i inevitably make a quick mental check as to whether, were that camera following yours truly, would the onscreen image feature quite so much bling? sadly, the answer is, more often than not, a resounding 'no'.

during my second festive 500 outing, when cleaning the chain post ride, i noticed that one of the sideplates had cracked. glad that i'd spotted this before it inevitably broke miles from anywhere, i have endeavoured to clean and check my chain after each and every bike ride. this is a particularly prudent move around this time of year, for parts of islay are well off the beaten track, probably meaning a lengthy walk home, should any mechanical malfeasance occur. however, though the spirit may be willing, every now and again, it simply isn't.

i seriously doubt i am alone in returning to the croft resembling a drowned rat, after a particularly wet and windy sunday morning ride. after a shower, change of clothes and a fine repast, courtesy of mrs washingmachinepost, do i really want to throw on my waterproofs and pop outside to remove the belgian toothpaste from frame and componentry? couldn't i just do it tomorrow, when the weather's better?

just to remind you of a well-worn cliché: tomorrow never comes.

that particular set of circumstances came home to roost yesterday when i chose to remedy just such a situation. and i cannot do otherwise, but humbly apologise to ritchey and campagnolo for having left the bicycle in such a sorry state. in fact, so embarrassed was i by the state of that record twelve-speed chain, that i refrained from snapping any images with which to illustrate my pain.

though many a component is necessary to ensure the smooth, forward motion of any bicycle, the poor, forgotten chain probably gets the worst deal, followed closely by the bottom bracket. if cleaned immediately after an inclement bike ride, a nice new chain, such as that adorning the ritchey logic, will remain in the pristine condition visually described by the tv camera mentioned above. in the case under discussion, not only was the chain peppered with pockets of rust, but one or two links were displaying less vertical flexibility than they really should have.

rest-assured, reparations have been made; fervent cleaning and polishing has been undertaken and there's every chance that even its own mother wouldn't recognise it. but i'd really appreciate it if you'd keep this between ourselves. i'm not good at handling shame.

tuesday 26 february 2019

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