clug bicycle storage solution

hornit clug

every time there are bank holiday adverts on the tv for those out of town diy stores, it's all i can do to hide my embarrassment, either by pretending not to notice the advertisement, or directing the conversation in an alternative direction. my only contribution to the art of do-it-yourself, is a large, unkempt pile of newspapers and magazines on the floor, something for which i'm not entirely happy to take sole responsibility.

you would perhaps sympathise with my plight if you saw the state of thewashingmachinepost bikeshed, a wooden edifice that has seen almost thirty years of use, while fending off the worst of the hebridean weather in the process. it has been coated with several different colours of wood preservative, and had its exterior walls doubled up with more than just single layers of plywood.

as star trek's mr spock would likely announce "it's diy jim, but not as we know it."

hornit clug

however, no matter the parlous state of this bike shelter, for that has become its sole purpose in life, at least i have one, even if the door requires a padlocked latch at the top and a bolt at the bottom to keep it closed in galeforce winds. it sits to one side of a small, postage stamp sized rear garden, its gable-end ultilised to fasten the washing line, after the pole disintegrated a few years past. however, there are many among you who will be seething with envy, that i actually possess a bike shed and a back garden. many avid cyclists are domiciled in upper floor flats, or compact and bijou houses with no outside real estate on which to place a bike shed or garage.

hornit clug

if we mostly adhere to velominati's rule #12, where the correct number of bicycles to own is n+1, and n = the number of bicycles already in your ownership, that is potentially a lot of bicycles to store indoors, midst comfortable and stylish living quarters. throughout recent times, there have been many proffered solutions to this conundrum; it may be possible to lock the bicycle in a hallway or on the landing; i have come across many brackets that allow bolting to an immoveable surface, before locking the bicycle to same, but those n+1 machines are more than likely to annoy, or simply get in the way of non-cycling neighbours.

brackets, shelves and many other resolutions to a concrete problem for the multitudes can prove highly effective, but are more than likely to confound the room's feng shui and lessen favour with your partner/spouse. and that's sort of where hornit's less than attractively named clug enters the fray. comprising two u-shaped plastic brackets which interlock with each other, this extremely minimal, yet effective design, takes up almost no space at all on whichever wall to which you opt to affix it, yet stores vertically, pretty much any road bicycle you care to mention. in fact, no matter the style and size of bicycle you own (road, hybrid, mtb), there's a clug designed to accommodate its presence.

hornit clug

of course, though the bracket may be of minimal existence, a vertically mounted bicycle is unlikely to be described in similar manner. additionally, if you've been perambulating the estates during less than clement weather, that larg(ish) bicycle will probably drip all over your sitting room or hallway carpet. and it won't be crystal clear water neither.

fixing the bracket to a wall requires a number one son, with substantially more diy nous than possessed by yours truly. additionally, he has a toolkit featuring many devices of which i remain totally ignorant. the safest option is to use the supplied screws to attach the clug directly to either a brick wall, should one be available, or preferably into a wooden batten behind the plasterboard. rather obviously, the latter will provide more support when positioning or removing the bicycle. the roadie clug accepts tyre widths ranging from 23mm all the way to an almost cyclocross 32mm. the others alluded to above take care of wider and mtb knobblies.

hornit clug

while the clug held a colnago master or ibis hakkalugi with a tenacious grasp, there still remains the need to avoid banging into the bicycle while carrying the suppertime tea and biscuits. though i've refrained from clouting the bicycle(s) from the side, it seem quite likely that so doing would be likely to wrench the clug from an immaculately wallpapered wall.

careful how you go.

hornit's clug device seems, on the face of it, a highly practical solution to a problem likely to become more prevalent in future years. its superpower is an admirably minimalist existence when no bicycle is slotted into its minuteness; you can even, within reason, tailor it to the decor; the roadie version can be purchased in orange/white (as reviewed), black/white or black/black for a mere £14.99, with free uk delivery. assuming you have a member of the family better acquainted with diy than you are, this is reliable, economic simplicity personified. just remember to sit the back tyre on a mat or tray if you value your relationship.

hornit clug

monday 30 september 2019

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we're all doomed, captain mainwaring


on friday afternoons, when the bulk of the week's work has passed, i head up to the local secondary school, where i teach higher and advanced higher drumset, an enjoyable task i have undertaken for the past three years. given that the start time for this tutoring is 13:45, and the office lunch break ends at 13:00, there is frequently insufficient time to embark on any other pressing projects, so i'm in the habit of faffing about on design websites or, in the case of yesterday, youtube, always the fallback of the reluctant worker.

as regular adherents of the video-based site will know, the so-called home page presents the user with a series of categorised thumbnails, ostensibly relating to interests that they may or may not have. i can assure you that videos featuring motor cars rarely fall into any of those categories, but yet, there, amongst my personalised selection was a video purporting to show a bugatti veyron racing against a ferrari formula one car over one lap of italy's monza race circuit. rather uncharacteristically, i opted to watch, because there were yet ten minutes before i had need of heading to the school.

bizarrely enough, the bugatti was given almost a substantial half-lap head start, the reason for which i attempted to find, by reading the comment section below the video. though i never did find out why, i did discover, in common with the majority of commenters, that i had not noticed the entire video was, in fact, a computer animation, so life-like, that the fact had passed me (and others) by completely. on taking a second and closer look, though the trees, bushes and grass were all immaculately reproduced, none of them even so much as fluttered in the breeze. and when either car ran very close to the kerb, adjacent patches of grass remained resolutely still.

given the quality of animation and the computing power now at our fingertips, the day cannot be too far distant when it will be possible to view an entire grand prix prescripted by a barrage of intel processors. in fact, why stop at formula one? given the smooth, accurate rendition of the bugatti versus a ferrari, coupled with the impending onset of artificial intelligence, there are few other sports that cannot, presumably, be outlined in similar manner. is this to be welcomed, or should we be concerned?

naturally enough, one of the sporting activities easily portrayed by intel inside, could likely be cycling, inroads to which have already been made by the folks at zwift. it is not so many weeks since i mentioned that the long beach, california-based virtual cycling promoters had added scenery to their fictional land of watopia, in order to keep the folks happy indoors. if you apply the sort of animation quality currently available, aside from your mother popping in to dust the sideboard and hoover the carpet, you could actually be there in person (quite why you'd want to be, is a discussion for another day).

all this, in my distinctly biased opinion, merely adds to the sense of velocipedinal despondency, cut to the quick by this week's joint announcement at the world road race championships in yorkshire, by the aforementioned zwift and the union cycliste internationale (uci). as proudly displayed on the uci website, below a photo of smiling president david lappartient and head of e-sports at zwift, craig edmondson, comes the statement "The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is pleased to announce that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Zwift, for the governance and development of cycling esports as a new cycling discipline."

the temptation is to hide behind the sitting-room sofa and never come out.

the outcome of this meeting of great minds (sic) is the organisation by the uci, of a 2020 cycling e-sports world championships, taking place on the zwift platform. though i have no idea how these championships will be physically facilitated (will all competitors be aboard identical machinery, will there be kickr augmentation, etc., etc.?) "The UCI and Zwift have agreed that a maximum of 15 National Championships will be organised in select countries as well as Continental Championships; these competitions, organised on-site or remotely on-line, will act as qualification events for the new UCI Cycling E-sports World Championships. The Zwift application will be the only programme used for all these events."

though this smacks of a monopoly, as far as the adoption of zwift as the sole application is concerned, this development seems to fly in the face of what cycling has always been about. if i might use paris-roubaix as a prime example, it's the randomness of the cobbles, the prospect of inclement weather and any other number of variables that add to the event's excitement, conditions that would be hard, if not pointless, to replicate in the virtual world. how are prospective e-cyclists to experience headwinds, crosswinds, rain, uneven road surfaces, punctures, all features that often distinguish one race from another? no matter the quality and verisimilitude of the virtual reality displayed on a big screen, ultimately, the riders are indoors, sitting aboard stationary bicycles.

it might be virtual racing, but it sure as heck isn't cycling.

zwift | union cycliste internationale

saturday 28 september 2019

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prescriptive cycling

cycling uk -wheelness

because it suits my purposes, i have continually cited cycling as the curer of all ills. i am no longer in the first flush of youth, yet i figure i'm healthier than ever i have been, able to cycle comfortable distances each and every weekend, while folks half my age, puff and pant up bowmore main street with their shopping most fridays. it's been many a long year since i visited the doctor for any professed ailment and currently, i take no regular prescription medication (or any other type, for that matter). i am under no misapprehension that i am anything but most fortunate in this respect, but i do like to apportion my good fortune to regular cycling and the fact that i do not own a motor car.

each monday morning, i walk to the local primary school, wheeling a child's bicycle, to allow one of the youngsters in the charge of mrs washingmachinepost to undertake cycle proficency training later that same day. having discharged my principal task for the day, i then wander back to the office to carry out my graphical duties. along this return route, i pass the home of a primary school teacher in the process of reversing her large suv from the driveway, to motor the short distance i have just walked. it's moments such as the latter that provide the true definition of the word 'despair'.

yet, though i have had no cause to visit the medical profession for well over two decades, i do often wonder whether they hold the right attitude towards certain forms of illness. by implication, i'm left wondering why some patients at least are not advised to either walk or cycle in order to improve their fitness, wellbeing and mental health rather than take a piece of paper to the local pharmacy. in short, bicycles ought to be available on prescription.

you can no doubt imagine my surprise to discover that there is at least one medical professional in the national health service's employ who seems to think likewise. inverness-based gp, katie walter, was impressed to discover that a long-term patient had used cycling to help him combat recurrent bouts of depression. over a period of two years, the two of them examined how they could underline the potential mental and physical benefits of becoming and remaining active. these ministration have concentrated on overcoming the barriers that prevent many from enjoying the benefits of cycling.

operated by cycling uk in the inverness area, wheelness aims to connect bicycles with people who, due to personal circumstances, would be otherwise unable to access a bicycle. through local gp surgeries, such as that of dr walter, and home energy scotland, participants receive a bicycle, helmet and other equipment to suit their own needs. the scheme works similarly to that of cycle to work but without the attendant costs. the only condition is that participants take part in cycling uk's cycling evaluation project.

according to dr walter, several of her patients have received bicycles through the auspices of women's aid while at least two patients with ms have discovered a new freedom on two wheels. wheelness, now in its second year, has moved its target just a smidgeon, aiming to assist cancer recovery patients and a number of all ability individuals being provided with adapted bicycles. but just as one solution often begets a second, the success they've seen after providing patients with bicycles, encouraging greater physical activity, has shown up a need for better cycling infrastructure. involvement in this has offered a wider perspective to katie walter:

"(this) has probably done more to help me realise that my role as a GP needs to evolve and change; we have a voice, as health professionals, and we need to start using it in new and different ways, out of the consulting room and with local media, local politicians, and our local community."

which, despite my inherent and oft professed modesty, means that i was right all along.

cycling uk | image courtesy cycling uk

friday 27 september 2019

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inside out and back to front

twelve speed cassette

the same fellow i mentioned yesterday, who now owns the motor garage and showroom business built up by his father, was a schoolfriend of mine. when we were still at the age of inquisitiveness, he had 'acquired' a small room in the secondary building reserved for car storage, in which to conduct mechanical experiments on odds and ends discovered around the premises. in common with many other teenage boys, i had an intrinsic interest in how stuff worked; in fact, my bedroom bookshelf contianed a book entitled 'how things work'. so, in company with two others from our class, we would spend idyllic hours in this small concrete room, dismantling carburettors and starter motors, then pretending we had the faintest idea of how to rebuild them.

in truth, the only one of us with the vaguest idea of precisely how to do so, was the fellow who now owns the garage.

the car obsession did not last for long, partly because my parents would not trust me to carry out any serious maintenance on their own vehicles, but mostly because i did not trust me to to carry out any serious maintenance on their vehicles. it's all very well understanding what a camshaft is designed to do, but quite another to be confronted by the real-life component drowned in engine oil and utterly necessary to ensure the smooth running of the engine to which it was attached. as a teenage boy, i was usually in enough trouble, without removing parts from my mother's car when it was required to get to and from work.

bicycles looked and are, a darned sight simpler, but are every bit as likely to confound the innocent bystander as was the camshaft mentioned above. old-timers like yours truly will understand where i'm coming from, but the cassette hubs that we currently take for granted were preceded by the freewheel' or, more coloquially, the 'block'. freewheels, for the uninitiated, screwed onto the rear hub, requiring a specific tool to remove. sadly, that latter requirement was one that had escaped my attention, so when the notion to remove the block from my first road bike arose (for no discernible reason), idiotically, i simply unscrewed the centre lockring, took the sprockets off and unleashed what looked like thousands of tiny ball bearings all over the garage floor. i will not waste your time by relating just how long it took to put the whole thing back together again and the vocabulary implemented in the process.

i do like to think that i have a decent level of mechanical aptitude, and, no disrespect intended, i feel better undertaking my own cycle maintenance rather than handing it over to the local bike shop. the fact that the latter option doesn't actually exist, is really neither here nor there. however, i'm none too sure that i'm ready and willing to take on the worlds of ergopower lever reconstruction, electronics, or, indeed, hydraulics. everyone has their limitations.

the concerning aspect behind the above ruminations was brought to the fore with a short passage encountered in a book i am currently reviewing. in this, the author realises that she is not a person who tinkered with a bike for fun; her obsession was with the feeling obtained when everything 'worked'. the sad fact is that, until this moment of enlightenment, it hadn't dawned on me that such a singular approach to the bicycle even existed. in my defence, it's frequently the job of a conscientious reviewer to pay attention to such niceties; let's face it, if i spent a couple of months reviewing a bicycle and all my review said was 'it was nice',you'd be unlikely to return for a second opinion at a later date.

but surely the holy grail is to achieve a symbiotic co-existence such as that engineered by apple computer? since apple is in charge of not only creating the operating system, but building the hardware, they are in the ideal position to ensure both work well together. yet campagnolo have built their twelve-speed groupset and bora carbon wheels, completely unaware that i might conjoin them with a ritchey logic steel frame. that the combination works beautifully is surely testament to both tom ritchey and valentino campagnolo. and though i'm the chap responsible for conducting this marriage made in heaven and thus measured by the technical constraints of so doing, it would behove me well to simply ride the bike and leave the technical aspects at home in the bike shed.

many have compared the art of bike riding with all manner of philosophical pursuits and states of mind, often verging on the pretentious. but perhaps cycling's version of the answer 42, is that we should all simply enjoy the 'gestalt', when everything works as designed and as you'd always fervently hoped it would.

but i'm still going to carry a multi-tool in case it doesn't.

thursday 26 september 2019

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sartorial maintenance

rapha mechanics range

though i've no wish to descend into cliché, as a poor student in the late 1970s, and in common with many of my colleagues, i would usually wear my levis until they could no longer be legally described as 'jeans'. the more holes that appeared about their person, the more internal and external patches appeared, until there was probably less of the original garment left than constituted the aforesaid patches. however, wearing disintegrating netherwear was mostly a necessity as opposed to a fashion choice.

like many of her age group and younger, my daughter-in-law frequently sports denim jeans with most of the knees missing. all but replicating those levis of yesteryear; the big difference here is that she bought her jeans that way from new, and more than likely paid a premium for the holy privilege. i'm sure those who arrive dressed in such a carefully curated dishevelled state are fed up with my offering to purchase the rest of their apparel for birthday or christmas. however, it's hard to deny that they make an easy target.

rapha mechanics range

those college jeans, during periods of sculpture education, could eventually remain standing upright when removed at day's end, while washing them risked their becoming a scuplture all of their very own. perhaps obviously enough, handling welded metal, clay, super-glue, resin and all manner of other invasive substances was hardly designed to keep one's apparel in pristine condition. if nothing else, this would explain the incredulity displayed by prospective art students visiting at the tail end of the school term. dressed in the manner they presumably thought appropriate to advertise their inherent artistic bent, meeting a phalanx of scruffy art students dressed uniformly in jeans and t-shirts must have burst a few idealistic bubbles.

rapha mechanics range

a friend of mine in scotland owns a car garage and showroom, the latter of which features a large glass window offering a clear view of the workshop. should they have little better to do, customers awaiting the fixing of their vehicles, can avail themselves of a machine dispensed coffee, while examining the mechanical expertise being performed on the other side of the window. though i have no vehicle that might benefit from such maintenance procedures, when visiting, i have occasionally peered into the workshop to observe the wielding of wrenches, spanners and the like upon the undersides and engine compartments of a range of motor cars.

in the process of so doing, i cannot necessarily claim to have observed the sartorial correctness of the garage mechanics, though i do know that they wore uniformly blue overalls. if you can recall newspaper images from the incessant round of catwalk fashion shows, i think, along with yours truly, you will struggle to recall any couture directly aimed at the typical car mechanci. or, come to that, the archetypal bicycle mechanic.

rapha mechanics range

in that, we would appear to be somewhat remiss, for as of yesterday, rapha racing unveiled their range of mechanics' casual workwear: jackets, shirts, t-shirts, trousers and jeans. i'd be fibbing if i said i'd never come across the occasional similar item over the years; park tool have previously offered mechanics' shirts. i've even owned a couple, but on the very few occasions i've visited bike shops in britain and the usa, the mechanics have either worn aprons or shirts extracted from suppliers or their employer. with no disrespect, few of them have exhibited what might be determined as a sense of style.

i must presume, therefore, that rapha are attempting to do the same for mechanics as they have arguably achieved for the self-respecting roadie. and once again, with no disrespect intended, i'm not sure that they'll succeed, particularly with the white short-sleeve and long-sleeve t-shirts. unless you are a mechanic of remarkably impressive countenance, i seriously doubt that any item of white apparel will remain so for longer than a few minutes.

rapha mechanics range

to a certain extent, the well-known rapha pricing makes sense, for though i have not personally handled any of these items, from the images i have been provided with, they seem of impeccable quality. they would need only last as long as rapha's classic range of sportwool jerseys (i possess just such a jersey, purchased in 2005, that looks every bit as good as it did when removed from the packet), to justify the cost. but if i mentally survey the mechanics of my acquaint, i can think of few who would be likely to outfit themselves thus, even if i think the range to be particularly stylish.

having said that, since rapha arrived some fifteen years ago, they have built a company with a multi-million pound turnover and during which time thewashingmachinepost has barely altered one iota and the turnover of which barely makes it into a three figure sum.

so what do i know?

incidentally, i did ask rapha if the mechanics' range would form a part of their custom shop, on the basis that may bikestores might like to personalise a clothing order to give their service centre a corporate identity. sadly, at present, that's not on the plan, though ricky feather seems to have applied appropriate ident to his.

rapha mechanics' range

wednesday 25 september 2019

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going round in circles

raleigh wheelbuilding

the present-day wheel market is substantially different than when i first became involved with bicycles to a greater degree than simply riding to and from work. i think the majority of us still recall having bought our first road bicycle of a quality far removed from either that which currently sits in the bike shed, or from the one that sits longingly in the online wish-list. and i doubt i'd be too far from the mark if i made the assumption that the wheels affixed to that first machine were rudimentary at best. u-shaped alloy rims built with plain gauge, rustless spokes ('scuse me while i emit a brief snigger - rustless indeed), rounded off with rubber rim tape that rarely covered the spoke nipples for any appreciable length of time.

does that bring back any memories?

i'm loathe to admit that any appreciation of just how those wheels were built was not within my experience at that point of time, a state of affairs that continued for more years than you'd like to think. if i'm brutally honest, the first time i became aware that there were a number of different tiers of wheelbuilding was the discovery that robert millar had commissioned pete matthews to construct a suitably light and spartan pair for his king of the mountains exploits in french france. if memory serevs well, those consisted of royce hubs laced to pianni rims, but i stand willing to be corrected.

if any of you recall the two mail order cycling catalogues to which we all once subscribed (ron kitching and madison's freewheel), the latter at least offered the cognoscenti the opporchancity to acquire a set of bespoke, handbuilt wheels on which to continue their perambulations, long before the age of the factory built wheel dawned.

due to the substantial change in bicycle manufacture, not only did frame production eventually alter beyond recognition, but cocomitantly, so did that of the wheels attached to front and rear. if you cast your minds back far enough, you may even remember the non-existence of specific brands of wheels; fulcrum, hunt, zipp, enve, even mavic were scarcely twinkles in the corporate vision. mavic were world-renowned for their rims and latterly hubs (items that have recently been revived by the tour's neutral service providers), but were more concentrated on supplying the latter to wheelbuilders, than concerned with carrying out the task by themselves. additionally, the aluminium double-walled rim has been joined by the inevitably deeper, faster and occasionally dangerous carbon rim,matched with an alarming reduction in spoke count.

many of the latter are still the preserve of the factory build, available off-the-shelf from your nearest bike shop or online provider. but rather obviously, the latter style of wheel rarely comes in small, medium and large; in other words, the ksyrium wheelset you purchase, will probably be identical to the one i acquire, even though our style of riding and weights might differ substantially. differentiating between us, is the preserve and calling card of individuals such as derek mclay at wheelsmith. just like the finest of framebuilders, he is like to quiz you on your riding habits, type of bicycle and by how much you displace the bathroom scales.

yet even in these days of ready availability of wheelsets from the far east, ranging from penny-pinchers all the way to 'how much?', it's nice to learn that there is still sufficient interest from one of britain's former claims to velocipedinal glory, that they are investing substantial amounts of pound notes in new wheelbuilding machinery. already producing more than 100,000 wheels per year, raleigh uk have announced they are to install more 'state-of-the-art' wheelbuilding machines to provide wheelsets for everything from hybrid and mountain bikes to junior wheels for kids' bikes.

though i harbour some misgivings over the machine construction method, according to raleigh, the latter is principally used as a palliative to the gruntwork; each wheel will be finished by experienced, in-house technicians. nor will these wheels display a one-size-fits-all mentality. according to pippa wibberley, raleigh uk's managing director, "Plain gauge and double-butted spoke options will be made available, along with basic single wall and double wall v-brake or disc option rims and a wide choice of own brand or own branded hubs.

these are unlikely to rival the finest of handbuilt offerings, but i can only guess how many builders would be required to produce in excess of 100,000 wheels each year, so compromises are always going to be a part of the equation. that said, ms wibberley rather marked her card by continuing "I am confident that our customers will achieve great things throughout the rest of 2019 and beyond." that strikes me as probably a platitude too far.

tuesday 24 september 2019

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