the big climb. how the world's toughest road race created a nation of cycling superstars. stephen norman. smiths hall publishing softback. 173pp illus. £22.50

the big climb - stephen norman

it's not so very long ago that britain was considered something of a backwater in velocipedinal terms. yes, there was tom simpson, brian robinson, iain steel and robert millar occasionally flying the flag, but that was over a substantial time-frame, and not one that would point to the emergence of our nation as a force to be reckoned with. central europe had, until relatively recently, been seen as the traditional hotbed of cycling champions: fausto coppi, eddy merckx, bernard hinault, jacques anquetil et al. even the americans, despite a considerable population upon which to draw, excluding the excluded armstrong years, have fared little better than the uk.

the big climb - stephen norman

in short, it may be a tad myopic to think of cycling victories in nationalistic terms. strong individual riders, it seems, who happen to find themselves in the right team, are more than likely to find victory. would formula one's lewis hamilton be fêted quite as much, were he to have languished in one of the sport's less well-funded cars?

of course, britain's success has taken a distinct upward turn since the advent of lottery funding, initially on the track, but subsequently also in the grand tours. with geraint thomas's second place in last year's tour de france, it would be foolish to predict that success from this side of the channel is about to wane. but if we take note of the ineos rider who finished ahead of thomas, perhaps it wouldn't be outlandish to take note of the recent emergence of cycling talent from colombia.

the big climb - stephen norman

this is the contention of author stephen norman, who has written a well-researched book on the rise and rise of colombian cycling, paving the way for the successes of egan bernal, nairo quintana, esteban chaves (who has written the foreword), rigoberto úran and others. researching for a novel to be set within the confines of a grand tour, norman was apparently struck by the successes of the colombian riders and wondered why these should be particular to this one country, rather than any of the neighbouring nations. it transpired that colombian cyclists were outperforming the rest of south america combined. what could be their secret?

his continued research led to the revelation that there was precious little in print regarding colombia's indigenous velocipedinal life (before you rush to point it out, he does give credence in the footnotes, to matt rendell's excellent 'kings of the mountains') according to the author, it is particularly informative to return to the early 1950s and the instigation of the tour of colombia, when 35 intrepid riders assembled in bogota to ride across the mountains on roads more suited to the current trend for gravel bikes. you need only pay heed to the illustration atop this review, to see how true that was.

the big climb - stephen norman

but what of those mountains? how many of us have the faintest idea of what he speaks? in fact, if only to confirm the author's discovery that colombia itself is hardly well-documented, other than by its reputation for constant drug wars and shootings, who amongst us knows much, if anything, about the country? thankfully, stephen norman has had the perspicacity to place all this in some form of geographical, sociological and political context. for instance, the country is comprised of 32 departments, or states, each of which has a capital, an assembly and its own governor. the topography of colombia has combined to provide each of these departments its own cultural identity.

the big climb - stephen norman

there are three 'fingers of mountain ranges stretching from colombia's southern border to its north eastern meeting with venezuela. the capital, bogota, sits on the eastern cordilleras, a mountain range with permanently snow-covered peaks rising to 5,000 metres. nairo quintana, raised in a farmhouse in boyaca (3,200 metres) was in the habit of riding 16 kilometres to school, with an ascent on the return trip of over 700 metres. how many of our sunday morning rides feature that before coffee?

the mainstay of the big climb is a year by year reprise of the tour of colombia, commencing in 1950, regularly punctuated with more specific, but related digressions:

"Colombian cyclists are popularly known as 'escarabajos'. An escarabajo - a scarab - is a species of beetle, common in Colombia.
"It was Ramón Hoyos was first called 'un escarabajo', after his spectacular performance climbing the Alto de Latras in the 1952 Vuelta (de Colombia)"

the big climb - stephen norman

the book is also illustrated beyond your wildest dreams. in fact, if the book has one major strength, it is in the iconic, monochrome photography, a feature that doubtless took many rigorous hours of research to unveil. in fact, there is a double-page-spread displaying the work of horacio gil ochoa, who spent almost 40 years photographing bike racing, mostly in south america and, not unnaturally, including the tour of colombia.

south americans have a reputation for being hot-blooded, prone to spontaneous celebration and an enthusiastic support of their heroes. you need only recall the virtual deification of brazilian formula one driver, ayrton senna. and it appears that the colombians are not afraid to follow suit in praise of their cycling heroes. this from the 2019 tour of colombia:

"...Nairo Quintana needed 20 police and security officials to get him from the podium to the bus - it was impossible not to be infected by it all.
the big climb - stephen norman "There was a visceral wave of noise when Berna, Quintana, Úran and pints jersey winner, Fernando Gaviria were called out onto the podium..."

for those of us who didn't see bernal coming, and queried why team sky (now ineos) offered the youngster a five year contract, this excellent book will fill in pretty much all of the gaps in our knowledge of what has emerged as one of the foremost cycling countries in the world. it may be that they'll be less likely to upset the world of track riding, a genre less dependent on the ability to climb like a mountain goat, but i for one would be less than comfortable betting against it. if i have a single criticism of the big climb, it's the four column text layout. i do appreciate how this has benefited the display of the accompanying images, but i did find it a bit irritating to read. however, that's quite probably me and not you and in no way diminishes the quality of the author's content or narrative.

it's likely a bit late to grab a copy before christmas, but it's not unheard of to offer new year's day presents, even if it's only for yourself.

the big climb by stephen norman at amazon

the big climb - stephen norman

monday 23 december 2019

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

prendas santini vetements z l/s jersey

prendas/santini vetements z long-sleeve

the appropriately named aerodynamicist, simon smart, founded drag2zero in 2007, utilising wind tunnels and computational fluid dynamics to assist individual cyclists and leading players within the industry to optimise their use of aerodynamics. though drag2zero's pushing of the boundaries to the edge of the uci's acceptability has occasionally brought them to the brink of controversy, that particular iniquity has scarcely impinged upon their continued product development with the likes of endura, enve and scott.

prendas/santini vetements z long-sleeve

simon smart contends that there is still continued mileage to be gained (pardon the pun) within the realm of cycling apparel, a contention that doubtless warms the cockles of the sport's suppliers of garmentage. it's quite possible that the aerodynamic headroom available to the bicycle and component designers has narrowed to a point beyond even mr brailsford's marginal gains. that there is reputed room for applied improvement to jerseys and shorts, must be of great consolation.

however, if aerodynamics are the key to velocipedinal sporting success, there are surely obvious anomalies to be addressed? for instance, it is hard to avoid noting the number of world tour professionals to whom the adjective hirsute might be readily applied. surely remaining unshaven, contrary to il campionissimo's stern directive, undermines those dimpled sleeves and svelte lycra in their expensive efforts to slice through the air in the quest for victory? why don't the pros shave their forearms as well as their legs. and why would you grow a ponytail?

prendas/santini vetements z long-sleeve

the latter factor is one i have espoused from the (extremely) amateur ranks for nigh on two decades, providing the undoubtedly spurious excuse for my tardiness in the peloton. but, in the same way that one might attempt to emulate charlie watts by refraining from playing the hi-hat simultaneously with the snare backbeat, growing a ponytail 'neath one's casquette or cycle helmet might reasonably be seen as an homage to the great robert millar (as was). throughout the latter part of his career, the 1984 tour de france king of the mountains was renowned for not only his unique style and scots temperament, but also for riding with his shoulder length hair tied back in a less than aerodynamic style.

prendas/santini vetements z long-sleeve

therefore, in order to review the prendas/santini long-sleeve 'vetements z' jersey, it seems only right and proper that i do likewise. there's every likelihood that this formed at least a part of the reason andy sent me the jersey in the first place. it is also a prime example of a business that has a sense of propriety and an inherent ability to do 'the right thing'. in september of this year, prendas e-mailed the cognoscenti with a poll, enquiring of the great and good, which long-sleeve retro jersey they should put into production for 2019. the options were ferreti, mapei, st raphael or roger zannier's 'vetement z.

prendas/santini vetements z long-sleeve

as far as i'm aware, the winner was actually st raphael, but such was the prospective goodwill to be found from a long-sleeve z jersey, that prendas had santini manufacture that alongside the true winner. oddly enough, despite not being the poll winner, legend has it that the z jersey is currently outselling the st raphael version.

there is, of course, good reason for this situation; not only is this the jersey worn by millar, but also by his ever popular team leader, greg lemond. in fact, while riding the 1989 tour of britain, millar took off into the distance early in the race, eventually taking the overall win, allegedly on being told the news that roger legeay had just signed lemond to the team. thus the jersey's palmares has distinct scottish overtones, put to good use in this particular review.

prendas/santini vetements z long-sleeve

santini have produced specialist cycle clothing for over fifty years and are quite possibly underestimated in the modern, whizz-bang world of seasonal updates. thus, the vetements z long-sleeve jersey offers an impeccable fit, with well-judged length to the long sleeves and torso. naturally enough, not only are there the ubiquitous three rear pockets, but a zipped fourth for keys and/or coffee money. recent jerseys from santini have featured a clever zip-lock, meaning that, in the down position, the zip remains precisely where the rider expects it to remain. as befits a winter jersey, the collar is tangible in its height, and the inner surface features a minimalist, yet cosy fleece.

prendas/santini vetements z long-sleeve

i'd be fibbing if i said the jersey was robust enough to be worn al-fresco in a hebridean december; contrary to phil collins' advice, a jacket was required. however, santini have built the jersey to breathe, even when climbing towards carnduncan demanded greater effort than i'd expected. at that particular point, aerodynamics were very far from my puffing and panting thoughts; you'd have to ask simon smart about that. it goes without saying, that a ponytail is hardly a specific necessity to accompany the wearing of this iconic jersey, one stylishly commemorated in an early edition of rouleur magazine, by the inimitable richard mitchelson. however, if purchasing, you may find an overwhelming desire to grow one.

the prendas/santini long-sleeve vetements z jersey is available in an enormous range of sizes, ranging from xs all the way to 8xl (medium reviewed). at a retail price of £82.99.

prendas/santini vetements z long-sleeve jersey

sunday 22 december 2019

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

more questions than answers

peloton magazine 91

the cover of the latest issue of peloton magazine sports a photo of a cyclist's dust-covered leg, astride a similarly decorated bicycle, of which only the right crank, chain and knobbly tyres are visible. if this were even five years ago, you'd be forgiven for thinking the masthead had been errantly applied to a mountain bike publication, but in fact, the e-mail alerting me to the digital availability of this latest edition, advised 'the gravel issue is here'; a bold statement from a magazine that has hitherto concentrated on the international road scene. while i greatly admire the quality of both writing and imagery portrayed within the pages of each peloton issue, i now query whether they are attempting to be at the vanguard of the latest, road-related genre, or simply hitching a lift on a bandwagon already well underway?

uk-based publication 'cyclist' launched its own gravel-based publication several months ago, so the fact that our neighbours across the atlantic, with countless miles of gravel roadways, seem so late to the party, can only hint at the possibility, that they too considered doing likewise before relenting to (for now) a single specialist issue. and, as previously reported, rapha ceo, simon mottram, recently nailed his own colours to the gravel mast, slightly at odds with his previous stance of attempting to make road-racing every bit as popular as soccer, snooker, rugby, et al. was that not the prime purpose of rapha's recently published roadmap, where they expounded what they perceived was wrong with the current road-racing model, and how to fix it?

though i confess to not having read every paragraph of the above, i did not gain the impression that the way to save road-racing was to move it offroad. that said, such experiments have already been made within the format of several road-races, by including an offroad section within the parcours, something that has not always proved popular with all team managers, particularly quick-step's patrick lefevre. however, bearing in mind the observation that 'it's all entertainment', if the 'gravel thing' becomes popular with the viewing public, either on tv or at the roadside, mr lefevre may have to swallow his pride.

but (and it's a large but), are we not guilty of simply imposing the essence of road-racing upon what is essentially mountain-biking? from the mid 1980s into the 90s, the latter was considered to be the saviour of the cycling industry, with chunky, multi-geared bicycles being sold to all manner of folks who had never heard of tom ritchey, charlie breeze or gary fisher, and probably not that interested either. bicycles built to scale steep, grassy or gravelly climbs and wade through thick gloopy mud, were being ridden to work, to school and to the shops, never likely ever to see a hint of a mountain.

all this while races such as the tour de france, la vuelta and il giro d'italia continued unabated, augmented with a phalanx of early-season, one day races. in fact, this issue of 'peloton' magazine features an interview with josh scott, the man behind jhs guitar effects pedals, who is to be seen wearing a t-shirt on the front of which is printed 'e3 harelbeke & gent-wevelgem & tour of flanders & paris-roubaix'. oddly enough, for an issue that considers itself to be a paean to gravel, that word is surely contradicted by scott's sense of classics fandom?

'peloton also provides its readers with an appraisal of shimano's gravel-specific, grx range of groupsets. lightly querying the need for a (road) bicycle groupset, solely concerned with gravel and offroad, the author describes the re-styled brake levers as "...more like a vertical version of mountain bike brakes...". i can't, surely, be the only one to wonder in which direction this is heading: are they enticing mountain bikers into the road-going fraternity, or is it the other way round?

in the grand scheme of things, does it really matter that much? if adapting what was once a cyclocross bike to fulfil someone's idea of a whole new genre of cycling brings more into the fold, sells more bicycles and keeps bicycle shops in business, where's the worry? and if cycling's governing body, the uci, is seriously considering an entire series of gravel bike races in the very near future, isn't that so much the better? that, it seems, would depend greatly on your point of view.

as a throwaway item, earlier in the run-up to christmas on the day following boris johnson's landslide uk election victory, i tweeted that, no matter the existence of both, more importantly, it was (at the time) only 122 days until paris-roubaix. it was scarcely designed to be a stunning revelation, worthy of world renown, but still, it was retweeted well over 100 times. i appreciate that, in itself, that hardly means much, but in an international calendar that many would agree is a tad overcrowded, the introduction of gravel races apparently designed to attract the intrepid roadie (professional or otherwise), surely risks relegating some of the lesser one-day races to obscurity?

the uci's globalisation policy, adding races in the middle and far east, along with the antipodes and the north american continent, has already seen many historical european events disappear altogether. my concern, and this is a purely personal opinion, would be that there's an outside possibility that the gravel scene, as is, may not be an everlasting trend. and if that proves to be the case, what might we lose in the process of promoting the emperor's new clothes? though highly unlikely to occur, would you really prefer a 'dirty kanza' in place of liege-bastogne-liege?

that said, i'm not entirely sure that europe is as well fortified with gravel roads, as is north america, at least from the point of view of offering lengthy and challenging parcours worthy of the professional peloton. granted, there's already paris-roubaix and strade bianche, both of which lend themselves ideally to being ridden on gravel bikes. but surely the attraction of both these classic events, to the racing aficionado, are the struggles of doing so aboard a bicycle not specifically designed for the terrain? it's what i believe is referred to as underbiking.

and, as if to prove that there's nothing new under the sun, rapha's original, north-american continental were attacking the gravel on custom steel and pink chris king componentry, over a decade ago. ef education first rider, lachlan morton, has perhaps confirmed the veracity of gravel riding combined with bike-packing (also featured in this issue of peloton), with no little success, and is to be roundly congratulated for his intrepid attitude. but how many gravel bikes will emulate their mountain bike predecessors and find themselves employed riding to school, to work and to the shops, rarely, if ever, coming across even a smidgeon of gravel in the process?

the more things change, the more they remain the same, possibly confirmed by peloton's review of a niner mcr 9 rdo, entitled 'a bold first step into gravel suspension'. this is accompanied by the image of a gravel bike, more closely resembling a mountian bike with drop bars, and specced with both front and rear suspension. "Companies are trying anything and everything to create more comfortable and faster off-road machines." oh to be a fly-on-the-wall in the uci's gravel office in aigle.

peloton magazine | rapha roadmap

saturday 21 december 2019

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

what's afoot?

moore large - lake shoes

when i were a youngster, my brother and i were fortunate that our parents paid particular heed to the needs of our feet. though we eventually progressed to clarks footwear, we both began our walking careers wearing start-rite shoes, for which, if memory serves, it was necessary to be correctly measured. thus, it was never appropriate to smilingly point to a pair of attractive shoes, but to sit on a fitting stool, while the assistant, by means of a suitably designed technical device, carefully checked which would be the appropriate size. this procedure was followed by an often lengthy visit to the storeroom to check if the desired footwear was available.

with the untrammeled demise of the high street and the concomitant rise of the internet, the above procedure appears to have become seriously diminished. if mrs washingmachinepost is anyone to go by, the current scenario consists of spending endless hours on the ipad, choosing the desired tootsie-covers, before bracket ordering: the correct size, along with the size below and the size above. because nowadays, any thoughts of a standardised shoe-size have apparently sailed off into the sunset. i can see several heads nodding in the background in agreement.

due to the vagaries of sizing and catalogue photography, i have often suggested that we simply have the items sent directly to the glasgow-islay carrier for immediate return, thus excluding the middleman from the process.

in velocipedinal terms, i except myself from the above scenario, because my imelda marcos sized shoe-cupboard has been filled predominantly with cycling footwear sent for review. such a fulfilment is generally made by my informing the distributor of the appropriate shoe-size, and several days later, an oblong cardboard box would arrive in the mail, opened with crossed fingers, in the hope that one manufacturer's size 44, is the same as the others. by and large, my faith in manufacturing has been justified.

however, a factor that seems unique to cycle shoes, is the subsequent necessity of affixing pedal cleats to the frontmost portion of the sole. there are any number of online articles describing how best to correctly fit the aforementioned cleats, including the salient advice to grease the bolts, easing the removal procedure when a new pair of footwear arrives in the foreseeable future. but, as a species, we are renowned for not reading the manual, simply positioning the cleats where we think is the best position. after all, the modern-day clipless pedal is designed with several degrees of float, meaning that a few degrees or millimetres of misalignment is relatively unlikely to result in subsequent knee problems.

at the risk of receiving a flurry of e-mails pointing out that i could not be more wrong, my own method consists of placing the cleat as far forward as possible, with the centre of the cleat aligning with the centre of the toe section of the shoe. therefore, both cleats point slightly inwards towards the bicycle frame. that works for me, but your mileage may vary. quite possibly the only secure way of getting this right, is to visit a specialist bike-fitter, which will, undoubtedly, increase the overall price.

in an effort to remove some of the guesswork involved in all of the above, moore-large, uk distributors of lake shoes, recently held a series of talks and practice sessions to help develop skills and comprehension for cycle sales professionals. though not entirely altruistic, in that they also introduced attendees to the 2020 lake footwear range, initiatives such as this, surely ought to remove some of the guesswork involved in buying a pair of cycling shoes, at least for those who purchase their footwear in person, rather than via a selection of pixels. this might be particularly apposite in the knowledge that lake's cx402 cfc carbon road shoes retail at a toe-curling £399.

however it still means that the status quo remains for those of us with no option but to buy online. unless, of course, moore-large and their peers opt to film these masterclasses and pop them on youtube. should that actually happen, i eagerly await the sound of a royalty cheque dropping through the letterbox.

moore large footwear range

thursday 19 december 2019

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

zen and the art of doing nothing

robert fripp - crafty guitarist

around five years ago, i came across a series of photographs depicting a recording session for a reputedly upcoming album release by guitarist, mark goldenberg, featuring bassist, jennifer condos and drummer,jay bellerose. on the basis that i rather enjoy the music-making of all three musicians, i e-mailed mr goldenberg to enquire when the album might be due for release. quite possibly reflecting the gestation process for a new bicycle, the album finally 'hit the shelves' in late 2017, snappily entitled 'trio'.

however, over the period of years between the album's initiation and its ultimate release, i contacted mark goldenberg on a few occasions, hoping the release would be sooner, rather than later. his cordial replies were always ended with this signature: 'putting the pain of artistic expression back in the audience where it belongs'. humorous though it may be, particularly if you happen to be a musician operating at the edge of popular acceptability, on closer examination, it transpires the phrase might be truer than you'd think.

though admittedly at something of a tangent, the above was brought to mind on receipt of a recent e-mail newsletter from dgm, the official voice of robert fripp and king crimson. while the latter has raised its popularity profile amongst those who would not necessarily consider themselves amongst the merry band of crimson aficionados, by touring the world with a lengthy set of their greatest hits, their fearless leader, robert fripp has remained as inscrutable as ever, or at least, so i thought.

the aforementioned newsletter introduced itself thus: "If music is to enter our world, the role of the audience is as necessary as the role of the musician", perhaps explaining my recollection of mark goldenberg's e-mail signature. the invitation, as it is constituted, forms the basis of an invitation to learn "...the techniques and approaches available to Crafty Guitarists." the latter is common parlance for mr fripp's group of string-based music-makers. i'd be inclined to point the finger at the guitarist for propounding a certain degree of pretentiousness, but in mitigation, he is noted as something of an intellectual, so that would likely make it a moot point.

one or two of the more astute among you may already have begun to see where i might be heading with this, but in the interests of mid-week procrastination, bear with me for a paragraph or two, where, once again, i'd like to quote from the newsletter; but wherever the word 'music' appears, try substituting the word 'cycling'.

"Music has its own intelligence, but can music change the world? If so, how? How does a musician become present in the place within them where music lives, or visits for a while? How is an audient present within themself when music visits? How does music come into our lives?

cycling is manifestly a physical activity, far more, i would imagine, than the act of strumming a guitar. it arguably remains gratifyingly free of being considered existentially; more simply a case of donning lycra and sportwool, clipping into pedals and proceeding to give ourselves a hard time for a few hours. i honestly cannot recall subsequently having had an intellectual conversation about such machinations, over a soya latte and lemon drizzle cake in debbie's mid-ride. but that's not to say it shouldn't happen, and not merely at irregular moments. though i have no truck with the art of indoor training, when the fellow in the peloton tv adverts begins with "okay peloton, let's do this", i fear it portrays the common or garden cyclist as possibly lacking in perspective, not to mention, brain power.

so, while i would be the last individual to castigate the collective peloton (not the indoor training bicycle) for its demonstrable physicality, perhaps an approach similar to that of mr fripp would not go amiss once in a while. and at least one aspect of the crafty guitarist's approach might resonate with the inveterate trainer, when fripp includes sessions on 'Doing Nothing - As Much As You Can', particularly when your better half insists you help with the tree decorations.

for the intrepid guitarists amongst you, robert fripp's invitation to join him for "an approach to play, playing, serious play and playing seriously" includes four days and nights at gideon putnam resort, saratoga springs, new york between october 22 - 26 2020. details and registration can be accessed at introduction to the guitar circle

photo: copyright dgmlive

wednesday 18 december 2019

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

it's sort of like this

television advertising

let's suppose, just for a minute or two at least, that you have never seen nor ridden a bicycle ever, and i have been tasked with explaining the concept to your uncomprehending confusion. how would i go about doing so? what would you need to know in order for all to make some sort of sense? should i try to describe a bicycle in terms of its double-diamond frame, handlebars, pedals, wheels, chain? when i put it like that, you can begin to see the problem, for if, like many emerging technologies, the bicycle is an abstraction that has, so far, passed you by, how would your mind reconcile all of the above into a single gestalt?

maybe i'd need to draw you a picture?

or perhaps a simpler method of making progress would be to describe cycling in terms of its overall potential? aside from being a recognised (by all, except you, for the time being) mode of transport, what about the physical and mental health benefits, coupled with the incredible lightness of being, in terms of carbon footprint and environmental ease? it occurs to me, as i write this, that it may take a combination of the two approaches outlined above to make more sense of that which i hope to impress upon your innocence.

but, at the risk of miring myself even deeper in the muddy puddle i have created, all the above can only be seen as purely positive propaganda, which, to only labour the alliteration even further, could be classed as proselytising. as one thoroughly convinced that cycling is the surefire way to save the planet and capable of curing all ills, i'd be highly likely to simply skim over the purported disbenefits. to place this in some sort of perspective, consider the same description of cycling as espoused by jeremy clarkson. i bet my dissertation is looking better by the minute.

obviously, the foregoing is purely hypothetical. there can be few across the world who are unfamiliar with the bicycle and its concomitant activity: cycling. there may be a couple of tribes in what's left of the amazonian rainforest to whom the above persuasions may still be necessary, but i'm sure you get my drift. so to what purpose might today's direction be put?

with christmas but a matter of a week distant, the telly box is infested with advertisements intent on having us purchase large quantities of products we scarcely need. and to do so, ad agencies have to reinvent the wheel, finding brief, visual concepts that succinctly achieve that which i have approached in my opening paragraphs. of course, not all are entirely successful; in evidence, i might cite those impossibly obscure perfume adverts, none of which make any sense whatsoever, and none of which succeeds in transmitting any cogent information about a product whose unique selling point rests squarely on its scent. we are, therefore, no more aware of the perfume's usp, after several views, than we were at the outset.

and though messrs apple, samsung and sony have produced varying qualities of advert to promote their mobile telephones, all we really learn is how many pixels the cameras feature and the ever increasing levels of security applied to keep the device safe from prying eyes. yet the perfumes sell and it's all apple and samsung can do to keep up with demand. and while i do accept that the bicycle industry is a small niche in the worldwide economy, thus limiting the budgets available for television advertising, is that contention actually true?

though obviously playing to a relatively small gallery, scottish television has trailered a series of self-promoting adverts, in which one or two businesses attest to the veracity of television advertising. one example consist of a chap who paints images of highland cattle using rainbow colours (don't ask). if we're talking about niche products, here is surely a prime example. yet this fellow has not only advertised on television, but claims that so doing has substantially increased his bottom-line. this surely calls into question the bicycle industry's claims that it cannot afford to advertise on television.

in fact, descending the financial scale a few rungs, while the weekend newspaper supplements often feature full-colour motor car advertisements, when was the last time you came across an advert for a bicycle; mountain, road, gravel or mtb? if climate change really is on everyone's lips, promoting the bicycle as a viable alternative to the motor car, whether propelled by the infernal combustion engine or electricity, cannot be left solely to government departments. granted, the latter are responsible for improving and increasing the nation's cycling infrastructure, but surely promotion of the nuts and bolts (so to speak) is down to the manufacturers? and their advertising should not be restricted to bona-fide cycling magazines; the smart money would be on persuading avowed non-cyclists to join the party.

of course, i am probably hoist by my own petard: aside from the one or two who click onto thewashingmachinepost in search of an actual washing machine, the majority of you comprise the converted. and there's probably nothing i can tell you, that you don't already know. but in the vain hope that mr specialized, mr cannondale or mr trek is reading...

tuesday 17 december 2019

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