rapha pro-team training jersey & pro-team training bib shorts

rapha training jersey and bibshorts

islay's high-road stretches pretty much from the village of bridgend, all the way to port ellen, a distance of some ten miles along a singletrack road. to enable traffic to travel in both directions, the parcours is peppered with passing places, correct use of which is notionally governed by advice in the highway code. i have produced a couple of leaflets on behalf of the community council explaining this predication in several languages for the benefit of visiting motorists from abroad. however, you and i both know that, as second class citizens, the chances of a motorist pulling into a passing place to allow the cyclist to continue unfettered upon his/her way, are slim, to none at all.

lest i should be accused of over generalisation, i should give credit where credit is due, for this past saturday, the driver of the t&n woods articulated trailer, was kind enough to pull over in my favour, on the basis that he was closer to the passing place than was i. in the case of following vehicles, assuming i've noticed them in time, i will always pull in to allow safe passage, purely on the basis that i'm unequivocally slower.

rapha training jersey and bibshorts

despite the fact that, in essence, i'm simply going round in circles, with coffee in the middle, i have invented a cunning plan. in my experience of various training books i have reviewed over the years, there really is rarely anything new under the sun to bolster one's performance on the bicycle. yes, there have been a number of technological aids, such as heart-rate monitors, power-meters and the like, but ultimately, they only inform as to progress or stagnation. even extensive use of a power-meter won't make you faster, per se.

however, my own training theory revolves around those passing places mentioned above, but in essence, my method really only encourages strength training, the reason for which i will now make plain. dependent on wind direction, the cunning plan is to ride like billy-o into a galeforce headwind, no matter the derisory numbers displayed on your bar-mounted device, and on encountering an oncoming vehicle, viewed in the distance, you pedal like there's no tomorrow, to reach the passing place before the car gets there. if that doesn't improve the strength in your legs, pretty much nothing will.

if it's speed training you're after, simply turn round and do the same in the opposite direction.

rapha training jersey and bibshorts

rather obviously, such a prodigious undertaking is best accomplished, clad in bona-fide training garmentage, such as rapha's recently released pro-team training jersey and accompanying bibshorts. i have little quibble with the function, cut or quality of either of these items, but i have to say, i'm a bit confused by rapha's release and marketing policy. if i mention that the temperature displayed on my garmin remained steadfastly below four degrees throughout a four hour training ride, you might begin to see where i'm coming from. and that's before taking galeforce windchill into account.

imperial works' marketing campaign for these garments, shows a small peloton of short-sleeved, bibshort wearing riders, with a backdrop of blue-sky and palm trees. that's a far cry from the hebrides, suffering as it was, at the hands of storm jorge in the back end of february. if i might quote directly from rapha's website "...our Training Jersey is made with a lightweight, open-structured fabric on the front panels for wicking and breathability. On the back, a close-knit fabric provides added sun protection..." tell me anywhere in the uk at present, in which just such a jersey would be considered appropriate apparel?

rapha training jersey and bibshorts

i am well aware that rapha is no longer simply a british, or even european-centric business, with outlets all across the world, from portland in america's pacific northwest, to the oppressive warmth of southern australia. however, it somewhat beggars the question as to why they would offer a jersey with perforated front panels and a thickness less than that of the kitchen roll mrs washingmachinepost has placed on the windowsill to the good folks who have just watched windswept editions of omloop het nieuwsblad and kuurne-brussels-kuurne. even riders in the rapha sponsored ef pro-cycling were clad in bibtights and rainjackets.

my question would therefore be, why were we not issued long-sleeve thermal training jerseys and thermal training bib-tights?

rapha training jersey and bibshorts

however, always willing to suffer for someone else's art, and being in possession of an original pair of rapha bibtights minus a pad, from well over a decade past (you really have to admire rapha's build quality), i set out to test the veracity of my cunning training plan. there's no way on this earth that i was going to ride in a paper-thin, short-sleeve jersey, in temperatures perilously close to zero degrees, so i made use of a pro-team insulated jacket augmented with a pro-team lightweight shadow jacket, just in case of rain.

the pro-team road shoes were concealed 'neath windproof overshoes.

the bibshorts feature a principal fabric offering a degree of compression while in motion, but if i might once again quote from the website "these bib shorts are durable and comfortable - the ideal pair to build a race-winning base in mild to warm conditions." if you can ignore the ludicrous though of any training undertaking by yours truly contributing to any race-winning successes, the mild to warm conditions will not reach here for several months from now.

rapha training jersey and bibshorts

that said, despite the necessary thermal augmentation, rapha's training kit was impressively comfortable throughout my chilled training exertions. i've always maintained that a quality pair of bibshorts ought to be a tad strenuous to put on, meaning no untoward movement in the heat of battle; these fit the bill perfectly. and though i've worn many a decent cycle jersey in my time, the fit and look of this example (dark navy) was quite superb.

you may be interested to learn that only one car beat me to a passing place, versus five cases where i got there first. my leg strength is now demonstrably impressive, followed as saturday's ride was, by another storm jorge curated ride, midst 90kph headwinds, on sunday. it was neither mild nor warm either.

if you're intending to participate in one of those lanzarote-bound training camps anytime soon, or you do actually live where there are blue skies and palm trees, this pairing is just ginger peachy. in fact, you could probably race clad in both, without voiding the warranty.

if you're intending to participate in one of those lanzarote-bound training camps anytime soon, or you do actually live where there are blue skies and palm trees, this pairing is just ginger peachy. in fact, you could probably race clad in both, without voiding the warranty.

rapha's training jersey is available in purple/navy, light blue/gray blue, light grey/white, orange/carbon grey, carbon grey/black, dark navy/navy, in sizes ranging from xs to xxl at a retail price of £85. the training bibshorts are available in black with black bibs, or black with white bibs in sizes xs to xxl. retail rice is £140.

monday 2 march 2020

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getting your money's worth

getting your money's worth

i have just watched an advert interspersing eurosport's live coverage of het nieuwsblad, that initially shows a mother and daughter at the edge of a swimming pool, where the mother appears to be adjusting a yellow swimming cap before the youngster participates in, i presume, a swimming competition or coaching. as the camera pulls back to show the young girl joining her peers, we learn that she's actually wearing one of those yellow, marigold gloves most often employed for cleaning purposes. the tagline is "like getting your money's worth?

nowadays, getting value for money is a perpetual quest for most of us. where i have always used the services of a printing company for the last fifteen or more years, due to their excellent service, i now find more and more clients are arriving with 'back-of-the-envelope' sketches of their artwork accompanied by a business card advertising a cheap online printing service that they would like me to use. though it's a bit of a sweeping generalisation, many of the advertised prices for such services tend to increase disproportionately, as i investigate the cost of that which i have been asked to create, but i do understand where those clients are coming from with regard to economy.

cycling is no different in that respect. though it would be true to say that cycling's period of being flavour of the month has substantially diminished, those who may have been recently encouraged to clip into a pair of pedals will frequently be querying why a jersey or bibshorts from one of the renowned purveyors of garmentage, costs so much more than, perhaps, those available in the bargain sales of at least a couple of german-based supermarkets. i cannot deny that it's very hard to explain why a jersey from the latter costing around £10, doesn't quite compare with a £95 version from one of the specialists, but sometimes the simplest method is to let them find out for themselves. £10 isn't a particularly onerous cost of admission.

but then there's the conundrum in which i have knowingly placed myself of late. though entirely inappropriate for a derailleur-equipped bicycle, a bog-standard chain for use with a sturmey-archer three-speed, costs around £3 to £5. it features a different pitch than a derailleur chain and, since it need only ever rotate in a fixed trajectory, there's no need to build-in the lateral flex necessary in the modern eleven and twelve-speed transmissions.

that 'fiver for a bicycle chain' hits home with some economic force when time comes to replace a campagnolo record twelve-speed chain, the recommended retail price of which is around £54, some ten times dearer than replacement for my sit-up-and-beg taurus corinto. i'm not sure whether to hang my head in shame, or hold it high, when i admit that i purchased a replacement super-record chain for the ritchey logic some three weeks past, and it still sits in the box in which it arrived.

granted, any required velocipedinal fettling has to take place outdoors, since the interior of the bikeshed resembles little more than a council skip, populated by a number of bicycles, wheels etc. with storms ciara, dennis and now jorge, i'd be collecting frame and workstand from the isle of colonsay, were i currently to attempt any outdoor maintenance procedures. meanwhile, the ritchey plods on in the face of meteorological adversity, replete with the chain it has owned since late last year, fervently hoping that the wear factor will not necessitate replacing the cassette too, when i eventually get round to it.

meanwhile, i can singularly identify with the money's worth advertisement, having convinced myself that it's not sheer laziness but frugality that has enforced the 'old' chain becoming in danger of outstaying its welcome. perhaps i've inherited the renowned scots tenacity for hanging onto one's pennies?

sunday 1 march 2020

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scotch on the walks

transport scotland active travel

i have made my feelings about indoor training more than plain, as if anyone is actually interested. concepts such as zwift and peloton are most decidedly not for me, stretching the definition of the word 'cycling' a little further than that with which i feel comfortable. and though i'd be more than comfortable commuting to work by bicycle, in fact i do not live sufficiently far away to justify the need of dragging the bicycle from the bikeshed. though it might sound decidedly twee, i cycle because i enjoy the outdoors as seen from the saddle, including on those days when atlantic gales make forward progress a smidgeon more onerous than is entirely comfortable.

as a lad, i cycled to school each day and undertook a paper round every morning on that selfsame bicycle; a demonstration of two wheeled pragmatism, ensuring money was not needlessly spent on bus fares. there were probably days of circumambulating the neighbouring streets and byways, but in truth, i scarcely remember, for those were the halcyon days of yore when, if there were anything to be worried about, it was probably the threat of impending nuclear war, as promulgated by the newspapers and television news of the day. driving, cycling or walking were seriously unlikely to make any inroads into saving the planet from mushroom clouds on the horizon.

in truth, climate change was probably already working hard at that time, but we were only a decade or so distant from being informed that nuclear power would be too cheap to meter and that radiation baths were the health spa of the future. chernobyl pretty much stuffed those into a cotton duck saddle bag. despite well-researched articles such as that from the financial times, mentioned a few days ago, both the bicycle and the almost ubiquitous e-bike are being paraded as the means by which humankind might divest itself of its obsession with the motor car. i have yet to see any research that encompasses the extra quantity of electricity that will be required to charge all these electric bicycles and electric cars, but vehicles devoid of harmful emissions surely count someway towards alleviating a climate crisis that might conceivably have passed the point of no-return some years past?

based on half-assed observations in the immediate locale, unfortunately, there's seems to be little in the way of folks making any personal contribution towards saving the planet. there are still way too many people driving tiny distances as the sole passenger in large utility vehicles and people carriers, instead of walking or cycling. it's easy to view this as sheer laziness, and much of it is exactly that, but i get the distinct impression that much of the population is content to sit back and let their government take the strain.

that might conceivably be just the view taken by some of those governments, most recently that currently governing scotland.

on 6 february, the scottish government announced an annual investment in their active travel budget of £5.5 million, the result of an agreement between the snp and scotland's green party. cycling uk pointed out, at the time, that such a miserly amount was unlikely to make any inroads in tackling climate change, and ought to be increased to at least £20 million, if any difference were to be made. in a rare example of paying attention, only a matter of weeks later, the scottish government announced that they'd be adding another £15.5 million to the pot, providing a total of £20.5 million for scotland's 32 local authorities to spend on walking and cycling. that brings government spending on those activities, north of the border, to more than £100 million each year.

argyll and bute council, under whose jurisdiction islay resides, held a budgetary meeting on thursday afternoon to vote on proposed savings to meet the reduced amount available to spend on us shiny, happy people over the course of the next year. i am unaware of any specific plans the council might have to utilise their portion of the enhanced active travel budget, for the benefit of the region's residents, but as soon as monday arrives at my desk, i will be enquiring thusly of their press department.

of course, spending this latest governmental largesse on any future cycling infrastructure will be a tad vaccuous, unless accompanied by subtle or blatant persuasions to ensure the less active understand their part of the bargain. the well-worn cliché 'you can lead a horse to water...' may be invoked on a more frequent basis.

saturday 29 february 2020

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half a pound of tuppenny rice

a cup of coffee

the sole provider of designer coffee on islay, way back last century, was the late-lamented croft kitchen in port charlotte village. this establishment operated as a café in daytime, closed around tea-time, and re-opened in the evening as a restaurant. soya milk was rarer than hen's teeth at the time, so, in the finest velocipedinal tradition, i stuck firmly to ordering a double espresso, usually accompanied with a small slice of carrot cake. it is the traditional repast of the pelotonese. and situated around 18km from bowmore, it was ideally placed to offer a variety of routes on the way to a double-espresso.

the downside was the variation in quality. one weekend, the espresso would bring tears to your thighs, the next week it resembled little more than black muddy water. and the staff in charge of carrot cake quality control were similarly inconsistent; from one week to the next it could alter from helium lightness to doorstop weightiness. thus, when debbie opened half of the mini-market as a café, we popped in for the espresso and stayed for good.

with the distilleries bringing a whole panoply of continental visitors, designer coffees are now everywhere, from ardbeg in the deep south to the newness of ardnahoe in the north. on offer is a wide-range of coffee beans and an even wider range of abilities to pour a cup of black liquid worth drinking in the first place. it is, unfortunately, still remarkably common for wannabe baristas to figure that the coffee machine will do all the work, a misdemeanour not confined to islay.

as per usual, based on remarkably little research, the price for a double-espresso hovers between £1.80 and £2.30, while my drink of choice, a soya cappuccino, is pegged from £2 all the way to £2.80 (yes, really). however, it is the former figure that sits front and centre in today's discussion. £2 is the amount i pay for the soya cappuccino to accompany my double-egg roll and (if i'm feeling particularly decadent) a small square of millionaire's shortbread, but it transpires it's also the amount of money spent on cycling, per head per year, by england's local authorities.

nottingham business school, based in nottingham trent university, conducted research into the cycling spend over the last decade by 55 local authorities, by means of 'freedom of information' requests. their results were ultimately based on the replies from 25 of those polled; 19 authorities claimed not to record any cycling spend separately, and 18 didn't bother to reply. the average landed at £2.02 over ten years, though an increase in spend has arisen in the last few years, most likely due to inflation.

there is, of course, a lot to be concealed from generic statistics such as those presented here. for instance, the highest spend per head of population exceeded £8.50, while the lowest was a derisory £0.03, a figure that barely qualifies in the first place. most photocopies are dearer than that at cost. and while we're on the subject of derision, the nottingham researchers discovered that the highest expenditure by any council in any year was an almost impressive £37.23 per head, but in the last five years, that selfsame authority has descended to a mere £1.93, seven pence less than my weekly spend on coffee.

to perhaps place all this in a greater perspective, the government recently pledged a total of £350 million to build 250 miles of cycling infrastructure in 51 english cities. the calculated benefits of such largesse, however, equates to a mere five miles per city and a spend of only £1 per head. in the light of concern over climate change (or climate emergency if you prefer the more dramatic title) and the government's strategy to remove petrol, diesel and hybrid cars from britain's road by 2035, £1 each wouldn't even buy an inner tube for an e-bike.

seven years ago, former, and much-reviled prime minister, david cameron, announced his intention to turn the uk into a cycling nation comparable with germany, the netherlands and denmark. i'm no economist, but i think it quite probable that so doing will amount to a lot more than a pound coin.

friday 28 february 2020

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train of thought

rapha - ef education first

this week is quite possibly the first of the decade in which the hebrides have not been pummeled by gale force winds, both named and un-named storms, though rain, hail and snow on the paps of jura are never far from sight or absorption. it's hard to recall when last the velo club had to cancel a sunday morning bike ride, but in february alone, we'd to abandon two sundays in succession and, in my case, one regular saturday visit to debbie's for a double-egg roll and a bout of froth supping. february 2020 will go down in the annals of hebridean cycling history, and no doubt would be ripe for discussion at the next committee meeting, were it not that the door had been blown off our regular assembly point in the phone box at carnduncan.

an earnest search for an alternative club dinner venue is already underway.

lest i be hoist by my own petard, it may be worth my pointing out that the current forecast for sunday 1 march is less than inviting, showing winds gusting well in excess of 50mph around about the agreed time for the grand départ. but i have every confidence that particular scenario will have dissipated by the time it becomes necessary to choose one's garmentage and head into the wide, grey yonder. if the draught settles to around the current 20 or 30mph, all will be well with the world.

everything being equal, 'tis the time of year when a young (or elderly, for that matter) man or woman's thoughts turn to the training régime planned from now until easter. the imminent arrival of omloop and kbk, is perhaps all the encouragement necessary in the attempt to force the big number on the garmin to ever greater heights. perhaps even into double-digits. it should never be forgotten that summer's victories are achieved over the winter months, and that earnest training is as much a apart of societal life as going to college, starting work, getting married and learning how to play ride cymbal like tony williams. these are all life-markers pretty much set in stone.

however, on reaching the ripe old age of not as young as i used to be, it would be unseemly to be caught approaching the act of training with anything resembling gusto. in similar manner to the school swots who insisted they never studied, i must fool my pelotonic colleagues into believing that such is the constitution of my base mileage, leaving all to the last minute and not trying too hard are two of the hidden benefits of seniority. in truth, however, i actually have no intention of training for anything, if only because i have little or nothing for which to train. it's a situation in which i doubt i'm alone.

however, the myth, it seems, must be perpetuated. jo friel published his cycling past 50 training manual as far back as 1998, meaning that the conceit is over twenty years young. i recall robert millar stating that, once past the age of 30, it was necessary to train almost twice as hard simply to remain at the level achieved when only 29. heaven only knows of the exertions to be endured on reaching middle-age. i seriously doubt either i, or my body, is up to that. it is for good reason that professional cyclists tend to retire to the countryside long before forty (unless you're jens voigt); the spirit might be willing, but the body has left the building.

so, despite the onset of less inclement weather (sunday's forecast notwithstanding), i will probably not be caught in one of those unguarded training moments, and, if i am, there's always photoshop to retouch the evidence. to paraphrase sting, from his song 'an englishman in new york' "a gentleman walks, but never runs."

photo: rapha

thursday 27 february 2020

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not as clever as we thought we were

bicycle production line

my newspaper of choice would generally be the guardian, apparently a reflection of my political bias, according to a local conservative councillor, notwithstanding the fact that i figure pretty much all contemporary politics to be worthy of disdain. however, a newspaper that i have steadfastly ignored throughout my many years of reading, has been that of the financial times, entirely on the basis that my grasp of economics is probably even worse than my hold on the political stage. however, a recent article (20 february) by simon kuper was recently brought to my attention, one that rather stripped the carpet from under my self-righteous, velocipedinal feet.

andy barratt, managing director of ford uk, interviewed recently on the logistics of supplanting ford's petrol and diesel cars, with electric vehicles, claimed there were few problems to be encountered in doing so prior to the government's heralded target of 2035. what was likely to curtail such draconian and concerted efforts to electrify britain's roads (so to speak), was the current serious deficit of charging points. according to mr barratt, these would require to be installed at a rate of 4,000 per day, between now and 2035, to ensure the needs of all those prospective electric motorists.

you'll be unsurprised to learn that that's just not happening.

currently (if you'll excuse the pun), if electric cars were imposed overnight, many towns and villages would be strewn with electric cables snaking their way from house windows, across pavements and car parks, creating a health and safety nightmare for both the concerned and unconcerned. and though i do not have facts and figures, it seems eminently possible that the increased burden on the national grid would take some serious looking into. that may still be true, even by the 2035 deadline.

smug as ever, those of us who have long since pledged allegiance to the way of the bicycle, could issue a collective 'told you so' and continue on our resource and emission free path, secure in the conviction that the second coming of the bicycle is but a mere fifteen years distant, if not even closer. unfortunately, just to pop a pin in that self-satisfied bubble, mr kuper of the financial times, has disappointngly made an excellent point.

however, he commences his article in a manner that would leave the cycling reader convinced that he or she was indubitably right all along, to wit:

"Like many other Europeans, I've begun commuting by bike in the past few months, too recently even to show up in official stats. I bought an excellent new bike, two locks and a helmet for about €300 total. That's about 1 per cent of the average price of a new car in Europe, and I'll never need petrol."

mr kuper continues to point out that, with the relatively low cost of repairs, assuming his bicycle is not stolen, nobody is likely to earn much, if anything, from his wholesale adoption of the bicycle as transport. his surprising, yet remarkably astute conclusion from this is that this professed economy is the very plus point that could dampen any potential growth. because, while we look forward to the upcoming track championships in berlin, in advance of this year's tokyo olympics, prepare to welcome the commencement of the spring classics at omloop het nieuwsblad this weekend and many a uk business looks to adopt the cycle-to-work-scheme as a means of improving the health and well-being of its employees, the financial times article gently underlines just how much of niche player is the world of the bicycle.

a very tiny, niche and possibly, not even a player.

the article proceeds to point out that the bicycle was once seen as a five kilometre transport solution, but with the boundless advent of the e-bike, one that has grown substantially even in the absence of any governmental subsidy, it is now potentially viewed as a 15 kilometre solution. add to that the number of world cities intent on banning the car from their congested centres, and you would perhaps begin to wonder if mr kuper is, in fact, in the process of shooting himself in the foot. i mean, what's not to like about the bicycle as a solution to our transport and climate woes?

but, and you sort of knew there would be one, no matter the sensibility of much of the foregoing, there is the omnipresent knowledge that, when push comes to shove, the car lobby will always run roughshod over the cycle lobby, purely because cars cost more money. cars create jobs, even if only to produce a metal behemoth capable of transporting the same human beings that could more cheaply be moved on bicycles. as the author succinctly states, "activities that can be monetised tend to get encouraged. There's a cigarette industry and a gambling industry, but there isn't a walking industry."

the worlds carmakers employ millions of workers in the very strata of the population that governments find attractive. when nottingham's raleigh factory closed and shifted production to the far east, there was no sign of government intervention, unlike seemingly continual financial inducements offered to the world's carmakers not to close down uk plants, and decimating local employment statistics. simon kuper's conclusion, and there's every reason to believe that he's correct, is that we will soon face a choice between economic growth and the survival of the planet, and no politician was ever elected by promising less of the former.

it is a sad, but probably true diagnosis, that this might be what is more commonly recognised as a 'conundrum', proving, if nothing else, that more will have to change in the world than moving people out of cars and onto bicycles.

read the article: 'will more bicycles really help green growth?' simon kuper, financial times

wednesday 26 february 2020

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ritchey carbon echelon pedals

ritchey echelon carbon road pedal

cycling provides the ideal athletic outlet for those with little interest in either sociability or team sports. its inherent genius is that, while catering for the individuals thus defined, it also welcomes those who find themselves not only eager to participate in sporting events as part of a team, however you may wish to define it, and those who rejoice in the sunday morning bike-ride and the conversational opportunities that often come with the territory. there's nothing complicated about the above; i'm pretty sure we all know of at least one bicycle rider who eschews all attempts to accept them into the fold, quite content to have the kilometres whistle by with nary a word spoken.

the loneliness of the long distance cyclist, if you will.

however, there are one or two velocipedinal activities in which it is difficult, if not impossible, to partake in the absence of at least one other rider. i'm thinking of what the mighty dave t would refer to as bit and bit, whereby we drag each other up or down uiskentuie strand into a biting headwind, each taking turns to put his (or her) nose to the wind, offering at least temporary shelter to one's compatriot.

ritchey echelon carbon road pedal

i recall undertaking this very task for the mighty dave in his position as a protected rider, from foreland road-end, all the way to uiskentuie farmhouse. on reaching the relative shelter afforded by the constantly turning road, he turned to me to offer thanks and said "I'll do the same for you on the way back."

however, the skill for which we are best known in the southernmost outpost of the hebrides is that of masters of the echelon. for here, we can take refuge in the safety of numbers, offering a rotating mini-peloton, strung out in diagonal fashion, moving at speed (it's all relative) into the galeforce atlantic wind. under the expert tutelage of our directeur sportif, we have learned just where to position ourselves in relation to the rear wheel of the rider in front, in order to gain maximum shelter, dropping back almost the minute the frontmost position is achieved. it must truly be a sight to be seen from the window of the morning loganair flight from glasgow.

however, it transpires that the words peloton and echelon have been appropriated by others. a quick search online for the word echelon, turned up a number of pages eager to inform me of the difference between those static peloton bikes as advertised on tv, and similar services from echelon. last year, the former attempted to sue the latter. however, more pertinently and directly related to those of us who actually ride outdoors and experience the real world pertaining to both words, tom ritchey's ritchey logic sports a carbon-bodied set of road pedals which also answer to the name echelon.

ritchey echelon carbon road pedal

you may recall, during yesterday's review of rapha's new pro-team road shoes, i made mention that ritchey had kindly sent over a pair of their finest echelon road pedals, to attach to my ritchey logic bicycle, all the better to appraise myself of the quality of those shoes. in the process of so doing, i intended also to take note of the purported benefits of these pleasantly attractive pedals. featuring red, three-point cleats, compatible with the look keo system. as it turned out, the shoes were not the sole stars of my investigations.

the carbon-fibre body of the pedal offers not only considerable strength, but brings the weight for a pair to that of one rapha pro-team shoe. featuring a combination of bushings, needle and cartridge bearings, the prospect is that they should last for many a long year. this is something my initial outings were obviously unable to determine, but i'll get back to you in the fullness of time. (think of this initial review as akin to those unboxing videos, without the moving pictures.) the axles are cro-moly, fitted to the cranks by means of the now ubiquitous allen wrench. my sturdy pedal spanner rests forlornly on the tool-board in the bikeshed.

ritchey echelon carbon road pedal

as also mentioned yesterday, i have spent the last few years of my pedalling career, riding on either ritchey offroad pedals, or their compact and bijou, micro-road pedals, both of which demand a shoe with a two-bolt fitting. the echelon pedals provide a substantially increased footprint and an arguably stronger, more resilient connection to the red, three-bolt cleats. it was somewhat of a surprise to re-discover why it is that the pros persevere with this type of shoe/pedal combination. aside from a more solid feel to the act of pedalling, i'm convinced that the resulting forward motion was a tad more powerful, yet ostensibly less onerous than the previous setup.

however, as with most of my saddle engendered conclusions, i have no scientific data to back this up.

ritchey echelon carbon road pedal

clipping in prior to the grand départ was a lot simpler than i remembered it to be, though to be fair, unclipping was undoubtedly harder. this latter aspect is controlled by two small allen-headed screws in the centre of the rearmost portion of each pedal. loosening or tightening these screws makes it harder or easier (again, relative terms) to get your feet out of the pedals. the corollary of this was sore legs at bed-time, not, as you may surmise from having ridden too far, too fast, but from the increased effort of twisting feet from pedals. happily, this has subsided, now that i've become used to it.

i had once thought that the remainder of my cycling activity would have been undertaken on two bolt-cleats and offroad shoes, never more to walk like a duck when alighting for a coffee. however, the combination of rapha's pro-team shoes and ritchey's echelon pedals has now opened alternative horizons in the uiskentuie echelon. if you're in the mood for a change, or simply on the lookout for a quality set of road pedals, these are definitely worth a closer look.

ritchey's echelon carbon road pedals retail at €158.95 (£135/$149.95).

ritchey echelon carbon road pedals

tuesday 25 february 2020

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