hanging out by myself

sunday washing line

as much of a surprise to me as to my teachers and schoolmates, i managed a rather decent grade in my higher physics. some would even suggest that the nobel committee might have paid closer attention, for such was my usual incomprehension of the subject, that passing the exam alone, should have been a suitable signal for some sort of international award. that said, i have subsequently found that there may have been specific topics of discussion within the realm of physics, from which i must surely have been absent.

take shoelaces for instance. every morning, after the daily walk, i change to suitable footwear for a day at the office; either a pair of leather shoes or a pair of burgundy coloured vans, the latter in a vain attempt to boost my street cred. as many of you will recognise, a morning sat in front of an imac screen, of whatever dimensions, is hardly the most active of pursuits, but one where a pair of feet have little need of undue movement.

yet, when time comes to don my jacket, change spectacles and head to the newsagent for my daily paper, i find that my laces have either loosened completely, where tripping over them is a serious concern, or perhaps have only slackened to the point where either or both are likely to leave my feet en-route. a colleague of mine insists that i am guilty of tying the knots incorrectly, that it should be 'over and under' and definitely not 'under and over'. but i have tied my shoelaces using the same method since i was knee-high to a chainset, and i think it's unlikely i could change now.

old dogs and new tricks etc.

and now i find a similar demand for re-education from mrs washingmachinepost when it comes to hanging out the washing, post ride, on a sunday. for i am a domesticated animal, no matter the honed physique, intrepid manner and devil-may-care attitude displayed on the bike. such equanimity stretches to the realisation that i have individually and carefully selected my cycling apparel over the course of three days, subsequently dropping it unceremoniously in the laundry basket after each ride. all by myself. then, just prior to sunday lunch, i place every item in the washing machine, set the appropriate setting and push the square button.

but this domesticity ends not there. lunch over and dishes washed, before settling down to to watch interminable repeat episodes of 'columbo', i hang out all my washing on the line. at this point, mrs washingmachinepost intervenes to suggest that there may have been yet another physics discussion that has passed me by.

i would contend that weather and atmospheric conditions will dry all my jerseys, bibshorts, baselayers and socks, no matter their arrangement on the washing line. for instance, according to mrs twmp, if there are three pairs of bibshorts, it is an incontestable law that they ought to be hung out adjacent to each other. similarly, jerseys and baselayers. but it doesn't end there. while i'm willing to acquiesce to the need to peg out jerseys along the hem, i would also contend that bibshorts ought to be hung by the legs. mrs twmp, contends they ought best be hung by the bibs.

but my understanding pf physics would have me believe that temperature and wind strength behave in precisely the same manner, irrespective of whether my bibshorts hang downwards or 'upwards'. it's always possible that the subject may have been discussed at the same time as shoe laces, and i was simply absent that day, but that would appear to be stretching credibility just a smidgeon too far.

that said, those of you who leave all the above considerations to your better half, while grabbing a few moments of snoozeroonies on the couch after a healthy repast and a trying bike ride in the morning: shame on you. if you've the energy and ability to go out riding your bicycle, at least have the gumption and largesse to act as your own soigneur. if you and your partner ride together, then be sure to share the chores equally.

monday 20 july 2020

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wear to go

swiss-stop carbon brake shoes

islay high school office, along with many others at the onset of the digital age, had a dot-matrix printer which sat inside a perspex topped, wooden box in the corner. for those whose experience of digital matters is recent enough not to have the faintest idea of what a dot-matrix printer is, not only was it only a step up from an electric typewriter, but it was one noisy, large piece of machinery. hence the reason why it sat inside a perspex lidded box.

such machinery could but resolve type, and only in a very restricted range of typefaces, mostly in black, but occasionally in red or blue, if ribbons of those colours were installed. but, as with bicycle componentry, the technology then moved on at an alarming pace, eventually resulting in the inkjet printer, yet another device that, in its early stages, could only print in black. unless, of course, you removed the black cartridge and replaced it with a colour.

an elderly gent for whom i frequently offered a smidgeon of technical support, did exactly this, but telephoned, just at tea-time, to explain that no matter what he tried, the printer resolutely refused to print in any colour other than henry ford's black. as we ran through the various options in an attempt to remedy the problem, he casually mentioned "but how does it know what colour to print?" it transpired that his on-screen typesetting was still only in black, but he'd expected the printer to choose an interesting and appropriate colour. that was a long and exasperating phone call.

of course, inkjet printers have progressed quite considerably since those days, now offering up to six colours (as opposed to the standard four) capable of printing archival quality images and stunning quality photography. what seems not to have progressed in any way, is the seemingly inbuilt limitations of the not inexpensive ink cartridges. no matter the strenuous efforts to which you might extend, there always seems to be substantial dregs of ink left in each cartridge, even when the information panel on the printer screams that it is well and truly empty.

the conspiracy theory would have us believe that epson, hewlett-packard and canon have formed a secret cartel to programme the electronics to cut off the supply even when there's some ink left, purely to insist that you spend more money on more cartridges. i have even heard it said that the internal engineering of each printer can detect when you've installed non-original, and considerably cheaper cartridges, and simply refuse to work. frustration at its best.

and i now wonder whether the above mentioned companies are perhaps also involved in manufacturing brake shoes for caliper brakes.

somewhere, at the back of the bikeshed, lies a box with a large quantity of fibrax brake blocks, ready and willing to fit bicycles of a certain age, that mostly ran on steel-rimmed wheels (the ones with the little dimples in the brake track). such inflexible rubber rarely stopped the bicycles particularly well, and almost not at all when riding in the wet. brake shoes for more contemporary rim-brakes tend to be of a more malleable consistency, offering impressive stopping power at the expense of a slighly restricted life expectancy.

and if, as do i, you happen to have carbon rimmed wheels on the road bike, you will be well aware that special brake shoes are required to overcome carbon's lack of heat conductivity. if ever you've been tempted to fit non-carbon compounds, i would seriously advise against it. i once rode from london to dover on a set of carbon rimmed wheels, with standard brake shoes because there had apparently not been time to switch. i still have nightmares about sailing across a busy roundabout in between two cars because even two handfuls of brake lever had failed to even slow the bicycle to any noticeable degree.

however, pretty much all contemporary brake shoes, whether for alloy or carbon rims, feature a wear line beyond which it is inadvisable to go. this is particularly true on carbon pads, for if they wear to the metal, it won't take long to destroy those expensive black shiny wheels. on this basis, i recently replaced a set of red campagnolo pads, with bright yellow swiss-stop shoes, because two of the red ones were but a smidgeon from the wear line. but why is it, on calipers that ostensibly apply the same braking pressure on both sides of the wheel, that there seems little in the way of consistency over the wear factor?

is this the result of a cunning scheme to have us replace a full set of four shoes, when at least two of them still have some useful life left? are the component manufacturers in collusion with each other? or worse still, are campagnolo, sram and shimano actually just one big company with three different logos, a hitherto unsuspected subsidiary of hewlettepsoncanonpackard?

perhaps truth really is stranger than fiction.

sunday 19 july 2020

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creative hooky

kilchoman distillery

as a student, i had a summer job working in the catering concession stores at prestwick airport. this entailed taking goods in and storing them (tautologically enough) in the appropriate locations, before delivering them to the various bars restaurants and kitchens dotted about the terminal building. weekdays were particularly busy, but weekends less so, since very few, if any, businesses made saturday or sunday deliveries, except in emergencies.

kilchoman distillery

fortunately, the cafés and restaurants tended to be a tad busier at weekends, very much to the advantage of those of us working in the stores, the location of which was on the ground floor at the far corner of the building, pretty much out of the way as far as everyone else was concerned. for were the weekends to become quiet, as they frequently did during the tail end of the season, management would feel honour bound to create really crappy jobs that needed doing, and the stores personnel were invariably the fall guys.

therefore, we intially became quite adept at creating vacuous jobs all of our own. these would never be too onerous that we'd tire ourselves out, but industrious enough to have management leave us alone, under the misapprehension that we were carrying out essential work. however, the ultimate diversion involved no work whatsoever and was utterly genius in its concept, being almost foolproof in its implementation.

kilchoman distillery

aside from the various foodstuffs and drink that would be dispensed from the stores, we also maintained stock of the various cleaning products necessary to operate a catering franchise, several of which were in five-litre containers. so when quietude threatened to attract any less occupied members of management, 'twas but a simple matter of grabbing a half-empty container along with a spurious, yet official-looking invoice, and taking a walk around the terminal building, with an intent look on one's face.

despite this being a frequently employed diversionary device, for some unknown reason, nobody ever twigged just what we were, or weren't, doing.

and then there's friday afternoons.

i mentioned but a few weeks past, that, due to furloughed staff at the local newspaper, the proprietor of one village shop would cycle into bowmore at lunchtime and collect his box of the issue for sale on the following day. i would take the copies intended for debbie's in bruichladdich, and we would cycle the 15 kilometres together, chatting as we went. this, in turn, allowed for a recovery soya latte prior to returning home, come rain or come shine. this opportunity allowed for a sanctioned bicycle ride every alternate friday afternoon, under the pretense of doing something useful.

kilchoman distillery

and then there was friday afternoon this week.

once again, the gent from the village store cycled into bowmore to collect his package of newspapers, and i met him at the garden gate, pink rucksack at the ready with debbie's copies. however, a secondary level of subterfuge had provided an extra-curricular perambulation on the way home, that allowed for a few extra kilometres of riding on what turned out to be a rather excellent day.

kilchoman farm distillery, which overlooks loch gorm on islay's west coast, has spent the last two years expanding their production facilities, accompanied by a rather splendiferous new visitor centre. the latter was officially opened but a few days prior to lockdown, before the tourist season had even thought about what it was going to do, meaning they were all dressed up, with nowhere to go.

kilchoman distillery

as of wednesday this past week, all manner of accommodation, catering and tourist attractions in scotland were allowed to re-open, albeit with social distancing, contact and trace, and the need to wear face-coverings. though several facilities have opted to postpone re-opening until later in the month, kilchoman distillery decided to choose wednesday, closely followed by ardnahoe this coming monday. therefore on the bona-fide pretext of acquiring photos of the new visitor centre at kilchoman for publication in the next edition, i made a welcome detour on the way home to snap a few images.

you see, if you're going to play hooky from work, it well behoves you to act creatively. nobody ever criticised a cyclist of manifest dereliction, if the freedom to pedal can be legitimately assigned as a necessary part of the job.

kilchoman distillery

saturday 18 july 2020

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cantilever brakes

velominati has codified the alleged correct number of bicycles to own as n+1, where 'n' is the number of bicycles you already own, plus one more. it is, of course a slightly redundant formula, as it effectively equates to the concept of infinity. tautologically, every time you acquire another bicycle to satisfy the demands of rule#12, the formula kicks in once more, ad finitum. it holds distinct relation to the playground statement of "i hate maths by infinity plus one".

this has provided me with something of an existential conundrum. for, in the past few days, and for no definable reason, i now have a hankering over the acquisition of yet another bicycle (or at least a frameset that will eventually lead to another bicycle). i have already paid more than just lip-service to rule#12, and to be quite honest, i'm none too sure that there is actually enough space in the bike shed to cater to yet another bicycle.

but the very worst part of this situation, is not my having to justify such apparently unwarranted expenditure to mrs washingmachinepost, but justifying it to yours truly. because the frameset that i have in mind (other framesets may be available) will scarcely fill a noticeable gap in the current array of velocipedes available for joyous pedalling. if this desire had led me to purchase a gravel bike, i would have little about which to worry; currently i have no such bicycle. however, i cannot bring myself to buy something in which i see no specific advantage over a cyclocross bicycle, particularly when i already own two of those, one of which currently sports a pair of very robust, 44mm gravel tyres.

and should any of you begin to see the point i have yet to make, i will now pull the rug from under your feet, by mentioning that the bicycle currently the object of my desire, is also of the 'cross variety. and i can't even justify it on the basis of modernisation, or a feeble attempt to inhabit the technological cutting edge; this particular frameset is predominantly of steel construction, but with a carbon fork. nor would it feature hydraulic disc brakes; i had in mind a rather archaic set of cantilever brakes. all this forms an easily maintained package, devoid of internal cabling, with a threaded bottom bracket, and a standard, 27.2mm seatpost. and as if to all but seal the deal, i am currently in possession of a suitable groupset, pedals and a pair of wheels sporting a freehub pattern that will perfectly match the aforementioned groupset.

so why the dithering?

i cannot, for one minute, believe that i am the only one in this position. in fact, i would not find it hard to to be convinced that the above is a common set of circumstances, happening across the globe every day. but that does little to assuage my indecision, or help me come to a timeous conclusion. before someone points it out, i am aware that velominati's set of rules are more the result of velocipedinal humour, than a diktat to which each road-going bicyclist must adhere. the mention of rule#12 was merely a distraction to divert any well-meant support, or dagger-like stares while i procrastinated for a tad longer.

ultimately, there is no apparent solution; it's not a situation that can be partially ameliorated: either i purchase the frame of my desire, or i don't. and if i do, we know only too well that it will take three times as long as it should do to assemble the finished bicycle, if only because i'd rather go ride my bike than fettle with componentry. and we can but despair over the inevitable delay in purchasing the 'old skool' cantilevers identified above.

who amongst us does not think that, if they come back here on this very day next year, things will scarcely have moved on by more than a chainring tooth? although i have in mind the perennial saying 'good things come to those who wait', experience tells me that i might actually be more in favour of the journey, rather than the arrival. my latent philosophical bent might possibly prefer staring aimlessly into space, cogitating over the possibilities, than clambering aboard and going for a bike ride.

one can only imagine the scale of dithering, were it necessary to decide when to launch my finishing sprint on the champs elysées.

friday 17 july 2020

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brought to book

"The longest tandem bicycle seated 35 people, it was more than 20 metres long."

scottish cycling activity book

in times long since past, police scotland held themselves responsible for curating what was then referred to as the cycling proficiency test, which essentially meant that a policeman from the local constabulary would be despatched to primary schools to check the participants' bicycles prior to beginning their training. i'm not entirely sure that it was the policeman's responsibility to undertake the training portion or not, but locally that was quite often the case, purely due to the enthusiasm of the officer concerned and doubtless out of the goodness of his or her wage packet.

subsequently, police scotland found it necessary to disassociate themselves with the scheme, along with many other extra-curricular activities, and policing cycling proficiency (if you'll pardon the misuse of the term), became the remit of either the school staff, or an appropriately enthusiastic parent. and that's where i came into the story.

even when still the responsibility of the police, there was no guarantee that the designated officer had the requisite velocipedinal knowledge to check the mechanical soundness of any of the bicycles parked in front of the school. in most cases, it was a simple matter of ensuring the brakes worked adequately, that the handlebars were true and remained so, the tyres were not worn to point of danger and suitably inflated to an agreed pressure, and that the wheels rotated without jamming or giving cause for serious concern.

scottish cycling activity book

however, in the days of full-suspension mountain bikes with multiple derailleur gears, it seems that neither of those have need of working as designed. and if they didn't, chances were the constable or sergeant hadn't the faintest idea how to remedy the situation. following the departure of the police, i was asked to take over, not only for the bike checks, but also for the training portion of the exercise. i cannot deny that i rather enjoyed the process, especially if they all passed when the region's road safety officer visited to assess their learning.

nowadays, however, i have considerably less spare time, and the training and bicycle checks were assumed by members of school staff a good few years past. however, it transpires that, as far as islay and jura are concerned, that the whole enchilada may have run its course due to financial savings within the council. at present, they have no road safety department, and argyll and bute were one of only two scottish councils not to have signed up for the bikeability scheme. thus, any alterations to the safety training will no longer be passed on to the school staff, and there is no-one in officialdom who can pass or fail the participating pupils. it's highly possible, therefore, that the cycle safety training may simply wither on the vine.

scottish cycling activity book

with nine distilleries, a tenth under re-construction and an eleventh under planning consideration, it will hardly come as a surprise that islay's roads are often well occupied by large, articulated vehicles, either delivering product to the distilleries, or removing either draff or the pot-ale. into these very same roads, though generally concentrated around the villages, can be found the younger members of our society, riding bicycles with minor or serious mechanical defects and armed with considerably less street-savvy than would be ideal in the face of heavy, 40ft trailers or tankers.

though evidence is scant, i can't say i've noticed any substantial increase in the number of children on bicycles in the locale, but i'm not sure that situation is reflected across the country. in which case, even if cycling proficiency still exists, creating an enthusiastic, safe and knowledgeable generation of youngsters, for whom a bicycle is a substantial part of their lives, particularly during school holidays, becomes a pressing necessity or desire, rather than an optional extra. and to aid enthusiastic parents and grandparents in the task of engaging with tomorrow's commuters, scottish cycling have made a digital (or tangible) activity book available via their portion of the british cycling website.

scottish cycling activity book

included are so-called fun facts (which open and close today's article), bike knowledge, some of which can be accessed via a qr code leading to a series of youtube videos and many other items of bicycle interest. some of these describe the various parts of the bicycle, pre-ride bike checks, correctly fitting a helmet and ensuring that the saddle is in a comfortable position.

activities include catch and throw, creating an obstacle course, practicing race starts, riding over tree roots and seated climbing. the sixteen page book is free to download or, if you'd prefer it in a format you could hand to the child or children concerned, £1.50 (per copy) sent in cycling scotland's direction, will get you printed copies.

for parents or even those without kids at their feet, there are two other books available: a family edition and an adults edition. i'm guessing that the latter two would see scant use by the near-professional classes who read the post each day, but on the basis that 'no man (or woman) is an island', you probably know of folks who might just benefit from reading either edition. and if you don't have kids of your own, feel free to pass on the web address listed below. there's even a prize draw in conjunction with solicitors, digby brown where it's possible to win bike vouchers.

"aamazingly, a bicycle can stay upright without a rider as long as it's moving at 8mph or faster."

thursday 16 july 2020

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eggs and baskets

electric bicycle company

in the last issue of our local newspaper, a friend of mine interviewed professor james hunter, whose most recent book, entitled 'insurrection: scotland's famine winter', is due for discussion at this year's islay book festival, due to be held online at the end of august. but aside from his new publication, professor hunter was keen to discuss the situation that scotland, and more particularly, islay, finds itself in the midst of the current pandemic.

as with the majority of the islands up and down scotland's west coast, islay is highly dependent on the tourist dollar, perhaps more so, due to our plethora of distilleries. the local marketing group, 'explore islay and jura' were keen to point out in the same newspaper issue, that tourism apparently contributes near £50 million to the economies of islay and jura annually, much of which derives from those intent on sampling the amber nectar.

but, in the forthcoming issue, a correspondent to the letters page has recalled the 1980s, when three of islay's then eight distilleries were mothballed and the remainder on short-time. this was in the years prior to the scotch malt whisky boom, when sales began to rise and bowmore kitted out its corridors, mash room and stillhouse to enable ease of passage from the expected dozens. that number has since multiplied by thousands and spread to each and every one of the others. kilchoman have not long completed a large, bright, shiny visitor centre, while bunnahabhain has demolished some unused warehouses and constructed a visitor car park and visitor centre on the space created.

and that's not to discount islay's ninth distillery at ardnahoe which is currently heavily reliant on its café, shop and guided tours, while it waits another nine years for its signature dram.

as from today, tourism legitimately re-commences in scotland, with bed and breakfast, hotels, pubs, cafés and restaurants able to welcome guests and customers subject to the now mandatory social-distancing regulations. though it means the silence has now been broken, as you may already have inferred, the isles of islay and jura are heavily dependent on tourism to bolster and confirm the local economy. though some may have preferred the enforced peace and quiet, there's no doubt that the survival of many is contingent on the arrival of as many visitors as possible; the sooner the better.

electric bicycle company

however, be that as may, professor hunter, in his interview, bemoaned the fact that so many island communities are reliant on what has been shown to be a highly fragile economic model. and it is thus incumbent upon all of them, including islay and jura, to find an alternative to placing all the eggs in one basket. would that it were that simple. it's all very well owning a golden goose which lays a perpetual array of golden eggs, but what happens if the goose goes on holiday and takes the basket with them?

the current flavour of the month in the bicycle industry, apart from the inexplicable electric scooters, is the now ubiquitous e-bike, a genre that received yet another boost to its ego with the introduction of specialized's latest turbo vado. not only has the bicycle's form-factor gained a remarkable verisimilitude to the long-lived analogue bicycle with the integration of the battery into a far slimmer downtube, but in the process of achieving this, specialized has lowered the all up weight by eight kilogrammes. this has conveniently undermined one of the principal arguments against the e-bike, frequently pointed out by the likes of me.

according to my understanding of market forces, when a concept or range of similar items promises appreciable return on investment, there will be many eager to grab a slice of that particular pie. in the case of the e-bike, it took surprisingly little time for existing cycle retailers to unceremoniously dump their stocks of analogue bicycles in a headlong rush to champion batteries and electricity. meantime, many with an eye on the market potential, have set themselves up as the vanguard of the new wave, creating brand new, state-of-the-art, e-bike emporiums.

obviously enough, if it were not for such retail opportunists, the manufacturers would scarcely invest their hard-earned in developing new models that weighed 8kg less than their predecessors for pretty much the same price-tag. just such a retail outlet is that of edinburgh's electric cycle company, which currently claims to be scotland's largest e-bike retailer, a business that has outgrown its current space in granton road, and now plans to open 4,000 square-foot premises on crewe road north.

conversion of the latter is already underway, with a prospective six-week completion time, allowing an opening date in early september. according to the company "The shop will have enough showroom space to display bikes to enable the hugely knowledgeable and experienced sales team to safely deliver both interactive and informative e-bike demonstrations and 'talk throughs', perfectly matching the best e-bike to a customer's lifestyle. With bookable sales appointments, there will be a welcome reception and a dedicated customer waiting and chill out area." please note that those are their words, and certainly not mine. it worries me greatly that there are actually e-bikes designed to best suit a prospective customer's lifestyle.

electric bicycle company

yet it's not simply a case of selling electric bicycles; ecc say that their new store will be " of the first carbon-neutral bike shops in the UK. The renovation plans include solar panels on the roof and battery banks will take care of lighting and bike charging. Heating will be provided by a biomass boiler powered by the waste packaging the business creates." in my childhood, mr benzie's bike shop in kyle street consisted of two enlarged garden sheds and a small corrugated hut. i'm not entirely sure that i'm ready for state-of-the-art.

however, that aside, it would be simply naive and insolent to criticise the electric bike company on the basis of their strenuous and doubtless expensive machinations to better serve an apparently eager public. perhaps their moves, which at least partially mirror steps taken by other e-bike retailers, are as much an attempt to differentiate themselves from sellers of analogue bicycles, as they are geared towards what they appear to perceive as a more sophisticated breed of customer. presumably not for them the club-jerseyed, lycra-clad peleton that hangs out in bike shops on saturday mornings.

as a result, we should possibly applaud their tenacity in potentially separating the batteries from our mechanically retarded carbon nano-tubes, leaving our lycra with somewhere to lay its bibs on weekend mornings. my complete lack of forecasting ability would probably admit that the electric bicycle is likely here to stay for the long-term, and to admit that the world is probably more than ready for its presence. and though it impinges not on my small corner of the velocipedinal world, i do harbour concerns that there might be a few too many eggs heading for a solitary and largely untested basket.

electric bicycle company

wednesday 15 july 2020

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everything's back to normal, except it isn't

rapha women's 100 challenge

many of scotland's travel restrictions have now lifted. it's possible to undertake what, only a matter of weeks past, would have qualified as nonessential travel, leading to qeuries by staff at the mainland ferry port, and the need to produce a utility bill demonstrating either islay residence or ownership of a holiday home. the latter wasn't strictly allowable, but it would have been unfair to expect ferry staff to try and curtail travel by any usurpers.

but self-catering accommodation already has a green light, and though we'd prefer they remained away for a while yet (if only on the basis that they take up more than their fair share of ferry deck space) caravans and motorhomes are categorised as being self-contained and thus elegible for travel to the island. our regional council has advised that owners of these should only sail to islay if they have a pre-booked slot at a bona-fide campsite, but i'm not sure that i hold too much confidence in its implementation.

rapha women's 100 challenge

seemingly gone are those halcyon days of yore, when it was possible for the intrepid velocipedinist to circumambulate loch gorm without reference to any form of motorised traffic. now that the drawbridge has lifted, several visiting vehicles were met over the weekend.

but, to be fair, there are really no half-measures when it comes to reinstating the island's commerce. it's plainly not possible for businesses or even ferry ports to be half-open, and on an island heavily dependent on the tourist dollar, there are many eager to welcome visitors with open doors, dining rooms and breakfast tables. it would be naive to think otherwise, and it is surely in all our best interests for a degree of normality to be restored sooner, rather than later.

rapha women's 100 challenge

as a colleague of mine is always keen to point out "it's just as well everybody's different", a statement that is topically applicable to many of us at present. normality might be just over the horizon, but not everyone wants to get there at the same speed. with still more than just a hint of an invisible, potentially deadly foe, even getting back on the bike surrounded by reality, instead of just pixels, can be a very worrying and even scary concept.

which is why this year's eighth 'rapha women's 100' has been captioned 'We might be riding solo, but we are never alone.' and taking inspiration from long-distance cycling champion, emily chappell, rapha have adopted her notion of the 'invisible peloton'.

rapha women's 100 challenge

"The Invisible Peloton was born of that desperation you feel when you reach the bottom of the tank, realise you still have much further to go, and start frantically grasping at anything that might possibly keep you going, just a bit longer. You don't have any strength left of your own, so you start borrowing other people's."

according to emily, the 'invisible peloton' is the group of friends, family or fellow cyclists, past and present, real or imagined, to whom women can reach out, to get through the hardest miles or kilometres. there are conceivably many riders for whom the thought of getting back out on the road amongst traffic, even when accompanied by other cyclists, might seem a shade too much at present. so for those determined to participate in the rapha women's 100 challenge, outdoors or indoors is left to choice and circumstances. just remember that nothing is ever worse after a bike ride, however that might be constituted.

rapha women's 100 challenge

there's no immediate need to commit to one option or the other; the ride doesn't take place until 6 september, and a lot of things could have changed prior to that date. but either way, choosing cycling could be one of the best things you do for yourself. and naturally enough, there is an accompanying clothing range to aid the female sartorial demands, comprising an aero jersey, a core jersey, core bibshorts, socks and a cap. find your way out of lockdown, fight any fears you might have about the covid pandemic, choose cycling and join the women's 100 challenge, in whatever mode suits best.

rapha women's 100

tuesday 14 july 2020

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