built-in obsolescence

cup and cone bottom bracket

depending on how recently you joined the worldwide peloton, and how aware you are of the mechanical properties of bicycles, will affect how much of the following makes any appreciable sense. i have railed against many of the so-called developments in bottom bracket design and standards, but before all that kicked off, and state of the art when yours truly began cycling, was the square taper, cup and cone bottom bracket.

the name more or less describes itself, but basically into each side of your bicycle's threaded bottom bracket shell, would screw a cup containing the necessary quarter-inch bearings. when new, many featured bearing races, but those eventually disintegrated, so when first servicing, it made perfect sense to throw those away and simply fit as many bearings as necessary, sitting within a blanket of grease. thus, any lateral play would only surface when the bearings eventually wore.

in an english-threaded bottom bracket, the non-drive cup threaded normally (right-hand thread), while the drive side 'fixed cup' featured a left-hand thread to counteract the rotational forces of pedalling. oddly enough, italian threaded shells sported right-hand threads on both sides, often entailing a drive-side cup that unscrewed itself while riding. i know this from personal experience.

but while the square-taper bottom bracket still held sway in the peloton, shimano introduced the cartridge bottom bracket, effectively a sealed unit that, when worn, would simply be removed, thrown away and replaced. those units were not designed to be serviced. so, while the mechanically intrepid, such as myself, acquired a selection of tools that allowed removal and refitting of the cup and cone version, those were pretty much rendered all but useless when the cartridge version arrived. the latter was fitted and removed using one, proprietary splined tool, as opposed to an array of spanners, lockring removers and pin tools.

after that, it was decided that the great god stiffness would be better served by moving the bearings outboard of the bb shell and incorporating the bottom bracket spindle into the crankset. things just got steadily worse from that point onwards, with several different 'standards' and onto the dreaded press-fit variation, the efficacy of which may now be in some doubt, due to the inaccuracy of carbon bottom bracket molding.

however, at the very lowest point of the food chain, otherwise known as the children's bicycle shaped object market, cup and cone bottom brackets are still very much in evidence. unfortunately, at this particular price point, quality is not top of the agenda, married to an occasional lapse in accuracy of fitting. i know this because i have a child's full-suspension (why?) bicycle on which the left-hand pedal thread has been stripped. as an original equipment (oem) chainset, it's a model i am unable to purchase, so i continue my attempts to find a suitably priced replacement, though i believe i may have had some success. however, having removed the damaged crankset, i found that the bottom bracket is in sore need of tender loving care, and in order to provide that, it needs to be removed.

sadly, many of the tools i once owned to enable removal without inadvertently amputating a limb, have either disappeared forever, or are no longer in working condition. even more disappointingly, it transpires that many of them are no longer commercially available, or not at a price that is justified for one-time only use. thus, i may soon find myself in the invidious position of having to inform the parents of said child, that i simply cannot carry out the repair at all, never mind the economics of so doing.

i do understand that the marriage of technical development with commercial desire will inevitably lead to componentry that has outlived its time in the sun; my selection of different freewheel removal tools is surely testament to that. in which case, i do have to question the wisdom of the manufacturer in fitting a bottom bracket of such vintage design. i doubt the cost of fitting a cartridge unit would have added more than a pound or two to the retail price of the bicycle, yet would have maintained its serviceability for a few years more.

but i still query why a ten year old kid is perceived to have need of a bicycle with front and rear suspension (which offers far more lateral play than i think is truly desirable)? the local car park is entirely pan flat.

monday 31 august 2020

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

cycling hadrian's cycleway carl mckeating and rachel crolla. cicerone press paperback. 129pp illus. £11.95

hadrian's cycleway

in 1976, my late father, a sales manager with the scottish brick company, took my family and i to the opening of the centurion brickworks, so called after its location close to the antonine wall in bishopbriggs. this particular roman built fortification, stretched from the clyde on scotland's west coast, to the forth on its eastern side, a total distance of 60 kilometres (37 miles).

although the romans had first invaded britain as early as 55bc, their lasting invasion took place around 43ad. thirty years later, they reached scotland, building a few forts that would eventually dictate the line of the antonine wall. from 80ad onwards, the roman troops were withdrawn from scotland due to their requirement elsewhere in the roman empire, and circa 122ad, the emperor hadrian consolidated the occupation with the construction of his own wall close to what is now the border between england and scotland. when hadrian died, he was succeeded by antoninus, who decided to re-invade scotland, and build the so-called antonine wall around ad 142.

hadrian's cycleway bowness

however, hadrian's wall is the better known. almost twice as long as the antonine wall, at 116km (73 miles), it forms the subject of a recently published guide by cicerone press. this cycling guide begins several kilometres south of the actual start of the wall, in ravenglass, continuing from west to east and arriving in south shields on the north-east coast of england, creating a 277km (174 mile) route. authors carl mckeating and rachel crolla have not only curated a ride that the exceedingly intrepid could possibly undertake at one pointless sitting, but for the book, has been divided into a three-day ride of between 80 - 100km each day.

hadrian's cycleway birdoswald

though i have frequently reviewed cicerone cycling guides by claiming them to be ideal for the armchair tourist, this particular volume truly excels in ths fashion. for instance, though i would scarcely classify myself as a student of british history, to learn that the roman fort of which i have never heard at vindolanda is "...arguably the most famous roman fort in britain..." came as something of a surprise. even more extraordinary, it's apparently privately owned (how on earth did that happen on a unesco site?). my total ignorance of the area and its history was once again underlined when the authors pointed out that from vindolanda can be seen the famous sycamore gap.

hadrian's cycleway map

who knew?

it transpires that there are several forts associated with hadrian's wall, the majority of which acquire their own short detours to visit as you meander on your merry way towards an eventual arrival at south shields.

so, if hadrian's wall actually commences in bowness-on-solway, a point not reached until a good 35 kilometres into day two, why have the authors chosen ravenglass to begin their guide? apparently, the romans built fortifications that stretched from the ride's start point up the west coast to bowness. centurions would march north from glannaventa fort, of which the roman bath house is the only recognisable survivor, past the present-day site of sellafield nuclear plant (formerly known as windscale) to reach the substantial wall that ..."essentially seeded the notion of england and scotland."

hadrian's cycleway sycamore gap

in common with every publication from cicerone, the pages are punctuated with box outs describing, in concise detail, points of interest to be enjoyed along the way. the authors contend that hadrian's cycleway is " enjoyable challenge within the reach of almost all cyclists." however, they recommend that those undertaking their described three-day route "...will need to be saddle fit and have completed some training (day rides of 40+ miles)..." on which would be the most appropriate style of bicycle to undertake the ride, they admit that there are a couple of sections that might challenge of what a road bike is capable. but then, the guys in rapha's north american continental peloton rode steel road bikes across many kilometres of gravel, so messrs mckeating and crolla may simply have erred on the side of care for their potential readership.

hadrian's cycleway corbridge

despite its compact and bijou format, cycling hadrian's cycleway comprises an entire history lesson before any bicycle has even turned a wheel. the possibility of seeing the remains of this history in the flesh (so to speak) is an extremely enticing prospect. no doubt the route could be undertaken in the opposite direction, but i'd imagine the prevailing winds are west to east, making the bicycle route as described, probably the more pragmatic option. and even if you've no intention whatsoever of saddling up and investigating the remains of a wall that once reached heights of six metres and a width of three metres, there's plenty of reading and images to bolster your education.

and while i'm on the subject of illustration, i feel i have to point out that they are just a tad too 'cycling world' for yours truly. considering that the defined readership is almost exclusively velocipedinal, was it really necessary to feature a bicycle and/or cyclist in virtually every one of them? but, if nothing else, you now know that vindolanda is the most famous roman fort in britain.

and perhaps this opens the way for a future cicerone guide to ride scotland's antonine wall?

cycling hadrian's cycleway

sunday 30 august 2020

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

good grief charlie brown (part 135)

turbo trainer

i wrote cynically yesterday about cycling uk's 'world's biggest bike ride' on 12 september this year. at least, my cynicism was more directed towards the cycling manufacturers, who seem happy to sit back, relax and let others do their sales work for them. however, cycling uk's intentions i hold in the highest regard; it is scarcely their fault that humankind is far more inclined to clamber into a tin box than a saddle when time comes to actually go somewhere.

the recent lockdown situation that has affected every country in the world, has arguably seen benefits of a velocipedinal nature in many western countries. where public transport has been restricted or simply proved an unpopular means of getting about, the bicycle has stepped in to fill the gap, providing much-vaunted health benefits, along with an economic means of travelling from a to b and back again. the perhaps unintended benefit here has been that of reduced inner-city pollution, verified, if you like, by the lateness of this year's 'earth overshoot day'.

the latter, in case you haven't heard, is the annual symbolic date, when humans are calculated to have consumed all the natural resources the earth can possibly renew in a year. from that date forward, until the end of the year, ecology campaigners claim the global economy is operating in 'ecological deficit'. this year that date fell on 22 august, more than three weeks later than the same point in 2019. The figure is calculated by the global footprint network, a spokesperson for which stated, "a drop in carbon emissions by 14.5% was the biggest factor in pushing this year's date back."

but, as i pointed out yesterday, pretty much as soon as the bulk of national lockdown restrictions were lifted, even those who had revelled in the newfound freedom and joy provided by cycling, turned their backs on two wheels and retrieved the car from the garage. i might live in a relatively remote rural location, but even here the number of cars on the road surged quite dramatically around the middle of july, where once silence could be heard over the light rumble of my tyres. yet, not everyone shared islay's access to the great outdoors, where exercising more than five miles from the front door was never going to present much of a problem.

diplomatic to the last, the velo club shunned the usual sunday morning peloton in favour of individual rides, only congregating at socially acceptable distances on the patio outside debbie's, should we have happened to arrive in a similar timeframe. but we were amongst the lucky and privileged few. several of my friends in mainland cities were castigated by passers-by for having the temerity to even ride alone, despite government advice specifically allowing them so to do. in cases such as those, the only viable alternative became the ubiquitous turbo trainer, smart or otherwise.

my argument against the latter, recent circumstances notwithstanding, is that it's not 'real' cycling. i doubt even regular indoor practitioners would dispute that fact, given that the scenery doesn't change a great deal, and if riding in watopia, it's entirely fictional anyway. but, necessity, in this case, was often very much the mother of invention and assuming the alternative to be several months of couch potatoeness, it's not hard to see why many were grateful for even this alternative. but my concerns are not for those who found indoor riding a necessity, but for those who might have come to accept it as the norm.

bicycle retailer, halfords, recently announced a 500% increase in turbo trainer sales since lockdown began. compared with same period last year, that translates to a worrying 1500% year on year increase. retail being what it is, halfords have attempted to capitalise on this increasing market by now offering a 25% discount to the 'les mills on demand' platform. i confess i had not come across this particular setup before, but according to their website, they have over 120,000 members apparently similar to the services offered by the likes of 'peloton', but without the need to purchase a proprietary indoor bicycle.

an annual subscription for cyclists seems to be around £95.

the turbo trainer expert (?) at halfords, james nicholls said, "We know everyone is looking for ways to exercise at home, and a turbo trainer is a great choice. When it comes to choosing a turbo trainer, it's all about what you want to get out of your training. For the casual user looking to stay fit and active, a non-interactive turbo trainer would be a great, cost-effective option for turning your bike into an indoor trainer. This is the perfect solution for taking part in online virtual spin classes."

and thereby hangs the potential undermining of events such as the world's biggest bike ride'. cycling is about a great deal more than working up a sweat in front of a computer screen. it's a means of traversing the great outdoors, of slogging into a headwind to eventually gain the benefit of the tailwind. it's about grovelling up hills in order to enjoy the subsequent downhill and it's about getting wet just because you can.

most of us spend an unholy number of hours sat in front of a computer screen (he writes, sitting in front of a computer screen), in often stuffy offices, on ergonomically designed chairs, and possibly drinking too much coffee. riding a bike, aside from being a pragmatic transport solution (graeme obree's 'you can't golf to work' springs to mind), it takes you away from all that necessary screen time and allows a traversing of the great outdoors. i fully realise that not everyone has wall-to-wall countryside right outside the garden gate, but it concerns me that the next generation of cyclists might start comparing turbo-trainers rather than bicycles, forming virtual pelotons rather than 'real' ones.

i have nothing against halfords, but please don't let them announce a similar set of figures this time next year.

saturday 29 august 2020

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

a good day for a bike ride

the world's biggest bike ride

as a confirmed non-motorist, i'm unaware whether 'drive it' day, takes the form of a national institution, or whether it's something invented by islay's motor club. either way, on a designated sunday each year, members of islay motor club drive vintage cars and tractors, from port mòr centre in port charlotte, round the top of the loch and into the square in bowmore, where they remain for an hour or so, allowing interested members of the public to view their restorative abilities, and perhaps recruit a new member or two.

still inhabiting the persona of a non-interested, non-motorist, it occurs to me that holding a drive-it day is something of an oxymoron all of its own. the most recent statistics from 2018 indicate that there were 37.9 million licensed vehicles in the uk, the majority of which are probably in regular use. by my reckoning, that would make every day 'drive-it day'. surely that would seem to render the official designation somewhat null and void?

in contrast, the velocipedinal universe accords itself a national bike week and a couple of bike to work days, yet cycling has not reached anything like the popularity of clambering into a metal box every day and driving to work, to school or to the shops. again, looking at statistics from two years past, cyclists are reputedly responsible for and optimistic 11% of all daily journeys in the uk. london seems to be the winner in these matters, with a notable increase in the number of individuals commuting by bicycle. to me at least, that seems something of an oddity, given that the nation's capital has probably one of the most comprehensive public transport systems in the country.

i cannot honestly recall any national campaigns extolling the virtues of driving motor cars, other than the plethora of advertisements seen daily on the tv. and while i appreciate that car manufacturers tend to be financially more wealthy than the bicycle industry, when was the last time you watched a tv advert from any cycle marque? considering that a company which manufactures and sells facemasks can afford to advertise on national tv, any excuses from the cycle manufacturers had better be darned good.

so, instead of the cycle industry directly attempting to reach the hearts, minds and wallets of their potential and actual customers, they seem happy to leave the proselytising to national organisations such as british cycling and cyclinguk, neither of whom have the wherewithal or funding to access the flat screens in our sitting rooms. no, i really don't understand it either.

however, i feel, for the sake of bolstering and promoting our own favoured activity, the above mentioned cycling bodies deserve our support. persuasions to drive motor vehicles are scarcely necessary, but it seems in our own best interests to advertise far and wide, the world's biggest bike ride, an event due to take place on saturday 12 september. according to cyclinguk, 'this is the cycling event for people who simply ride a bike'. or even for people who ride a bike simply. in a verisimilitude of islay's 'drive it day', the advice is lost on yours truly, because i'll be riding my bicycle the same as i do every saturday.

but, facetiousness aside, 'the world's biggest bike ride' is unashamedly directed at those a tad less obsessed with cycling than you and i. that sentiment is effectively reinforced by cyclinguk's statement 'A great reason to get out on their bikes, show support for a new era of transport and remind us all how awesome cycling is.' disappointingly, the apparent reduction in the numbers driving during the recent period of lockdown, appears to have increased all on its own, without the national association of motor manufacturers having to lift a finger in support.

but, cynical or otherwise, the biggest bike ride is for juniors, seniors, the young at heart, and anyone getting back in the saddle. it's one that i think we should be supporting. since the majority of us will be out and about in any case, it seems only fair that we encourage others to experience the same level of joy that we've experienced for many a long year. granted, distances will probably be a bit shorter, but everyone has to start somewhere.

however, i find myself disappointed in the cycle manufacturers, who seem more than happy to sit back and take advantage of any increase in the numbers cycling, without putting their money where their mouths surely ought to be. i'm sure that they have a series of arguments ready and willing to refute my accusations, but when a guy who paints pictures of rainbow coloured highland cows can afford to advertise on tv, i'm less than disposed to believe any plaintiff cries from an industry that appears to be on the verge of a susbtantial upsurge in demand.


sign up for the world's biggest bike ride

friday 28 august 2020

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

the cycling poster according to jackie swann

jackie swann design

around a week ago, i learned that our local council was offering what seems a particularly generous amount of money for a successful 'creative' applicant who would subsequently be charged with designing a series of posters ultimately destined for shop windows in various towns across the region. these, it transpired, would extol the virtues of shopping locally, as opposed to sending a lot of money in the direction of it seems that, despite claims that the world of print has declining relevance in today's pixelated, facebooked and twittered world, there is still demand for the printed word, at least in poster format.

jackie swann design

it's a situation with which i've had recent experience, in the light of the printed matter that currently adorns the office windows. these are mostly designed to advise that the premises remain closed to the public, offering alternative means of contact, while others entreat passers-by to support their local newspaper by way of a subscription. printed news has been in decline for some time all across the world, a situation we were once relatively shielded from by the nature of the community in which i live. however, the coronavirus pandemic closed many local businesses, at least temporarily, wiping out the bulk of newspaper advertising overnight. the recovery is proving a slow process.

but recovery has also proved to be the source of yet another poster campaign, on which visitors to the isle are asked to observe the current restrictions and advised to wash hands, wear facemasks and socially distance where necessary. unfortunately, this particular campaign seems hellbent on defying the whole point of a window poster in the first place. any poster that hopes to inform, midst a forest of surrounding posters, ought best advertise itself with a loud voice. those featured in the recovery programme err heavily towards subtlety, rather contradicting their intended purpose.

jackie swann design

but posters, as a genre, are not necessarily all about telling you stuff; some, like those produced by jackie swann, inhabit a more decorative role, geared more towards adorning sitting rooms, lounges, man and woman caves, or even cafés and bikesheds. for jackie has directed her considerable talents towards the veocipedinal realm, digitally illustrating cycling-related subject matter such as the 'vale of belvoir', bradley wiggins' hour record', and 'mont ventoux'.

"All of my career has been in Design (that's 23 years now!). I'm a qualified textile designer and I've designed all sorts of commercial products and worked for some big corporations. But seven years ago I was made redundant, offering the opportunity to go freelance, something I'd always wanted to try."

at this point, i couldn't help thinking of the archetypal joke that asks how you would make £1 million from cycling, the answer to which is "start with £2 million". freelancing is all well and good, but rarely is such a step taken to enter the world of cycling illustration exclusively. we might all spend more than we've got on carbon fibre and componentry, but none of the cyclists i know are inclined to spend heavily on framed wall accoutrements.

jackie swann design

"For the first few years, I created designs for gift wrap and greeting cards, lots of Christmas stuff, all of which honed my digital illustration skills. But the cycling illustrations really started because my husband is a very keen cyclist and time triallist. I created my first illustration of him racing on his bike in his club kit for his birthday, and that was shared on social media, which received lots of positive comments. Suddenly other people wanted to commission their own piece of art."

mr swann may well be a dedicated and competitive cyclist, but with no disrespect intended, his name hasn't featured greatly in the results of this year's milan-sanremo or tour of lombardy. closer examination shows that he's not even due on the tour de france startline this saturday. bringing those illustrative skills to the attention of a potentially adoring audience probably required a slight widening of scope.

jackie swann design

"I went on to illustrate Wiggins and Cavendish, in the hope that these popular cycling legends might appeal to a wider audience, and that maybe people would want to buy them. These caught the eye of a local Triathlon centre, asking If I'd like to put some of my artwork into their coffee shop. That was a great opportunity too good to miss, even though I actually didn't have too many designs at that stage. So I decided to expand my collection by illustrating some of the iconic cycling climbs of the French Alps. I wanted something contemporary that would look good on the wall, even if you aren't a big cycling fan."

i can see precisely from where jackie is coming from. even when i'm reviewing a bicycle costing several thousand pounds, i'm more than well aware that there will be very few readers actually in that sort of market, and even fewer considering that particular marque. so, while still trying to explore all aspects of the bicycle in question, i'm always hoping that the review is entertaining enough to be of interest to the majority who actually continue reading. jackie swann's poster designs would appear to have nailed it dead centre.

"I've continued to gain commissions and in-between doing those, I've added other climbs to my core collection. Majorca's climbs came after my own cycling holiday there. It's such a popular cycling destination, so I knew it would appeal to lots of people.With each collection, I've tried to maintain complementing colours and tones, so that they sit together well. I wanted Majorca to have hot, earthy colours that represents the terrain.
"However, at this stage It was all still just a sideline and hobby alongside my other design work."

jackie swann design

the mark of a good illustrator is an ability to create artwork that belies any possible lack of interest in the subject. it's rarely a great opening line to inform the client that the subject under discussion is a) not your particular cup of tea or b) the very theme in which you lack the necessary skills to create a lasting impression. but there's little doubt that enthusiasm can go along way, if only because that enthusiasm is likely fueled by at least a modicum of knowledge.

"I'm a keen cyclist myself and member of the local cycling club. My fellow club mates kept asking me to do some local scenes and hills. I don't live in a particularly hilly area but I though maybe, that incorporating some well-known local landmarks and cycling cafes might appeal. But time always seemed to be against me, and I kept putting them on the back burner. Then lockdown happened. Suddenly my part-time contract ended.
"So I was gifted this extra time to focus on updating my website and adding an online store for ease of ordering. And finally, I created those local illustrations and the response was quite overwhelming."

though i'm reluctant to, once again, use myself as an example, reviewing stuff eventually provided enough experience to engender a comfortable level of confidence when committing thoughts to pixels. it might surprise you to learn that the experience gained reviewing a pair of eyewateringly expensive carbon wheels is at least partially transferable to reviewing a cycle jersey from lidl.

"My style has evolved and I've incorporated my surface pattern design background, by adding geometric patterns into the landscapes. These really seem to appeal to a cross-section of people, not just cyclists, which is so rewarding.
"This sideline, hobby, passion or whatever it's called, has kept me busy over lockdown. I've never seen creating these illustrations as a job; I just love doing them and have a list as long as a very, very long arm, of iconic climbs, particularly in the UK, that I still want to create.
"I'll just keep going and see where it takes me."

jackie's impressive range of cycling prints can be seen at, and purchased from

thursday 27 august 2020

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

a change is going to come

paris-roubaix in autumn

around the end of last century, the annual islay festival, or fèis ìle became embroiled with the islay whisky festival. both at the time, looked to the other to help bolster an image. fèis ìle had existed for well over fifteen years at the time, but its purpose in life was in some doubt, and the money part of the equation left a great deal to be desired. the festival had been initiated in the early eighties, in the last week of may, to ostensibly extend a fairly short summer season. however, the choice of attractions, which at one time had included popular scottish bands, runrig and capercaillie, were now unlikely to bring anyone to the isle on their own merit.

the island's distilleries were keen not only to play their part in reviving the festival's fortunes, but to accede to a growing demand for some sort of annual whisky event on an island that held an embarrassment of the amber nectar. thus fèis ìle eventually became synonymous with daytime whisky and evening entertainment, much of the latter drawn from local talent.

the eventual problem, as it were, came in the shape of an ever-lengthening summer season, and the dawning realisation that the festival to be saved was no longer the headline act. however, around 2006, islay's single car ferry had to be augmented by a second, due to ever-increasing numbers of visitors. the planned single ferry, which arrived in 2011, was designed to replace the two smaller incumbents, but by the time it entered service, there was still sufficient demand to continue with a second boat.

by that time the problem was that of the festival's success; it had become impossible to alter the time of year because those attending one year, had already booked accommodation for the following year. moving the dates would have probably led to wholesale rebellion. so, now it's become two sides of an argumentative coin; though we're all aware of the economic benefits brought by thousands of incoming whisky fanatics, if nothing else, the cancellation of this year's event due to covid-19, gave us a sneak peek of what life used to be like twenty years ago. the peace and quiet was almost tangible.

however, as a rule, humans tend to be resistant to change, and doubtless we'd all moan every bit as much if fèis ìle took place at a different time of year. a bit like this year's cycling season. when track mitts were leather or string-backed, there was always that little oval on the back of your hands that caught the sun, offering the cyclist's equivalent of a secret, seasonal handshake. and to the cognoscenti, the simple phrase 'those three weeks in july' had a significance well beyond its semantic definition. except this year, those three weeks echoed with a deafening french silence, broken only by the repeat of previous editions on television.

you can easily envisage the problem engendered by reference to 'those three days in august along with two and a bit weeks in september'. doesn't quite have the same ring to it, i'm sure you'll agree.

and not for nothing was the tour of lombardy known by its alternative moniker 'ride of the falling leaves'. it's a subtitle completely ruined by it having been held during august this year, in close proximity to milan san remo, generally regarded as the onset of battle each season. topsy-turvy doesn't begin to describe it.

covid has caused untold hardships and catastrophe all across the world; the re-scheduling of something as superficial as cycle racing should always be seen as a mere trivial imposition on the seriousness of life. most of us have welcomed the resumption of racing with open arms, not least as a diversion to the persistent deja-vu of groundhog day caused by the pandemic. but it's also change, and as i've already pointed out, lots of us don't like that. in a few days from now, we'll find out what it is to watch the grand départ almost two months later than usual. and viewing paris-roubaix on 25 october is going to be a real uphill struggle, for which it's possible the uci may have to offer counselling.

wednesday 26 august 2020

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

prendas/santini watneys red barrel s/s jersey and cap

the mighty dave t

iconic' is a much overused word these days, probably mostly by me, particularly when applied to bicycles or cycle jerseys. though i doubt he'll tire of hearing it, i'm pretty sure andy storey at prendas has regularly heard or read the word in connection with the substantial range of prendas apparel to which such an adjective rightly applies. should typecasting be thought necessary, i harbour the faint desire that the the vetement z jersey, every bit as iconic as it gets, might be seen as applicable to yours truly, if only on the basis that i still have a ponytail and hail from the same city as robert millar (as was).

the mighty dave t

a complete lack of grimpeurship and top line speed surely ought not be a barrier to jersey membership?

of course, it depends very much on your take on cycling's rich heritage, which particular riders took your fancy, and in which teams. hanging on the wall on the landing is a framed wool peugeot jersey, signed by robert millar, a jersey with which i identify the scot more than with vetements z. however, allowing for the variation in petrol sponsors, you might associate the black and white chequered hoop with either tom simpson or even the great eddy merckx.

which is, as far as i'm concerned, the joy of wearing team clothing in which i was never officially chosen to compete. this adds to the potential mystery of the cycling milieu; were you to meet me en-route to nowhere in particular, even if clad in a white-on-black peugeot jersey while you were similarly clad, we could each imagine the other to align with our own facet of hero worship. that state of affairs could only be multiplied were we both to be found wearing a prendas mapei jersey and bibshorts. if it helps, should that be the case, my headspace would belong to johan museeuw, whose hand i sycophantically shook at the national cycle show many years ago.

the mighty dave t

but to imply that the so-called iconic jerseys are somehow 'better' than those less well endowed in the heritage department, would surely be to mislead the great unwashed? while i enjoy a glass of san pellegrino, taking care not to alert richard sachs to an occasional predilection for the fruit-flavoured canned variety, i'm not so sure that their orange and white brightness holds the same cachet as eddy's molteni arcore. but that salient fact does not diminish the satisfaction of being thus clad while, indeed, holding an actual glass of san pellegrino.

the mighty dave t

but if i might return, however briefly, to the notion of typecasting, it was a recent e-mail from prendas advising of the arrival of a watneys red barrel jersey and cap, that had me immediately think of the mighty dave-t, a longtime prendas endorsed rider, and general all round decent fellow. this was a team that briefly punctuated various belgian parcours in the 1970s, captained by frans verbeek and contracted to publicise watney's red barrel beer across one of the major european cycling nations. and to continue the cycling apparel story just a smidgeon in a different direction, verbeek is the founder of belgian cycle clothing purveyors, vermarc, suppliers to patrick lefevre's deceuninck quick-step world tour squad.

the mighty dave t

this official watneys licensed jersey brought this recollection from the mighty dave. "I remember little about the Watney's trade team from the seventies, but I did have the good fortune, or otherwise, to win what I think was a 7 pint tin of Watneys in a 25 mile time-trial. At the time, I believe it was referred to as 'Party 7'.
"The prize was put up by the pub situated three miles from the event start (which was mainly downhill). From the départ, I slipped into the 108 inch gear on my Worksop-made Carlton 531, and never looked back. At the finish, i was handed the Big Red Tin.
"Mind you, I do hope the brew being revived tastes better than that of old, which, as I recall, doubled as the ideal garden defence against slugs."

if potential purchasers of this excellent santini jersey, featuring a full-length zip, three rear pockets, with a zipped fourth outboard on the centre pocket, need some adopted heritage, the mighty dave is more than happy to license his own recollections about party 7. the matching casquette is, as can be seen from the accompanying images, simply the icing on the cake.

the prendas/santini watneys red barrel is available in sizes ranging from xs all the way to 8xl, priced at £66.99, with the cap priced at £8.99. the mighty dave-t would like to offer his gratitude to prendas for supporting him throughout the islay stages of his career.

watneys red barrel jersey | watneys red barrel cap

tuesday 25 august 2020

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