how to ride a road bike past hebridean sunflowers in october

sunflowers at saligo

i learned to ride a bicycle when i was nine years old; a late starter to be sure. thankfully, my parents' house had a large, grassy, back garden on which i persevered on a small red bicycle borrowed from a friend of mine who lived close by. my mum and dad had bought me a blue, single geared bicycle for my birthday, but it was too big for me to learn on, and neither parent seemed inclined to offer the assistance that i provided for my own two, a considerable number of years later.

at the time, not only were personal computers completely unheard of, i seriously doubt they'd even been thought of. state of the art for yours truly, was a large 'wireless' valve radio that sat on the floor by my bed, offering a couple of dials on the front to change stations between long-wave and short wave broadcasts. for those of you of a certain age, this will mean nothing whatsoever. so not only was there no wi-fi, there was most certainly no interwebs.

having successfully learned to ride a bike, gained a bit of confidence on the blue single-speed, my parents bought me a raleigh twenty shopping bike. for an emerging teenager, it was hardly the coolest of machinery, and even less so compared to the ten-speed racer ridden by my younger brother. however, with a large saddle bag on its rear rack, a sturmey archer three-speed hub gear and a dynamo lighting set, it was eminently suited to the newspaper delivery round i undertook from the age of twelve.

i held that paper round until i was 17 years old, just before i left home to go to college. with newspapers published 364 days a year in those days, 'paper boys' (and girls) got only one day off each year. add to that the fact that we lived on scotland's west coast, rain and wind were fairly prevalent each and every autumn and winter, with ocasional flurries of snow now and again. however, it never dawned on any of us that we might phone the newsagent on a wet and windy morning, to make our apologies or to feign illness and get out of riding in far from pleasant conditions.

i cannot deny that my years at college created a haitus from bike riding; it probably would have been a highly pragmatic means of transport at college, but as an art student, i'm sure i was far too cool for that. however, on returning home to employment, with the distance between home and work being fairly minimal, a bicycle (my very own ten-speed racer) seemed a far more economical alternative to driving a car back and forward each day. that decision was effectively the start of my cycling career as it continues today.

islay lies on pretty much the same latitude as glasgow, but is considerably further west, without the benefit of the shelter it provides to kintyre, arran and the ayrshire coast. with nothing between here and the eastern seaboard of canada, any inclement weather arriving from the north atlantic, has free reign over our shores. i don't own a car, though i do own several bicycles on which i have transported myself over the past 33 years. not for nothing have i become something of an expert on windproof and waterproof clothing. however, if i may be so bold, all this has been as the result of practical experience, mostly because there has been little alternative. i kid you not, when i mention that i can ride my ritchey logic with campagnolo 45mm carbon rims in crosswinds of over 80kph, without being blown from the road.

yes, i have been blown off my bicycle a couple of times, but in those cases, the windspeed was in excess of 100kph.

now, i imagine some of you will be happy to pillory me for my perceived arrogance in these matters, but while indulging in my evening habit of searching youtube for watchable jazz videos, i came across a video produced by the fine folks at the 'global cycling network' (gcn) entitled 'how to ride a road bike in wet weather'. i would have been chortling with the best of you, had this proved to be a spoof video, but as it transpires, this was a genuine enough attempt to teach granny to suck eggs.

imagine for a moment, if you will, that i have bought myself my very first ten-speed racer, on which i am very keen to get out and about, demonstrate the veracity of my honed physique, and show off to the neighbours that i am no longer tethered by pedestrianism, or the need for a motor vehicle. but as i ride from bowmore to bridgend, a matter of five kilometres distant, it begins to rain. imagine my terror as i realise i have no idea how to ride a bicycle in the rain; what on earth should i do? if only someone had advised me of how i ought to behave under such circumstances.

really? however did we make it this far?

how to ride a road bike in the rain

monday 5 october 2020

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where are you go?

english cyclist mapmaking

as a confirmed luddite who frequently doth protest too much about the invasion of technology, i still head out each weekend with a garmin 810 gps unit affixed to the handlebars. in terms of keeping me abreast of my whereabouts, it is surely surplus to requirements. i have lived on islay for nigh on 33 years, ridden every single stretch of road considerably more than once and have the location of every passing place tattooed on the inside of my eyelids. in short, i couldn't get lost if i tried.

so what's the point of the garmin?

english cyclist mapmaking

well, in the days when my actual and average speed made any difference to me, a gps unit was more accurate than a mere bike computer. and if i embarrass myself by admitting that on more than one occasion, i damaged the wires leading to a fork-mounted sensor, when removing the stem, you will appreciate why wireless is a safer option. but nowadays, at what speed i am travelling is really of no nevermind, while display of the average velocity is purely to see how far off the pace of the professionals it's possible to be. and though it may seem a total waste of technology, in truth, since i ride without wearing a watch, the top display on the 810 is that of time of day.

in short, it's an expensive watch.

of course, there are occasions when some of the numbers turn out useful. i am currently carrying out a year-long review of a brooks leather saddle, one that demands filing a report at certain specified distances. while those would be easily calculated via mental arithmetic, it's a lot easier to note the week's total from the garmin readout. and displays such as ambient temperature are handy to note when your fingers go numb from the cold.

english cyclist mapmaking

but, such niceties notwithstanding, when i switch the device on each morning and it invites me to save or discard, it's the latter button that gets pressed each and every time. well, each and every time, apart from yesterday. you see rob and sarah at the english cyclist have come up with wizard wheeze to allow the stravalites amongst you, to actually do something artistically productive with those .gpx files; always assuming, however, that you have faintest idea how to make one in the first place.

it will surprise you not one whit, that i am bereft of a strava account, thus unable to advise one way or t'other, but clicking in to and scrolling down to a section headed 'your epic ride visualised', subsequently offers the opportunity either to connect to a strava account, or simply upload a .gpx file. now you'll laugh when i tell you, but i spent many a confusing moment searching the innards of my 810, desperately trying to find just such a file, which, of course, does not exist.

english cyclist mapmaking

after a few moments on google, i learned that in order to acquire a .gpx file of the ride recently completed, i had to download a piece of software called 'garmin connect' (i assume that, if you have a gps device from a different manufacturer, they will offer their own software for the purpose). once connected to 'garmin connect', it became apparent that i should find a .fit file with the appropriate date, inside the activities folder on my garmin device, and drag it onto the designated spot on 'garmin connect'.

if you're already aware of all this, i'd nip out and clean your chain, while i eventually get to the point.

having carried out the preceding step, i was faced with a rudimentary map of where i had ridden, along with much of the data i had already ignored on the device display. after a lot of blind faffing with buttons and icons, i finally found a not altogether obvious menu that offered to download a .gpx file to my mac. now, it was possible to take advantage of 'the english cyclist's map making programme, one that ultimately allows a semi-customisable map to be created which either rob or sarah will print out at a3 or a2 (for a fee) and post it out for me to impress mrs washingmachinepost with my geographical prowess.

english cyclist mapmaking

at present, the cycled route is superimposed on a stylised, yet accurate map in light grey, orange, dark grey, or blue. for my particular tastes, the light grey was a tad bland, but the orange or dark grey were most amenable. the blue really didn't show the map clearly enough for my liking, so i simply ignored that. no doubt rob and sarah are beavering in the background to offer other colour alternatives (they are), but four options seems just fine for now. the lower edge of the poster optionally displays a profile of the ride, overlaid with the least embarrassing of information (which can be easily removed). you can also add more text, add start and stop points and alter the thickness of the line delineating your ride.

according to the website, a3 prints are priced at £35 each, or £45 for a2. uk postage is free. much as i'd love to think my saturday ride was in any way 'epic' and worthy of hanging on the bathroom wall, sadly that is never going to be the case. however, if you happen to be undertaking a ride from lands end to john o'groats, or participating in an 'epic' sportive, such as hot chillee's londres-paris, this would be the ideal and stylish memento.

sunday 4 october 2020

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what the duck?

rapha - palace

i'm going to begin with my usual moan when it comes to major races on the cycling calendar. not being as up todate with matters as i feel i ought to be, i confess i'd to resort to a web search to find the location of today's giro d'italia start (sicily, since you ask). though there's been a lot of messing about with the format of the grand tours over the last few years, the 2020 giro will commence with a time-trial, pretty much as it should be, in my opinion. however, to return to my incessant moaning, there at the top of my search results was a link leading me to the bbc's preview entitled 'who will challenge and where will the race be won and lost?'

rapha - palace

taken at face value, that would imply that the bbc are party to information, not available to the rest of us. in other words, they already know the outcome ostensibly still three weeks away. which is, of course, utter rubbish. and had they paid attention to two successive front covers of 'the comic' during the tour de france, they would know the folly of pretending otherwise. there's always an up to date copy of 'the comic' in debbie's for the benefit of the cognoscenti (such as myself) to peruse, and i noted when visiting yesterday, that one week asked 'can anyone beat roglic?', followed seven days later with 'pogacar's tour victory' (or something remarkably similar).

i trust the writer of the first of those is now feeling a tad silly.

though i have good friends who are employed as velocipedinal pundits, in point of fact, it's a bit of a mug's game, because nobody actually knows who will win what, before the final podium. it's all just (educated) guesswork, and i'd really rather that they dispensed with such faux clairvoyance, and simply watched the race as it unfolds. surely that's more fun?

rapha - palace

but while we're discussing trends and traditions applicable to grand tours, though the spanish have an irritating habit of faffing around with the colours of the vuelta jerseys, le tour and the giro have tended to stick pretty much to the expected outcomes: yellow and pink. i cannot deny that i was not the only one to have wondered why jumbo visma were allowed to ride in their usual colours, when they obviously clashed with the leader's jersey. when roglic was leading the pack, there was scarcely any difference between him and his mountain lead-out train. cast your mind back a couple of decades to recall pantani's mercatone uno team, whose jerseys were also of a yellow hue, but which was switched to pink for those three weeks in july.

rapha - palace

i can't say that i'd considered the current incarnation of the ef pro cycling jersey to be one that would cause confusion in italian italy, assuming that one of the other teams was hosting the leader. but perhaps i'm just being naive. however, minds other than my own have obviously decided otherwise, and, in a collaboration with palace skateboards (whose website seems to contain one heck of a lot of clothing, but remarkably few skateboards), ef clothing partner, rapha, have produced a startling new jersey design with which to embarrass their riders for three weeks. if you think i exaggerate, it might be worth keeping an eye on how many of the team's riders opt for the broom wagon or team car in the opening days.

rapha - palace

when unveiled at the team presentation on thursday evening, one favourable social media comment pointed out that there was no point in having state of the art dye-sublimation printing, if it were not being made full use of. i was inclined to answer that by stating that, just because something can be done, doesn't necessarily mean that it should be. i confess that, as a luddite fuddy-duddy, i was hitherto unaware of palace skateboards, and on the basis of the new ef procycling jersey, i'm rather glad that's the case. why it should be found necessary to not only feature a verisimilitude of donald duck on the front, i'm really not sure, but to extend the meme to the team's time-trial helmets, is surely adding insult to injury?

i am constantly reminded of pippa york telling me several years ago to "never forget it's all entertainment", and there's no doubt that ducks on jerseys and helmets could be considered entertaining for some. i daresay there's always the mitigating fact that the riders won't have to look at their own apparel, but will surely utter embarrassed chortles when riding in team formation. though a traditionalist at heart, i would agree that there are envelopes that need to be pushed and edges that ought to be cut, i'd just rather that the skateboarders did the pushing and cutting in their own sport, and left cycling to its own devices.

just don't get me started on the bikes.

ef procycling

all images by s j hockett @dragcoefficient

saturday 3 october 2020

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elvin jones

this coming saturday (3 october) lagavulin distillery will release a special 'islay jazz festival' bottling, priced at a mere £402 each. the annual jazz festival, sponsored by the distillery had reached its 21st edition last year, but the 'real', covid delayed 22nd edition will have to wait until next year to take place, this year's having been cancelled. to celebrate the launch of this not inexpensive bottle of whisky, the distillery had invited the members of 'islay jazz quartet', of which i am one, to perform at the distillery on saturday eve.

though the problem would not have been personally mine, i cannot deny i had some doubts over the legality of featuring a live performance, probably taking place inside a marquee in the distillery grounds. it would appear, however, that the distillery subsequently had similar misgivings and cancelled the performance, relying instead on previous jazz recordings made in edinburgh to broadcast on the interwebs instead. suddenly, a programme of hasty rehearsals was immediately curtailed.

but, not to be dismayed or daunted, the four of us who comprise the jazz quartet, decided that, since we were together and willing to play, we would now consider all manner of material other than jazz, to form a band capable of playing at local events. you may wonder why the jazz genre was dispensed with so readily, but if you lived anywhere on the island, you'd be well acquainted with the knowledge that you could count the number of local jazz aficionados on the fingers of one hand. if we want to play regularly when restrictions and guidelines allow, jazz is not the choice to make.

so, as with many an aspirant band, we opted to each make a list of up to 15 songs each, from which it would be possible to choose sufficient material to keep us occupied over the coming weeks. with keyboard, bass, drums and vocals, there are obvious limitations to the material that can be faithfully reporoduced - we won't be offering a rendition of 'bohemian rhapsody' - so, many of the selections will rely on our abilities as arrangers. but as always, there will be songs that will only work with an audience if they're as close to the original as possible.

doing so, is both the joy and nemesis of the average musical group; being sufficiently proficient on our instruments to get close to the performances originated by professionals, with the attendant studio augmentation that is part and parcel of the modern hit parade. many a personal and online tutorial emphasises learning from the greats. in my case, buddy rich, elvin jones, bill bruford, steve gadd, vinnie colaiuta, jay bellerose and others. however, i believe the idea is to incorporate the best bits of the foregoing into my own playing. rather than sit down at my drumset with the intent of being thomas lang (for example), i should simply be me with nuggets of mr lang's phenomenal technique thrown in.

and while i was ruminating on the implications of that last thought, it occurred to me that perhaps this is something that we as velocipedinists should approach as the beginnings of 'a good idea'. though the final time-trial of the recently ended tour de france was exceptional in its attraction and excitement, instead of castigating the usual 'watching paint dry' train of thought, perhaps i should be analysing the techniques of primoz roglic, tadej pogacar, wout van aert et al, with the intention of incorporating it into my own armoury, in order to reach debbie's a tad more quickly on saturday lunchtimes.

it was hard not to admire the tenacity and fortitude of van aert on the climbs of this year's tour, holding a ferocious pace for far longer than either david millar or ned boulting thought him capable. but i fear i could watch replays of each mountain stage, and never comprehend quite how that was achieved. though it would probably be instructive to understand van aert's training regime, the same could be said of learning virgil donati's practice routine. yet it's rare to dig that deep when learning a tune on which he is the principal percussionist.

though i am not, however, anything close to being an expert on the subject, i confess i have yet to read a training manual that advised doing as i have suggested. which either means i am so far ahead of the curve as to be considered prophetic and innovative, or, as seems a great deal more likely, so wide of the mark, that i really ought to dispense with this velocipedinal life altoegether, and stick to hitting stuff.

that you could be that lucky.

elvin jones image by lee tanner.

friday 2 october 2020

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sunday 4 october

for all that we have been discussing the onset of autumn, there's little doubt that, as a season, it offers a different face to different folks. temperatures have been dropping lower over the past few weeks, and while i'm determined that the central heating remains in abeyance until we're further into october, the chill of the night is beginning to call that desire into serious question. i daresay a thicker jumper would help stave off the chittering.

it is my daily habit, when not cycling, to take a morning walk of a few kilometres, to stave off any infirmities that might ensue from sitting in front of an imac for most of the day. arising yesterday morning to the sound of heavy rain and wind battering the bathroom window, gave momentary cause for second thoughts. surely, i reasoned, it would be more prudent simply to go back to bed for a few more minutes and miss out the walk altogether? it's a mode of thought that i'm sure will resonate with many others, particularly as the mornings are also becoming a tad darker too.

however, on immediate reflection, it dawned on me that such an attitude was surely the thin end of the wedge? while the summer months of 2020 have been frequently warm and cosy, encouraging even a few morning walks by mrs washingmachinepost, to retreat under the duvet at the first signs of inclemency would undoubtedly have been tantamount to throwing in the towel before the shower-gel was opened. pretending, therefore, that i am possessed of strength of character, i donned a bright yellow btr waterproof jacket - this far into autumn, breathability is scarcely of consideration - and my trusty pair of 'showers pass' waterproof trousers and went for a walk anyway.

as in the majority of cases, the weather's business card was a great deal worse than its front door. the wind had dropped a smidgeon and the rain had lessened considerably. i actually enjoyed my walk.

it is probably as well that i foster this attitude, for despite having overcome self-imposed, inclement weather tremors, the forecast for the weekend threatens a return of what passes for 'normal weather', round these here parts. i am more than well supplied with waterproof cycle clothing, and i know that, once i'm out and about, no amount of rain and wind can actually negatively impact any bike ride.

as i mentioned only the other day, 'hebrideans are the flandrians of the west', the essence of which asserts that meteorological adversity is of no nevermind. for over thirty years, i have laughed (or at least smirked) in the face of such adversity, and i see no reason that such attitude should change this year. but, and i cannot emphasise this enough, it's not just me.

the nation's cycling organisations, along with government bodies, have repeatedly cited the country's recent adoption of the bicycle as an alternative means of getting about, and their forlorn hope that this attitude will continue through the winter. i am considerably less confident that this will be the case. i have a notion that those happy enough to pedal to work, school or the shops while the going was good, will be inclined to accede to my immediate thoughts of yesterday morning.

though there is a distinct difference between riding in circles with the sunday morning peloton, and riding a bicycle for transportational purposes, it behoves both parties to face the weather with emphatic stoicism. reduced to absolute basics, it's only water; skin is waterproof; with a little help from goretex, what have you got to worry about? a near (non-cycling) neighbour has recently acquired a rather expensive audi suv, a motor vehicle i noticed yesterday morning, parked in bowmore main street, having apparently been used to get to work.

her place of employ is but a matter of metres from the office; the distance we both have to travel is pretty much identical. i'm considering the immediate repercussions of my pointing out that a ventile jacket and waterproof trousers are a great deal cheaper than anything from an audi showroom. however, i'm sure my reader knows of several others who practice similar impropriety. we, however, are made of sterner stuff. witness the masthead of procycling magazine, which states something like 'inside the world's hardest sport'. we might not be at the level of those featured on the magazine's front covers, but relative to the great unwashed, we are the self-styled stalwarts of our sunday pelotons.

just think how hard the winter will be, if we abrogate our responsibilities at the first sign of a little rain and wind.

thursday 1 october 2020

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ekar nuts and bolts

campagnolo ekar groupset

modernity's obsession with instant gratification pretty much entails that any announcement of a new bicycle, a new jersey or jacket, or new componentry, has a remarkably short lifespan. if you consider how many weeks, days and hours are spent on preparing the launch of a new, or improved product, inviting journalists, preparing demo kit, videos, imagery and press releases, the end result must be a lot like christmas; ages in preparation, exhorbitant in cost, but all over in a day.

campagnolo ekar groupset

perception-wise, that's probably the best that can be hoped for, before everything becomes yesterday's thing, and gaze is diverted elsewhere in the velocipedinal universe. arguably it's applicable to campagnolo's release last week of their new ekar gravel groupset.

of course, there are features in the latter that will presumably have long-term effect. the appearance of a new freehub to accommodate thirteen speeds will doubtless infiltrate vicenza's range of bora wheelsets, though the only one available at launch was the re-engineered shamal wheelset. it would be hard not to see both record and super-record gaining that extra sprocket at the next upgrade, and possibly losing a chainring in the process (though personally, it's a potential change that wouldn't get my vote).

campagnolo ekar groupset

and, apart from the flurry of 'first look' videos and reviews that spilled out over the interwebs and youtube, there will still be some continuity.'s dave arthur tweeted that his youtube channel would probably feature quite a lot of ekar in the following days, while he awaited delivery of a suitably attired bicycle. those who, for one reason or another, find it hard to survive without an ekar groupset, will also live with it front and centre for a few weeks more.

but how does it all work from a technical perspective, never mind the riding experience? it would surely be a tawdry example of self-aggrandisement were i to purport i have the inside line in such matters. but, as it happens, i do have the inside line on such matters, information which i will now impose upon your reading pleasure.

campagnolo ekar groupset

by now, we're probably all aware that the new single-chainring groupset is named after an italian mountain which features an observatory at its summit. there is a testing gravel road up to it, hence the name. It demonstrates several firsts for campagnolo. clearly, 13 speed is new. the rear derailleur motion, tracking the shape of the cassette in two dimensions, is innovative. the single chainring is also a new departure for campagnolo, and, importantly in terms of securing supply chain (in these days, of significant importance), the brake calipers and levers, including the master cylinder, are now wholly made inside campagnolo's vicenza premises. and although the near-monobloc cassette is a development of the previous twelve-speed cassette, the manufacturing process marks still greater emphasis on extremely high precision cnc manufacture. again, this is all done in-house.

campagnolo ekar groupset

ekar offers three cassettes: endurance (9-36), gravel race (9-42), and gravel adventure (10-44). The two cassettes featuring a nine-tooth sprocket, share the same first eight sprockets, with the variation being in the bottom five sprockets. The cassette with a ten-tooth small sprocket, is distinctly different, but the percentage differences between ratios have generally been held in a fairly restricted range.

the cassette sits on the n3w cassette body, a version of which will be retro-fittable to older campagnolo wheels and which, with an adapter, allows the mounting of 10, 11 and 12 speed cassettes starting with an 11 tooth sprocket. the new, single chainring crankset offers 38, 40, 42 and 44 tooth rings, generally labelled adventure, pure gravel, flat gravel and e-road / e-race respectively. the Q and U factors on the crankset remain the same as on other campagnolo cranksets, with 165, 170, 172.5 and 175mm lengths available.

campagnolo ekar groupset

the bottom bracket is of the ultra torque flavour, but uses a new cup to accommodate a very highly-protected bearing. threaded cups are currently available in bsc, ita, t47 x 68 and t47 x 86.5, press-fit in bb86, pf30, bb386, bb right and bb30. shift levers are a new form of powershift with an all-metal internal, with the inner thumb lever, shaped to be extremely easy to access from any part of the handlebar. the rear derailleur is clutched and is largely of aluminium construction to ensure a more robust build than the carbon often employed in the top-end road groupsets.

ekar is disc-only, with brake calipers common to both front and rear, using adapters to convert between 140mm and 160mm and front/rear fitting. the system works using the same mineral oil employed by the road disc system, using campagnolo's own (red) oil, rather than a product interchangeable with the magura oil, as is the case with the current eleven and twelve-speed road systems.

mount ekar observatory

The chain is narrower again than the current twelve-speed, nominally 4.95mm, and for those of us who laid out for the eye-wateringly expensive twelve-speed chain tool, disappointingly, the 13 speed version requires a new chain tool (UT-CN400), though it is also compatible with the twelve-speed for rivetted joints. from late autumn, a connecting link will be available and a chain with the c-link supplied will also be made available, although campagnolo generally advise that the chain is still best rivetted.

so, there you go. possibly you'd all but forgotten about ekar's launch, particularly if you'd not intended to acquire one in the foreseeable future. but should you have been dithering over a purchase, hopefully the above will further educate your choice. as to it being the inside line, all the technical information was kindly supplied by velotech cycling's graeme freestone king, campagnolo's chief uk service mechanic, and one of the best in the business.

the occasional commentaries are my own.

velotech cycling ltd

wednesday 30 september 2020

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prendas omloop van vlaanderen sleeveless baselayer

prendas omloop van vlaanderen baselayer

modesty prevents me from overstating my skillset with adobe's flagship image editor, photoshop, but let's just say i'm at black belt level. every two weeks, i am called upon to create a set of differences between two copies of the same image, for one of those 'spot the difference' puzzles featured in my local newspaper. aside from identifying which additions or removals would make for the most intriguing contest, there's then the not unrelated need to conceal those changes from the human eye.

perhaps, quite obviously, if i decide to remove a lamp post, for instance, it would be glaringly obvious if the not-so-faint outline of the removed item remained in public view. and should i add an item, it is best that its appearance and lighting match its surroundings. ideally, the image that has been altered, viewed in isolation from its nemesis, would look to be in pristine condition, with nothing apparently untoward in its composition.

prendas omloop van vlaanderen baselayer

generally speaking, i have been quite successful in so doing, successfully removing chimneys, windows, cars, people and clouds without leaving a trace. i have also introduced white lines to roadways, footballs to play parks, and lambs to agricultural shows, all without necessarily alerting anyone to the veracity of the digital augmentation. of course, it was not always so, but the more often such demands are successfully met, the better my technique for doing so becomes. if you have need of a velocipedinal example, take a look at the cover of the mousehold publication 'vive la vuelta' 2nd edition. the lower image shows alejandro valverde standing on the pedals in the heat of battle. in the original image, there was a (distracting) motorbike and cameraman behind him.

prendas omloop van vlaanderen baselayer

though photoshop's transition from the barney scan software, bundled with an early model of desktop scanner, to that of a fledgling, professional editing programme, was something of an eye-opener in the early 1990s, it was the advent of version 3.0 in 1995 that brought real revolution, for that was when inventor, thomas knoll introduced layers. no longer was it necessary to conduct pixel-wrangling on a copy of the original image; changes could now be made on separate layers, only combined with the original when adjudged to be appropriately correct. and the opportunity to use layer masks was little short of astounding, providing an all but foolproof method of editing an image without fear of mistake.

mastery of layers will make you the julian alaphillippe of the pixelated world.

prendas omloop van vlaanderen baselayer

and, as we draw ever further into autumn, the notion of layers arises once again, only this time, applied to our velocipedinal clothing choices. it's a subject of which each and every cyclist ought to be fully acquainted, if only in order to remain comfortable throughout the weekend ride. through the warmer summer months, clothing oneself in a lightweight, short-sleeve jersey is unlikely to give cause for concern, but when the world becomes a colder place, even a long-sleeve jersey would benefit from a base layer (see what i did there?). as everything ultimately becomes less clement, the ideal build will include a baselayer, a long or short-sleeve jersey and perchance a windproof or waterproof outer layer.

prendas omloop van vlaanderen baselayer

but there are variations to be had within that particular simplicity. baselayers can be had in long or short-sleeve variants or, particularly at this time of year, even a sleeveless version, preventing any propensity to overheat under those enhanced mid and outer layers. and though baselayers are rarely seen in polite company, a cobble-patterned, omloop van vlaanderen offers both comfort and thermal regulation as well as succour to the intrepid. particularly if allied to a pair of lion of flanders socks.

despite featuring a thickness of fabric that makes a sheet of andrex look obese, prendas' omloop baselayer has hidden thermal properties, even minus a pair of sleeves. where they're hidden, i haven't the faintest, but i wore this garment with a long-sleeve jersey in cutting windchill without so much as a shiver. though prendas recommend this as ideal for summer or spring, factor in the layer-method, and suddenly its versatility is extended throughout the year.

the prendas omloop van vlaanderen baselayer (part of the 'forgotten races' collection) is available in sizes ranging from xs to 5xl at a retail price of £33.99.

prendas omloop van vlaanderen baselayer

tuesday 29 september 2020

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