lest we forget

joe and i

i am an extremely fortunate fellow when it comes to cycling apparel. for such is the expertise i have gathered through a willingness to go out in all weathers, that several of the world's principal purveyors of velocipedinal clothing seem more than happy to send items for review. granted, not all garmentage necessitates being put through the mill of a hebridean climate, but, in the majority of cases, if it'll survive a slog around an island on the edge of the north atlantic, it'll probably do just fine elsewhere. this is a state of affairs that pertains particularly to windproof and waterproof clothing, given that, here, wind and precipitation are quite plentiful pretty much all year round.

that said, i must offer grateful thanks for islay's weather on saturday past, when, though just a tad on the chilly side (seven degrees according to the garmin, with windchill dropping that to around five degrees), it was one of the finest day's cycling i've had in many a long day. and, fortunately enough, i was riding in clothing still under embargo, so i can tell you no more at present, but sufficie it to say, it was most appropriate for the occasion.

i recall many years ago, reading a group test of waterproofs in a well-known uk cycling publication, where they had opted to test a series of waterproof jackets by standing under the shower, an option that my office colleagues have offered to replicate on more than one occasion. however, even the most cynical amongst us must realise that so doing is hardly what might be termed a 'real world' test. anyone who has ridden in galeforce headwinds featuring serious precipitation, will well know that horizontal rain has a habit of finding any point of access on a less than well-constituted garment.

similarly, strong winds will eke out even minimal flappage, and since headwinds are hard enough to ride into in the first place, any unnecessary drag is really not your best friend. factor in the effort required to pedal into the wind in the first place, and it's not hard to see why a decent level of breathability is right up there with water resistance.

of course, when it comes to lightweight, summer weather clothing, islay might not be the first choice for many. even at the height of the season, the majority of us can be found with a stowaway waterproof in a back pocket, while ambient temperatures frequently encourage the wearing of armwarmers and, occasionally, kneewarmers. that would presumably explain why i am on the receiving end of more winter kit and long-sleeve jerseys, than short-sleeved perforated polyester.

but, as i have often mentioned, those of us on the sunday ride, and i on my solo rides, are effectively riding in circles before heading home for a warm shower and a change of clothing. when it comes to pragmatic apparel for any form of commute, particularly those for special occasions, the velocipedinal world becomes an entirely different place. and such was the case for a member of the sunday morning peloton yesterday, a fellow who organises the local poppy scotland collection, attended the remembrance service at st. kiaran's church, port charlotte.

the latter is around 16km from bowmore village, while the church service, held outdoors this year, demanded a sartorial choice that excluded lycra, sportwool and goretex. unfortunately, following a glorious saturday, sunday dawned grey, wet and windier than forecast, not the ideal situation for a cyclist on a brompton featuring a large pannier fastened to the front of the cycle, and riding in a pinstripe suit. even less amenable, was the return trip up the wide-open stretch of uiskentuie strand into an irritating headwind and a modest degree of precipitation. i seriously doubt that savile row is inclined to send out suits for review in order to gauge their suitability for sunday morning winter bike rides to port charlotte.

however, not for nothing have we in the velo club adopted the 'leave no-one behind' philosophy. since bromptons are not renowned for their headwind-beating gearing or handlebar profile, two of us rode as a mobile windbreak all the way to bridgend village. unfortunately, our strenuous efforts, according to the besuited rider on the brompton, scarcely made a dent in that headwind. some people are so ungrateful, even when being stylish with it.

however, the so-called hardship we think we experience riding into an hebridean headwind, is as nothing compared to those who spent years in the trenches during the first and second world wars. please bear that in mind and donate to this year's poppy appeal. their sacrifices have allowed us the freedom of being able to ride our bicycles whenever we want, while wearing whatever we deem suitable

donate to poppy scotland | british legion poppy appeal

monday 9 november 2020

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the power of pepperoni

civerinos slice

severl years past, scotland had its own equivalent of the dave rayner fund, co-founded by twice british road-race champion and motorola rider, brian smith. on the weekend when the clocks moved back an hour and british summertime came to an end, the braveheart fund would hold a 72 kilometre bike ride around the roads of ayrshire, traditionally leaving from a school grounds near new farm loch in kilmarnock. this would be followed in the evening by the braveheart dinner in the park hotel, accommodation incorporated into kilmarnock's football ground.

invariably, there would be one or two of the greats from the world of cycle sport invited as guests of honour, including, on the last year i attended, bradley wiggins. there was also a very lucrative auction, benefitting the charity and subsequently young scottish riders. it was also common for sean kelly to join the ride, and i was once able to claim that i had passed mark cavendish, strategically leaving out the fact that he was on his way back to the start line at the time.

for several years, the route took place over the a77, a dual carriageway long superseded by the m77, sections of which we would ride underneath while we attempted to find our way back home in timeous manner. north ayrshire council, as long ago as the last decade, were keen to provide facilities for cyclists, utilising sections of the a77 to add remarkably well surfaced cycle lanes, keeping members of the braveheart peloton well clear of passing traffic, separated from the roadway by concrete kerbs. these conveniently featured gaps every so often to allow access or egress, depending on the velocipedinal requirements of the peloton, or regular cyclists on the other 364 days of the year.

unfortunately, as is frequently the case all over the country, there are motorists who either fail to recognise the true purpose of a cycle lane, or figure that the restriction does not apply to them. thus at one point of these serene perambulations, we came across a van parked slap bang in the middle of a cycle lane, its driver operating a digger in an adjacent field, oblivious and unconcerned about the hurdle he had created by his inconsiderate parking.

this is something with which new cyclists in britain's cities have had to contend, along many of the pop-up cycle lanes that have appeared, easing the task of remaining socially-distanced, yet getting to and from work in comparative safety. i do understand that several of these pop-ups exclude roadsides that many city motorists may have been in the habit of using for regular parking, but that hardly gives them the right to continue such practices, just because they can or they want to.

britain's roads consist of more than a quarter of a million miles (almost half a million kilometres), and though those are obviously not all within city limits, it's surely enough to obviate any desperate need to use areas marked out for cycle use? i believe a similar pattern applies to bus lanes. and in cities or towns where these pop-up cycle lanes have appeared, there has often been vocal consternation from shopkeepers that preventing motorists from parking at the roadside would lead to a reduction in custom, at a time when the majority of high streets could do with all the business they can get.

however, experience in other parts of the world has often shown that rather than restricting business, cycle lanes and increased pedestrianism often leads to an increase in business. particularly, in one notable case, if the shop kicks back against those who flout the very existence of the cycle lanes.

edinburgh pizza restaurant, civerinos slice, has posted a sign in their window stating 'the lane is for cyclists. we will not serve pizza to, or accept deliveries from anyone parking in the cycle lane.' and just to provide succour to the hapless band of edinburgh cyclists, civerinos have also offered discounts to people who collect their pizzas by bicycle.

a spokesperson for civerino's said it had taken the action to try and protect cyclists and pedestrians and try to stop people parking on the pavement and the bus lane. for their voluntary action, the restaurant has been awarded the title of 'business champion of the year' in awards promoted by cycling uk, scottish cycling, and sustrans and which included edinburgh city council transport convenor, lesley macinnes, being named 'visionary champion of the year'.

don't you just love it when a plan comes together?

sunday 8 november 2020

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rapha pro team bibshorts ii - long

rapha pro-team bibshorts ii

those of you in thrall to the keepers of the cog at velominati, will doubtless have rule #14 ingrained in your psyche that bibshorts should be black, though exception can be made for side panels in order to co-ordinate with the rest of the team kit. rule #15 extends that directive to championship and leaders' jerseys, but on looking out over your smiling faces, i'm not sure that any of us fit into the latter category (though if tao's reading, well done that man). of course, velominati's 95 rules are mostly tongue-in-cheek, apart, obviously, from rules #5 and #9.

nonetheless, they're remarkably handy when you want to prove a point, or when backup for any eccentricities is required, but otherwise...

rapha pro-team bibshorts ii

the keepers of the cog, however, share a similarity with elected officials at aigle in switzerland, in that they accept only that everything begins and ends with eddy merckx, a point of view with which i have no particular disagreement. but a certain degree of levity and variance ought best be observed, if keen to avoid vocal accusations of ludditery. thus, we might ask ourselves whether eddy would have been likely to don a pair of purple bibshorts for a day in the saddle? it's a bit of a rhetorical question, because, so far as i'm aware, there were no colours other than black available in eddy's era, presumably having encouraged velominati's rule #14 in the first place.

rapha pro-team bibshorts ii

rapha, while having arguably presaged the monochromacity of the rules, are prescient enough to view them with a healthy perspicacity, for with the release of the second version of the pro team bibshorts, not only is purple an option, but it's accompanied by navy blue and carbon grey (though a more traditional black option is also available for the naysayers). and just to add an essence of delight or blasphemy - depending on your point of view - they can be bought with extra length in the leg.

i make no apology for having opted for the purple version, even if only on the basis that the rapha lettering on the left leg is imprinted an a wonderful jade green, a contrast that looks far more professional than does this particular wearer of the purple. i have, in my lengthy 'career', worn many a pair of bibshorts, ranging from the sublime to the cor blimey, and i tell you now, that these are amongst the finest bibshorts in which it has been my pleasure to ride.

rapha pro-team bibshorts ii

the fit (size small reviewed) is impeccable, while the pad affords the sort of luxury that keeps itself to itself; you'd scarcely know you had them on. the extra length in the leg not only saves the rider from being mistaken for sean yates, but is most equitable to all riders who care not one whit for paying close attention to their tan lines. on scotland's west coast, that's hardly much of a travesty. perhaps all shorts should be built this way? granted, i am not particularly long of leg, so it's possible those who are will find the extra centimetre or so, less noticeable. but the extra measure allowed me the confidence to ride bare-legged in early november and in temperatures of less than ten degrees, without my kneecaps icing up.

rapha pro-team bibshorts ii

the mesh bibs and back panel help greatly with breathability 'neath a late-autumn weight jersey, do not exert undue pressure on the shoulders, yet hold all that purpleness just where the intrepid cyclist would like it to be. the leg grippers are almost non-existent, yet exert as little pressure as is needed; they never moved a millimetre no matter how much i tried to have them do so (and honestly, i tried).


rapha's pro-team bibshorts ii with the longer leg are available in purple, navy, carbon grey, black, or black with white bibs. they can be had in sizes ranging fom xs to xxl at a cost of £195. if you only have room for one pair of bibshorts in the cycling drawer, might i recommend that it be these, or their shorter legged sibling.

rapha pro-team bibshorts ii long

saturday 7 november 2020

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seasonal illumination

bicycle lights

i am insufficiently experienced with the various bicycle price points to know how far up the food chain certain aspects persist, but those plastic discs that sit behind the cassette, ostensibly to prevent the chain overshooting into the spokes, drive me to distraction. with apologies to any manufacturers or distributors who may have sent me review models in recent years, i have been in the habit of removing them prior to beginning the riding part of the equation. i realise there will be several of you rushing out to the bikeshed to check whether such an item is fitted to your bicycles, so i'll wait a minute or two until you return.

these discs are affixed to the lower portion of the spokes by integrated clips which, for reasons i know not, will break sooner, rather than later. and you can guarantee that they will not all break simultaneously; one will snap, upsetting the disc's feng shui. this will mean the plastic disc takes on a life of its own, rattling in an eccentric fashion and annoying the living daylights of whomsoever happens to be in the saddle. these, however, are not a compulsory affixation, just like the reflectors that might also be fitted to front and rear wheels.

the latter, in my experience, adversely affect the spokes on the wheels, for i have frequantly had cause to remove the wheel reflectors at birth. why such innocent pieces of plastic should loosen ostensibly, tightly tensioned spokes, is quite beyond me, but that does seem to be the case more often than not.

however, given that, as said by billy connolly, 'the nights are fair drawin' in', any form of illumination, reflected or otherwise, is not only currently rather a good idea, but in many cases, it's a legal requirement. oddly enough, the current requirements as espoused in the 2009 revision of the road vehicle light regulations, demand that cyclists have reflectors fitted to the front and rear of each pedal. on the platform-style pedals fitted to the majority of commuting bikes, at least at point of sale, it's simplicity itself to fit the necessary reflectors, but you'll have a hard time doing so on the likes of speedplays or look keos.

thankfully, and i really hope there are no members of law enforcement reading this, conjecture would have us believe that even the police are not entirely sure of the lighting regulations applicable to bicycles, so it seems unlikely you'll be stopped and fined if the sunday peloton moves the morning ride to sunday evening.

however, venture out in darkness without at least front and rear lights, and, to be honest, you deserve pretty much everything the law can throw at you. it was 2005 before the law caught up with technology and allowed flashing rear lights to be used on pedal cycles, and though the regulations require that the flash needs to be between 60 and 240 times per minute, i seriously doubt any following police car is going to stay long enough to count.

personally, i am loath to ride after dark, for two reasons: one, i don't actually need to, and two, there are far too many youngsters round here in souped up astras and hondas pretending to be lewis hamilton for my liking. however, assuming you may have to, any illumination in addition to the requirements, can't really go wrong. there's nothing wrong with looking like a mobile christmas tree.

but, as a voluntary action, extraneous to any legal demands, the velo club have featured flashing rear lights on our bicycles all year round. in the likes of storm aiden last weekend, when the winds were severe and the rain horizontal, daylight isn't all it's cracked up to be. it behoves us well to identify ourselves clearly to following vehicles; bright clothing, augmented by a flashing light makes a great deal of sense.

i realise all this is information with which most of us are familiar, but it never does any harm to reiterate it as the nights draw in. on a purely superficial level, i have few enough readers in the first place; i'd rather not lose any because i forgot to remind you about bicycle lighting requirements. and assuming you've been paying attention, and the bicycle has had the cassette guard removed, the wheel reflectors thrown in the bin and front and rear lights fitted, make sure you remember to switch them on. it sounds glaringly obvious (pun intended), but i've seen many a bike rider with a rear light fitted, yet not switched on.

either that, or they'd not been charged overnight. (but i'll bet they remembered to charge the phone). if dynamos are your thing, it's worth remembering that many do not continue to power the lights when the bike is stationary. as a youngster, i had a near miss with a following car, when i stopped at a road junction, and was almost rear ended by a driver who saw me only at the last minute.

to quote an overused, yet potentially life-saving cliché 'see and be seen'

friday 6 november 2020

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the cool table


in my early approach to the art of road cycling, i assembled an appropriate velocipede, constructed around a red, reynolds 531, steel frame. always a campagnolo aficionado, the bicycle was festooned with the shiny alloy of a chorus groupset, a pair of handbuilt (by yours truly) wheels and a truly awful attempt to wrap bar tape round the cinelli giro d'italia handlebars. searching through photos of the pro peloton, i opted for a white, selle san marco saddle, in a vain effort to 'fit in' (though to what, i'm still unsure).

the realisation that there was now a verisimilitude of a 'ten-speed racer (albeit, with fourteen gears) sat in the bike shed, encouraged thoughts of just what i intended to wear when demonstrating my new found athletic prowess, even though the latter had yet to put in an appearance. cotton t-shirts and a pair of been-bag mtb joggies hardly seemed suitable for my new pelotonic status, forcing me to resort to the many adverts appearing in the back pages of 'the comic'.

this was a process not helped by a remarkable lack of knowledge as to what was considered suitable, greatly assisted by the fact that, on a small hebridean island, i had no peer group whatsoever at the time. even graeme obree or robert millar would have looked out of place in the locale of that era. the trick, it transpired, and ultimately my saviour in the sartorial stakes, was being considered somewhat eccentric, a consideration, it appears, that had little or nothing to do with my affection for bicycles.

thankfully, long consigned to the velocipedinal dustbin, was the pair of lycra tights i purchased from deeside cycles, which would scarcely have appeared out of place at the woodstock festival, or a cheech and chong album cover. i have attributed my early turn of speed to the necessity of making it through the island's villages fast enough that no-one would witness my embarrassment.

it was the mid-nineties before there was any sort of agglomeration of cyclists on islay, composed of a motley bunch ranging from my red road bicycle to an elderly gent who rode a vintage machine with a waxed cotton chainguard. at the time, it was comforting to have others with whom to share the road, days when the sunday morning ride actually took place on sunday afternoons, and frequently featured the less skilful landing upside down in a ditch near avonvogie on the glen road.

we were well into the 21st century before the velo club began to take the shape it inhabits today, comprising individuals who would scarcely have entered each others' social circles were it not for the bicycle. the red road bicycle was long gone; italiana was the new black. buoyed with the knowledge that cycling was no longer likely to turn one into a social pariah, i contributed one or two brief articles to the local newspaper, proselytising the way of the bicycle to the population at large, words that appear to have fallen on deaf ears.

while others apparently had little trouble or effort encouraging others to form hockey or shinty clubs, an entire gaggle of kids queued up to play football on a saturday morning, and the dolphins' swimming club was hiring larger coaches to travel to mainland galas, we seemed totally unable to attract any others to join our sunday morning perambulations. to be honest, that situation pretty much persists to this day. the standard excuse revolves around us riding too fast to join in, despite protestations that we'd be inclined to ride more slowly if slower riders joined our merry throng.

however, you may have come across the williams' brothers, riders from california who were brought to our attention through the launch of rapha's custom kit. their legion team jerseys, with the 'eg' replaced with '39' (they were brought up on 39th street). with a profile that includes association with imperial works, specialized bicycles and a feature video on gcn, their family-based racing team is arguably the highlight of a relatively staid branch of the sport. and in a gcn interview with former usa cyclocross champion, jeremy powers, team founder, justin williams, offered up his solution to attracting more people to cycling.

'make it cool'.

it's a solution that is as seemingly practical as it is simple. mountain biking became popular in the mid-eighties because it was cool. surfing, windsurfing, jet skis, parkour - all survived and prospered due to a propensity to be viewed as 'cool'. granted, the coolness factor of shinty, swimming and football escapes me entirely, but no doubt cool is in the bedroom wall poster of the beholder.

perhaps when rapha offered up their lengthy manifesto to make cycling the singularly most popular sport in the world, the word they had in mind was 'cool'. it's hard to deny that riders like lachlan morton, mike woods and hugh carthy in the rapha partnered ef pro cycling have an admirably modern attitude towards their sport. and with the williams brothers, that approach is likely to gain greater credence.

i am a self-confessed luddite, boring old fart and victor meldrew wannabe, so the sight of yours truly on the road to kilchoman is hardly likely to encourage others to think of cycling as the coolest way to spend their weekends. but i'm sure that at least some of my readers are of an age and mindset that could achieve wonders in this direction. so, even with the arrival of ever-descending temperatures, the watchword by which i think we all should live is 'kool', if only because it is allegedly the cooler form of 'cool'.

if justin williams is right, this could be the beginning of something big.

the williams brothers

thursday 5 november 2020

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once again, we might be doing it wrong

not trying too hard

i have long debated if the phrase 'you're trying too hard' actually has any meaning in real life. for example, when i ride up the hill at foreland, when i reach the little bump that nudges the gradient north of 8%, i've already gritted my teeth, loins have been girded and i have my best race face on, yet, in my estimation, none of the above make it any more palatable. so, in an effort to pretend that i fully understand the meaning of 'scientific examination', i have, on at least two separate occasions, approached this upstart of an ascent within an ascent, with a more laissez faire, devil-may-care attitude. i'm sure you can garner, from the tone of my voice, that it wasn't an altogether successful scientific experiment.

so, when i'm probably trying too hard, it appears i might not actually be trying too hard at all. but even when i'm not trying, things are not noticeably better, so i can but conclude that trying too hard is not the new black, and it appears that i may be guilty of doing it wrong. and before you interject, yes, it certainly wouldn't be for the first time.

however, i may have the answer, even though that answer has yet to be scientifically verified. for, in the process of imparting a little percussive wisdom at the local secondary school, i have observed something in others that i may well have taken for granted in myself. in the course of tutoring students at national five level ('o' levels to those of my generation), it is apparent that while the minds are willing, the mechanical processes are still at a much earlier stage. allow me to illustrate.

let's assume that you have four drums in front of you. between your knees is the snare drum and to its right is the floor tom. mounted atop the bass drum, are two differently sized 'rack' toms. in the process of playing what is commonly referred to as a 'fill', it would be common to play (for example) four notes on each drum, leading from left to right, but moving forward from snare to small rack tom, right to the larger rack tom and on down to the floor tom on the right, before returning to the snare.

as i attempted to point out to my students, the sort of gigs they're likely to play at the beginning of the ladder to superstardom, will quite possibly last up to three hours, and anything that makes those hours more palatable, is to be grasped with both hands. so, rather than wait until all four notes have been played on one drum, before moving to the next, if we assume a right, left, right, left sticking, the minute the right hand has played its second note, it should move to the next drum, ready to play the next note. this not only offers a smoothness of sound, but a more relaxed and less staccato delivery.

the extension to this, gained from regular practice, is to make more judicious choices when it comes to sticking patterns, not necessarily following the right, left, right, left option in every situation. so, essentially, the more relaxed you are when playing, the better it sounds to an adoring audience, and the less troubled you'll be after two and half hours of status quo medleys.

so the second part of my endless debate, having decided that 'trying too hard', might not be all it's cracked up to be, is whether a more relaxed approach to pedalling might, subconsciously, make me smoother and faster? you can possibly view just that to which i refer when watching the middle part of the professional peloton, thundering along at more kilometres than there are numbers on a clock, and having innocent conversations about whether they prefer to shop at lidl or aldi, or if primoz roglic might borrow a portable drill from carapaz at the weekend.

granted, those fellows are highly paid, highly trained and, relative to yours truly, much younger individuals, for whom 60kph is a walk in the park. but it's easy to see that, at least until the latter part of the monte zoncolan or angliru, they all look decidedly relaxed. and in case you missed it, none of them look as if they are 'trying too hard'. so the trick, if i may be so bold, is perhaps to try and match the way we think we cycle, with the way we actually do, the two meeting somewhere in the middle. ultimately, relaxing and judging when prudent to inject some serious effort has direct parallels, i believe, with playing simple fills on the drumset.

and i totally refute all accusations that my own wee world might be akin to la la land.

wednesday 4 november 2020

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precipitating common sense


i'm undecided as to whether to 'name and shame' given that the latest e-mail to arrive at my inbox is not a singular example of the genre. but having recently highlighted a few missives explaining, in biased terms, just how i ought to clothe myself for the winter months, it seemed only to add insult to injury to receive yet another in an apparently limitless series, entitled 'how to ride in the rain', an echo, surely, of the pilloried gcn youtube video of the same name.

i am, of course, being slightly disingenuous, given that the progenitor of said e-mail is one of the world's premier cycling apparel purveyors. those of you who subscribe will no doubt be aware of whom i speak. i feel just a bit guilty about highlighting this situation, for the company in question do, in fact, offer a wide range of garmentage that successfully keeps precipitation at bay, in a stylish fashion. i do not wish to undermine the veracity of their product, but surely their ingenuity stretches further than such a perfunctory and potentially demeaning subject heading?

following that subject heading, the communication continues, "When it's beating down with rain, you may be tempted to give your bike ride a miss." in truth, that's the part (other than the title) that piqued my concern, for surely, in this day and age, who amongst the cognoscenti would be put off by a few drops of rain? are we not the arm-wavers who moan, year after year, that another edition of paris-roubaix, or the ronde has been completed in dessicated conditions? how could we sleep at night, knowing that we are perhaps not willing to endure the climatic conditions we would wish upon our heroes?

at the end of each week, i receive an e-mail from argyll and bute council, offering a roundup of events, happenings, surveys and news that they, in their wisdom, feel are pertinent to my daily routine within the region. i cannot complain about this, for i did voluntarily and willingly sign-up for this 'service', even though more recent editions have seemed strained to fill the space available. yet, as we pop our heads above the parapet after a weekend surviving 'storm aiden', a weekend when the ferry remained berthed throughout saturday, and sailed seriously late on sunday, nowhere is there advice for the population at large, on how to 'walk in the rain'.

richard's bicycle book

the driving test website offers learners tips and hints on driving in the rain, as do both the rac and automobile association, but that advice is concerned more with the act of driving, particularly in vehicles capable of moving in excess of 160kph. paying attention to visibility and other aspects that might keep drivers and others safe and well, would seem pertinent for those learning the necessary skills. however, i could find no reference to the level of couture demanded by the onset of precipitation.

however, levity aside, there is possibly an element of concern contained within the above marketing polemic, even if some verges on the glaringly obvious. for example, if you're safe to be left in charge of carbon fibre and possibly electronic gear-shifting, i would hope that you'd have the savvy to prepare for actual or potential weather conditions. though forecasts can vary wildly in their accuracy, as autumn arrives, there are few of us in the velo club who don't check more than one the night before, or even earlier. with specific reference to storm aiden at the weekend, though sunday morning's winds were rideable, the forecast showed them to be on the increase by mid-day, enforcing a slight curtailment of the usual parcours in order to avoid potential problems riding home.

yet, even in the summer months, most of us carry a stowaway rain jacket, learned from years of experience, but as the days become slightly duller, shorter, colder and wetter, it well behoves the intrepid bicyclist to ensure that their apparel du jour, not only fulfils the requirements of the ride itself, but any unforeseen circumstances encountered along the way. several years ago, a new recruit to the fold not only joined the merry throng, bereft of inner-tube and pump, but on suffering a puncture, realised that his apparel was not equal to the cold, wet conditions that chilled him to the bone while effecting the necessary repairs.

situations such as the above only but serve to underline the concept of layering, shedding those deemed unnecessary while riding, but providing others when problems occur. of course, it now dawns on me that i am guilty of doing exactly that for which i began criticising others. but we all are not created equal.

in my apprentice days as a cyclist, i deemed it necessary to purchase a copy of 'richard's bicycle book', a volume originally published in 1983, that explained many of the mechanical features of the velocipede. since cycle training can be either non-existent, or persist several levels below that demanded of the would-be motorist, it would seem to be common sense to familiarise yourself with the finer points of cycling, covering as many aspects as possible.

aspects such as how to ride in the rain, for example.

tuesday 3 november 2020

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