prendas super roubaix deluxe gloves

prendas super roubaix deluxe gloves

it's beginning to look as if cycling is in danger of achieving perpetual motion in respect of weather and choice of apparel. this really only came to light during the sunday ride yesterday, less at the behest of pelotonic conversation, and more the result of simple observation. saturday provided wall-to-wall sunshine, but with the added attraction of a strong, chilly, northerly wind. i would love to have proved myself brave enough to ride without knee warmers, but disappointingly, temerity rules ok, at this stage of the season. and that, more or less encapsulates my point.

prendas super roubaix deluxe gloves

i'm conscious of having made it plain in recent weeks, that the vicissitudes of the hebridean weather, have culimated in a quandary over just what to wear on a daily basis. every alternate friday provides the ideal release from the grindstone, by allowing for a pedal south west to deb's for a coffee and, perchance, a square of millionaire's shortbread. by early afternoon, the weather pattern is pretty much set in stone, making it a simple task as to the choice of apparel du jour. however, saturdays and sundays demand earlier morning départs, with little indication as to the weather pattern to be expected throughout the day.

those of you not from these here parts will no doubt advise that i check the weather forecast, but that itself provides difficulties all of its own. for instance, both saturday and sunday past were forecast to be particularly overcast, with sunday showing an average temperature of eight degrees celcius. had that actually been the case, there's the possibility that bibtights and jackets would have been the order of the day. when i point out that wout van marshall was to be seen in bibshorts and a short-sleeve debbie's jersey, you may infer that the weather was not as forecast.

prendas super roubaix deluxe gloves

however, van marshall is a tad more intrepid than the rest of us; i managed shorts, but combined with both long-sleeve baselayer and jersey. my other two compatriots had settled for similar long-sleevery, but allied to bib-threequarters. you can infer how wide of the mark was the temperature indication if i mention that even in early morning, the garmin displayed around 16 degrees.

saturday, however, was chillier, and though the temperature was eventually the same as sunday, the early kilometres demanded a windproof gilet and a pair of prendas, long-fingered, roubaix gloves. the latter gave me seriously divisive problems on sunday morning, purely because i had rather hoped to wear them for a second time over the weekend. this was nothing to do with my timidity in the face of meteorological inexactitude, but purely because they are a remarkably comfortable pair of gloves. unlike a few other pairs of long-fingered gloves i own, designed for warmer days, the prendas roubiax mitts offer particularly effective padding on the palms and a shortness of cuff that mitigates against overheating in temperatures in the upper teens.

prendas super roubaix deluxe gloves

the padded feature is, i am led to believe, a new one for 2021, fabricated from synthetic suede. andy storey at prendas pointed out that the more subtle prendas logo on the back mitigates the need to obliterate the logo, should you be sponsored by a competing brand. (i should be so lucky.) despite the warm super-roubaix fabric, the gloves were an added bonus on the first half of my saturday ride, though i switched to a pair of prendas track mitts for the warmer perambulation of loch gorm on saturday afternoon. with the gloves being handmade in italy, the tiny italian flag tab on each is a nice touch, and at a remarkably economic price of £27.99, it's hard to find any fault whatosever.

the vagaries of the hebridean climate ensures that i will likely be wearing these gloves across the entire season as conditions demand, and i'd be inclined to recommend a pair to anyone living north of the border, though doubtless you soft southerners (no disrespect intended) will find every bit as much use, albeit in warmer and drier conditions.

prendas super roubaix deluxe long-fingered gloves are available in sizes ranging from small to xl at a retail cost of £27.99

prendas super roubaix deluxe gloves

monday 26 april 2021

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vulpine merino alpine l/s jersey

vulpine merino alpine l/s jersey

i have frequently had good reason to question the denotion of the period following the changing of the clocks in late march, as british summer time. for those who have lived in the british isles for even a brief period of time, it's a commonly known fact that summer, such as it is, is scarcely likely to appear until at least late april/early may. if you live north of the border, there's a reasonable chance that summer, as we've come to define it, might never appear at all. not for nothing is our annual 100 mile bike ride, taking place in early august, known as ride of the falling rain.

vulpine merino alpine l/s jersey

so when the world of cycling apparel advises that such and such a jersey, or jacket, appears as part of their spring/summer range, it's likely that the word spring appears first in line, predominantly because that's the season likely to last the longest. not for the first time have i heard it said that the hebrides experience only three seasons, with summer being the one most likely to be found absent without leave.

several years ago, in late may, i had taken the small ferry across the sound of islay, to the neighbouring isle of jura, expressly to cover the distillery's open day during the whisky festival. i was advised that i would need to be back at the ferry before noon, as the tides and a galeforce wind were likely to prevent the ferry sailing through the afternoon. having made it back before 11am, i'd to sit in the waiting room until well past 3pm, before the boat managed to berth at the jura slipway. yet that was during british summer time.

vulpine merino alpine l/s jersey

so the notion of wearing a long-sleeve jersey as we prepare to leave april and take a look at the month of may, seems a perfectly sane choice as far as i'm concerned. and, to be honest, a jersey fashioned from merino wool makes even more sense. how often have we been told that a cup of tea possesses the ability to heat the soul in winter, yet cool it in summer? those appear also to be (sort of) the qualities encapsulated within a merino cycling jersey. or at least, a burnt orange vulpine merino cycle jersey.

despite its chequered past, vulpine has survived to become one of cycling's best kept secrets, hidden in plain sight. their current range for both male and female cyclists is remarkably impressive, none more so than their selection of pure merino alpine cycle jerseys. as if to underline my contention regarding british summer time, the first outing demanded that the jersey be encased 'neath an outer jacket, partly due to rain and partly due to a considerably lower than summer time temperatures. concerned that i may have over-egged the pudding (so to speak) and effectively constructed my very own mobile sauna, i was mightily impressed to find that the merino proved highly adept at moderating the projected heat.

vulpine merino alpine l/s jersey

move on a matter of days, and despite wall to wall sunshine, and the fact that my garmin insisted the temperature to be in the mid-teens, a strong northerly wind pretty much put paid to thoughts of beach towels and fruity drinks with ice and an umbrella. in fact, if you promise not to tell, i layered the jersey above a long-sleeve baselayer in anticipation of hebridean cooling, strategy that worked just ginger peachy, thank you very much.

built from a darned near impossibly fine merino wool blend, that would have you think it couldn't possibly keep a velocipedinist cosy, there are the expected three rear pockets, plus a fourth, mandatory, zipped instance for coffee money, or a card for the cashless society. and those pockets are not timid when it comes to stowage: i carried a compact digital camera, a mini-pump, a tyre jack, a spare pair of gloves and a squidgable gilet. yet, despite emulating the capacity of a forty-foot articulated truck, the jersey's constitution scarcely batted an eyelid.

vulpine merino alpine l/s jersey

as i have mentioned to the point of boredom, every jersey i wear from any purveyor of cycling apparel you care to mention, is of medium-size. and from time to time, some medium size, long-sleeve jerseys are found to be a tad miserly on the sleeve length. this is not one of those; the sleeves are of a length that would bring a smile to the face of even johan museeuw. the full-length zip culminates in a medium-height collar, currently hidden 'neath a richard sachs logo'd collar to comply with covid restrictions at debbie's. however, even when life becomes 'normal' once again, that collar will be found to be of finely judged composure, but in my opinion, the lowered hem at the rear might be a smidgeon too low.

vulpine merino alpine l/s jersey

vulpine quite rightly, in my opinion, cite their alpine merino jersey as 'a classic'. the fit is near perfect, the material beyond comparison, and even the burnt orange as reviewed, is a paragon of subtlety at any coffee stop in the country, and an ideal choice for those who have no wish to appear as a refugee from the peloton.

vulpine's alpine merino blend long-sleeve jersey is available in burnt orange, charcoal, denim, mustard, navy and vulpine green and in sizes small, medium and large. price is a most amenable £130.

vulpine alpine merino jersey

sunday 25 april 2021

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mystery ranch hip monkey + in-and-out 19

mystery ranch in and out + hip monkey

according to the keepers of the cog at velominati, rule #29 expressly forbids the use of so-called european posterior man-satchels, which, if i have correctly understood the implications thereof, means such items as 'bum-bags' and the packs commonly seen 'neath the rear of the saddle. despite the fact that we tend to find either of the above highly pragmatic for the carrying of multi-tools, mini-pumps, spare inner tubes and the like, velominati contends that the three rear pockets on a cycle-jersey are specifically designed for the carriage of such objects, and to resort to 'man satchels, is surely to sully the purety of the sport.

mystery ranch in and out + hip monkey

except, as included in yesterday's feature on the forthcoming fermain clothing brand, not everyone views riding a bicycle as an apprenticeship for potential sporting victory. the greater number of cyclists across the world hold arguably more mundane, yet practical reasons for riding a bicycle, and are rarely to be seen clad in a jersey or jacket possessing three rear pockets. admittedly, many of the cycles owned by this category of cyclist are likely to have racks affixed above the rear wheel, specifically placed to carry luggage, the likes of which would never be carried by the likes of mathieu van der poel or tom pidcock. nor is a team car to be seen following each and every ride.

mystery ranch in and out + hip monkey

yet, in between the two mentioned categories of cyclists, are those riding in no-man's land, quite literally in several cases. and no matter how independent and rugged the professed individual, there's often the not inconsiderable problem of having to carry stuff. and under those particular conditions, velominati can go rattle themselves. many are the rucksacks or backpacks designed to ease the carrying of cargo on the daily commute, or the occasional venture into the hinterlands, the majority of which have one, often insurmountable problem; stowage.

mystery ranch hip monkey

though not specific to the above scenario, if i might postulate the following quandary. on each and every alternate friday afternoon, i have the pleasurable task of carting a package of our local newspaper the 14km from bowmore to debbie's in bruichladdich. though each individal copy of the paper is hardly an item likely to be part of a weight-training regime, the size and weight of several dozen is more than can be accommodated in the average rear pocket of a jacket or jersey. not unnaturally, i have been undertaking this onerous task by piling the pack of papers into a backpack. the more alert amongst you may see what's coming, but having delivered the newspapers, my appreciation of the aesthetics of cycling advises against the ignominy of returning with an empty backpack across my back.

fortunately, the clever folks at the eccentrically named mystery ranch are one step ahead of me. their even more eccentrically named in-and-out comprises a sturdy backpack that effectively folds inside itself, arriving in the manner of a zipped pouch. the squishing technology is quite brilliant, and even if you're as absent-minded as yours truly, who paid almost no attention to the un-squishing process, getting it all back in again is pretty simply achieved. unlike many foldable rucksacks/backpacks, the in-and-out is remarkably well-specced, fabricated from 100d rip-stop cordura with numerous adjustable loops, padded straps, and including a stabilising chest strap. it weighs less than half a kilogramme and offers sufficient internal volume to carry two 3kg bags of training porridge.

mystery ranch in and out + hip monkey

but, i hear you ask, assuming it all squishes back into its own integral pocket, isn't it still too big to fit in a jersey pocket? i can but admit that you are not wrong, which is precisely where the similarly branded (and in this case, similarly coloured) mystery ranch hip monkey plays an important part in proceedings. comprising an eight litre capacity zippable mini-pack, it's fabricated from 500d rip-stop cordura and weighing much the same as the in-and-out. internally, there is a separately zipped pocket, easily accommodating an essentials pack with coffee money, while the larger portion comfortably swallowed my mini-pump, tyre jack and spare gloves with ease.

the adjustable strap by which it is worn, is several centimetres wide, with a proportionally sized fastener and can be worn around the waist or over the shoulder, depending on which you prefer. but best of all, added to the cargo described above, the compacted in-and-out fits inside with still more room to spare, allowing the non-velominati adherent to ride home without the embarrassment of having a completely empty back pack in full view of a less than adoring public. mystery ranch may have a bizarre name (they're based in bozeman, montana), but their 21 years of experience in fabricating carriage systems for the military, fire departments and mountaineers, has been put to good use in favour of the velocipedinally active. assuming carrying stuff is part of your day-to-day, once-a-month, or porridge-training-regime, it well behoves you to investigate further.

the mystery ranch in-and-out is available in nine colours (lemon reviewed) at a cost of £79. the hip-monkey is available in seven colour variations at a retail price of £50. mystery ranch products are distributed in the uk by edinburgh's 2-pure, who would presumably able to advise of uk stockists.

2-pure | mystery ranch | mysetry ranch uk

saturday 24 april 2021

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who wears the trousers?

fermain cycling apparel

cycling is regarded by many as an inclusive activity, one that can be undertaken alone, yet often seems more agreeable when comprised of pelotons both small and large. in the years when i occasionally frequented london town, it was common to see large groups of commuting cyclists making their way to or from work, school, or simply for a trip to the shops, and i often asked myself whether they conceived of themselves as a collective peloton, or simply sat in their own wee bubble from front door to office door. i believe the simple response may have been answered by the number seen sporting headphones of one type or another, something i'd be very loathe to do in the midst of rush hour traffic.s but nonetheless, did/do they think of themselves akin to a shoal of fish, all headed towards a similar goal, dependent on each other to a certain degree, but otherwise, simply a collection of individuals?

fermain cycling apparel

ultimately, any peloton you care to mention could be ascribed such a description; i seriously doubt that the drivers of motorised traffic forming the bulk of the commuters each workday morning and evening, would think of themselves any other way. however, there are all manner of inbuilt distractions, designed to keep it that way. and yet, a similar mindset pervades, placed in perspective by the common observation 'you're not stuck in traffic; you are traffic'. car drivers probably perceive those around them to be motorists, exluding themselves from that equation. and it may be a truism that those who ride a bicycle to work would hardly describe themselves as 'cyclists'.

fermain cycling apparel

those commuting cyclists are more commonly, accountants, shop assistants, teachers, or council workers, etc., with only their chosen means of transport in common. conversely, those of us who venture out of a weekend on skinny wheels and bendy bars, hold a certain pride in thinking of ourselves as 'cyclists', clad as we often are, in the de facto uniform of the professional peloton. and those polyester jerseys, with their three rear pockets and padded shorts that, if we're totally honest, make us seem as if we're wearing nappies, are, without doubt, immensely pragmatic for the job at hand. after all, you'd scarcely go swimming in a pair of levis 501s.

fermain cycling apparel

obviously enough, breathtakingly fast as we all consider ourselves to be, any laughter or pointing fingers at the incongruity of our weekend mode of dress, would veer heavily towards the iniquitous if worn behind a supermarket checkout, the school staff room, or the company boardroom. this drastic difference in apparel appreciation, has led to many protests that employers fail to accommodate the dishevelled cyclist on arrival at the workplace. i'm certainly not going to argue against such provision, but, assuming it's not practical to change clothing on arrival, there is clothing available for those who, like the late lord carlos of mercian, prefer to consider themselves simply as folks with bicycles.

for those of us who have ridden a bicycle in 'normal' trousers, the discomfort promulgated by that seam soon encourages the search for trousership designed for the act of cycling, while maintaining the folks-with-bicycles meme. such apparel is already available from several sources, but brother and sister, david and jess cullimore, concerned that the options were still limited, decided to solve the problem by launching their own 'fermain' brand. and the first product will be trousers for both male and females with bicycles.

fermain cycling apparel

launching via a kickstarter campaign on 11 may, i asked jess cullimore if she and david were aware that quality cycling trousers were already available from the likes of rapha and vulpine?

"Yes we are aware of both Rapha's commuter range and Vulpine. In terms of product and positioning we think both cater much more to the traditional 'cyclist', Rapha in particular, as their bread and butter is high performance Lycra gear. Our goal with Fermain is to appeal to those who ride a bike but wouldn't necessarily call themselves a cyclist, therefore would feel overwhelmed and not catered for in traditional bike clothes.

fermain cycling apparel

"Vulpine is probably our closest competitor at the moment, but their product and branding is much less fashion focused than ours. We want Fermain to be perceived as a fashion brand just as much as a performance brand. Our pricing is also much more accessible than both Rapha and Vulpine; our trousers are 60% cheaper than Vulpine's equivalent, with no corners cut in terms of design or quality. Our mission is to get more people cycling and we believe an accessible price point is an important factor in achieving that."

even allowing for the comments jess made above, there's no doubt that cycling trousers are available already, so why would there be a need for yet another pair? however, i read only yesterday, that scotland's first minister, nicola sturgeon claimed that the snp, assuming they are re-elected to government on 6 may, are keen to hang onto the numbers of new cyclists that have arisen during the past year of coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns. westminster has paid lip service to the same philosophy. and there can be little doubt that the majority of those new 'cyclists' are folks with bicycles which they use as a means of transport, rather than keen to emulate tom pidcock. but does jess believe that these new adherents to the way of the saddle, are looking for specific cycle clothing?

fermain cycling apparel

"I believe so yes. The market for cycling clothes is very much set up to cater for the competitive 'MAMIL'. For anyone who doesn't feel they fit into that mould, but still wants to ride their bike comfortably, there's a huge gap in terms of the offerings available."

jess mentioned above that she and brother david were keen to position fermain as a fashion brand, a fact that has been mentioned by others, but one that also surely leans towards having their apparel adopted by folks who would scarcely know one end of a bike from the other. so who does she see as their target market? will it be solely the commuting cyclist, or is there perhaps a crossover into in the world of practical fashion?

"The focus for now is mainly commuter cyclists. There may be people who cycle more seriously at the weekends, but our target is much more towards those who use bikes as a means of transport, meaning how they look when they reach the destination is just as important as how they feel while riding. We believe there are groups of future cyclists that will be encouraged to ride if they have access to casual clothing designed with cycling in mind."

fermain cycling apparel

fermain's kickstarter launch next month will offer cycling trousers for both male and female riders, but though original vulpine founder, nick hussey, seems to have carved a successful niche offering a variety of jackets, it would seem unlikely that fame and fortune will arrive purely at the expense of a pair of trousers. so is this the beginning of a complete range of fermain cycle clothing?

"Yes, hopefully! We have a technical T-shirt and jacket in the pipeline, and would hope to be offering a full range of clothing from head to toe in the near future."

as nicola sturgeon has announced her intention to metaphorically grab hold of the country's new cyclists (as indeed have the competing political parties), striking while the iron is hot, so to speak, presumably jess and david are just as keen to appeal to their clothing needs as soon as possible. so assuming the kickstarter campaign to be successful, when do they envision the cycling trousers becoming available and at what price?

fermain cycling apparel

"We'd hope to be shipping the trousers from around September/October time. We'll have special Kickstarter prices available, starting at 50% off RRP for super early birds signed up to the mailing list. RRP isn't set in stone yet but should be around the £89 mark."

fermain's trousers are styled like an ordinary pair of chinos and feature multi way stretch fabric, zipped pockets, curved back waistband, a water resistant coating, an adjustable ankle strap on the men's version, and a tapered fit, 7/8th length leg on the women's version. both will be available in sizes small to xl.

as mentioned above, the kickstarter campaign commences on tuesday 11 may, so if you're a commuter who'd like an economic means of dressing like a 'real' person, starting in the trouser department, set a reminder on your phone or ipod now. and it dawns on me that the very folks who don't think of themselves as cyclists, probably don't read blogs purporting to be about washing machines, so if you know anyone of that description, pass the word along.

fermain cycling apparel

friday 23 april 2021

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campagnolo bora ultra wto wheels

once again i must enter one fray or another, utterly devoid of any real notion about which i write, other than a vague inkling of the situation as it may or not be. a bit like a house purchase being probably the most important and largest purchase the average individual is likely to make, at one time, similar accord could be paid to the bicycle frame, as pertaining purely to cyclists, when bicycles were acquired in such a manner. the advent of the mountain bike is probably that which persuaded the cycle industry to offer complete road bikes too, though the shifting of production to the far east may also have had a substantial amount to do with it.

campagnolo bora ultra wto wheels

where once it was almost de rigeur to order a steel frame from one of many local bikeshops, before transferring last year's groupset and wheels to their new home, or starting afresh with shiny trinketry, that particular fashion has tangibly diminished to the point where it might soon be solely the professional rider who has his or her bicycles assembled in this fashion.

when a friend and i opted to open our own cycle sales and repair outlet on islay in the early 1990s, our mechanical over-confidence, led us to explore the possibility of fielding our own bicycles, replete with whatever name we settled on, scribed clearly on the down tubes. however, on discovering the cost of a decent frame and the price of the occasional shimano or campagnolo groupset, plus the labour and the tariffs allied to constructing our own wheelsets, it was self-evident why few other cottage bike industries had bothered to go down this particular road.

campagnolo bora ultra wto wheels

frame building and assembly in the far east has (or had) reached peak efficiency some number of years past, predominantly due to the convenience of the supply chain. both sram and shimano have fabrication plants in the vicinity, so shipping them a few kilometres to the point of assembly is hardly the most expensive of procedures. ultimately, it's why few complete bicycles feature campagnolo as original equipment, and why those that do, are perhaps, by comparison, into the next price bracket. and there's no doubt that the unit price for a groupset is considerably lower when bought in substantial quantity, than it is for you and i when purchased from the local bike shop.

campagnolo bora ultra wto wheels

and that, boys and girls, is why there's no washingmachinepost liveried, campagnolo equipped, carbon bicycle. or at least, one of the reasons.

however, despite all the foregoing, once you own the new bicycle for which you have saved and saved, a few months or years down the line, when the money has been at least partially restored to the bank account from which it was withdrawn, the intrepid cyclist may have begun to think about upgrades. the answer to 'what would be the best upgrade to choose?', was almost always 'the wheelset', reputedly the most worthwhile that could be achieved. a wheel upgrade almost always makes sense, since 'better', usually means 'lighter'. and remember, that's a reduction in rotating weight. whether that answer remains the same today is something of moot point.

campagnolo bora ultra wto wheels

wheel upgrades used to mean a visit to someone like derek mclay at wheelsmith, a man who can build wheels with direct bearing on the type of riding you do, your weight, power and the bicycle to which they will be attached. nowadays, however, they almost always entail a quick search through the offerings from the likes of zipp, shimano, hunt and campagnolo, the latter of whom introduced the latest addition to the bora range this week.

the bora ultra wto (wind tunnel optimised) is available in three rim depths, similar to those currently available in the standard bora range (i have the 44mm version on my ritchey logic), and designed to accommodate not only tubeless tyres, but are disc-specific only. allied to that, the hubs are now of carbon construction too, the overall package reckoned to be around 100g lighter than its predecessor. i cannot deny that i am more than impressed with my own pair of boras, especially after one year of riding them, but the more than £1,000 premium over the standard version (the new wheels arrive at £2,800) would seem to place them in the sights of only the sponsored professional rider, or the particularly well-heeled enthusiast.

campagnolo bora ultra wto wheels

bear in mind that the cost of my standard braking version ritchey frameset is around £1150, some £600 less than the cost of the bora wto wheelset that adorns its slim build. were i to acquire the disc version of the frame (£1300), and add a set of the new bora ultras, there would be room for heated discussion over whether the word upgrade was the correct choice of word. the more the velocipedinal world changes, the more it almost certainly doesn't stay the same.

dave 'faster, faster' arthur's video review of the bora ultra wheelset

thursday 22 april 2021

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design is a good idea

simmons drum pads

there is available, on youtube, several episodes of a tv programme entitled 'rock school', one which broke new ground at the time of its original broadcast in the early 1980s. not only did it explore the history of contemporary rock music, but provided instruction by and interviews with many prominent musicians accompanied by an appreciation of much of the nascent technology of the time, including keyboard, guitar and drum synthesisers. during one of those episodes, former king crimson drummer, bill bruford, was featured playing a simmons electronic drumset, into which he had patched synthesiser sounds, enabling him to play rhythmic melodies, freeing him from the timekeeping chores to which most drummers are tied.

simmons drums consisted of a set of hexagonal pads, originally featuring playing surfaces manufactured from the same material as used in riot shields. since this hardly offered comfort to the drumming fraternity, it was soon replaced with a rubberised surface that was far more drummer-friendly. however, in a brief interview with bill bruford, he stated that though the manufacturer was trying harder and harder to make the electronics react more like real drums, he wasn't, in fact, interested in that, more in favour of the fact that they actually didn't sound like real drums.

if any of you would care to visually understand what the heck i'm talking about, i've included a link below to that of which i speak.

rather obviously, real drums consist of a plastic head tensioned over a round, wooden shell. this will elicit different sounds and timbres depending on which part of the drumhead they are struck. sounds can range fro a whisper, to a deafening thump, depending on how the drum is tuned, what size is the shell, the weight of drum stick and who happens to be striking them. electronics, even digital electronics are a tad less accurate in their portrayal of percussive sounds, and manufacturers such as roland, yamaha and alesis, have spent many millions in research and development trying to produce a playing surface that is every bit as sensitive as the 'real' thing and electronics that produce the same sounds.

i, and many others, have constantly queried why they bother, when a reasonable acoustic drumset can be acquired for a few hundred pounds, in comparison to the thousands required to access state-of-the-art electronica. the common answer has been to cite the flexibility and portability of the electric kit. with no need of acoustic properties, there is no need for any real depth of drumshell, other than to accompany the necessary internal electronics. thus many electric kits feature thin pads clamped to a metal rack, which can be folded almost flat and light enough to transport easily.

compare this with even my own four piece drum workshop set, the shell depths of which range from six inches to 18 inches, and the heft of which has need of a trolley to transport them hither and thither, along with an array of microphones and stands, if playing a large venue. in this, the pro-electronics brigade may well have a point. so it then beggars belief, that the roland corporation have recently introduced their ad range, all of which resemble a fully acoustic kit and the sizes thereof, yet have no need of doing so, on the basis that they offer no acoustic sound whatsoever. why would you lug around a large drumset, purely for aesthetic reasons, when the same sounds could be accomplished with far greater portability and considerably less heft?

though there is a hardly a direct comparison between 'real' bikes and e-bikes, it's hard not to see a few resemblances that make little or no sense. for instance, at an e-bike demonstration day held at bruichladdich distillery over a year ago, i was invited by my so-called colleagues, to lift the sole folding bike on display, a task i was almost unable to achieve, so heavy was its countenance. i honestly thought they'd bolted it to the ground. so while the manufacturer had built a small-wheeled bicycle, allegedly capable of being folded and carried aboard a bus or train, in point of fact, the portability factor was considerably outweighed (pun intended), by its weight of almost 20kg.

and while those of us more in thrall to the acoustic bicycle, where motive power is supplied entirely by the rider, have the ability to ride almost any practical distance we care to undertake, e-bikes are handicapped not only by their weight, but by battery capacity. the specialized turbo vado, reviewed in these very pixels a few years ago, was calculated to offer around 100km between charges, presuming the rider made careful use of only level one (of three) motor support, and encountered no headwind strong enough to require an increase in that support.

100km is, i agree, a reasonable distance, even if regarded as a theoretical maximum under perfect riding conditions. but for those endeared of the sportive ride, it's quite likely to prove insufficient. to partially solve this dilemma, bicycle makers, vanmoof, have introduced the powerbank, a detachable accessory that can be charged indoors and offers up to an extra 100 kilometres to suitable accessorised vanmoof owners. this device can charge the bicycle's main battery while riding, and will almost double the bicycle's energy capacity.

for you and i, a doubling of capacity probably only entails a stop at debbie's for a double-egg roll and a soya latte, a smidgeon cheaper than the £315 (plus £22 shipping) charged (pun, once again, intended) for the powerbank. plus, at the risk of stating the glaringly obvious, the price of the electricity required to charge it. the e-bike is a different animal to that of the acoustic bicycle, even if the end use is remarkably similar. perhaps it's time for e-bike manufacturers to start thinking out the box a bit more, and spend less time trying to make their products more like the machines from which they're derived.

like electric pinarello and colnago road bikes for instance. i do get the point of the latter, but i can't help thinking they're missing the point.

bill bruford on simmons drums

wednesday 21 april 2021

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ignorance is not quite bliss

amstel gold 2021

though it seems a tad churlish to have favourites from amongst cycle races, particularly the early season classics, i cannot deny that there are those i tend to favour, and those i'd scarcely mourn were i to miss the live coverage or highlights in the evening. for instance, though it may be seen as sacrilege, i could probably live quite happily without milan-sanremo. as one of the five monuments and the longest one day race of the season, the last time i recall being involved in the result, was the year it snowed heavily and gabba jackets became an instant hit. the much vaunted cipressa and poggio offer a romance and great promise, but i'm usually left feeling that the best bits are the names of those hills.

and when we move on, as we inevitably do, from the so-called 'cobbled classics to the ardenne classics, i would be fibbing if said the excitement remained steadfast. though i do eagerly await liege-bastogne-liege, amstel gold and flèche wallonne i always figured i could probably live without. or, at least, so i thought.

though poster boy, mathieu van der poel opted to give amstel a miss, apparently in favour of training for other events, if reporting is to believed, his arch-enemy, wout van aert was a confirmed starter, as was the third of the triumvirate of nemeses (if such a cartel could resonably be said to exist), british upstart, tom pidcock. it has long astounded me that, specifically during this season, those designated as pre-race favourites (usually van der poel and van aert), seem perfectly capable of fulfilling the expectations bundled mercilessly upon them from a great height.

it would, most likely, have been joy unbounded to watch the dutchman and belgian take each other on over the cobbles of paris-roubaix, but it seems that is a scenario that will have to wait until the autumn, buy which time pidcock will no doubt be a confirmed member of the three musketeers. though much of the alleged rivalry is likely created by the media, pretending it to be the case adds much to the frisson of each event, and even more so if an outsider manages to enter the arena and whisk the carpet from under any one of the three.

so, while i recently had cause to harass the sunday morning peloton at debbie's to scoff their egg rolls and coffees in double quick time, in order that i might get home to watch as much of the ronde van vlaanderen as i could manage, i held more ambivalent feelings towards sunday's amstel gold. this past weekend, we enjoyed a leisurely coffee break before heading home, and scarcely being guilty of shovelling down a plate of noodles, eager to watch eurosport's add-free coverage in the company and commentary of matt stephens and adam blythe. when riders of the quality of primoz roglic and richard carapaz are witnessed driving matters home for their respective team-mates, it's easy to see that the bar has been well and truly raised.

that both van aert and pidcock had the gumption and skills to benefit from such high-quality domestiques, only added to the entertainment, while the fact that such a magnificent race should go right down to a few millimetres, was surely the icing on the cake. though being unaware of who took the victory, based purely on the finish-line camera is nothing new, more often than not, the participants themselves are immediately aware of the winner, the second the line has been crossed. not so in sunday's amstel gold, where the wait to learn the result of the photo finish, was almost as exciting as the previous 40 kilometres.

i can understand pidcock's disappointment, for in the eyes of several of us, the result should have been called a draw, and victory shared between the two. i figure if you have to zoom in on the respective tyres and drag a cursor almost at pixel level to determine who gained top spot on the podium, then a shared victory would be a more equitable result. however, i do not have a blue blazer and nor do i have a named parking spot at aigle, so, reluctantly or otherwise, we must abide by their decision.

what we can get seriously annoyed about, however, is the knowledge that, despite the race providing the closest finish in race history, monday's guardian newspaper contained no mention of the event whatsoever throughout its twelve pages of sport. naturally, the bulk of those were given over to soccer, and one entire page to formula one, but even amongst the unadorned results, no reader would have learned of van aert's victory and tom pidcock's second place. for all that the uci and others have set themselves the task of aligning world tour cycling with that of top level motor-racing, this very fact shows just how great remains the distance between the two.

come the revolution etc.

tuesday 20 april 2021

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