what's a peloton to do?

uiskentuie strand

on the whole, the velo club peloton is as considerate and as courteous as it's possible to be. yes, we become irritated by drivers who pass several passing places, obviously of the opinion that we should pull over for them. but then you get a day like yesterday, when almost every oncoming vehicle we met, pulled over for us, including a couple of them which did so, despite us having already pulled over for them. yesterday was not only unique, but somthing of a win/win situation. that said, those are unusual circumstances, however, well aware that we are slower when it comes to following vehicles, the first passing place we come to we'll pull in.

this has occasionally demonstrated the idiocy of the average motorist. on the road to kilchoman distillery, there is a downhill bend round which it is not possible to view oncoming traffic particularly far in advance. however, last weekend, aware that two vehicles were heading towards me on a singletrack road, i pulled into an adjacent passing place. a following driver, possibly of the impression that i had done so to allow clear passage for himself, drove past, despite the fact that the first of the two oncoming vehicles was already clearly visible on the road ahead. i could scarcely conceal a grin as he had to reverse a good few metres to the passing place in which i was stationary.

on the basis of instances such as that described, i am firmly of the opinion that motorists do not look as far ahead as driving instructors would usually insist they do. i have frequently noted the surprised look on their faces when they come around the bend, or summit, to see a stationary cyclist. though i have often seen them as far distant as a couple of kilometres, their own vision seems not to have stretched that far.

personally, i have ridden islay's roads for well over thirty years, during which time, i've ensured that i know where almost every passing place is located, taken note of tactical riding depending on the wind strength and direction. and in this, i am not alone; the rest of the peloton exhibits the same skills, if, inded, they can be referred to as such. however, the likes of usikentuie strand is constituted as a two-lane road, and when we are accompanied by visiting cyclists, there are often calls from behind concerning following cars, instigating moves on their part to shift into single-file. however, the lanes of the road are not sufficiently wide for a following car to overtake, should there be oncoming traffic. so moving to single-file offers no benefit.

and, as chris boardman has often pointed out, remaining two abreast means that overtaking cars have half as many bicycle lengths to pass as would be the case in single-file. on singletrack roads, it matters not whether we're in single-file or two abreast; there is clearly insufficient road space to allow any vehicle to pass (though it doesn't always stop them trying). when rounding blind corners, it has become my habit to ride as close to the centre-line as practical, if only to dissuade following cars from overtaking, though once again, it doesn't always stop them. a policeman once stationed on the island, and a former police motorcycle rider, told me that he would take it further, by riding, where clear to do so, on the opposite side of the centre-line.

i'm not that brave.

however, on our way home today in a mini-peloton of five riders, we were slowly passed by a police car, the occupant of which shouted instruction that we ought to be riding single file. at that point, i was slightly ahead of the four cyclists behind me, so the remark was not directed specifically at me. however, there was much discussion on the remaining kilometres as to whether the policewoman had been correct. so far as we were aware, the highway code dictates single file, only where road conditions demand. with two following cars (one of which was the police car) on a blind corner and no oncoming traffic, this scarcely commended itself as one of those occasions. and as far as we were aware, riding two abreast was not, strictly speaking, illegal, though under certain circumstances, it could certainly be seen as a tad obstructive.

on arriving home, one of my esteemed pelotonic colleagues checked further, concluding that, according to the highway code, cyclists should ride in single file around bends. this, we believe, may be to stop us getting wiped out by cars coming the other way and cutting the corner. according to his investigations, "it's the only reason today why I could see the wpc saying we should be riding single file, not because the road was busy which it was certainly not." yet this seems a mite contradictory to previous advice to stake our claim to the road space and ride near the middle i order to dissuade following vehicles from overtaking. that would surely be the equivalent of taking just such a corner two abreast?

however, taking information from the cycle laws blog they state that "Simply put, it's safer for cyclists to ride two abreast. It means that motorists usually have to overtake in a proper manner rather than overtaking in the same lane as the cyclists. If a group of cyclists are in single file, motorists will often assume they can overtake in places which are not safe and will not leave the cyclist enough room.

"Motorists should give cyclists the same amount of room they would give another car when overaking which means they should be on the other side of the road and would have to wait until there are no oncoming cars. Being in two files usually forces this scenario, but riding in single file can lead the motorist to think they can overtake on the same side of the road if there are oncoming cars, thus not giving the cyclist the correct amount of space."

that, to be frank, is precisely the logic we have used for many a long year to continue cycling two abreast. could it be that the wpc was wrong in this case? given that many of islay's police tend to be stationed here from the mainland, and for only a few months at a time, could it be that her application of the advice that exists for cyclists dids not take into account our experience of the roads on the island? and could it actually be that, as a group of cyclists with a combination of over 45 years experience of riding on islay, we are more aware of the 'correct' way to do things, than is she?

however, the crunch time would be whether we're brave enough to argue our point in person. i have never been cautioned by the police against my riding habits across those thirty plus years, and at one time in the past, one of my riding colleagues was a police sergeant, who exercised the same road judgment as do i. that said, in person, we all figured we would probably capitulate, in order not to be pulled up on some other discrepancy. i very much doubt that police personnel are much in favour of being proved incorrect. survival on modern-day roads doesn't always rest on following the letter or the spirit of the law, even though riding two abreast isn't actually illegal.

"highway code, rule 66: never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends."

uk cyclelaws blog

monday 04 october 2021

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walk the walk

run the runway - islay airport

it is notable that, whenever governments impress upon the great unwashed, that they have made available some cash for active travel, they are not solely concerned with the velocipedinal milieu. the current phraseology is, i believe 'walking, wheeling and cycling'. aside from being a city in west virginia, it appears that there may be a double meaning at work, since 'wheeling', apart from travelling on wheels, can be (mis)construed as 'the use of a cycle'. at any rate, however you define matters, there's undoubtedly two means of travel involved, one of which relates to the use of shanks's pony, otherwise known as walking.

so, while i have been often heard to rant at those who drive 50 metres to school, and an individual who allegedly drove the same distance to work out at a local gym (yes, really), those are not distances that i'd be inclined to apportion use of a bicycle. let's face it, there's every likelihood it would take longer to wrestle the bicycle from the bike shed, than to cover the ground defined by such a short distance. for that very reason, i do not cycle commute to the office each day, for the walk takes but five minutes, if that. the same can be said for anyone living in the village, though this understanding seems to have escaped a sizeable majority.

the woman who lives opposite walks several metres to the car park to drive the aforementioned requisite 50 metres, then parks a similar distance from her place of work and walks the rest. i cannot think of a single justifiable reason for such behaviour. yet many of those individuals, when set free for a trip to glasgow, will walk the equivalent distance from here to bridgend village (4.5km) in the search for a pair of jeans or a top that might prove suitable, often returning to their first option at day's end. i am reliably informed that 'that's different!'

and it seems that few find the act of walking to be insurmountable when it comes to raising a few pounds for charity. the staff at islay international airport organised an event entitled 'run the runway', taking place yesterday afternoon. the airport is owned and operated by highlands and islands airports limited (hial), and on a saturday, the only flight of the day from glasgow, lands and takes-off in the morning. thus come the afternoon, the runway is effectively unused. and, for the tidy sum of £5, islay residents were invited to walk the length of the runway to raise funds for the scottish air ambulance service.

if i tell you that the main car park, the overspill car park, the overspill from the overspill car park and the land opposite the airport were nose to tail with cars, you will surely garner the impression that it was an event well supported. and this despite the morning's weather being decidely inclement. thankfully, the forecast, for once, proved correct, the skies clearing by the grand départ at 2pm, though the airport's location near the east shore of loch indaal, ensured the blustery wind had plenty of room to manouevre.

on the basis that such charitable enterprise deserves mention in next week's local newspaper, despite having covered well over 60km on my monrng ride, i grabbed my camera and headed along the low road to the airport to grab some photos, one of which has every chance of appearing on the front page. though i have no definitive proof, i have a sneaking suspicion that, had i organised a 'cycle the runway' event, numbers would have been considerably lower. it is one of life's great mysteries that hardly anyone will find it within themselves to walk a few metres to work or to the shops, yet arrive in droves to undertake a wild and blustery 5km on an october saturday afternoon.

i do, therefore, question what it is those responsible think to what the government refers when it mentions 'active travel'.

sunday 03 october 2021

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the last resort

norman wilmore quartet - lagavulin islay jazz festival

in both 2020 and this year, the lagavulin islay jazz festival has taken its music-making online, last year's filmed in an edinburgh theatre, while this year, those taking part have made the journey to islay. i cannot deny being somewhat mystified by this strategy; there are six sets of musicians filming over three days, all of whom hail from somewhere other than islay. what i cannot fathom is why it would not have made simpler sense to hold a 'real' jazz festival and allow audiences to hear them play, rather than broadcast the performances online at a later date. not doubt there's a perfectly simple explanation, it's just that none suggest themselves at present.

however, having been invited to attend filming whenever the time suited, i clambered aboard the specialized crux yesterday morning, dressed entirely in commuter mode, and rode the nineteen or so kilometres to lagavulin's malt mill to watch the preparations and filming of norman wilmore's quartet playing selections from his album, 'alive and well at the muckle roe hall'. having reviewed the album earlier this year, i can tell you that the muckle roe hall is on the isle of shetland from whence mr wilmore originally hails.

islay has entered its blustery stage, with winds gusting to galeforce proportions, accompanied by frequent heavy deluges of rain. and while the forecast promised ten degrees, the garmin reported only six. however, there can be little doubt that slogging into a sturdy headwind has a neat habit of engendering internal warmth, at least some of which you'd hope would be dispelled by my jacket's purported breathability. thankfully, it seemed to fare better in this repsect than my waterproof trousers (i didn't wish to appear as a refugee from the peloton while visibly appreciating some fine jazz.)

as one bereft of motor car, i have sat with a smug grin, watching the queues of vehicles attempting to buy fuel at mainland petrol stations. the island, so far, has remained immune to such vicissitudes, but i'm sure if it had succumbed to such iniquities, i'd only have appeared even more smug. however, being solely a bicyclist means that, when invitations to lagavulin distillery arrive in my inbox, short of checking islay's formidably complex bus timetables, the only means of travel is by bicycle, no matter the ambient weather. to be blunt, it is my only, yet welcome option.

however, for many, over the past year and a half, the bicycle has become a last resort, perhaps welcome, but, in most cases, the final option, where walking is not on the menu. and, it transpires, this latest fuel delivery shortage has apparently brought even more to the e-bike club. according to online e-bike supplier, e-bikes direct, even within the last week or so, they have seen a 100% increase in enquiries and sales. ceo, mike flanagan contends that the thought of joining often lengthy queues, using what little fuel they have, has forced many to question the logic of doing so, prompting another big increase in demand for e-bikes.

it may well be, of course, that demand for analogue bikes has also risen over the same period, but since mr flanagan sells only the electric version... nonetheless, it seems we have a reprise of the situation brought about by last year's first lockdown, when the need to seek alternatives to public transport, led, not unnaturally, to the bicycle. i'm probably not the only one who found it disappointing that it took a pandemic to put more bums on saddles. and this latest increase in e-bike interest has apparently been created by a crisis of a different hue.

one can only wonder when the bicycle will become the first resort, rather than the last.

and by the way, mr flanagan of e-bikes direct might want to correct his public relations team. cyclists don't peddle.

saturday 02 october 2021

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jack the rack

jack the rack

my fortnightly trip southwest to debbie's one each alternate friday, forms the bulk of my modern-day paper round, carrying several dozen copies of the local paper ready for sales to commence on saturday morning. however, in this mission i am not alone. a member of the velo club peloton owns the shop in port charlotte, so in order than we might add to the weekly kilometreage, he rides to the croft to collect the copies for his own store. our cargo-carrying abilities are facilitated by means of backpacks; mine a long-suffering, bright pink rapha emergency back pack that folds into its own pocket to fit in a jersey rear pocket for the return trip. my accomplice, with more copies to carry than yours truly, has a larger, more functional item of luggage.

jack the rack

this will be scarcely news to many who feature backpacks, panniers or racks to complete the daily commute in each direction, likely wondering why i bother to mention this at all. originally, the bicycle was invented as a means of transport; none of the early versions featured razor-thin saddles, skinny wheels and drop bars, though i've no doubt that some were ridden by fellows by the name of pogacar or van aert. yet, despite the popularity of the sporting milieu, there are undoubtedly more bicycles still employed for their transportational properties than the ability to scrape across a finish-line in first place.

jack the rack

however, there's still the leisure aspect, allowing the riding of bicycles at weekends or evenings, purely for the pleasure of riding a bicycle, a possibility that could conceivably be compromised by the need to be a packhorse the rest of the week. there is little that says 'newbie' or 'amateur' more than a pinarello dogma or colnago c64 replete with a blackburn rear rack on the sunday morning ride. what is needed, quite plainly, is something that converts from pragmatic to boy racer at the flick of a switch. and that's kind of where jack comes in.

jack the rack

jack the rack' is the brainchild of miles gibbons and andrew cardew, soon to be the subject of a kickstarter campaign. and, at the risk of starting off with a spoiler alert, it's flipping brilliant.

in essence, jack the rack is what the french and portlanders would refer to as a porteur rack, though the more permanent version would feature greater rigidity, bolted as it usually is to the fork legs.

the principle is simplicity itself: the rack's main construction consists of stainless steel tubing that commences with two hooks to fit over the handlebars, one on each side of the stem. these descend far enough to allow ample cargo capacity before forming a square over which a black canvas-like hammock offers a platform on which that cargo might be placed. to accommodate the two main handlebar diameters, jack arrives with two sizes of plastic shim, which easily and firmly click into place, ensuring a snug fit and removing the likelihood of scraping or damage to the bars. the build even allows for the placement of a gps mounting bracket to the side of the stem clamp. if yours fits centrally on the stem itself, you're home free.

jack the rack

to prevent the rack dropping forward when cargo is placed on the rack,the kit comes with four differently sized woven loops, fitting onto two hooks welded to the rack and covering probably every width of stem on the market. to prevent the rack tipping backwards, there's a sturdy strap that loops through the rack arms and round the back of the steerer. miles and andrew pointed out that, on mountain or gravel bikes, this strap can be looped behind the head tube.

when finally in place, jack the rack, at least on my specialized 'cross bike, tilts slightly upwards at the front, leaving plenty of clearance between the bottom of the 'hammock' and the rather chunky tyres.

jack the rack

according to miles, the upper limit of jack's carrying capacity is a consummate five kilogrammes, cargo that can be fastened in place via two brilliantly conceived bungie cords, the open ends of which thread through a plastic endpiece, before being pulled tight and pushed into an accommodating slot on the end. the existence of welded metal hoops on front, back and sides of the rack's perimeter means that no matter the shape or size of that which you intend to carry, jack offers the ideal versatility to fasten it firmly about his person.

jack the rack

naturally, the international verification standard to which all cargo carrying items must adhere, is the carrying of a 3kg bag of green city jumbo porridge oats, a standard to which jack is more than equal (i tried). on a more parochial level, jack was also most welcoming of a bottle of ardbeg 'an oa' single malt whisky. i feel that may be just as important an issue other than on islay.

having fitted the rack in mere minutes (i should admit that miles sent me a video demonstrating how it should be done), for review purposes, i settled on carrying around 1kg, firmly strapped with only one bungie cord. on a 65 kilometre parcours, i rode over several cattle grids, took a detour along a gravel track through the trees, one that formerly played host to herds of pigs and highland cattle, and spent an enjoyable three kilometres bouncing across grass and machair-covered sand dunes, before hammering up a loose gravel climb and scratching my shins on roadside bramble bushes. throughout all the above, jack remained firmly affixed to the bars and my cargo du jour stayed precisely where it had been on leaving the croft. it may exhibit lateral movement, but it's more than steady enough for even rough-stuff cycling purposes.

jack the rack

in a week's time, i'm planning on supplanting the pink backpack and strapping my complement of newspapers to jack the rack. though it's a doddle to remove jack from the bike when more sporting or leisure pretensions come into play, the specialized is currently sat in the bike shed with jack still clasped to the front. it looks every bit as cool as it is practical. the price is likely to be around £65, and though my pre-production review sample was still a little rough around the edges, the shipping version will feature either a sandblasted finish or an acid bath to remove the heat weld marks, whichever proves the more corrosion resistant.

i should also mention the ingenious packaging, which must surely have taken many a boardroom hour to formulate. inside the box, alongside the stem strap, four differently-sized stem loops, two sizes of handlebar shim and those darned clever bungie cords, there are a couple of small carabiners should you ever need them.

brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

friday 01 october 2021

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the missing link

cycle guard

though the primary school that i attended was around 3km from home, my brother and i would generally walk each day, with a lift from my father only if the weather was overly inclement. i'm sure i recall one or two kids cycling to school, but in truth, not many did, even though the roads were a tad quieter in those far gone days. secondary school was a couple of kilometres farther, but by that time i'd begun cycling, having taken on a daily paper round in the hours prior to schooltime. this method of transport was remarkably common amongst pupils from first to fourth year, evidenced by an almost unbroken line of bicycles resting against the lengthy school wall, frequently more than one deep. in the days before the internet, playstations, x-boxes and like, cycling was a daily occurence, school or no school.

on moving to the principality, coincidentally to a house the gable wall of which formed part of the islay high school wall, i was dumbfounded that there was not a single bicycle to be seen. familiarity with island life eventually made it clear that many of the secondary pupils were brought in by bus each day from the four corners of the isle, but that scarcely excused those living locally. that said, since the village is only a smidgeon less than 2km end to end, walking would possibly prove a more pragmatic solution. sadly, that is rarely the case, at least nowadays, with several village-based members of staff driving to the school and many pupils being driven to school by ostensibly, well-meaning parents. what was once a school playground is now a car park that often plays host to well over thirty cars.

it would be unseemly to presume that this is a state of affairs exclusive to islay, or bowmore. evidence will show that there are schools all over the country where the number of cars en-route easily outnumber the pupils making their way on foot or, very occasionally, by bicycle. parents have frequently stated that they do not allow their kids to walk or cycle to school due to traffic issues, blissfully unaware that they themselves are principal contributors to the situation. so, how to remedy this unfortunate situation?

since making walking and/or cycling compulsory methods of travel to school is doubtless outwith the legal remit of the schools, it seems to have come to rest on cycling organisations to offer some well-aimed persuasion, otherwise the government strategies to achieve net-zero before the middle of the century and lower traffic congestion in the process, are likely to come to nought. it is, however, the well-aimed part of the equation that i fear may be missing its target.

the arrival early yesterday morning of a press release concerning sustrans' annual bike to school week, had me checking their website for the dates of this ostensibly praiseworthy event. learning that it had commenced on monday of this week, and ending on friday, caught me a bit off guard, purely on the basis that i like to think of myself as well-informed when it comes to matters of the velocipede. what made matters worse, however, was the fact that the press release had not arrived from sustrans, but from cycleguard, purveyors of cycling insurance. and were that not sufficient reason to feel despondent, on contacting the island's four primary schools, i learned that none of them were aware of cycle to school week either. at which stage, i did have to wonder what was the point of it all?

surely the whole point of organising (?) a national cycle to school week would be to inform the schools in advance, that they might encourage the pupils to participate? all four schools said that thay were partaking of national maths week, so i can but assume the organisers of the latter had been considerably more pro-active in their singular machinations. i therefore took the liberty of contacting sustrans' scottish communications officer, graham moss, informing him of pretty much the same that i have written above, and asking "what the point would be in organising this week long event, but not publicising its existence?" he pointed me to the information on the sustrans' website, and to their twitter feed, demonstrating the campaign's solidity. he also promised to contact those working directly on the campaign as to how word had been spread amongst the schools, but at the time of posting this, i'd not heard back.

primary schools are the very institutions at which i believe cycling ought best be targeted. by the time the majority reach second or third year at secondary school, they've often become too cool to adopt cycling as a means of transport, or even a leisure activity. start younger, and there's an outside chance that cycling might get a look-in both now and in later years. it certainly worked for me. i have no idea of the budget available at the fingertips of sustrans, but i doubt it's a great deal, in the grand scheme of things. however, it wouldn't cost a great deal to send publicity material in the direction of yours truly and others who occasionally or frequently blog or vlog about non-competitive velocipedinal matters.

after all, for any parents reading this today, there is but one day left on which the little darlings might pedal their way to school, thus lessening the potential impact quite dramatically. i have asked mr moss to place me on his press-list, so maybe next year...

cycleguard bicycle insurance | sustrans

thursday 30 september 2021

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probability theory

belgium, egg and latte

as i mentioned to mick tarrant only the other day, i am nothing if not predictable, though admittedly we were discussing versions of joe zawinul's mercy, mercy, mercy, about which i pointed out, the buddy rich big band offered a rather sparkling version. however, my predictability extends a great deal further than choice of musical genre. short of a nuclear conflagration, civil war, or brexit, there's a high degree of likelihood that i will arrive between twelve noon and a quarter past the hour at debbie's for my saturday lunchtime double-egg roll and soya latte. in fact, but a few weekends past, on entering the café, the eggs were already on the george foreman grill, and work had commenced on my coffee. such occasions engender a certain pride in one's predictableness.

and, the following days, on returning from the sunday morning ride, showering, making lunch and cramming my cycling kit into the washingmachine, i settle down to watch an afternoon and early evening of columbo episodes on 5 usa. the final episode of the 35 year series was shown in 2003, so it will come as no surprise to learn that not only are these sunday episodes all repeats, but i have watched them so often, that i could probably recite the scripts word for word. however, i find peter falk's portrayal of the los angeles police lieutenant so endearing and humorous, that i gladly view this weekly repetition without complaint. that, and the fact that you just know he's going to solve the case inside his alotted time slot.

competitive cycling, therefore, often causes me some discomfort, but also has the power to ease me from my somnolence. following his four sprint victories in this year's tour de france, even though on at least one occasion, his lead-out man had to brake to allow him to cross the line first, a majority of viewers were expecting mark cavendish to take the final day's stage on the champs elysees. history will point out, however, that the top spot on that particular podium was surreptitiously nabbed by the irrepressible wout van aert.

and during last week's uci world championships in flanders, van aert was once again a favourite to win gold in the elite men's time-trial, failing to do so when italy's filippo ganna spoilt the first part of belgium's home-based party. however, though silver was hardly the colour of medal wout had hoped to display in the sitting room cabinet, fortune was still there to play for at sunday's elite men's road-race around the roads on which the belgian must have ridden since childhood. i did, however, read one pre-race feature asking the rhetorical question whether sprinters could win a world championship road race, positing that the aforementioned mr cavendish was ever hopeful that such could be the case. as it transpired, cavendish suffered from illness during the event and was thus never likely to trouble the time-keepers.

aside from such interjections, however, it seems that the majoriy of punditry surrounding the world's (as we members of the cognoscenti are wont to refer) suggested that the sole protagonist worthy of their predictive approbation, was the tour's three-time stage winner, wout van aert. given that the lad seems to find it every bit as easy to climb, time-trial, sprint and cyclocross, it seemed likely that such prognostications would probably come true. after all, not only was the race taking place in belgium, but the belgian squad seemed almost impregnable in their approach to the race.

pre-race concerns surrounded whether new kid on the block, remco evenepoel, would vye for team leadership, or bow to the inevitable and work for wout as apparently agreed by everyone else in a light blue jersey with those hoops across the front. as if to prove just how wrong the pundits and doubters could be, evenepoel acquitted himself astoundingly well, though, according to eurosport's brian smith, riding harder and longer than was absolutely necessary. yet, unlike the double-egg roll and afternoon of columbo, the world's evaded any notions of predictability, partly due to the admirable machinations of the french team and last year's winner, julian alaphilippe.

the latter escapade bears comparison to the bob hope/bing crosby movie, road to rio, wherein a charging cavalry, led by hope's long time radio partner, jerry colonna, attempts to save the day, but fails to arrive in time. while all nations had their eyes on van aert, who had presumably opted to wait it out in the hope it all came down to a finish-line sprint, alaphilippe nipped off the front around 17km from the end, while van aert later admitted to 'not having good legs' on the day. unfortunately for the belgians, jasper stuyven, given the go-ahead by an ailing van aert, missed out on the podium by a single place, having started his sprint too early. you could almost hear evenepoel sighing in the background.

you realise, of course, that had i been the person responsible for scripting the event, van aert would have won by a country mile. not because he's particularly a rider with whom i find favour, but simply because my inherent predictability would scarcely have allowed for any alternative ending. doubtless van aert will once again find himself as favourite for this weekend's paris-roubaix, a race for which he, and we, have all had to wait over two years. but following silver in the time-trial and no significant placing in the road race, wouldn't it be less than predictable if he won?

double-egg roll and a latte in the roubaix showers; who'd have seen that coming?

wednesday 29 september 2021

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endura fs260 pro thermo bibknickers

endura fs260 pro bibknickers

if i'm totally honest, we could actually have sat outside at debbie's on sunday to dine with al fresco, the italian sprinter in our team. though, as mentioned, the wind was reaching 55-60kph, its direction meant that the patio would have offered at least a smidgeon of shelter, though i cannot deny that the welcome to great coffee table umbrellas were earning their keep. however, it's autumn, and i feel we're allowed some compensations for the season, electing to sup froth indoors, where conversation could at least be paid heed to, without the need for raising of voices and resorting to scrunched-up wind jackets.

endura fs260 pro bibknickers

it is rare that the velo club find themselves still clad in bibshorts at this time of year, often more out of tradition than suffering from the late david duffield's easter knees. that said, preparation in nine-tenths of the law, and it would be foolish, not to mention unsavoury, not to have one i made earlier, in the shape of lengthier leg coverings designed to keep a layer of hebridean toothpaste from besmirching one's sculpted calf muscles. and now that the barley has been successfully harvested, ploughing has already commenced to reinvigorate the soil in preparation for next season, while farmers are still moaning about a lack of rainfall.

endura fs260 pro bibknickers

for the succour soon to be demanded by our lower limbs, we must look to the inimitable, edward van hooydonk, allegedly the inventor of what i might refer to as bib-threequarters, but which scotland's endura clothing have catalogued as bibknickers. either way, lengthened bibshorts reaching to mid-calf seems the most appropriate means of approaching winter in stages, prior to donning full-length bibtights, when arctic gales strafe the hinterlands.

following edward's victory in the 1989 ronde van vlaanderen, the horrendous weather conditions succeeded in aggravating a previous knee injury, leading the belgian wordperfect rider to offer a more dignified alternative to wrapped bandages, in the shape of elongated bibshorts. these appeared the following year, with the seal of approval arriving thirty years ago in 1991, when van hooydonk, once again, took victory in flanders. though necessarily invented for racing in the spring classics, they fare every bit as well in autumn, as may well be seen in next weekend's twice delayed paris-roubaix.

endura fs260 pro bibknickers

however, while van hooydonk held a ferocious reputation as one of belgium's hardmen, i not only have no match for such bravado, i hold no aspirations in that direction. well, not many. but it would be churlish to deny that donning a pair of fs260 pro bibknickers provides an outward verisimilitude to the archetypal innocent bystander. if only they were aware that the impossibly soft cossetting proffered by endura's garmentage, would leave any flandrian questioning his formerly unimpeachable toughness.

the pfc-free dwr coated thermoroubaix fabric not only offers comfortable insulation, but a modicum of water repellence, a feature doubtless invented solely for scotland's west coast. and the high front panel thoughtfully features a zip to make the 'comfort' in comfort break the epitome of pragmatism. the red-coloured pad (on the size small at least), containing gel inserts for added comfort, along with endura's 'continuously variable profile', all but converted my brooks cambium c13 carbon saddle into a parker-knoll armchair atop the seatpost. and when it comes to gloop at the hem to prevent unwarranted upward movement, i'd contend that endura currently have the gloopiest on the market.

endura fs260 pro bibknickers

while in the process of reviewing another item, one which i had hoped to upset a great deal more than i managed, i rode along lengthy tracts of chunky gravel, kilometres of grass-covered sand-dune and a farm track or two, considerately re-modelled at the hands of massey and ferguson. my belgian style netherwear displayed a fortitude that i fear i probably lack, emulating daniel craig in being neither shaken nor stirred on return to the croft, following an enervating sixty-something kilometres around the principality. until velocipedinal life demands that every inch of leg flesh be covered against the elements, i figure i'm pretty much autumnally sorted.

endura's fs260 pro bibknickers are available in black, in sizes small, medium and large at a scarily modest price of £89.99. in which case, you'd need a seriously credible excuse not to.

endura fs260 pro bibnickers

tuesday 28 september 2021

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