three strikes

waterproof fabric

as i have mentioned on previous occasions, every alternate friday afternoon, i ride from bowmore to bruichladdich to take copies of islay's local newspaper to debbie's for saturday sale. thus, on those particular weeks, on the monday mornng, i check the weather forecast for friday to see what i might be in for when riding the 28km journey. of course, experience has informed me that rarely does the so-called forecast remain the same as outlined on monday morning and in that sense, i seriously question the validity of offering any forecast that far in advance.

despite technological leaps and bounds over recent decades, the launch of several international meteorological satellites, and increasing inclusion of artificial intelligence, it seems still a case of inspired guesswork when forecasting the weather. for instance, as of this morning, friday is reckoned to be mostly dry, with winds averaging just under 30kph, gusting to 55kph. you will perhaps be unsurprised if i mention that friday's forecast when examined on saturday past, was a tad different. and i fully expect it to change several times between now and when friday morning dawns across the hebrides.

surely playing fast and loose with the word 'forecast'?

however, having lived on this island for over half my life, you'd think i'd have this meteorology lark well-sussed by now. though the majority of us out here are resigned to the knowledge that we're going to get what we're going to get, when it comes to prospective ferry travel, it's handy to know whether there is any likelihood of cancellations or delays, because more often than not, there are mainland connections to be made, connections that will simply leave on time, whether the ferry is delayed or not.

but it's also very helpful to know what sort of velocipedinal attire might be appropriate when heading out for a morning bike ride, a form of planning that, of necessity, may need to include more than just one alternative. following saturday's bike ride, when the morning was pleasantly bright and occasionally sunny and the late afternoon justa tad on the wet side, sunday's forecast revolved around overcast cloud and very minimal rainfall. the temperatures shown were around ten degrees, but with winds gusting to 45kph, windchill would likely settle at around seven or eight degrees.

choice number one was a showerproof, insulated jacket over a long-sleeve jersey, but on awaking come sunday morning, the overcastness looked a tad more threatening than i had been led to believe, so alternative number one was a showerproof softshell that would not only fend off the expected light rain, but insulate nicely. however, on closer examination of the low-hanging cloud, i figured that perhaps a fully-waterproof, taped-seams jacket would perhaps be more appropriate.

however, on retrieving the ritchey from the bike shed, i changed back to the softshell, carrying an optional stowaway showerproof jacket in a back pocket. you can never be too careful. as it transpired, the forecast wasn't even close, other than the overcast bit. before i was half-way round my sunday parcours the rain arrived with a vengeance, considerably heavier than indicated in the forecast. i'd be fibbing if i said it ameliorated at all before returning home. to make matters worse, yesterday i was johnny no-mates', the other members of the sunday peloton having found alternative means of occupation. woefully unprepared for such persistent precipitation, had i suffered any mechanical malfeasance, i would have been without any assistance, and would likely have cooled down to an unpleasant and perhaps unsafe degree.

i thought myself well used to the weather that the north atlantic can bestow upon the principality, and in the main, that is indeed true. but on this particular occasion the margin of error was substantial. at the risk of being a tad arrogant, if it can happen to me, it can probably happen to you. weather forecasts are all well and good, even if each can simultaneously provide a different prognostication, but if the prospective bike ride, at this time of year, is to be on the lengthy side (all morning, all afternoon or all day), where possible, make use of previous experience, dress appropriately and carry a safety-net of a fully waterproof jacket and preferably something thermal, like a cosy gilet.

we have no doubt all watched news reports of idiots who have ventured out onto the hills and mountains of britain in conditions forecast to be barely survivable, wearing only a cagoul and trainers. like me, you have probably knowlngly shaken your head in despair that anyone would be so foolish. lets just make sure that we don't give cause for others to do the same when we suffer from hypothermia attempting to fix a puncture in freezing rain and galeforce winds near the shores of the north atlantic on a november sunday morning.

purveyors of cycling apparel spend a lot of time perfecting their winter clothing options for our benefit, testing them in the very conditions in which they're designed to survive. make sure you take advantage. as your mother used to say, it's for your own good.

monday 15 november 2021

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so what's the problem?

this machine fights climate change

following my visit to bunnahabhain distillery on thursday, i received a press release from bruichladdich distillery who have released their biodynamic project bottling, containing whisky distilled using barley grown 'biodynamically'. considering just how much tosh and nonsense is included with each new whisky 'expression' these days from distillery marketing departments, i had need of checking up on whether biodynamic' was a word invented by the laddie folks.

it transpires, however, that the connection was originally made as far back as 2010, when the distilery contacted richard gantlett at yatesbury house farm, situated north of salisbury plain. he has been farming biodynamically since 2003, a form of agriculture that aims to create healthy soil using compost along with crop and grazing rotations. This method treats the compost heap with medicinal, plant-based preparations to encourage the microbial life needed for soil fertility, which is suppressed by chemical fertiliser. this style of farming effectively sequesters more carbon that it emits, making it essentially carbon-negative.

as they say, you learn something new every day.

interestingly enough, the distillery which claims to have produced the first biodynamic dram, is ireland's waterford distillery, coincidentally owned by mark reynier, former ceo and owner of bruichladdich distillery prior the remi-cointreau buyout in 2012.

however, enough about whisky and whiskey, and on to more important matters, such as bicycles. or perhaps a combination of the two. for the use of biodynamically grown barley as a component of whisky distilling has probably more to do with positively identifying the respective distilleries with environmental concerns rather than the fact that the dram in your glass will taste radically different from its more traditionally grown neighbour. with cop26 only just drawn to a close (how sucessfully, remains to be seen) almost everything in the current news seems to be related to environmental issues.

however, like the covid pandemic, it's highly unlikely that such issues will actually disappear anytime soon, but the media (including me, no doubt), will soon find other pressing matters to occupy our word processors, and life will regain some form of normality, but one that has been irredeemably altered in the process. so what about the bicycle?

that, i confess, is a question that repeatedly comes to the fore. there have been many banners and posters visible during the glasgow conference, pointing out that 'this machine fights climate change', probably one of the truer statements to arise as part of cop26. so why is it that something that's so glaringly obvious to many of us, seems to be ignored by the great unwashed? and yes, i am all too well aware that thewashingmachinepost and the majority of other cycling media outlets are, in effect, preaching to the converted.

i have no interest in motor cars, so i tend not to read motoring websites. and i would imagine that those who might reasonably be designated as petrol heads will have no great desire to read about bicycles. however, the climate crisis in which we are all involved, whether we like it or not, surely transcends any transportational predilections; whether you're a confirmed motorist who views all cyclists as an irritation, is surely irrelevant? according to statistics, 56% of all uk car journeys are less than five miles, while six percent are reputedly under one mile.

considering the obesity crisis that we were once incessantly told was one of the uk's major health problems (over 60% of uk adults are reckoned to be overweight or obese, and 20% of school-age children), why is it that kids are still driven to school when living considerably less than one mile distant? and how can any intelligent adult think it a sound decision to drive less than one mile, let alone five? the glaringly obvious solution is either to walk (a mile or less), or cycle if up to five miles. now in my mid-sixties, i have no physical or mental problem with riding up to 40 or 50 miles in a day, either for work or for pleasure, and i'm hardly the poster boy for active travel.

a recent newspaper report quoted a doctor as maintaining that individuals who could still fit into the jeans they wore when 21, were considerably less in danger of future health problems. the jeans i wear today are one size smaller than those i owned when 21, and i figure there are many regular cyclists who could say the same. but in a more recent survey querying whether folks were willing to change their lifestyles in order to forestall climate change, there was hardly a huge show of hands. so perhaps it's not that the majority are unaware of how the bicycle might fight climate change, it just looks like too much hard work.

to paraphrase the mighty dave t, "whatever you think of the bicycle, and however fancy it might be, at some point you're going to have to start pedalling it."

sunday 14 november 2021

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a change in emphasis

wahoo kickr rllr

while effectively minding my own business, i inadvertently came across a feature about walking boots, not a subject particularly close to my heart, nor indeed a style of footwear i presently have great need of. remember, i'm still plying the morning pre-work walk in a pair of sidi podium shoes that i've worn for well over twenty years. while it says a great deal about the constitution of sidi's footwear, it says not a great deal about my alleged sense of style.

however, the latter is pretty much by-the-by and only of collateral concern to the principal thrust of my monologue.

the article referred to above centred around the difficulty the writer had found in discovering independent reviews of walking boots, given the wide range available on the market. it's none too difficult to see the attraction of product reviews, but latterly, many of those have been undermined by the disclosure by more than just one website, that, when a product is purchased via one of their online reviews, they receive a few pounds, euros or dollars of commission. on that basis, any prosepctive customer would be well within their rights to wonder just how independent those reviews might be.

magazines are, the feature continued, perhaps more trustworthy in this respect, but on more than a single occasion, have i heard that the length and positivity of a review is dependent on advertising spend. once or twice, i have been thanked by a manufacturer or distributor for the length or comprehensiveness of my review, which, they claim, would not have been replicated by magazine x,y or z. in truth, i cannot see what purpose a review would serve, even if prejudiced by the prospect of losing advertising revenue. however, that's easy for me to say, since i do not depend on such income.

but this is not to discuss the good and bad points of any specific review, or, indeed, any commercial reasons that might be behind its outcome. in the main, what concerns me is the trend - in velocipedinal terms - of the items chosen for review. i do understand that, frequently, items offered to publications or websites for review are frequently at the behest of the distributor or manufacturer. as the saying goes, you have to take the rough with the smooth. believe me, it's hard to review the likes of a book or music in which i'm not particularly interested, but so doing is often rewarded by receiving those in which i am interested.

but at one time, readers of online or print magazines would have expected to learn of the qualities to be found in the latest bicycles, bicycle components, or perhaps the latest in cycling garmentage. that's hardly the sole reason for reading either, but not unexpected inclusion either. but, times have changed, whether for the better or worse, depending greatly on your point of view; the world of indoor has made huge strides upon the velocipedinal psyche over the past year and a half, so it's perhaps unsurprising that the accoutrements for such have occupied greater published real estate.

undoubtedly this has been the case for more than just a few issues, but a recent review from the 2021 london edition of the 'rouleur classic' brought this rather forcibly to my attention. the esteemed online platform, dedicated over 1200 words to wahoo's latest indoor trainer, featuring a set of rollers for the rear wheel and a slot into which the front wheel might fit.

however, rather than necessarily being yet another means of passing the time in watopia, it appears that the device (kickr rllr) might be as a result of the uci request for a device that all professional teams might use during the 'warm-up/warm-down' periods at race events. firstly, i find it odd that the uci find it necessary to specify a single solution, rather than leaving such decisions to the teams themselves. however, since wahoo apparently refused to answer any questions concerning the device, this is purely conjecture.

that aside, has it come to the point where such lengthy reviews are apportioned to a means of remaining stationary on a bicycle? phrases such as "Wahoo's existing trainers are either direct drive or use a single roller for the rear tire, so the twin roller design is a departure." i'm rather inclined to say 'so what?', but i realise this would mark me out as an unbeliever. and continuing with "We'd estimate that it shouldn't take more than a minute to mount a bike, which is ideal for the rider who just wants to warm up before a race." really seems to be taking matters to an extent that i, personally, would scarcely even consider.

but, as i say, things have changed considerably; i cannot imagine the likes of the comic from the mid-fifties providing any column inches for a review of a pair of rollers, but that was then and this is now.

i think i probably prefer then.

saturday 13 november 2021

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biomass, whisky and a panini

biomass plant - bunnahabhain distillery

i'm currently wondering whether i could add 'professional cyclist' to my curriculum vitae. it's not that i've signed for one of the world tour teams, or even a domestic pro-continental setup, but on thursday morning, i rode my bicycle from bowmore to bunnahabhain, islay's most northery distillery. and hopefully with the knowledge that i do not drink either whisky or other alcoholic beverage, you will be aware that it had not been the amber nectar that attracted me in the first place.

bunnahabhain distillery

the 'professional cyclist' bit has arisen purely on the basis that i was being paid to undertake a wonderful, 20km bike ride under blue skies and little wind to visit a distillery. this scenario began last week, when i received an invite from bunnahabhain's pr company, asking if i would care to visit their brand new, still under construction, £7 million biomass plant? i cannot deny that it was more the attraction of a bike ride that took me there, rather than any desire to learn more about how to distill whisky using biomass heating.

i should have been visiting on tuesday morning, but for reasons that i scarcely understand even now, that was rescheduled to yesterday morning. the comical part involves the public relations intermediary, a hapless fellow who has probably never once visited bunnahabhain distillery. for starters, i was informed that i would be met by the visitor centre manager, and given a tour of the distillery. islay, in common with many west coast islands and rural villages, features a tightly knit community, in which pretty much everyone knows everyone else, and one in which distilleries are so prevalent as to be unremarkable. not everyone gets that. in this particular case, i've known visitor centre manager, billy sinclair, for more than just a few years. to be informed by e-mail that 'we look forward to welcoming you to bunnahabhain distillery', completely misses the fact that i've been there many, many times before, and distillery manager, andrew brown, has previously participated in the 'ride of the falling rain'.

and bunnahabhain has not been conducting distillery tours for almost two years.

bunnahabhain distillery

secondly, there was minor concern that i would actually be unable to tour the biomass plant, principally on the basis that it's still a construction site. however, the site manager is the husband of a girl with whom i've played islay jazz festival on a couple of occasions. we've met several times over the years, so a full tour was always on the cards, with detailed explanations of the various stages of the biomass process. in bunnahabhain's case, and because it's a distillery, 30% of the biomass fuel will comprise distillery draff, a by-product of the whisky-making process. the other 70% will come from the wastage incurred in a (very) nearby forest.

en-route to bunnahabhain, it is impossible for the intrepid cyclist not to pass islay's ninth distillery at ardnahoe, site of a particularly impressive café and restaurant. due to the ongoing covid crisis, it's necessary to make a booking for lunch, a slight problem, given that i'd no idea when my bunnahabhain visit might be concluded. however, all biomass questions answered, i arrived at ardnahoe some 45 minutes ahead of my booking, when, once again, that sense of community came into play, and i was served immediately.

ardnahoe distillery

ardnahoe, it transpires, also had reason for celebration. at one minute past midnight on monday 8 november, their spirit could legally be called scotch whisky, an event captured on camera, when distillery manager, fraser hughes, dressed for the occasion in a kilt and tunic drew the first dram from the cask. just to infuriate the whisky aficionados reading, had i been a whisky drinker, i believe that visitor centre manager was about to offer a dram of this assuredly excellent three year-old single malt. on the other hand, i can recommend the celeriac and parsnip soup.

having had a glorious ride north, the weather was in the process of turning as i wended my way south, with increasing winds and the start of precipitation. as i write these words, we're experiencing heavy rain and 70kph winds.

i think i'm leaning more and more in favour of describing myself as a professional cyclist.

ardnahoe distillery

friday 12 november 2021

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doing what we're told

uk hill climb championship

on the tv news yesterday was a feature on the impending transport changes heading our way, predominantly at the behest of the electric car. the outside broadcast presenter was seen live from the first all-electric filling station in manchester, featuring eight charging stations, all of which, apparently, have the ability to charge an electric vehicle to 40% within fifteen minutes. that was interpreted to equate to an average range of 100 miles (160km)

that seems far more convenient than many existing chargers, which can take several hours to charge an ev battery to anything like a practical amount, making uninterrupted journeys by electric vehicle somewhat of a logistical challenge. you can imagine telling the kids in the back seat that they'll need to accompany mum and dad around a shopping centre for a few hours, while they wait for the car to charge. or, nearer to home, imagine realising that you've scarcely sufficient charge left to reach the ferry, but not enough time to charge the battery.

the news feature was extended by replaying earlier footage when the presenter had spoken to a number of manchester residents, asking whether they were in favour of the wholesale change to electric? it is, of course, something of a moot question, given that there really is no alternative. however, though several said they supported the move and were keen to walk and cycle more (leading me to wonder why they weren't already doing so?) to a largish gentleman who claimed he would soon be paying a lot more each day, as his work required him to be present within the inner city, soon to be the subject of a congestion charge.

he continued to state that he would happily opt for an electric vehicle, were it not for the high cost of ownership, the implication being that the government ought to be offering greater subsidy to the likes of himself. and while he apparently found himself in agreement with the need to cycle or walk more often, his parting shot was that he'd rather be left to make his own choice; he didn't like being told what to do.

i'd imagine that last sentiment is one with which most of us would find agreement. nobody really likes being told what to do. however, surely aware of the whole point of cop26, it's far less a case of realising the difference between what we all want to do and what we have to do.

but the majority of the sporting milieu in which most of us are invested, relies entirely on being told what to do. take a look at the sticker on the seat-tube, positioned a few millimetres above the bototm bracket. on the majority of commercially available road bikes, this sticker advises that the manufacturer has submitted at least one example of the frame in question to the union cycliste internationale, for approval to be used in competition.

you and i may have no earthly inclination of ever pinning a number on the back of our jerseys, but should the notion suddenly take hold, assuming that sticker is present, you or i could ride the very bicycle we have in the shed. obviously enough, in this manner, the uci control this, and pretty much every other aspect, of the compeititve realm. it is they who said we can't turn our handlebars upside down for the 4,000m pursuit, that we cannot, in fact, actually hold a 4,000m pursuit in the first place, that each and every frame must conform to the vintage double-diamond design, and, at one time, whether or not disc brakes could be used in competition.

in other words, if you want to race domestically or internationally, the uci will happily tell you how that's going to happen. in other words, they'll tell you what to do. the man on the news broadcast would not be happy about that.

in truth, we've all pretty much known that for many a long year. after all, whatever happened to pinarello's sword, their version of the lotus bike brought to prominence by chris boardman? in fact, whatever happened to the lotus bike? but what brought this to mind, was an article i came across, describing britain's idiosyncratic hill-climb season, a masochistic form of cycle sport over which the uci has no jurisdiction whatsoever.

british hill climbs come under the jurisdiction of cycling time trials, the rules of which differ slightly from those of aigle. for starters, over eighteens are allowed to make up their own minds over whether or not to wear a helmet. considering the maximum speed attainable, head injuries would appear to be the least of their worries, and aero features would seem surplus to requirements. similarly the weight of the bicycle, something that has a greater bearing on success, than many other factors.

the uci minimum bicycle weight for outdoor road events is 6.8kg, despite the knowledge that lighter bicycles can be safely built, particularly those that are likely to compete for less than three minutes. and to be honest, there's every likelihood that if you turned up on the start line of a uk hill-climb with upturned, graeme obree style bars, i doubt anyone would bat an eyelid.

of course, every sport needs rules, particularly those which are undertaken on an international platform. rules are designed to ensure that competitors have boundaries beyond which they should not go, otherwise there will be trouble (unless, of course, you happen to be lord voldemort). however, many of us figure that the uci have a tendency to meddle where their meddling is scarcely required. this argument failed to prevent wholesale introduction of compulsory helmet-wearing, and has constrained bicycle design well past the point of justification.

yet, when it comes to the number of motor vehicles following the professional peloton, and, perhaps more importantly, the number of motorbikes in very close proximity to the riders, they appear to prevaricate for a very long time. and what about equality between male and female prize-money? maybe the uci's one-way monopoly is a subject that needs some discussion. particularly when their lack of interference in the british hill-climb scene doesn't appear to be having any detrimental effect.

thursday 11 november 2021

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what it does

buffalo - world bicycle relief

i doubt i'd be telling you anything new if i smugly pointed out that the gravel bike is currently teacher's pet. true, the road bike market will see incremental changes, usually introduced at the tour de france each year, or a smattering of reputedly aero improvements shown at the world's cycle shows, but gravel's where it's currently at. and though i have paid only cursory attention, i get the distinct impression that a certain core of manufacturers is doing its level best to merge the gravel bike with the road bike (what price an aero gravel bike), while maintaining enough space for knobbly 700c tyres.

however, i doubt it would be overstating the present situation as one that's providing bicycles that people want, rather than anything they might actually need. of course, if we adopt the philosophy behind velominati's rule#12, stating that the correct number of bicycles to own equates to n+1, it stands to reason that more than one of whichever number you end up with, will be the subject of desire rather than necessity.

however, a wiser person than i has already made it plain that the value of a bicycle isn't in the object itself, but rather in the function it provides. bearing that in mind, how popular do you think it would be, were a major manufacturer to display something akin to the following?

suppose the pride of place on a bike show stand were to be occupied by a plain gauge steel frame, featuring a single chainring, sporting a pair of platform pedals, eschewing all thoughts of clipless activity. with the rear wheel featuring a coaster brake in preference to either caliper or hydraulic discs, the rims are of sturdy alloy, laced with around forty heavy gauge spokes. the steel forks are manipulated by through a short length, steel, quill stem, grasping a pair of steel handlebars that sweep gently towards the rider, offering a comfortable, yet hardly aerodynamic position. gearing can be counted as a single digit of one, while the mudguards and heavy-duty rear rack restrain any thoughts of sporting pretension.

and in preference to being displayed on a minimalistic, lightweight stand, this machine has one of its own, integrated into its obviously sturdy construction. based on my brief description, how many of you reading have already muttered under their breath, "i gotta get myself one of those!" not many, i'd wager.

that, in truth, is probably not that much of an inconvenience to those of us cosily and smugly living in the western world. surely it's only retired schoolteachers and butchers' delivery lads who ride such machinery? in fact, as many will already have guessed, i've just described the buffalo bicycle, the very machine to which many of us have contributed over the years via world bicycle relief, perhaps even during lachlan morton's 'alt tour' in july this year. for, as i have said several times, that is the true power of the bicycle. and while we indulge in the latest cycling fashion, such as gravel, bikepacking, tubeless tyres or wireless gearshifting, the buffalo bicycle is changing lives elsewhere on the planet.

and i'm not alone in in my fulsome praise for either the bicycle or the charity that provides them to those who need them most; one of wbr's founding partners, trek bicycles, has made the buffalo its bicycle of the year, initiating a holiday campaign to raise more money for more bikes. aside from providing improved mobility for many, the need for repair and maintenance of the 'buffalos has resulted in the training of many africans as bicycle mechanics, providing them with a sustainable livelihood, in tandem (pun intended) with a sustainable method of transport.

donations to trek's christmas campaign can be made by customers on the company's website and trek will match those donations up to £370,000. trek's vice-president of advocacy, bob burns, said, "This campaign provides the chance to help change the world, one person at a time."

can trek's £13,600 madone slr 9 road bike carry 100kg, plus rider?

donate to trek's bicycle of the year

wednesday 10 november 2021

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what's in a name?


there is a general consensus that cycling is an activity well disposed towards maiantaining a healthy lifestyle. along with a carefully considered diet, it provides similar benefits to that of swimming, given that, as we exercise (deliberately or otherwise), the bicycle bears our weight in the same way as water does when swimming. the latter is perhaps better placed as a more encompassing form of exercise, working the upper-body far more extensively than cycling can hope to achieve. having said that, i have seen some riders exhibiting less than pristine technique, swarming all over the bicycle as they grovel their way uphill.

whether such an excellent cardio-vascular workout actively discourages less healthy addictions, or simply creates a state of mind where the less savoury of them are actually discouraged, such as smoking, drinking or recreational drug use, is open to debate. and we need not be thinking of the competitive realm at this point; a daily commute by bicycle will undoubtedly prove more effective from a health point of view, than hours stuck in traffic, or the iniquities visited by public transport.

cycling to and from work or school, allows a level of independence that is not easily equalled by use of a motor vehicle. the latter ultimately requires measurable space for parking at both ends of the journey, in many cases, incurring some sort of financial charge. this can often be some distance from journey's end, a tad more inconvenient than simply stepping off the bike.

nowhere is this better illustrated than the single-track coast road on the rinns of islay. the dramatic coastline overlooks the atlantic ocean, a vast expanse of water than can be truly dramatic more often than not, no matter the time of year. i have frequently come across motorists who simply stop on the road to view or photograph this dramatic scenery, with scarcely a care for others using the same route. by bicycle, it's a simple matter of pulling off the road and drinking in the scenes set before you. the same could be said for many a location all across the world.

were those motorists to be more conscientious, they would have need of finding somewhere to park the car, subsequently wandering back to the point of interest. in many cases, far more can be seen from the saddle than from behind the steering wheel. and in the case of vantage points atop a gradient of serious import, the sense of achievement on pedalling to that point, should not be underestimated.

limiting one's lung capacity or physical wellbeing by smoking or drinking can make the latter examples into serious tests of strength and stamina, tests that might frequently result in having to dismount and walk the last few metres to the top, or not being in any fit state to ask for a coffee when reaching journey's end. according to recent statistics, the percentage of uk residents who still smoke has dropped significantly to 14.1% of the population, though that still equates to around 6.9 million individuals. whether this is as a result of adoption of healthier lifestyles, rising costs, or persistent health warnings on cigarette packets, all but obliterating the manufacturers' branding, i know not, but in terms of public health, it's a decline that ought to be welcomed with open arms.

according to recent reports, however, the way is being paved to allow general practitioners (in england) to prescribe e-cigarettes to help smokers quit. this despite concerns that so-called vaping isn't exactly squeaky clean in and of itself. but perhaps the worst aspect of the continued drive to popularise dried leaves, at least for cyclists, is a recent upsurge in promotion of flavoured nicotine pouches made by british american tobacco (bat), using what have been termed nicotinfluencers, individuals with substantial followings on social-media.

nowhere has it been indicated that these flavoured pouches are intended as a means of assisting with quitting, seen more as a means of recruiting new customers. but what makes this so iniquitous is that bat has branded the product 'velo' (i wonder how that was welcomed in france?), very much at odds with the benefits that can potentially be gained by adopting an actual velocipede as a component of a healthy lifestyle. i doubt that letters to british american tobacco chief executive, jack bowles, would be likely to encourage a change of branding (though it might be worth a try), but it is very disappointing that a tobacco company worth in excess of £50 billion, should feel it necessary to associate their poisonous tobacco product with the principal object of our desire.

tuesday 9 november 2021

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