firmware udpate part two

garmin bar mount

i confess, i was intending to offer an entirely different feature for today, but this was just too good an opportunity to miss. and in my defence, i did warn the perpetrators that i was going to scribble a few words in their disfavour, citing a situation that is very much in the public interest. i consider myself entirely blameless of any repercussions.

in order to avoid any personal humiliation, i think it only fair to provide the particular proponents in the following scenario with suitable aliases, so let's just call them stephen and joe. the former lives almost 16 kilometres from bowmore, while the latter lives almost within hailing distance of the croft. between joe and yours truly, whohever is ready first for the grand départ of a sunday morning, rides to the other's abode. the individual we shall heretofore refer to as stephen, frequently rides several kilometres before joining us at the appointed hour.

as i approached joe's residence, i found the two of them sat astride their respective bicycles, deep in thought and looking at their mobile phones, intermittently pressing buttons on their bar mounted garmin gps units. it transpired that stephen had acquired a brand new garmin device, one which offered some means of connecting with a fellow garmin user via mobile phone signals. some of you may recall garmin's original video launch of this feature which showed owner of the then garmin professional cycle team, jonathan vaughters, sat before two large computer screens on which was displayed the locations of two of his riders during their training rides. he was reputedly in america, while they were both in europe.

the rationale behind this particular implementation of telecommunications technology, was not only that a team manager could check up on his/her team riders, but that the two individual riders could view the location of the other, making it possible to meet up en-route. quite why they couldn't have phoned each other on the previous day and said "i'll meet you at location 'a' at noon", was never clearly explained. were that insufficient, it appears there was another button that would allow invited individuals access to the same information, including, i believe, a readout of the numbers being displayed to each rider on their bar-mounted gps device.

isn't technology wonderful?

well, perhaps not. following stephen and joe's inscrutable discussions prior to heading out, whereby they both figured they were in digital communication with each other, it took only a few pedal strokes to confirm that such was very definitely not the case. no matter, for we generally ride around four kilometres to the morning's rendezvous point, on arrival at which, intense discussions resumed, along with several profanities from which i will shelter your ears.

these discussions, though frequenty interrupted by my persistent laughter, were also accompanied by brief sorties of a few metres to check whether all was functioning as desired. there was much delving into obscure and arcane settings in phones and garmins punctuated by exclamations such as "where the heck is auto-pause and why won't it switch off?" you will probably think very much the less of me when i admit to actually saying, midst this digital carnage, "remember the days when we just used to go for a bike ride?"

it will come as no surprise to learn that we eventually set off five minutes later than timetabled, both parties with their faces glued to their garmins checking the presence of each other's avatars on rudimentary, colour maps. at one point, stephen alerted us to the knowledge that joe was now 1.5km behind us, despite the evidence that his front tyre was but millimetres from my rear tyre. this endlessly humorous scenario continued for a few more kilometres before both coming to the conclusion that it probably needed more work and perhaps an all-day conference to iron out the apparent vicissitudes.

though i cannot deny offering no sympathy whatsoever, while sniggering constantly, the whole episode was framed with the knowledge that every week we leave bowmore at 09:45 to meet at springbank for departure at 10:00. and to allow for any latecomers, we perambulate an identical parcours every single sunday morning. similar factors affect the great majority of club rides all across the globe. we're not hard to find, though that might not be the case if you're relying on a garmin plus mobile phone, thousands of pounds worth of technology to not achieve what can be accomplished by e-mail or text.

it demands repeating: "remember when we just used to go for a bike ride?"

monday 2 may 2022

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rapha brevet gore-tex paclite plus jacket

rapha gore-tex paclite plus brevet jacket

i was given a bum steer. not deliberately, you understand, but a misdirection nonetheless. i made mention earlier this week that saturday promised rain, a fact that you'd think was highly unremarkable in the hebrides. however, we have seen glorious if not stifling weather over the past couple of weeks, with nary a raindrop in sight. that forecast rain duly arrived on the very day the land rover club put in an appearance, of which i had been invited to take photographs for the local newspaper. aside from the lack of promisingly sparkling images at the behest of the delivered rain, matters were made null and void by my having been sent to the laggan bridge for 10am, only to later discover that the venue was several miles distant commencing at 12:30pm.

rapha gore-tex paclite plus brevet jacket

fortunately, a friend of mine owns a shiny new land rover defender and had intentions of joining the happy throng today (sunday). even better, he is a professional photographer and thus far better able to nab a few potent images than yours truly, particularly given the dramatic improvement in sunday's weather conditions.

however, to return to the rainy saturday with which i began, pedalling towards my misdirected and mistimed appointment in persistent rain was hardly the hardship that one might have expected it to be, for there is truly no better means of testing the veracity of a purportedly waterproof garment, than spending some quality time in the rain. as it transpired, the rain was on for the day, so there was really no need for me to look the gift horse in the mouth by perambulating the estates prior to lunch at debbie's. but this is the hebrides where you never want to take meteorology for granted.

rapha gore-tex paclite plus brevet jacket

my original 10am appointment had necessitated a grand départ sixty minutes earlier than usual, reckoning that trying to organise a substantial peloton of land rovers into some semblance of an aesthetic arrangement, would probably take longer than you'd think. however, upon discovering that the land was bereft of rovers, my morning constitutional suddenly had the unfortunate effect of being way to early to arrive in bruichladdich at lunchtime. thus, a quick rearrangement of the parcours was necessary to bring me to my double-egg roll at a more amenable time.

rapha gore-tex paclite plus brevet jacket

the name, loch gorm, reputedly alludes to its deep blue colour, one that could be clearly seen last weekend during the unbroken sunshine. on saturday it was little more than loch grey, and you had to be pretty close to its banks to be even aware of it through the heavy rain. rapha's brevet gore-tex paclite plus jacket does pretty much what it says on the label. beneath the hang-loop at the collar is a bigger bright pink elasticated loop at right angles that collar. rolling the jacket up into a tight bundle allows it to be slipped inside this pink loop, keeping its compactness intact and allowing it to be stuffed into a jersey rear pocket, or, in the case of the recently reviewed brevet jersey, the wide zipped pocket above the usual threesome.

it is a very light, two layer gore-tex jacket, the inner membrane closely resembling that of gore's shake-dry fabric. externally it features the usual perforated, reflective hoops which provide a commendable amount of visibility should you be in the habit of brevetting after dark, and its ecological properties are greatly enhanced by the outer fabric consisting of wholly recycled nylon.

rapha gore-tex paclite plus brevet jacket

aside from gore-tex' reputation for excellent waterproofing, the second string to its bow is a similar reputation for breathability, the very factor which the majority of us are hopefully grateful. many a breathable waterproof has been disappointingly not quite as breathable as the intrepid velocipedinist would hope for, but the brevet jacket seems determined to buck this trend. i had worn the jacket on a couple of previous occasions, despite a lack of rain, and the breathability had seemed quite promising, a factor that, if anything, was substantially confirmed during my three hours in heavy rain.

what had begun as persistent heavy drizzle, very soon became persistent heavy rain, and as i breezed past saligo bay, with its incredibly limited visibility over the north atlantic, i turned into a cold headwind (7 degrees celsius) blowing at near 40kph. despite this continuing from saligo to bruichladdich (around twelve kilometres), on arriving at debbie's for a very welcome and necessary soya latte and double egg roll, my jersey and armwarmers were in the same dessicated state as on leaving the croft.

rapha gore-tex paclite plus brevet jacket

the jacket's sleeves are of an excellent length, allowing them to be pulled over the cuffs of my gloves, keeping unwanted draughts at bay, and preventing surface water seeping inside. given that the jacket had to encompass all that i had placed in the three rear pockets, i cannot deny that i would have liked an extra centimetre of length on the drop tail, but given the jacket's purpose as one to wear when the weather unexpectedly turns foul, i can forgive this minor indiscretion which allowed rain and mud to affect the rear hem of the brevet jersey.

though saturday's inclemency remained from morning till nightfall, as a pac-lite jacket, we can safely assume that rapha intend it to spend at least a portion of its career stuffed into a bag or pocket, rolling it up when the rain goes off. as with many a lightweight waterproof, that's often easier said than done. there was no need to alter its format during those three hours in the rain, but i had previously had cause to divest myself of its windproofing and attempt to roll it up in the wide grey yonder, occasionally a thankless task when the north wind doth blow. it not only behoves you well to choose your timing, but also to find a sheltered spot in which to do so.

rapha gore-tex paclite plus brevet jacket

given the triumphant result of my hours in the cold and wet, i have no qualms whatsoever in recommending rapha's gore-tex paclite brevet jacket which, to be honest, did a lot more than was expected of it and did so with the minimum of fuss. to quote a well-worn epithet 'don't leave home without it'.

rapha's gore-tex paclite plus brevet jacket is available in dark navy, brick (as reviewed) and dark yellow in sizes ranging from xs to xxl. price is £265 with free standard delivery. | rapha gore-tex paclite plus brevet jacket

sunday 1 may 2022

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all alone

gcn presenter

in a recently broadcast two-part documentary about the bane of the permissive society, mary whitehouse, she freely admitted that several of the films or plays that she claimed were a blight on society and ought to be consigned to the rubbish bin, she had not actually seen. on one or two occasions, she had sent along emissaries on her behalf, with strict instructions to return with a disfavourable report, but her plaintiff cry when questioned on why she herself had not watched, was that she would scarcely subject herself to such filth. at least one court case fell apart at the seams on learning that her ambassador had sat so far back in the upper circle, that he'd have been hard pressed to have seen anything untoward, unless equipped with binoculars.

and yet, here i am, castigating yet another global cycling network video, without actually having watched it right to the end. in fairness to gcn, the production values of their youtube videos is quite exemplary, and it's not hard to see why they garner so many views. the current example that has my hackles rising, was posted on 27 april, and at the time of writing, had garnered almost 110,000 views. this tells me that either there are a substantial number of cyclists devoid of any gumption of their own, or they, like me, didn't watch past the first minute or so. i'm presuming that clicking 'play' immediately registers as a view, since there are never any fractions of views.

previous videos from the same source have also investigated the world of the pointless, such as 'how to ride in the rain' (really?), whether vintage road bikes are better than modern and umpteen videos along the lines of 'five bike skills you need to know', which promise shades of velominati's rules, where those new to the velocipedinal world take it as gospel that you're not a real cyclist until... i can only assume that the chaps at gcn have been given specific targets for the number of videos that have to be posted each week, no matter what.

but, to eventually get to my point, the video that has me mildly simmering neath the collar of my long-sleeve ritchey anniversary t-shirt, is entitled '8 essential tips for riding alone'. the opening few seconds of the video, which i did graciously deign to watch, pointed out that, amongst the benefits of riding solo, you can go out whenever you want, wherever you want, you're not going to get dropped or half-wheeled; the list, apparently, goes on.

i, along with many, many others, have always found cycling to be all things to all people. the fact that i can enjoy riding on my own, but also enjoy riding with others, for me at least, sets it apart from many other activities. it's difficult to play chess, football, cricket or tennis alone, and though not impossible, it's a less than satisfactory experience to swim, long jump, ski jump or dive in a group, particularly of the size of even the velo club peloton.

in a previous life, the daily cycle commute to and from work was a solo affair. on moving to the hebrides, for the first six years i was, effectively, the only islay resident who cycled any appreciable distance with any regularity, and certainly the only individual riding bendy bars and skinny wheels. in those days, the interwebs were confined to the american military, you tube was a rather unfavourable comment directed at one who had just done something particularly silly, and cycling uk was still known as the cyclists' touring club'. yet, i still rode alone without prior instruction.

it sort of beggars belief that there might be a large build up of potential cyclists, terrified to take their newly acquired velocipedes from bike sheds all across the nation in case they do it all wrong.

whether there is any real need for any of gcn's videos (and i'm sure they could level the same argument at my daily outpourings), is somewhat of a moot point. i frequently wonder if the brains behind the organisation ever give serious thought as to how humanity ever made it this far without their visual assistance. granted, many of their videos do possess the all-important entertainment factor, and it dawns on me now, that perhaps that was the sole reason behind the specific video under discussion. and at the risk of backing myself into a corner, many will say that if it bothers me that much, i could simply ignore any gcn videos with titles that strike me as corny or pointless.

but instructions on how to cycle alone? really?

saturday 30 april 2022

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firmware update

wahoo rgt

a friend of mine from many years ago, had carved herself a career as an experienced and well-thought-of primary school teacher. following several years in the school that can be seen from my sitting room window, she gained a position as head teacher in another of islay's primary schools, where she went from strength to strength, improving the school's reputation in the process.

her educational ministrations did not go unnoticed by the education authority and she was invited to apply for a head teacher position in a larger regional school on the mainland. her career, however, did not end there. the scottish education department seconded her to the schools inspectorate, before making this a permanent position. from a career point of view, she could hardly have fared better, but unfortunately it ultimately meant that an excellent teacher was removed from the teaching layer of the education system, to spend the majority of her days talking about education, discussing how primary education ought to move into the future.

my luddite tendencies take a very dim view of the above; good teachers are worth their weight in gold; removing them from practical teaching positions seems entirely counter-productive. and instead of various groups of academics holding theoretical discussions about the future of education, would it not be more prudent to simply teach the essentials such as reading, writing and arithmetic and produce a well-grounded, next generation?

as if to prove my point, one of islay's local primary schools has just achieved its bronze 'pupils rights' award, in which the pupils have been educated as to their rights and consulted on the future direction of the school. bear in mind, these are primary school pupils from the age of five who are being taught that their rights cannot be over-ruled by their adult teachers. and then society wonders why there is asuch a high level of delinquency.

however, this long-winded and possibly contentious metaphor bears some relevance to matters arising within the velocipedinal world. i'm hoping that the majority of you will agree that the object of our desire is both the bicycle and cycling in general. and by cycling, i mean precisely that; riding our bicycles in the great outdoors, through wind and rain, in all conditions, whether touring, racing or simply for leisure purposes. what i do not mean by cycling, but which bears comparison with the teacher who was removed from the original object of her own desire, to become involved in what might be described as tangential matters, is the ever-expanding world of online cycling taking place predominantly indoors.

where once we would have been found at the back of the peloton discussing the days when downtube gear levers were a thing, the halcyon days of the ten-speed racer, whether we really need twelve sprockets, and quite what was the actual difference between the original compact chainset and the current version, it seems that a growing percentage of you have transferred your debates to that of the pixelated universe. is it, indeed, becoming increasingly boring to ride the roads of watopia, why does rgt cycling not have a made up name for their online world, and is it a good idea that wahoo have just purchased the latter?

despite my misgivings about non-fungible tokens and the blockchain, the recent announcement of colnago's c68 was a good thing. as is rapha's introduction to the availability of the latest ef education team kit. or even brooks bringing their new bikebacking luggage to our attention. these are all tangible aspects of the cycling world, largely unrelated to state of the art carbon fibre featuring a deep-rimmed front wheel affixed to a cassette mounted on a smart-turbo, crammed into a a former broom cupboard just off the hallway.

it is absolutely true that wahoo, purveyors of accoutrements that usually avoid using at least one vowel in their product names, has purchased rgt cycling, an online platform that competes with zwift for the affections of those who should probably know better. wahoo was also the purchaser of sufferfest almost three years ago, before revamping it and renaming it as systm last year, proving that they've still to get the hang of using vowels. following the acquisition, wahoo claimed that their ownership of the rgt platform now represents the next generation of virtual cycling, allowing cyclists to ride, race and explore on highly detailed virtual roads, either alone or with others.

aside from the fact that the word virtual appears twice in that one sentence (surely a worry in and of itself?), i doubt that either rgt or wahoo have noticed the irony of believing that a participating rider is ever anything other than riding alone. in the pain cave featured in last week's issue of the comic, there sure as heck was insufficient room for anyone other than the owner. and that feature too, is worthy of mention.

many, many years past, cycling weekly sported a regular inside back page feature inviting readers to ascend a local, preferably strenuous hill-climb. the mighty dave t and yours truly participated in that very feature, climbing the 14% gradient out of port askaig on islay several times in order for our photographer to get "just one more image". even though i say so myself, we looked rather swell in print. perhaps acting as a barometer of contemporary velocipedinal life, such reality has been dispensed with in favour of asking readers to submit images of their indoor, online cycling setups, of which the bicycle often seems of least importance.

when the objects of desire for a growing number of cyclists become the intangibles, mostly described in pixelated form, and while the endemically vowel-less go head to head with the inventors of a mythical island, you know we are in deep doo-doo. and as if to add insult to injury, when phrases such as 'powered by an advanced physics engine" begin to replace "what pressure do you run your tyres?" the end of the world is probably nigh.

do not mistake the finger for the moon.

friday 29 april 2022

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wet, wet, wet

land rover + rain

most of last week in the hebrides was uncharacteristically sunny and warm enough to turn the heating off. mrs washingmachinepost, as a childminder, took advantage of the sunny, dry outdoors to take the kids into the garden, where they messed about with copious amounts of water, a ball pool, small trampoline and fought over whose turn it was to drive the plastic car. if you lived out here on the west, you'd find it worth celebrating too.

though it may seem a trite contrary, the worry for the indigenous cycling population is the transition from the one weather front to which we have become conditioned, to an entirely different one to which we are considerably less accustomed. thankfully, a stiff breeze made the changeover a tad less uncomfortable, but still, it felt as if something intrinsic was missing in action during the weekends perambulations.

that said, we are, if nothing else, the flandrians of the west, able and mostly willing to adapt to our environment at the drop of an armwarmer. this initially unpalatable meteorological calamity was made somewhat easier on watching paris-roubaix, flêche wallonne and sunday's liege-bastogne-liege, where our faster, professional counterparts were also to be seen suffering under blue skies and rampant sunshine.

it is not, however, the bed of roses it might at first appear to be, for even as an intrepid velocipedinist, i have dependencies, one of which is at least a soupcon of rain, but preferably a persistent downpour that might allow for a smidgeon of wet-weather creative exploration. i hate to come across as a needy individual, but i was under the impression that unrelenting rain was a major part of my birthright.

i can see that many of you are unsettled by this admission, trying to decide whether this is the hebridean equivalent of 'crying wolf', but i assure you, like oscar wilde, i am in deadly earnest. during the last bout of fair weather experienced by the velo club, i gained the distinct impression, strange to relate, that i not only fared better during inclement weather, but that i actually enjoyed it. i promise you, i'm receiving treatment for it.

however, the current situation is a great deal more serious than my levity would perhaps have you believe, for once again, the curse of the waterproof has imposed itself upon an allegedly restrained country life. it's a situation that has occurred rather more frequently than you'd like to think. yet, there is currently optimistic cause for celebration; the xcweather forecast for this coming saturday would indicate that i can look forward to around 12mm of persistent rain, easing my concern that a waterproof jacket not so recently received for review, would forever remain hanging on the bedroom door coathook.

now it has begun to look like i can not only get it wet, but possibly very wet.

and just to subtract any thought of insult from potential injury, it may not even be a case of framing an entirely fabricated scenario, just to ride midst those 'drip, drip, drop' little april showers. a weekend visit to islay on behalf of the landrover society will potentially bring an entire peloton of land rovers of all ages to their ancestral home, the original land rover having been invented by the late maurice wilks, whose brother, spencer, once owned islay's laggan estate. the local members have kindly invited me to snap a few photos as they navigate a (relatively) nearby track, potentially in the midst of some heavy showers.

don't you just hate change?

thursday 28 april 2022

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levelling up

formula one motor racing

i think this probably a safe place to admit that i cannot see the point of formula one motor racing. nor indeed its many sub-groups that place one driver in an extremely fast motor car completing a specified number of laps before a fellow with a chequered flag steps forward to bring proceedings to a close. seen in entirely superficial terms, what is the point of building a hi-tech vehicle, which bears no visible relationship to anything that might function as a pragmatic means of transport? one-time claims that the upper echelons of motor sport functioned as a development platform for the motor industry are currently very hard to justify.

i harbour the same misgivings about what i believe is described as the 'luxury car market'. i know that we all like to experience a degree of luxury every now and again, but as a means of transport, i remain to be convinced that a mercedes coupé is any more effective than a fiat 500, or a ferrari than a volkswagen polo. of course, it would be naive to think that cars are chosen on the basis of their practicality. even a cursory glance at the country's driveways would have you realise that motor cars perform more of a status function than the purpose for which they were originally designed.

however, given the recent dramatic increase in living costs pretty much across the entire world, it may possibly be seen as contradictory that sales of luxury, premium priced cars currently outperform sales of what might reasonably be termed ordinary vehicles. in the first quarter of this year, sales of motor cars priced between £65,000 and £80,000 increased by 44% year-on-year. though ostensibly inexplicable, taking into account the much-vaunted expansion in the number of billionaires during the pandemic, it's perhaps not as odd as it seems. it has long been said that 'expenditure expands in line with income', surely the economic equivalent of greg lemond's 'it doesn't get any easier, you just get faster.'

but, never mind my lack of comprehension of matters vehicular; neither is the trend, as described above, any stranger to the velocipedinal world, as apparently demonstrated by shimano's recent trading results. japan's dominant cycle component manufacturer has also pointed out what many of us may have utlimately expected that, despite a 14% increase in sales over the first quarter of 2022, they claim that the cycling boom 'shows signs of cooling'. according to shimano, demand for bicycles remains firm, and supply chains appear to have recovered from the low-point experienced during the pandemic years. this pertains particular to entry-level and mid-level bicycles.

however, release of positive financial results frequently acts as an invite to wax lyrical over the market in which the beneficiaries operate, a trend not lost on shimano. as part of their overview, they have said, "the global cycling boom showed signs of cooling down, with market inventories of entry-class and middle-class bicycles approaching appropriate levels, while demand centering around high-end class bicycles remained high." and it's the latter part of that statement that indicates we might be experiencing similar mores as that of the motor industry.

participate in any given sportive ride, or similar, and there will be an impressive number of individuals riding top level carbon fibre festooned with high-end electronic groupsets, while clad in the finest of cycling apparel, yet with apparently no more chance of a professional contract than either you or i. within that state of affairs, however, exists something of a dichotomy, for despite my misgivings over the disparity in car prices, more often than not, the more expensive the car, the more luxurious and faster it is. yet, quite plainly, i'd be little or no faster on a £15,000 colnago c68, than on a £250 pinnacle lithium. and looking squarely at the e-bike market, taking into account the 25kph limit on uk pedelecs, a porsche designed e-bike is, by definition, legally no faster than a £900 muddy fox. comfort may be harder to quantify.

all that said, it was almost inevitable that the bike boom would soon demonstrate reductive signs. for one thing, there is undoubtedly, at present, an upper limit in the numbers of those willing and eager to adopt the way of the saddle. those numbers may have been higher when covid restrictions made the bicycle seem a more attractive and healthier option than public transport or car-sharing, but now that life has returned to a semblance of normality, many will have taken the path of least resistance, filling buses, trains and cars once again. in short, pretty much all those keen to acquire a cycle will have already done so.

i'm sure many of us will recall the bravado posed by the world's city fathers, when they claimed they'd do all in their power to avoid a return to pre-pandemic congestion and pollution levels. several made plans and promises to expand upon facilities favouring walkers and cyclists, intent on creating the kind of environment that the threat of climate change would possibly have forced them into, had covid never been heard of.

meanwhile, back in the real world...

thanks to james lamont for the kick-start.

wednesday 27 april 2022

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the future cometh kwikly

kwik-fit e-service centre

though you'd be forgiven for a lack of awareness, by 2030, all new motor cars sold in the uk, by law, are required to be powered by an electric motor. new petrol and diesel powered motor cars will be outlawed by the end of this decade, though obviously enough, existing versions can continue to be used until they are no longer roadworthy. and almost as draconian, despite regular advertisements seen for such vehicles, electric hybrid vehicles are only offered a stay of execution for five years beyond that, themselves becoming persona non-grata in 2035.

i mentioned an apparent lack of awareness predominantly on the basis that friends of mine have only recently purchased brand new petrol vehicles, despite having only eight years left in which to enjoy the sound of a purring piston engine 'neath the bonnet. and once again, that lack of awareness might also be flagged by a distinct lack of public ev charging points. three such units were installed in the car park behind the tourist information centre in bowmore village well over two years ago, and despite constant and pressing advice from those who seem to know better, there has been not a single additional charging point installed since.

thus, should you decide to visit the hub of the universe in an electric vehicle, your options to keep it running are minimal at least, and not exactly adjacent. the nearest charging point to those in bowmore is a single unit at port ellen ferry terminal. and though caledonian maritime assets ltd (cmal) have announced plans for considerable improvements at that very location, an increased number of ev charging points do not seem to be amongst them. yes, there will be charging points on islay's two new ferries, the first of which is due to enter service at the end of 2024, but apparently not on the landward side.

as a non-car owner, i'm hardly the first person anyone would turn to for advice on motor cars or their service provisions, but i can't help thinking we're rushing headlong into the abyss, the depth and darkness of which will likely be discovered only a few years into the next decade. thankfully, i'm not the only one to have posited this scenario.

but there may be other, unforeseen difficulties of a more immediate nature, perhaps not in city and urban situations, but quite possibly in the more remote areas of the uk. last year, compiling information for a feature in our local newspaper, i enquired of local motor engineers whether they were setup for the servicing of electric vehicles, one of whom hoped to be retired before it became an economic necessity and at least one other who confirmed that they were currently unable to service electric vehicles and expected to delay the necessary equipping of their workshop and necessary training for as long as possible, predominantly on grounds of cost.

only one stated that they could service any make or model of car, electric or otherwise, though i have recently heard them to be experiencing an acute shortage of mechanics.

but what of electric bicycles? though considerably less technically complex than their four-wheeled counterparts, servicing and maintenance of e-bikes is not quite as straightforward as the mechanical versions. agreed, electronics have already raised their heads above the parapet by way of electric gearchanging groupsets, but the batteries required for e-bikes are of several magnitudes larger, and e-bike cranksets do not bolt onto something as simple and straightforward as a bottom bracket. even the press-fit editions.

in the years when i offered mechanical services to bicycle owners, i found it quite odd that several professional car mechanics found it necessary to hand their bicycles over to yours truly for maintenance, confounded by the workings of the velocipede and the specific tools required to keep them working. it seems that bicycles and cars are two different strains of modern transport, and never the twain shall meet in polite (engineering) company. thus, the car would go to a car garage and the bicycle ridden to the nearest independent bike shop.

however, when it comes to battering electrons into submission, that situation my no longer hold water. the dutch version of the ubiquitous kwik-fit, renowned for tightening wheel bolts well beyond the strength of any driver and a wheel-wrench, and for finding any number of additional necessary replacements when simply asked to check tyre treads, has celebrated the opening of its first combined electric vehicle and electric bicycle servicing centre in amsterdam. kwik-fit nl has highlighted that customers can contact the 'garage of the future' for maintenance on both their electric car and e-bike. In addition, the garage functions as a test lab for e-mobility where various new electric vehicles, including e-cargo bikes in all shapes and sizes, e-microcars and levs (light electric vehicles), can go for service.

though no such directive exists to outlaw the world's most ecological means of transport, the humble bicycle, come 2030, rarely a day goes past without yet another e-bike specific store opening somewhere in the uk, with the promise of many more to come. at this rate, assuming they have continued sales to match, the mechanical pedal bicycle may become an endangered species. and if that doomsday scenario arrives, what price the survival of 'ordinary' bike shops? with signs that the cycle industry is slowly moving towards direct to customer sales, there may soon be insufficient sales and service opportunities to keep the smaller bike shops afloat.

disappointingly, many contemporary e-bike sales appear to be to fit, healthy indviduals who could quite easily ride mechanical bicycles, though for the life of me, i cannot fathom for why, other than a lack of applicable effort.

in addition to the combined facility in amsterdam, kwik-fit is opening several e-bike service points in amsterdam, the hague, utrecht and eindhoven, where people can quickly make an appointment online and get help within an hour. with many dutch e-bike sales taking place online. kwik-fit now provides a local service point, independent of the seller or brand. these first service points will serve as a springboard for expanding e-bike services in the future.

surely the only thing missing is provision of a detailed breakdown of costs in the form of a non-fungible token, payable in bitcoin?

tuesday 26 april 2022

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