quoc weekend sneakers - part two

quoc weekend sneakers

i'm not really much of a shoe person when it comes to daily footwear. cycling is an altogether different affair, but for the morning constitutional, over the course of around twenty years, i wore the same pair of sidi podium shoes until they had more holes than a boris johnson excuse. that they were replaced with a pair of waterproof hi-tec walking shoes was purely pragmatism, and very little to do with specific preferences. mrs washingmachinepost bought me a pair of tan brogues many years ago, which i proudly wore to work, day in day out, until they wore out the heels. and until recently, i was content with a couple of pair of vans shoes, until they were augmented by the above mentioned quoc weekend sneakers, worn in civilian mode.

quoc weekend sneakers

how they fared in that guise, was the result of a recent review within these very pixels. their intrinsic sense of style elicited several comments from innocent bystanders, and i cannot deny that i found them to be a particularly practical daily option for walking to and from work. but, of course, quoc pham doesn't design footwear simply for utilitarian purposes, though from previous experience, i think its an arena in which he would fare particularly well. in fact, take a quick peek at quoc's website, and it's plain to see that items of his footwear range lend themselves quite appropriately to the daily grind. i'm thinking here of the chelsea boot, a delightful item, but not quite to my aesthetic taste.

quoc weekend sneakers

however, the sand-coloured weekend sneaker is very much in line with my way of thinking; certainly for the purposes of weekend walking. but as pointed out in the first part of this review, the soles of the sneakers feature a bolted insert, removal of which offers a velocipedinist the opportunity to fit a pair of spd style cleats, all the better for riding a bicycle fitted with appropriately styled pedals. granted, it's perfectly possible to ride a pair of platform pedals, should your bicycle habits not stretch as far as pedalling specifics.

quoc weekend sneakers

i had hoped to borrow one of the dutch road bikes ensconced at ardbeg distillery (nope, me neither), but schedules failed to match up, so that didn't quite happen. however, though you'll think it entirely the wrong time of year, last thursday, i was invited over to port ellen primary school to watch their annual pantomime, long delayed due to covid. port ellen village is but 17 kilometres distant, and given that i would subsequently be expected to sit politely and watch what turned out to be a remarkably humorous and entertaining pantomime ('pirates of the curry bean'), i opted to do so in style, combining pragmatism with style, by adding the necessary cleats and heading south.

quoc weekend sneakers

i did point out to the head teacher that, should she wish to invite me to any subsequent school events, it might be prudent to check the wind strength and direction first. in my efforts to be a conscientious reviewer, i slogged into a galeforce headwind and at least a couple of rainshowers to arrive in time for curtain up. a tad breezy for november.

it seems to me that the soles on the weekend sneakers are purposely built for relatively short excursions such as that described above, headwind or not. a subsequent 65km ride evidenced some minor foot discomfort in the final kilometres. it seems highly likely that, were i intent on riding spds, quoc's grand tourer gravel shoes would have been a better option. that said, it's hard to deny that the sneakers were more than comfortable for the majority of the ride, and the cleat recess available on the soles, makes walking even on hard, polished floors, a very safe and quiet option. i own other offroad shoes on which the cleats tend to crunch occasionally over less than billiard-table surfaces.

quoc weekend sneakers

the weekend sneakers are particularly well thought out for both sides of their intended purposes. it wouldn't take much to remove the cleats and replace the inserts prior to monday morning, should i favour wearing the shoes once again for daily life. the only thing you'd need to do, is remember where you stored the inserts. they also feature an elastic tab atop the tongue to keep the laces away from thrashing chainrings. it would be a falsehood to contend that quoc is the only one to have presented a pair of shoes with these two specific options, but i'd venture that his are amongst the very best for the purpose, both stylishly and practically.

quoc weekend sneakers

monday 13 june 2022

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grit and determination

buffalo foundation

cycling is what i believe might be termed 'multi-faceted', an activity that is many different things to many different people. for those currently participating in the criterium du dauphiné, it is a competition and a means of making a living. for the majority of us, riding at that particular level (wout van aert was said to be'cruising' at 65kph during wednesday's time-trial) is either a forlorn dream, or of no real consequence. the bicycle, as an invention, is firmly based under the category of transportation; what else we use it for is simply the icing on the cake.

james golding and support team

that, in sort of a nutshell, is the bicycle's great strength. witness the difference it has made to lives in many african countries, through the auspices of world bicycle relief. and how many, in urban regions and inner cities, make use of the bicycle to get to and from work? it might seem like a long time ago now, but the bicycle was the saviour of many during the pandemic lockdowns, its importance underlined by allowing bike shops to remain open as essential retail.

but it has also been used by very many individuals to not only explore the world, but to create records in the process. mark beaumont springs to mind as a recent example. but make no mistake, though i'm sure you're all well aware, cycling is not always the easiest of undertakings. yesterday i spent many a kilometre battling a 60kph atlantic headwind (yes, in june, of all months) and others have suffered far more. it's simply a part of the pain and suffering meme that ultimately makes us stronger.

but it's the versatility of the bicycle that makes it so unique. for instance, though i'm no expert, i don't believe you'll get too many options with a skateboard, nor indeed with a tennis racquet or golf club. i'm not knocking any of these, but they do tend to exist as singular experiences; to the best of my knowledge, no-one has ever golfed to work. but then, if you take that aforementioned headwind as a rather poor example, cycling can test your mettle to the umpteenth degree, if you're willing to let it. and if so doing, depending on the level of difficulty, it can be a challenge worthy of sponsorship for extra-curricular reasons.

it is the latter that has enthused james golding to enter the 2022 race across america with the intention of winning, and raising money for the buffalo foundation. this charity, of which mr golding is a trustee, works with communities and schools to enable access to education and future employment, whilst using sport as a catalyst. like every other charity in the world, it relies on donations from you and me to carry out its excellent work, ensuring that access to education is a right, not just a privilege.

james golding is twice a cancer survivor, once give a 5% chance of staying alive, a man who has dedicated his survival to proving that we really can do anything we put our minds to. he has competed in multi-day events and is the first brit to hold the guiness seven day world record for cycling. he had planned to enter the race across america in 2020, an attempt that was foiled by the covid pandemic. but following several months of planning, training and determination, james and his support team flew out to the start in los angeles on 9 june, for an event that commences on tuesday 14 and ends on wednesday 22.

according to james, who is also a hot chillee ambassador, a £15 donation to the buffalo foundation, enables a tutor to support students with after school learning for one day. £37 will allow academies to purchase a year's worth of textbooks for students to support their learning, and £162 covers one month's rent for an academy, giving students a safe space to study and learn. you can support james's trans-american undertaking via the link posted below.

"The most important thing I've learned is that there's no such thing as failure."

james golding just giving page | buffalo foundation

sunday 12 june 2022

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garmin 1040 solar

the above heading is, to put it mildly, is more than just a tad contrived, pertaining slightly to the subject soon to be under discussion, but more as a demonstration of my musical cleverness (at least, that's the way i see it). if you don't live in the uk, you perhaps have not had the opporchancity to watch the channel 5 comedy, derry girls, set in the time of the irish troubles and cleverly scripted to err on the more bizarre end of the humour spectrum.

in what was tagged as the final ever episode, until the hour long episode broadcast the following evening, the music playing at the commencement of that particular episode, was one of those that would have you immediately reach for the shazam app, to identify what is a predominantly instrumental track. disappointingly, as one who wishes to confer the illusion that i am perfectly au fait with the word of smartphone apps, that particular solution had to be pointed out to me the following morning. but however the problem was solved, i'll get to the point and make it plain that the track in question was entitled 'sunchyme' a by a fellow or band going by the name of dario g.

the song was released in 1997, reaching number two in the uk charts having allegedly heavily sampled 'life in a northern town' by dream academy. nonetheless, it's a cheery little ditty that seems to have aged well, given that it sounds every bit as friendly now, as it did twenty-five years ago. as we edge ever nearer the point, i can but admit that that it's only the first part of the title that actually holds any relevance to garmin's release of their edge 1040 solar gps device.

that's because, as you may have read elsewhere, this particular device can be purchased with power glass (for about £630) enabling it to be recharged via solar energy and expanding the integral battery life up to 100 hours. of course, it does other stuff too; pretty much everything you'd want from a bar-mounted gps device can be accessed from the 1040, which reputedly improves positional accuracy "...even in the most challenging environments."

while i have no reason to doubt the latter claim, short of requesting a review sample (and i might do so yet), i have no way of telling. however, given that my ageing garmin 800 series gps device seems perfectly capable of tracking my every (slow) move, i'm not sure i'm domiciled in a region that would test the new device to its utmost. however, i'd be keen to try out the solar charging aspect, if for no other reason than i was once informed that, this far north, solar power makes little sense. granted, that hasn't stopped many householders layering their house roofs with solar panels, but i confess i'm not sufficiently intrusive to have asked anyone just how well the system actually works on a practicable and economic basis.

so, if we assume that my adviser was/is correct in such matters of solar power, were i, or any of my pelotonic friends to purchase this particular garmin, would we achieve the extra hours of battery power as advertised? however, i feel i should also point out that such a question is entirely moot. even last weekend's extended sunday ride (long story), scarcely had me pedalling for more than four hours before home proffered the option of a mains power recharge. but am i guilty of missing the point?

a full recharge on the garmin 800 series device, scarcely take more than one hour, and i have no idea whatsoever as to how many electrical units are consumed in the process. but on the basis that i have not noted a substantial increase in my electricity bill since acquiring the device, it seems quite likely that it has minimal consumption. but the recent dramatic increase in energy prices has meant that any potential savings need to be explored. the immersion heater is now curtailed in its operation, the amount of hot water in the basin to wash the dishes is minimal, and no longer is it pragmatic to boil a full kettle for one cup of tea. therefore, anything that lessens energy consumption, no matter how small, is to be welcomed with open arms.

perhaps we might soon find our bicycles replete with solar powered lights, charging in daylight to illuminate the way forward in darker evenings. the fly-in-the-ointment with that proposal are the few hours of daylight in the months when night lights are most necessary. on the basis of the metal giraffe (don't ask) that sits in our front garden, featuring a solar powered light, winter months in the hebrides are obviously bereft of sufficient sunlight to power even a tiny led. that may be a similar fate suffered by garmin's power glass.

nonetheless, solar charging is surely the way forward, not only for gps devices, cycle lights, but also for electronic gearsets. and though the demands of e-bikes are likely to be considerably heavier than a little box on my handlebar, surely someone is already working on solar charging for those, even if initially incapable of providing a full charge during a daily commute. if we want to not only to be thought of as 'green', it wouldn't do any harm to actually become so, and preferably before the motoring public become all electric.

given the number of kids i see down main street, with their heads buried in their smartphones, perhaps apple and samsung could learn something from garmin.

garmin 1040 solar

saturday 11 june 2022

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parlez-vous july?

colnago prototipo

velocipedinal colloquialism has allowed the phrase 'those three weeks in july' to become a common euphemism for 'the tour de france', the start of which is but a matter of three weeks distant, copying the start of this year's giro by commencing in a foreign country and on a friday. though i confess i did have to look up the start date, it would be indeed a hermit of the cycling world who was not aware of the grand boucle's imminence. after all, ned and david are on the telly box each evening showing us what is generally regarded as the warm up, the criterium du dauphiné.

missing in action from the latter is two-time winner, tadej pogacar, presumably eager to avoid competitive confrontation with his nemesis, primoz roglic, prior to the grand départ in copenhagen. where once le tour was simply one of three grand tours, it has long since been viewed as the grand tour. after avoiding too much in the way of high-profile competition all year, take victory in paris, and there's every likelihood the winner will have little need to race again this year, such are the brownie points attached to the yellow jersey.

in the uk at least, we must now lament or welcome the fact that, with the demise of both cycle sport and more recently procycling magazines, the only publication left to feature an extended issue previewing those three weeks, is the comic. while such features are anathema to yours truly, if only on the grounds that i'd rather just wait and see what happens, it is a great disappointment that the two former publications are no longer to be found on the newsstand. like many others, i firmly believed that british cycling's substantial increase in members following the bradley bubble of last decade, meant that there was a definitive upsurge in those taking an interest in top-level cycle racing.

it seems i was wrong.

though itv4 shuns the italian tour each and every year (for possibly very good financial reasons), the fact that they currently offer daily highlights of the dauphiné, and live coverage of every stage of le tour, had obviously lulled me into a false sense of security, and possibly the publishers of both defunct magazines too. but still the question persists: is the tour de france too popular for its own good?

i would imagine, though based on absolutely no research whatsoever, that more folks from the uk holiday in spain than in france. admittedly package holidays to marbella and the costa brava are unlikely to be filled with cycle sport aficionados, but it's still worth wondering why the vuelta espana is not the more popular of the three. or what about italy? celebrated for its cuisine and pasta (remember, pizza hut once spawned a franchise of pasta hut restaurants), memories of vespas and lambrettas, and the ferrarris of formula one fame, that's a race that, as previously mentioned, doesn't even merit a mention on itv4.

it seems that le tour, like many a big brother participant, is simply famous for being famous. and the more of our heroes who profess to be targetting victory in paris each year, the greater becomes its profile. and it's not just the riders who indulge in this french fanfare; colnago have now announced the tautologically named, prototipo, a carbon frame that will be at the behest of tadej and his colleagues, along with the v3rs. colnago imply that, even though it's reputedly still under development, studying different carbon laminations, apparently there wil be five variations available for the copenhagen start-line.

now, call me cynical, but, given the importance of the race as previously discussed, is the bicycle supplier to the winner of the last two editions of le grand boucle, really going to have him ride a bicycle that's 'still under development'? and is anyone else buying into the likelihood that this frame has only just become available in time for the tour? was it not ready for the giro? could it have been ready for the giro?

once again, i will be avoiding any mention of le tour during those three weeks in july, providing a safe haven for those who find it all too much with which to cope. meanwhile, despite my apparent misgivings, i will also be contributing to the tour's never-ending popularity and status, by marginally inflating the tv viewing figures. i am nothing, if not a hypocrite. however, i will not be reading or purchasing any magazine previews; i far prefer to enjoy the race day by day and see who wears yellow on the champs elysées.

that's the way henri would have wanted it.

(as i finished writing this, peloton magazine tweeted the availability of their 'official' tour guide.)

friday 10 june 2022

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turbo charged

porsche 911 turbo

i was recently sent a copy of an article that appeared in the financial times weekend magazine, claiming that the lower strata of megacities (defined as those with populations of at least ten million) were frequently designed for those with the financial wherewithal to own a car, something of a turnaround from the early 1990s, when the likes of shanghai featured almost a complete absence of motorised transport. in the so-called 'bicycle kingdom', 670 million people owned bicycles, albeit the rather industrial 'flying pigeon'

modern day china may or may not look back on those years with fondness or relief; like the majority of megacities, the bicycle has all but disappeared in favour of multi-lane motorways. yet such cities are, according to the article, the largest of human settlements in history and show few signs of stagnating. at the time of shanghai's demonstration of faith in the bicycle, the world was home to ten megacities, a number that had increased to 33 only four years ago and the united nations forecasts that there will be as many of 43 within the next eight years.

these forecasts do not, however, sit alone. recognising that such repositories of human existence continue to be planned according to accepted dogma, there is little reason to expect motor traffic to decrease as the populations increase. with several congestion zones already in place within the united kingdom, such a dramatic increase in traffic movements within highly populated areas, is more likely to lead to tears as opposed to the unfettered joy of living, regularly promised by planning departments.

however, the author, simon kuper, contends that the potential saviour of these megacities already exists, not only in practical terms, but also economically: the bicycle. there are, of course, arguments against such a solution, one being the ambient temperature in several of those cities, which, it is said, would be likely to mitigate against cycling within their perimeters. correspondingly, mr kuper points out that such heat seemed not too great a deterrent in the shanghai of 1990, and that 'steamy dhaka has long been the world's rickshaw capital.'

while there have been many articles written that support the placement of the bicycle as the solution to everything from climate change to traffic congestion, the majority have been published in cycle-facing media; in effect, preaching to the converted. however, even its strongest critics would hardly place the financial times in that category. and given its audited, worldwide average daily circulation as of april this year being 112,300, it probably reaches considerably more readers than all britain's cycling magazines combined. the next best thing would be a similar feature in a motoring publication.

so what's changed?

well, it doesn't take a genius to note that, if cars are gradually replaced by bicycles, even e-bikes, as the number of megacities increases by another ten (home to a minimum of 100 million people), it would be a naive car manufacturer that expected annual sales to remain at their current level - in the uk, car sales declined by almost 16% year on year in april this year. given the size of the current market and doubtless shareholder pressure to at least maintain, if not grow market share, to where do you think those motor manufacturers ought to shift their focus?

that shift in emphasis may already have begun, with the news this week that porsche, which earlier this year announced it had purchased a 20% stake in e-bike drive systems manufacturer, fazua, has now purchased the company outright. deputy chairman and member of the executive board of the stuttgart based company, lutze meshke, was quoted as saying, "Fazua is known among experts as the founder of the 'light e-bikes' category - and it's a highly innovative company that fits perfectly with the pioneering spirit of the Porsche brand."

porsche already offers particularly expensive e-bikes that retail near £10,000, a not unexpected price-tag for a porsche branded anything. however, they are also shareholders in croatia's greyp bikes and with the establishment of a joint venture with ponooc investments, not only will porsche capital ventures concentrate on high-end quality e-bikes, but also the fast-growing micromobility market.

mr kuper may have incorporated a soupcon of wishful thinking as the basis for his well-accredited article, but he might be a lot closer to the truth than you'd think.

thursday 9 june 2022

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jan ullrich - the best there never was. daniel friebe. macmillan publishing hardback. 448pp illus. £25

jan ullrich - daniel freibe

we are all, to a greater or lesser degree at the mercy of our fortune, whether it be good or bad, but also at the mercy of decisions made early in life that push us in certain directions. were those decisions solely ours to make, acceptance of the outcomes may be easier to endure, but there's little doubt that education, recognition of any inherent abilities and those with whom we associate, either directly or indirectly, can play a major part in how we eventually turn out. and all the above can be further influenced by our country of birth.

for example, i have been involved in the peripheries of music education and practice for long enough to have frequently found dismay at the career choices made by youngsters with talents that would be the envy of many. despite having access to the best of musical education and the ability to fulfil what those many hours of practice have provided, on reaching their senior years of education, they frequently opt to follow a path that, in effect, discards all in favour of commerce or a more financially stable future. granted, it's rarely a straightforward matter of choosing between becoming a feted concert pianist or an accountant, but only one of those choices tends to depend on an innate talent, and accountancy probably isn't it. and who can blame them for following the money?

but if we re-introduce the previously mentioned 'country of birth', the balance of those choices may alter somewhat. such is the arena in which a young jan ullrich grew up; the deutsche democratic republic. or east germany to the rest of us. along with many others in the communist bloc the east germans placed great emphasis on the natural abilities of the younger members of its population, particularly in the sporting milieu. this, of course, was not simple altruism on behalf of east germany's leaders, but the result of a system that equated the pinnacle of athletic endeavour with political propaganda.

"Jan Ullrich gave the east a lot of pride, a lot of confidence. [...] When anyone from the East achieved anything, 17 million people celbrated the fact that they were one of us."

ullrich's father had also been a beneficiary of east-germany's talent identification programme, one that had revealed stefan ullrich's aptitude for running. this translated to his being appointed to the sport of short-track speed skating, winning the east german junior championships in 1967 and 68. ullrich's mother had begun studying botany prior to the birth of jan and on receipt of her diploma was given employment by an agricultural co-operative, a position that came with family lodgings.

ullrich's introduction to the world of cycle sport was, as his first coach, peter sager states, 'purely by fluke'. having no-one to feature in a nine-year old's race, sager had asked of those in attendance whether they had a younger sibling who might be persuaded to enter. "Jan was nine, had no training and won not only in his category but also the year above." sager subsequently signed him up to his first club, dynamo rostock west. "That was the start of it all."

i am not personally acquainted with many professional or former professional cyclists, but there's really no denying that, aside from riding at speeds of which you and i could only dream, they are a breed apart. it's a trait, albeit of a different hue, they share with artists and musicians, often identifying them as individuals within greater society. in the west, however, those who fit such a description are more or less left to their own devices to make their way in the world; to sink or swim by dint of their own efforts. one can only surmise how such individuality panned out when subjected to a state system that played an arguably intrusive part in the careers of its top sportspeople.

"At age eleven, [...] Ullrich trained three times a week and raced at weekends, clocking up around 2,500 kilometres over the year." as the author points out, as the berlin wall came down in november 1989, east germany, with a population of 17 million, had amassed a total of 519 olympic medals in the twenty years between 1968 and 1988. west germany, over the same period and with a population of 60 million, could manage only 253.

as a bike racer, ullrich is remembered primarily for his results in the tour de france, standing on the second step of the podium below telekom team leader, bjarne riis, in 1996, then going one better in 1997, becoming the first and only german ever to win the cycling season's principal three week tour, and by "the widest margin since Laurent Fignon in 1984 - nearly ten minutes."

"Ullrich had begun the summer of 1997 virtually unknown to the wider german public and was to end it as the greatest sportsman they had ever seen." pundits maintained that he was likely to rule those three weeks in july for probably the next ten years.

but if ullrich was famous for his boyish good looks and his impressive tour results in '96 and '97, he was also to become infamous for a more detrimental aspect of his less than impeccable behaviour over the winter off-season. as the author highlights in a quote from brian holm at the start of chapter eight 'the hunger games', "Basically you gain weight in the winter if you eat too much. It's not rocket science.". jan very soon garnered a reputation for eating rather too much in the off-season, eschewing the training kilometres that would mitigate the effects, or practising dietary restraint to prevent it happening in the first place.

"Ullrich had come to Pevenage's house for a meal but after his second helping, then his third, it had begun to feel more like a looting."

but even following his first tour win, suspicions had already been raised as to the nature of that victory, during a period of professional cycle racing that has subsequently come to be recognised as the beginning of its less than finest hour. not for nothing had ullrich's team leader in 1996, bjarne riis, become known as mister sixty percent, a less than veiled reference to his haematocrit level, ten percent above the uci's eventual upper limit. in the aftermath of ullrich's '97 victory, daniel friebe quotes banned journeyman pro, Jorg Paffrath, who had opened up in a magazine interview about the "...sordid reality of a jobbing cyclist..." he averred that scarcely anyone "...could ride the Tour de France on water and pasta. Most, in his experience, were also fuelled by EPO, growth hormone and steroids."

to profile one of the sport's most enigmatic riders, who spanned the careers of riis, pantani and armstrong, daniel friebe can scarcely have left any unturned stones. if the police put this much effort into solving crime, we'd none of us have to lock our doors at night, or padlock the bike to a lamp post. the list of interviewees in the course of writing this impressive, substantial volume, could be the very definition of the word 'comprehensive'. lance armstrong, walter godefroot, rudy pevenage, luigi cecchini, jorg jaksche, brian holm, peter sager and a whole host of others. all apart from jan ullrich himself.

the later chapters will not bring succour to those of us who preferred to believe that the tour could be won on bread and water, married to a draconian training regime. the fact that ullrich could return several kilos overweight at the start of each season, yet become competitive in very short order, we could surely put down to those early years in the ddr and bucket loads of natural talent. along with which, ullrich has an enviable reputation of being a 'nice guy'. daniel friebe's forensic examination of the darker aspects of ullrich's career, along with those of his peers, is compulsive to say the least, resulting in at least a couple of late bedtimes and cries of 'just one more chapter'.

however, the author's prowess is not only in penning over 400 pages without ever having spoken to the subject of his biography, but doing so in such an eloquent, erudite and readable style. the scene for what is to follow, is effectively set in friebe's introduction, the quality of which is worth the price of admission alone. with pantani's unfortunate demise in 2004 and the revelations and disgrace surrounding armstrong, ullrich's career seemed almost to have been forgotten. this book more than redresses the balance, though not always for the reasons for which we might have hoped.

"In this book we will hear from others who extol Ullrich's'everyman appeal', although one could easily make the opposite case - that it was his uncommonness that induced devotion among common men. [...] Perhaps, then, we can favour compassion over condemnation, and humbly acknowledge that a biography is at best an artist's impression - while at the same time believing that it can satisfy a thirst for better, if not total understanding."

'masterpiece' is arguably an over-used word, but if ever a book was deserving of such a description, this is probably it.

jan ullrich by daniel friebe, is published by macmillan on thursday 9 june.

wednesday 8 june 2022

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quoc weekend sneakers - part one

quoc pham weekend sneaker

it will surprise no-one, that the colloquial term for trainers or running shoes, pretty much does what it says on the tin. origination of the use of the word 'sneakers' to describe certain styles of footwear has been attributed to an american advertising agent, who, in 1917, used the term in reference to the rubber sole, which, he claimed would allow the use of stealth in approaching a third party. the inference was that someone wearing 'sneakers' could 'sneak-up', while those wearing leather soled standard shoes quite plainly could not. however, the word was in use in north america as early as 1887, when a boston newspaper attributed 'sneakers' as a word used by boys when referring to their tennis shoes.

quoc pham weekend sneaker

a shorter version of the word ('sneaks') had apparently been used by prison inmates when referring to the warders' rubber soled footwear.

i confess i had always considered the word distinctly american in tradition; in the uk, i have rarely heard it used in context, with the more common apellation 'trainers' mostly used to describe any footwear not of the style your mother would have preferred that you wear to school. and robustness is rarely a trait i would have pointed in that direction. however, i recently read an article concerning the onlne sales platform 'ebay', which has recruited an entire department to verify the legitimacy of highly-priced 'trainers' offered for sale through their website.

quoc pham weekend sneaker

it seems that items such as limited edition nike air jordans are ideal targets for counterfeitors keen to fool aficionados into parting with their hard-earned cash. the article gives great credit to the quality and accuracy of several such counterfeits, that had me wondering why, in such cases, there should be any real concern over their provenance. surely if they're every bit as good as the originals, and you're daft enough to spend several thousand pounds on acquiring a pair, then both parties deserve each other? the cost of producing such accurate copies can't have been much less than the price paid by nike and their peers in the first place?

and come to that, i've never heard anyone refer to a pair of 'air jordans' as sneakers anyway.

quoc pham, however, designer and manufacturer of remarkably stylish cycling footwear, has bestowed that very moniker upon his latest release, the distinctly non-velocipedinally named 'weekend sneaker' and, just to follow through on quoc's apparent thought process, it dawned on me that perhaps it was time to upset the concomitant review method, and begin by looking at said items through the lens that created them. in other words, deliberately review them as 'sneakers', rather than cycle shoes.

quoc pham weekend sneaker

what provides the option to transform these rather stylish shoes into a pair designed to accommodate pedals with cleats, (or not, as the case may be) is a couple of tread etched inserts held fast to the sole by means of two allen bolts. removal of these reveals the mechanism to which spd style cleats can be affixed, recessed to allow the incumbent to walk normally without affecting duck-like propensities. leaving them in place retains every aspect of 'sneakerhood' that quoc has promised on the box. so, assuming you intend only to ride your brompton using the factory-fitted pedals, or perhaps have no deisre to ride a bicycle at all, how good are they?

quoc pham weekend sneaker

temporarily ignoring the adjectival 'weekend', i opted to wear them day in day out even to the weekday travail, despite no notable requirement for chunky, grippy soles, other than the botched resurfacing of the shore street pavement in bowmore. like every new pair of shoes, the 'sneakers' required a smidgeon of breaking-in, not entirely aided by the fact that my daily commute lasts no longer than five minutes. however, to extend that timeline, i wore them for my morning constitutional prior to sitting for extended periods in front of an imac screen and they now fit and feel like a pair of slippers with chunky soles.

if i might briefly compare them with the vans sneakers and their infamous waffle soles, the chunky section of quoc's product is a tad less flexible, though understandably so. bmx bandits might be perfectly happy to fall into a half-pipe in their vans, but the latter are not renowned for their stalwart behaviour in the face of lengthier and perhaps more robust road and offroad rides. the inbuilt stiffness versus comfort has been well judged.

quoc pham weekend sneaker

presumably the result of at least modest research, quoc's sneakers feature an idiosyncratic lacing system, one which, i cannot deny, seems to have, for the time being at least, cured the 'loosening while i sit' paradigm that seems to affect all my other 'weekend' footwear. my only concern would be trying to replicate this lacing pattern when the pink-tipped laces eventually wear out. and though i have yet to have the opportunity to verify, according to quoc's website, the outsoles are reputedly watertight, though a peppering of vent perforations over the shoes' uppers might be less forgiving.

the opportunity to wear them over a weekend was unfortunately thwarted by having to spend a saturday playing snare drum in the community pipe band. stylish as the sand-coloured 'sneakers' undoubtedly are, pipe-majors have a propensity to be less than forgiving over non-regulation footwear. i have often been chastened over my wearing of a king crimson woolly hat.

quoc pham weekend sneaker

i have every intention of now wearing the 'weekend sneakers' for at least one of their intended uses, aboard a bicycle. there's an outside possibility i might be able to borrow one of the ardbeg-painted dutch bikes installed at the distillery, but you can find out when part two of this review appears in the near future. given the prices mentioned in the ebay article referenced above, £150 is, by comparison, mere bagatelle for a pair of reputable 'sneakers' that you can actually wear without an accompanying security guard.

and until the end of the year, quoc is offering readers of the post a 15% discount on purchases made via his website. simply click over to and enter the code WASHINGMACHINEPOST-15 at checkout. either that, or click the banner ad below.

tuesday 7 june 2022

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