rapha trailwear technical t-shirt

sheep at saligo

the drumset used by the pupils unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of my weekly tutoring, comprises snare, bass drum, two mounted toms and a floor tom. these are augmented with hi-hat cymbals, a crash cymbal on the left and larger ride cymbal on the right. due to slavish adherence to such cymbal designations, when a drum fill ends on the floor tom to the right, followed by a crash cymbal on the next beat, all of my students make strenuous efforts to reach over to play that crash cymbal.

rapha  trailwear technical tee

in more 'real world' situations, the drummer would be likely to feature another crash cymbal adjacent to the ride on the right to avoid such a stretching manouevre, but i have advised that they're perfectly at liberty to crash the ride cymbal and avoid such exaggerated arm waving. cymbal designations are applied by the manufacturer to aid purchase choices, but i know of rock drummers who use heavier ride cymbals as crashes purely as a matter of course. it's an inherent versatility just waiting to be exploited.

rapha  trailwear technical tee

such adaptability is, of course, not confined to the world of percussion. cyclocross and gravel bikes spring to mind, as does the interchangeability of tyre types, but it's also particularly obvious, with a closer look, that items of cycling apparel possess similar properties. i note, for instance, that certain genres of mountain biking are happy to adhere to the bibshorts seen in road-riding. occasionally, these might be concealed 'neath a pair of baggy shorts, but mountain bikers enjoy their saddle comfort as much as the next man.

rapha  trailwear technical tee

however, i have often wondered about the crossover potential inherent in garments such as rapha's technical t-shirt. rapha's how to wear suggestion is that it cover a baselayer, and if conditions demand, it might benefit from a lightweight jacket over the top. pretty much the same advice as dispensed to the intrepid roadie, only in that case, it would be a jersey under discussion rather than a technical t-shirt.

rapha  trailwear technical tee

there is little doubt, however, that there are many who wish not to sully their tyres or personage by thundering through the undergrowth, but are still more in thrall to the world of bendy bars and skinny wheels. for many, the 'refugee from the peloton' image is not one they may wish to encourage, in which case, the looser approach offered by either rapha's short-sleeve tee (as reviewed) or long'sleeve version of the same, may appeal more to their taste. whether you opt for the layered print as seen here, or the more sober, plain approach, depends a great deal on your sartorial preferences.

rapha  trailwear technical tee

however, let's not pretend that the two worlds are identical. the trailwear technical tee is a touch longer than your average jersey, with a far looser approach all round, including at the sleeves. additionally, it features no zips whatsoever, simply internal reinforcing around the neckline. however, the missing part of the equation is that of any pocket space. while those of us of a road persuasion are used to three open rear pockets, occasionally augmented by a fourth, zipped security version, mountain bikers, somehow or other, seem happy to survive without any pockets at all. which beggars the questions, where do they put the coffee money; where do they carry their mini-pumps, and do mountain bikers eschew any form of mobile nutrition?

rapha  trailwear technical tee

as one totally inured to the way of the road, i cannot deny that i rode, as advised, with the tee over a long-sleeve baselayer (because i'm a wimp), but under a gilet that featured the necessary rear pockets. though i have a tyre lever and inner tube secreted within a seatpack, the need for a mini pump, a tyre jack, stowaway rainjacket and digital camera pretty much demanded such additional garmentage. the lack of pockets does slightly undermine my cunning plan, and both unfortunately and mystifyingly, rapha seem not to offer a gilet that features rear pockets. i still own a rapha softshell gilet that does, and i rather bemoan its current non-existence; a gap in the market, methinks.

rapha  trailwear technical tee

however, cargo space notwithstanding, if you harbour no desires to become a team-mate of wout van aert, the baggier-style of the technical tee does fit the bill rather well, allowing you to look like someone on a bike rather than an individual intent on determining their functional power threshold, or the number of watts expended while ascending foreland hill. on a sunny august saturday morning, i enjoyed a delightful perambulation of loch gorm, adopting a more devil-may-care attitude to the world. as if to underline that new-found disposition, i indulged an a brief bout of shepherding near saligo bay, and a more relaxed attitude atop the hill at aoradh, when stopping to allow two young horse-riders to ascend, lest i frightened the animals by descending at speed.

rapha  trailwear technical tee

perhaps mountain bikers are happier than roadies to carry their worldly belongings in a backpack when out for a weekend ride, or maybe there is an inherent mistrust of pockets, should their contents go missing while negotiating the bumpy stuff. of course, if you opt for a frame-fit pump and a pair of cargo bibshorts, the world and its technically t-shirted person can be your oyster. it's also worth noting that the tee-shirt costs a most amenable £55, slightly less than rapha's entry-level core jersey.

it may all come down to either the image you wish to portray on the road (bloke with a bike as opposed to wannabe racer), or the nature of your compatriots. the brilliant added extra is a small pouch of sticky-backed patches, allowing easy repair of any minor tears in the fabric. perhaps that's something rapha could offer along with their regular road-going jerseys and jackets?

rapha's trailwear technical t-shirt is available in sizes ranging from xs to xxl and in multicolour (as reviewed), green, red, purple, light grey, dark grey or navy. price is £55 | rapha technical t-shirt

monday 29 august 2022

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campagnolo 12-speed chain tool

a friend of mine with whom i ride regularly at weekends, de-electrified his colnago c64 following endless problems with batteries and motors. as the bills for replacements and labour mounted, he accepted my long-held notion that it wasn't actually that hard to push a gear lever as opposed to pressing a gear button/switch. thus, his di2 setup became a mechanical dura-ace before shimano decided rim brakes were no longer the future. this, he hoped, would be an end to mechanical/electrical woes.

and up to point, he was perfectly correct, at least until a few weeks past. on more than one sunday bike ride, there had been creaks and groans emanating from his colnago, the source of which had become something akin to a wild goose chase (an apt analogy ahead of the arrival of several thousand over-wintering geese next month). as almost every one of you will be aware, no matter the material from which your bicycle frame is crafted, all noises appear to emanate from the bottom bracket region, irrespective of their actual location.

the seatpost had been checked, along with the cassette lockring, the quick release levers, the saddle, the bottom bracket and even the headset and stem clamp. despite all the above, the creaks persisted, until an askance view towards the bicycle's nether regions revealed two sizeable cracks in the dura-ace cranks, just at the point where each crank arm is affixed to the bottom bracket spindle.

following photographs sent to the retailer, the cranks have been returned and reputedly are now in the hands of shimano for a warranty claim. and rightly so, since the dura-ace groupset of which they form a part, is barely one year old. my colleague is probably lighter than am i, and certainly not a rider who mashes gears or attempts to emulate djamolidine abdoujaparov, but even were than to be the case, one would hope that shimano's top level groupset would be capable of repelling all such attempts at velocipedinal destruction. at present, the jury is still out on the final outcome, but it has meant that the favoured colnago has had to sit out the majority of august's bike rides.

though both of us are hopeful of an equitable outcome, there is a potential fly-in-the-ointment that might give the world's largest cycle component manufacturer a base from which to protest their innocence.


there can be few reading this who have not noted the veritable plethora of newton metre digits sprinkled about the personage of modern componentry. in the days of steel, unless you were superman or the incredible hulk, the chances of overtightening a seatpost bolt, stem clamp or any other means of fastening, were fairly slim. but steel is far more resilient than either aluminium alloy or particularly, carbon fibre. thus, in order to safeguard themselves from brute force and ignorance, sram, shimano, campagnolo and others, began printing the torque settings on each component, observation of which became an intrinsic part of the assembly process. should any part subsequently fail, it would harldy be seen as unreasonable to enquire whether the assembler had used a torque wrench where indicated.

of course, it's probably quite hard to prove otherwise if the purchaser assured the retailer or manufacturer that every last newton metre had been strictly observed, but presumably reasonable doubt can win out at least occasionally. however, it also seems a reasonable counter argument that, if the component manufacturers are happy to sell through bricks and mortar retail, or online, that fitting by both well-informed and ill-informed consumers is a state of affairs they are willing to accept. it could be seen as just a tad duplicitous to advise that all componentry ought to be fitted by a qualified and authorised mechanic, yet be happy to sit back and accept the profits generated by selling to the great unwashed.

i have heard rumours that the big three would dearly like to exclude any warrantly claims from those who indulge in a spot of diy, but that this is currently being prevented from taking place by not wishing to be the first to pull the trigger. since it's unlikely that any of us would be likely or able to undertake the necessary 'suitably qualified mechanic' training, enforcement would then entail finding one of the latter to undertake any future upgrades or repairs. and obviously, online retailers would be less than pleased at what would surely amount to a reduction in present sales.

also unhappy would be my esteemed colleague, given just how far both of us are from the nearest authorised sram/shimano/campagnolo (delete as applicable) dealer. and while the hebrides might be considered an isolated case, there are plenty of other rural locations across scotland, the uk and the world who share our velocipedinal isolation.

there is much joy to be had from bike fettling, particularly if you know what you're doing, but there's little doubt that cycle componentry is becoming more and more sophisticated every year, much of which does require a high level of expertise to install. currently, there is nothing to prevent anyone from purchasing a lightweight alloy headset and installing it in the head tube with a block of wood and a hammer, then complaining to the manufacturer when it siezes or falls apart after a week. similarly, there's nothing to stop a campagnolo twelve-speed chain being fitted with a chain tool not originating from vicenza, but presenting the latter with a medical bill after the chain snapped a couple of days later.

it thus seems quite possible, in this litigious society, that the days of the untrained home mechanic could be nearing their end.

sunday 28 august 2022

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design is a good idea

licence plate

cycle sport's governing body, the uci, have mandated what they regard as acceptable in bicycle design, largely sticking to the tried and tested double triangle that has served us well for over a century. and in truth, it's probably only the sporting side of the equation that finds it necessary to tinker with that formula, particularly in the area of aerodynamics and stiffness of build. it seems entirely likely that, were competition strictures to apply to halfords' shopping bikes, there would be far fewer commuting cyclists than is currently the case.

a friend of mine, now too busy to have any time on his bicycle, purchased his eye-wateringly expensive specialized peter sagan special a few years past, and at the time was heard to remark that it was remarkably uncomfortable.

he was not wrong, but it's a feature of that particular model of which we could have advised him prior to purchase. to those of us adhering to velominati's rules, it is glaringly obvious that a bicycle capable of propelling sagan to a rainbow jersey, is probably constituted just a smidgeon differently than the bike you'd ride to the shops, or even participate in your local sunday ride. not only do the professionals have different ambitions than you or i, but they demand appropriate hardware on which to achieve those ambitions. hence the stiffness.

professional bike riders are not paid to be comfortable.

but i have often wondered if, given the contemporary availability of space-age materials and methodology to join them all together, were the bicycle to have been invented in 2022, whether it would look the same. though i do harbour doubts about his aesthetic perceptions, it seems possible that many such machines would look a bit like the cycles constructed by mike burrows, the originator not only of the lotus cycle on which chris boardman won his olympic gold, but also the giant tcr. burrows is a somewhat dogmatic fellow with what might be termed eccentric ideas, but he does seem to be a fellow possessed of a healthy perspective on matters velocipedinal.

however, as richard sachs once said, the bicycle industry is not necessarily involved in building bikes, so much as it is interested in making money. for that reason, eccentricity is not a feature with which it wishes to be conversant. to paraphrase the old adage about nobody getting fired for buying from ibm, i should imagine the same could be said about designers who continue to peddle the double-diamond frame. of course, as a confirmed luddite, i do particularly favour the traditional bicycle frame, even harbouring a degree of resentment over those which feature a sloping top tube, and even more, those with seatstays that join the seat-tube several centimetres below that top tube. though i'm no engineer, i cannot fathom any particular advantages bestowed by either of those so-called developments.

however, no matter the particular profile exhibited by the modern bicycle, it retains a certain gestalt, where all seems pretty much in harmony with itself. pedals do seem just a tad aberrant, given their jagged, right angled disharmony, but there's no doubt that some look better than others and, as ever, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

bottle cages, seat-packs, saddles, racks and possibly even a wicker basket on the handlebars are all designed to enhance, or at very least, fail to interfere with the gestalt. the sporting end of the world is fully intent on removing every external cable from a slipstream about which few of us could care less, and though the very thought of trying to replace even one of those cables gives me sleepless nights, i cannot deny that, visually at least, it does look rather ginger peachy. but what if the bicycle became subject to external forces, those for which the look and feel of the bicycle matters not one whit? i am, of course, thinking of the government minister, grant shapps, who, intent on clamping down on cyclists that break the speed limit (chance would be a fine thing), had suggested the imposition of licence plates in order to offer a means of identifying the potential miscreants.

midst amost wholesale condemnation of such a possibility, he very quickly denied that to have been a serious suggestion, but it's not the first time that licence plates on bicycles has arisen within political circles. and i'd be willing to bet that it won't be the last. which beggars the question of just what those might look like, should push come to shove? in order to serve the purpose for which they have been frequently suggested, bicycle licence plates would have to be of a size that allowed them to be read by anpr cameras and any eagle-eyed police officers.

unfortunately, such determinations would be very likely to make them highly incongruous when fitted to any bicycle. though already mandatory on motorcycles, the latter tend to feature mudguards to which plates are easily affixed. like many others, i own remarkably few bicycles capable of accepting mudguards, and with the advent of disc-brakes, more are now without rear brake-bridges or fork mounts to which fenders might be attached.

so, while the licence plate debacle may have subsided for now, one wonders whether there are fertile minds either in the department of transport, or within the bicycle industry itself, which, even as we speak, are exploring the design options available to allow the incorporation of some form of licensing augmentation to the double-diamond frame. but you can't help noticing that mike burrows' lotus frame offered substantial real-estate on which to place a decently sized number plate.

just saying.

saturday 27 august 2022

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how the other half live

inconsiderate cycle parking

according to the transport (scotland) act 2019 pavement parking, double parking and parking at dropped kerbs is an offence, and gives local authorities the relevant powers of enforcement. disappointingly, many local authorities, including argyll & bute council of which islay is a part, seem less than interested in enforcing this recently instigated legislation. therefore, it really ought not to have come as any surprise to note a car parked entirely on the pavement outside one of islay's primary schools as i pedalled my way to caol ila distillery on wednesday morning.

quite rightly, cyclists complain about cars parked across cycle facilities, essentially illegal, but certainly every bit as irritating as pavement parking, yet no-one seems overly concerned about enforcing the regulations. the police have the necessary powers to do so where they consider the vehicle constitutes an obstruction, but i daresay they have what are considered more pressing criminal matters than someone who left the car double-parked while they nipped over to the cash machine to get money to pay their fine. (like that's going to happen).

the uk has almost 250,000 miles of tarmac, surely more than enough for even the most travelled of motorists, and though i'd agree that the bulk of those do not allow for parking, one does have to ask just how much free road space they actually need? and given that amount of tarmac, it beggars belief that it is deemed necessary to park on the pavements.

however, the background reason for this ad hoc parking behaviour is based predominantly on laziness, and the observable fact that the majority of motorists appear to think they have the right to park adjacent to wherever it is they want to be. there are those nearby the croft who, when a parking space is not available in a designated space across the road from their abode, they are inclined to park on the opposite side of the road, outside the house, despite so doing reducing the road to a single-lane and including the knowledge that there is ample car parking at the gabke end of the row. selfishness defined.

inconsiderate cycle parking

that said, though we often think of ourselves as potential saviours of the world and warriors against climate change, it wouldn't do any harm to occasionally look at ourselves in the mirror. for it seems it's not only motorists who find it necessary to park outside the retail to which they are immediately attracted. as i strode down bowmore main street on wednesday lunchtime, i was particularly disappointed to witness a gaggle of e-bikes with panniers, on the pavement, outside a local restaurant.

at present, the building next door to the restaurant has one side cordoned off with fencing due to a serious problem with the roof, which has exhibited a tendency to drop loose slates onto the pavement when windy. to aggravate the problem on a relatively narrow sidewalk during tourist season by parking bicycles on said pavement, and not in a subtle manner, seems more than a tad inconsiderate. and before you exclaim that this might be at the behest of a lack of cycle parking facilities, i might point out that there is perfectly adequate cycle parking at the top and bottom of the section of pavement under discussion.

i confess that i did not feel brave enough to enter said restaurant and point out their velocipedinal misdemeanour, particularly when it's legal to park cycles on the pavement. however, while they may not have fallen foul of the law as it stands, it's a bit rich to moan about motorists causing obstruction with many of their parking habits, then to appear every bit as inconsiderate. as the saying goes, 'do as you would be done by'.

friday 26 august 2022

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whisky and cycling

caol ila distillery

as far as possible, i transport myself to events on islay by bicycle, because, well, why woudn't i? the exception to this would be any evening events, particularly those likely to end well past the hours of darkness, if only because there are too many youngsters in cars attempting to emulate max verstappen along the perfectly straight twelve kilometre stretch between port ellen and bowmore. that allows them to reach speeds that cars really ought not to be reaching on a narrow island road.

caol ila distillery

so, having been invited to the luxurious machrie hotel (there was a helicopter on the lawn when i arrived) for dinner and an impromptu performance by mercury prize nominated jazz pianist fergus mccreadie, i opted to have those who issued the invitation, collect and return me by car. the event to which i have cryptically referrred above was intended to celebrate the re-opening of caol ila distillery to visitors following the complete furnishment of a new visitor centre inside the old warehouses/malt barns, my invite being one of several issued to members of the media.

caol ila distillery

those of you geographically acquainted with the island will perhaps be wondering why a distillery at the north end of the island (its name being gaelic for the sound of islay, the narrow stretch of water separating islay from jura) would opt to invite the great and the good to an hotel but eight kilometres from the south end of the island. and aside from proffering that it is arguably the finest hotel on the island, i am as mystified as are you.

caol ila distillery

the fergus mccreadie performance was, i believe, related to his association with the annual islay jazz festival, sponsored by lagavulin distillery, and also owned by parent company, diageo. for me, that was the main attraction, for, aside from his prowess as a musician, i am acquainted with the fine fellow from previous jazz festivals. that said, the food was rather good, though i demurred from imbibing of their whisky.

caol ila distillery

the reason behind the implementation of a new visitor centre at caol ila distillery is the final piece in diageo's strategy to enhance the johnnie walker experience, caol ila being a principal component, along with clynelish, cardhu and glenkinchie. following their tuesday evening largesse, i was invited to caol ila on wednesday morning to be offered a first look at the new centre, along with a guided tour and a curated tasting. the boat trip along the sound and lunch at port charlotte hotel had to be politely refused because i was due back at the office in the afternoon.

caol ila distillery

however, since the distillery is a mere 18km from the croft, rather than be driven once again, i opted to cycle. and a wonderful bike ride it was, arriving at the distillery far quicker than i'd expected and well ahead of my fellow media-folk. and it appears that so eccentric a choice was this, that several people approached to ask if it was true that i'd actually cycled to the distillery. let's not sugar coat this; i'm no youngster, but easily managed to ride a total of 36km on a wednesday morning, while others travelled by car. it would be unfair to point the finger, for each and every one of them was visiting and unlikely to have brought a bicycle had even one of them admitted to being a cyclist.

caol ila distillery

but the oddity, from my point of view, was that so many found it almost aberrant behaviour to have ridden such a relatively short distance as opposed to driving or being driven. if islay is to achieve net zero as part of the scottish government's scottish islands project, that attitude is really, really going to have to change and sooner, rather than later. to say nothing of finding alternative, renewable energy to heat those copper stills in the still house; it's like a sauna in there.

and that, boys and girls, is but one of the tenuous connections between whisky and cycling.

thursday 25 august 2022

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wheels with benefits


a friend of mine is in the habit of replying to anyone who asks how he is, with the word 'terrible'. those of us who have known the chap for a few years are well aware that this is standard practice and, in fact, he is perfectly well. on the contrary, i always reply that i am always well, citing cycling as the reason. whether this is actually the reason, i know not, but it suits my purposes to tell others that it is. in point of fact, enquiring as to an individual's well-being is generally regarded as a phatic statement, one designed to maintain the lines of communication, rather than to engage in meaningful discussion.

in point of fact, rarely does anyone ask out of genuine curiousity, but every now and again, its a query that backfires. several years ago, i asked a gent i hadn't seen in quite some time as to how he was, and he actually told me. the answer involved repeating each and every medical condition from which he'd suffered, and the subsequent remedies practised by the medical profession. that is half an hour of my life i'll never see again. and just to be repetitively trite, building on my contention that i am always to be found in the best of health due to my cycling proclivities, any professed illness on behalf of others is generally met with the suggestion that this could be due to a lack of cycling.

i've little doubt that all of us here can testify to the benefits of cycling, from both a physical and mental point of view, but that scarcely commends it as a means of fending off potential or actual illnesses. however, i believe that documentation and statistical evidence exists to suggest that any physical activity, such as walking, cycling or swimming is likely to demonstrate tangible health benefits, improving one's cardiovascular system and, according to recent reports, likely to stave off the worst effects of viral infections such as covid.

data published in the british journal of sports medicine suggests that at least 20 minutes per day of regular exercise, tautologically including cycling, can provide reduced susceptibility to sars type viruses, as well as diabetes and other endemic health problems. though hardly information previously unknown by those of us who cycle, walk, swim or participate in other forms of exercise, i can't help but think the majority of the world seems oblivious.

but now there may be greater emphasis placed on the cycling aspect of this potential solution as the uk department of transport announces a £12.7 million trial, urging general practitioners in england to prescribe cycling or walking to their patients in an attempt to lessen the burden on the already stretched national health service. according to health minister, maria caulfield, "getting active is hugely beneficial for both our mental and physical health, helping reduce stress..."

you may, as did i, wonder why doctors prescribing cycling or walking would be likely to cost the department of transport as much as £12.7 million, but apparently such a prescription is likely to include the free loan of a bicycle. the trial will take place in eleven english local authority areas including bradford, cornwall and leeds, and includes all-ability cycling taster days along with walking and cycling mental health groups.

however, you would be right to contrast this governmental largesse against the knowledge that westminster, and to a certain extent, holyrood, has serially failed to implement a co-ordinated cycling infrastructure, something often cited as the very reason why non-cyclists do not adopt the way of the saddle. if we can accept that lessening the burden on the nhs by prescribing cycling to those who may otherwise become dependent patients will result in '...huge cost savings', surely that would free up some pennies to spend on the cycling infrastructure mentioned above?

but in a statement that might highlight his lack of cycling prowess, chief executive of the charity 'mind' is on record as saying that prescribing exercise was not a miracle cure for mental health problems. i don't doubt the veracity of his statement, but i'm sure we're all aware that nothing is ever worse after a bike ride.

on the contrary, prescribing cycling could well be the start of a well-being revolution. it certainly works for me and many others.

wednesday 24 august 2022

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a recommendation

balaclava byre

i have, throughout the years, made persistent mention of debbie's in bruichladdich, our home from home in which the velo club can enjoy coffee, cake and, perchance, a toastie or double-egg roll. for some, it has become a place of homage, with several individuals having made it the principal object of their islay visit. and not all have been cyclists; i have photos somewhere as testament to the veracity of my claims. however, velocipedinists cannot live by latte alone (though most of us have had a darned good try), or, in this particular case, a single point of latte access, if you will.

balaclava byre

appropriate dining and coffee-ing venues have played their part in events such as the ride of the falling rain in the recent past. during lockdown, with ardbeg's old kiln café closed, the route of the 2020 event had to be re-routed in order to dine at ardnahoe distillery. this was not quite the luxurious alternative we had hoped for; due to covid restrictions, only those pre-booking for specific times were able to have anything resembling a meal, meaning most of us had to settle for coffee and cake. hardly the ideal refuelling to cover 100 miles around the principality.

in 2021, with ardbeg still closed and ardnahoe having followed suit, an alternative had to be found, which, at the last minute devolved upon port ellen's the wee box, a converted horse box selling coffees, cakes and paninis. thankfully, last year omitted pretty much all of the rain, meaning sitting outside on a bench adjacent to the village hall was a more endearing prospect than it might have been.

balaclava byre

we had hoped that 2022, with its almost wholesale lifting of covid restrictions, would have either of the above mentioned distilleries re-open their doors seven days a week. however, it appears that brexit may have played its evil part, along with simultaneous circumstances, meaning many businesses on islay (and elsewhere in the country) suffered (and still suffer) from staff shortages, entailing five-day-a-week opening for both, remaining closed on sundays and mondays.

there's little doubt that the intrepid peloton needs its collective appetite to be satiated, and preferably in comfortable surroundings, where it's possible to brag about how many kilometres have been covered in a remarkably short period of time. this desire/need was conveniently catered for this year by the very recently opened balaclava byre. this has been the dedicated result of the work of one man, robert johnstone, whose wife has long held an ambition to feature a café/restaurant on the site of balaclava farmhouse.

balaclava byre

robert's wife currently suffers from a long-term illness, but he has managed to have her inspired dream realised to the benefit of residents and visitors alike. under the management of rosie, the originator of the wee box as mentioned above, the byre features a circular dining area with windows overlooking the west of port ellen and kilnaughton bay. the unique furniture is hand-crafted from wood, and there are chairs that wouldn't look out of place in the home of bilbo baggins. the food is excellent and well-priced, while rosie has obviously trained her staff well in the art of the barista, for the coffee is superb.

though this may be a little late in the season, balaclava byre ought best be an item on any cyclist's islay itinerary. breakfasts and lunches are recommended dining and there's plenty of space in which to park your bicycles. yet another reason to visit the hallowed isle.

tuesday 23 august 2022

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