adana printing press

as one with a vested interest in print media to help keep the wolf from the door, i'm quite happy to pay the guardian newspaper the princely sum of £2.80 per weekday and £3.80 at weekends for the pleasure of reading a coherent and edited version of the daily news. this is tempered by the knowledge that i can access all of the newspaper's contents online, free of charge, an option that i tried for one week while on holiday one year.

the problem, from my point of view, and one shared by others, is the wide variety of alternative links and features that began to drag me away from my original quest. i like the fact that someone has sifted all the news reports from across the world, chosen, in their opinion, the most important and had them laid out in some semblance of order in paper format. additionally, as one whose living depends on others doing the same, it well behoves me to support others in the industry. however, the printed word, for a number of years, has been battling a perennial headwind.

for the last few terms of the school year, i have been assisting with a journalism class, the value of which appears to have appreciated as the weeks went by. however, on my first day in the classroom, i enquired of the pupils, which of them had actual aspirations to become a journalist, the answer to which was a big, fat zero. a similar answer was given when i asked who amongst their number, read a daily newspaper?

i realise it's a bit hypocritical of a bloke who writes a daily online blog, to persuade others to consume via print media, whatever it is that floats their boat. there is, of course, more than just a smidgeon of pragmatism involved, given that the costs of producing thewashingmachinepost in printed format, along with the necessary distribution, would effectively have meant that the whole concept would have been stillborn before episode one. i also feel justified in having chosen this route, purely on the basis that the few cycling fanzines that arose in the 1990s, are long gone, while the post, some 27 years later, still persists.

but print, while far better in my opinion, simply because of the format allowing a better appreciation of imagery, the tangible nature of print media, and the unforgettable aroma of ink on paper, still seems to rely on the persuasive powers of its editors and marketing departments. cyclist magazine is pretty much the only monthly print magazine left in the uk, and to all intents and purposes, manages to wipe its face from an economic point of view. i have heard rumours that the comic (cycling weekly), persists purely because no-one wants to be the one who ends its more than 100 years of existence.

and then there's rouleur, a print publication that has changed substantially since its origination as a part of rapha in the first decade of this century. rouleur's publishing strategy once included pioneer offroad magazine, but it ceased due to lack of sales, even following a concerted subscripton campaign, one that preceded a similar recruitment drive by rouleur, which, i understand, proved largely successful. but only a matter of days ago, i received a mailshot from current editor, ed pickering.

following a few paragraphs intimating the quality of the magazine and its writers and photographers, the more serious nature of the missive begins; to wit "However, these are challenging times in the world of print media. A lot of boring stuff happens in the back end of magazine production, like print, paper and distribution costs going up. We're in the middle of a complex ecosystem which includes our talented freelance contributors (and) advertisers..." it would seem that the previous drive for new subscriptions may have been only a temporary blip in the firmament, a situation that is affecting almost every corner of the print media, and not just that concerned with cycling.

however, outside media, the very folks who canned peloton magazine - at one time, one of the finest cycling publications on the planet - along with velonews as well as affecting the online only cycling tips, with several writers either leaving or being forced out in recent months. they have now potentially redeemed themselves with the curation of velo.

this, i believe is online only, given that outside has been closing down most of its print publications. and gone, to a certain extent, is the specialisation once catered for by differing publications, with outside claiming that velo will " a key part of Outside's expanding network and serve the diverse and growing readers and members of the Outside network with access to gear, reviews, race news and service content created by the global Velo team. Readers of VeloNews, CyclingTips and Peloton will find all of their favorite content on Velo with the addition of more expanded coverage of e-bikes, gravel, commuting, culture, travel, how-tos and human interest features."

either the website is going to be gargantuan in concept, or each of those items is likely to be reported on a far more superficial basis than that to which we have become used. the uk once sported cycle sport and procycling, along with a similar number of offroad publications. those were obviously the halcyon days of which we will doubtless wax lyrical for months and years to come. if you really, really consider yourself to be a dyed-in-the-wool road cycling fan, help keep print alive.

it's one major part of our rich heritage.

monday 8 may 2023

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an opposing point of view


the meaning of life, the universe and everything might well still equate to the number 42, but the majority of evidence would still tend to confirm that the universe is also predominantly newtonian in its underlying structure. the old adage 'every action has an equal and opposite reaction' would appear to be one every bit as intact as when sir isaac first posited such a theory. that particular contention, as well as being scientifically proven for the most part, is embedded in several eastern religions. hinduism and buddhism have it enshrined as karma or kamma, where each individual can only be held responsible for their own actions, reaping good or bad, depending on the original behaviour.

that said, it is obviously the result of human intervention that has classified actions as either good or bad. who's to say?

where that situation falls down, sort of, is at the particle level within atoms. it would appear a relatively safe assumption that, if matter and anti-matter both exist, the universe, intent on achiving a stable format, would contain equal amounts of both. unfortunately for physics, that seems not to be the case. anti-matter exists as anti-particles or 'partners' of corresponding particles of what is termed ordinary matter, generally considered to possess the opposite charge, differences in quantum numbers, but equal mass.

for those of us less than well-versed in the intricacies of particle physics (which, for the purposes of this article, i will assume is most of us), it would seem a logical assumption that, to prevent the universe existing in a state of imbalance, for every hundred particles of matter, there would need to be another hundred particles of anti-matter. if both types of particle possess opposite electrical charges, surely a lack of equal numbers would result in a universe that is either overwhelmingly positive or negative?

however, current scientific evidence would contend that the observable universe is constructed predominantly of ordinary matter. this apparent asymmetry of matter and anti-matter is, along with a lack of a unified field theory, one of the great unsolved problems faced by modern-day physicists. perhaps the existence of such a scientific problem will give greater credence to the bikepacking trend. with the top practitioners of the activity endeavouring to cover substantial distances offroad, those lonely days in the saddle could probably be put to good use by attempting to solve the matter/anti-matter riddle, an inequality referred to as baryogenesis.

but, based purely on observable evidence, backed by not one whit of scientific substantiation, this imbalance (which you would have thought would have led to douglas adams considering the apt number for his meaning of life, the universe and everything, to be 43) has perhaps resulted in more tangible effects.

for the last 35 years, i have been perambulating the highways and byways of islay, ruminating over the validity of the supposed prevailing south-westerlies (see yesterday's monologue), coming to terms with a seemingly endless number of days when the wind blows from the east, and being continually confounded by the fact that i don't have a tailwind when logic states i should have. i have studiously studied the average windspeed in which i think it safe to ride, marking the upper limit in which one would need to repeat the phrase, 'danger, will robinson, danger', and observing the angle at which it is necessary to ride in a 100kph crosswind.

the latter is the predominant danger, particular to the direction of travel. if a crosswind is blowing you off the road, into the verge, it might be less than optimum for forward travel, but it's a darned sight safer than being blown into traffic. headwinds, on the other hand, simply constitute 'grunt work', often testing one's mettle to the utmost, but rarely creating a dangerous state of affairs. these facts are, essentially, nothing new; we've been over them before, several times.

however, the avowed imbalance between ordinary matter and anti-matter could well explain something i believe every cyclist has observed, yet for which a satisfactory answer has never been found, allied to anything like a rational explanation. assuming one's parcours-du-jour forming a circular route, no matter the wind direction, the rider should benefit every bit as much from a tailwind, as they grovelled into a headwind. yet that rarely, if ever, seems to be the case. were that state of affairs to be evident, surely on returning to the croft, i ought to be as refreshed as when i left, the sting of the headwind having been soothed by the succour of an equal and opposite tailwind?

or am i overthinking the situation?

sunday 7 may 2023

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the location of scotland's west coast islands more or less invites the onset of strong winds, predominantly at the behest of the north atlantic ocean. with nothing between us and the eastern seaboard of canada, the reputedly south-westerly prevailing winds have strafed the inner and outer hebrides for centuries. the evidence for such prevailment is not only anecdotal, but observationally sound.

when first i moved to the hallowed isle, the rented house in which we lived featured french windows on its kitchen gable end overlooking loch indaal and providing unfettered views across to the rhinns of islay. thus, whenever heavy showers, winds or even snow arose from those prevailing south-westerly winds, it could be seen en-route for several miles.

in advance of the arrival next year of the first of islay's two new ferries currently under construction in turkey's cemre shipyard, port ellen pier will require an upgrade to handle the increased number of vehicles those ships can carry. caledonian maritime asets ltd (cmal), owner of all calmac's ferry terminals, undertook six months' worth of wave studies in order to narrow down the six proposed options. at the last public consultation, they stated they could categorically claim that the prevailing winds affecting the island were indeed, south-westerly.

however, during one or two recent conversations with islanders far better versed in islay's natural state than am i, it was mentioned that cmal's contentions might conceivably be incorrect. i learned that, when wind-tests were carried out prior to the installation of islay's sole commercial wind turbine, they leaned more towards the winds arriving from the east. and in terms of riding a bicycle each and every weekend, i can but tend to agree with their assessment.

though strictly speaking the assumption that the prevailing conditions remain south-westerly, it must surely be borderline; recent weeks have suffered mostly at the behest of cold, yet drier easterly winds. that has meant that, despite now being comfortably into may, the temperatures on the hallowed isle owe more to winter than to the summer that really ought to be closing in very soon. this must surely be an unwelcome change for those currently cycle touring across the western isles.

having made my usual two-weekly friday bike ride to debbie's in bruichladdich, ostensibly to deliver copies of the local newspaper, offset partly by the opportunity to sup froth and devour a gluten-free brownie, i met a touring couple and their dog. i'm unsure if they were all from across the pond; the girl had a strong american accent, the dog kept quiet, and i didn't have the opportunity to speak to the gent. however, they had stopped off en-route to islay's northern ferry terminal at port askaig, intent on sailing earlier today to the isle of colonsay, midway between here and oban.

though i'm considerably more experienced at riding into islay headwinds than visiting velocipedinists, coupled with the fact that i was not towing a dog in a buggy, nor outfitted with stuffed panniers, i caught both cyclists and their dog at blackrock, despite having left debbie's quite some time after their own departure. the young lady was off her bicycle and pushing it up the short hill, presumably finding the combination of gradient and galeforce headwind outwith her friday afternoon efforts.

however, i cannot but advise that i fear her lack of sartorial elegance mitigated against her forward progress. i'm none too sure what she was actually wearing, but whatever it was, it was billowing in the wind, resembling a khaki green parachute. completely inadvisable in a 50kph headwind, and i can really only ask 'why?' even in the commuter and leisure sector of the cycling apparel market, every care is taken to minimise flappage; my own friday wear was of a more pelotonic nature and almost totally devoid of such an aerodynamic detraction.

i greatly fear for their onward progress, heading north while buffeted by strong easterly winds, occasionally peppered with precipitation. with the ferry situation at least temporarily solved, it would well-behove any cycling visitors to this, or any other scottish western isle, to ensure that their attire is commensurate with the conditions. though billy connolly has joked that scotland has but two seasons (july and winter), it often seems that he's more right than wrong. it would be lovely to announce that summer in the isles is idyllic, but that depends greatly on your own personal definition of the word.

cyclists visit italy to ride through vineyard country in dusty heat, or the alps or pyrenees to climb almost insurmountable mountains. the western isles offer character-building headwinds, but demand that you dress for the occasion.

saturday 6 may 2023

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quoc + sandals

though i'd scarcely go as far as stating there's a dress-code for the sunday ride, it appears that most of us tend to think there might be, even though not cast in stone. the late and much-missed, lord carlos of mercian, spent most of his all-too-short cycling life desperately attempting to remain simply 'a bloke with a bike' rather than admitting he might actually have become a cyclist. thus it was that on wet, windy mornings, he'd cycle his trusty steel mercian to work, wearing a pair of wellies and civilian clothing. it wasn't until he rode the etape caledonia for the first time to raise money for charity, that his purchased marie curie bibshorts let him know what he'd been missing all those years.

the advent of 'looser' cycle clothing from 'fat lad at the back' allowed him to complete his sporting ensemble from which he never looked back. however, for more formal engagements he would dress himself in an islay woollen mill tweed jacket and a less ostentatious pair of trousers. on discovering that it was possible to acquire open toed, spd cleated sandals, the change in attitude and sartorial elegance was finalised .

for those inured to the daily cycle commute, the velocipedinal wardrobe is quite likely composed of suitable clothing that, while possibly alluding to one's mode of transport, could comfortable pass as 'normal' should a visit to the supermarket be on the day's agenda. and to encompass the possibility that there might not be time nor facilities to change prior to an important meeting, i'd be willing to bet that the jersey 'neath that fluorescent jacket is likely devoid of sponsorship logos.

quoc + sandals

however, spd sandals notwithstanding, footwear is often the weak link in the chain. many will stick to the tried, tested and ubiquitous trainer or even normal shoes, but on anything longer than a short hop, skip and jump, the lack of stiffness in the soles is likely to compromise on the comfort factor which a pair of bona-fide cycle shoes will provide via stiffer soles. for those who opt for spd style footwear, there's always the danger than walking across the original polished oak boardroom floor, will leave a trail of embarrassing woodchips. the dyed-in-the-wool weekend racer would need to be a hardy enthusiast to wear 'proper' cycling shoes replete with chunky, three-point cleats.

those are, however, mostly points of contemplation for the abject beginner; the long-term commuting cyclist will have normalised such matters over a period of time, finding the best overall compromise. but it is not solely the commuting cyclist that might find themselves in the midst of a footwear predicament. my first extended cycle, from islay, to campbeltown, to ballycastle in northern ireland and then south to dublin for the start of the 1998 tour de france, was the very definition of naivety. if you include the need for two ferry trips in both directions, i would scarcely recommend you attempt to negotiate not only a ferry car deck, but the metal stairs leading to the cafeteria, while wearing road cycling shoes and their clunky cleats.

by the time that dublin's fair city had been reached, the right-foot cleat had worn off the frontmost portion and was no longer a guaranteed click in the pedal. and stopping en-route for food and refreshments did little to endear yours truly to more than one café owner.

however, i'd imagine that the intrepid bikepacker, safely aboard a bikebag-festooned gravel bike, will have opted for spd cleats, the latter fashioned from hardened metal and recessed into the sole of the footwear du jour. but the stiffness afforded by the latter, while most welcome in riding mode, can become a tad inconvenient during one's leisure moments, combined with the occasional propensity for those cleats to scuff innocent floor surfaces. which is where the latest collaboration between quoc cycling footwear and restrap might offer an appropriate and resonably economic solution.

they have released a pair of post-ride, slip on sandals specifically aimed at the bikepacking market, featuring extra thick webbing straps to allow their fastening to bikepacks while riding. thus, it becomes a practical reality that the gravellous amongst you can wear whichever style of quoc footwear you may favour while in adventure mode, slipping easily into the sandals when shopping, eating or trying to find the nearest bike shop. and no longer will it be necessary to sit by the campfire in bare feet, putting off the jaggy walk to one's tent.

available in sizes 38-47 and priced at £85, the sandals can be purchased from quoc and restrap stockists, or online at quoc + restrap bikepacking sandals

friday 5 may 2023

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i've said it once, but i'll say it again

flaming battery charger

every sunday afternoon, following the broadcast of whichever cycle race is taking place that particular weekend, i sit back in my armchair and watch episodes of 'columbo', the majority of which i must have seen at least a dozen or fifteen times before. if push came to shove, i could probably repeat large chunks of the scripts. a similar happenstance takes place every weekday, round about tea-time, when i watch all four daily episodes of the big bang theory, a series which, strangely, no matter how often i watch it, still contains laugh-out-loud humour. this predilection for watching repeats that i've seen over and over again, is presumably an outward sign of my being a creature of habit.

and lest you think that my occasional repetition of subject matter in these black and yellow pixels is either a sign of dementia or a patent lack of anything else about which to write, let me disavow you of that notion here and now.

in the months following the end of my college course, the firm which had employed me as a student, were kind enough to offer a period of continuation, while i figured out quite what the future might hold. and during that period, they made full use of my artistic abilities, such as they were, to assist with courses presented by the personnel department, as it was called before human resources became flavour of the month. prior to the invention of the dastardly powerpoint software, presentations were mostly displayed on flip-charts, a medium that employed my dexterity with a marker pen.

though the course contents were rarely anything to do with yours truly, i do recall that one of the underpinning philosophies was the use of repetition, a method oft used to get a point across and have it retained by the attendees. whether it actually worked or not, i truly don't know, but it has remained in my psyche ever since, and i'm now putting it to repetitive use. and following my monologue concerning the disappointing rise and rise of the ubiquitous e-bike, it seems a pertinent time to reiterate a warning that has appeared on at least two previous occasions, and concerns those lithium-ion batteries mentioned at length only yesterday.

however, before i dive in, it well behoves me to state that the majority of e-bikes sold in the uk are required to adhere to british safety standards which, i am led to believe, are currently (pun intended) amongst the most respected in the world. therefore, anything you can purchase from an authorised uk bicycle shop, is likely excluded from the following notification. the big problem, as i understand it, is the prevalence of online sales outlets offering both e-bike batteries and/or chargers.

according to a recent report in the guardian newspaper, there has been a notable surge in injuries from fires caused by e-bikes and scooters. reputable marques and suppliers ensure that any battery management hardware or software ends any charging procedures when the battery is fully-charged but still connected to the mains electricity during the charging process. however, as one of my office colleagues has learned, a factory replacement battery for the model of e-bike she owns, is little short of £1,000, so in these financially straightened times, it is of little surprise that some owners would search for allegedly compatible, but cheaper alternatives online or from dubious suppliers.

that, according to london and manchester fire brigades, is the likely cause of so many fires affecting micro-mobility transport such as e-bikes and scooters. based on past experience and statistics, the forecast number of e-bike and e-scooter battery fires this year is likely to reach almost 340 incidents. the bicycle association has repeated that reputable suppliers ensure that e-bike batteries are extremely safe, but that some less stringent suppliers have placed products on the market which do not reach such standards. according to eye-witness statements, 'everything happened in four or five minutes', while others have said that neither blankets nor water would extinguish the chemical blaze.

these conflagrations apparently occur where the charging process is not ended, even when the battery is fully charged, causing the battery to overheat and burst into flames. according to the guardian report, the office for product safety and standards has said that it is attempting to increase checks at ports on imported goods, but advises that e-bike or e-scooter owners should always rely on manufacturer replacements, or the eventual cost could be far higher than you'd like to think.

the national fire chiefs' council advises that, in the event of a battery fire, not to try to put it out. 'get out, stay out and call 999'. incidents this year alone have injured at least 190 people and killed eight. rising sales of e-bikes and scooters threatens to show an increase in these numbers, so for those who now count themselves amongst the e-bike generation, just be careful. it's an e-jungle out there.

thursday 4 may 2023

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opposites attract

battery charger

overall, cycling has an environmentally green image, even if closer examination would tend to suggest that image to be slightly tarnished. i mentioned a few weeks ago that the uci had drafted in scott sports with the aim of developing a carbon fibre recycling strategy as part of its own (possibly forced) look at environmental concerns generated by contemporary cycling. though the steel frames, both of yesteryear and today, can be recycled, ostensibly for ever, carbon sports a less confident approach, and though some carbon products can be successfully recycled, my understanding that this is not only a relatively expensive and energy intensive process, it's not anywhere near as open ended as that of steel, or even aluminium.

of course, cycling's perceived environmentally positive image has far more to do with the purposes for which bicycles are employed, rather than any manufacturing or recycling properties. and it is in comparison stakes that the bicycle tends to base its one-upmanship; at point of use, the bicycle produces no noxious emissions by comparison to motorcycles, motor cars, trucks, buses and vans. and even when the fossil-fuel versions of those are eventually swapped for electric motive power, the bicycle will still come out tops.

recharging a set of lights and a garmin once or twice a week is but a drop in the ocean by comparison to the energy draw of a fully electric motor car. recharging of small electrical devices is also a great deal less onerous than the daily recharging of one of the current crop of e-bikes. oddly, the latter, despite the hint being in the name, few seem to consider the amount of energy that requires to be generated to satisfy even the modest demands of the average e-bike. electric car demands are still an order of magnitude higher than the average e-bike. nor is much heed paid to the chemicals used in the manufacture of the lithium-ion batteries, the mining of which is concentrated in very few nations across the globe, the largest of which is china.

so while the british government debates whether or not to approve further north-sea oil and gas drilling, we have been slightly misled, i believe, over the green credentials of any mode of transport preceded by the letter 'e'. it is an inescapable fact that, as the adoption of electric transport increases, so does humanity's demand for electricity. granted, the production of the latter shows every likelihood of becoming more and more at the behest of renewables, but that too has a cost. though perhaps something of an unfair comparison, when the government announces the cost of building a new nuclear reactor, such as hinkley point c, it invariably excludes the cost of closing it down at the end of its working life, costs that can often outweigh the construction price.

but the cycle industry is nothing if not contradictory. it has successfully lobbied government in several countries to provide grant aid to those who aspire to owning an e-bike, the return on investment being based on making e-bikes a viable and less invasive alternative to the car. sadly, while many have acquiesced to such lobbying, there seems to be no tabs kept on whether the desired result is, indeed, the actual result. i can see no tangible barrier to applying for an e-bike purchase grant, while retaining ownership and use of a motor car. and why is does a generation that has sent gym memberships soaring, find it necessary to eschew the long-lived 'acoustic' bicycle in favour of riding an e-bike.

and why, if the general aim of government subsidy is to lessen the environmental impact of personal transport, is there no subsidy available for those who might wish to purchase said 'acoustic' bicycle?

but still the contradiction persists. in an attempt to reduce the carbon footprint of its products and supply chain, italian brand, selle royal has redeveloped its 'lookin evo' saddle, made from recycled and organic materials. ironically, the recycled portion of the equation is sourced from electrical and electronic scrap materials. selle italia brand director, roberto bucci, said, "Our customers will be able to experience the same comfort of the original Lookin 3D saddle that they know and love to ride, but with the new Lookin Evo's reduced environmental impact."

i appreciate that the now ubiquitous e-bike is currently regarded as the saviour of the industry, being the only sector showing any appreciable growth. that would no doubt explain the extraordinary number of new kids on the block who previously have demonstrated no particular interest in the bicycle market. as a whole, the cycle industry is also particularly guilty of showing itself to be a rank amateur when it comes to marketing their products.

but were they to put a bit of effort into the process, there's an outside possibility they could underline the environmental properties of their 'acoustic' bicycles in comparison to the trendy e-bike. though the benefits might be considered less than small fry, try to imagine a future where every able-bodied cyclist rides an acoustic bike, in the manner of those age-old images of beijing last century. the savings on even renewably generated electricity would surely bolster the bicycle's 'green image, perhaps lead to a healthier population and make its own small contribution against climate change.

this, of course, has all been said before, much of it by yours truly. however there is surely the beginnings of a conundrum here with an industry that is happy to employ toxic chemicals in the search for energy assist, while outfitting the latter with recycled componentry.

'he giveth and he taketh away.'

wednesday 3 may 2023

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not what it seems

complaints will be heard

in his 1949 novel, 1984, written in a small cottage at barnhill on the north end of jura, george orwell (eric blair) introduced the fictional character, big brother, ostensibly the leader of oceania, a tyrannical state in which the ruling party wields power over its subjects, simply because it can. in orwell's description, those subjects are under constant surveillance, a situation that made the term, big brother, a euphemism for meddling by an overarching authority. it's often used to refer to governments, employers and any other forms of authority that seem less than well-disposed towards those it views as inferior to its objectives.

when seen in those terms, it might appear to be a bit of an over-reaction to apply it as a description of the bicycle industry. to all intents and purposes, the latter's sole purpose is to provide the downtrodden and adherents of velominati's rules, with an appropriate means of transport and self-expression. to describe the industry in big brother terms would surely be to apply a level of malevolence to an industry that is referred to as if it were a singular entity, as opposed to the myriad of component parts that it appears to be. and since the industry contends that it simply responds to customer demand, how could that be seen a 'tyrannical' in any way, shape or form?

however, given the trends constantly on show, continually comprising the pages of the bicycle trade press, and probably given way too much airtime on thewashingmachinepost, there may be grounds for accusations of collusion. surely the idea of dropping the seatstays half-way down the seat-tube didn't just occur to trek, canyon, colnago, pinarello, giant, specialized, simultaneously? from what i can gather, having asked those with considerably more technical expertise than yours truly, there appears to be little in the way of engineering validation for what can only, therefore, be framed as a trend.

which is, i believe, another word for fashion.

but accusations of big brotherhood are ultimately spurious; the much-maligned lack of compatibility within the industry would surely point directly at the cracks no single entity would display in public? and naming it as a single entity could also lead to possible accusations of anthropomorphism. they could also, i'm sure contain strengthening hints of paranoia. but is it really utterly outlandish to consider, if even for a moment, that the bicycle industry has what baldrick would have referred to as a cunning plan?

is it possible that the industry, as a whole, actually has the opportunity to stand well back, take a look at itself, and agree on a way forward? it's not at all unusual for any business to set out a five-year-plan over which time, product lines will follow a set plan, often appearing to be a logical progression, but, from observation, quite frequently adapting to external issues, or the success or failure of previous strategies included in the plan.

that would likely explain the rise and fall of the press-fit bottom bracket.

fashion is, by its very definition, ephemeral, and as we have seen from the clothing industry (in which i'm including purveyors of velocipedinal apparel), there is an inherent blueprint at work to ensure that things change on a regular basis. if that philosophy has been inserted surreptitiously into the bicycle cycle, then we are but pawns in a worldwide game. it's even possible that the top professional riders are similarly ignorant of this matrix, paid for their unknown complicity in ensuring that we fall hook, line and sinker for endless bottom bracket variations, cassettes that gain another sprocket every couple of years, and yes, those dropped chainstays.

and just like the world of haute couture, once every avenue has been rigorously exploited, what next? you cannot seriously believe that stuffing several sets of cables inside the frame via the stem and headtube actually has any practical purpose? mark my words, in a few years, the cables will miraculously re-appear on the outside of the frame, as a result of hitherto unresearched fluid dynamic modelling, while the square taper bottom bracket will prove to have been the perfect design all along.

of course, there's nothing to say that big brother hasn't already been in touch, and that my black and yellow pixels have been recruited to the cause, with the promise of moving the seatstays back to the top tube junction in favour of my complicity. you can't deny that it would explain rather a lot.

tuesday 2 may 2023

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