maintaining links

chorus chain

when i were a lad, it was possible (and perhaps it still is) to acquire small, round beermats on which were printed the words 'tooit', someone's idea of a joke referring to the habit of blokes (mostly) informing their better-halfs that an indefinable it would be done when they got around to it. hence the beermat. it is, of course, not solely the male of the species that has a tendency to procrastinate, but in my experience, they are the more likely of the two. and disappointingly, i am no exception, even when it comes to bicycle maintenance.

for those unaware - and it seems there are many - it rarely pays to leave chain replacement for too long. in common parlance, chains stretch, though in reality, they wear, and that wear allows the gaps between the rollers to increase. when that occurs, the chain has a greater degree of leeway to move about on the cassette sprockets and the chainrings up front, movement that leads to concomitant wear on both. while the chain remains in situ, all will be relatively well, until, of course, the wear factor increases beyond yet another indefinable point and the chain begins to skip under pressure. at that stage in proceedings, pretty much the entire drivetrain is ripe for replacement.

depending on your bike setup, that could prove quite expensive.

the open secret, is to replace the chain at regular intervals, but while it's on the bike, keep it clean and well-lubricated. there are gauges available to periodically check the chain wear, giving you a bit of a heads up as to when it might be prudent to replace the chain; old school was to measure the distance between the rollers at regular intervals, but the chain gauge is a darned sight more convenient and undoubtedly cleaner.

i am, as previously reported, somewhat overly fastidious as to the cleanliness of my chain, brought on for two (i'd like to think) perfectly good reasons. if you watch the tv broadcasts of the tour de france, invariably one of the camera motorbikes will offer a close up of the rear derailleur and the chain, the latter usually bright, shiny and sparkling in the french sun. that strikes me as the way all chains should look under all circumstances, and i attempt to replicate those circumstances. what i don't know, is the type of lubricant used by the professionals, because everytime i degrease and lube my chain, it's only a matter of a few metres on a sunday morning before it's coated with a liquid blackness, no matter which lube i employ.

the recent trend is to coat the chain with wax, a trend i have followed on occasion, but one still resulting in a black chain on arrival home at sunday lunchtime.

but i digress (and not for the first time). my second reason for keeping a clean chain is one of self-preservation. again, i have broached this subject previously, but on my second year of attempting rapha's festive 500, while cleaning the chain on my return, i discovered a cracked sideplate. considering the hebridean climate at that particularly festive time of year, had i remained unaware of that particular malfeasance, there's every likelihood my chain would have left my company at the most inopportune moment it could find. probably saligo, some 24km from home. since that day, i have almost religiously cleaned my chain each and every weekend.

as if to prove my point, only yesterday, as the velo club ascended the col du rspb (which, i am reliably informed, is exactly how it is described on strava), one of our number was found to be standing at the side of the road, quizzically looking at a length of chain in his hand, the device having parted company due to a broken link. thankfully, one of his domestiques carried a multi-tool featuring a chain rivet tool, so a timeous repair was effected in order to continue our perambulations. oddly enough, saying 'i told you so', is not regarded as encouragement.

on 25 march, i purchased a campagnolo twelve-speed chain from london's condor cycles for the princely sum of £39.98. as a notorious cheapskate, i opted for the chorus version rather than the more expensive super-record option. in my world, a chain, is a chain, is a chain. effectively two months later, i finally got around to it. but before i got to the rivetting conclusion (a little hebridean humour there), i degreased the cassette, the chainrings, the derailleur jockey wheels and the front gear mech; no point, i thought, in introducing a shiny new chain to a grubby drivetrain.

if you will permit a further digression, not so long ago, i reviewed green oil's agent apple degreaser, a liquid particularly effective at its job. however, at £16 a throw, i opted to purchase a litre of a competing, yet considerably cheaper but less environmentally sound, degreaser. as if to prove that you get what you pay for, this latter degreaser was considerably less effective than its green oil counterpart. you can guess which brand i will be purchasing next time round.

though there are so-called power-links available for twelve-speed chains, having shelled out for one of campagnolo's eyewateringly expensive chain tools, i'm darned well going to use it, particularly when i possess several bespoke campag chain rivets. i am also a sucker for campagnolo's contention that a rivetted chain is considerably stronger than one joined by a power-link. and though the contemporary version is far more reliable than those of yesteryear, an unhappy experience with a power-link many years past, has coloured my present.

the moment of truth is donning a pair of cleated road shoes and heading out for a few hundred metres to ensure that there was no skipping in either chainring or any of the twelve sprockets. in this case, all was 100% successful, but i have suffered before, having left chain replacement a tad too long. if you've read this far, maybe you should pop out to the bike shed and check?

you're welcome.

monday 22 may 2023

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sprockets, man

ekar cassette

many years ago, following a pleasant bike ride at the behest of the sadly defunct, braveheart fund in kilmarnock, i was sat next to sean kelly and, for reasons i cannot recall, we were discussing garden sheds (as you do). while this conversation was taking place, there was a gent standing adjacent to my left shoulder, who, it transpired, was waiting for a suitable break in the discussion to speak to the great irishman. when that gap in proceedings appeared, he quickly interjected his question, asking sean what gear he'd chosen for his victory at milan-sanremo. without pausing for breath, sean responded, 'the right one', giving immediate cause for laughter and chuckles all round.

this partially replicates a statement by robert millar, quoted in the late richard moore's biography 'in search of robert millar'. though i'm paraphrasing to a degree, millar told the scottish commonwealth games cycling aspirants, 'don't ask me what gearing i used to win the polka dot jersey. you're not riding the tour de france.' not subtle, but perfectly true. and it seems that gearing remains possibly the most queried aspect of cycling these days, the complexities of which remain an obscure part of the velocipedinal realm, particularly for those who remain a few tiers below the cognoscenti.

as i popped out on saturday afternoon to collect my newspaper, i was hailed by a friend of mine from the safety of his car driver seat. it turns out that his son received a new mountain bike for his birthday, but after no more than five or six rides, the chain snapped. there could have been any number of reasons for this occurrence, but the two principals are likely; the child back-pedalling while changing gear, or a fault in the chain. not that i mentioned this to my interlocutor, but my money would be on the former.

however, he admitted that his son had moaned at him again yesterday morning about a lack of progress in repairing said bicycle, hence our shore street discussion yesterday afternoon. he asked from where he might acquire a suitable chain, but on being asked how many sprockets were on the rear wheel, he'd to admit he had no idea. i justified my question by pointing out that there were a number of differing chain types depending on how many gears were installed on the bicycle. my guess is that it will be six or seven and that a standard and relatively low-cost chain will suffice, but as another friend of mine never tires of saying, "if you assume, it makes an ass out of you and me". a truer word he has never uttered (well, apart from having point out, quite rightly it transpires, that people never read signs).

therefore, rather than simply say i'd be happy to purchase a new chain (the boy lost the broken one) and fit it, i thought it better to err on the safe side and ensure that i order the correct item.

but in the process of this discussion, it was plain that dad was oblivious to the fact that there was no such thing as 'just a chain' anymore. nor indeed, that whatever is deemed suitable for the bicycle of his offspring, has two means of joining. and even assuming that i manage to acquire a chain with a so-called power-link, there will probably still be need of a chain rivet tool to shorten it to the correct length.

this features uncanny parallels with the phone call that i will undoubtedly receive at some point this summer season, to ask if have available an inner tube. firstly, the caller will almost certainly be oblivious to the necessary size of inner tube, and following my instructions to check the size marked on the tyre sidewall, on querying the type of valve required, their reaction will be to consider that i am extracting the michael.

a matter of a few years ago, i received the very phone call just described, asking for a replacement inner tube for a mountain bike. currently, that particular genre features three sizes: 26", 650b and 'twenty-niner', so i enquired as to which was required. this was, as advised, followed by the question as to where this information might be gleaned. but despite informing it would be stated on the tyre sidewall, the caller remained oblivious. to speed matters along, i took all three sizes with me, only to find the mountain bike tyres with the wording twenty-niner writ large in white lettering around the tyre sidewall.

the crowning glory was discovering the owner to have neither tyre levers, nor bicycle pump, nor indeed, the faintest idea of how to effect repair. sadly, this is not an isolated incident, and i'm sure that all the world's bicycle mechanics are currently nodding in agreement at this very moment.

so has the bicycle become too complex, with its wide variation in number of gears, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve and thirteen speed chains, more tyre sizes than at which you might shake a track-pump, and more different types of bicycle than most can comprehend? the average motor car nowadays is infintely more complex than any bicycle you can think of, but have amateur home car mechanics simply accepted this to be the case, and opted to cut to the chase and take the car to the nearest garage? is the bicycle's simplicity also a thing of the past, but its reputation hasn't been updated?

neither islay nor jura possesses a bike shop or bike repair centre, but it does sport several car repair garages. in fact, i passed a local breakdown truck only yesterday afternoon. there is e-bike hire on islay, as there is on mull, a few hundred miles north of here, but to the best of my knowledge, neither offers service and repair for other than their own bicycles. and i would figure that islands such as tiree, colonsay and coll are also devoid of cycle repair. thus, for those intent on either bikepacking or touring the country's more remote locations, the ability to carry out any necessary minor repairs en-route would be taken for granted. but if the bicyclehas truly become ever more complex, what's the intrepid cyclist to do?

that also remains a pertinent question applicable to kids' and adults' bicycles owned by those who are totally oblivious to the fact that the giro d'italia is just ending its second week.

i note that campagnolo's ekar groupset has proved highly popular on shop floor gravel bikes, currently the genre of choice for the avid bikepacker. i guarantee that there is nowhere on islay, jura, colonsay, mull or tiree where you can purchase a thirteen-speed chain, and i'd also be quite certain that no-one possesses the necessary £160 chain tool to fit it.

author of the recently published and reviewed bikepacking scotland, markus stitz, probably had the right idea, encircling the globe on a single speed.

sunday 21 may 2023

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the bottom line

kids on bikes

i believe i may have mentioned on several ccasions, that cycling proficiency, or of whatever the contemporary designation consists, appears to have evaporated entirely from the island's primary schools. though i confess i've not asked the head teachers directly, i believe this is likely at the behest of the local council's decision a few years ago, to disband the road safety department. and though i'm sure i'd be faced with the usual platitude of 'different budget', the fact that the selfsame council acquired a grant more or less the equivalent of the monies they claimed would be saved by the disbandment of their road safety department, to spend on a cycling and walking survey, little of the result makes much sense

so far, there have been no tangible results realised from that expensive and ultimately pointless survey.

you would be correct to point out that, in fact, there is nothing preventing the schools from continuing to offer cycle training to the children in their care, but yet, they seem inclined not to follow through. the road safety department was ultimately responsible for judging the children's cycling abilities and awarding certificates to those who passed the final test. on querying this continuation despite the budget cuts, i was assured that the schools would simply create their own certificates, and that the teaching staff would step in where the council once trod. but it seems that was not to be.

this is a most unfortunate state of affairs, and though i contacted the bikeability scheme (to which the council were one of two in scotland not to sign up, preferring to plough their own proficiency furrow) to enquire whether individual schools could access their training (they can), that has never been pursued either. the teachers amongst you will probably be rightly protesting that they remain largely untrained in the delivery of cycle-training and that there are enough pressures brought to bear on the teaching profession as it is, without adding more to their workload.

with this, i would tend to agree, and i have never got to the bottom of why the region's primary schools appeared to have relinquished the services of well-intentioned volunteers (of which i was once one) to carry out the necessary training. as i understand it, and i could be wrong, the region's teaching staff were provided with appropriate training by the road safety department prior to its untimely demise, but i believe the nub of the problem is the lack of cycling being defined as a necessary part of the curriculum.

swimming certainly seems to be, which makes perfect sense for those who live on an island, but given the large number of very large articulated vehicles that travel through the main villages of bowmore and port ellen, i often fear for the safety of those youngsters who are legally entitled to ride their bikes on the same roads as the latter, without any need for formal cycle or road safety training. that there hasn't been an accident so far must surely be more down to luck than design.

but leaving the question of safety to the side for a moment, but in no way diminishing its effect, if the governments in westminster and holyrood are truly serious about fighting climate change, would it not make perfect sense to educate young children as to the environmental benefits not only of learning to ride a bicycle, but continuing to do so as they grow into young adults? since the years last century when i was a volunteer cycle-trainer at the local primary school, very little has changed. it's not overly hard to have youngsters appreciate the benefits of riding a bicycle, but on leaving primary and entering secondary, suddenly the bicycle loses its lustre and becomes decidedly 'uncool'. not a single secondary school pupil on islay rides a bicycle to school (though a few members of staff do).

geographically, that could be seen as beyond the pale for many who live in the island's other villages, where weather and distance make bike riding a bit of a challenge. but as i have reiterated to the point of boredom, bowmore village is but one mile from end to end, a distance easily achievable by walking or by bicycle; yet many bowmore children are driven to school by their well-meaning parents. cycling was ok at primary, but from first year at secondary, most are simply apprentice drivers in waiting. having kids apply for their provisional driver's licence takes no persuasion whatsoever.

specialized bicycles have introduced their outriders programme across the pond, no doubt engendered to a certain degree, by a need to ensure a continuous stream of customers between now and driving age. the colourfully named, tasha tinagero, specialized's marketing and strategic partnerships leader said, "Ultimately, what Outride stands for is that we believe that everyone should have access to a bike." and though there will always be a certain level of concern for the bottom line in programmes such as this, it's not something that can be seen as outside the remit of national government on this side of the pond.

however, it does grate that cycling seems to require well-meaning local volunteers, along with organisations such as cycling uk and british cycling to continually make the case, both to the public and to government, of the transportational and health benefits of cycling along with a pressing need for suitable infrastructure, yet, parking, roads and motorways are offered as a matter of course, with seemingly little in the way of necessary pressure groups to achieve those outcomes. as far as i know, there is no motoring uk or british motoring to hold government to account for a perceived lack of concern towards motorists.

but perhaps the british public is, in this case, it's own worst enemy, relying solely on government recognition to achieve for cycling what most of us would like to have as a matter of course. as i mentioned above, no persuasion is required to have teenagers apply for their provisional licences, while the bank of mum and dad often seems predisposed to pay for the necessary lessons to achieve a full driver's licence. where are the mums and dads ensuring that their little darlings are not only in possession of a suitably-sized bicycle, but that it is properly maintained and replaced as they grow into young adults? and where are those selfsame parents who, in the absence of school-based cycle training, would shell out for independent cycle-training, or who might undertake to do so themselves?

i made the point earlier that i believe cycling ought to be mandatory in each and every primary school for the very reasons that have been outlined within this monologue. only government or local councils can mandate for that, but in the absence of such, maybe we only have ourselves to blame? i have no doubt that there are well-meaning and comptetent parents who do, indeed, teach their children to ride bicycles in traffic safely, but i would imagine they are relatively few and far between. it's society at large that would need to change, elevating the bicycle to the same position of idolatry from which it seems the motor car benefits without question.

perhaps the onset of climate change will begin to filter through to the great unwashed; the cancellation of a formula one grand prix this weekend due to serious flooding in italy might, ironically, have a few waken up and smell the coffee. it has long been my exaggerated contention that cycling both cures and solves everything. i can only hope that a few more folks begin to believe the same thing.

saturday 20 may 2023

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look sp4 indoor pedals

way back, when we were kids, bicycles, were bicycles, were bicycles. we used them for pretty much everything. i recall holding a jumble sale with my school-friends, collecting jumble from folks' houses on our bicycles, even a rather ill-advised attempt to collect a ladder and carry it between two bicycles. that did not end well. in the town in which i was brought up, there was a large field which almost separated one end of the town from the other, and certainly separated one set of friends from the other. it had been, at one time, a golf course, but had now returned to semi-wild status. to ease walking and cycling through the undergrowth, the local council had constructed a wide gravel path that took cyclists past the swing park, tennis courts, cricket ground and the indoor swimming pool and bowling alley.

it might surprise some of today's cyclists that, prior to entering the field as we had tautologically named it, we did not swap from our regular bicycles to velocipedes more suited to the offroad realm, then back again at the other end. and simply to exaggerate my point, before a flurry of housebuilding took place, the end of my street ended somewhat abruptly, before entering what had been an air force outpost during the second world war. this was a field of a different order, sporting several former air-raid shelters that, as youngsters, we were parentally forbidden from entering.

less inclined simply to walk to the latter in order to contradict mum and dad's advice, we'd just cycle there, before ploughing through everything that stood in our way and occasionally falling off, just like in real mountain biking. the fact that the invention of the mountain bike was still some twenty years distant was of little consequence. it is, of course, possible that the bicycle offered greater specialisation than that of which we were aware, but given that this was the era of the raleigh rsw 16, the raleigh twenty, the raleigh chopper and the archetypal ten speed racer, i think our grasp of the situation was reasonably well-informed.

whatever we wanted to do on a bike could be done (or attempted) on whatever we owned at the time. the bicycle on which i rode to school each day was the same on which i delivered newspapers in the mornings, seven days a week, and the same bicycle used to deliver pharmacy prescriptions two days per week after school.

you can blame it on the marketplace, on capitalism or on technical progress; whatever you like, but life is a darned sight less simple these days. even the bikeshed of yours truly features a few road bikes, two cyclocross bikes, a sit-up-and-beg roadster and a kid's bike that simply refuses to leave. were i to be seen as one of those progressives, i'd doubtless also possess a mountain bike and a totally pointless gravel bike. but i don't.

however, if my cynical generosity stretched far enough to encompass all of the above without reservation, it would surely also have to accept the claims of many component and accessory purveyors that each of those differing velocipedinal genres requires specific accoutrements. to wit: gravel bike saddles, road bike chainsets, mountain bike mudguards, and groupsets designed for bikepacking. if the respective marketing departments are to believed, fitting a road-bike saddle to a mountain bike will either result in chastising from one's erstwhile colleagues, or chafing on a scale you'd scarcely believe. product lines are surely not interchangeable?

and is it wrong to wonder if my ritchey would come to grinding halt were i to install a gravel-specific groupset?

and then, of course, there is the great indoors. not only can one acquire turbo trainer specific rear tyres for trainers that demand the rear wheel remain in situ, but even custom indoor cycle clothing, dye-sublimated for cycle teams despite the rather obvious hurdle that indoor cycling tends to be carried out alone, and nobody can see you anyway. and within the provision for the latter sits indoor-specific cycle footwear (for who in their right mind would wear their sidis or carnacs in the man or woman cave?)

but with specific relevance to the latter comes a collaboration between stages and look to offer a set of indoor pedals. obscurely designated as the sp4, the pedals are compatible with look's delta or spd cleats, or with the fitment of the stages platform cage, compatible with any athletic footwear 'to bring indoor riders a pedal able to accommodate nearly every shoe used in gyms or home training.'

look, in particular, say they have had requests for just such a pedal from 'the indoor space' for years. so, over and above the money you've spent on a state-of-the-art carbon bicycle (when will someone release an indoor specific bicycle?), an eyewateringly expensive smart trainer and an annual zwift subscription, now you can acquire a set of indoor pedals, replete with platform cages, to fit your entire cupboard of athletic footwear for a mere £150.

what is wrong with these people?

thursday 18 may 2023

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tail wagging the dog?

pinarello dogma xc

i cannot deny that it initially came as something of a surprise to learn that bicycle manufacturers actually paid substantial amounts of money to sponsor cycle teams at almost every level. not surprisingly, the world tour teams are those to benefit from the largest deposits in their bank accounts, but put in blunt terms, it seemed a particularly odd state of affairs. imagine, for a moment, that while perusing the exhibits at the likes of the annual rouleur classic, fausto pinarello tapped you on the shoulder to ask if he could possibly interest you in a free dogma in your size and colour, and perhaps a few thousand pounds to help sweeten the deal?

you see what i mean? very odd.

however, that seems to be the way it works, only a matter of moments before pinarello's marketing department swings into action to promote the fact that, midst all the various brands available, you chose to ride his bicycles. you might note that the marketing press release makes no mention of your being paid to ride said bicycle, leaving the implication that the decision was based solely on quality and suitability.

the odd part of the equation is remarkably similar to that of the whisky industry, the marketing departments of which spend a great deal of money persuading prospective customers that the amber nectar they would like you to consume, has been aged in a pedro ximenez cask in a warehouse only a matter of centimetres from the salt sea spray, the latter investing that particular single-malt with flavours that could never be acquired from any competing brand.

those two situations share a common bond; you and i both know that tadej pogacar rides a colnago because colnago pay handsomely for that to be the case, yet i'd be willing to bet that there are customers who are set on acquiring cambiago's finest entirely on tadej's 'say-so'. similarly, the world's whisky aficionados are well aware that a substantial portion of a distillery's output is transported by tanker to a warehouse that has never seen so much as the crest of a wave. yet the majority seem happy to accept the distillery's view of the world as gospel in spite of already having taken the reality check.

however, in terms of cycling sponsorship, it is effectively a two-way street. what fausto might not tell you until such time as you've signed on the dotted line, is that he'd be most grateful for any and all feedback on the properties and quality of the bicycle that is already en-route to your bike shed. if it turns out to be less impressive than you'd hoped, or there was bottom bracket flex just at the point where you were about to cream wout van aert in the sprint, fausto wants to know immediately, so that he can send his boffins scurrying to remedy the situation before the tour de france.

in the original paradigm, there is a distinct train of events. the cycle manufacturer already produces a bicycle of which he/she is rightly proud, a cycle that they are keen should be ridden in the heat of battle, partly for marketing purposes, but also to help develop more efficient and desirable bicycles. however, it is notable that this situation may have been reversed in recent years, quite possibly at even greater cost than the outlined sponsorship agreement.

two seasons past, jumbo visma rider, wout van aert found himself bereft of bicycle after his team changed bike sponsors from bianchi to cervelo. the former did have a 'cross bike in its range, but cervelo did not. eventually the latter created a suitable carbon machine for the belgian, but delayed releasing it to the public until wout had succeeded in having the majority of professional 'cross riders seriously question their career choices. it is highly likely that the cervelo range would still be devoid of a cyclocross model had wout van aert signed for an alternative team.

and now the tables have turned once again at the behest of yet another cyclocross star: tom pidcock. though pinarello already featured a 'cross bike in their range, what they didn't have was a mountain bike. and like many other 'cross riders, including british champion, cameron mason, pidcock has an affinity for xc mountain biking. therefore, despite his ineos contract no doubt requiring him not to be seen aboard anything other than a pinarello, for the last two years' seasons, including the olympics and world championships, he had no option but to ride another brand, frequently with no discernible logo on the down tube.

we can but assume that, either pinarello were champing at the bit to get into mountain biking, or were fed up hiding their heads in shame at the fact one of their top sponsored riders was having to take top honours on someone else's mountain bike. which would presumably explain why they have announced the pinarello dogma xc, a bicycle apparently developed specifically for pidcock and pauline ferrand-prévot. in a close parallel to cervelo's situation, pinarello will not make the dogma xc available until early 2024.

according to reports, pinarello recruited a dedicated internal mtb r&d and kinematics team, with development on the dogma xc beginning with pinarello analysing pidcock's feedback and data from his two previous years of mountain bike testing and competition.

the more things stay the same, the more they seem to change. or words to that effect.

wednesday 17 may 2023

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look out, it's behind you

garmin varia ertl615

on saturday afternoon, despite a glowing warmth from rarely seen hebridean sunshine, i headed into a relatively modest headwind along the road that leads from gruinart flats to uiskentuie on the shores of loch indaal. as this forms a part of my regular saturday parcours, i know the road probably better than the back of my hands; where the passing places are located, where the road surface needs to be avoided, and where there might be lambs (at this time of year) that have escaped mother's attention and are to be found wandering the road.

always on the lookout for oncoming traffic, that i might find the safety of a nearby passing place, i had not long past a sizeable coach belonging to campbeltown-based, west coast motors, traversing a rather narrow single-track road en-route, i presumed, to the rspb reserve at the opposite end of gruinart flats. though not actually my problem, i did hope the driver would not meet an oncoming motor-home, the drivers of which are notoriously poor at reversing. the coach was way too big to fit any of islay's passing places.

however, as i neared the top of a short rise, and despite making continual checks for following traffic, i found myself being closely trailed by a vehicle i had not seen, nor heard coming. i figured the latter was at the behest of that headwind, which was probably partially responsible, but the main reason it had arrived unheard, was the fact that it was an electric car. trying not to appear startled, i popped into a the first passing place to allow the vehicle to pass, in the process of which, it made remarkably little sound as it headed into the distance.

as the nation moves closer to the point where electric vehicles will become ever more prevalent, given the announced future prohibition on producing engines reliant on fossil-fuels, the above scenario will undoubtedly become increasingly common. though i believe several manufacturers, including volkswagen, are beavering away to install some form of recognisable sound to their e-vehicles, i'm unsure if there is any government legislation in the uk, that requires them to do so. and though many exotic sonic schemes have been portrayed, it would surely save a lot of time and money, if they just made it sound like a car?

until this point in time, velocipedinists who reside in relatively unpopulated and erstwhile serene locations, have survived due to being apparently more observant that our motoring counterparts, many of whom seem unduly perturbed on meeting our two wheels along single track roads. i was once under the misapprehension that, if i could see them over a mile distant, they could presumably return the favour. sadly, that seems more often, not to be the case. you will now be realising why it is so important to know the location of every passing place along the way.

so, what i once viewed as yet another solution looking for a problem, now seems to be about to confirm its niche in life, and very much to our benefit. in a variation of the original varia series of rear lights, garmin have introduced a battery-less device that can be plugged into compatible e-bikes, that its radar warnings will never suffer from a lack of juice. several models also include a rear-facing video camera to record vehicle activity in case an infraction requires tangible evidence.

these are devices of which i have no practical experience, but i do wonder how easy it is to differentiate between following vehicles that might cause you harm in the midst of heavy traffic. however, i can see the value on a personal level if the prevalence of electric vehicles visiting the principality increases. for i know with certainty that howling headwinds have no intention or likelihood of evaporating in the near future. it does seem a tad disappointing, however, that the onus on safety has, once again, been devolved to the cyclist. unless of course, hans zimmer manages to engineer a suitable soundscape identifying an upcoming electric volkswagen.

but while i wholeheartedly applaud garmin for producing a device that promises to assist the safe travel of subscribing cyclists, you really have to wonder whatever were they thinking when they named the e-bike version ertl615?

garmin ertl615

tuesday 16 may 2023

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