national pride

cameron mason silver medal

i have always regarded it as salient advice to refrain from writing about politics or religion, both subjects about which folks seem to have confirmed and often unwavering opinions. there is no more direct manner in which it is possible to gain or lose readers, or listeners than spouting forth. if i proclaim support for party a, then those predisposed towards party b will likely give me short shrift. thankfully, i have no specific views on either, very much of the opinion that members of each political party are every bid as bad (or good, depending on your point of view) as each other.

the current state of britain's political landscape lends great credence to the advice not to vote because it will only encourage them.

however, i am very much of the viewpoint that pride in one's nationality is distinct from nationalism. borders, certainly within the united kingdom and across mainland europe, are simply lines on a map. as you cross the border from scotland to england, or vice versa, there is no physical edifice to signify where one ends and the other begins. but given that, at some point in history, someone decided that there would be a distinction between the three nations that comprise mainland britain, our socially conditioned nationalities are inbred. and i like being scottish.

on my second visit to portland oregon over ten years ago, i was about to board a flight from pdx to sacramento to attend the north american handbuilt bicycle show, when i was asked by an elderly security guard to present my boarding card. the friendly soul enquired if i was having a good day, to which i replied in the affirmative. following my reply, he smiled and said "i love the way you speak our language." this cheery exchange had been preceded earlier in the trip when i found it necessary to ask a portland council employee for directions to west end cycles. she immediately enquired as from which part of scotland i hailed, before encouraging me to talk some more as she delighted in the scottish accent.

until taken from my hebridean surroundings, i hadn't actually realised i had an accent.

however, i do not consider myself to be a fanatic about my nationality; fanaticism about anything is not, in my opinion, a healthy state of affairs. and, at the risk of alienating any of those who have had the tenacity to read this far, i see no real point in scotland becoming an independent nation, simply to underline the fact that we are scottish.

over the course of cycling's great heritage, the minute section of the scottish nation that actually cares, has had a few opportunities for celebration: robert millar, chris hoy and graeme obree to name but three. wales sports a population of 3.3 million, while scotland's is reckoned to be around 5.5 million. both of these, however, are dwarfed by that of england which is only a smattering of individuals short of 57 million. so, for the same reason that islay does not feature a grade one pipe band (insufficient population to support that quality of musician), the fact that even three individuals have reached the top of their tree is of particular note. even more so when you consider that the playing field on which they gained this stature extends a great deal farther than british shores.

however, the modern era, following untrammeled track cycling success in the early decades of the 21st century, coupled with prince bradley's yellow jersey and gold medals, has resulted in government largesse to maintain this sense of national pride. thus, any brit who wishes to strive for a similar level of success can find themselves with access to a national programme designed to assist with such aspirations. compare that with a young robert millar who headed across the channel in the early 80s to seek a cycling career under his own steam.

to an extent, that is a similar state of affairs that persists in cyclocross today. if we concur that cycling remains a niche sport, then cyclocross is a minute niche within that greater niche, and not one generally supported by the british cycling performance programme. the first to buck the trend in recent years was tom pidcock who, along with his peers (mathieu van der poel and wout van aert) now has a very successful road racing career as a result of successes in european cyclocross. and a scottish rider who once shared a team (trinity racing) with tom pidcock, now races in the four european trophy series as british cyclocross champion.

cameron mason is 23 years of age, and has transferred his efforts from trinity racing to 777 cyclocross racing red. but in his early years, he and his dad would regularly make the trip from scotland across to belgium and holland in order to compete with the best of the best. yesterday on a very muddy parcours at pontchatêau in france, cameron mason took silver in the european cyclocross championship behind last year's belgian winner, michael vantourenhout, cementing his place amongst the upper echelon of the world's elite cyclocross riders.

i'm suprised you didn't hear me cheering from here.

monday 6 november 2023

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favourable exertions

tacx indoor trainer

it has become an almost legendary cliché that sales of gym memberships increase dramatically in the month of january, almost all at the behest of new year resolutions. these, assuming them to be annual memberships, will doubtless boost the bottom line of the fitness clubs concerned, but anecdotal evidence would suggest that, in the case of monthly memberships, by the time we get to easter, the numbers have substantially declined.

failing to follow through on good intentions appears to be a human trait, no matter your age or nationality, and is something once reflected in sales of bicycle shaped objects, the owners of which would usually contact me a matter of months following purchase, to ask if i knew of anyone who might like to purchase a little-used bicycle. in many cases, little-used was a euphemism for still in the box. those were the days of sterling house offers, whereby the velocipedinally ignorant could acquire two, his and her mountain bikes for a penny less than £100.

not for nothing were they referred to as bicycle shaped objects.

that said, there is almost bound to be a number of individuals who, having decided (or had it decided for them) to improve their fitness, stick with it for the long-term. common lore would have us believe that any practice continued for a period of 21 days or more, becomes a habit, thus engendering a regime that might be expected to last for an appropriate period of time. to use a related, yet unrelated example, i have been writing thewashingmachinepost pretty much every day for more years than i can truthfully recall. it's a process that is built into my day, and one that i would find it very hard to ignore, even on days when there are more pressing matters requiring attention.

i daren't reveal just what mrs washingmachinepost has to say on days such as those.

and though i confess to being seriously prejudiced in such matters, i do believe that inculcating the habit of cycling regularly pays great dividends over a long period of time. take the mighty dave-t for example. he is now into his eighties, yet still goes out on his bike regularly and claims that the so-called kilchiaran loop is still a favourite of his, despite a lengthy 14% climb in whichever direction it is approached. would that we could all sport that level of fitness in our later years.

however, despite the naysaying portrayed above, it seems possible that recent years have actually brought on a more positive attitude towards improving one's fitness and then maintaining it. i base my conclusions upon the knowledge that america's life time group has posted a 23% increase in annual revenue which, they claim, is due in part to increased member visits to their fitness clubs. according to reports, these are now up by 24% on pre-pandemic levels.

the latter, of course, may only relate to north america; i have no comparable information for the uk, but judging by the number of tv adverts for fitness clubs, they're either desperate for new members, or attempting to consolidate already healthy numbers. however, what could conceivably also be attributed to this side of the pond, is the knowledge that garmin, producers of those devices often seen affixed to a set of handlebars near you, has reported a 12% increase in revenue which, according to garmin is the result of increased fitness demand.

the numbers relating to bicycle gps units, power-meter pedals and tackx indoor trainers increased 26% year-on-year, presumably pointing to cyclists not only being at the forefront of the fitness boom, but statistically more likely to continue once they've started. since this suits my purposes, i'm going to categorically state that we, as sang freddy mercury, are the champions when it comes to not only deciding to become fit, continuing that trend well past the initial 21 days, but being keen enough to shell out our hard-earned on all manner of ancillary accessories that might tell us just how fit we are becoming.

can it be pure coincidence that the tv has just regaled me with the tears for fears song, everybody wants to rule the world? in this case, everybody means cyclists.


sunday 5 november 2023

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and the beat goes on

paul smith factor bike

there is an indeterminate period of time that has to elapse before an item of contemporary cycle clothing becomes regarded either as vintage or a part of the sport's great heritage. the arbiter of that time lapse was once the inestimable prendas ciclismo when still in the hands of andy storey and mick tarrant. i mean no disrespect to the current owners of prendas, but i fear their perspective differs somewhat from the aformentioned twosome. mick and andy's time in the hot seats were undoubtedly popularised by the iconic chequerboard peugeot jersey as worn by eddy, tommy and robert, but eventually even the greg era, when the jersey morphed to that of roger zannier's vetements z became the perfect candidate for a vintage jersey.

rapha's simon mottram, who once told me he had a great deal of respect for mick and andy, was apt to feature vintage tribute jerseys at imperial works, closely approximating the originals, but differing in their specific treatment, simply alluding to that we all knew so well. there will come a time when the black sky jersey with blue stripe and lettering will be ripe for the prendas treatment, but quite when that might take place depends on which setting is prevalent on their historical barometer. the same will eventually occur with jumbo visma which, by common consent, might happen sooner than that of team sky.

a member of the velo club arrived at the croft yesterday lunchtime, clad in a team coast jersey recalling the german team from the turn of the century that became team bianchi in 2003, when the previous sponsors were unable to pay their riders. fernando escartin and alex zulle both spent time in coast colours.

matters of taste and perspicacity come into just how each vintage jersey is viewed by the modern-day cyclist, particularly those with greater investment in contemporary cycling. the stripey kelme jersey, despite being worn by riders of the once longest serving sponsor seems almost conspicuous by its absence, while even those who were mere children at the time, seem content to acquire not only authentic looking mapei jerseys, but possibly even suitably decorated colnago bicycles, wearing and riding both without a hint of timeous disconnect.

yet those to be seen aboard elderly steel peugeots, clad in a tommy simpson era jersey are quite likely to be apprehended as refugees from a nearby staging of the eroica. it's all about context. but for the majority of us, neutrality is the name of the game, with both apparel and bicycle deliciously undatable, consigning neither as out and out modernists or determined luddites; supplicants of a bygone age. not for us the special edition that apportions us as adherents to a particular time and space. but within that amorphous peloton, there are obviously those who have a hankering to avoid any thoughts of ubiquity; in other words, 'special editions r'us'.

why else would ribble (no disrespect intended, but not a brand i would identify as one of cycling's major players) feature an edit collection at rouleur live? this particular collection does not, as far as i can tell, debut any technological advancements, but simply consists of five models displaying "premium paint schemes and finishes that reflect artistry in custom hand-built bicycles." given that these appear predominantly to be of carbon monocoque construction (there is a titanium frame featuring hand-built 3d printed head tube and seat-tube clusters), the appellations hand-built and custom may not encompass the definitions understood by many.

perhaps subsequently highlighting these as exhibiting artistic hand finishing techniques might better qualify expectations.

however, it seems that ribble are not the only ones to take existing bicycles and apply an allegedly unique veneer. factor bikes have recently announced the paul smith edition factor ostro vam decorated in an exclusive limited edition colourway. quite obviously, tastes in such matters vary greatly throughout the international peloton, but while i have no gripe with mr smith, not having ever been in possession of a suit of any kind throughout my entire life (so far), i cannot deny, i'd be less than keen to ride a bicycle on which paul smith's signature is emblazoned across the down tube and fork legs. it would concern me greatly that people would begin to refer to me as paul, though admittedly no-one has called me ritchey over the past five years.

all of the above simply demands that i ask the question: why?

saturday 4 november 2023

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keepy uppy

e-bike maintenance

i attended art college in the mid 1970s, ultimately studying graphic design as my final choice having been dropped by both sculpture and drawing and painting. the two parts of my final year involved actual graphic design and so-called textile design, which was colloquially referred to as screen-printing, a printing technique that is, in fact, applicable to more than just woven materials. within the graphic design department, however, we also received instruction in stone lithography, letterpress, etching and offset litho.

aside from engraving, all the above encompassed the majority of printing techniques available at the time. or perhaps more pointedly, the techniques that had been suitably assimilated by the college for instruction to its students. graphic design, the practise of which included all manner of design, such as posters, book covers, logos, banners, illustration et al, rests the bulk of its techniques on producing the above with a certain degree of isolation. however, it would be very difficult and, to be honest, somewhat remiss, to simply concentrate on the design aspect alone.

for instance, a design test set for the class involved producing a poster for the homeless charity, shelter. many will identify with the persona of those in their late teens, all-knowing individuals to whom little can be taught, because they already know everything, of which i was one amongst many. following a series of exotic, skilled and highly colourful entries from the class, the overall prize went to the designer of a purely monochrome poster, knowledge of which had the majority of us scratching our heads. until, however, it was pointed out that printing in black and white was cheaper than colour; and since shelter possessed a limited income stream, saving money was a big plus.

as part of the course, we were instructed in the arcane art of stone lithography, a technique that, although forming the basis for contemporary litho printing, had not been used commercially for many a long year. why, we asked ourselves, were we not being exposed to the day's cutting edge technology encompassed in the nascent laser-printing technology? there was, of course, a perfectly explicable reason for what at the time seemed to be a glaring omission.

as advised above, laser-printing in the mid-seventies was only approaching the foothills, likely considered to be a 'work in progress'. as such, by the time the technology was appropriately annotated, edited and approved, those receiving instruction in its intricacies would be arriving at art college several years after my departure. given my present-day experience of laser-printing technology, i can comprehend just how long it would have taken to conceive of an applicable syllabus.

in the last month of 1895, ogden bolton jr. was granted the first patent for a battery powered bicycle. in the early 1990s, many years after i had left college, montague bikes conceived what is regarded as the first electric mountain bike. this was preceded in 1989 by a prototype electric bicycle built by yamaha who are also regarded as inventors of the pedal-assist technology that features on the majority of contemporary e-bikes. and strangely enough, in 1997, former american car executive, lee iacocca founded a company to produce an electric bicycle named the e-bike sx, seen as one of the first attempts to popularise e-bikes across the pond.

by common consent, e-bikes were a thing as long ago as the turn of the century, perhaps more than underlining why mid-seventies art students were not being educated in the latest of printing technologies.

i say this because cytech, purveyors of training and accreditation schemes for bicycle maintenance technicians (mechanics) has now relaunched its theory one online learning course to, amongst other things, include a new module on e-bikes, including recent legislation and battery safety. as the reputed star of the show, e-bikes are often considered to be at the cutting edge of bicycle engineering, with new or improved technologies emerging almost on a daily basis. therefore, even those who shell out the £150 to undertake the online course, are unlikely to be appraised of bang, up-to-the-minute e-bike technology.

it's a paradigm that can be seen as applicable to the e-bike world as a whole. even if you have purchased the very latest machinery available on the bike shop floor, someone, somewhere has made something even better that you haven't ridden yet.

friday 3 november 2023

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sometimes you do have to wonder


sometimes inadvisedly, i have made my opinions very clear on several velocipedinal developments that i regard as unnecessary or solutions scrabbling to find a problem. in many cases, these opinions are somewhat rhetorical, since i am already aware of the particular rationale behind some, and on occasion, simply to play devil's advocate, i have deliberately missed the point. the forlorn hope behind the majority of outpourings, is that a boffin or chief executive officer somewhere in cyclesville, will realise that i have pointed out the emperor's new clothes, and realise the error of their ways.

almost on topic, i recall a visit to the rouleur classic (now referred to as rouleur live) at which shimano displayed a hydraulic disc-brake enabled groupset, helpfully pointing out that this was available to you and i, but still held at arm's length from the professional classes. the great wonder is that no-one in a position of authority seems to have noticed the irony of that situation. if you'll allow me to do so, i might point out that, if disc-brakes were not required by the professionals, then they were surely of negligible use to mere amateurs.

i realise there's a certain level of reverse psychology at work, in that our handling skills may be better served by the extra power afforded by discs, while the pros were unlikely to be disadvantaged by rim brakes, but i'm sure you get my point. and just remember that suntour's pedersen self-energising cantilevers, which operated on a helical cam that pulled the brake pads ever tighter at the behest of forward motion, were originally advertised as being suitable only for rear-mounting, due to fears that their untrammeled power would be likely to engender face-plants if installed on the front fork.

however, midst the stunningly large number of incompatible bottom bracket standards, i still think we were sold a dummy when it comes to the now ubiquitous a-headset. this, so the copywriter promised, was not only more easily adjustable than the threaded headset combined with a quill stem, but significantly lighter. as far as i, and many others are concerned, the sole benefit to be gained was the sidelining of those enormous headset spanners that required to be used in pairs.

i should, however, be used to the oddities that have surfaced from time to time throughout the history of the bicycle, many claiming to be the last word in desirable accessories or performance enhancement. how many recall greg lemond's drop-in bars, or cipollini's girder style stem? and then there's biopace; ovalised chainrings that subsequently shed their oval profile for something more round. though shimano reputedly admitted that their mechanical advantage was non-existent, it hasn't stopped others espousing their alleged virtues. it's possible they may be closer to dumbo's white feather than they are to performance enhancement.

yet, despite an almost inevitable return to that which is proven across all genres of cycling, there are still those whose ideology has them striving for the answer to a question which nobody actually asked. only yesterday, my e-mail inbox provided a link to a cycle-specific item that i would have sworn was a practical joke, designed to elicit at the very least, a stifled grin on viewing. referred to as the saddlespur and claiming to be 'bike saddles reimagined', you will want to recall where you were when first you caught sight of this aberration. in the words of the correspondent who alerted me to its existence, "perhaps I am missing something, but what were they thinking of?" i'm sure the majority will sympathise with his observation.

oddly, the folks behind saddlespur claim that the patented design will 'reduce your weight and improve every bike ride.' the latter part of that statement may be judged as subjective, but i fail to comprehend how the addition of a small backrest at the rear of the saddle is likely to reduce weight, either of the rider or the bicycle. and according to a paragraph from the published research, due to appear in the journal of sporting science this month, 'The cycling community is already buzzing, eagerly anticipating the performance advantages that SaddleSpurŞ brings.'

i'm sure we are all feeling somewhat isolated in our ignorance.

however, despite my mocking prose, i was more than willing to be proved wrong, thus i earnestly clicked on the website link that invited me to read the study, as carried out by the sports department of anglia ruskin university. however, far from availing myself of an academic treatise explaining the engineering and ergonomic thinking behind the invention, i simply found myself reading spurious quotes such as "A unique invention that has the potential to reshape the cycling industry." and caught in a loop, where every read the research link simply returned me to the previous page. i have yet to find or read any academic paper that might advise of the conditions under which the saddle was clinically tested. the best i could find was:

"Six men. Six women. 10 miles of rigorous cycling. Physiological, mechanical, and perceptual data are meticulously collected and analysed. The results? Enhanced comfort, improved recovery, and faster finish times."

ten miles? and as evidenced by the accompanying images, those ten miles appear to have been accomplished aboard wahoo kickr indoor bicycles. had i realised that ten miles is an optimum distance over which to review any velocipedinal product, not only would thewashingmachinepost reviews have been considerably less wordy, but i could have saved myself a great deal of time.

the only conclusion i can reach with certainty is that they're definitely not targeting the cyclocross market.

thanks to richard peploe for highlighting this indispensible addition to any nearby seatpost.


thursday 2 november 2023

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how well are we being served?

heath robinson

in the mid 1990s, eager to enhance the cycle services i was providing to the island, i opted to attempt an expansion across any part of the nation that might have found itself interested. having discovered that i was better at building bicycle wheels than i could ever have imagined possible - back when handbuilt wheels were still 'a thing' - i took a series of adverts in a now defunct cycle magazine offering potential customers the opportunity to match their choice of hubs, spokes and rims into the wheelset of their dreams.

flawed approach as it now seems, the entire premise leaned heavily on my purchasing the necessary components on receipt of a confirmed order. this was born from a distinct lack of financial wherewithal to keep any amount of anything in stock. never one with much of a head for business or entrepreneurship, it never quite dawned on me that there were already well-established wheelbuilders who probably already had pre-built wheels in stock and whose purchasing acumen likely afforded a retail price considerably lower than anything i could realistically offer.

it portrays me in no amount of good light to admit that from the three adverts that appeared in print, i received only a single enquiry from a gent with very restrained requirements that centred upon shimano 105 hubs, mavic rims and dt swiss spokes. i had hoped to carve my own little corner of the market that sustained itself on items such as chris king or white industries hubs, spoked in a snowflake pattern to perhaps the ultimate rim offered from mavic. though i believe i still possess the ability to build a decent set of wheels, i'd imagine i'm currently the only one likely to benefit from this professed skill.

however, invoking my honours degree in hindsight, i may have dodged a bullet, so to speak. as the years have rolled by, we find ourselves in an increasingly litigious society, at least partially at the behest of americana. and irrespective of how much, or how little my non-existent customers might have spent on a wheelset, i'm guessing they'd be legally entitled to some sort of warranty, one which in retrospect, i was highly ill-equipped to service. but even more dangerously, both physically and financially, what if i'd sold a wheelset that subsequently experienced structural deficiencies and was the cause of an unfortunate accident. it hadn't occurred to me at the time to acquire some sort of public liability insurance.

so, rather than bemoaning the fact that no-one wanted to purchase any of my hypothetical wheels, i now find myself extremely grateful that this turned out to be the case.

recent weeks have brought the name of the world's largest bicycle component manufacturer to an unfortunate level of disrepute following the recall notice issued concerning delamination of its hollow-tech cranks. it's a situation that had one of the velo club arrive on a david millar edition brompton last sunday, since he had now been warned not to ride his shimano dura-ace equipped colnago c64. shimano's need to invoke a 'global inspection and replacement program' has already cost them almost £95 million and is likely to impact heavily on its finances in the next fiscal quarter. bear in mind that the inspection program relates to cranks manufactured as long ago as 2011.

just when they may have thought it safe to go back in the water.

but, while campagnolo and sram may have experienced even a modest degree of smugness, the latter might now be in the process of becoming a smidgeon more sympathetic, having announced its own recall situation that currently applies solely to north america. though at present the recall concerns only aftermarket components, and unsold items at that, just like shimano, the situation always holds the possibility of unexpected escalation.

reports at present indicate that the problem relates to an excess of threadlock applied to the clamp-bolt holding the lever to the handlebars. additionally, it's currently constrained to twelve-speed levers from the red, force, rival and apex groupsets, advising retailers to identify the potentially affected components and replace the described bolts with the official substitute. apparently levers fitted as original equipment to complete bicycles are unaffected.

though sram's problem can largely be considered somewhat more fundamental than the difficulties experienced by shimano, it does seem eminently possible that, as bicycles become ever more complex in order to provide the end user with simplicity of operation, the opportunity for error seems likely to increase. i'm willing to bet that the legal departments of all three named component manufacturers are every bit as large as their respective research and development operations.

i wonder if elon has insurance for space x?

image © heath robinson estate

wednesday 1 november 2023

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reality bites

kickr move smart trainer

i can but apologise for probably reprising a subject i have undoubtedly covered in a previous monologue, but given the way matters appear to be developing, i hope you realise that i really had no other choice. and yet again, this will involve my return to the happy place that i like to call my drumset(s), where comparisons are serendipitously similar. for those devoid of admiration for the philosophies as espoused by ned ludd, it might be more appropriate for you to break out the coffee machine.

early versions of electronic drums featured a playing surface manufactured from the materials used in the construction of riot shields. considerably different from the average drumhead, if nothing else, the hardened surface was apt to repel even the heaviest of players without much in the way of surface trauma, but there were accompanying rumours advising of ligament distress. version two arrived with a rubberised surface that allegedly more closely approximated that of the aforementioned drumhead, and, from personal experience, was a tad easier to play, though with a rather quick rebound.

at least one or two of you will probably recall anita bell's recording entitled, ring that bell, a recording that featured an annoyingly repetitive electronic drum, courtesy of the 'syndrum', but by and large, as is still predominantly the case, electronic drums did their level best to approximate the sound of an acoustic drum. this is a trend that has spread far and wide, with e-bikes replicating acoustic bikes and electric cars all but indistinguishable from their fossil-fuel powered peers. however, though the majority of electronic drumsets contain several non-acoustic sounding presets, the majority involve the digital sampling of quality acoustic drums.

this, i should point out at this juncture, is the very definition of irony, where electronica is incapable of fulfilling its ultimate destiny without the existence of its predecessor. but it gets worse.

a promotional feature of early electronic drums was their compact and bijou footprint, allied to a portability that made them a viable alternative to the bulkier reality of a 'real' drumset. for those who lived in space-restricted lodgings, this, claimed the manufacturers, was as manna from heaven. and it made life a great deal simpler for the weekend drummer where the access door is always at the opposite end from the stage.

however, in an attempt to replicate a more realistic percussive experience, those flat rubber pads gained replicated, shallow shells, replacing the rubber pad with mesh drumheads which promised a tunable, more realistic feel, without any added volume. e-cymbals remained predominantly rubber-coated, but suspended in a way that allowed them to react in the manner of their larger, metallic brethren. as with the drums, the cymbals included multiple zones, enabling the drummer to almost match the myriad tones available from paiste and zildjian.

but, once again, it got worse.

the very latest of electronic drumsets are all but indistinguishable from the real thing, featuring advanced, digital electronics ensconced within full-size wooden drumshells, replete with metal lugs into which the tension bolts are fitted. were you to attend a concert where the drummer is to be witnessed playing just such contemporaneity, the sole giveaway would be a lack of microphones arranged around the set. this has thus afforded the opportunity to spend a veritable fortune to sound every bit the same as real drums, available at far lower cost.

to recap, and in an almost mirror image of the digital camera world, e-drums began life eschewing any unnecessary resemblances to acoustic drums, and following over forty years of endless technical development, they have pretty much ended up identical to their predecessors. drum workshop have even released a range of drumsets consisting of crafted acoustic shells on which the drumheads can be swapped out for mesh heads conjoined with wirelessly connected digital drum modules.

the more presumptious amongst you will by now have realised that the world of indoor smart trainers is firmly in my crosshairs, where millions of pounds and thousands of hours have been spent in order to make the indoor cycling experience as realistic as it can possibly get, without the apparent inconvenience of having to step outdoors. and with the portent of storm ciaran heading in the direction of the southern part of the uk, there's always the highly likely possibility that they're right and i'm wrong. but there seems something fundamentally wrong with the undertaking of such earnest research and manufacturing endeavour to simply take something that exists in the world of make-believe and make it seem perfectly normal.

the catalyst for this unwarranted outpouring was my coming across an online advert for wahoo's kickr move smart trainer. and though it is almost always in my best interests to repeat the mantra outside is free, this particular simulated outside is anything but, bearing a price tag of a penny less than £1400. while that sinks in, remember that you'll still need a bicycle for there to be any point in owning said trainer. and possibly a zwift subscription to boot.

this particular smart trainer features fore and aft motion of up to 20 centimetres, offering simulated response to changes in riding tempo. and if that were scarcely sufficient, the floor-mounted device also allows for lateral movement to add a greater sense of realism. virtual reality augmentation can be enhanced to an even greater degree by the addition of the £530 kickr climb, adjusting the angle of the bicycle as you pretend to ride uphill. unfortunately, due to the higher position of the kickr move, you'll also need £45 worth of adaptor.

so, for just shy of £2000, you can turn the sitting room/garage/bike shed/ into the great outdoors, minus the wind and rain and anything that might qualify as scenery.

mind you, even adding in the cost of a decent carbon bicycle, it's probably still cheaper than the asking price for drum workshop's entry into the upper echelons of drum synthesis. but every bit as unnecessary, in my opinion.

tuesday 31 october 2023

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