portland design works lars rover front light

pdw lars rover

does anyone remember when still at school, staring out of the window on a sunny june afternoon, daydreaming about anything other than the subject of the class in which you were sitting? i'd love to concur with those who answered yes to that question, but in fact the secondary school which i attended consisted predominantly of a large, sandstone building with tall windows and deep window sills that commenced more than halfway up those sandstone walls. such a method of construction had the disadvantage of rendering views of the great outdoors, other than acres of sky, somewhat obscure.

oddly, the only time i recall staring out of the window in such fashion was during exams which were mostly held in the assembly hall. that was of more contemporary design (back in the day) with lower windows affording views across the playing fields if sat towards the rear door. anyway, the reason i bring this anecdotal situation to your notice is because of the almost inevitable rebuke from the teacher or invigilator for not paying more attention to the subject at hand.

pdw lars rover

it would seem, in my case at least, that this almost pathological inattention to that set before me continues right up until the present day.

a discussion recently witnessed on an interweb not too far from this browser window involved the remarkable predilection of cycle companies to append numbers as a substitute for a memorable description of their product. its nice to ask for a campagnolo record derailleur, a zipp firecrest wheel or a brooks cambium saddle, even if only online. there's little point in arguing that a pf7000 bottom bracket, a 5703 triple chainset or 4600 road brake calipers bear any favourable comparison.

fortunately the ever so slightly eccentric folks at portland design works appear to have an entire filing cabinet of clever apellations thay have yet to use in public. one that has seen the light (see what i did there?) is their lars rover anodised aluminium front light, and it's at this point that my lack of attention has me grovelling at their hypothetical feet.

pdw lars rover

you see, the lars rover is available in two distinct flavours; the 450 and 650, a fact of which i was unaware when the light arrived at the croft for review. in my usual clumsy fashion, i managed to all but destroy the box in which it arrived, so in truth i have no evidence to show which particular model i received. thankfully, pdw's eccentricties stretch as far as colour coding the two varieties. the 450 lumen version features the same charcoal coloured rear section, but a silver anodised front. the 650 lumen contrasts this with an almost military blue surrounding the tiny led.

how did we ever manage without the interweb?

the battery is chargeable via a small usb port on the underside of that blue front section. plugged into the usb port of my macbook air with the supplied cable, the on/off button flashes blue until fully charged, at which point the blue remains always on until disconnected. according to the manual, a fully charged battery can be expected to last 7.5 hours (175 lumens), 4 hours (340 lumens), 2 hours (650 lumens) fast flashing (10 hours) and slow pulsing (10 hours).

pdw lars rover

i rarely, if ever, go riding after dark, partly because i have no real need to, but mostly because there are way too many youngsters driving matt black corsas at speeds that would do credit to lewis hamilton. they've been addicted to this sort of behaviour for so long, it almost qualifies as a local tradition. i really don't fancy becoming a wheeled trophy on their radiator grills after the hours of darkness, so i stay at home. however, should i ever have cause to venture out, the 650 lumen setting is easily bright enough to cause mild distress to oncoming traffic, and certainly provides ample illumination for even the quickest of cyclists.

though there's a heavy-duty, screw-on bracket to retain the lars rover's services across the harshest of terrain, i placed my faith in the more standard version even on my 'cross bike. this is tightly affixed to any handlebar by means of a quick release stretch rubber mount intended more for the commuter. i did have a minor conflict with this latter bracket; the release lever, allowing forward removal of the light from the bracket is mere millimetres above the retaining tab of the rubber strap. on more than one occasion, i managed to release the bracket while attempting simply to remove the light. perhaps if the light release were at the front, the problem would go away. or maybe i ought to be less clumsy.

for the more adventurous, and i would hesitate to include myself amongst such elite company, there's a strap allowing the light to be attached to the top of an appropriately vented helmet. owners of giro's air attack need not apply.

pdw lars rover

as is the case with many other similar lights, none of the brackets allows lateral adjustment of the anodised unit; at all times (helmet mount excluded of course) the light points directly forwards. there are several roads around the principality which are totally devoid of any form of street lighting, and in more than just a few cases, without white lines down the centre. in those instances, it's often helpful to have a front light illuminate the edge of the road, thus avoiding any itinerant cattle or sheep. still, it would be slighly iniquitous to level this line of argument solely at the lars rover, for the majority of competing products are similarly constituted. and in truth, i think it likely that portland design works were more conserned with the urban commuter rather than the country boy on his cyclocross bicycle.

the anodised aluminium construction makes for a very solid unit which, on current evidence, is built to withstand not only inadvertant contact with the ground, but also the bulk of inclement elements. so far it has resisted freezing temperatures, rain, hail and snow. it also has the more than favourable design feature of shielding the rider (me) from whichever lighting mode has been selected. there is nothing more irritating than riding at night and having to shield the effects of a flashing light with a piece of electrical tape.

though i've yet to reach the limits of the battery's charge time, when the top switch illuminates to warn of low battery, there's still a further fifteen minutes of safety net to hopefuly allow reaching home safely. perhaps if those corsa drivers stay at home to watch top gear, there's always the possibility i might pop out every now and again after the hours of darkness with my lars rover accompanied to the rear by a portland design works aether demon rear light. but then again, the sitting room is quite cosy after tea-time.

portland design works lars rover | the lars rover 650 retails in the uk £75 ($110) while the 450 costs £55 ($85). portland design works peoducts are distributed in the uk by paligap.

monday 19 january 2015

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cervo rosso strada 2.0 l/s winter jersey

cervo rosso strada 2.0 jersey

it is a well-known fact that all graphic designers wear black, a look enhanced by a polo-neck or turtle-neck jersey in the days of apple's steve jobs. because he was cool. i have no idea if jonny ive wears either black or turtle-necks, but i believe the point is perhaps well-made and likely already laboured to death. though the black look is probably a style choice, in the days prior to computers its history may be more invested in pragmatism. with items such as cow gum, felt tip, rotring and letraset, much like bicycle mechanics, black seems the ideal solution.

cervo rosso strada 2.0 jersey

but of course, graphic designers are too cool for school, the sort of people blissfully unaffected by events that would elicit a wholly different level of excitement in normal folks. and as thus, it is necessary to cultivate an aura of disdain for anything deigned to be sub-standard, one of which is the use of typefaces that demonstrate a lack of understanding of typography and the uses to which it should be put.

if you see what i mean?

though it seems no longer to be a part of the interweb, in my early years of designer affectation and wearing of black (though i stopped short at the polo-neck) there really was a website called 'designers against brush script'. i'm loathe to quote the definition of those who employ this particular typeface in their day to day entrepreneurship because it's considerably less than flattering. but much like the atomic bomb, it's not the device that's inherently bad, it's the folks that press the button.

cervo rosso strada 2.0 jersey

which is a long-winded way of raising my principal objection, superficial though it may be, against previous items of apparel received from switzerland's cervo rosso. in more than just one instance, their otherwise excellent apparel was marred by the words 'it's your ride' placed vertically over the central back pocket. the slogan itself is less than objectionable, but screening it in brush script...?

which is why there were celebrations in the croft when the strada 2.0 arrived fresh from the now financially disparaged country of switzerland. rather than any sign of brush script about its person, that central rear pocket (with outboard security zipped version) featured instead a highly admirable logo advising that this comfortable, warm, fleece-lined jersey is swiss cycling apparel. the superficiality of all this can be identified by the fact that when worn, such wording cannot be seen by the pilot.

cervo rosso strada 2.0 jersey

according to the cervo rosso website, the strada 2.0 is designed for cool weather riding, an appropriateness to which i can readily attest. though outing number one had to be curtailed due to serious crosswinds that threatened to upend both rider and bicycle, weekend number two brought the strada 2.0 to its senses. as i departed the bike shed with flashing lights front and rear, it was snowing rather heavily and the temperature was pretty close to zero but from the wrong side.

i cannot deny that, though cool weather is decidedly where it's at, the strada is not really constituted to be worn al fresco in precipitous slushy snow. therefore i augmented my dress code with a cervo rosso outer shell, packing a rain jacket just in case the weather became colder or wetter. true to form, it did both. however, as one layer midst a winter baselayer and two outer layers, the strada proved itself every bit the equal of the weather; toastiness was mine. it's also worth mentioning that pairing the strada with cr's thermal bibshorts and leg warmers was a particularly good choice too.

cervo rosso strada 2.0 jersey

the fleece lining offers a lovely soft smooth interior, and though i figure the collar could bear a few more millimetres of height, at this point in january, i usually wear a merino collar over any jersey in any case. the sleeve length proved to be almost perfectly judged, while the torso was a close, but not spray-on fit, a feature that well behoves any winter jersey.

so now i can hold my designer head high in the winter peloton, free from having to affect disdain, even though it really is my ride but not written in brush script.

the cervo rosso strada 2.0 l/s winter jersey is available directly from their website, in sizes xs through to xxl at a cost of €135 (approx £103).

cervo rosso strada 2.0 l/s jersey

sunday 18 january 2015

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clearing up the mess

tour rubbish

i've not been out on the bike for over a week because storm force 11 and lightweight bicycles tend not to get on too well. however, last time i managed out, having ridden the loch gorm route anti-clockwise to get to debbie's for lunch, after a swift supping of froth, i decided to return home by the same route in a clockwise direction. while this may sound like something of a busman's holiday, the singletrack roads and ever-changing wind direction mean that aside from the constant vision of loch gorm and the adjacent atlantic ocean, it feels like a completely different route.

but as i wended my less than weary way up the hill at foreland, i was considering how decidedly radical and unbelieveably cool it would be to have a slurp from my water bottle then throw it to the grass verge bordering the road. just like they do in the movies; or at least, eurosport's live race coverage. however, aside from the obvious accusations of being a litter lout, i don't possess too many water bottles, and i can ill-afford to throw away one that still has several hundred kilometres and a sachet of carbo powder left in it. and in any case, if i got thirsty further on in my homeward route, there's never a mavic car around when you need one.

it's disappointments like this that exaggerate even further the differences between being a pro and just being me.

ever since my days at primary school, i've had it drummed into me that it is not socially acceptable to throw litter on the ground, no matter that the weight distribution (so to speak) might better aid a lightweight attack on the king of the mountains jersey. this goes for sticky but empty tubes of carbo gel, the wrappers from energy bars secreted in a back pocket for those strategic moments close to the summit, or even hang tags from cycling jerseys on review that i forgot to remove before departure. it is so much greener and environmentally aware to fold them up and stuff them in a rear pocket. that's why there are three of them.

tour sheep

of course, there are more than just a few differences between the optimistic and ageing amateur and the professional peloton. for starters, there's always a team car or neutral support to hand you another bottle when you've thrown the first one away, inadvertantly or not. and when you have dispensed with the services of unwanted packaging, sat at the very back of the cavalcade is at least one bin lorry and a team of staff whose every waking hour is concentrated on picking up your rubbish.

or is there?

while the tour in yorkshire has been lauded from every point of view, from its engagement with both the cycling and non-cycling public, to the alleged immense financial gain and tourist euro brought to the north of england, it may have left its mark in other ways too. and not everybody is happy about that. according to a yorkshire waste management company (big green), there are still several signs (both figuratively and literally) of the tour still in evidence. with tour rubbish and grafitti still visible along the stage routes, a spokesman for the company said "it's like a neighbour leaving their Christmas lights up."

big green's mark hall continued "We're based right in the heart of last year's Tour de France route, and it pains us to see that the clear-up from last year's events still hasn't been completed." the apparent reason for these remains being still visible is the cost to local councils of finishing the clear-up. "It will cost them money that they just haven't got in their budgets, meaning that it's increasingly likely that nothing will be done."

tour grafitti

though this is the first time such a complaint has been aired regarding the the tour's three days in yorkshire, there has been the occasional related murmur on the continent, and not just about the tour de france. huge events such as this are almost bound to create a level of rubbish greater than the normal day to day, but as is supposed to be the case regarding political posters at election times, when the voting is over, it is incumbent on bill posters (a busy man), to have them removed in timeous fashion.

it would be a shame if the first word associated with cycling events in the uk was 'rubbish'.

"We've got another world-class event coming this May in the shape of the Tour de Yorkshire," said MarkHall, "and once again the eyes of the world will be upon us." perhaps if you live in the area, you could nip out on sunday afternoons and remove the tour stuff that shouldn't still be there. and give vicenzo a call to help, because it's at least partly his fault.

saturday 17 january 2015

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exercising our prerogative

fausto coppi

i have no verifiable data to support my theory, but i'm willing to allow myself the luxury of thinking that the majority of us who ride our bicycles, do so because we love it. and in case you think i disparage the professional, i also maintain that they too race their bicycles, even over a hard-hitting three week stage race, because they love to do so. there will be few who would argue with the jazz simile "how do you make a million from cycling? start with two million".

the majority of folks whom i have met in a professional capacity in the grand world of cycling are rarely involved in the hope of adding sizeable amounts to their bank accounts. and bernard hinault notwithstanding, the majority of former professionals still ride their bikes even after retirement has brought them a village bike shop or an hotel on the riviera.

for the rest of us, cycling does little but diminish our bank accounts. few will argue with velominati rule number twelve, though i am aware of some who have a rather liberal interpretation of the equation 'n+1'. yet despite the pressing need to continually add the latest in state-of-the-art technical clothing and upgrade italian componentry everytime something new comes along, we do so with an ever-increasing grin upon our faces.

swiss ball

yet despite the foregoing, it really isn't always about the bike. unless you're considering the foundation of a cycle museum, those n+1 bikes are there for the riding, preferably further and further and faster and faster, until it becomes necessary to buy another bicycle.

there is, of course, the satisfaction of being able to consume two soya cappuccinos, a double choc-chip muffin and a two fried egg sandwich, without even modest concern for where all those calories are going to go. frequent cycling, it turns out, apparently qualifies as exercise. who knew?

not for nothing do rapha offer to trade in items of their apparel should your incessant pedalling mean that very soon that new jersey or jacket is adjudged to be somewhat on the large side. though once more, my lack of affection for numbers means i have no specific data with which to compare, i'm pretty sure that last year's festive 500 removed around half a stone from my hoy-like physique. even the garmin recorded an average of 3,000 calories burned each day.

but while these are comforting statistics to trot out when the girls in the office are discussing diets, they're not really what our cycling is made of. if we put it to a vote right this minute, i'm confident there would be a sea of hands waved in agreement that we all go cycling because riding a bike is ruddy brilliant. however, though there might be a sizeable number of us, we are, it seems, in a bit of a minority.


a recently publicised report apparently confirms that the inactive section of the public are dropping like flies in ever greater numbers compared to even those cited as obese. inactivity and obesity are often considered less than coincidental bedfellows, but this is not always the case. there are many thin or normally proportioned folks who exhibit a higher risk of health problems than those classified as overweight.

in other words, they're not fit becasue they don't exercise.

though a mantra that has been repeated ad finitum ever since the advent of the daily school run, the report advises that more folks ought to walk or cycle to school or work. like we didn't know that yesterday morning.

british cycling's campaigns manager, martin key, stated "This is another warning that, as a society we need to urgently build activity back into our daily lives.". the only perceivable downisde to this latest information is that we become viewed as even more self-righteous than before. nobody likes a smug, skinny bloke or girl always piping up to confirm newton's third law; that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

if men require 2,000 calories per day on average to function properly, think of the leeway afforded by a bike ride that consumes 3,000. therefore, as living embodiment of that which we preach, the fact that in-depth, twelve year long research has vindicated all those years of pro-bike propaganda will surely only make us, as a velocipedinal species, even more insufferable than has been the case up till now.

just think about that during your next it's not only about the exercise bike ride.

friday 16 january 2015

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national pothole day

national pothole day

i can but apologise for alerting you to this state of affairs so late in the afternoon, but my regular schedule of updates dictates that pixel re-arranging is generally left until later that same day. thus, unless you're domiciled across the pond, where it probably isn't national pothole day, there are few hours left to take any remedial action. i was always under the apparent misapprehension that any form of national day would require governmental sanction, but it seems that may not be perfectly true. today's admonishment of large or small holes in the road would appear to be at the behest of the website, an online repository for public reports of street defects.

national pothole day

i have insufficient knowledge of this website to determine whether their sterling work has resulted in any demonstrable improvement in the country's road network, but at least they're trying. according to street repairs, it was "developed out of the need for a public friendly system to communicate between residents and their councils." though the same page refers to "our company", it later makes mention of being "solely reliant on donations to keep it running".

nonetheless, street repairs have had the courage and chutzpah to declare thursday 15 january national pothole day, and in the age old tradition beloved of modernity, there is an app for that. it might also be worth mentioning that additional backing to help look for holes in the road is being provided by tyregiant, the online face of uk tyre distributor boco. so, despite my joy in bringing you notice of national pothole observation day, once more, it's intended more for the motorist than the velocipedinist. however, to quote carlton reid 'roads were not built for cars', and potholes affect us every bit as much, if not more than the motorist.

national pothole day

however, despite the opportunity to download a free ios or android app to allow the reporting of holes in the road, aided and abetted by the ability to upload photographs of the offending craters, i think many of us would be more appreciative of a national pothole week at the very least. or maybe a month?

in the light of an apparent decrease in the ability of at least our local roads department to effect anything like a decent road repair where necessary, it would be nice if the app, or even the website, created space to bring such iniquities to the attention of the local council. for while we can snap a pic of each and every hole in the road, an effective backup to this process would be a retracing of steps perhaps a week or so later to illustrate how cack-handed some of the repairs turned out to be. dumping lukewarm tar into water-filled potholes then backing the truck over the top is hardly the scientific approach.

nonetheless, perhaps a single day of overwhelming pothole reporting will make the appropriate authorities not only sit up and take notice, but, repair budgets allowing, actually do something about them. but while you're listing and photographing, just think of how few sections of roubiax pave might be still in existence if france had held a national pothole day in the early part of last century.

you can't have your cake and eat it.

national pothole day

thursday 15 january 2015

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a matter of record


for many, the knowledge that their smartphone photographs posted to facebook, instagram or flickr could be traced to point of origin was something of a wake up call. of course, for many others, it was really of no nevermind, but there will always be those who sometimes miss the bigger picture. recommendations have been made to the great and good that they really ought to take a tad more care over that which they post on their facebook pages. an errant history has an uncanny habit of surfacing at the most inopportune moments, particularly now that many interviews for executive positions are previewed by checking those very facebook pages on which every last ugly detail was displayed after a friday or saturday night out.

however, to briefly return to the photographs mentioned in my opening gambit, it appears that gps metadata is incorporated into each and every photograph taken by default. if you wish to keep the location of your recently furnished house when you tell everyone on twitter that you're off on holiday, you'll have to search out the appropriate panel deep in the phone's settings, and switch it off. presumably those who carry out the latter procedure are not cyclists.


for how else would the velocipedinist's version of facebook (strava), have access to all the data recently colour coded, categorised and served up in a press release, detailing the habits and activities of the great british cycling public? for instance, were you aware that for all our bravado and nano-tech carbon fibre technology, the average male rider's speed was/is 23kph over a median distance of 41 kilometres. the fairer sex managed 20kph while riding a less extensive 34 kilometres. how could they know all that, if it weren't for eager strava users uploading every last detail of their countless expeditions for coffee?

i've made it quite plain that i hold what i'd like to think is a healthy distaste for a screenful of numbers sat on the handlebars, all the while reminding me of the paucity of effort displayed by those very same numbers. and if i figure that to be distasteful, it is simple extrapolation to figure that uploading them to strava would hardly be my most favourite pastime. however, though that might be a part of it all, in truth, i really can't be bothered with the faff involved. i have no real desire to extend the joy beyond a celebratory glass of san pellegrino and a hot shower. but, just like facebook usage, i have little doubt that i'm in the minority.

is it really the competitive urge that has quite so many cyclists uploading their every move to strava? does it really mean that much to be crowned king of the mountains up an obscure half-kilometre strava rise in the back of beyond, over which you are only one of three cyclists ever to ride? apparently so. yet, while warnings are heeded over gps co-ordinates embedded in smartphone images, cyclists are more than happy to offer up recorded geographical information essentially as a point of ego.

i'd be the first to agree with you that the foregoing displays a serious case of bah humbug. if i would for a minute take my own advice, i'd simply ignore that which doesn't specifically interest me, and let everyone else get on with what motivates them to ride further and faster. but just remember that, when dave brailsford gives you that call early one morning, he can easily verify everything you tell him by means of a quick look on strava.

if i were a part of the club, do you think i'd have a team sky jersey with my name on the side?


wednesday 14 january 2015

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yanto barker and le col cycle clothing

yanto barker

i've said it before and now would seem like the ideal opportunity to say it again: our velocipedinal world must surely be the best served when it comes to technical apparel. likely only the outdoor market can vye with cycling for continued development of fabrics, and i believe there's a certain amount of crossover between the two genres. i'm no expert, but i'd be surprised if those who supply the world's soccer teams spend every waking hour in the wind tunnel determining the ideal shape for next season's goal-fest.

and not only are we well provided for in the technical department, but it would be a foolhardy person who complained about a lack of choice. i do not propose to list each and every cycle clothing supplier at this juncture, but i think we all know who the big players are in this plentiful market. a situation such as this, you would think, might make the smaller entrepreneurs have second thoughts about entering an almost saturated situation; the more technical the arena becomes, the more expensive research and development becomes.

yanto barker

forward looking conjecture would lean heavily on the future of road-racing being more and more defined by aerodynamics. and while it's eminently possible to make those initial steps by means of computer modelling, ultimately, you have to be looking at testing the real thing in somebody's wind tunnel. and that's where it becomes often prohibitively expensive. so you do rather wonder how the smaller suppliers compete.

yanto barker, the pushing force behind le col cycle clothing originally announced his retirement from competitive cycle racing in 2007, returing from the continent to live in devon. however, having started up le col in the intervening period, he returned in 2010 to ride for pendragon sports/le col/colnago, partly as a resurgent career and partly to promote his new cycle apparel in the competitive milieu. however, it seems that this second career has not only been successful, but rather convincingly long-lived. can we assume that there's now more to it than simple product promotion?

le col

"In short, yes. I think its called 'obsessive compulsive'. I love exercising and I'm enjoying many aspects of my career, more recently being part of a team as a senior member and imparting some of my experience to the younger and fresher guys. Helping them fulfil their potential is a big motivation for me. I love being in a team. I find it exciting interesting and rewarding."

since moving on from the pendragon le col team of 2010, yanto has ridden for several different teams, one of the iniquities or benefits (depending on your point of view) of which can be having to not only ride the bicycles provided, but team clothing, an item which frequently was not le col. does this situation ever grate slightly when yanto has to wear a competitor's product, such as last year with raleigh?

"In answer to the question, yes, but perhaps not for the reasons you would think. What makes Le Col excellent in my opinion, is an unrelenting desire to improve it and an unwillingness to accept anything less than excellence. I would be frustrated with anything that I thought was substandard, and for that reason alone. I'd find that irritating, but not because it was another brand."

le col

and that extended career that threatens to rival the original period of racing. in how many more seasons does he plan on participating?

"This one!"

le col has become one of those little guys that manages to punch well above its weight, a fact that owes pretty much everything to yanto barker. despite possessing only a fraction of the budget of the so-called 'big boys', he has stoicly resisted any desire to 'pile 'em high and sell 'em low.' whatever else le col might have in its favour, based on personal experience, quality and attention are most definitely front and centre. in the five years of its existence, has le col become more successful than yanto had expected, or are things running pretty much to plan?

le col

"Well, I am supremely ambitious so I would always say it's well behind where I want it to be, or more importantly where I think it could be. I use that to keep driving on. Quietly on special days, I allow myself a little contemplation to see where we came from and how far a young Welsh lad growing up in Devon with zero qualifications, no experience in fashion, manufacturing, retail, brand, marketing or pretty much anything commercial, has managed to get. Where Le Col is right now, is more testament to pure determination as opposed to skill.
"There is a long way to go yet though!"

it may seem a tad iniquitous to continue harping on about le col being one of the smaller players on the parcours. that is perhaps more evident to those of us on the outside looking in, than for those in the thick of it. however, looking at the bigger picture, does yanto ever find it difficult to keep up with his larger competitors?

le col

"That's a good question and most people would probably think it to be true. But what we lack in marketing budget, can be made up for with ideas. To come up with a wealth of good ideas can ultimately allow you to compete with the big boys, and even win. Essentially every piece of kit we sell is a victory over the bigger brands, because we're still so comparatively small. In this respect, we're winning all the time!
"That proves it can be done. Now we just need to keep doing more and doing it better. That in itself, is a never ending challenge, but being a competitive athlete, it's one i thoroughly enjoy."

though we'd perhaps like to think of ourselves as one nation under a groove, scratch the surface a smidgeon and underneath you'll find a number of both compatible and incompatible components. many amateur cyclists are happy to dip in and out of the various disciplines; many roadies own a mountain bike, though perhaps fewer offroaders have skinny wheels and bendy bars in the shed. at the sharp end of things, however, things are, while not divisive, possibly a bit more sepcialised. thus, while several clothing manufacturers do offer both road and mtb ranges, they tend to be classified in separate parts of the catalogue.

le col

currently, le col has both cleats firmly on the road side of things, but are there any plans to take a look at the offroad market? "Yes. And all sorts of other products, but all in good time. Better that we take our time get it right, than rush along having to go back and correct decisions at a later date. That would be expensive and we can't afford to make mistakes."

harking back to yanto's earlier contention that le col has a smaller marketing budget, and perhaps by inference, research and development pennies than at least some of their competitors, is the latter section of the business solely in the hands of yanto himself, or is there a whole host of boffins in lycra scurrying in the background?

le col

"Nowadays there are quite a few people who contribute to what you see being produced from Le col. One of the main means of technical input is a whole team of riders looking to be the best they can, always offering helpful and constructive feedback. plus we now have a marketing department with both visual and aesthetic input to the product you see on our website and in cycle shops. It's not that I'm on an ego trip. I'm not responsible for designing everything and I'm always happy to include good ideas offered by others where it makes sense."

though the washingmachinepost may not quite have taken on the mantle of seasonal predictability, there's no denying that many of the major publications run to an annual timetable. come summer, we'll be reading tips on completing your first century ride or sportive. around christmas there will be plenty of advice on training camps abroad and slip back a month or two, there will be night light group tests. 'tis the way of the velocipedinal world.

le col

apparel suppliers have their own timetables to which it has become necessary to adhere, along with a need to be at least a year ahead of the curve. as this interview progresses, it's more than likely yanto barker is alsready concerning himself with the products we'll be wearing towards the end of 2016. however, has he managed to avoid the annual spring/summer, autumn/winter release schedule, or is that something in which le col is happy to participate?

"Pretty much every company in cycling has to adhere to these buying periods. So much of the industry is set up around them. It's not just product release; there are trade and public shows, fairs, and other meetings that are all made possible to coincide with those schedules."

the element of surprise for an eager public is every bit as important as maintaining the same stance with deference to one's competitors. it's a fairly open secret that everybody buys everybody else's product just to keep tabs on the marketplace. let those secrets slip too early and there's always the possibility of being usurped by release date. bearing that in mind and recognising it's a cheeky question anyway, are there any interesting future le col developments he'd be willing to share?

"Lots of developments but none I would be able to speak about in detail. Lets just say there will always be both visual and technical developments"

yanto has assured me that when these arrive on the market, you'll be able to read about them here.

le col

tuesday 13 january 2015

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