ride skincare sunscreen and recovery moisturiser

ride skincare

i would begin by saying you could scarcely make it up, but in reality, not only could you probably make it up, the result would be perfectly believable. it's surely not that unusual to think, as summer becomes more proximitous, the weather, even in the hebrides, would be likely to improve, allowing the velocipedinally inclined to cultivate those sharpened tan lines. unless you're me and constantly wearing armwarmers; the legs however, are doing just nicely thanks, though there's every bit as much chance it's rust as opposed to a tan. the scarcely conceivable part began with the arrival of two sample products from the nice folks at ride skincare.

ride skincare sunscreen

these products are to be necesarily used in sequence; prior to the morning départ, the sunscreen ought best to be liberally applied to those honed calf muscles and exposed kneecaps. this part of the system i studiously took care of before releasing the specialized roubaix from the bike shed, fervently hoping that the patches of blue sky would coagulate into a greater covering and my pre-ride preparations would keep those legs from suffering in the expected heat.

the believable bit, which most of you will have seen coming from afar, was the almost inevitable downpour that had me scrabbling for my rainjacket and trying vainly to swish away the water accumulating on my garmin. (i should intimate that this point that none of which follows is on strava). you'd think this hardly the ideal backdrop for a concerted review of ride skincare's spf 25 sunscreen, but though you'd be partially correct, things weren't quite as hopeless as they might at first appear.

one of the promised features of this particular skincare product is its waterproofing properties, as elucidated in the accompanying literature: " protect your skin against the sun. wind and rain. [...] it also contains candelila wax to give great water resistance." i confess i'm somewhat confused as to why my legs or arms are in need of protection against the rain, but nonetheless, heavy islay rain failed to make any inroads in removing the lotion from my legs. even in the shower, a tad more graft than usual was required to have both limbs scraped back to bare skin.

ride skincare moisturiser

this first outing would normally have been followed by application of ride skincare moisturiser as directed, but i couldn't quite fathom what would be the point of rehydrating legs that were still suffering from rain dripping from a pair of soaking bibshorts.

fast forward to this past weekend, when sunday morning dawned with blue skies and sunshine, the likes of which has scarcely been seen in the hebrides this past month. once more, armwarmers obscured the need to slather those forearms in sunscreen, but my legs remained fair game and over the course of a morning the onset of sunburn was farthest from my mind. once again, i'd to put a smidgeon of effort into scrubbing in the shower, but this time i followed up with application of the recover moisturiser to a pair of legs tired from slogging into a mildly oppressive near-galeforce headwind.

it's possible that a comprehensive review would entail several weeks of karate kid wipe-on/wipe-off, but while i have every faith in the sunscreen's ability to carry out its principal purpose, i'd be happy to endure the soothing abilities of the moisturiser, application of which approaches the outer edges of self-massage. and i'm all in favour of that.

ride skincare's spf 25 sunscreen arrives in a travel friendly 50ml bottle at a cost of £11.99. the recover moisturiser, which appears to be of similar size, retails at a mere £8.99. and as an added bonus, ride skincare are currently offering free shipping on orders over £15.

ride skincare

monday 26 june 2017

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

rocket espresso s/s jersey and bib shorts

rocket espresso jersey & shorts

as i may have intimated on previous occasions, around this time of year, i live constantly in fear of being asked to feature on the sofa of any pre or post race tv cycling presentation. do not misunderstand this as a conceit or arrogance, for i seriously doubt my name is ever top of anyone's list as a likely candidate. however, there's every chance that, in these days of increased television race coverage, at some time, the great and the good will be otherwise occupied and out of misplaced desperation, the phone call nobody wants to make has to be made.

i could, of course, succumb to such a conceit and do my homework; the composition of each tdf team, whose bikes they're riding and who amongst them has been riding particularly well in the preparatory events such as the dauphiné and tour de suisse. that way, if push does indeed come to shove, i will no longer live in dread of that phone call, for i will at at last, be master of my own destiny.

rocket espresso jersey & shorts

but no sooner is one box ticked, than another, equally poorly researched, hoves into view. with the arrival of the tour de france grand départ only a matter of days away, those of us who consider ourselves to be members of the cognoscenti must once more prepare ourselves for the onslaught of awkward questions, few of which can be answered in a manner that won't prompt several follow-up queries. inquisitions such as "how come the guy who won the stage isn't winning the race?" or the old standard "why do cyclists shave their legs?" and then there's the ultimate query that almost equals my apprehension of being asked to sit on that couch; "what's the connection between cycling and coffee?"

rocket espresso jersey & shorts

for the first two, there are prepared answers which, though not always satisfying the inquisitor, bear enough gravitas that we might appear to be amongst the more well-informed members of the peloton. but as to that concerning coffee? i'm really not sure i know the answer to that one. playing for time, i've frequently averred that it has much to do with the italian tradition of cycling. at one time it was considered the ultimate in velocipedinal style to be seen aboard a hand-built italian steel frame, festooned with the finest that vicenza had to offer. and with eddy having ridden for the coffee machine sponsored faema team, the connection was simply sitting there waiting to be made.

rocket espresso jersey & shorts

that is, however, pure conjecture on my part; i cannot claim to have inside knowledge or to have conducted extensive research into the subject. all i'm aware of is that i ride my bike and consume as many espressos and cappuccinos as seems prudent in polite company. maybe there's a sport or activity that features a similar connection with cups of tea?

whatever the reasoning behind the coffee/cycling partnership, nowhere is it more satisfyingly demonstrated than with the latest rocket espresso team kit made in italy by santini and sold to eager cycling coffee drinkers in the uk by the fine fellows at dorset's prendas ciclismo.

rocket espresso jersey & shorts

amongst many of the aspirations held by the pelotonese, ownership of a rocket espresso coffee machine must rank very near the top. its mirror polished industrial persona is the very functional accessory that would surely be the pride and joy of any velocipedinist. were this the case in thewashingmachinepost household, i'd be inclined to constantly offer double-espressos to the chap making the co-op's home deliveries on a saturday. just because i could. mick and andy had two of the blighters on their stand at last year's rouleur classic and were kind enough to offer yours truly a small cup of the eye-wateringly strong brown liquid. life has rarely been the same since.

rocket espresso jersey & shorts

currently, the nearest i can get to recalling that particular experience, is riding the hebridean highways and byways clad in a fabulously designed and built rocket espresso team kit, consisting of a redesigned red, black and dark blue jersey and matching bibshorts, subtly decorated with rocket logos lest anyone be in doubt as to where my caffeine production sympathies lie. there are many, many jersey and shorts combinations on offer from a wide range of sources, of which the rocket espresso offering is amongst the very best of the very best. pretty much like their coffee machines, now that i come to think of it.

rocket espresso jersey & shorts

the jersey features a full length front zip and a fit that sits between race and relaxed. the ubiquitous three rear pockets offer an impressive load carrying capability along with a zipped fourth sitting outboard on the middle instance. though i do think it questionable to fit a white pad in the bibshorts, i cannot deny the comfort offered when in the saddle, augmented by a similar propensity from the mesh bib straps. this new re-design should not only be considered a compulsory and stylish upgrade for owners of the original rocket espresso kit, but a necessary purchase by any cyclist who considers themselves a coffee connoisseur (or snob, by any other name).

and as if style and function were scarcely enough to have you reaching for your flexible friend, prendas will make a £10 donation to the dave rayner fund for every jersey sold. i now find myself wondering if they have review models of rocket espresso coffee machines? purely in the interests of research, you understand.

santini's rocket espresso s/s jersey (there's also a long-sleeve version available) is available in a huge range of sizes from xs all the way to xxxxxl at the incredibly wallet friendly price of £59.95. the superb 'twistgel' matching bibshorts accommodate the same size range at a cost of £95. both can only be ordered online from prendas ciclismo.

prendas ciclismo rocket espresso jersey

sunday 25 june 2017

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

snek cycling merino armwarmers and lightweight merino cycling cap

snek cycling

"Whilst riding in cold and/or Rule #9 conditions replete with arm warmers, under no circumstances is there to be any exposed skin between the hems of your kit and the hems of your arm warmers."

snek cycling

'twas but a matter of weeks past that number one son was ready and waiting at the appointed hour on the road junction prior to setting out for the sunday morning ride. this in itself was almost newsworthy, since his being anywhere at the time he said he would be is a rare occurence. bearing in mind that which follows was a first offence, i'm inclined to give him the benefit of a second chance, allied to the fact that the current spate of hebridean weather is so unpredictable that his sartorial circumstances were entirely comprehensible.

endeavouring to reach the grand dèpart on time for once and having realised the ambient temperature to be a tad cooler than expected, he had hastily pulled on a pair of armwarmers with baselayer and jersey already in place. this is what we old-timers would refer to as a rookie error, for no matter one's good intent, it will always prove an insurmountable difficulty to pull on the armwarmers sufficiently high to avoid an infraction of the above mentioned rule #82.

snek cycling

obviously, purely with his best interests at heart that he not become the laughing stock of the g.c. ristorante debbie's sunday morning peloton, i chastised him as tenderly as befits that instigated by a less than doting parent. nonetheless, the entire morning, from depart to return, had him fail to 'close the gap' as the rule helpfully suggests. i have great sympathy with those who admonish the efficacy of velominati's rule-making, having carefully honed my own defiance of authority to the point of insignificance. but ignoring the rules does not prevent them from existing in the first place, nor of that nagging feeling that perhaps one ought to toe the line.

snek cycling

however, irrespective of your own views on authority, it would be hard to deny that the gap as defined, is hardly a good look, threatening to undermine any athletic prowess that might have formed a part of the morning's demonstration of superiority. nor indeed, does upper-arm chill form the ideal conditions for a bike ride.

but for those who suffer from precisely the same affliction, i may have found the perfect answer: merino armwarmers originating from salt lake city, usa. it's a town renowned as the home of mormonism, but from our point of view it is home to jonny hintze's snek cycling, purveyor of the aforementioned armwarmers, as well as a very thin merino cycling cap. i've previously worn and reviewed a very effective woollen winter cap from the same source, and even in the light of the recent purported heatwave (one which, it should be mentioned, failed to make any dent on weather in the hebrides), a pair of blue merino armwarmers were more than welcome.

snek cycling

jonny hintze told me that he'd guessed the size required, a size that turned out to be large, one step up from my usual request. but his purported error turned out to be the very best one it was possible to make, for those armwarmers offered a length that comfortably (in both senses of the word) reached from the shoulder joint all the way to my bony wrists. topping them with baselayer and short-sleeve jersey and the chances of infringing rule #82 evaporated into the ether.

each armwarmer features an elbow 'patch' to better accommodate the shape of those puny limbs. never have i worn a pair of armwarmers that felt as if they were a physical part of the jersey with which they were worn. terry lined, they offer a persistent dry feeling that exists even under swot and hetty conditions. they are, to be quite frank, absolutely superb. (i was also sent a similarly constituted pair of knee-warmers, but until the weather cools a wee bit, i will have to forestall any reviewing. i'll get back to you on that one.)

snek cycling

the snek merino cycling cap differs greatly from the more usual casquette in that it is built in a manner allowing complete scrunching to stuff in a back pocket should the need arise. very lightweight, the merino fabric still manages a modicum of thermality while the internally edged suede sweatband keeps the perspiration away from the eyes. available in two sizes, it's the ideal stylish under-garment to accompany any helmet with a flexible peak that won't break no matter what you do to it, including throwing it into the washing machine, post ride.

snek cycling might be a tad idiosyncratic, but it's an idiosyncracy that ought to receive our unfettered applause.

snek's merino armwarmers are available in blue only and in sizes small, medium and large at a cost of $68 (£54). the lightweight merino cap can be purchased in small/medium or medium/large in black only at a cost of $48 (£38)

snek cycling

saturday 24 june 2017

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

data day cycling

binary code

the gist of carlton reid's recently reviewed book 'bike boom' was to undermine the optimism of its title, by explaining that the last time such a situation could be considered a reality was some 45 - 50 years ago. however, with global warming and environmental change high on the media's agenda, while cycling might not be considered cool, it has garnered sufficient collateral clout to merit more than just the occasional mention by the press.

thus the so-called bradley bubble, though looking a tad shakier than it did in the immediate aftermath of the 2012 olympics, undoubtedly had/has had some traction, surfacing as a notable increase in the memberships of both british cycling and cyclinguk and resulting in greater numbers of cyclists heading along old street into the heart of london. and though it would surely be tantamount to unsupported proselytisation, there has been an undeniable improvement in the size of the g.c. ristorante debbie's peloton, though none of us is socially or statistically enough aware to provide cast iron evidence as to the reason behind this state of affairs.

therefore, combining both statistical and anecdotal evidence, it would surely not be too outlandish to claim that there has been a distinct increase in the number of individuals cycling. even if we discount the probable fact that those of us who like to think of ourselves as cyclists are likely to will this to be the case (anything to alleviate our status as underdog), it has probably still become a specific reality.

and once again, despite evidence produced by bike boom to show that the 'build it and they will come' mantra may well be considerably wide of the mark, it's possible that the current boom, if we may call it so, could receive a welcome shot in the arm were central and local government to adopt more of a can do attitude. after all, there is a continuous stream of improvements made to britain's transport infrastructure to benefit the motorist, most of which rely on pragmatic observation or funding plan rather than demanding unassailable statistical data.

yet the needs or desires of cyclists and pedestrians are seemingly rarely catered for without demonstrable statistical evidence. should you think that i doth perhaps protest too much, might i enlighten you to the fact that earlier this month, the university of brighton advertised for a phd candidate to undertake a cycling datafication project.

i am not naive or innocent enough to believe that every potential benefit laid before the motoring public is there on the basis of a whim or well-intentioned goodwill on behalf of government. it's quite likely that there are hundreds of computer servers full to the brim with collected data that have a direct bearing on motoring provision across the country. with the amount of taxpayers' money involved, it would be highly iniquitous were there not to be a bona-fide paper trail. but cycling leaves a considerably smaller footprint on the planet and is less subject to the vicissitudes of perpetual data collection.

perhaps, therefore, i should be welcoming this innovation by the university of brighton. after all, should the collected data prove what we already suspect, what could possibly go wrong?

my concerns rest predominantly on the language used to support the requirement for such academic study. according to e-bike expert, dr frauke behrendt (the word 'expert' already has me worried), the ideal candidate's background would revolve around social media or computer science. the absence of any mention of cycling in those criteria strikes me as a bit odd, though i cannot deny that a non-cyclist may well view the results more dispassionately. however, dr behrendt continued by stating that the study will aim to "bring together scholarship in mobilities, intelligent transport and big data to explore the potential of industry-collected cycling data in informing policies and planning for more sustainable transport and mobilities."

nope, me neither.

apparently the study will be of "key importance to develop a big data perspective on cycling alongside the typical focus on motorised modes of transport, to really understand mobility patterns and bottlenecks, actual door-to-door tracks, citizens' behaviour, routes in places where cars cannot go, to model how a city could move without car traffic."

however, no matter the rhetoric that accompanies the advertised position, i have little doubt that the university is well-meaning in its intentions, though it's possible the ideal candidate will need to be possessed of an innate sense of responsibility and personal enthusiasm. for despite the british government promising in december of 2014 to spend £15billion on road schemes in england, this phd position carries with it an annual stipend of £14,553.

therefore, despite the big words and professed intentions, ultimately, it seems in the short-term, nothing much has changed.

friday 23 june 2017

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

waterproof cover

waterproof cover podcast

perhaps one of the few disadvantages of living on what i'm inclined to call the outer edge is the almost total absence of an intrinsic network relevant to the aspects of the furrow which i am attempting to plough. in the day to day, i am a self-taught black-belt in adobe photoshop, a complex piece of software that i have been using on almost a daily basis since the early 1990s, only a few years on from when it was originally released as barney scan.

there have been some incredible developments made in photoshop since those early days, fairly easily absorbed when it's at your fingertips on such a regular basis. but in such a small community, the opportunities for networking with similarly equipped individuals is pretty much zero. when you're the go to guy for pixel-wrangling, even by local photographers, the only way that lateral improvements can be acquired or made, is by scanning relevant websites or picking up a magazine when visiting scotland.

on the whole, this is hardly an iniquitous situation, given the surrounding rural idyll, but sometimes it would be sort of nice to hold an open discussion with someone equally qualified in digital image post production. a similar situation occurs with that of scribbling stuff about cycling. granted, there is always the sunday morning peloton to bounce ideas off, even if done in an obscure manner so as not to alert them to my often odd mode of thought. but the very act of writing on a daily basis has provided me with a peer group that i could not have experienced in any other manner, particularly in the light of my remote location.

the advantages conferred by the latter are not hard to understand. though i try to keep it to a minimum, every now and again i find myself writing about matters on which i am less than well-informed. in cases such as these, i have access to individuals whose expertise far outweighs that of my own and who are generally very generous with their time and knowledge. paying attention to the information provided allows me to not only better educate myself as to the often mysterious ways of the velocipede, but ultimately to pass that knowledge on to my readership, though undoubtedly in a more convoluted fashion than it arrived in my inbox.

however, as a self-confessedly non-competitive individual, how others conduct themselves online by way of their own blogs and websites concerns me not. i deliberately do not read any other cycling blogs, just in case i find myself second-guessing how i should be writing these daily scribblings. but how do others deal with what might be termed a similar set of circumstances? what about, for instance, cycling photographers, sizeable numbers of whom can be seen peppering events such as cyclocross races or occupying the back seats of a flotilla of motorbikes during the grand tours and one-day classics? are they all in serious competition with each other, trying at all costs to snap the single image that will launch them from obscurity to international demand?

or is there a close community of cycling photographers, ready and willing to lend an sd card or spare lens to a fellow photographer who didn't have the presence of mind to bring along their own?

balint hamvas, a cyclocross photographer who has featured on the post on more than one occasion might be the very chap to answer that question, though you will have to bear with him while he does so. inspired by a series of podcasts by national geographic photographer, robin moore, broadcast under the title of no filter, where moore talks to his fellow ng photographers. so balint figured that he'd try to do likewise, by holding conversations with fellow cycling photographers.

"We bump into each other every now and again, say hello, but we very rarely have the chance to sit down and talk in a relaxed setting. Most of us have an interesting story to tell and that gave me idea to start this podcast."

balint has entitled his own series of podcasts 'the waterproof cover' the first of which is already on itunes. in episode one he talks to belgian photographer kristof ramon whose career began as a television director, influenced by the lack of a belgian film industry into which he would have preferred to immerse himself had it existed. in conversation with hamvas, he states that his use of composition to tell a story was influenced and informed by working with some of the best tv cameramen in the business. this was further developed by working as a film editor.

the biggest challenge of now flying solo was the absence of a support team, though he confesses to often enjoying the autonomy of his singular position and the ability to conduct his own post processing.

ramon entered the world of photography by taking pictures at music concerts, gaining him paid commissions. in order to learn techniques he felt would be necessary for a future career as a photographer, rather than impose them upon paid work, he figured some form of personal project would offer the ideal opportunities to practice on the sly (so to speak) and that project turned out to be cycling, a sport of which ramon was already a fan.

some podcasts cannot but alert to the listener that the participants are all too well aware of the microphone and a potential listening audience. the waterproof cover, however, sounds like a conversation between two friends which has been surreptitiously recorded by a third party. it's a joy to listen to and promises us the opportunity to learn more about those whose imagery we are regularly exposed to in cycling magazines and websites.

and it's totally free.

the waterproof cover podcast

thursday 22 june 2017

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

hilltrek greenspot single ventile lightweight jacket

hilltrek greenspot single ventile lightweight jacket

there's a not altogether uncommon saying around these here parts that you can tell when it's summer because the rain gets warmer. the only time that is less than true is whenever i've been sent a waterproof jacket to review. at that point, the clouds scurry hither and thither, the farmers moan that the ground needs rain and you could fry a free-range egg on the pavement. actually i might be fibbing about that last bit. this is a rather round about way of saying that my review of hilltrek's single ventile lightweight greenspot jacket will probably not be resolved at a single sitting.

hilltrek greenspot single ventile lightweight jacket

as i recall, pretty much the same thing happened when attempting to review its double-ventile big brother.

ventile is a pretty darned interesting fabric, fashioned as it is solely from tightly woven cotton, bereft of any form of durable waterproof coating. therefore, unlike many of its allegedly more technologically advanced peer group, there's nothing to wash off after several months or years of use. actually, and rather oddly, despite its natural origins, hilltrek recommend that both single and double ventile variations are dry-clean only. since the lightweight review garment was as burnt orange as its predecessor, there's more likelihood of it needing to avail itself of the cleaning process than the olive, charcoal or black editions. that, however, is a risk i'm more than happy to accept.

hilltrek greenspot single ventile lightweight jacket

hilltrek advertise this lightweight variation on their website as "Ideal for warm weather cycle touring and commuting." the lightweight aspect is more than accurate; there is a noticeable difference in heft between this single-ventile example and the double-ventile edition. however, i cannot but make a couple of polite suggestions as to how the jacket might be made a tad more cycle friendly.

firstly, there are only two, large, zipped front pockets. impressively, either of these capably swallowed a marginally oversized mini-pump without any discomfort while pedalling. but having to place everything in those pockets is not what might be referred to as a good look. either a lower internal pocket or preferably one reasonably sized rear pocket would have been ideal. hilltrek's double-ventile jacket features two, zipped rear pockets, which have proved invaluable in oh, so many ways, by keeping any accoutrements away from frantic pedalling action.

hilltrek greenspot single ventile lightweight jacket

on the plus side, fewer pockets really ought to translate into carrying only essential bits and bobs, but cyclists are only human after all.

my second suggestion is a tad more superficial, but would be a neat luxury nonetheless. the high collar on the lightweight jacket is quite excellent, particularly with a popper to fasten against the elements. however, an internal drawcord would be a helpful extra to pull it a bit closer when riding on the lower portion of drop handlebars. i know i'm guilty of nitpicking here, but a cyclist can dream can't he?

i apologise to hilltrek if i appear to be painting a rather negative picture of what is truthfully an excellent jacket, one that's every bit at home in the saddle as it is forcing its way down bowmore main street into wind-driven rain. though i have yet to find a breathable jacket that copes with the heat generated by an intrepid cyclist, the greenspot lightweight fares considerably better than most. add to that the fact that its lightweight, hard-wearing nature offers versatile comfort on and off the bike at this time of year and it begins to look like a more than appropriate choice of garmentage for both touring and/or cycle commuting.

hilltrek greenspot single ventile lightweight jacket

the full-length sturdy front zip features a wide storm-flap, poppered at both top and bottom, while the single weight ventile fabric means the jacket is more than flexible enough for the occasional bout of enthusiastic pedalling.

but, of course, its build and sartorial elegance are as mere bagatelle if it fails in its primary purpose; keeping me dry. so far i've managed only around eight kilometres in heavy drizzle, during which a coating of baubled raindrops offered the very comfort that i sought. as with the double-ventile edition, i'd have liked an extra couple of centimetres on the sleeves, but given that this is an option when ordering, i can but congratulate hilltrek on realising that cycling activity often demands subtle differences from that of walking or hiking.

part two of this review will have to wait until that warm summer rain reaches saturation point, when i can guarantee the prospect of getting a thorough soaking. till then, i am verily sitting pretty in burnt orange.

hilltrek's greenspot lightweight single-ventile jacket is available in black, olive, royal blue, charcoal or burnt orange, in sizes ranging from xs to xl at a cost of £220. the jacket can be ordered in optional non-standard length and optional non-standard sleeve length at extra cost.

hilltrek greenspot single-ventile lightweight jacket

wednesday 21 june 2017

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

veloeye bicycle theft protection

veloeye sticker pack

the rural idyll provides many a benefit that simply cannot be had or experienced in an urban or city setting on the mainland. in my previous residence prior to moving west, i could successfully nip to the newsagent of a saturday morning, collect my reserved copy of the comic (in the days when racing was king) and take the long way home without once meeting anyone i knew. that has rarely, if ever happened on islay; it would be a sad or very rainy day indeed when i can make it as far as the office (a five minute walk from the croft) without bumping into someone of my acquaint or receiving a wave from a passing vehicle.

though it appears a little twee when seen in print, there still exists a sense of community over here that is speedily diluted when moved to locations featuring greater numbers. it is prudent to remember that the population of the entire island numbers very few over 3,200. there are inner-city housing estates that are home to many more and the on-board accommodation of several cruise ships comfortably exceeds such a modest total. probably because of the fact that almost everybody knows everybody else, crime is fairly minimal, verging on the non-existent.

yes, drivers park their cars where they legally shouldn't, many use their phones while driving and people take their shopping home in trolleys that legally belong to the local averagemarket. however, at the risk of jinxing the current situation, it is perfectly possible to leave expensive carbon fibre unlocked in the bike rack outside debbie's, safe in the knowledge that it will be still there when froth supping has ended. at least part of this confidence arises from the knowledge that i probably couldn't pay the majority of the local populace to ride a bicycle, so the chances of them pinching something that needs cleated shoes to ride are fairly minimal. add to that the fact that few are aware that gear changing occurs at the brake levers and the risk factor is probably less than onerous.

veloeye scanned

however, there is currently more house-building taking place on islay than i have witnessed in the last thirty years and that has resulted in far more instances of white van man than usual, many of whom are not from the island. while one would hesitate to cast aspersions upon the honesty of the occupants, it pays to be at least slightly perspicacious when it comes to ensuring none of that carbon fibre goes astray. though there are many bicycle locks that purport to be bomb-proof, angle-grinders are not in short supply at present; if the bike did disappear, how might i find it again?

one answer to this question comes from veloeye based in eddleston in the scottish borders. by creating and subsequently making use of a self-engendered community, they hope to assist the hapless owner in tracking a stolen bicycle after locking has apparently failed as a deterrent.

veloeye works quite simply. via the website, you can purchase a sticker pack for only £10. the pack contains a sachet of isopropyl alcohol in order to wipe down the top tube of your precious bicycle as preparation for the affixing of the three stickers in the pack. these feature a qr code that is tied to the details supplied at the time of online purchase. having done so, it is then necessary to download a free app from either apple's app store or google's android store to your smartphone.

should your bicycle be stolen at any point, the app allows this to be recorded on veloeye's database. and if a fellow veloeye user comes across your missing bicycle, they too can scan the code to check its status and immediately alert the police. but surely, if it's simply a sticker, couldn't the thief remove it to avoid detection?

veloeye stolen

sitting front and centre inside each sticker pack is a warning and disclaimer advising the purchaser that the stickers, in order to feature as an effective deterrent, are "essentially permanently stuck to your bike." therefore, if you're in any doubt about attaching the sticker to your valuable frame, you should simply return the sticker pack for a full refund. however, as the same disclaimer states, attempting to remove the sticker with solvents, heat guns or scrapers "may affect the integrity of your frame."

more than one member of the peloton pointed out that surely it would be easy enough to respray the frame, thus obscuring the code printed on the sticker? but if done professionally, you'd hope that the paint shop would have their own suspicions; if not, hopefully the eventual purchaser would be a bit dubious about acquiring a frame featuring one large and two smaller apparently concealed stickers. and if you happen to sell the bike, you can log-in to your veloeye account to transfer details to the new owner.

it's doubtful that any one method of theft deterrent will offer complete protection, but the veloeye system appears to hold great promise at very low cost. and the more who sign-up, the greater chance there is of recovering a stolen bicycle. so other than a sticker on your top tube and the cost of three double espressos, what have you got to lose?

tuesday 20 june 2017

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