drapac team kit 2018

one or two of the more pertinent race-based cycling websites have been showing off several of next season's world tour race kits. of these, several have changed quite substantially, particularly team sky's which has totally inverted from black to white, apparently just as the rest of the peloton seems also to have dispensed with black. aside from wondering whether there's an off-season jersey designers' world conference, where intense negotiations result in no-one sporting a jersey design uncommonly similar to that of one of their competitors, i do sympathise with the annual need to incorporate each element into something that doesn't resemble an explosion in the dulux paint factory.

movistar team kit 2018

two jerseys the same would surely result in a similar embarrassment that usually ensues when two women appear at a wedding in the same outfit.

uk soccer teams are another strand of the sporting milieu that alters the jersey each year, though i frequently get the impression that this has more to do with selling more garmentage to hapless, died-in-the-wool fans, than it has to do with any perceived necessity. cycling's business model, however, is somewhat at odds with that of soccer. while there have been lifelong and inter generational fans of teams such as manchester united and glasgow rangers, fans of the team formerly known as orica greenedge will have to alter their roadside chant to reflect the change of name and kit to mitchelton scott. while the team ownership and management might remain in place year on year, the team's name almost always follows that of its principal sponsors.

michelton scott team kit 2018

and yet, though many professional soccer teams also bear the logos or names of their commercial sponsors, those appear to be agreeably subsumed to that of the team. and this despite that fact that there is often a great deal more money involved in having a name applied to a soccer shirt. for instance, in 2012, manchester united signed a seven year deal with general motors to plaster the chevrolet name across the front of the team shirt from the beginning of the 2016 season. this involved the motor giant paying $80 million a year, around double team sky's budget for the past season.

trek segafredo team kit 2018

soccer teams generally have at least two designs available; a home and an away jersey. though this pretty much ensures double the sales at the team shop, it arises from a specific need to differentiate from the opposition when playing away from home, something that was very much a requirement in the days of black and white television. to en extent, it seems that one or two world tour cycle teams have adopted a similar ploy, outfitting their riders with a training kit, replete with matching helmets, jacket, bibs etc. trek segafredo have not only provided their normally red clad riders with a fluorescent green outfit for training, but contractually require them to wear it when training.

trek segafredo training kit 2018

yes, i also wondered why.

however, there is little doubt that, while the likes of manchester united appear able to retain their traditional red, year in year out, the word tour is at the mercy of their sponsors' colour scheme(s). granted, i doubt that either trek or segafredo hold a particular commercial alliance to the colour red, bmc have, for 2018, added computer security firm sophos to the list, necessitating a v-shaped light blue collar in a predominantly red and black jersey. this, if nothing else, demonstrates that cycling's commercial sponsors are largely colour blind.

so, aside from wishing that cycling's major league teams would adopt names that endured year after year, no matter whose logo adorned the front of the jersey, i'd also be very much in favour of the back of those jerseys featuring the riders' names. i marvel at the ability of cycling commentators to identify each individual in the peloton from the helicopter shot, i'd quite like to do so without their assistance. a surname in a large, sans serif font across the shoulders would go some way to making that a reality.

however, if pragmatism were a facet of professional cycling paris-roubaix would be ridden every weekend throughout the season.

copyright of each of the above images rests with the respective teams.

monday 18 december 2017

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chorus: repeat

campagnolo chorus

i'm old enough to remember when road bikes featured downtube gear levers totally devoid of indexed shifting. the iniquities of having to reach down, mid-ascent, to pop it into yet another larger sprocket with effectively no assistance from the gearset. there's no denying that those of us faced with this daily proposition became quite skilled at so doing, if only in the interests of saving self and others from the crashing sound if we got it wrong. i'm also daft enough to admit that i rather enjoyed those days, though quick to state that i'm perfectly happy not to have cause to return.

because at the time, no-one had anything to compare it with.

it was pointed out only the other day, that the upcoming new year's eve will be the only time when all the adults in the world will have been born in the 1900s, and all juveniles born in the 2000s. on that basis, it's highly likely that there will be those amongst us who have never ridden a bicycle without indexed shifting and possibly one or two who have never ridden anything without a battery.

those downtube levers, though probably not on anyone's wish list, inculcated the skill of changing gear at just the right point before it became necessary. reaching down while climbing, as described above, had a tendency to unbalance the rider just a tad, to say nothing of the consequences of not hitting the right gear in the first place. indexing has removed those vicissitudes entirely; those thoughtful little ramps on the cassette sprockets lift the chain almost noiselessly even when stomping the pedals on a gradient that seemed perfectly doable only a matter of minutes before.

campagnolo chorus

i figure that particularly scenario was tried to the extreme when riding this year's hot chillee london-paris. not by me, i'm eager to point out, but by the majority of my fellow pelotonese. it's likely that many, if not all, overestimated their ascending abilities within only a few metres of the climb and frantically scrabbled to find any gear at all, without falling sideways. several of them failed in that particular task. though i realise i'm being unbearably smug, i simply changed down well before the gradients began and smoothly rode to the top, untroubled by crashing sprockets.

on the occasions when i did need to change down once again, campagnolo's super record gears accomplished this with ease and scarcely a sound.

campagnolo chorus sits two tiers down from super record, separated by plain old record, but the absence of the word record from the carbon parallelogram at the rear, seems not to have lessened the gear mech's capabilities.

i do like to think of myself as reasonably competent in the velocipedinal mechanical department, as long as that does not include hydraulic or electronic facets. in the case of the chorus groupset under review, it was yours truly that assembled each component onto the steel ritchey logic frameset on which it currently resides. it has frequently been my experience that setting up gearchanging on the workstand, where spinning the chainset engenders no untoward pressure on the chain or rear mech, often incurs a few necessitous minor adjustments within the first few metres of the shakedown ride. however, in the case of this desirable set of italian componentry, that has yet to happen.

at that included (as can be seen from the accompanying images), dragging it through an endless stream of belgian toothpaste.

campagnolo chorus

though the subject of this review will feature in at least one more chapter, i have so far covered several hundred kilometres on the chorus-equipped ritchey without need to grab an allen or torx key to make any adjustments at all. though, as always, everything is entirely subjective, the impressively positive changing at both front and rear has been a joy to behold. i am not fibbing when i say that neither have missed a beat; there have been no fluffed changes at all, a feature also exeprienced on the road to paris. i have been very convincingly persuaded, even though i was pretty much sold on the idea when i started.

though the bicycle has been smoothness personified, i've always delighted in the hand grip offered by campagnolo's sculpted brake lever hoods. this could possibly be a case of muscle memory, since alternatives were all but unknown when i took to the road, so it's possible that my palms and thumbs have always been campagnolo compatible. however, from the three options available to the intrepid road-going cyclist, a separate lever for each function (braking, changing up and changing down) has always struck me as the way to go. granted, the groupsets below chorus offer a less positive (dare i say, ergonomic) downshift lever, but the function remains essentially the same.

several years ago, campagnolo offered a set of record red brake/shift levers which allegedly offered stiffer shifting as preferred by the pros. quite how the modern chorus levers compare to that proffered stiffness, i know not, but suffice it to say that they do provide a particularly solid gear change, either up or down.

but while gear performance is an intrinsic part of every groupset, there still needs to be an efficient means of rolling the chain through the gears in the first place. i have heard negative mumblings about the aesthetics of campagnolo's latest carbon four-arm chainsets, though i'm inclined to disagree. for me, little will ever compare with the last of vicenza's polished alloy chainsets of yesteryear, but i rather like the current offerings, the design of which allows the user to opt between standard and compact, simply by fitting the number of teeth desired and worrying not about the bolt circle diameter.

campagnolo chorus

but it must surely be the unsung bottom bracket bearings that provide such a smooth means of propulsion. without particularly long legs, i opted for 170mm cranks; i was originally of the opinion that carbon fibre was never designed to feature on this particular component, but such has been the perceived delights of the chainset/bottom bracket combination, i'm seriously disposed towards a revision of this stance.

that leaves only the brakes to discuss and though vicenza has now released its last-to-the-party disc brake project, i fear it may be solely for conformity with current trends, for i can see no missing link in the chorus skeleton calipers that would persuade me that discs could provide something these don't. i fully understand that rotors apparently offer heftier, more serious stopping power, but along with many, i seriously question whether this is absolutely necessary on a road bike, where it's more about scrubbing off speed, rather than coming to a sudden halt.

record and super record no doubt save a few grams (the former is around 300g lighter and the latter, approx 400g), but there can be little doubt that chorus provides every last morsel of the campagnolo experience at lower cost than either of its big brothers. and unless you happen to be nursing an impressive bank balance, or the need to reach a summit a few hundred grams before your peers, campagnolo's chorus groupset should probably be right at the top of your wishlist.

campagnolo chorus

sunday 17 december 2017

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twenty's plenty

twenty's plenty

i'd love to enhance my street cred within the velocipedinal community by forcefully denying that i had ever been a car owner, but sadly, that would be very far from the truth. prior to leaving the scottish mainland, i had been the reasonably proud owner of a bright yellow citroen 2cv, arguably the closest anyone could get to cycling, while still having need of occasional refueling. the car's maximum speed was allegedly 70mph, but i'm happy to inform that i never quite reached such stratospheric velocities, despite having a turbo sticker on the bootlid.

citroen no longer make the 2cv, possibly with good reason, as its bodywork was little more substantial than a thick roll of bacofoil. however, the mechanical abilities required to keep the deux chevaux rolling were very close to those needed to maintain a bicycle. aside from the engine, you could pretty much dismantle the entire vehicle with an adjustable spanner and a screwdriver.

if that had been my last ever car, it's fairly safe to say that i could die a happy man, but once again, that would be somewhat left of the truth. two more vehicles entered thewashingmachinepost household in the mid to late nineties, when the easy transportation of children was very much at odds with islay's public transport system. those days are now, i'm pleased to say, very much behind me, a fact that allows me to sleep peacefully at night and has immeasurably improved the corporate bank balance.

however, while in keeping with many of you, i have strained every sinew in the quest for just a few more kilometres per hour on the bicycle, the opposite was very much the case with the motor car. if i ever moved the speedometer dial above 64kph (40mph), my kids in the back seat thought i'd taken leave of my senses. there are occasions when i have felt remarkably smug as excessive speed has taken its toll on others, with blame being apportioned to the road surface/camber, rather than a heavy right foot.

several years ago, two notorius bends, as you leave bridgend village en route to coffee at bruichladdich, were alleged to have caused several unintended offroad excursions, including that of a police car. this resulted in the council resurfacing both sections with an apparently rather expensive hard-wearing, textured surface to offer more grip for speeding motorists. for this was, in my opinion, the sole cause of the accidents; i passed that way quite regularly at one point, driving at far lower speeds than my motoring peers and never once felt the sliding sensations experienced by others.

it seems screamingly obvious that, assuming no other vehicles to be involved and no frictionless substances infecting the surface, any sliding into the undergrowth will almost always be the result of excessive speed. and we all know the cure for that.

based on a similar premise, though in less free-range settings, scottish green member of the scottish parliament (msp), mark ruskell, has lodged a proposed restricted roads, private member's bill on 20 november this year, in an effort to make scotland's streets a tad safer and healthier. with this proposition he hopes to introduce 20mph speed limits to pretty much all urban areas across the country and is rather hoping that other msps, no matter their political affiliation, will support it. currently he has cross-party support from twenty others.

the organisation formerly known as the cyclists' touring club, but now operating under the far more anonymous moniker of cycling uk is asking msps to support the bill by 19 december. apparently the libdems and conservatives have demonstrated total apathy so far. cycling uk's policy director, roger geffen stated that "the adoption of 20mph as the default speed limit in urban and residential areas across Scotland is the opportunity to redefine the spaces between our homes, changing them from 'roads' to 'streets'."

as cars become ever more sophisticated, not only in terms of features and doohickies, but with build qualities that increasingly estrange the occupants from their immediate surroundings, recognising at what speed they are travelling has become less and less apparent. once was the day when the engine noise gave a reasonable indication of velocity, but nowadays, it's harder and harder to hear the engine even with the window open. and what, precisely, is the hapless luddite expected to do with six gears?

twenty's plenty is scarcely a plea, it's a tautology.

saturday 16 december 2017

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food for thought

santander bikeshare

at one time, in recent years, london was the only town in the uk to offer a bikeshare facility, allowing ordinary commuters the opportunity to travel around the nation's capital city without the need to bring along their own bicycles. these so-called boris bikes (originally sponsored by barclay's bank, but now under the red colouring of santander) can be accessed by use of a credit card, the charge period ending when the bike is returned to one of more than 750 docking stations across the city.

this facility is still widely used, but seems currently in the process of being usurped by its derivative, the so-called dockless bike hire system. well documented when introduced firstly to manchester in the uk, these bicycles can be left wherever convenient and found by subsequent hirers via a smartphone app that uses embedded gps technology to detect the proximity of an available bicycle. unsurprisingly, it took unscrupulous individuals remarkably little time to crack both the locking system and gps and keep the bicycles in the garden shed for their own personal use.

from the outside, the dockable system seems more secure, but that hasn't stopped several other dockless systems from garnering substantial sums of investment and deployment in more and more cities across the globe. but even the proposed installation of bike docks in several cities initially gave cause for concern amongst high street retailers. much of the apparent opposition came from worries that not only the physical existence of the docks would eat into available parking space near retail outlets, but that the bicycles themselves would be inclined to take customers away from the shopping ideal that most shopkeepers were keen to encourage.

the answer to that potential dilemma is both comforting and disturbing.

two research students at brooklyn's new york university 's center for urban science and progress, figured that customers dropping off a bicycle, might be inclined to pop into a close-by restaurant for a bite to eat. using anonymised credit card data from mastercard, they appear to have effectively proved that restaurants and food outlets in particular, demonstrated greater footfall than those without a nearby bike-sharing station.

granted, the current research, corroborated by a similar study in jersey city, is american-based and not necessarily representative of any kindred trend in the uk, but from a third-party commercial point of view, it would seem to demonstrate that bike sharing such as that offered by snatander bikes and similar schemes in other cities are likely to be more beneficial than the dockless systems. the latter, you will recall, allow users to leave the bicycles anywhere that takes their fancy and not necessarily close to somewhere they could grab a bite to eat. unfortunately, i know of no similar research that may deny or confirm this to be the case.

however, big brother seems to be showing an unhealthy interest in matters. the more astute amongst you will not have failed to note that the researchers used credit card data to confirm their hunch. though the data was apparently not tied to any personal information, the fact that it's available in the first place indicates that freedom to spend as we like is more of a marketing ploy than a straightforward reality. the conspiracy theory would have it that the considerable investment in the dockless bike-sharing schemes is based predominantly on the expected spending information generated, rather than financial faith in a prospective upsurge in bike hire throughout the western world.

it's always nice to know that cycling can potentially reach beyond the simple act of pedalling, engendering warm, fuzzy feelings on behalf of others, but it's probably worth being aware that there are costs over and above a pair of jeans with a seamless gusset and velcro trouser clips.

friday 15 december 2017

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space. the final frontier

parking pollution

at the foot of our path is a small portion of grass bordering a communal car park. when mrs washingmachinepost and i moved to this area in the early 1990s, the area of tarmac edging the grass was rarely full of cars; there were usually no more than five vehicles parked there overnight. though the number of houses served by this car park has increased not one jot since those days, as i left for my morning walk only the other day, there were so many cars across the width and breadth of the car park, that they were no longer parked, but summarily abandoned.

there are simply insufficient spaces available for the number of cars owned by effectively the same number of residents. so what happened? where did it go so horribly wrong?

it seems that, despite climate change having been on everybody's agenda for more years than i can recall, it's essentially viewed as being something that affects others; never us. our respective governments will take care of imminent doom by way of international agreements that most of them will then choose to ignore. until then, we'll just keep buying more and more cars. this is precisely what has happened here; whereas mum and dad once owned a single car, it appears that their offspring now require to have one each along with somewhere to park it.

the bicycle was once the means of escape from the small indoors and despite prince bradley's renowned bubble, in the majority of cases, it is now merely the vehicle to be used until reaching driving age. it's not a recent revelation, but its results are now coming home to roost.

what recognition of climate change has produced, however, is admission that petrol and certainly diesel powered vehicles are manifestly guilty of polluting the fresh air, a fact that is no less true in the hebrides than it is in central london. the only thing that saves us from a similar level of iniquity up here, is the existence of large chunks of wide-open spaces apparently eager to soak up and subsequently disperse those offensive little particles. but electricity will save the day.

on our recent definitely-not-long-enough visit to center parcs, the resort featured a number of electric vehicles that informed the pedestrians amongst us, that they emitted no pollution, a fact that, while not entirely true is, in the main, reasonably correct. however, that is only the case because the vehicle has no need of generating its own power; that's taken care of by rather large gas-fired, coal-fired or nuclear power stations that reside quite high on the pollutant naughty list.

toyota was arguably the first kid on the block to offer a passenger vehicle capable of running on either petrol or electricity, dependent on your transportational needs and the relative proximity of somewhere to recharge. the prius was introduced around twenty years ago and though successful, has hardly made substantial inroads to the fossil fuel only section of the market. but toyota, far from resting upon their hybrid laurels, are now working on the next big thing; hydrogen fueled vehicles. despite recollections of a blazing, hydrogen-filled hindenberg airship, it seems that many of the dangers have been suitably reduced to the extent that containers of the gas can be safely placed within a the chassis of a motor car.

when hydrogen burns, the sole residue is water.

but ultimately, all the foregoing misses the point. toyota apparently learned that many of their japanese prius customers used the car solely in its electric mode. with an electric range of around 65 miles, their maximum travel involved a more minimal 35 miles, hardly outwith the ability of a reasonably fit and practiced cyclist. and at the risk of stating the glaringly obvious, bicycles don't emit any pollution at all and are not dependent on any power station other than the rider. therefore the solution is pretty much staring everyone in the face.

but excluding thoughts of air pollution for a moment or two, might i refer you back to my description of the seriously haphazard nearby parking. it's a feature that is not confined to proximitous parking at the croft. there are streets around the village that suffer from nose to tail parking pretty much every night of the year and a main street that is often afflicted by double-parking in daylight hours as lazy motorists find themselves in selfish need of stopping directly adjacent to the shop of their desire. while the local tourism and marketing organisation places greater and greater emphasis on more and more car ferry sailings to the isle, the scenic and quaint beauty for which it is justly renowned is being decimated by far too many cars.

i used to be enough of an optimist to think that eventually and hopefully sooner rather than later, the majority would realise the error of their ways. that optimism is struggling right now (but sometimes it's also embarrassingly smug).

thursday 14 december 2017

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cutting remarks

chrome industries cosentino knife roll

the winter has brought on a level of faff hitherto unknown, when it comes to preparing for the sunday ride. bibtights are a far more onerous garment to don than their shorter brethren and i don't mind admitting that i often struggle to prevent the long-sleeve of my baselayer from ending up near my minimal bicep when pulling on a long-sleeve jersey. and should those merino collars be worn under or over the collar?

chrome industries cosentino knife roll

that, however, pales into insignificance when the weather opens up all manner of alternative conundrums. for instance, i had settled on riding the road bike to which are attached my road bike pedals (i like to be organised that way), entailing the wearing of compatible shoes, enveloped by a pair of toasty, toasty overshoes. a light covering of slippery frost on the car park engendered a modest front wheel slide, encouraging a hasty retreat to the bike shed to swap road for 'cross.

chrome industries cosentino knife roll

though by now you will be every bit as breathless and overwrought as was i, the trials and tribulations didn't quite stop there. the pedals affixed to the 'cross bike are not those attached to the road bike cranks, necessitating a speedy change of shoes, hampered only by the need to remove the overshoes and replace them on the alternatives. but the 'cross bike was bereft of seatpack containing multi-tool, tyre levers and spare inner tube, at which point more haste definitively morphed to a great deal less speed.

chrome industries cosentino knife roll

my preferred seatpack is held in place by a toe strap, the end of which is seriously frayed, refusing point blank to slide through the buckle. with time not on my side, i stuffed the pack contents into an empty rear jacket pocket, made my excuses and headed for the open road and boundless sky.

no matter the profile of that honed physique, no matter how many followers you have on strava, no matter how many bicycles there are in the bikeshed, at some point in your life, you're going to have to carry stuff. with luck, that stuff will closely resemble the modest accoutrements mentioned above and a jersey pocket will more than suffice. but as you will probably be well aware, at periodic intervals i have need of transporting home from debbie's a 3kg bag of green city jumbo porridge oats. no matter how hard i have tried, a jersey pocket is simply not going to cut the mustard, as we of the hoi polloi are wont to say.

chrome industries cosentino knife roll

if we're willing and happy to accept that the majority of us are not select members of nairo quintana's elite for next year's tour de france, but have more mundane occupations to fill, there's every likelihood that the stuff we'll have to carry will take all manner of shapes and formats. as a self-confessed photoshop practitioner, the worst it's ever likely to get for me is the need to carry a macbook air laptop computer, an item easily ensconced in the likes of a chrome industries barrage cargo backpack.

chrome industries cosentino knife roll

however, with the bicycle forming the basis of the revolution, all manner of folks with all manner of occupations could conceivably have all manner of odd paraphernalia that needs to be carried hither and thither. for instance, amongst celebrity and not so celebrity chefs, i believe there is a trend for owning and utlilising a set of ever so desirable kitchen knives, yet another item that scarcely fits easily into a jersey rear pocket. or a bicycle seatpack, come to that.

it's lucky you mentioned that.

chrome industries cosentino knife roll

portland's chrome industries sat down with renowned californian chef, chris cosentino, a man who not only knows his way around a kitchen, but readily admits to his bicycle obsession, and designed a chef's knife roll. this zipped and poppered heavy duty nylon and truck tarpaulin knife encasement will cheerfully carry a spinal tap equalling eleven kitchen knives. and since chefs are often entrepreneurs too, there's an easy access business card pocket and three utility pockets for multi-tool, spare inner tube and tyre levers, should you so desire.

the clever bit, however, relates to the carrying balance. it seems glaringly obvious to point out that whacking great kitchen knives are heavier at one end than t'other, so to ensure that the case sits correctly when carried, the handle is offset. a clever ploy methinks. there's every possibility that this carefully designed and constructed case will need to be carried inside the aforementioned barrage backpack when on the bicycle, if only to protect the insides from being slashed to ribbons by those fearsome knives, but even celebrity chefs have to favourably compromise somewhere down the line.

and i've a notion i could get more than a few pairs of drumsticks in one of those.

chrome industries' chris cosentino knife roll retails for $150 (approx. £112).

chrome industries and chris cosentino | video introduction

wednesday 13 december 2017

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not just for christmas

winter maintenance

i'm fully aware that the following is completely irrelevant to regular readers of thewashingmachinepost, fastidious as you are to the last man or woman in pre and post ride practices. not for us the welcome, warm shower on return from the sunday morning ride when the bicycle's welfare has first to be thought of. particularly in agricultural regions such as the hallowed isle, with roads liberally spread with belgian toothpaste, much of which seems intent on adhering to the shinier flavours of carbon fibre. we can't let that happen, now can we?

thankfully, the makers of shiny carbon fibre, particularly more recent versions of the stuff, have taken every care to ensure that the toothpaste cannot join forces with any internal cabling. this is managed by strategic placement of rubber grommets at cable entry and exit points. however, and you may have already spotted this, those grommets don't always do as they are bid, frequently making a bid for freedom along the external cabling still on view. it's not that the grit will unduly affect either standard or electric internally routed wires, but it sure as heck won't ease routine maintenance early next year.

you will be carrying out routine maintenance early next year, won't you?

i have theorised whether carbon fibre's true nature as a form of plastic may well give rise to static electricity during the course of a few kilometres. this would certainly explain why so much of the gloopy road covering makes its way onto the underside of the down tube and back of the seat tube. however, those better versed in the mores of attractive forces, assure me that i'm quite mistaken. i'm not so sure.

but to be honest, gritty gloop slathered over the bicycle frame is truly the least of our worries. spare a thought for that hard-working chain, pretty much on a hiding to nothing due to its perennially thin coating of lubricant. and in this case thin is your watchword.

in his fitter days, an elderly gentleman, once resident on the isle, but now sadly demised, rode a sit-up-and-beg roadster for his every transportational need. i cannot for one moment level any criticism in his direction for leaving the chain unsullied by suitable lubricant, but unfortunately he was not at all in the habit of cleaning it prior to adding one more dose. every time the chain began to squeak, he'd apply yet another layer of three-in-one oil. this meant that, when time came to have the bicycle serviced, apart from the many other iniquities the bicycle displayed, it was impossible to discern even a single link on that muck-encrusted chain.

if the foregoing is insufficient to shame you into attacking your eleven-speed bicycle chain with an old toothbrush and a can of wd40, perhaps i might issue a further world of warning. while valiantly attempting (and subsequently succeeding) to complete rapha's 2011 festive 500, in the habit of cleaning the chain after each day's ride, i discovered a crack in one of the sideplates. your challenge may keep you a tad closer to home, but many of my festive routes perambulate perilously close to the middle of nowhere, probably one of the least desirable places in which to suffer a broken chain.

consider yourself warned.

dividing 500 by eight offers a daily distance of approximately 62.5 kilometres. factor in a new year's day bike ride and it may well be prudent to check each and every moving part prior to commencing this festive cycling marathon, particularly the electrical bits if you have such fitted to your bicycle(s). though we are all well practised in the art of replacing an inner-tube at the roadside and can easily see the beginnings of a worn gear or brake wire, i for one would be left flailing in the dark if the electrics failed (i should point out that none of my bicycles features electronica. better the devil you know...)

if the very thought of attempting anything mechanical on your bicycle fills you with nervous dread, do the decent thing and pop it into your nearest bike shop and have it serviced. meanwhile, get hold of one of the more reputable bicycle maintenance manuals and familiarise yourself with some of the basics. i'm sure we've all heard of motorists whose recently serviced motor cars have failed only a matter of days after collecting from the service centre. a little bit of knowledge may well be a dangerous thing, but every now and again it can make the difference between cycling or walking (in cleated shoes).

as i said at the start, i realise that none of this is relevant to regular readers of the post, but i mention it in case some of your fellow peletonese are less well informed.

tuesday 12 december 2017

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