poster boy

arenberg forest

in the early 1960s, just as the beatles were kickstarting the world of popular music, i bought my very first single, a release on the parlophone label that, as far as i know, still resides in an obscure corner of the attic, along with several miles davis and art blakey recordings on good old vinyl. whe i say single, i do, of course, refer to an e.p. (extended play), a 7" circle of black vinyl containing four tracks instead of two. side one featured, 'twist and shout' along with 'do you want to know a secret?' and a b-side of 'a taste of honey' and 'there's a place', the very song sung by fishmongers across the world.

ronde van vlaanderen

as i recall, kellogg's rice krispies packets sported coupons which could be returned in favour of sew-on patches, one of which contained caricatures of the fab four. as an easily impressed seven year-old, it was all i could do to save enough coupons and receive one of the aforesaid patches, dutifully attached to my blue anorak by a supportive mother. no doubt there were also posters of liverpool's finest available to plaster on bedroom walls, but i fear that my parents' conciliation towards pop music stopped short at the round cloth patch, for i have no recollection of any posters on my bedroom walls.


the early lack of posters was never remedied. after convincing my parents as i entered my teenage years that i ought to be given a room of my own, rather than sharing with a younger brother, the subsequent deal pretty much forbade any such adornment. this was based entirely on my occupying the spare room, one which i was honour bound to temporarily vacate should relatives visit from time to time. granny probably would be less than impressed by a staring ringo starr.

tour of lombardy

working on the principle that it would be entirely unseemly for one of now such advanced years to feature any form of poster either blu-tac'd or drawing pinned to the wall, i have taken to framing such artistry to give the impression that i am a collector of art rather than an overgrown teenager. quite frankly, i think mrs washingmachinepost is very much of the latter opinion.

but in all honesty, the notion of decorating the walls of the croft with posters demonstrating my affection for the velocipedinal milieu has never quite left. and yet, were one to favour some level of decorum in such matters, the framing costs would likely be exhorbitant, though if mrs twmp were not watching too closely, entirely justifiable. and that is a situation made all the more pressing by the arrival of some highly desirable, a2 size posters in the rouleur shop, depicting the five monuments. some people know just how to appeal to our finer senses and weak resistance.


i say this because, having enjoyed a weekend of omloop het nieuwsblad and kuurne-brussels-kuurne (neither of which were overly exciting, if i'm perfectly honest), we have eased ourselves softly into the spring classics. the new rouleur poster series consists of milan-sanremo, ronde van vlaanderen, liege-bastogne-liege and il lombardia by kristof ramon, with the series being completed by a stunning photo of the arenberg forest by marshall kappel.

each limited edition poster is printed on premium 262gsm art paper at the reassuringly (and not very) expensive price of £55. all that remains is to successfully persuade mrs washingmachinepost that all five framed and hung in the bedroom could be every bit as economic as new wallpaper.

rouleur monument prints

monday 26 february 2018

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rough and ready

fred wright rough stuff cycling guide

i have come across one or two pertinent articles of late, asking the very question that has interrupted many a moment of solitude on the bike. namely, do we really need gravel bikes?'' i agree, that is somewhat of a disingenuous query, for their need is almost indisputable, but what i mean is, do we really need a particular genre to satisfy either need or demand for riding along un-metalled roadways? and perhaps to be more realistic, given the current state of britain's roads, aren't we already doing that anyway on the bikes we currently own?

fred wright rough stuff cycling guide

if you cast your minds back to the days of daniel wakefield pasley's original and late lamented rapha continental, an exploration of north america's roads less travelled, none of the ladies and gents involved were aboard anything other than relatively standard road bikes, though they were blessed with a tad more tyre clearance than the average. there have been bicycles such as these available for many a long year, though it's pertinent to point out that gravé in the uk is more likely to consist of mud than it is of gravel.

but should you be less than convinced of your ability to leave tarmac, en-route to more tarmac, but by way of obscure untrodden pathways, there has always been the ubiquitous cyclocross machinery, a genre all of its own that existed long before messrs ritchey, fisher and kelly invented the mountain bike, currently personified as the sprung farm gates that we all know and loathe. (well, maybe some of us do).

fred wright rough stuff cycling guide

but the notion of getting out of the way of motorised traffic is nothing particularly new. with an ever-increasing number of cars, trucks and buses on roads all over europe, riding gravel tracks or dirt roads might be viewed by many as the more prudent option. but as i asked in my opening paragraph, was it necessary to invent a whole class of bicycle to fulfil that sane desire.

probably not. but then when has pragmatism ever stood in the way of an intrepid marketing department?

fred wright rough stuff cycling guide

that so-called rough stuff cycling is hardly a recent invention, can be vindicated by the existence of 'rough stuff cycling in the alps' self-published in 2002, by the eponymous fred wright. his carefully curated and illustrated book preserved the collective wisdom of several generations of riders who pioneered the art of riding into the high peaks aboard normal touring bikes, carrying all they figured they'd need in canvas rucksacks and wearing sartorially questionable sandals anad floppy hats. as writer, max leonard, inimated "This was gravel biking before gravel bikes - mountain biking before mountain bikes."

fred wright rough stuff cycling guide

wright's book contained almost 300 routes ranging from the easy stuff to the considerably harder, routes that exploited the tracks and altitudes both the french and swiss alps along with the italian dolomites and the austrian tirol. this self-published tome consisted of a mere 100 copies which, unsurprisingly, are now impossible to obtain. however, with the original author's permission, max intends to reprint this important artefact of velocipedinal history, once again in a limited edition.

fred wright rough stuff cycling guide

with 28 days still to go of his kickstarter campaign, the book has already more than exceeded its target (achieved in less than three hours), but max has told me that the more pennies that enter the coffers, the more stunning vintage photographs can be reproduced. fred's original book was typed at his local library and bound at a nearby branch of staples. the modern-day reproduction, however, will use the services of a european, art-gallery quality printer and will be wire bound for ease of use. £1 from every copy ordered will be donated to the rough stuff fellowship and a further £1 split between fred wright's favoured charity, the salvation army and smart shelter foundation.

there will be no over-ordering of stock, according to max, so once they're gone, they're gone. as mr leonard says "Buy this book because you're planning a trip, buy it for the incredible photos, buy it for inspiration, but please dig into your pockets and help us bring this amazing book back to life."

you know the drill.

rough stuff cycling in the alps guide book on kickstarter

sunday 25 february 2018

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assos mille gt spring/autumn l/s jersey

assos gt mille l/s jersey

over the past few issues, modern drummer magazine has taken to asking luminaries of the percussive milieu to name their must have gear. i'd like to say that this feature is the drummer's equivalent of desert island discs, but to be quite blunt, it's pretty much anything but. any musician stranded on the mythical desert island would, naturally enough, feel an overwhelming desire for their instrument of choice, but for drummers, vibraphone players and probably pianists, this is but a pipedream.

few of us ever consider, for the latter in particular, that life cannot be quite the bowl of cherries we'd consider it to be. if i might take the concert pianist as a pertinent example, when was the last time you saw such an individual boarding the flight to wherever, carrying a steinway grand in a backpack? in the words of the great confucious "that ain't never gonna happen", meaning there's every possibility of the touring keyboard player strutting his or her stuff each evening on a different instrument. just think of that, next time you're listening to alfred brendell and the vienna philharmonic conducted by sir simon rattle playing brahms piano concerto no. 1 on your ipod.

assos gt mille l/s jersey

the planet's more celebrated drummers suffer similarly. carting even a small set around the world can be an expensive and harrowing experience, so those who endorse (ie are sponsored by) specific marques can usually expect to find an approximation of their usual setup on arrival. it is simply a case of carting one's cymbals and possibly a favourite or signature snare drum to complete the ensemble. for those without the necessary endorsement, the contract hopefully stipulates a playable instrument at the very least.

therefore, given that the majority of those interviewed for this must have gear portion of the magazine, they're really only being offered the opportunity to make mention of the products supplied by their various endorsements. stuff such as microphones, cases, sticks and anything else about which they can wax lyrical.

assos gt mille l/s jersey

no doubt the professional cyclist would follow a similar path; whichever bicycle their team provides is almost bound to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, though if the desert island is anyhting like those seen in the movies, one hopes they might have asked for the cyclocross variation. likewise, clothing. the wardrobe at home might conceivably be stuffed with items from a favourite purveyor, but when at the office, there is no option but to wear the stuff with the team's logos.

while the notion that the world's professional cyclists fill their off duty moments reading all that i have to offer, i figure it far more likely that we're all in this together and none of us have a professional contract. therefore, were i to implement a similar feature on thewashingmachinepost, asking you each in turn which items of cycling paraphernalia would ease your island abandonment, there would be little in the way of commercial pressures to nominate one or t'other. i like to think of us as free agents, simply filling time until our respective representatives call with the latest contractual offer.

thus, at absolute minimum, shorts, jersey and bicycle would be atop anyone's list, but the question is which one's do we choose?

assos gt mille l/s jersey

in reality, those hypothetical choices are something of a moving target. allowing for seasonal variations and technological developments mean that your next jersey is likely to be the most favoured. so in that spirit, i feel it only right and proper that i introduce you to the assos mille gt spring/autumn l/s jersey, which, as it's name implies, is intended for months other than those comprising summer and winter. this is, i think, an important delineation, for though we all experience the four seasons in some form or other, depending on where in the world you reside, the length and commencement of each will vary often substantially.

therefore, i would like to disavow you immediately of the possible misapprehension, that spring has already reached the hebrides. omloop het nieuwsblad may already be taking/have taken place as the aperitif of the so-called spring classics, but the forecast for the midweek includes a windchill of minus seven degrees celcius, a temperature that inarguably points to winter being still the prevailing season. therefore, while i would dearly have loved to perambulate the estates with the assos jersey displayed al fresco, in point of fact, it was cosily concealed under an assos sturmprinz jacket.

assos gt mille l/s jersey

that, however, rather than offering it an easier ride than it might have expected, probably achieved quite the contrary. according to assos, the mille gt jersey is 'fast drying and highly breathable', properties that were much in demand from this particular reviewer, as he manfully scrabbled across islay's western coast in temperatures marginally above zero, but permeated by the legendary galeforce winds. not entirely unexpectedly, the latter gave rise to more than several kilometres of heavy breathing, the sort of exertion that can often result in an undesirable level of perspiration under that sturmprinz jacket.

i'd be guilty of telling a big fib if i said that didn't happen; because it did. however, the jersey's breathability comfortably minimised any likelihood of the well-kent bin-bag scenario. the latter has the potential to result in disbarrment from one's favourite coffee hostelry. this level of breathability is masterfully aided by a high-wicking fabric on the rear, in tandem with the protective frontmost rx material and the most attractive assos logo'd fabric that forms the lower portion of each sleeve.

assos gt mille l/s jersey

according to the swiss manufacturer, the mille jersey conforms to their relaxed 'regular-fit', as opposed to the more restrictive racing variety. i do not have a wealth of assos jerseys with which to compare, but i cannot deny that it was a just a smidgeon more race than relaxed for my taste.

the shiny rx fabric itself is reminiscent of that seen on several skinsuits and it does offer a particularly close fit on the sleeves, the fleece lining of which made this a slightly strenuous jersey to put on over a long-sleeve, merino baselayer. however, very much in keeping with my philosophy that bibshorts ought to be difficult to pull on, i have no qualms about recommending the mille jersey's fit overall. at this time of year, a close-fitting jersey is better able to trap warm air just where you'd like it to be trapped.

assos gt mille l/s jersey

in the dim distant days of yore, when the average cycle jersey was on the point of freeing itself from the black swamp, three rear pockets was the best any member of the pelotonese could hope for. there then arose the most welcome fourth, zipped variety, an interloper that quickly found favour with most of the world's top cycling apparel purveyors. but while it might be a bit early to declare the rise of a counter trend, this is the second jersey i've received in the past month that is bereft of that which might safely carry keys, coffee money or a pensioner's bus pass. i readily recognise that the professionals mentioned above have no earthly need for such a repository, the paying public might find themselves less in agreement.

of course, maybe assos research has discovered that no-one actually uses such a pocket. the three regular inhabitants are, however, more than capable of coping with the majority of demands. i actually managed to squish the sturmprinz into one of them, though it was hardly what i'd describe as a good look. in mitigation, the stretch fabric, full-length front zip and medium height collar did their very best to pull yours truly back into some form of sartorial decency.

assos gt mille l/s jersey

do not for one minute take my criticisms as a pointer to swiss failings in the jersey department. the mille gt long-sleeve is, in truth just the sort of jersey you'd shout for were you to be marooned on the sort of desert island popuated by zwift subscribers, particularly during the months of late spring or early autumn. in motion, you'd all but forget its existence and i figure it's every bit as much at home beneath a jacket as it's likely to be on its own. however, until the weather heats up a bit, i'll have to get back to you on that one.

the assos mille gt spring/autumn ls jersey is available in sizes ranging from xs to xxl and tir and in black, red or caleum blue (as reviewed), retail price is £120

assos mille gt spring/autumn long-sleeve jersey

saturday 24 february 2018

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the legendary mr mitchelson

richmitch legends

i'm not going to pretend that i can remember every scene. nor indeed will i attempt to fool you that i can even recall the storyline. but one of those iconic cinematic moments that sticks in the memory of more than just yours truly, is that of dumbo, accompanied by the exhortations of timothy mouse, diving from a high tower, tenaciously grasping a small white feather. the purpose of that item, as we would later learn, is as a lucky totem. dumbo has no intrinsic belief that he can fly, using his huge flapping ears, without the aid of the selfsame small, white feather.

i am one bereft of superstition and therefore less than concerned with the superstitions of others, including, as it happens, the professional peloton. however it is not outwith the bounds of possibility that several, if not all of our heroes, carefully don their team kit in a specific order, occupy a specific lucky seat on the team bus, or fasten a lucky mascot to the bicycle stem. there may even be one amongst their number who shares my agnosticism, looking danger straight in the face by wearing number 13 the right way up over a jersey pocket.

richmitch legends

i truly know not and to be honest, i'm not sure i really care. but then again, were i to discover that any of the greats, deserving of our approbation, was party to the above, i certainly would not think any the less of them. if it takes a white feather blu-tac'd to a pair of oakleys to put anyone across the line in first place, then more power to their superstitious elbow. if i have need of checking the veracity of any potential aberration, i can simply ask mrs washingmachinepost; she harbours all manner of superstitious knowledge and just because i don't believe, doesn't mean it isn't true.

there have been several occasions, however, when i feel it might have been a tad more prudent to afford at least a minimal belief system. at the end of the sunday ride, particularly if the parcours has included the climb up storakaig, when the sprint push comes to shove, i really have no expectations of being first past the 30mph sign at bruichladdich. to be honest, a white feather at that point, might come in particularly handy.

richmitch legends

but let's face it, riding at speed towards bruichladdich distillery with white feather in hand would hardly endear my professed macho-ness to my fellow pelotonese, while sitting in debbie's supping froth and emptying a packet of jammy dodgers. what i need as a talisman, should i ever have doubts as to the existence of extra curricular forces, is something a bit more jam and considerably less marmalade (to paraphrase mick jagger). something like the latest edition of richard mitchelson's legends kit, now that you come to mention it.

the very reason the latter might apportion a hitherto unexpected level of athletic prowess upon these ageing bones, is the presence of so many cycling icons on a single jersey, reinforced by accessorising bibshorts, cap, snood etc. richmitch has created a highly attractive cycle jersey, covered top to pockets with his idiosyncratic caricatures of the sport's finest jerseys: banesto, polka dots, belgian national champion, molteni, peugeot, brooklyn... i feel sure that amongst the cognoscenti, i need say no more.

produced to their usual impressive standards, the jerseys, shorts, cap and neck warmer, both male and female kits are by milltag and currently available for pre-order, a process which ends on friday 23 march, hopefully arriving in time for this year's giro d'italia. with summer following remarkably soon afterwards, you could easily be wearing this in time to nab the king of the mountains in your local sportive, or arrive into paris ahead of the peloton at the end of hotchillee's londres-paris.

aside from which, adopting richmitch as your white feather indicates a level of class that your peloton may have suspected, but has yet to see demonstrated.

rich mitch legends range

friday 23 february 2018

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is the cable long enough?


several years ago, rapha released their brevet jersey, a garment intended for those wishing to cover the sort of mileage enjoyed by riders with audax pretensions. while there are many different ways to review a jersey, depending on its intended purpose and how well it appears to be fulfilling the marketing promise, for the purposes of appropriate scribbling, i undertook to ride 200km. though real brevet/audax riders are probably scoffing at such a teensy distance, time and effort wise, that's as good as it was going to get for me.

though i am regularly recommended to drink more liquids, more often, particularly when on the bike, i am more inclined to heed the advice of a nutritional specialist who was quoted as saying "that's what thirst is for." thus, it is not entirely uncommon for yours truly to arrive home of a sunday monring, with the same amount of water in my bottle as when i left home. mind you, the bike ride had been punctuated by a soya cappuccino before the homeward grand depart. that's my excuse anyway.


two hundred kilometres, however, is a slightly different prospect; in order not to arrive home totally dessicated, i fitted a second bottle cage on the seat-tube and headed off with two, full bottles of water. after careful liquid management, the ride was survived with aplomb, at least it was until i reached about 175km, when the thirst from hell descended upon me. for those with even a vague notion of islay's geography, i was approaching the access road to ardbeg distillery when it descended and i'd scarcely a drop of water left in either bottle.

this entailed a 5km ride back to port ellen village in order to ransack the bottled water shelf in the local averagemarket, downing 500ml with ease, before filling the two bike mounted bottles to allow completion of the trip.

i would not wish to infer that the aforementioned 200km were ridden without recourse to nourishment other than highland spring; a few snack bars and a large helping of carrot cake had already been consumed by this point. which brings me in a largely circuitous manner to my point. as the result of a successful indiegogo campaign last year, the appropriately named swytchbike are now offering an e-bike conversion kit that will allegedly transform any bicycle into an electric machine.


its simplicity is quite impressive; purchase a motor-equipped front wheel, along with a bar bag in which is contained the battery and hey presto, your ordinary bike becomes an e-bike in the twinkling of a spanner. and speaking of ordinary, swytchbike offer, on their website, an electric penny farthing. very much a case of old meets new. however, if that were all there was to the situation, you can be assured i would hardly be impinging on your valuable time, simply to alert you to this innovation. for there, second on the list of attributes, swytchbike make mention of the battery's fifty mile range before recharging is required.

put into continental racing terminology, that's barely 80km of riding. if we assume, like the figures offered by computer manufacturers, that the battery life is just a tad on the optimistic side, measured under contolled conditions that do not include a galeforce headwind, this compares highly disfavourably with the 175km achieved before my highland spring moment. i daresay there are other e-bikes offering better statistics, but those are likely to be complete bicycles as opposed to the adapter kit as proffered by swytchbike.


i am, of course, being slightly disingenuous, because if you recall, i pointed out that the kit included a handlebar bag to carry the battery. correct me if i'm wrong, but i can't think of too many pinarello or colnago owners who would be keen to augment their handlebars in such a fashion. the swytchbike kit is presumably aimed more at the commuting cyclist, particularly those with the option of charging the battery while they work.

batteries are constantly being improved; the apple laptop on which i type these words has an alleged battery life of ten hours, a figure that it mostly seems to achieve with ease. that being the case, it is more than likely that the 2019 version of the swytchbike will take you further, if legally no faster. still, for those of us harbouring serious misgivings about strava, zwift and all things electric, we might be joining the last of the jedi.

electrons are like that.

i also find myself wondering why a company based in hackney prices all its products in u.s. dollars.


thursday 22 february 2018

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it's just a bike

specialized crux elite

assuming you to be of the male gender, you surely must have been subjected to the 'what's your opinion of..." questioning from your better half, questions to which there is no correct answer. at least, not from you. on almost every day, when returning from slaving over a hot keyboard, sat inside the front door will be at least one package from a mail order catalogue, clearly addressed to mrs washingmachinepost, the contents of which will likely be heading in the opposite direction the very next day.

unlike ordering bicycle parts online, it seems that the aforesaid mail order companies have achieved the uncanny knack of marketing their products as if they are actually the size they say they are, and built from luxurious fabric to a standard of which even nasa would be proud. in point of fact their size (enter your own number here) is either two sizes larger, or, more likely, two sizes smaller (allegedly), than alluded to on the website.

nonetheless, i know all too well, that the evening will be partially filled with a fashion parade of new clothing, many items of which will be distinctly flattering, but no matter what opinion i express when asked, it will be dismissed on the grounds of "what would you know?" or you're just saying that." the former is a statement about which i find it hard to argue, for i seriously doubt anyone would employ my services as an arbiter of fashion.

however, assuming you to be, like myself, of modest intentions, having purchased a new cycle jersey/bibshort/bibtights/rainjacket (delete as applicable), you are not in the habit of parading up and down the sitting room floor dressed in this new finery, to visually appraise your other half of the excellence of your velocipedinally sartorial choices. in my case, i simply dress in one or t'other as listed above and go out to ride my bike; i do not confer any sense of cycling couture appreciation, whatsoever upon mrs washingmachinepost.

ritchey logic

yet, despite this apparent need on her behalf for my half-hearted approval and the subsequent ignoring of whatever i may have valiantly offered, were i to attempt to interest her sense of fairplay by showing a particularly desirable bicycle (by my standards, at least), i can almost guarantee the answer to be a dismissive, "it's just a bike."

at the risk of undermining the basis of marital bliss worldwide, unfortunately, i think mrs washingmachinepost may well be right: any bike is, truly, just a bike. granted, some of today's exotic machinery would give the sturdiest bank manager heart palpitations, were they to be even aware you were considering such a frivolous purchase. but no matter that many bicycles give cause for concern when left outside the coffee shop, lest they blow away in a strong breeze, ultimately, they consist of a frame, two wheels and a collection of necessary componentry.

just a bike.

i have, resting in the bike shed, a particularly fine example of the cyclocross genre, replete with fluorescent red and green paint scheme. the componentry is only a couple of tiers shy of state of the art, the tyres pretty much are state of the art and hydraulic discs ensure that i am seen as of contemporary, modern countenance. yet this past week, when i had need of visiting one of the local farms, the access road to which the owners are carrying out particularly muddy remedial work, i donned thermal jacket, cycling denim and a helmet to make my way there and back on a bicycle that would not have looked out of place in a national championship event. ultimately just a bike.

keeping that specialized crux company behind the shed door, is one of the finest steel-framed bicycles in middle-earth. yet despite being festooned with high quality italian cycle jewellery, it is perfectly capable of offering service as a commuting bike, albeit just a tad over qualified for the job. these bicycles know not of the traits conferred upon them, traits that seem to depend more upon the aspirations of their owner, than the fabric and potential implied by their respective marketing departments. it's almost snobbery by any other name, were we astute enough to realise .

because ultimately, it's just a bike, ready and willing to serve its owner in any way they may see fit; winning the tour de france or nipping down to the shops for a pizza. (your mileage may vary).

wednesday 21 february 2018

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the support network

record shop

record shops used to be record shops, places where one could spend endless hours, probably very much to the irritation of the staff, flicking through twelve-inch squares of card in the fervent hope of coming across a release that may have escaped our attention. even better, when at college, there was a second-hand record shop on rosemount viaduct called happy trails. rather topically, that space may currently be occupied by an oxfam charity shop, though i've not been back for several decades, so that could also be completely wrong.

happy trails, if memory serves, featured the strong aroma of patchouli oil and incense, but had rack upon rack at the rear of the premises of second-hand vinyl. though it was rarely referred to as vinyl in those days, you just never knew what you might find on a saturday afternoon; i bought a live recording of fairport convention, concert footage from the sydney opera house i believe and featuring both dave mattacks on drums and the late dave swarbrick on fiddle.

incidentally, just a few years ago, i came across youtube footage of original vocalist, dave matthews who, far from occupying the folk milieu, had decided to carve a career as a jazz singer. if i were him, i wouldn't have bothered; he was terrible.

anyhoo, as per usual, i have digressed ever so slightly. music formats have moved on a tad, perhaps due to vinyl's inability to accurately reproduce bass frequencies. after the not always popular cassette tape format, the compact disc fixed the bass problem, using the considerably smaller wavelength of a laser to cram higher quality reproduction onto a smaller, shinier format. of course, once music had gone digital, the gatekeeper had his hands full to keep the genie in the bottle, as will have been witnessed by downloadable tracks priced in pennies and the more recent equitable agreement between broadband and 4g to allow unlimited streaming of pretty much every commercial release in the entire world.

the problem, for ancient luddites such as myself, is the wholesale dissemination of the album. no longer is it necessary to purchase a selection of songs adjudged by the band and/or its producer to be a track listing, curated to entice and separate you from your hard-earned cash. nowadays i can have either a playlist on my ipod or yet another streamed to any mobile device i might reluctantly end up owning. that playlist, should i deign to involve my listening habits, may possibly not contain more than even a single track from any given artist. from my point of view, that is a crying shame.

can you, for one minute, even consider listening to john coltrane's acknowledgment from a love supreme, followed by odetta by joe henry, or even part one of quartet by steve reich? i'm sure you share my anguish.

however, now that the second age of enlightenment is in its ascendency, vinyl has made a successful comeback and not only with regard to blue note resissues from the late 1950s, but often in the shape of newly released, yet not inexpensive 180g vinyl. for ageing hippies such as yours truly, a return to the days when music occupied 'sides' is once more at our fingertips and turntables.

so what, precisely, does any of this have to do with bicycles?

on 21 april this year, the uk will celebrate 'national record shop day' for which elton john is to be commemorated as the first ever worldwide record store day legend. rather tautologically, this designated date is designed to support the record shops that have had the perspicacity to augment their compact disc selections with at least a few of those glorious record racks, offering black vinyl to many who were probably not born when it first disappeared from musical view.

though i wish not to be the harbinger of bad tidings, there is every possibility that the uibiquitous independent bike shop might be heading the same way as vinyl once did. facing continued pressure from online cycle retailers who have little in the way of bricks and mortar to support, along with expansion of the larger cycle chain stores, many have decided to cut their losses and go ride their bikes instead.

unfortunately, there appears to be no velocipedinal heirarchy in the uk with the clout or nous to declare a national bike shop day on which the great, the good and the unwashed would show their undying support for the independents, the very outlets that would be sure to take care of us in our hour(s) of need. as has been prudently pointed out on a previous occasion, websites won't repair your bicycle. however, rather unexpectedly (no disrespect intended), the canadians have taken matters into their own hands by announcing their own national bike shop day, taking place on the speedily approaching saturday 24 march. it's an event that they readily acknowledge was inspired by their own national record shop day.

according to the organisers, it's to be an annual event "celebrating the culture of the independently owned bicycle store. to showcase all that small bike businesses do to support their local communities."

let's face it, a good idea is a good idea, no matter from which side of the atlantic it originates.

canada's national bike store day | #supportyourlocalbikeshop

tuesday 20 february 2018

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