hot, hot, hot

i am not a happy bunny.

according to local legend, winter sets in the day after the annual show, an event that took place on thursday, 8 august. given that the agricultural show takes place in a field belonging to islay estates, i daresay that we should be eternally grateful that the weather was most gracious in its warm, sunny clemency. yet true to form, friday 9th comprised predomiantly of rain and wind, the very elements that are the velo club's bread and butter.

in the years prior to having need of wandering around show field with a bass drum strapped to my tummy, show day was the perfect opportunity to ride on relatively car-free roads. those of you who have visited the principality will already figure that to be the normal state of affairs, but with the bulk of the isle's population ensconced at bridgend, the roads are even quieter than usual. sometimes, drumming is a curse.

however, if i might return to the winter weather that befalls the island, following show day, the regular velo club sunday ride experienced wet and windy; with one or two individuals on holiday or bearing letters of excuse from their mothers, only three of us explored the inclement parcours. the following sunday, i had popped over to scotland to have my mother write me one of those selfsame letters, but i'm led to understand that, midst more wind and rain, the numbers had increased by only a single individual over the previous week's ride.

convinced that this would be the pattern betwen now and december (well, march next year, if i'm being totally honest), i agreed to the receipt of winter apparel for review, certain that it would be only a matter of days before clothing myself thus, would be pretty much the order of the day. this was underlined during the ferry journey back from scotland late last week. though little was amiss on departure, there were a few crusty bits in open water, and on entering the sound of islay, the hills above macarthur's head lighthouse were pretty much obscured by mist and rain. similarly, the paps of jura out the starboard windows.

it looked more than likely that my new showers pass waterproof trousers would be gainfully employed on a daily basis.

and then, once again, climate change intervened. having played a couple of gigs at a local islay hostelry on friday and saturday eves, common experience would pre-suppose that, on departing the public bar at stupid o'clock on sunday morning, a blast of cool air would welcome my stepping into jamieson street. only in this case, there was no discernible difference between indoors and out. very disconcerting.

being a confirmed wimp, i had laid out both armwarmers and a windproof gilet to keep me toasty en-route to debbie's on sunday morning, except i arose to cloudless skies and an ambient temperature that encouraged a smattering of perspiration before i'd even retrieved the basso diamante from the bike shed. and that's where the disappointment began.

earlier this summer, i refrained from joining mrs washingmachinepost, along with number one daughter and family on a two-week holiday in fuertaventura, purely on the basis that i am not a fan of very hot weather and daily lazing by the pool. islay sunday morning temperatures in the mid-twenties do not for a comfortable cyclist make. even with armwarmers and gilet left upon the kitchen table, i already felt as if in the midst of a sauna by the time we'd reached debbie's. granted, continually informing visitors that the café does not open until 11am is a humorous pastime, but the promise of a hot, dry bike ride, is not what i wanted.

over the years, i have carefully cultivated a distinctly hardman characterisation for the sunday peloton, based on a diet of cold, galeforce winds and driving rain. despite elements such as those, we laugh in the face of adversity, resolutely maintaining a flandrian persona, despite crosswinds that try manfully to prevent rubber side down. if we're now going to face the same, namby pamby conditions as experienced by those soft southerners, i may have to take up white water rafting.

monday 26 august 2019

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santini/prendas greg lemond l/s agrigel/adr/bottechia jersey

greg lemond eight second jersey

i am not what you might describe as a practical sort of fellow. a bit like my father, the biggest contribution i can make to diy, is an unsightly pile of newspapers and magazines on the floor beside the armchair. granted, i can strip and re-assemble an entire bicycle with my eyes closed, but that's a skill seemingly non-transferable when it comes to fitting shelves, cupboards, wallpapering or painting skirting boards.

greg lemond eight second jersey

'pragmatic' might be a more apt apellation.

the practicality aspect is equally missing from my velocipedinal life, though the occasional aberration surfaces now and again. for example, since i do not wear a watch when riding, i have a garmin affixed to the handlebars with the clock filling the topmost display. agreed, it's a bit like using a jcb to crack a nut, but a practical solution nonetheless.

however, not that i would ever admit to training in any way shape or form, on those secret saturdays when i can go riding on my own, i have been known to push the envelope more than is strictly necessary for a fellow of my advanced years. that said, i'm very much an acolyte of il campionissimo and eddy himself. the former has been quoted as allegedly having said the three most important aspects of training are ride a bike, ride a bike and ride a bike. eddy was slightly more circumspect, simply advising that no matter how much or how little riding you do, as long as you ride your bike, all will be well with the world.

greg lemond eight second jersey

and it is.

nor, it prides me to say, am i what i believe is referred to as an 'early adopter'. when there are new versions of the mac operating system, i'm happy to wait till someone else has fallen foul of the inevitable bugs. and i'm pretty sure that you're all fed up with my remonstrations against mobile phones. however, if you are possessed of the competitive gene, it is probably incumbent upon you to grab every marginal gain you can find. it was that mentality, in part, that allowed american, greg lemond, to arrive in paris a mere eight seconds faster than frenchman, the late laurent fignon.

greg lemond eight second jersey

the latter was convinced that, in the final day's time-trial of the 1989 tour de france, there was precious little chance of his being deposed from the potential top step of the podium. lemond's winning margin was achieved, according to legend, by the fitting of a pair of scott tri-bars to his bottechia bicycle. as if to underline the impracticality to which i admitted above, i had a pair of those very tri-bars still in the original box, having never been affixed to any bicycle in my possession.

that very bright, chartreuse yellow jersey, bedecked with adr and agrigel logos, amongst others, was originally manufactured and supplied by santini, surely one of recent history's more iconic jerseys, but missing from the readily available heritage jerseys, after which many of us clamour when wishing to promote cycling's oft-mentioned 'rich heritage'. thankfully, prendas ciclismo supremo, andy storey, a far more practical man than yours truly, has persuaded the folks at santini to rescue the original design from the archives and make it available in both short-sleeve and long-sleeve versions. in the interest of co-ordinating and accessorising, there's also a matching casquette.

greg lemond eight second jersey

the long-sleeve version features a full-length zip; pull it to the collar and flip it downwards and it locks in position. a neat touch. that zip is fully covered to maintain the integrity of the design and is affixed to a fleece backed fabric that was admittedly a tad on the cosy side for late august, but with winter already on the way, it is pragmatism personified, from my point of view. there are three capacious rear pockets, augmented by a zipped fourth in the centre. the hem 'neath those pockets, is backed with gloopy stuff to keep everything where it's supposed to be.

wearing both cap and jersey pretty much ensured barely a single instance of smidsy, though i did encounter having a car door opened in front of me in shore street by a visitor who quite patently never looked first. and, rather obviously, i made it to debbie's eight-seconds quicker than usual.

the prendas/santini adr/agrigel/bottechia jersey is available in sizes ranging from xs to 8xl (yes, really) at a price of £79.99. the short sleeve version retails at £64.99. the matching cap is priced at £8.99, and the similarly coloured dryarn-carbon prendas socks (kindly supplied to match) retail at £6.99.

prendas santini greg lemond l/s jersey

sunday 25 august 2019

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policy research


according to velominati, rule #12 suggests that the correct number of bicycles to own is exemplified by the formula, n+1, where 'n' is the number of bicycles you already own. this particular rule is compounded by rule #25, which states that the bikes on top of the car should be worth more than the car. the latter is just a tad harder to come to terms with, particularly in my case, when i don't have a car. i can only imagine the untold expense in complying with number 25, should you be fortunate enough to have a porsche or a ferrari in the garage.

i am perfectly well aware of my own good fortune. when number one son was still an obtuse teenager, he had an unfortunate tendency to either leave the bike shed door open, or the key in the lock overnight. considering the value of my extensive bicycle collection (two of which now reside in my son's bikeshed), had i lived in the big city, it would have been largely unsurprising to find the shed empty in the morning. however, at the risk of tempting fate, bicycle theft on the island ranges between minimal and non-existent, thus my cycle locks remain mostly unused.

there are at least a couple of reasons for this: pretty much everyone knows everyone else over here, so any theft would be from friends or neighbours. secondly, any civilian attempting to pinch a bicycle on islay, would quite likely be ignorant of the various methods of gearchanging and no idea whatsoever how to deal with clipless pedals. of course, there's also the salient fact that any nicked bicycle would still have to leave the island on the ferry. all the foregoing would probably require at least a soupcon of forward planning.

however, we're not all quite so lucky. several participants in this year's ride of the falling rain were keen to point out that leaving a bicycle lying unattended in an urban or city location was guaranteed to result in an empty space where the bike used to be, when returning to ride home. if you've spent a considerable amount of time and money on acquiring your pride and joy, it is incumbent on mainland cyclists to spend every bit as much time, but thankfully less money on protecting that investment.

and, as a last line of defence, insuring it (or them), surely makes a great deal of sense?

certain levels of membership of british cycling or cyclinguk arrive with included third party insurance, something that i would seriously ask every single one of you to consider. you may well have the combined bike handling skills of peter sagan and danny macaskill, but if when trying to avoid one obstacle, you inadvertently hit the porsche or ferrari described above, a lack of insurance could result in a very large dent in your meagre bank balance.

however, the insurance under discussion is that of theft insurance; paying an annual amount to a bona-fide insurer who would pay out recompense, should your state of the art carbon fibre disappear overnight. as with any form of insurance, whether car or home, there are generally a wide range of companies, eager and willing to gain your business, far more than are willing to insure a shiny road bike. many of you may have token bicycle insurance included in your home insurance, but more often than not, the amount for which your pride and joy is insured will be considerably less than the amount covered.

additionally, it is not unknown for the insurer to refuse to pay out, having not been informed of the many thousands featured on the price tag. "we should have been informed" is often the reply to your query.

however, if insuring the bicycle has become all but compulsory, stage two is searching for an insurance provider willing to take on the task. oddly enough, given the ever-increasing cost of a decent bike, you'd think that by now, many of the more prominent vehicle insurers would be happy to join the party, but that is rarely the case. despite insuring vans, cars, motorbikes, mopeds etc., bicycles mostly seem conspicuous by their absence. so where would you start?

quotezone already offer a comparison site for home, motor, travel, van and motorbike insurance, and as of right now, they have included the humble and not so humble bicycle. after filling in a relatively simple online form, by choosing your brand from an extensive dropdown list, it's a case of sharing your location details to receive a quote. however, i confess that on first approach, i baulked at the latter. given the number of data breaches there have been in recent times, did i really want to tell anonymous individuals, not only that i owned an expensive bicycle, but the precise address at which it could be found?

according to quotezone "We've served millions of customers since 2005 without suffering any kind of data breach, but we do understand how important it is that you are able to trust the platform before inputting your own data.
"It is, however, essential that specific details about any item you're hoping to insure is shared with providers, including address details, since some insurers may take things like the crime rate in your local area into account when assessing insurance risk.
"We do take data security very seriously. Our company holds an ISO 27001 certification, the international standard that specifically covers information security management. We also have appropriate technical and organisational security measures in place in compliance with relevant legislation."

perhaps my approach would be considered overly cautious, given the amount of information freely shared on social media these days, but i doubt you can be too careful.

i submitted the details for a bicycle valued at £5,000, without racing cover, but with sportive cover, bearing in mind that i live in an area with very low crime risk. i received three quotes immediately. assetsure cycle insurance offered an annual fee of £202.71 including legal and accessory cover. personal accident, public liability and european cover were all extras. a no claims bonus was included along with the option to pay in twelve monthly instalments (increasing the cost to £220.44). the excess was £100.

yellow jersey insurance offered two quotes. the lower -priced (performance version) was £332.68 and included public liability, personal accident, legal cover, accessory cover, european cover, but not worldwide cover. excess was a seemingly standard £100, and instalments increased the price by around £33. according to the small print, claims are handled in-house, a 60% multi-bike discount is available with a 25% renewal discount, even if you've made a claim.

this also applied to yellow jersey's second quote, classified as their ultimate cycle insurance. in fact, all the above applied to this edition, with the exception that worldwide cover is included. price was £391.39, with payment by instalment increasing that to £430.

in the grand scheme of things, even £430 is hardly an exhorbitant amount to pay for insurance cover on a £5,000 bicycle, particularly if you consider the last two quotes above, promise a 25% discount on renewals. however, according to the association of british insurers, the average annual cost of motor insurance is £471, so it's conceivable that you could be paying more to insure your bicycle than your car. but if you figure it's something you need, due to the crime risk in your area, quotezone seems like an easy way to get the numbers without obligation. i would, however, take issue with the page banner, stating 'cheap bicycle insurance'. it's also worth my mentioning that assetsure and yellow jersey seem to be the only two companies listed by quotezone. perhaps it's early days?

quotezone bicycle insurance

saturday 24 august 2019

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viva la vuelta 1935-2018 3rd edition. lucy fallon & adrian bell. mousehold press/sport & publicity. 448pp illus. £18.95

viva la vuelta - fallon & bell

not so very long ago, rumours surfaced that both the giro d'italia and la vuelta were being pressured to drop from three-week tours, to a more conservative two. that would leave the spoilt kid in the bunch as the star of the show, but arguably open the season up just a tad, either reducing the race congestion, or allowing the uci to slide another couple of races into the gaps.

there may be a convincing case for so doing; the possibility of the world's top cyclists fighting for the podium over an expectedly more fraught and exciting two weeks in both italy and spain, would surely keep the roadside and tv audiences more engaged. or perhaps not. personally, were this state of affairs to transpire, i'd be inclined to level the same argument at the tour de france, as, quite possibly, would a.s.o.

picture the hypothetical scenario where the bookend tours offered a greater level of excitement and closer racing than a lengthy three weeks in france.

however, it is apparent that such rumours have subsided; there seems little chance of a reduction in the days of racing across any of the three grand tours. perhaps the governing body feel they have solved the dilemma by reducing the number of riders in each team? if this year's tour de france is anything to go by, they might well be right.

however, it would be difficult to deny that la vuelta comes across as the unloved step child amongst the three. originating in 1935, spain's national race gradually progressed from an event aimed specifically at attracting the nation's finest riders, to the modern grand tour we watch today, where the world's best contest a leader's jersey that has altered colour more often than peter sagan wheelies across the finish line.

up until the 50th edition in 1995 (the race took a ten year break between 1945 and 1955), the vuelta took place prior to the giro, moving to an august/september slot in the calendar, midst much controversy at the time. however, the date change has arguably revitalised the race for modern-times. aside from a naturally intrinsic interest in the race in and of itself, it now offers those whose tour de france campaign was perhaps a tad lacklustre, three weeks in which to claim redemption.

author, adrian bell, was kind enough to remind me that he sent the first edition of this book for review in 2005; who knew it was that long ago? featuring a foreword by sean kelly, the latest, third edition of the book, brings the story up to date as of last year, when simon yates continued the two year british domination of the iberian parcours. kelly points out that his victory in 1988 is one that sits atop his considerable palmares...

"It was the one time I was the overall winner of a major tour."

three years prior to kelly's victory, scotland's robert millar (philippa york), was robbed of certain victory on the final day, allegedly due to a conspiracy between the home riders, placing pedro delgado atop the winner's podium. delgado contends that no such collusion took place, but either way, a potential first grand tour victory by a british rider was foiled at the final hurdle.

"...the Spanish press acknowledged that Millar, the best rider in the race, had been badly let down by his team. Their sympathy was tepid though, partly because of his premature crowing of victory, but mainly because Delgado's snatching of victory had been so irresistably enjoyable."

'viva la vuelta' eschews the possibility of existing as a dry, partially academic book, not least due to direct interviews with delgado, miguel poblet, brian robinson, eddy merckx and jean stablinski. there has been a seemingly endless stream of publications concerning the vuelta's predecessor, the tour de france, a race that may just have outgrown its own ego. but the spanish race has provided its own share of stories, rivalries, disappointments and surprises, the majority of which are included in this sizeable, comprehensive narrative by messrs fallon and bell.

it would be a mistake not to create an appropriate space on your cycling bookshelf for this latest edition. buy it now, and it will fill those hours while you wait for each day's eurosport coverage to begin.

friday 23 august 2019

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ride and park

utrecht cycle parking

it is quite some time since i visited london town, content as i am to remain within the rural idyll rather than suffer the slings and arrows of city-centre discontent. however, as i recall from visits in the past, and those who live or work there will be all too familiar with, it is not uncommon to come across signs attached to railings, informing the errant cyclist that any bicycle found locked to said railings, will be forcibly removed. from my viewpoint in the far northwest, i would scarcely take issue with this, since it is hardly a state of affairs that directly affects me. but i have often wondered why the words 'please' or 'thank you', do not feature on these brusque admonitions.

for instance, would it not be only polite to state 'we thank you not to lock your cycles to these railings', or 'please do not lock your cycles to these railings'. however, for all i know, such pleas may have preceded the current signage and been summarily ignored. perhaps the current, more aggressive stance was deemed necessary. according to transport for london statistics, the number of daily cycle journeys in the country's capital city has increased from 270,000 in the 1990s, to an impressive 730,000 by 2016. it's eminently possible that the number has increased yet again in the three intervening years, so you will hopefully forgive my assumption that the figure might now be a nice, round, 750,000 (because it makes for easy arithmetic)

it is unclear whether those 750,000 cycle journeys are out and back, so for the purposes of conservatism, i am willing to accept that as the case, meaning that over the course of a day, there are approximately 325,000 bicycles somewhere on london's streets, pavements, railings without a sign, bike racks and office corridors. according to the tfl website, there are a total of 349 free cycle parking spaces available in staffed car parks in central london, a number somewhat short of the 325,000 mentioned above. the fact that these spaces are listed at all would suggest that transport for london is aware of the need for cycle parking, but it would seem to be a token gesture at best.

i have taken london as the fall guy for this article purely because, according to legend, it has the highest proportion of daily, inner-city cycle journeys amongst the major cities of the uk. unsurprising, perhaps given its substantial population. but, on the basis that london expects to be car free by 2041 (though greenpeace, more controversially, would suggest that happen by 2030), by midway through the century, the multi-storey car parks in london town may have become multi-storey cycle parks, offering a mere 349 car parking spaces.

come the revolution etc.

however, in this respect, london, and by implication, britain, is a long way behind the curve. utrecht in holland, with a population of only 330,000 (as opposed to london's metro population of 14 million), sees an average of 125,000 daily cycle trips. were london to achieve parity with utrecht, they would show over 5 million cycle trips per day (assuming my calculations are reliable). working under the slogan 'planning for people, not for cars', the dutch city has just unveiled a state of the art cycle-parking facility that it claims is the world's largest, offering a total of 12,500 spaces in the utrecht station area.

added to the cycle parking already available in holland, this takes the total to just under 500,000 spaces.

in addition to those 12,500 spaces, the facility also has space for 1,000 public transport bicycles. the three-storey cycle park is open all day and all night, offering users the opportunity to park free of charge for the first 24 hours. commuters can park their bicycles close to the train platforms they use and a continuous cycle path through the building allows users to cycle in and out on both sides. a digital system assists with finding suitable parking spaces. cycle activists and advisers have long held holland and denmark as paragons of virtue where bicycle provision and facilities are concerned, seemingly with good reason.

according to state secretary van veldhoven, with the extra money allocated by the dutch governmenr, they expect to create more cycle-parking at busy rail stations throughout the country. it's tempting to classify both countries as teacher's pet, blasé in their virtuousness, but they have shown, with great vigour, just what can be done when the motor car is not placed on a protected pedestal. london might have an uphill struggle to exclude the car completely from its streets within the next twenty or so years, but if progress slows for any reason, they know who to ask for advice.

photo: petra appelhof

thursday 22 august 2019

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tom dumoulin

i rarely involve myself with the vicissitudes, iniquities and joys of professional cycle racing for one very good reason: it is a complex subject in which i do not find myself sufficiently well-informed. granted, there have been numerous occasions when i have waxed lyrical in opinionated style on matters about which i know little. it's not particularly admirable trait and one that i have attempted to curb. however, there's always the occasional treatise that slips through in moments of cultivated ignorance.

it is for reasons such as the above, that i generally refrain from making any inroads to the three grand tours. the major websites, such as those of cyclingnews, cycling weekly, velonews and the inner ring, are far better equipped and informed to make pertinent comment on such matters than i. thus, i see no real point in adding to the background noise. since i have no first hand experience of the events referred to, it would not be unfair to classify any comment as subjective nonsense.

however, at the risk of undermining my proclaimed philosophy, my interest was piqued by the news that dutchman, tom dumoulin, who seems not to have fulfilled the promise that many have heaped upon him in the past, has now effectively left sunweb and is heading towards jumbo visma for the 2020 season. in much the same manner as any of us in the civilian world, a change of job can be predicated by many factors, not least the promise of better future prospects, increased salary, or conditions more conducive to one's ideals. quite which of these has encouraged mr dumoulin to move is not entirely clear.

though i believe that english is the lingua franca of the modern-day, professional peloton, a language which dumoulin speaks particularly well, there must be some succour to be gained from joining a team based in his country of origin. every nation has a different way of doing things and it is no doubt a comfort to be battling at cycling's cutting edge, knowing that there's home comfort to fall back on, whether he wins or loses. positioned against that, is surely the knowledge, or awareness that the new wunderkind, from the world of cyclocross, wout van aert, has been tipped by many as a star of the future, and dumoulin is about to join the team in which van aert has already shown great promise and whom jumbo visma will be keen to hang onto.

let's just hope that dumoulin's recruitment doesn't turn the dutch team into a replica of the power and leadership struggles seen at movistar.

however, following such relatively uninformed and opinionated comment, once again, i must paraphrase he-who-shall-not-be-named, and take into consideration that it's all about the bike. dumoulin, who hasn't raced since failing to finish the giro through injury, has worn the distinctive red and white sunweb jersey, emblazoned on the lower front, with the cervelo logo. the implication of such sponsorship deals is generally that the members of any given team can attribute at least a portion of their success to the bicycles on which they compete.

thus, so runs the philosophy, peter sagan and elia viviani are regularly victorious because they ride specialized hardware. likewise, bernal and thomas's first and second places at this year's tour are, in part, down to riding pinarello dogmas. of course, both you and i know that sagan would beat us in any sprint, even if riding the unbranded folding bike that sits forlornly in my back garden. it is, looked at in the cold light of day, a particularly odd basis for sponsorship or endorsement, perhaps explaining, in part, why so few cycle manufacturers make use of sponsored riders in their advertising.

thomas voeckler, aboard a yellow colnago, famously spent ten days in the yellow jersey at the tour, yet the only print advert featuring both rider and bicycle, was one for hutchison tyres. i have not yet witnessed a pinarello ad, based on either thomas or bernal's victories, at least not to the extent that you figure pinarello's considerable financial investment would entail.

dumoulin now moves to jumbo-visma where he will ride a bianchi (assuming the team to continue with the italian brand into next season). it's presumably an odd situation for such high-profile riders, having visually at least, extolled the virtues of one particular brand as being the finest available to the intrepid professional, yet now having ostensibly to switch allegiance to a competing product and say the same about them.

does anyone actually purchase a bicycle nowadays on the basis of its sporting success? with the majority designed by computer and wind-tunnel data, the thought that one brand would offer a significant advantage over any other has surely been discredited. as with motor racing, it's predominantly the power and reliability of the engine that wins in the end; in cycling, that's very obviously the cyclist, so maybe we've all become sufficiently inured to the illogicality of praising the bicycle, that it no longer matters? yet, we're still in thrall to the sporting heritage of many brands, such as colnago, bianchi and pinarello for their association with the heroes of the past.

and that, boys and girls, is what's known as a conundrum.

wednesday 21 august 2019

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and, as it goes, so it e-goes

bernal on an e-bike

as mentioned in yesterday's post, the one item of popularity that stood out from bruichladdich distillery's big bike revival, was the opportunity to try out a small range of e-bikes, particularly in view of their presence being distinctly non-sales led. curated by ralph jessop from cycling uk, the three bikes on offer were not noticeably dependent on their physical size, in marked contrast with the mountain and road bikes belonging to some of us in attendance. granted, the gent's bike with a slightly sloping top tube did not suit the few ladies who took a test ride, but, to my knowledge, did not stop any of the gentleman callers, no matter their height.

and though you and i would be aghast at the thought of riding a step-through specialized or colnago, the average man or woman in the distillery courtyard seemed less inclined to discriminate between the two, making us road warriors seem every bit as sexist as we probably are. having said that, there was one young woman there with a brand new specialized ladies' bike featuring a regular, sloping top tube, so maybe it's not just us.

it has come to my attention over the years, that the simplest way to spot a confirmed roadie, is to show them your latest bicycle. in my case, that is perhaps a more frequent occurrence than for most, given the frequent arrival of nice, new review machinery. though it's possibly an over-generalisation, aside from quickly scanning to check the componentry, almost all will lift the bike by the top tube to check the weight. it strikes me that this is somewhat akin to the habit exhibited by some motorists of kicking the sidewalls of their car tyres to appraise the air pressure. if this is truly an accepted and accurate means of so doing, you wonder why anyone bothers to acquire a pressure gauge.

similarly the act of lifting the bicycle to check the weight. unless any of us are about to embark upon one of phil deeker's cent cols challenges, the weight of the bicycle is surely of academic interest? yet it's a practice that seemingly provides the same information as would be gleaned from sawing the frame in half and checking the carbon layup. in the subsequent light of the e-bike tryouts, it's very definitely something which we should get out of the habit sooner, rather than later.

as mentioned yesterday, i was convinced my colleagues had somehow, bolted the folding e-bike to the ground, for i truly struggled to lift it even a centimetre or two into the air. surely the point of a folding bicycle is to ride to the bus or train, fold it, board public transport and reverse the procedure in proximity to the ultimate destination and pedal on? or perhaps, if domiciled in a flat, several stories above ground level, the bicycle can be carried and stored out of harms way in limited space? in the case of volt's folding e-bike, you'd need the upper body strength of arnold schwarzenegger to make it as far as the first floor landing. and good luck trying to haul it aboard the underground.

according to volt's website, their metro ls folder weighs 21.7kg with the battery, and isn't much lighter at 18.5kg with the battery removed. that's 48 and 42lbs respectively in old money. from our elitist point of view, bear in mind that the uci's lower limit for road bikes is 6.8kg, or 15lbs. try carrying three of egan bernal's road bikes up a flight of stairs to gain appreciation of the difference. it's also worth bearing in mind that the specified maximum range of this particular bicycle, is 40 miles, so if the battery runs out, that's a lot of bicycle to move under your own power. volt's step-through and hybrids are both about 3kg heavier.

but very much to the credit of those taking test-rides, not one even thought of mentioning, or questioning the weight, even that of the folder. so, perhaps our roadie nature is overly obsessed with the weight of our bicycles. after all, the bicycle on which maurice garin won the inaugural tour de france, probably weighed marginally under 20kg, not a lot less than the volts featured at bruichladdich. just think of the effort involved in cyclocrossing one of those bicycles.

if nothing else, it places a small chasm between those of us attempting to interest the great unwashed in any form of cycling, and those who could apparently care less. a lesson learned.

volt e-bikes

tuesday 20 august 2019

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