they giveth and they taketh away

car park

i hope you will bear with me in the opening part of this conversation, for it enters the world of the hypothetical. and not only does it unilaterally do so, the analogy is not the most carefully considered or entirely apt. but it's the best i could manage at short notice.

network rail, whose responsibility it is to keep britain's trains running as smoothly as possible, have approximately 16,000km of track to maintain, twenty-four hours a days, 365 days a year. though they often come in for more than their fair amount of criticism, sometimes justifiably so, it's not hard to realise that so doing is probably something of a thankless task. what they really don't need to add to their list of woes, is anything that might block the tracks somewhere along the line.

aside from the number of scheduled rail services, both passenger and freight, there are a large number of adminstrative movements, by which i refer to the shunters responsible for moving rolling stock into position and shifting others out of the way. but imagine, if you will, that random movements were also allowed, situations such as leaving one of those shunters sitting on a section of track that constituted the main route between london and glasgow. and while the passenger train was being held up, someone had to go find the driver to have the shunter moved.

of course, so doing, is probably against the rules; or if it isn't, it probably ought to be.

yet, despite constant propaganda from central government, persuading the great and the good to leave the car in the driveway and cycle to work; to school; to the shops etc. in the face of the recent upsurge in protestations by so-called extiction rebellion, it is surely in the government's best interests to pave the way for the future of cycling in britain? or so you would think. but tangible evidence would rather mitigate against that being the case, particularly in respect of parking on marked cycle lanes.

three years ago, without debate or consultation, westminster changed the law against parking on designated cycle lanes, removing the offence from the statute books, but simultaneously contradicting the highway code. ever vigilant to the vicissitudes aimed against the hapless cyclist, colin smyth, labour msp at holyrood, tabled a motion to amend the transport (scotland) bill and close the loophole originally opened by westminster, either deliberately, or inadvertently. standard logic would surely argue that there is little point in creating a mandatory cycle lane, then undermining it by allowing all and sundry to simply leave their cars in the middle, interrupting the free-flow of cycle traffic.

cycling uk has argued that this undermined the safety of cyclists using the lanes.

having been made aware of this upcoming vote a couple of weeks past, on wednesday 9 october, i immediately e-mailed my msp, michael russell, to ask that he do the decent thing and vote to close the loophole, particularly given that westminster was originally to blame. sadly, and incomprehensibly, holyrood opted not to do so. i then e-mailed mr russell to enquire as to which way he had voted, but uncharacteristically, i have received no response to either communication. so much for accountability.

meanwhile, again differing from south of the border, holyrood voted to outlaw the parking of motor vehicles on pavements and so-called double-parking, accompanied by calls to have england and wales do likewise. currently the law awaits the receipt of royal assent, but i understand that is a mere formality. it's a change in the law that comes not before time; oddly enough, up until recently, though it was not illegal to park on the pavement, it was illegal to drive on the pavement, despite the former entailing the latter.

naturally enough, many members of the motoring public were aghast at this restriction; there are way too many motorists even on islay, who simply park wherever suits their needs or purposes, and they really don't need anyone messing with that.

obviously feeling on somethng of a roll, holyrood then passed a bill allowing scottish councils to levy a workplace parking tax on all employers offering more than ten spaces. once they reach eleven spaces, each parking space will cost an annual £415. so far, only edinburgh and glasgow councils have indicated that they intend to impose the tax. who actually ends up paying the money (employers or employees), remains to be seen, but on the basis of the above, it appears that holyrood, despite maintaining the pretence of a national transport initiative, are decidedly bereft of any joined-up-thinking. impose disadvantages for the motoring public to persuade them to move to public transport or cycling, then allow the former to park on cycle lanes instead of taxable employer car parks.

yet again, good grief charlie brown.

monday 21 october 2019

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

clancy-briggs: doing it right.

clancy briggs cycle academy

professional cyclists do not inhabit a uniform existence; there are several tiers of professionalism, though this relates to the circumstances surrounding their particular level of vocation, rather than any individual attitude. those who compete at world tour level enjoy a more cosseted existence than their regional counterparts; there is no less training involved and probably every bit as much pain and suffering, but the top tier have access to luxury coaches, a panoply of quality bicycles and a racing programme that is tailor-made to their specific abilities.

ed clancy

the regional professional is more likely to exist at pro-continental or continental level, where the luxury coach is probably a rented motorhome or volkswagen transporter and the race programme includes pretty much every event available, whether appropriate or otherwise. nonetheless, the enthusiasm for the sport is likely every bit the same; not everybody is in the right place at the right time, or provided with the ideal platform from which to demonstrate their abilities. and then there are those without the aspirations to race at the highest level anyway.

however, no matter the level at which one's career exists, when time comes to call it a day, for whatever reason, the question arises as to what comes next? some have prepared for this many years in advance, having acquired qualifications that allow them access to an alternative career, others, such as brian smith, david millar and matt stephens, become commentators and/or pundits for television. either way, many are keen to give something back to the sport/activity that has provided them with, not only a career, but travel, enjoyment and a level of fitness that few mortals can equal in normal life.

graham briggs

two british professionals, still competing at present, who have decided they want to "give something back" to cycling, are ed clancy and graham briggs. the former has an altogether impressive palmares: three-time olympic champion, six-time world champion and five-time european champion, he is currently training towards the 2020 tokyo olympics and is the most successful team pursuit rider in history. along with many, i had the pleasure of witnessing ed race a round of the revolution series at glasgow's chris hoy velodrome several years ago, where watching his all out speed, from the centre of the track, made me dizzy.

graham briggs'career has been no less impressive: winner of the first round of the tour series in 2009, standing on the tour of britain podium, becoming british national champion and winner of an international stage race. both gents were members of the late, lamented jlt condor team and now intend to compete under the clancy-briggs banner for 20, on bicycles supplied by london's condor cycles. meanwhile, clancy-briggs amounts to a lot more than two guys attempting to win bicycle races.

clancy briggs cycle academy

ed clancy and graham briggs, through their newly realised 'cycling academy' have set themselves a mission to place the bicycle at the centre of kids' play, to encourage the adoption of habits that should provide lifelong health and environmental benefits for the future. graham told me "We want to get kids off their iPads and onto bikes, starting with two year-olds on balance bikes. We've based ourselves at Doncaster cycle track and hold classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays." according to graham, he and ed have been planning this for around four years and have recruited the part-time services of ten qualified coaches to assist with their collective vision.

clancy briggs cycle academy

with westminster having recently announced the investment of £13 million in the bikeability scheme, i asked graham if the clancy-briggs cycling academy be able to access any of that cash."It's possible, but currently we've been fortunate to receive financial support from local businesses, while the bikes have been supplied by Hope Technology who, like us, are keen to give something back to cycling."

with no disrespect to yorkshire, which has arguably positioned itself as the hub of cycling in britain, there are other parts of the country that could surely benefit from the clancy-briggs' vision, so have they plans to move outwards from doncaster? "Indeed. We've already carried out a taster session at Ranby House School near Retford, and another for underprivileged kids in Grimsby. But we're keen to hear from any qualified cycle coaches in other parts of the country, who might be interested in talking to us about franchising." and apparently that includes north of the border.

clancy briggs cycle academy

it's not only impressive that ed and graham are keen to instil the same sense of enthusiasm for cycling in today's youngsters as formed their own love of the sport, but that they've done so while still active on the uk race scene. and it's not just the two of them; "We've also recruited Alistair Slater on a full-time basis. Alistair rode with Ed and I in the JLT Condor team, so he knows us well and where we're coming from with this venture." Though all three are hands on when it comes to teaching, Ed Clancy will be taking a temporary sabbatical on the run-up to the olympics next year, participating only when time allows.

clancy briggs cycle academy

according to graham, the clancy-briggs cycling academy really is all about encouraging kids to have fun on bicycles, with no hidden agenda. "There are so many other distractions for today's kids, that the joy of cycling has become all but lost. This is our way of trying to redress the balance." you'd be forgiven for thinking that two of britian's finest competitive cyclists would concentrate on producing the next graham briggs or the next ed clancy, but apparently not.

however, the cycle academy operates at three distinct levels, beginning on balance bikes as early as 18 months old. this is followed by learning to pedal, a skill that ed, graham and alistair are happy to teach at all ages. the third level is one that plays very much to the clancy-briggs' strengths: race, from ages ten to 16, introducing riders to a set of skills that are essential at all levels of the sport.

graham, however, was keen to underline that"...most of all, it's about having fun on bikes, while learning to ride and being safe."

clancy briggs cycling academy

sunday 20 october 2019

clancy briggs cycle academy ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

are friends really electric?

small computer systems interface

certain acronyms possess the ability to aid personal arrogance or what might reasonably be termed 'insufferability'. the good fortune fostered by so doing, requires no breaking in period; in fact immediate adoption makes the user instantaneously insufferable, and totally blind to the disaffection of others.

it is a phenomenon i discovered around the time of acquiring my first macintosh computer and deciding that the graphic arts were a location i might inhabit as my true vocation. apple computer, in those days, was of a mind to use proprietary technology, emphasising the so-called 'not-invented-here' mantra that resounded throughout 1 infinite loop. thus, their pre-eminence in the world of print and graphic design had decreed that files be transferred and stored on 'scuzzy' hard discs, a word derived from the formerly ubiquitous connection port on every macintosh: scsi. bragging rights could be amplified by subsequently explaining to the non-believers that this acronym equated to small systems computer interface.

the latter knowledge, however, was rarely imparted; if you wished to be considered on the inner circle of the graphic cognoscenti, you would never admit to having less than the faintest idea of the meaning of the word 'scuzzy'.

if you have entered the world of the graphic arts within the last two decades, there is every likelihood that you might never have heard of either scuzzy or scsi and i guarantee you will not find a modern day macintosh computer that features an appropriate connection. similarly, there's a better than evens chance that few will have heard of ieee 1394, more commonly referred to by its technological name firewire. it was a connectivity and data transfer protocol devised by sony and apple that allowed the daisy-chaining of compatible components, such as scanners, hard-disks, video cameras and the like. it lost the battle with intel's universal serial bus (or usb), development of which ultimately offered higher data rates and greater ubiquity due to the preponderance of windows computers over apple's macintosh.

each successive technology eventually made its predecessor obsolete. in a darkened cupboard somewhere in the office, lurks an scsi hard-disk, two laughably large firewire disks of minimal capacity and a box of zip drives and associated discs, none of which can be used with either the macbook air or imac on which i ply my trade.

you may well point out that a similar level of incompatibility persists in the bicycle trade, with differing bolt circle diameters across various chainsets, more bottom bracket standards than you can shake a peanut butter spanner at and at least three competing freehub standards. but up till now, few, if any, have made their peers obsolete (though i daresay there's plentyof time to have that happen). but the news that giant bicycles expects to sell 600,000 electric bicycles this year, will surely give cause for even mild concern over the lifespan of the now humble analogue bicycle. giant, reputedly the world's largest bicycle manufacturer, is now investing serious money in a second european production complex, with the specific aim of assembling e-bikes.

last year, the giant corporation shifted 385,000 e-bikes and seems likely to double that number, having announced that in the first half of 2019, it sold just under 300,000 machines. sales projections for the latter part of this year are in excess of 310,000. assuming all those numbers coalesce as expected, sales growth will equate to 56% compared to 2018. that is a lot of e-bikes, and a lot more e-bikes, which, if i might point out, is from a solitary manufacturer, even if they are the largest. predictions offered at this year's taipei cycle show expected sales of e-bikes to contribute up to 25% of the company's total sales.

of course, it could be that these impressive sales of electric bicycles, could be seen as similar to that of the mountain bike's appearance in the 1980s. knobbly tyres, at the time, were seen as the saviour of the bicycle industry, though their ascendancy not only levelled out, but declined to a less invasive portion of the contemporary bike market. so, considering that the cycle market can hardly be viewed as in need of saving at present, yet e-bike production and sales still head upwards, should we be concerned over the survival of the analogue of the species? could solid human effort be eventually regarded as the 'scuzzy', or firewire of the velocipedinal world?

my late father regularly used to tell me that i wasn't often right, but i was wrong again, while a colleague has a habit of relating "i'd love to agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong."

maybe they're both right; but then again, maybe i am.

saturday 19 october 2019

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

a false sense of security

busby road safety app

one of the older kids of which mrs washingmachinepost takes care of after school, is of the age when she receives tuition at school for what i still refer to as the 'cycling proficiency scheme'. because she lives on a farm, her bicycle takes pride of place at the front of the bikeshed, from where i remove it each monday morning and wheel it, along with her helmet, to the primary school, but a matter of metres from the croft. at one point in the past, training took place in the school playground, but such has been the proliferation of furniture therein, that the majority of instruction is now conducted on the quiet roadway adjacent to the school premises.

though each and every village, town and city throughout the country will have its own specific reasons for educating today's youngsters in the best practices of road safety, the focal point of doing so on islay revolves around the presence of our nine malt whisky distilleries. though the distilleries themselves are relatively benign as far as cyclists are concerned (some even provide cycle parking), the large, forty-foot articulated trucks that service them are ever-increasing in numbers and frequency, their size posing a definitive risk to a child on a bicycle.

busby road safety app

obviously enough, cycle proficiency training in no way lessens the risk, but training the children how to safely move amongst motorised traffic, will hopefully keep them a tad safer while enjoying the many benefits that cycling can confer, not least of which is a persistent resistence to the ubiquitous obesity crisis.

thankfully, the island's truck drivers are generally highly vigilant when it comes to safeguarding the interests of the velocipedinally inclined, but errant moves by the less confident or practised youth might be hard to avoid. but, just like everywhere else in the world, avoiding accidents between motorists and cyclists revolves around education, perception and awareness. though star trek and star wars might portray the force-field or protective shield that keeps space-craft and individuals safe from harm and invasive action, such technology has yet to be developed for the present. and when it is, as it surely will be, it's unlikely to be something pertinent to a young individual on a bicycle.

there have been, however, many developments applied to modern motor vehicles to increase driver awareness of obstacles, both moving and stationary, in order to lessen the number of incidents and fatalities between motor vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. these include proximity alarms and auto-stop brakes. the ubiquitous autonomous vehicle (driverless cars to you and me) is peppered with arrays of sensors on which the artificial intelligence governing its progress relies, informing it of any impediments along the way. obviously enough, the latter promises safe motoring without the need for user intervention, but until the technology matures, the driverless car will likely remain a work in progress.

busby road safety app

meanwhile, back in the real world, where there's seeemingly an app for everything, the oddly named busby app from award winning k-safe, promises to raise the safety level of the average cyclist via the sensors built-in to the common or garden smartphone. according to the company's commercial director, james duffy "...the last time we checked, nine out of ten people in the UK have a smartphone..." (in fact, that number refers to the number of households who own a smartphone, not individuals - that number is closer to 75%). however, there's no denying that it makes good sense to use proven technology already available.

the busby app can detect whether there has been any indordinate activity that deviates from what might be regarded as normal progress. using the accelerometers within the phone, the app offers the user up to thirty seconds to acknowledge that an accident may or may not have happened, preventing an sms message being sent to a designated person in error, especially if it's a false alarm. in the event of no user intervention, the message will be sent, providing accurate location data to aid timeous help being suitably directed. however, busby's existence can hardly be said to offer any preventative measures.

busby road safety app

according to the busby website, launching this past summer, was an additional level of safety that might be provided to the younger generation. it states "parents and schools will be able to give their children and pupils free, additional safety whilst on their way into school or back home. Busby will create an invisible 'halo' around each child, notifying vehicles of their presence." i attempted to contact the company to enquire just how this halo operates, but the reply simply stated that they would be revealing more information in the coming months, by which i can only assume that it didn't launch this past summer.

with my limited technological learning, i can only assume that the 'halo' effect will require motorists to have their own copy of busby installed, in order to receive alerts as to the proximity of vulnerable young cyclists. however, should that be the case, is it not possible that receiving constant alerts near schools, instigated by youngsters pedalling to and from, might reach the same level of distraction as currrently concerns mobile phone use while driving? and might the purported 'halo' create a false sense of security within the busby-equipped youngster?

mr duffy continued "All they have to do is download the free app instead of buying a product." is it not better to concentrate on road-safety awareness for both cyclists and drivers, rather than relying on free smartphone apps to take care of business?

busby safety app

friday 18 october 2019

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


lachlan morton three peaks race

i've pretty much had long hair since i was in my mid-teens, or at least, at a length i could get away with while living at home with distinctly middle-class parents in suburbia. attending college on the opposite coast from home and considerably farther north, was a convenient distance at which to let it grow half-way down my back, augmented by sartorial choices that were also well outside any parental approval. however, though my appearance may have given occasional (who am i kidding?) cause for concern, both parents were well aware that i didn't smoke, didn't drink and never dabbled with drugs, despite the unfettered availability of the latter at college.

lachlan morton three peaks race

while attending the official opening of a new development by my father's employers, he was asked by a colleague whether the dishevelled figure clad in patchwork jeans was indeed, his son. he applied in the affirmative, but cited my clean-living as a reason for some laxity over the length of my hair and less than pristine appearance. that colleague replied to the effect that perhaps my father might buy me some cannabis and tell me to get a decent haircut.

lachlan morton three peaks race

the basis of my father's concern was, though tempered by my goodie two-shoes personality, that his circle of distinctly middle-class friends and colleagues might be less forgiving. sadly, for him, i could care less. my brother was (and still is) a tad more straight-laced, fitting the pre-determined mold more successfully than number one son. to place this in a more velocipedinal context, while my brother could be defined as the archetypal roadie, conversely, i fitted more into the generic appearance and attitude of the archetypal mountain-biker.

lachlan morton three peaks race

it's hard to tell if i've changed much during the intervening years, but mrs washingmachinepost assures me not, aside from the fact that there exists not a single mountain bike in thewashingmachinepost bikeshed.

the very nature of professional road racing rather mitigates against the more laid-back attitude that allegedly pervades a similar level in the offroad world. though we are constantly advised against judging the proverbial book by its cover, place one of the athertons alongside chris froome and there would be little mistaking one for the other. none of the above has any bearing on the enjoyment foist upon the practitioners of either road or offroad cycling, merely an unsubstantiated observation of their most obvious differences.

lachlan morton three peaks race

though i'd be the first to admit to to gratuitous and sweeping generalisations, i think it possible that i am not alone in my perceptions. the big difference is that, while i can but promote a singular stance, unrecognised and mostly unheeded by my peers and the civilian population at large, assistance is being leveraged by those with a great deal more strategic and financial clout than that to which i could aspire. rather delightfully, the team responsible for achieving this, wears the logo of 'ef education first' on their tie-dye rapha jerseys. it is a collaboration between the latter and ef rider lachlan morton that has arguably begun to alter the perceptions of what it means to be a 'roadie.

lachlan morton three peaks race

nowhere is this more apparent than in the recently posted video on 'youtube' featuring lachlan morton's first attempt on britain's premier cyclocross event, 'the three peaks' race. it's a race that is somewhat different from the average one-day road classic, but morton's persona and appearance serve to undermine the more serious attitude normally ascribed to the career roadie. the entering of education first riders into endurance events such as the dirty kanza, leadville, the gb enduro, and now the three peaks, is unlikely to bear any resemblance to the lists pinned to the fridge doors of egan bernal, or adam yates.

rapha have been oft criticised on several counts, sometimes justifiably so, but they deserve several rounds of applause not only for their well-judged partnership with ef education first, but for the subsequent graphic portrayal of the fruits of that partnership.

lachlan morton: ef gone racing

thursday 17 october 2019

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

investment semantics

fazua evation electric propulsion

in a previous life, i was in charge of ordering foodstuffs and associated products for flight catering at one of scotland's former transatlantic airports. all those little foil trays that featured on flights to the united states, were my responsibility, as were the ingredients of the meals that sat cosily within their aluminium foilness. i make no claims for the nutritional value of those foodsuffs; that was someone else's responsibility, nor indeed was the onus on yours truly to ensure the cleanliness of the crockery or cutlery to be found aboard a new york bound 747.

however, maintaining a regular stock of cleaning materials for the house-sized dishwashers employed at the catering facility was indeed, all my own work. many of the necessary products to achieve the required standard of cleanliness were sourced from a company named diversey based in annan, dumfriesshire, who offered a substantial range of liquids and powders with a sole purpose in mind. such is the nature of that particular line of work, however, that products would often be superseded by the new kid on the block, most often denoted by the word 'new' pre-fixing the original name.

the flaw in this arrangement was that the suffix would remain in place on the label, until the company boffins saw fit to bring a new substance to market, at which time, the name would often be changed, since new, new' in front of the original would have looked a tad clumsy. this system often entailed that the new dishwasher product continued to be referred to as such for several years, by which time it was hardly new.

though its remit has now changed substantially, mostly in line with concomitant changes in name, the one time highlands and islands development board (hidb), became highlands and islands enterprise (hie). this was further devolved into smaller, regional variations, meaning our local needs were often met by 'argyll and the isles enterprise (aie). over a decade ago, someone decided this perhaps involved too much bureaucracy, and the latter organisation was abolished, leaving the inverness-based hie to cater to scotland's enterprise needs. initially, these quangos were set up to foster innovation throughout scotland, by funding what looked like promising developments, but ultimately, the remit changed once again and funding was seen to be the province of the already successful entrepreneur.

whether hie could be seen to be fulfilling its original purpose in life, seemed to depend a great deal on just how you'd define the word 'innovation', a situation that is apparently not constrained by geographical boundaries, nor those of nationality.

as evidence for the prosecution, i would imagine many of us would agree that, simplistically put, the definition of an e-bike, would be that its propulsion is engendered either wholly by way of an electric motor, powered by an associated battery, or, more commonly, one which offers pedal-assist via similar means. electric bikes, in one form or another, have been around for several years, thus hardly a technology that could currently be designated as 'innovative'.

i am willing to accept that there is continued development of the original principle, making motors smaller and more efficient and slimming down the profile and weight of the batteries required to turn the pedals. not every cycle manufacturer has chosen to follow the path carved by the likes of specialized, who opted to develop both batteries and motors in-house. for those such as canyon, wilier, look, and pinarello, amongst others, there are suppliers such as germany's fazua, from whom they can acquire the necessary frame-fitting technology.

and it is fazua that forms the subject of this particular monologue, resting primarily on the definition of the word 'innovative'. for the company has just received €12 million from the european investment bank (eib). the cash arrives by way of the bank's venture debt product, risk capital designed to aid 'innovative' companies. however, always the cynic, i find it hard to equate the production of batteries and electric motors as 'innovative'. though i have no doubt that fazua would dispute my cynicism, the statement from eib vice-president, ambroise fayolle, does little to lessen my suspicions that here is yet another bandwagon being jumped upon as a currently trendy source of return on investment.

fayolle said, "with our higher-risk financing operation for fazua, we are closing a gap in the market for highly innovative, small to medium enterprises, which need long-term growth. they can now fully concentrate on business growth and the development of follow-up products."

i have looked at fazua's website, which describes their compact and bijou electric transmission system, and also provides links to the manufacturers that have availed themselves of the technology. however, it does concern me slightly that e-bikes are still considered innovative in any particular way, conferring upon them a status that appears designed to usurp the humble, non-electric bicycle. there are many folks who can benefit from the electric assist bicycle, and potentially, it could lessen our dependency on motorised transport, but i think the majority of us are happy to accept it as a part of everyday life that no longer raises an eyebrow in polite company.

sram's wireless gear-changing system could be regarded as innovative, but electric bicycles have ceased to be so, particularly in the light of the first patent for an electrically powered bicycle having been registered in 1897. fazua's 'development of follow-up products' most assuredly comes under the heading of 'research and development'; but that's not quite the same as innovation.

wednesday 16 october 2019

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

sprint buzzard

glasgow city

i have, for the past thirty something years, ridden my bicycle hither and thither across the principality, for fun, for transport, as a commute and for leisure rides such as the 'ride of the falling rain'. at one point in the dim distant past, i was the sole representative of the velocipedinal community, becoming as much a point of interest for tourists, as bowmore's round church, the ruins at loch finlaggan and the museum of islay life at port charlotte. unsurprisingly, this was not my intention; i simply have an inherent dislike of driving a car, and i had the physical ability to move about a relatively small island by bicycle.

the opening of the youth hostel in port charlotte several years ago, made a substantial difference to the number of cyclists visiting the island, offering convenient and affordable accommodation for folks with panniers and cagouls. whether more bicycles on the island's roads was the catalyst for other resident cyclists to gradually join the sunday morning peloton and prevent yours truly from getting lonely, i know not, but the first to join was definitively, the mighty dave t, after he retired from down south, to a small white cottage in port wemyss. though our collective pedalling might conceivably offer a smidgeon of irritation to motorists intent on avoiding the passing places peppering the singletrack roads, the velo club peloton has scarcely created footprints of note, either carbon or physical.

it's hardly a hitherto unknown fact that electricity is not a naturally occurring element. it has need of being generated by one method or another, whether that is via renewables, coal or gas-fired power stations, or the elephant in the room, nuclear. for all the hype surrounding electric cars, e-bikes and e-scooters and their life-enhancing propensities, the fuel upon which they rely has not only to be manufactured by one means or another, it has subsequently to be delivered to points of convenience.

modern household waste management requires, depending on the region in which you live, that our rubbish be separated into designated wheelie bins, the numbers of which have proliferated considerably in recent years. this has entailed many an attractively built house being augmented by up to four differently coloured bins sat regimentally along the house-front, under the sitting room window. as is unfortunately often the case nowadays, the solving of one problem creates a second. islay's singletrack glen road, running from the high road to ballygrant in the north, passes several farms along the way, offering clear views towards the island's highest point of bheinn bheigeir. at certain times of year, near dunlossit estate office at knocklearach, it can also afford sight of stags and the occasional deer herd.

unfortunately, due to council demand, one of the remote homesteads along the way, has need of leaving its wheelie bins adjacent to the deer gate. thus, in order to aid the environment through waste management, the unassailable sight of plastic bins has a tendency to spoil the view of our environment.

and that's a distinct possibility engendered by the rapid growth of electric vehicles. the worst case scenario would be a spaghetti of cables stretching from house windows, across pavements and gardens to charge a congestion of surrounding electric cars. and the bicycle is not immune from such visual pollution; earlier this month, glasgow city revealed the addition of 63 e-bikes to its current fleet of 650 standard bicycles. while that can be ultimately viewed as encouraging, allowing the less than intrepid to eschew public transport or the taxi-rank at buchanan bus station, and e-cycle to their destination, the potential downside is the concomitant installation of 21 charging stations.

glasgow city convener for sustainability and carbon reduction, councillor anna richardson, said, "adding e-bikes to the hire fleet is another clear demonstration of our commitment to pursue more sustainable forms of transport in glasgow and add to our effort to decarbonise how we travel across the city."

extrapolation of this announcement relies upon the success of glasgow's electric venture. more e-bikes would presumably equate to more charging stations, no doubt joined by the increased number of electric car charging points, should that mode of transport increase exponentially. it's already common to see car charging points in car parks, but there's no reason to suppose they'll remain in such seclusion. it's debatable whether a smattering of bicycle docks across any of our major cities, can be considered an enhancement, to say nothing of the charging stations mentioned above.

of course, there's no doubt that climate change revelations will demand drastic actions being taken in order to soften the blow, but i somehow can't imagine that increasing our dependency on electricity is quite the way to go. but then again, if reliance on motorised transport can be alleviated by imploring society to switch to e-bikes (not e-scooters; there are limits), an equitable balance might be achieved.

of course, if zwift subscriptions increase to netflix proportions, we might be right back where we started.

my heading refers to a diversionary tactic employed by a well-known scottish cyclist in order to pre-empt any competition in the finishing spring.

tuesday 15 october 2019

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