keeping up with the joneses

peloton online cycle training

like many others in the uk (and in the usa too, for all i know), i have watched tv adverts for peloton and zwift, purporting to have changed the face of cycle training for the 21st century. the advent of social media and the explosion in computer gaming, has made it commonplace to remain indoors to undertake many a former outdoor activity. i can recall my son informing me one sunday afternoon, that he was intending to play football 'with the boys'; when i quizzed him about an hour later as to why he was still at home, he replied that he awaited a reply on microsoft messenger as to which of the 'boys' would be available to play.

when i were a lad (admittedly, not yesterday), it was common practice to grab a football and go knock on the doors of the 'boys'. then, instead of still sitting in a bedroom over an hour later, waiting for an electronic message, one or two of us would have been kicking a ball around. that said, it's probably worth my pointing out that, in those far off days, there really wasn't any alternative. so you will perhaps forgive my cynicism over the modern propensity to train indoors, instead of undertaking fausto coppi's advice to 'ride your bike, ride your bike, and ride your bike'.

admittedly, sitting on the pinarello or basso aboard a smart trainer, or bespoke peloton or wahoo kickr bike in the sitting room will purportedly engender a similar level of fitness without all those annoying natural elements and traffic getting in the way. and i'm also aware that, domiciled in the rural idyll as i am, my own circumstances to pay heed to the campionissimo's words of wisdom, are considerably less onerous than those of you who live in locations less traffic-free than my own. however, the question that often remains unanswered by those who espouse the benefits of training on peloton or zwift, is just what they're training for?

the world's top professionals often have the luxury of heading to fairer climes for smoother, less inhabited roads and better weather. domestic professionals may fare less favourably, but i often think that, if you're going to race in the wet and the wind, training in it might just help. it has long been a mystery to me that the sky/ineos riders earmarked for the classics, undertake much of their early season training in tenerife, terrain that bears no resemblance whatsoever to that of flanders or roubaix. i still harbour thoughts of offering november and january classics training camps on islay, in weather that might prove more similar to race conditions.

however, the latter might prove an uphill struggle in more than one sense of that phrase, for i fear i may have passed the point where training of any sort would make not a whit of a difference to yours truly. that apprehension would also be combined with the fact that i truly have nothing to train for.

or have i?

as previously reported, i am a creature of habit, perambulating the same parcours each saturday, probably at the same speed, even to the point of munching my way through the same order of a double-egg roll and soya cappuccino, before the return trip via loch gorm. my average speed, as displayed on the garmin, varies little, even in the face of inclement weather, and strava remains as blissfully ignorant of my lack of progress as ever, week after week, after repetitive week.

however, i may have found a flaw in my cunning plan. on leaving debbie's this past saturday, i cyclist of my acquaint caught up with me, as i rode out of bruichladdich village. this fellow is a frequent visitor to these hebridean shores, is considerably taller than yours truly and, it has to be said, a darned sight fitter and faster. so while i was more than happy to share his company, the 30km journey home consisted mostly of my strenuous efforts to pretend that i too, regularly cycled at such a frantic pace, when in point of fact, i was breathing through my ears trying valiantly to cope with serious oxygen debt.

so, while in principle, i have nothing for which to train, in order to save face and live up to my self-professed superior velocity, i might have to go dig out a training book, and leave it lying around the croft in valiant pretence. or perhaps if i watched more of those adverts...

monday 28 october 2019

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

what if...?

merlin cycles

it has become customary over the past few years, for me to provide my percussive abilities for both the school's annual christmas concert and the christmas wind-band concert. this has a great deal more to do with being the only drummer available, rather than any particular expertise in the percussive arts. both concerts allow the pupils to perform in front of an assembled multitide of parents and family, often meaning that both mediocre and desultory performances are still greeted with rapturous applause. this is not to infer that these are concerts featuring sub-par entertainment; frequently the opposite is very much the case, but it cannot be denied that they (self-included) are playing to the converted. applause is pretty much guaranteed.

performing at islay's annual lagavulin jazz festival, however, is a different matter altogether. which is why, this year, our inclusion of two high school students, on saxophone and vocals respectively, was a whole different bucket of hoo-ha. here, they played and sang in front of a packed house composed of international and more discriminating jazz aficionados to great acclaim. impressive it certainly was.

both the opposite and the same occur when presenting pro-cycling information through online publications such as thewashingmachinepost. i'm very much of the impression that those of you who read the post, even infrequently, are likely to be of a velocipedinal persuasion and thus pre-disposed to welcoming facts and figures pertaining to the positive side of cycling activity. the conundrum created by such a situation is that certain aspects of such information are often more pertinent to those who do not cycle at all.

so while much of the aforementioned is of great comfort to the worldwide peloton, introducing a warm, self-satisfied glow to the pedalist at large, it never quite reaches its intended target. such is probably the case with what follows, but i feel i can justify its inclusion here, in the sincere hope that you will all proceed forth to proselytise amongst the unbelievers. additionally, it would be wrong of me to imply that i am responsible for the research that has provided the following information, for it has kindly been provided by merlin cycles, to whom i am most grateful.

currently, i have no need of a daily commute, entirely due to my place of work being within easy walking distance of the croft. however, there are many who do cycle to and from work and it's eminently possible that there are just as many who have a cycle commute under consideration, but remain to be convinced. let's not kid ourselves, the weather can often be less than compliant, offering galeforce winds (though maybe that's just the hebrides), torrential rain and temperatures less than kindly towards the lone cyclist. but those are simply the character building aspects.

apparently, the average commuter spends just under an hour getting to work each day, so what would happen to your body if you decide to swap the comfort and warmth of an automobile for the two wheels of a bicycle?

statistically speaking, though your own mileage may (literally) vary, you're likely to burn an average of 560 calories a day on that cycle commute, adding up to 2800 calories a week. some of you will consider that a somewhat paltry amount, but it's 2800 calories more than if you didn't ride to work. common lore would also assert that a 20 minute bike ride will boost your mood for up to twelve hours, equating to canyon cycles designer, ultan coyle's assertion that nothing's ever worse after a bike ride. all of this you might expect to occur during week one.

week two builds upon this opening gambit, increasing your lung capacity by up to 15% and the ability to absorb proteins and carbohydrates four times faster than the car drivers sat beside you at the traffic lights. and there's a pretty good chance that you'll sleep better at nights, if for no other reason than you're more knackered than usual. of course, cycle commuting is subject to the law of diminishing returns; the first month is likely to offer the most noticeable benefits, but, assuming you've managed to cycle to and from work over such a period, it will now have become habit, and no longer subject to the option of not doing so.

after three months, on average, you'll have saved around £450, probably more than many folks would consider an appropriate amount to spend on a bicycle in the first place. (we, of course, know better). six months' worth of cycle commuting will have improved your health and wellbeing to the point where your employer is benefitting from your taking fewer sick days and in these days when mental health has become a 'thing', the medical profession will tell you that your commuting activities have encouraged prolonged mental health benefits. a win/win situation, if you will.

given the current emphasis on climate change, after twelve months of riding to work, you'll have saved just over four and half metric tonnes of carbon dioxide, you'll have big and tough and strong bones, while the bank balance ought to be nearly £1500 better off. mind you, there's every chance that, although you're a tad faster in the saddle and have to run around in the shower to get wet, you are now weather beaten, rusty and insufferably self-righteous during lunchtime discussions, incessantly turning the conversation to that of bicycles, no matter the original subject matter.

just as it should be.

as i stated at the beginning, most of you will already be acquainted with much of the above, perhaps not with specific statistical information, but certainly with the notion that cycle-commuting offers greater benefits both for health and wealth, than a similar commute undertaken from behind the steering wheel. the ideal situation would be for a motoring blogger to grab hold of the same information and foist it upon his or her readers with a similar level of enthusiasm.

but meanwhile, back in the real world...

with grateful thanks to merlin cycles

sunday 27 october 2019

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

rapha + gore-tex explore hooded pullover

rapha + gore-tex explore hooded jacket

a favourite saying of my late father was "just because you're not paranoid, doesn't mean to say they're not out to get you.", and though i'm trying hard not to take it personally, it seems entirely likely that someone is indeed, out to get me. midst clamouring from my office colleagues to continually request waterproofs for review, i'm currently struggling big time to get wet. or not, as the case may be. this situation pretty much occurs every time a waterproof arrives at the croft, hence the pleas from my friends.

rapha + gore-tex explore hooded jacket

the above may reasonably (i believe) be categorised as a subsection of murphy's law; if something can go wrong, it probably will. you can imagine the embarrassment caused as i am undoubtedly hoist by my own petard; rapha's publicity for their first collaboration with gore-tex included a short film in which three riders brave the vicissitudes of torrential rain and a dark night to espouse the qualities offered by the latest clothing range. on receiving a preview link, i was wont to state that it seemed not that different from many of my winter sunday morning rides.

rapha + gore-tex explore hooded jacket

since then, i have seen scarcely a drop of precipitation, at least not during the daylight hours when riding and reviewing would have been most appropriate. well, that's not entirely true; i have managed to give the hooded pullover a thorough dousing, but for neither as long nor as hard as required to prove the veracity of what appears to be an almost essential item of cycling apparel. however, bear with me for a paragraph or two before we get to the wet stuff.

though rapha occupy a position near the top of the velocipedinal garmentage tree, gore-tex have long promoted their own range of cycle clothing, to the extent of having signed fabian cancellara as brand ambassador. so why, then, would they wish to partner with perceived competitor, rapha? i asked johannes ebert, product specialist at gore.

rapha + gore-tex explore hooded jacket

"As an ingredient brand, GORE-TEX works with many customers across different sports, including many different customers specializing in cycling like Gore Wear. Rapha is an expert in cycling and we are happy to include them to our partner portfolio. Through Rapha, we can increase the availability of GORE-TEX products in the cycling business."

in a sport that doesn't always come across as entirely collaborative, that's not only nice to hear, but does seem to make a smidgeon of commercial sense. but i do have to wonder whether gore perhaps keep something back for themselves, that previously unreleased track that you can only get from them. in that case, will rapha receive the same level of product as that available from gore?

rapha + gore-tex explore hooded jacket

"Absolutely. All of our customers get the same product and technology support."

the original gore-tex was invented in 1969 and is essentially a stretched membrane of ptfe, more commonly known as teflon. it's a breathable membrane featured in many outdoor garments, designed explicitly to keep the wearer dry, warm and free from the effects of perspiration. this it does by means of an outer fabric coated with a durable water repellency, the purpose of which is to prevent that outer layer from becoming soaked. once that happens, all the breathable membranes in the world won't help the dessication process. but after fifty years of continual development, is it possible that breathable membranes have all but reached the end of the road, or do gore-tex see potential for continued development?

rapha + gore-tex explore hooded jacket

"We believe that waterproof and breathable products are still an important field for research and development. Just three years ago we introduced GORE-TEX SHAKEDRY(TM) a revolutionary new product technology fit for high aerobic end-uses like cycling or running. We continue our R&D efforts in that space and have several projects in the pipeline."

though the explore hooded pullover features gore-tex active™, the pro-team jackets that form the rest of rapha's gore-tex range are constructed with gore-tex shake-dry™ the latter forms the external layer of the jacket, meaning no outer fabric that might become saturated with water and restrict performance.

rapha + gore-tex explore hooded jacket

i have, over a period of many years, had the pleasure of reviewing a wide range of purportedly breathable waterproofs, the effectiveness of which has often proved variable. cyclists, are, i should imagine, a thorn in the side of those producing breathable waterproofs, for it's no real secret that we tend to rate rather highly on the breathability scale. i asked johannes whether there's a difference in the breathability requirements of cyclists in comparison to those of walkers or sailors, for example?

"Cycling is a highly aerobic activitiy and thus much more moisture needs to get out of the body than for walkers. GORE-TEX products for cyclists have, as a minimum, double the breathability level measured through RET, (resistance to evaporative heat loss), than sailors. Therefore, the product technology we offer to customers for cycling has completely different properties than the one for sailors, where protection from the elements and ruggedness prevails."

rapha + gore-tex explore hooded jacket

of course, when it comes to donning any breathable jacket, it often seems that our demands or expectations are rarely satisfied. but taking into account the fact that riding hard, clad only in a jersey and bibs, or windjacket in colder weather, will still often result in a sweaty persona, why we expect to arrive bone-dry if wearing a breathable waterproof rather flies in the face of logic. so what happened when i did manage to get wet?

rapha's explore hooded pullover differs from its gore-tex peers in sporting a quarter zip and a wide, divided front pocket, ideal for holding a map, energy bars and perhaps a small tool or two. (actually, i carried a full bottle of islay gin in the front pocket, on a five kilometre trip, without difficulty). generally, i'm not much of a fan of hoods on cycling jackets, but since this example is not removable, i have occasionally resorted to tucking it inside the collar while riding. however, in the midst of a heavy rain shower, i opted to wear it, purely for reviewing purposes, you understand, and it was quite excellent, allowing clear vision all round, and keeping my head commendably warm and dry.

rapha + gore-tex explore hooded jacket

the hood can be easily worn under a helmet, even over a casquette, for the goretex fabric is impressively light and thin, despite doing its job so well. i was out in heavy rain for just over an hour, though little in the way of wind made its job a tad easier than i'd have preferred. i was, of course, perfectly rain dry on arriving home, and almost equally breathably so, but i'd like to reserve final judgment until i've had the chance to give it a great deal more grief. the top-of-the-range pro-team jacket is fully insulated, a feature totally absent from the jacket or this hoodie. but the fit of the explore hooded pullover makes it simples and comfortable to wear over an explore down jacket, or a brevet insulated jacket or gilet, without compromising movement.

at present, i'm more than satisfied with the garment; it's stylish, practical, can be worn on or off the bike and essentially does what it says on the tin. however, there will definitely be a part-two, whenever scotland's west-coast weather rains and gales like it's supposed to do.

the rapha + gore-tex explore hooded jacket is available in plum, dark orange and dark navy, in sizes ranging from xs to xxl. price is £250.

rapha + gore-tex explore hooded pullover

saturday 26 october 2019

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

stop it. right now

ant-skid braking system

times have certainly changed; whether for the better or not, is for someone else to decide. there are kids not yet out of single digits on their birthday cards, who have far better information technology skills than those of us who were at school when the first calculators showed face in the maths department. i have grown up with computers; i owned an acorn computer in the age of sinclairs, bbc and amstrads; i successfully undertook a programming course before apple had produced the macintosh, and in the early 1990s, i taught myself to use vector and bitmap graphics programmes. but my current black belts in photoshop, indesign and illustrator pale into insignificance in comparison to the spat that has arisen between google and ibm.

pixel wrangling is very far from the highly educated minds at the above mentioned companies. basically, google says it has gained supremacy in quantum computing, having built a quantum processor that can solve a specifically difficult problem in a mere 200 seconds, claiming that the same calculation would have occupied the world's most powerful supercomputer, summit, at oak ridge national lab, for the next 10,000 years. ibm's quantum computing department says that google is overestimating its success, contending that summit would actually have taken a mere 2.5 days, rather than thousands of decades. it's an argument that seems set to run and run.

however, as luck would have it, though i am not unfamiliar with the concept of quantum mechanics, it would be seriously overstating the case were i to imply that i actually understand it. i'm probably not entirely alone. theoretical physicist, richard feynman has been anecdotally quoted as saying "if you think you understand quantum mechanics, then you don't understand quantum mechanics." so i did what any right-thinking dummy would do, and looked at ibm's web pages 'explaining' the concept of quantum computing, achievable only by a shielded processor existing a mere four degrees above absolute zero. needless to say, i didn't understand a word of it, the quote below hopefully explaining why.

"A useful metric for understanding quantum capability is quantum volume. It measures the relationship between number and quality of qubits, circuit connectivity, and error rates of operations. Developing systems with larger quantum volume will lead to discovering the first instances of applications where quantum computers can offer a computational advantage for solving real problems." i rest my case.

so, rather than concern ourselves with the intricacies of quantum computing, perhaps we might change our discussion to the simpler concept of the anti-lock braking system. this was first introduced in the 1950s specifically for aircraft, but in the 1970s, ford and chrysler demonstrated that it was equally as effective when fitted to motor cars. nowadays it is ubiquitous on pretty much every variation of motorised transport.

abs works as part of a vehicle-wide stability system. each wheel has an electronic sensor designed to monitor the wheel's behaviour under heavy braking. if that sensor detects that the wheel is about to lock-up, it momentarily releases the brake, before reapplying it, thus continuing the braking process, but preventing the wheel from locking up. cyclists would probably liken this to modulation. perhaps, obviously enough, should the wheel lock, the tyre would enter skid mode, rendering the vehicle's braking all but null and void.

throughout the above procedure, the driver can fearlessly continue to put the pedal to the metal.

the contemporary road bicycle is the last in line to acquire hydraulic disc brakes, after mountain and cyclocross bikes. following on from programmable electronic gear-changing, the relative simplicity of the humble velocipede has taken something of a hit in the past two or three decades, a factor about which i admit to having been somewhat critical in the past. sadly, it seems that my criticism may have to persist for a wee while longer, for it appears that shimano, guilty of providing us with both of the above technologies, needs more technological stuff to keep their boffins occupied. if evidence were required, let me mention that, earlier this year, they filed a patent that 'includes an electronic controller that executes an abs control on the rotating body of a human-powered vehicle.'

no doubt, shimano have safety uppermost on their mind(s), a trait that is highly commendable. on the basis that i have conducted no study whatsoever into the subject, i really have no idea how likely is the average road cyclist to lock up the wheels under braking, to then suffer an unfortunate accident, but i must assume that shimano have been less tardy in their ministrations. however, i don't mind admitting that i am happy to live without either electronic gear shifting or hydraulic disc brakes, so it's most likely that any subsequent imposition of abs to road bicycles will pass me by.

and though well i know that any accompanying user manual rarely bears any resemblance to the bicycle for which it is intended, i live in fear that i may come across the words 'an integrated gps system, acceleration and speed sensors and a 'lidar' (light detection and ranging) light, that uses lasers to determine whether the bike needs to deploy the abs.'

times have certainly changed.

friday 25 october 2019

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

your carriage awaits


there exists something of a conundrum surrounding the promotion of cycling and walking as a viable alternative to using the ubiquitous motor car for short, or even long journeys. though it might sound a tad contentious, particularly to those who currently feel there is no viable alternative to car use, aside from making walking and cycling more attractive options, it rests upon the powers to be to make driving a tad less convenient.

the new town of stevenage, the first built, under the new towns act in 1946, featured an integrated cycle network designed to make travel on two wheels as simple and traffic-free as possible. riding to and from work, school or the shops was as convenient as was possible at the time, a feature for which the town was commended. unfortunately, the cycle network remained almost unused, not because they failed to live up to the hype, but because, in the process of perfecting the cycle network, the town planners had failed to make it any less convenient for travel to the same destinations by car. even in the 1940s, given the choice between cycling and driving, the town's population was inclined to opt for the latter. emulating the epithet "water always finds its own level", if there was no perceived advantage to cycling, and you weren't you and me, why bother?

the car lobby, particularly in the western world, is a powerful one, cleaving far more clout with government than either of the national cycle organisations. unsurprisingly, this has more to do with money than with morals or pragmatism, otherwise allowing the parking of vehicles on cycle lanes would be persona non grata. and the suggestion of affixing green licence plates to electric cars to allow their safe passage along bus lanes would never have been raised in the first place.

and while there are numerous signs on london fences warning of armaggedon should you fasten your bicycle to the railings, the ceo of scottish power has eagerly pointed out that, if britain is to become a zero emission country by 2050, we'll require a total of 25 million charging points. that equates to 4,000 a day between now and then. suddenly, the odd bicycle chained to the railings doesn't seem quite so iniquitous. yet, while the government requires constant persuasion to implement any sort of mediocre cycling infrastructure, it seems that pretty much anything goes as far as the car is concerned.


but one of the perceived advantages of the bicycle, whether foldable or not, is its relative portability by comparison with other means of transport. such versatility often means it is possible to ride to the nearest point of public transport, such as bus, train, or even taxi, cover the larger or less convenient distances by such means, then hop onto the bicycle at the other end. buses in several american states feature bike racks up front, allowing cyclists to place their bicycles aboard, before paying the fare. the light railway service in portland, oregon (similar to edinburgh's trams), sports pairs of hooks just inside each set of doors on which to hang the bicycle before settling down to an effort free trip into or out of town.

the big problem with that model on this side of the pond is a european health and safety restriction on front-mounted bike racks on buses, and a distinctly not-joined-up rail network that makes it uncommonly hard to book a bicycle on board from one end of a journey to the next, predominantly due to a distinct lack of appropriate bike spaces. however, the latter problem might be about to be a thing of the past, if left in the surprisingly safe hands of scotrail (oddly enough, owned and operated by the dutch abellio group).

intent on encouraging cycle tourism in concordance with the scottish government's current transport initiative, scotrail are introducing new carriages on the west highland line, (glasgow to mallaig, via oban and fort william) offering up to 20 bicycle spaces on each. these will be in addition to the existing rolling stock, thus avoiding any reduction in current passenger accommodation. all we need now is the likes of virgin, trans pennine, southern rail, to follow scotrail's example and not only make it a great deal simpler to get a bike on the train, but add new rolling stock that offers such generous space for the more adventurous velocipedinist.

photos courtesy scotrail

thursday 24 october 2019

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

revolube: the story so far

revolube bottle

this particular time of year brings with it a welcome change of colour palette. instead of bright greens, yellows and blues, our velocipedinal viewpoint is oft filled with golds, ochres, reds, browns and the multiple hues associated with autumn/fall. the above mentioned tones are also those adopted by the world's cycling apparel providers to refresh their clothing ranges ahead of the dark mornings and dark evenings that will undoubtedly ensue. and that, i'm afraid to say, confuses the heck out of me.

for, while i delight in this particular season and the change in colour scheme it brings, i've never quite got the hang of wearing jerseys, jackets and caps that seem designed to have me melt into the background. considering the effort and research that has been invested in having us pedalists stand out brightly for our own safety, i have jerseys and socks in the cycling wardrobe that would allow me to blend in midst an agglomeration of trees and bushes. and while i have every respect for the rurality of my surrounds, i continually live in fear of being mown down by a herd of roe deer simply because my apparel failed to alert them to my mobile presence.

yet, though i find those deep oranges, ochres, and rust reds to be a comfort in days of cyclocrossing through the undergrowth, the latter is a colour i seriously dislike finding applied to my bicycle chain. and last saturday, such an incident came to pass.

just over a week past, i had occasion to head southwest to port charlotte village for an hour's worth of pixel wrangling, after which, i endured a wet ride home. though convention ought to have dictated that the ritchey logic receive its customary wipe down with an oily rag prior to settling down in the bike shed, who has the time nowadays? therefore, after a few days inaction, on retrieving said bicycle from its ancestral home, i was aghast and embarrassed to note rusty reds coating several links of my campagnolo record twelve-speed chain, as well as more than a tooth or two on the still relatively clean, matching cassette.

in mid-august this year, i posted a review of the frighteningly expensive revolube synthetic chain lubricant, a liquid coating that professed to be the offspring of nano-technology, with a propensity to remain stuck like a limpet to the rollers interspersing each chain-link. according to the revolubes website "The chemically bonded layer covers the top material's surface and prevents your chain from getting rusty." so what went wrong?

well, actually, nothing. if you'd been brought up with a father insisting that there was no need to place a drop of three-in-one oil on any part of the chain other than the rollers, you too would have exhibited deadly accuracy when doing the same thing with the eye-dropper applicator that features in every 50ml bottle of revolube. closer examination of the small portion of orangey-red chain, showed it to have attached itself mostly to the outer plates, the very part of the chain that i had studiously avoided during the application process. and since lubrication is, of necessity, remarkably sparing, unlike unfettered spraylube application, there was scarcely a smidgeon of over-spill to protect the sizeable number of sprocket teeth. a quick wipe with the ubiquitous oily-rag, and all was well with the world.

meanwhile, there's the serious matter of just how well the revolube has performed, considering it's two and a half months since the lube was first applied, and, until this past weekend, there has been not a single top up throughout that period. despite what could reasonably be referred to as minimal lubrication, the chain still runs as smoothly as it did when new; there have been no mid-term squeaks, no grating noises in the big ring and it has remained admirable metallic in appearance. and orange colouring notwithstanding, the cassette has remained cleaner for longer than any i can recall.

once again, according to the revolubes website, "It is resistant to water or solvents." the water resistance is one to which i am happy to attest, but this was the first occasion on which i have attempted to restore the chain to its original shininess by means of solvent application. and though it is an entirely unscientific conclusion to make, i can't say i noticed any major difference in lubricative (?) properties; on closer visual inspection, the lube does appear to have remained attached to the portions of chain to which it was applied.

if the prospective winter of discontent proves unequal to the task of dislodging it from the link rollers, you'll be the second to know.


wednesday 23 october 2019

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

café du cycliste petra gilet

caf«du cycliste petra gilet

situated in the southwestern desert of jordan, are an array of tombs and temples carved into pink sandstone cliffs. the archaeological site, dating from 300bc, was originally known to its inhabitants as raqmu, but we'd more likely refer to it as petra. its treasures are accessed via the narrow canyon of al siq, perhaps the best known of those treasures being the greek-styled facade of the al kazneh temple. there have been several appearances of the site in movies over the years, the highest profile of which would surely be from the indiana jones series, where harrison ford finds the holy grail.

caf«du cycliste petra gilet

petra's location remained unkown to the world until its re-discovery in 1812, but my first acquaintance with these exquisite sandstone carvings was through the paintings of the inestimable david bomberg. declaring that, until he visited jerusalem in 1923, he had "never seen the sunlight before", bomberg painted the landscapes of jericho and petra during a four year stay in the region. he made two trips to petra in 1924, escorted by an arab guard, after the location had been suggested by the military governor of jerusalem, sir ronald storrs, a gentleman who had previously purchased an earlier work by the british born artist.

caf«du cycliste petra gilet

some two decades later, bomberg set up the unofficial borough group, teaching many of today's luminaries of the art world, including frank auerbach, the late roy oxlade, dennis creffield and leon kossoff. of course, it's highly unlikely that the nice folks at café du cycliste named their extremely lightweight gilet after the 'spirit in the mass' as espoused by david bomberg. particularly, the item under review, which has nothing rose-coloured about its almost intangible presence.

there are those, including the mighty dave-t, who fail to see the benefits conferred by the wearing, or even the carrying of a gilet, but the dry, yet cold, weather currently being experienced in the hebrides, strikes me as the ideal climate in which to clad oneself in an armless jacket. i confess to having held similar misgivings to those of our directeur sportif in years gone by, but now, for me at least, there's no denying the benefits to be obtained.

caf«du cycliste petra gilet

if it doesn't impose too eccentric a light on proceedings, it all comes down to the arms. having never studied biology or human anatomy (other than at figure drawing classes), i fail to comprehend why it is that, as the honed athlete becomes warmer with velocipedinal exertion, it is the arms that are first on the list. considering the substantial girth of my chris hoy thighs and thomas lang calf muscles, i cannot conceive why it is that they manage to assume a comfortable body temperature, without a propensity to overheat. yet, if early perspiration is to be identified, it will be identified on the arms.

caf«du cycliste petra gilet

thus, when the ambient temperature and climatic conditions dictate that a simple, yet long-sleeved jersey is insufficient cladding, it's conceivable that, during the transitional weeks of the year (autumn to winter and spring to summer), a windjacket might be considered overkill. just ask my arms. in cases such as the above described, a gilet is often the perfect solution, and i'm pleased to relate that café du cycliste's petra gilet has indeed proved to be the perfect solution over a period of mid-october days.

caf«du cycliste petra gilet

the black with white dots frontmost portion of the gilet is both windproof and waterproof, though i confess i have yet to get any portion of the garment wet. the hem features an elastic countenance, the stretchiness of which is designed to cope with any variance in form. in my case, i had stuffed a compact digital camera, a mini-pump and a folded waterproof jacket in the rear pockets of a café du cycliste long-sleeve jersey, with which petra coped admirably. the full-length zip and generous collar allow for easily adjustable ventilation during the final sprint, but kept me windproof and cosy when dropping back to the car for bottles.

caf«du cycliste petra gilet

the undotted rear panel resembles nothing more nor less than a small portion of a chiffon dress; there are thicker spiders' webs than this. it's expertly constituted to provide strategic air-conditioning, and allows petra to be scrunched into a tiny ball and crammed into the smallest of pockets (i know; i tried). it also allows access to those previously mentioned rear pockets, without recourse to unzipping.

i'm sure the mighty dave-t would have an issue with the price, a pound sign that offers only a few pounds change from £100. but, the price of windproof convenience on the bicycle surely cannot be overestimated?

café du cycliste's petra lightweight gilet is available in sizes from xs to xxl, only in black with white dots. it is priced at £92

caf&e du cycliste petra gilet

tuesday 22 october 2019

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