seascape - joan eardley

i had the good fortune, several years past, to have time to visit edinburgh's galley of modern art to view an exhibition of the works of scottish artist, joan eardley. she's an artist i came across when still at school, when a local gallery showed several of her pastel drawings of glasgow street urchins. however, ultimately she became every bit as renowned for her sea and landscapes undertaken at catterline, a small fishing village near aberdeen. sometimes eschewing the usual practice of making paintings from preparatory sketches, she would set her easel and canvas on the shore, even in the face of violent north sea gales, and work to capture the moments acting out in front of her in real time.

these seascapes often resembled what would be recognised as abstract expressionism, a movement to which the antidote was the opposingly named minimalism. artists in the 60s and 70s who adopted this latter stance included agnes martin, carl andre (he of the tate gallery's infamous bricks purchase) and frank stella. however, the minimalist movement was not restricted to the visual arts, surfacing in the orchestral music of terry riley, steve reich, philip glass, et al. this musical minimalism reached its peak (or nadir, depending on your point of view) with john cage's composition 4'33", in which the performers were instructed not to make a sound with their instruments for the entire four minutes and thirty-three seconds of the composition.

i think it unlikely that anything could express minimalism more than that. whether it can be regarded as 'art', would depend greatly on your disposition or appreciation of such matters.

you will no doubt be thankful, therefore, that my own projected foray into the world of minimalist velocipedinal interaction, has not yet descended to such pretentious levels. there is still riding to be achieved, but perhaps not at the level potentially undertaken over the festive period. for the past ten years, as previously informed, i have undertaken rapha's festive 500, through some of the worst weather conditions i've experienced in the saddle. i have ridden for eight successive days in rain that never let up once, i have been blown off my bike by storm force winds, i've ridden through snow at speeds that prevented my extremities from defrosting, and i've also ridden in the most glorious weather a hebridean winter can provide.

i'm tempted to use the cliché 'been there, done that, bought the t-shirt', but that, i fear would smack of arrogance and one-upmanship. over the course of those ten years, i've only failed to complete the challenge once. however, aside from the nature of my work allowing me the time off to attempt the challenge, the other factor in my success, win or lose, has been mrs washingmachinepost. she too has a break from her job over christmas and yet has been a festive widow for the past ten years.

so this year, keen still to get out on the ritchey over the holiday period, yet be at home more often than has been common in previous years, i have decided to instigate a festive 240, arithmetically designed to equate to 30km per day over the eight-day period. that, as luck and strategy would have it, is pretty much the distance covered on a return trip to debbie's for a coffee. and should there be a bout of inclement weather preventing any day of riding, it won't be too much of an uphill struggle to catch up.

so, if anyone figures they'd like to accumulate a few festive kilometres and still be on speaking terms with their partner at new year, feel free to join me (metaphorically, rather than physically) on my thirty a day festive habit. sadly, no sew-on patches are on offer.

monday 16 november 2020

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in the groove

in the groove

yesterday's inbox, late afternoon, brought two copies of the same mailshot from hudson music. somewhere along the line, i obviously clicked to receive regular updates, and now i'm a bit wary of unsubscribing, in case so doing takes me out of the reckoning altogether. i do like to be kept up to date regarding books and video lessons on how i might improve my drumming, even though i rarely purchase anything. this is purely on the basis that a full drumset is not set up in the house (neighbours, mrs washingmachinepost, etc.) though i'm confident enough in my percussive abilities in relation to the demands likely to be made of them. what i'd really, really like to improve, is my sight reading.

as mentioned on more than a single occasion, i visit the local secondary school a couple of times per week to teach national 5 and higher drumset, always very much aware that my students can sight-read way better than i can. fortunately, i can read well enough to follow what they play, and to pick out any errors along the way, but were any of them to put me on the spot, i'd fail miserably. the get out clause is that my being able to play the part, doesn't necessarily entail that they'd be able to do the same.

the other hard part arrives when it comes to attempting to verbalise what it is they ought to be aiming for. try as i might, i cannot come up with a better word than 'groove', a word that seriously dates my approach, particularly in the eyes of 15 and 16 year-old teenagers. in choosing that word, i'm trying to convey some sort of gestalt that will infiltrate the way each piece is played, rather than the more common, bar by bar approach. my favourite example, no matter what you think of me, is michael jackson's 'billie jean', a song that has no drum fills whatsoever, but grooves like crazy.

i do believe that, after a few lessons, the hapless kids under my tutelage, do begin to grasp that of which i speak, even if they'd be too embarrassed to return home and admit that their drum teacher used the word 'groove'.

but, it seems, perhaps i'm not as out of step with the modern world as i think. for those two hudson music e-mails which arrived simultaneously yesterday afternoon, concerned groove essentials 1 and 2. these were compiled by a chap by the name of tommy igoe and consist of play-along-tracks for drummers, including the written charts. studied correctly, those promise not only to improve my time-keeping (backing tracks have no concern for your timing struggles, so it's up to the drummer to play with them, rather than vice versa) and the ability to read drum charts.

the majority of us in the velocipedinal world are self-taught, perhaps with a little help from mum and dad. those intent on the competitive milieu will, more often than not, engage the services of a coach, for though most of us could teach ourselves to ride a bit faster, it's unlikely we could reach the very top without someone on the touchline (so to speak). that said, the majority have no great desire to pin on a number, happy to enjoy our cycling at a more sedate pace, though all bets are off when heading for the speed sign at bruichladdich.

so, for the majority, could we improve our groove? is that even a real thing?

it takes me around 15 to 16 kilometres to warm up of a bike ride. not in terms of body heat, but a loosening of limbs, stretching of muscles and coming to terms with being in the saddle once again. i'm hoping sincerely that this is a state of affairs that inflicts itself upon everyone of a certain age, and that you're not all laughing at me behind my back. however, once warmed up, as per the above definition of that phrase, i can occasionally settle into a groove; the trick, which i'm keen to pursue, is can i achieve that at will? and if i can manage that, can everyone else? or, just to add yet another rhetorical question, does everybody already do so, and it's only me that's out of step?

it took me many years to admit to fellow musicians, that my way of learning songs is by visualising them as a series of shapes. it was of great surprise to learn that many others do likewise. so maybe all of us on our respective sunday morning bike rides are all aiming to 'get in the groove', but we're all too embarrassed to broach the subject for fear that we'll be met with silent, yet quizzical stares. so, now that i've broken the conversational ice, and brought what we're all thinking into the open, there will be no need for any embarrassment.

get yourself a copy of 'billie jean' or steely dan's 'do it again', listen while you're getting kitted up, and hit the road grooving.

sunday 15 november 2020

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a day off

rapha black friday ride

black friday is an american invention, denoting the friday after thanksgiving (the fourth thursday of november), traditionally the day on which the united states christmas shopping season commences. or at least, it has been since 1952. and, at the behest of rampant commercialism, black friday has been the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005, though others contend that's been the case for a lot longer. however, commercial intent has to take a rest at some point, with 2014 recording the lowest spend across the pond since the 2008 recession. that reduced spree still brought in $50.9 billion, which would buy you a whole truckload of bmc's new carbon masterpiece.

as is frequently the case, americanisms have an incorrigible habit of ending up in britain, whether we want them to or not. for example, hallowe'en, once the home of 'guising', at least in scotland, has now become home to 'trick or treating'. and only the other day, as i was leaving the office, a friend of mine, acknowledging this observable fact, said to me "another day, another dollar". though much has happened in the uk in recent months, so far as i know, we still spend pound coins over here.

and i can't have been the only one to have noticed uk tv adverts promoting 'black friday' sales, some of which seem to last for several weeks, while a quick look at amazon's website will elicit various black friday categories and early deals. under england's current lockdown and scotland's system of levels, it is likely to prove darned difficult to get anywhere near 'real' shops for this year's christmas shopping, a fact that is surely of little comfort to the ubiquitous 'high street'. it's highly likely that the bulk of this year's festive purchases will take place online, and jeff bezos will probably, and disturbingly, become even more, the richest man in the universe.

as an antidote to all this acquisitiveness, the good folks at london's imperial works have, for very good reason, decided not only to eschew black friday altogether, but do precisely the opposite and close all the rapha clubhouses and offices throughout the world, giving their 470 staff the day off to go ride their bicycles. and in an extension of this generosity to those of us who don't work at rapha, they're encouraging us all to follow their example, to collectively ride 1,000,000 miles. of course, non-rapha personnel will have a bit of leeway as to when we ride, just in case the boss is less than inclined to let us all take friday off.

however, the black friday ride doesn't take place until friday 27 november, which gives a couple of week's for extensive negotiations with the aforesaid boss.

assuming that the magical million miles is reached (verification will come via sign-up on strava), the rapha foundation will donate £120,000 to world bicycle relief, sufficient dosh to fund 1,000 buffalo bikes. it strikes me that we, as individuals, could join in rapha's largesse, and offer our own black friday donation to wbr and help them buy even more bikes. let's face it; if we're all taking the day (or a day) off to go ride our bicycles, it's only right and proper that those who've probably never heard of black friday, benefit from our velocipedinal joy.

i believe this is what is known as a win, win situation.

sign up for the ride on strava

saturday 14 november 2020

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ride britain. simon warren. little brown publishing hardback 254pp illus.

ride britain - simon warren

every year, even this one, the velo club meet 'foreign' (ie, not local) cyclists, those who are visiting for a day or so, and graciously join us for the sunday ride. and, considering islay's status as an island, and thus possessed of a fixed number of roads, there is an effective limit to the parcours available for our weekly perambulations. invariably, someone will ask whether we ever become bored with cycling the same roads, week in, week out, to which the standard answer is 'no'.

it's a perfectly honest answer. due to the nature of the hebrides and the wide and frequent changes in the weather, rarely does the same road seem like the same road two weeks in a row. so, despite having lived here for more than thirty years, i'm more than happy to follow the same route week in, week out, because rarely is it ridden in identical conditions. however, when breathing reverts to a conversational level, we usually discover that, despite the wide availability of routes pretty much anywhere on the mainland, we're not the only ones who tend to ride the same course every week.

if nothing else, it likely proves that cyclists are creatures of habit.

unless, of course, your name is simon warren. and even that is something of a subjective statement, given that the man has a disarming habit of riding up steep hills, wherever those steep hills happen to be. and following a series of pocket sized books in his '100 climbs', series, simon has spread his metaphorical wings and explored several favoured nooks and crannies of the british isles, compiled into a stylish coffee table format. admittedly, it's designed to fit a smaller size coffee table than some, but what it lacks in heft, it more than makes up for in impeccable design and compulsive content.

"...I have shaken myself free from the shackles of my pocket guides, and for the first time linked the dots between the hills to present you with 40 awesome routes."

however, essentially, the formula is similar to that of the '100 climbs' series; simon chooses steep and often gruelling ascents across the nation, then rides up them with consummate ease, succeeding, in the process, of making most of us look like slobby couch potatoes. the difference this time, is contained in the above quote from the introduction; these are more than simply a series of hills. this time the grimpeurship is included within often substantial routes; the longest entails 274 kilometres of pedalling. even undertaking "the biggest climb of them all", is built into a 214km ride around a renowned portion of scotland's west coast.

the other huge difference this time, is the phenomenal accompanying photography. though i'd scarcely refer to myself as a photographer, my work brings me into persistent contact with photography, and i like to think i know what's good and what's not. this, in case i've not made myself clear, is good. very good. though simon warren is no slouch when it comes to taking snaps, it requires a special kind of dexterity to ride confidently up hills and press the shutter at the same time. simon has, therefore, recruited the talents of andy jones and phil hall. an excellent decision in my opinion.

as a bit of a home boy, i'd be surprised if i ever undertake any of the rides within the books magnificent 250 + pages, though i do have a hankering to ride the bealach na ba before i'm too ancient to do so. but i can sit back in my leather armchair, wearing my fur-lined slippers, a cup of mint tea on the side table, and peruse the glorious imagery, while imagining i'm every bit as intrepid an adventurer that i'd have you believe i truly am.

ride britain is thematically separated into regional chapters, stretching from south west england, to north west scotland, by way of the south east, the midlands, yorkshire, the north east, scotland (notable for a chapter named after a track on led zeppelin iv), the north west and wales. for lovers of cobbled roads (me, me, me), simon's adherence to a musical meme continues with a chapter entitled 'Rock and Roll', describing the 'Rough and tumble on the cobbles of West Yorkshire'. doubtless the next step is warren cycle travel ltd.

"Think cobbles, think Belgium, think Flanders. Think the Oude Kwaremont, the Paterberg and the Koppenberg: the famus roads that have wreaked havoc beneath cyclists' tyres for generations. Yes? No. Think Yorkshire."

aside from the glorious photography, often colourfully spread across two wide-format pages, each numbered and graded ride is accompanied by a map, a profile that usually resembles the teeth of a tyranosaurus, a summary of the key climbs, the total distance covered and the total vertical distance achieved on completion. not for nothing is the author a graphic designer. but, as simon points out, "As the book is too large to take on rides, by following the map, you can then plot the course on an online route builder to download to your computer, or if you prefer, you can go old school and take paper maps out with you."

however, with scotland currently separated into levels one to three and england in lockdown, your choice of ride is essentially restricted to the routes achievable within current governmental guidelines, offering the perfect excuse to buy a copy and plan for next year, when hopefully all will have returned to something resembling normality.

by which time simon will probably be listening to 'physical graffiti'.

100 climbs

friday 13 november 2020

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rapha sonic collection

rapha sonic collection

though we no doubt considered our favourite sporting activity to exist in splendid isolation, unaffected by the mores of the 'real' world, if nothing else, this year has proved that to be a false assumption. and if you're inclined to adhere to the philosophy that, the season pretty much went ahead anyway, even if a tad later than originally scheduled, surely the cancellation of paris-roubaix' provided something of an urgent wake-up call?

rapha sonic collection

but prior to the entirely uncommon nature of the 2020 season that ended with roglic in the vuelta's red jersey, surely cycle-sport has pretty much gone its own, solitary way, flying in the face of a world seemingly obsessed with the motor car as transport. sadly, that too would be a naive stance to take; you need only view an aerial shot of the professional peloton in full flow, to note that the number of following cars and motorcycles begins to rival the number of cyclists. that said, i'm sure i noted at least a couple of electric skoda commissaire vehicles during the latter stages of the spanish race.

rapha sonic collection

and then there's the influence (or not) of fashion. prior to the late 1980s, the average cycle jersey could be viewed as just a bit on the rudimentary side. any catwalk influences could be easily discarded, if only on the basis that the wool jersey was more than just moderately restricted in the realm of haute couture. but then along came the slightly mis-named method of dye-sublimation printing. i say, 'mis-named' because originally it was mistakenly thought that the dye moved from solid state to gas, without passing through the liquid state (sublimation). however, subsequent investigation proved that there was minimal liquefying of the dye. thus, the correct name would be 'dye-diffusion', though in practice i've yet to hear it called that.

rapha sonic collection

dye-sublimation is a computer based printing technique that uses heat to 'sublimate' the printed dye onto the fabric of choice. in the case under discussion, that would be the polyester of a jersey and the lycra of the shorts. by the late 1980s, early 1990s, this became a practical and economic means of applying virtually any computer-generated design onto a cycle jersey. and since this was dye, rather than ink, the colours could be vibrant to say the least. and suddenly, fashion and colour had found inroads into the previously and relatively monochrome cycling world.

rapha sonic collection

rapha's new sonic collection is a celebration of this new era of garish graphics, of the 1990 tour de france and the big logos, the modern face of this graphic revolution allowing rapha and others to offer the current state-of-the-art to their customers. the full collection consists of a lightweight shadow waterproof jacket, a long-sleeve winter-weight jersey, thermal bibshorts, a headband (which comes attached to the jersey) and a pair of socks. rapha kindly supplied everything, apart from the shadow jacket, for review in advance of the official release, and i'm very glad that they did.

rapha sonic collection

on a bright, sunny day, when my garmin displayed seven degrees pretty much all day, accompanied by a windchill that reduced it to around five degrees, the breathable and thermal, midweight long-sleeve jersey was well constituted to fend off the chill in the air, even when descending the hill at foreland. though i have very disparagingly referred to this as sonic the jersey, i feel i must underline that i regard that as a term of endearment. i am a major fan of long-sleeve jerseys, and though i like to think of myself as a tad more on the subtle end of the spectrum, i rather enjoyed sonic's bright personality. my only complaint would be the minimal height of the collar; i'd have liked a taller version, similar to that seen on the core l/s winter jersey.

rapha sonic collection

due to covid-19 demands at debbie's, i wore a richard sachs neck-warmer/face-covering, but i do draw the line at headbands, no matter what the late lauren fignon said.

the thermal bibshorts are quite simply to die for. comprised of a three-layer fabric on the front providing wind and rain protection and fleece-backed panels at the rear, these are so well-fitting and cosy, there was a lengthy period of deliberation over whether or not to take them off post ride. it will surprise you greatly that i have so far failed to get them wet, but since they have fulfilled every other requirement, i see no reason why the water-resistance should be any different. rapha contend that these are designed for winter-training under darkening skies, but since i wouldn't know a training schedule if it offered to buy me an orange juice, i'll settle for the darkened skies.

rapha sonic collection

even with a jersey costing £160 and shorts just the right side of £200, i'd advise opting for both at once. these are offered to rapha cycling club members in advance of going on general release, so there's a reasonable chance a sell-out is on the cards. it's no use you coming crying to me when, a few weeks along the road, you find you cannot get hold of matching shorts for your jersey. and though i'm no fashionista, the socks are pretty darned ginger-peachy into the bargain.

imperial works have been slightly cute in their celebration of the advent of the dye-sublimation era, in that the differently coloured sections of the jersey are fashioned from separate sections of fabric, including the forearms. but i don't care; i love that.

sonic the jersey (with headband) is available in the usual sizes at a cost of £160, the bibshorts at a cost of £195 and matching socks for £20. the lightweight shadow jacket (not reviewed) costs £200
| rapha sonic collection

thursday 12 november 2020

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more tech than we can deal with?

rapha + b&o earphones

ever since i mistakenly thought i had found the means of removing a freewheel from my steel viscount racing bike, i have paid reasonably close attention to the technical aspects of velocipedinal life. this initial mechanical misadventure resulted in a whole slew of tiny ball bearings scattered throughout every nook and cranny of the garage; it transpires that i had simply removed the lockring retaining the sprockets onto the freewheel body. those tiny bearings were the means by which it freewheeled smoothly, but which offered a painful lesson in just how hard it was to replace them on the upper and lower cones.

rapha + b&o earphones

it's not a situation i'd like to repeat. thankfully, the invention of the freehub and cassette-ful of sprockets pretty much guarantees i probably won't have to.

if memory serves correctly, it was author tim hilton's 'one more kilometre and we're in the showers', that mentioned in every peloton across the country, there is a greater than evens chance at least one rider will be possessed not only of mechanical knowledge, but of a means to put that knowledge to good use, in the service of his or her colleagues. for many years, i was that very fellow. having learned to build wheels in the days when wheels still featured at least 32 spokes, laced three-cross onto alloy rims, it was a mere formality to true-up one that had gone skew-wiff.

rapha + b&o earphones

i also understood that loosening the locknut on a headset, did not immediately allow the raising of the stem. and, on the arising of the a-headset, i was comfortably aware that the bar height could not be simply adjusted once the steerer had been cut on installation. and legend has it that not only could i adjust the cones on any wheel you cared to mention, but replace the quarter-inch bearing races with loose bearings on a cup and cone bottom bracket. though fixing and adjusting componentry on a bicycle has never been a major undertaking, frequently the tools required so to do were few and far between in the average shed or garage, requiring specific interest and investment on behalf of the proprietor.

rapha + b&o earphones

and that would have been me.

but, as i have been at pains to point out for more years than any of us care to recall, bicycle technologists simply cannot help themselves when it comes to tinkering with that which already works. if i might use the invention, by dia-compe, of the a-headset as an example, the offroad world was sold on this improvement, on the basis that it was lighter and arguably, more convenient. though the advent of the carbon fork steerer would doubtless have made its invention a specific necessity. unfortunately, 'lighter' was often fewer grammes than you'd hoped for (though it did render those rather large spanners somewhat surplus to requirements).

rapha + b&o earphones

but, a bit like my minimal skills with web technologies, i have reached the limits of my comfort zone, and now long for the days of greater simplicity, mainly to explain away my reticence to adopt the very latest in bicycle technology. hydraulic disc brakes, electronic gears, and the need to programme and subsequently understand anything pertaining to power meters or indoor training apps are total anathema to me.

in mitigation, even when i held a more than passing interest in computer software, any enthusiasm for games consoles or gaming software was conspicuous by its complete absence. this is undoubtedly a hangover from my aversion to any sort of board game, from monopoly to cluedo. i am plainly not the heart and soul of the party.

rapha + b&o earphones

but the rise and rise of indoor cycling, has removed even the icing from the cake. like many in this contemporary world, i spend way too much time in front of a computer screen, both for work and for an hour or so each day while scribbling these very words. for me, and many others, cycling is not only a joy in which to participate, but a release from those infernal pixels. quite why so many are willing to tether themselves and their eyeballs to yet more of the blighters, is a mystery i hope never to unravel.

but even those in thrall to the pixelated world of indoor cycling, must surely find it something to which they can scarcely devote all their attention, without the need for some distracting relief. why else would rapha have partnered with hi-fi experts, bang and olufsen, to offer a limited edition of their beoplay e8 sport waterproof, wireless earphones, "designed for indoor training"?

rapha + b&o earphones

the reasoning, as i understand it, is that those fixated on scenes from watopia, accompanied by a pool of sweat on the sitting room floor, are keen to listen to art blakey's 'just coolin' or king crimson's greatest hits, while fooling themselves into thinking that sitting on a one-wheeled bicycle in front of an ipad is 'cycling as we know it'. and to do so, while removing the annoying sound emanating from the smart trainer, obviously requires stylish, black and red, wireless (wires are so yesterday's technology) earphones capable of lowering their bank balance by £300.

to be fair, the same earphones minus the rapha logo cost every bit as much.

so, the conundrum is now how to hear any misadjustment of the rear mech relative to the cassette, or a creak from the headset lower bearing after bang and olufsen have had their finest people scientifically remove any noise other than that which you have chosen to listen. but in so doing, they have, albeit unwittingly, added another level of technological demand upon the contemporary cyclist. with a seven hour battery life, augmented by the three additional charges available from the silicone-coated case, even with a projected playing time of thirty hours, it's still another device that has need of being charged and connected to a music device.

so, as you click 'buy', just remember that #outsideisfree.

rapha + bang & olufsen earphones

wednesday 11 november 2020

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slow down, you move too fast

e-bikes in the netherlands

riding a bicycle requires effort, a fact of which we are all, no doubt, aware. for those of a pelotonic bent, that's part of the attraction, the ubiquitous 'pain and suffering' that sets us apart from the proletariat. it's the very reason why so many sportives feature a seemingly endless series of hills, why phil deeker's cent cols proved so popular with so many riders, and why the velo club will nonchalantly head out in galeforce winds and driving rain. even if we're not truly 'hard men or women', we like to think we are.

in his younger days, mrs washingmachinepost's grandfather would ride nigh on 30 kilometres each way, six days a week, on a sit-up-and-beg, steel road bike with a single gear just to get to and from work. of course in those days, comparisons were hardly available, since none but the rich could afford cars. public transport did not extend to the old dairy at gruinart, and had it done so, it's unlikely to have been available in the early mornings or late nights. it's a bit of a cliché that life was harder back then, but i know of several residents in bowmore who drive their cars a mere 100 metres, and would simply refuse any job that required the effort displayed by the gentleman mentioned above.

there has been a velo club (for want of a better designation) on islay in various forms since the mid 1990s, the longest surviving being the one that persists to this day, having arrived on the island's roads in the early part of last decade. we are hardly formally constituted, but that's more due to apathy for formality than any lack of seriousness on our part. however, unlike many other so-called 'sports' organisations, we have struggled considerably to attract new velocipedinists. for, as the mighty dave has often said, "at sometime or other, they're going to have to pedal the bike". it's a fact that seems to equate to hard work; 'why pedal when you could drive?', would appear to be the somewhat rhetorical question.

however, the advent of the electric bicycle perhaps promised a change in the firmament, offering succour to those who may have been attracted by our indolent athleticism, but felt unequal to the task. we might make it look easy to grovel up the hill at foreland, wearing our best race-faces and breathing through our ears, but the addition of an electric motor might just act as the safety net for the prospective new cyclist. the only detraction to the above notion is the knowledge that, in the uk at least, e-pedelecs are restricted to a top speed of 25kph, guaranteed to ease the pain of the nascent grimpeur, but possible just a little short of keepie-uppy on the flat.

however, s-pedelecs, legal in certain countries, can reach around 48kph, a higher speed than the pros average on grand tour stages. i'm sure i need not point out that the pros are paid to ride their bikes at that speed and have the cultivated abilities to handle them. unfortunately, a 65 year-old pensioner on just such a motor-assisted bicycle may find themselves wanting on reaching such velocities on two wheels. it's a problem that has reared its ugly head in the netherlands, resulting in more than five dozen, e-bike related deaths last year.

so, in an effort to curtail such a high level of deaths and injuries, amsterdam has turned to technology to curb such speeds in built-up areas, where arriving e-bike riders meet bicycle and pedestrian congestion. currently under trial near schipol airport is a digital means of governing speed as the e-bikes enter residential areas. should the trials prove successful, the speed-cutting technology and regulations could be introduced and enforced by 2022. the technology, however, is reputedly intelligent enough to recognise when the motor assist might be required to help the rider through strong headwinds, where a sudden restriction of power would rather negate the point of an e-bike in the first place.

it is, of course, technology that shouldn't be found necessary on uk roads, given the upper speed limit of street-legal e-bikes in britain. however, it occurred to me that, if such technology proves to be functional and equitable, perhaps it could be found applicable to electric cars, limiting their speeds on urban and inner city roads. the dutch may feel justified in regulating the speed of e-bikes, but i'd be willing to bet it would be a much greater struggle for even the netherlands to apply similar measures to the e-motoring public.

imagine the debate in westminster should that be attempted on london's roads.

tuesday 10 november 2020

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