essence outdoors epicon glasses

essence outdoors epicon glasses

around fourteen years ago, about to head off to french france as part of the hot chillee peloton en-route for paris, i thought it prudent to acquire a pair of tinted cycling glasses, to ensure i wouldn't miss any roadside detail due to the blazing sun that i was sure would be shining on every kilometre as we headed towards the eiffel tower. it shows that you probably shouldn't believe everything you read; i did see sunny spells along the way, but i'd rarely to trouble the bottle of sunscreen brought along to provide sharp tan lines.

however, what proved to be more important, was the transition from wearing standard prescription glasses, to a pair of wraparound shades. these, it transpired, not only protected my eyes from dust, grit and even rain, but meant when casting a sideways glance at those i despatched to the rear of the peloton (just ask sven; he'll vouch for me), there was no loss of tinted vision. it is testament to my choice of cycling shades, that i still wear them to this day, and that the guaranteed shatterproof lenses remain unmarked despite the trials and tribulations through which they've been put.

essence outdoors epicon glasses

i have every faith that the population of islay finds the members of the velo club sufficiently eccentric in their choice of cycling apparel, to care less about that which shields our vision from the elements. but with increased motor traffic even this far west, it well behoves each and every one of us to ensure we are well aware of all that goes on around us. were i to be in a position of recommending a starter pack for any would-be cyclist, i've a notion that i'd be inclined to include suitable eyewear. for though tinted glasses tend to be associated with sunny days, always assuming you've not opted for the darkest of lenses, suitably constituted eyewear will fend off a great deal more than photons.

essence outdoors epicon glasses

it would be foolish, however, to deny that certain brands and models of cycling shades cost more than just a few would be content to spend on an entire bicycle. it would indeed be a shame if this aspect of velocipedinal activity were to be remaindered simply due to cost, which is why the epicon model, from essence outdoors seem to fit the bill at an approachable price. and for a minimal £60, they provide a particularly effective solution, especially when their webiste highlights the fact that, alongside sun protection, the wraparound lens also offer particularly effective wind protection. the latter is an aspect to which i can readily testify. additionally, this model comes with a lifetime warranty.

essence outdoors epicon glasses

and in order to maximise such features, the glasses are malleable, in that the nosepiece can be adjusted to fit perfectly and comfortably, along with the top part of the black frame that clings to your forehead as it sweeps from one arm to the other. my regular eyewear features prescription inserts, for which those specific shades are designed to accommodate. but for those suffering from myopia and for whom prescription lenses are a necessity, believe it or not, it's perfectly possible to wear the rubicon glasses over the top of your regular glasses. i know, because i did so and it worked remarkably well.

though essence don't specifically recommend this procedure, after a few kilometres i completely forgot this to be the case. there was no distortion of vision at any point across the rubicon' curved lenses, no interference with my regular glasses, and they remained perfectly in position throughout the bike ride. of course, your mileage may vary, depending on the style of regular glasses normally worn; elton john might experience a problem or two. however, the quality of the single-piece, replaceable lens on the review pair was as close to perfection as it's probably possible to achieve at any price.

essence outdoors epicon glasses

and lest you figure that wearing two pairs of glasses would look naff (it doesn't), or noticeably heavy, the rubicons weigh almost nothing at all. however, to be honest, that's a part of the review that essence probably didn't ask for, but it did underline that vision at any angle is entirely distortion free.

in fairness, essence also offer the 'stormtrail' and 'phoenix' models capable of accommodating a prescription insert.

there's a remarkably wide range of lens tints available, and three different frame colours to choose from. if you figure that the rubicon style is not one you find favour with, there are several other models available. the glasses also come with a hard case, a cleaning cloth and a logo'd bag to keep them in pristine condition. rather obviously, i asked the rubicons to provide more than they were designed to offer, yet they fulfilled my needs without difficulty, with the distinct advantage that, when removed, i (almost) looked like a normal person.

if you've procrastinated over whether to acquire a pair of dedicated cycling glasses, do so no more. for £60 and free postage, what's not to like?

essence outdoors rubicon cycling shades

monday 22 february 2021

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grassy tussocks

the life of a serious pipe band snare drummer is geared towards a single outcome, one which we might reasonably categorise as bragging rights. ever since the standard plastic drumhead was replaced with woven kevlar, tone and subtle accompaniment have gone out the window. the average tension per bolt on a drumset snare is reckoned to be around 10lb, while that of a high-tension pipe band snare is reputedly closer to 100lbs. with twelve bolts per head on the latter, as opposed to the eight or ten on a drumset snare, you will have little difficulty in appreciating that men in kilts are playing on the equivalent of a mahogany table top.

unlike the standard snare drum head, kevlar gives no visible indication of disaster as the drum key brings it close to breaking point. the object of the exercise, therefore, tends to centre around reaching just below catastrophic failure, thus ensuring the highest pitch achievable. though i do believe that such tension levels pretty much exclude any tone produced by the drum shell, it is a situation that currently holds sway; anything less is likely to receive appropriate demerits during the judging process in competition. therefore, entire corps of pipe band snare drummers adopt a mental swagger and an air of condescension, until coming across another corps whose snare drums emit a higher pitch than theirs.

i'd like to admit here to a smidgeon of generalisation, but in truth, during my time in a competing band, i came across many a sporraned individual whose sneer was scarcely concealed when hearing an adjudged inferior pitch as i attempted my opening three-beat rolls.

there is valid comparison to be made on behalf of certain members of the world-wide peloton, though in this case, i think it probably excludes the professional classes. velocipedinal matters, of course, are less than in thrall to any form of applied tension, but innately concerned over perceived distance. chance upon two cycle clubs occupying the same coffee stop, and it would not be unheard of to hear one-upmanship displayed over which peloton had convered the greater distance, or which had done so at higher speed. and in a manner that can just as equally be applied to cost, use of the word only can have a devastating effect.

with regard to pricing, application of the word only immediately alters sheer unadulterated expense to a veritable bargain, e.g a pair of deep-rimmed carbon wheels will cost only £2,000. a similar, yet far more despicable use of the word can be seen in the phrase "we've only ridden 345km today. how about you?" by apparently demeaning one's own efforts, yet secure in the knowledge that you've outridden your peers, allows bragging rights without the blatant appearance of outright arrogance.

rapha's annual festive 500 encourages participants to undertake just such a number of kilometres over the course of eight days, equating to around 63km per day. there is a group of eccentrics in north america who annually strive to complete the distance at a single sitting, while others aim for double or triple the distance between christmas eve and new year's eve, just because they can. the comic has, for the past couple of years, encouraged its readership to go the extra 5,000 miles in a year, allowing the inclusion of features advising how, and interviews with those who feel they are bang on target to complete just shy of 100 miles each week.

the bit that seems to be missing in all of this, and that includes the drummers mentioned at the outset, is the simple joy of participation. i have ridden ten festive 500s, most of which have featured large dollops of inclement weather. though the accomplishment may have been positively heroic in hindsight, at the time, quite a lot of it was sheer purgatory. jo burt recently penned an article for along similar lines; forget about how far or how fast, simply enjoy the journey. far better to arrive home after a mere 35km at an average 18.5kph with a smile on your face, eagerly anticipating the following day's ride, than to adopt the swagger mentioned above, in place of the joy that was sadly missing from several hundred kilometres in the saddle.

of course, this is not to demean those who actually enjoy spending twelve hours at a time in the saddle. as a good friend of mine is in the habit of repeating, "it's just as well we're all different". but it's all too easy to get caught up in the more is better philosophy, without the application of any qualitative judgment.

the distance and average speed admitted above, were mine on saturday past. having fitted a pair of rene herse gravel tyres to the 'cross bike, i enjoyed a quick scoot around the undergrowth in bridgend woods in pouring rain, before taking myself off to bruichladdich and the inevitable double-egg roll, via the grassy dunes of uiskentuie strand. the method in my madness centred around crosswinds approaching 80kph; riding on the grass where they are strongest and where there is no available shelter, ensures that, should i get blown off, i would land only on soft wet grassy tussocks.

the ride home in ever increasing winds was a joy to behold, accompanied as it was, by an ear-to-ear grin on my windswept visage. i never once lost grip, avoided being blown off my bike (just), and presented no danger to road traffic in the process. it would have been very hard to increase my average speed, and with the winds set to close in on 100kph later that same day, 35km was deemed the ideal distance that erred towards safety as opposed to foolish bravado.

if you are beset with others' claims of lengthy bike rides that make your own pale into insignificance, who actually cares, as long as it was fun while it lasted? and if you were riding a bicycle the cost of which would scarcely afford a derailleur on that of the braggart, i can assure you that expensive gear mechs only ever make the bike shop owner happy.

enjoy the ride.

sunday 21 february 2021

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what's a foot?

lore 3d printed shoe

it is entirely possible, though admittedly unscientifically subjective, that the role of the cleated road shoe and attendant pedals, has been exaggerated just a smidgeon. my evidence for this state of affairs revolves around the beautifully engineered if less than svelte grand tour pedals from the revived chater lea. despite my less than subtle pleading, these were not speedily augmented with matching steel toeclips, but instead, by an equally desirable chainset, one that might well have adorned the ritchey logic, were it not for the absence of twelve-speed compatible chainrings.

however, when in receipt of a prototype pair of pedals almost two years ago, the lack of toeclips was ameliorated by a pair of ribbed sole road shoes - the style of which would have done eddy proud - in which i travelled the highways and byways of the principality, enjoying the immaculate internal bearing surfaces on which the axles smoothly revolve. the danger, if not an exaggeration, was that those shoes would suffer an inadvertent loss of friction, scraping most of the skin from my shins in the process.

additionally, though the experts deny its efficacy, i still remain convinced that it is possible to pull-up on cleated pedals, easing the burden of ascending, in the face of gravitational pull. yet, i now have to admit that i may have been remiss in my conjectures, given the apparent efficacy of riding on the grand tour pedals. for throughout the review period, and many months following, not once did my feet leave those pedals, never did i fail to summit where summitting was demanded, and according to the garmin readout, no watts appear to have been lost in transit.

therefore, one has to conclude that cleated shoes, at least for the intrepid amateur, are perhaps over-rated and possibly even surplus to requirements. were chater-lea to have thoughfully invested in producing toeclips, one can only imagine how history would have been proved both right and wrong simultaneously.

yet back in the modern world, someone has actually been quoted as saying that a new cycling footwear development "will change the way you interact with your bike, forever." i hold what i regard as a healthy suspicion of anything that smacks of hyperbole, and i fear that the above quote may qualify in that department. the remark comes from bike-fitter and olympian athlete, colby pearce when referring to the soon to be available lore shoe, cycling footwear that is created by means of 3d printing. and, as if to underline its uniqueness, mr pearce preceded his latter statement with, "The Lore project is three massive steps forward from any other shoe on the market. Prepare to have your head explode and for your feet to feel true power transfer for the first time ever."

i'm truly hoping that prospective purchasers will not suffer from exploding heads, but do have to admit that the possibilities of a printed carbon cycling shoe do seem rather futuristic, even if now only minutes from hand. the disappointing part of the launch is this apparent necessity to explore a wealth of superlatives that seem solely designed to undermine this undoubted technological breakthrough. for instance, it has also been referred to as "...the most powerful custom road shoe ever created." in the interim, i have closely examined my rapha road shoes, yet, on their own, they seem to be utterly devoid of inherent power.

i would suggest that the lore shoes are likely to demonstrate a similar resting state.

it's more than likely that lore are inferring, that their new-found ability to sculpt footwear mimicking every millimetre of your feet, that power transfer will conceivably be unfettered by any unecessary hindrance. and yes, i am being unbearably supercilous, but i believe that the class of rider who can a) afford a pair (no price has been announced as yet), and b) benefit from this technology, is unlikely to be much impressed by such unnecessary rhetoric. for those who figure they inhabit the above category, sign up, on the lore project website, to the founder's e-mail list, to be amongst the first to learn when pre-ordering commences around april this year.

"LoreOne's multiple patent-pending breakthroughs in design, biomechanics, and manufacturing reinvent what a cycling shoe is and will be. It's no longer fashion with a stiff sole, rather the critical performance transmission point between body and bicycle, man and machine." need i say more?

saturday 20 february 2021

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what's going on behind my back?

hindsight sports glasses

modern cars not only have wing-mirrors that vye with large, flat-screen televisions in the square metre department, augmented with a rear-view mirror sited in the top centre of the windscreen, but quite often nowadays, there's a rear-mounted camera to aid reversing procedures, with images displayed on an ipad sized screen on the dashboard. with the amount of traffic on today's roads, growing ever more silent by the hour, due to increased production and sales of electric vehicles, it's easy to understand why it would be necessary to have as much information as possible, of everything going on round about.

hindsight sports glasses

i recently made mention of the new cupra formentor, which features an early warning system to alert both driver and passengers as to the proximity of any vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists approaching from behind, prior to opening any of the car's doors. you would generally reckon that cyclists would scarcely suffer from similar blind spots, unfettered as we are by all-encompassing bodywork. add to that the fact that even electric vehicles are more audible from the saddle than they might be when sat behind a steering wheel.

hindsight sports glasses

however, history is filled with options ostensibly to allow cyclists to keep an eye on what's going on behind their backs. the most common of these is a small mirror on a long stalk clamped to the handlebar, most often seen on the bicycles of touring cyclists. several years past i reviewed a verson that velcro-strapped to the forearm. the downside to both of these centred around the image that could be seen in the mirror, frequently distorting the distance between cyclist and following vehicle. on the reviewed version strapped to my forearm, the size of vehicle was also open to misinterpretation; you can imagine my surprise on being passed by a 40ft fuel tanker which i had mis-identified as a small van.

hindsight sports glasses

but there are, of course, other disadvantages, not least of which is that of vibration on unkempt roads, making it often difficult to discern the image to be seen in the mirror. however, as sartorially obsessed roadies who would surely blanche at even the thought of finger marks on pristine white bar tape, clamping a mirror on a stalk to that selfsame pristine bar tape is not a look that many of us would be keen to adopt. if we're willing to accept that the world's carbon frame designers have spent many long and expensive days in the wind tunnel, it would surely be unseemly to demolish the airflow with such a reflective device flapping in the wind?

hindsight sports glasses

however, though the principal need for all round vision is probably more pertinent to the commuting or leisure cyclist, the opportunity to keep an eye on the peloton, without drifting wide of its encompassing draught, would surely be somewhat of a boon for the racing professional? consider if you will, the lead out for a sprint stage and having the ability to spot the subject of your lead-out train without need to continually look behind while racing forward at speeds in excess of 70kph. not only that, but a solution that might obviate any need to look like a dork in the process.

hindsight sports glasses

hindsight is the brainchild of former olympic champion, calum skinner, and physicist, alex macdonald, and takes the form of an apparently standard pair of cycling shades, but with scientifically designed rear-view mirrors integrated into the frame. additionally, the transparency applied to the latter precludes any impingement of forward vision. however the main difference between hindsight and the alternatives mentioned above, is the apparent ability of the mirrors to obviate any distortion of distance. meaning objects appear exactly as far away as they actually are.

hindsight sports glasses

hindsight ceo, alex macdonald, said, "The birth of HindSight came from a situation to which many urban cyclists will be able to relate - having one near miss too many with road traffic. As a regular cyclist, I was aware that knowing what was coming behind me would allow me to make smarter decisions, but I had no way to do it. From this thought, the idea for HindSight was born. Given the huge growth in cycling during the COVID-19 pandemic, HindSight is uniquely placed to help new and seasoned cyclists alike, stay on their bikes post-pandemic, rather than reverting to their previous forms of transport."

hindsight was originally funded via a kickstarter campaign, now placing the company in a position to offer discounted pre-orders, with the sport model costing £174.99. if what's going on behind you is of concern while out riding, whether you're a commuter or a professional in the world tour peloton, this may be a worthwhile and stylish investment.


friday 19 february 2021

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because we can

cyclocross - graham watson

the road-going chainset has had a chequered past, at least with regard to the fashionable number of teeth on the chainrings. my very first road bike was ordered by mrs washingmachinepost from a mail-order catalogue (i know, i know), taking the form of a plain-gauge, lugged steel frame that had as much in common with a professional race machine as the average cassette tape had with a recording studio multi-track. however, a bicycle is a bicycle, is a bicycle, and i rode it with glee right up until i bought a book that explained where i may have gone potentially wrong.

obviously, however, i failed to learn from my initial mistake, purchasing a replacement model with the name townsend on the similarly constituted steel downtube. if anything, this second bicycle was worse than the first, hardly the model of progress to which a famous member of the cycling media ought to admit. but what both had in common, aside from their steel tubing, was in the number of teeth on the chainrings: 42/52. at the time, i had such minimal fitness, that the likelihood of the 52 ring ever being used was slim to none at all. the fact that the inner ring had but 42 teeth, meant that there was very little option but to match my cadence to its size. to make matters infinitely worse, on learning that the world didn't need to be like this, i was somewhat crestfallen to realise that both rings were rivetted together.

the chainring sizes, matched to a minimalist freewheel, subsequently explained why an early attempt to emulate robert millar over dundonald hill, ended in abject failure and a series of dizzy spells.

it was a good few years before acquiring a quality of chainset that provided the option of a 39 inner ring, an upgrade that promised better success in the king of the mountains stakes, but sadly, failed to deliver. accusations that today's riders are overly cossetted have gained some ground, first with a compact that married a 50 outer ring with a 34 inner, now ameliorated with the current compact standard of 52/36. you can sort of see why there have been accusations of namby-pambyness levelled at today's world tour professionals. but perhaps the question that we should be asking is why?

has cycle sport, or even sunday morning road-cycling, changed so much over the past three or four decades, that such a variation in chainring size has been deemed necessary? or is it simply a case of change for change's sake; in other words, differing chainsets exist because they can? and if that is indeed the case, despite the likelihood that no-one will ever admit to it, what else is there attached to our bicycles for the same reason?

though i'm sure arguments could be made in favour, surely the electrification of gear changing comes under just such a heading? for instance, when di2 first appeared on the handlebars, i recall reading a particular justification centring around the possibility of the (professional) rider reaching the latter stages of a particularly onerous parcours and finding him/herself with such despicable energy depletion, that gear-changing by mechanical means became just a task too far. yet the predecessors of this hypothetical cyclist had not only endured lengthier events, equipped solely with actual wires, while riding 52/42 chainsets.

chalk up at least one item that is probably there because it can be.

and though cyclocross bikes have traditionally opted for closer ratio chainsets as a matter of course, the affixation of hydraulic disc-brakes on spurious grounds can surely be listed as number two? i have no doubt that the use of the latter on bicycles that are frequently subjected to gloopy mud, sand, and portions of the north sea, can be stopped far more efficiently using rotors than cantilevers, but, relative cyclocross newbie that i may be, i'm not sure that's exactly the point. so far as i'm aware, few members of the 'cross peloton from the pre-disc era ever complained that lack of stopping power was resulting in lowly placings or dnf. achieving victory with mud-clogged cantis was probably a skill that has now been lost to eternity and cleaner tan sidewalls.

but nowadays, we buy bicycles with compact chainsets, electronic gear shifting and hydraulic disc brakes. because we can.

photograph © graham watson

thursday 18 february 2021

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it's cobbles baby

omloop het nieuwsblad

life is considerably less than normal at present, though i continually wonder for how much longer this has to continue before we begin to register it as normal. oddly enough, though the daily routine really has become a routine, one that i have experienced for well over twenty years, it is only in the past few months has it begun to actually seem like a routine. aside from the daily grind, every single day of life, either just prior to or immediately after scoffing my tea, i place the macbook air upon my lap and compose the next day's post. if you will bear in mind that thewashingmachinepost turns 25 next month, a back-of-the-envelope calculation would show that i have done so over 9000 times to date.

yet it's never felt like a routine, in the negative sense of that word.

and though i'm a bit of a home-boy, rarely inclined to stray too far from these hebridean shores, the fact that the current government restrictions would suggest that those domiciled in tier three (that would be me) should not travel to anywhere in tier four (that would be the rest of you), the fact that so doing would hardly constitute 'essential travel', feels like a tangible restriction. i can't even legitimately visit my mother, who lives alone in scotland and is in her nineties.

however, though cycling, as explained at length yesterday, consists of considerably more than just racing, the fact that a new season is about to unfold, can only be something for which it's worth hanging out the bunting. for those of us not particularly in thrall to the uci's globalisation of the sport, the first proper race of the season simply has to be omloop het nieuwsblad, and not only because it offers the opportunity to say the word omloop, without it appearing somewhat gratuitous, but because it has cobbles in it. and were that insufficient encouragement, it is followed the very next day, by kuurne-brussels-kuurne. mention of both those events in the confines of the average office will mark you out as a true, yet mysterious eccentric; harmless but probably certifiable.

there is a but a week and a half until the first of the above takes place, hopefully broadcast in high-definition, and one that doesn't require hours of searching on cyclingfans or steephill to find a non-geo-restricted web page with commentary in (admittedly authentic) flemish. already, rouleur has posted a kuurne-brussels-kuurne race preview (link below), pointing out that kbk (as the cognoscenti are want to refer to it) has been won by belgians a total of 52 times in its 72 race history. oddly, despite arriving a day later than the superior category omloop, rouleur provides barely a name check for the latter. i would contend that the weekend ought best be appreciated as a single entity of two complementary parts.

but aside from approaching these two races from the point of view that they are the true beginning of the race season, they have a quality that i believe has more in common with cyclocross than with the likes of milan-sanremo. though there are still those poor misguided souls who regard the latter as the demonstrably the beginning of the classics season, based purely on its classification as one of cycling's monuments, omloop and kbk are endearing, principally because they offer little in the way of pretension. those who watched the cyclocross worlds recently, despite the lack of spectators, would surely have appreciated that the event was pure racing without any associated fol-de-rol. same goes for omloop and kbk.

so, purely to enhance your sense of anticipation, while leaving continuance of enthusiasm to your own devices, now would be a good time to seek out the merino kneewarmers and change your name by deed poll to bram de groot or gerben de knecht, while flying a lion of flanders flag from the roof of the bike shed.

you're welcome.

omloop takes place on saturday 27 february, with kbk on sunday 28 february.
rouleur kuurne-brussels-kuurne preview

wednesday 17 february 2021

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simplicity itself

sempe - a question of balance

on release of this year's team jerseys, those who occupy twitter, will likely have seen a mild flurry of activity and not a little angst over which designs were likely to prove acceptable to the masses, and which might prove worthy of second thoughts before being worn in anger. jersey design at the pointy end of the sport exists almost purely at the behest of the sponsor(s), but probably not with much in the way of consideration for the hapless commentator who has the job of identifying riders from the helicopter shots. as if to underline the veracity of this assertion is rapha's design for ef procycling, displaying all the uci's regulatory demands as to logo dimensions and placement. a tad overwrought methinks, but a visual demonstration of one layer of the matrix that governs cycle sport.

sempe - a question of balance

the cycling media, and for the purposes of the discussion, that includes twitter, has been turning itself inside out at the prospect of shimano's next version of its dura-ace groupset, having dispensed with physical wires. there has been a great deal of perusual of submitted patents, in the hope that they will provide a clue as to the wired or wireless status of the peloton's favoured groupset. and should the japanese technology giant opt for the wireless version, there will follow much conjecture as to how long we'll all have to wait until campagnolo follows suit? and, indeed, whether vicenza's wireless version of super-record, might incorporate the 13 gears of its ekar gravel groupset, and whether there might also be a version featuring a single chainring upfront?

however, irrespective of how things progress in the future of the archetypal groupset, and whichever is subsequently chosen by the various teams of the professional peloton, there is no doubting that, in order to make full use of the chosen groupset, a bicycle will need to become involved. contemporary frame design and construction is seemingly no less the concern of the media and twitterati. aside from carbon layup and whether italian-built carbon remains competitive against that produced in the far east, there's the perennial concern over how much stiffness and where, and what degree of aero is ultimately desirable?

sempe - a question of balance

i think it quite likely that a proportion of bicycles and/or frames are purchased on the basis of which prominent member of the professional peloton can be seen aboard the marque during the classics and grand tours. that's effectively what sponsorship is all about; specialized have probably cashed in nicely on the prowess of peter sagan, while van der poel's ascendancy would likely prove a major boost to canyon bikes, if only you could buy them in the uk at present.

however, at the risk of seming reactionary, all the above concerns are somewhat ancillary to the world of the bicycle. for you and i, these may be matter of of endless discussion in the sunday morning peloton, and they can certainly fill more that a few tweets, websites and pages in the cycling press. they are, nonetheless, but a fraction of the realities surrounding cycling. while my twitter feed features all that i have outlined above, it also hosts simpler queries, such as concern that canadians don't ride in the snow, while the finnish do, why the archetypal 'sit up and beg' bicycle is a pragmatic choice of velocipede for the less sportingly inclined, and distress that several 'pop-up' cycle paths have been removed at the behest of the motoring public.

sempe - a question of balance

yet, even aside from everything i've said above, there is an inherent simplicity of purpose in the act of cycling. clambering aboard for a quick spin in the country, or use of the bicycle to facilitate a commute to and from work. before we all became enthusiasts or obsessives, there were those first few pedalstrokes on learning to ride, free from concerns over number of gears, clipless pedals, aero handlebars and choice of braking style. as sergei would have it: 'simples'.

jean jaques sempé, better known simply as 'sempé', is a french cartoonist, whose past included delivering wine by bicycle in the gironde region. his style of illustration consisted of single image sketches, frequently devoid of captions or speech, the line-drawings or muted watercolours conveying more than their economy would suggest. however, they serve as an admirable reminder that cycling is much more than we think it is, and perhaps a lot simpler.

the illustrations accompanying these words are from a boxed collection of 24 postcards entitled 'a question of balance', published in 2006 by phaidon press. no longer in print, at the time of writing, there's an unused edition for sale on amazon for a few pounds over £350.

what price simplicity?

tuesday 16 february 2021

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