the crema of the crop

italian cafe

i wrote a few weeks ago about the visit to islay paid by hank and mark beaumont of global cycling network (gcn), intent on exploring the tenuous link between whisky and gravel riding. of course, no such link actually exists, and the visit was actually curated by explore islay jura and wild argyll as a means of attracting those with an adventurous spirit. given that we have nine distilleries on islay and one on jura, it would be a naive tourism organisation that left them out of the equation.

but aside from those which offer bona-fide cycling jerseys (ardbeg, ardnahoe, bruichladdich and kilchoman), the fact that scotch whisky is by definition, a product of scotland, a country hardly renowned for its rich cycling heritage (messrs millar and hoy notwithstanding) would surely underline the lack of the connection purported above. and, to be perfectly honest, islay single malts are more than able to attract a substantial number of aficionados all on their own, without so much as a hint of cycling to be seen.

at the end of may each year, islay's fèis ìle, otherwise known as the islay whisky festival (held online for the past two years) attracts thousands of those who consider themselves the cognoscenti, few, if any, of whom arrive by bicycle. a number of years past, bruichladdich distillery presaged their open day with a bike ride, an event which attracted pretty much nobody at all, other than a few local enthusiasts.

if cycling has a connection with any drink, it is surely coffee? many a sunday ride across the world features a coffee stop either mid-ride, or as a reward at the end. not for nothing does coffee machine manufacturer, segafredo, sponsor trek's world tour team, preceded in the peloton by faema and saeco, to name but two, joined in the interim, by café colombia. if whisky is known as scotland's national drink, surely coffee fulfils the same international purpose for cycling?

and though we have our favourites from amongst flat whites, lattes, cappuccinos et al, pretty much all of those are based on the not so humble espresso, a remarkably small, but immensely powerful dark brown coffee. unfortunately, it seems that this basic requirement of the velocipedinal peloton is often widely misunderstood. for instance, how often have you ordered a double espresso, only to be served a large cup of black coffee on the misunderstanding that 'double' indicates twice as much as a single. and if i had a fiver for every time i've seen it listed as 'expresso', i'd currently be ordering a pair of lightweight mellenstein carbon wheels.

however, there is, you may be surprised to learn, a fairly strict definition of what constitutes an 'espresso', according to the italian espresso institute, a definition that frequently seems to go unrecognised in many a world café, though possibly not in italy. according to the institute, the crema on a 'proper' espresso 'must be uniform and persistent for at least 120 seconds from the time the coffee has been dispensed, without stirring. additionally, its colour should be hazel-brown to to dark brown, 'characterised by tawny reflexes'.

the drink's history stretches back to its creation in turin, italy in the late 19th century, co-incidentally, around the time of the invention of the bicycle. according to the institute (founded in 1998), the espresso market is worth an annual £3.3 billion, and allegedly consumed each day by 90% of italy's population, a statistic in which i have valiantly attempted to include myself. as a result, italy is preparing to apply for unesco heritage status for espresso, claiming it to be 'much more than a simple drink.' considering the art of pizza-making achieved unesco status five years ago, bestowing the same honour upon cycling's national drink, should surely be a no-brainer.

and if unesco require a written recommendation, i'd be more than happy to oblige.

monday 24 january 2022

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technology crunch

cannondale synapse

a few years ago, when mrs washingmachinepost and i were embarking upon our summer holiday in november, number one son offered to run us to the ferry port on islay. however, when he arrived at the croft, his demeanour was less than jolly. his state-of-the-art motor car, packed to the brim with every extra the manufacturer could offer, had suddenly displayed a warning on the dashboard, and curtailed the vehicle's maximum speed. thus, his heavier then thou right foot was being limited to 40mph.

it transpires that the warning related to the sensor whose job it was to detect pedestrians stepping out in front of the vehicle, which ought to have resulted in the brakes being automatically applied. since such a device is all but pointless in a small island village, he dutifully switched off this add-on, but to no effect. ultimately, the repair cost several hundred pounds, for 'twas not that specific sensor that had originated the problem, but a sequence of three, the dashboard light only referring to the last of the trio.

those of you who are members of the motoring public will doubtless be aware of such iniquities, where troubleshooting is no longer carried out by a gent in greasy overalls with a range of spanners in his pocket, but a white-coated lab technician who plugs a computer into the engine in order to detect the source of any fault. the onset of the electric vehicle will no doubt make this situation much worse, before, if ever, it gets any better.

the bicycle world is scarcely immune from this persistent need to add complexity to that which once was effectively simple. we have been down this road for around thirteen years since shimano implemented dura-ace di2 and the other two followed suit. it's not so very long ago that someone pointed out that the current crop of racing cyclists are probably not aware that there was ever a time when a bicycle could be purchased without a battery, and even fewer will recall the days of downtube shifters. however, it would be a true naivete who figured it would all end there.

if you're at all observant of bicycle industry happenings, you will be aware from several velocipedinal sources, that the next step towards the singularity has apparently arrived. in a flurry of publicity that is in danger of making it a synonym for overkill, cannondale released the latest iteration of the synapse this past week, handing out demo models to all and sundry it would appear. gcn, bike radar, dave arthur's 'just ride bikes', cyclist, sigma sports, cycling weekly, ted king and all had videos on youtube, determined to offer the most comprehensive first look at a bike about which dave arthur asked, 'is this the future?'

as if this were insufficient, rapha have just presented a cannondale synapse to the winner of their festive 500 prize draw.

before i drivel on about why the synapse is being promoted in this fashion, it's worth my pointing out that a small victory appears to have been achieved; cannondale, inventors of the bb30 bottom bracket 'standard', appear to have had second or third thoughts, and moved back to the original standard: the good-old threaded bb shell, something that specialized seem already to have chosen as the way forward even last year.

but cannondale's latest claim to fame, with the new 2022 synapse, revolves around the addition of a battery pack sited on the downtube, just above the bb shell. this, arguably the first real step towards integration, powers a front and rear light (designated as more for daylight use) as well as rear-facing radar, warning of vehicles approaching from behind, how many and at what speed. this information is displayed on a bar mounted device of your choosing.

though the bicycle's looks don't particularly appeal to me, the same could be said about many of today's road offerings. peloton magazine described them as 'enhanced ', so obviously, opinions wil vary. that said, clearance for tyres of up to 35mm are surely placed to appeal to those not wishing to go fully gravel, but requiring more than just tour de france parity, and that wll undoubtedly add to the bike's comfort factor.

but is integration really the way forward?

when i sold bicycles in the early 1990s, the most common complaint was that the majority arrived without mudguards, without a pump and even without a bottle cage. to an extent, that was the manufacturer's concession to the bike shop. the profit margin on bicycles is relatively low, while the markup on accessories, such as those mentioned, is considerably higher. thus, having sold the bike, the dealer has the opportuity to maximise the sale, by offering the items that many figured ought to be standard equipment.

that said, a 'bare' bicycle allowed the opportunity for the customer to have alloy mudguards as opposed to plastic, perhaps in the colour they fancied most, while a pump could be of the mini variety, or frame-fit, and at a price point best suited to the bank balance. integration, to a large extent, removes several of those options, but invariably locks you in to fewer options if replacements are eventually required.

of course, as peloton magazine and several others have pointed out, a single battery powering several devices makes it less likely that you'll forget to charge one of them. currently i, along with many, need to remember to charge my garmin gps as well as several front and rear lights, depending on which bike they are allocated to. and though the single (garmin made) battery currently (pun intended) only takes care of the cannondale's lights, and radar, the existence of a usb-c port, means that it can also be used to charge phones and the like. how long, several have asked with glee, before all the electronica festooned about the bicycle's personage, including di2, e-tap or eps, can be integrated into a single battery, pretty much the way they are on a car? and then there will be a small computer to manage them all.

which is sort of where we came in, i believe.

cannondale synapse

sunday 23 january 2022

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outside is in

peloton outside

two children belongng to an acquaintance of mine, under the influence of their father, are fervent supporters of a major scottish football team. i daresay such a situation is a common one all across the country, and quite possibly not one constrained to followers of soccer. the problem, as i see it, is that their near fanaticism for one particular team, has led them to disdain the efforts and results of their opponents. both will actively cheer if a near opponent in the league happens to be defeated during a weekend or mid-week match. and effect tautologically incorrect phrases such as 'we won'.

one would hope that such unsportsmanlike behaviour, which the parents seem content to encourage, will not transfer to other walks of life, though, so far, i have seen no evidence of that being the case. but now i fear that i may secretly be in danger of doing likewise in a velocipedinal context, very much to my dismay.

rarely have i been backward in coming forward when pointing an accusing finger at technologies such as strava, zwift, and possibly peloton. granted the first of those three does operate in the great outdoors, but has the downside of encouraging at least two of the sunday morning peloton to occasionally speed off into the distance, for no apparent reason. not an altogether socially inclusive habit, if i might say so.

the last of the three, peloton, initially marked its card by refusing to offer supply to those living on the periphery, possibly because their delivery/installation personnel were less than inclined to undertake a ferry trip to one of the 23 scottish islands served by calmac. the second potential irritant has been their television advertising. if i never again hear the phrase 'you've got this, peloton!', it'll be too soon.

however, the subject of my gleeful disdain can be encapsulated in a recent article describing how the stock-market listed company has had to introduce staff layoffs and production cuts due to 'seasonal demand for its exercise equipment'. in other words, they're not signing as many new customers as they'd hoped. along with zwift and one or two other proponents of indoor static training, peloton prospered during the series of international lockdowns. with many countries imposing restrictions that prevented outdoor activities, those attracted to the world of exercise had little option but to practise indoors.

though the cyclists amongst us would be most likely to opt for zwift and the roadways of watopia, those with less specific fitness and training demands probably leaned more towards peloton and its online spin classes. but now that restrictions have eased considerably, even in winter, outdoors has apparently become the more attractive option. as a result, peloton has decided to pause production of its proprietary bicycle during february and march, while its premium bike+ will suffer the same fate until june 2022. it has also been reported that production of its treadmill will cease for a period of six weeks.

as far as i can acertain, there will be no change to the online courses for which many have subscribed. those in possession of a peloton bike, bike+ or treadmill, indoor exercising can continue unabated. however, the company's share price has dropped more than 80% in the past year and its once impressive $50 billion valuation has slumped to a fifth of that amount. and just last year, peloton cut the cost of its bikes by around 20%. still, perhaps i shouldn't gloat, since $10 billion is considerably more than i have in my bank account.

obviously, it's a real shame for the employees who have been laid off. despite my unconcealed (and inexplicable) disdain for indoor training on a bicycle shaped object, i'd rather that the beginning of its possible demise did not disfavour the employment status of the innocent. however, it seems most of the customer base seem content to continue with their existing fitness class subscriptions.

perhaps, if this is truly the beginning of a return to normality, and the continuation of a downward spiral at peloton, they too could embrace the great outdoors and build proper bikes that no longer stand still?

thanks to dan russell for the heads up.

saturday 22 january 2022

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prendas: the old, the old, and the new

prendas ciclismo

in 1996, the new-fangled interwebs became a smidgeon more approachable for the ordinary joe in the street, allowing even the technically inept access to online pixels. despite the fact that the majority of internet providers (remember dial-up?) offered several free megabytes or even gigabytes of web space, this was mostly an add-on that the majority would not only refrain from using, but, in most cases, wouldn't have a clue how to.

the world of cycling was substantially different then that it is now; so different, in fact, that i can't honestly recall what daily velocipedinal life was like before the millennium. yes, cycle jerseys had the consistency of kitchen roll, and exited the washingmachine in similar shape, but the bradley bubble was unheard of, sky tv had no intentions of applying their logo to track mitts, and the cognoscenti were far more of an underground movement than in the present.

prendas ciclismo

until that point in recent history, i had contributed an infrequent cycling column to islay's local newspaper, apparently read entirely for the entertainment value and rarely, if ever, for the acute wisdom allegedly dispensed. however, the advent of access to web servers and ftp software meant that the time was right to irritate far more people worldwide, than could be achieved through the pages of islay's community newspaper. thus was born the weblog currently known as thewashingmachinepost.

but, only a matter of months following this milestone in internet history, prendas ciclismo surfaced, offering cycling kit the likes of which had only been seen on the shoulders of eddy merckx, tommy simpson, jacques anquetil and the other boys in the band. and it wasn't just jerseys; they were accompanied with matching quality caps, socks, track mitts - in fact pretty much everything the cognoscenti needed to underlne their eccentricity on the sunday ride. as i am on record as having said, 'if they didn't exist, we'd have to invent them.'

however, all good things, we are assured, must come to an end. founder, mick tarrant retired from the business a few years ago, and early last year, andy storey sent a missive to all and sundry stating that following months of lockdown, aggravated by brexit, he felt the business to no longer be viable in its present condition. andy had hoped to operate prendas on a part-time basis, with a much-reduced range of products, while he took up teaching computer studies.

prendas ciclismo

however, according to mr storey, "I tried to make it work as a part time gig whilst I did my teacher training, but it just wasn't working out." but in a piece of good news it was subsequently announced that the business had been bought, lock, stock and barrel, by 'cycling brands', owners of the well-respected shutt velo rapide. so it seemed an opportune moment to ask justin belcher, of cycling brands, a few, hopefully pertinent questions. such as, how long he'd been considering the purchase of prendas ciclismo?

"I can't really answer that one because it wasn't planned at all. When we saw Andy's announcement about scaling back the brand to just caps and accessories, we made an approach. I'd been a Prendas customer for many years and thought it was a brand worth preserving."

the selling of one brand to another, however, can be fraught with difficulties. frequently the danger is that the original name is retained for what passes as a respectable period of time, before it's silently dropped and its identity becomes wholly subsumed. either that, or, despite having bought a business based on how well it performed, the new owners figure they have a much better idea, and things change beyond all recognition, alienating an expectant customer base.

so, will prendas remain an independent venture, with the iconic prendas logo surviving intact alongside shutt vr, or will the two ultimately be combined? "Prendas will remain a completely separate brand and website. The company has a lot of very loyal customers, a 25 year history and a long record of supporting up-and-coming riders. (See Cav pic below). We have dozens of similar pics with other big names. It has a credibility within the sport that we'd be crazy to throw away."

prendas ciclismo

as andy pointed out in his 2021 e-mail advising that the business was being scaled-back, the covid pandemic was particularly unkind to many businesses; the red tape that arrived along with brexit was, for many, the last straw, particularly when a sizeable amount of product originated from mainland europe. in prendas' case, italy. however, prendas ciclismo was always a compact and bijou operation, the very sort of business greatly affected by months of lockdown. however, does justin expect to be able to benefit from economies of scale, operating both brands?

"Of course. The business itself is very similar to Shutt Velo Rapide. It's also a pure eCommerce operation, selling directly to customers via a website. So combining warehousing, fulfilment, customer services, etc., brings some efficiencies."

on the basis that prendas had been invented, thus saving us the extensive effort of doing so for ourselves, its range of products and the genuine enthusiasm of both mick and andy (they arranged for the manufacture of several hundred ardbeg distillery caps from their italian supplier, on my behalf, for an event held in 2010), it's a business that has gained great praise from all and sundry. and their 'sponsorship' of the mighty dave-t undoubtedly made an old man very happy on more than an isolated occasion. that's the sort of reputation that's hard to acquire in these ever more corporate times. however, what does justin see as prendas' unique selling point?

prendas ciclismo

"With the retro stuff, Prendas makes the genuine product. Everything is manufactured to a high standard in Europe, often by the original manufacturer. There are lots of cheap and nasty copies available that come out of the far east - but the customers can tell the difference - and the feedback we've had since announcing the relaunch has been amazing."

there is always the danger, of course, that the success of a business relies substantially on the people who run it, or on a particular product. when moving to new ownership, that intangible aspect becomes irretrievably lost. for instance, if ever there was a jersey directly associated with prendas ciclismo, it has to be that of peugeot. and mick and andy were sticklers for doing things the right way. the original peugeot jersey featured the bp logo on the sleeve; the jersey worn by robert millar during his tenure with peugeot, featured a shell logo. but rather than simply replace one with the other, the two gents sought licensing permission from shell.

cycle jerseys done proper.

prendas ciclismo

and were it not enough to offer such a wide and accurate range of authentic retro jerseys, prendas did so in probably the largest span of sizes i believe i've ever seen. so, in order to maintain this hard-won reputation, will the new prendas be re-stocking many of the jerseys originally brought to market by mick and andy, and in their impeccable extended range of sizes? and will they introduce new, iconic jerseys to the catalogue?

"Yes, it will take us a while to get back there - we don't have an unlimited pot of money - but orders have been placed with Santini for the popular retro styles. And yes, these go up to 8XL. We will be adding new designs over time and where possible, we often use the original manufacturers." and will justin continue with the excellent blogs by herbie sykes to add value to the site? "We've not spoken to Herbie Sykes yet, but the blog is an important part of our plan. We have some great content in the pipeline. Watch this space."

rapha's former ceo, simon mottram confided in me a number of years past, that he had a lot of time for mick and andy, admiring the way they carried out their business. mr mottram himself, founder of rapha in 2004, recently stood down as ceo, but continues his association with the company as both director and founder, despite the business having been purchased a few years ago by the heirs to the walmart corporation. bearing this in mind, will andy storey continue to be part of the prendas setup, or has he left for good?

prendas ciclismo

"We are in constant contact with Andy, but he has made a clean break and left the business."

it has become a particularly obvious feature of the modern corporate world, often beholden to share prices and shareholders, that there is pressure to achieve constant expansion. if the share price topped out at £100 this year, it had better hit £120 next year. and, in addition, the profits had better be on the increase or there will be trouble. quite often the public perception is that most of us would be quite happy if the business just continued to do what it does well. in this case, does justin have any cunning plans for the future of prendas ciclismo?

"Prendas always made a bit of custom kit for team and clubs: things like cotton caps that aren't easy to source elsewhere. But it was never advertised. We hope to make more of this. Buying Prendas has given us access to a large number of new suppliers across Europe, so we have loads of options now. We think this puts us in a really strong position in the custom kit market."

prendas ciclismo

prendas ciclismo

friday 21 january 2022

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a game of monopoly

trek bicycles logo

my present workplace was fortunate enough to receive funding from scottish and southern electricity networks (ssen), to upgrade a couple of its computers. a longtime user of apple products, the funding will soon be sent in the direction of cupertino's finest, by way of a new m1 imac and a similarly processored, macbook pro, which hopefully ought to see the newspaper past mid-decade without necessarily having to replace any of the other computers. when checking apple's website in order to spec both machines, i happened to check their apple for business section which listed three retail partners from whom purchases could alternatively be made.

that was something of a surprise, for i was under the impression that the apple bubble featured no options other than the website route. i mention the perceived problem, because of apple's retail experiences earlier this century. when they were not the three-trillion dollar monolith they have become, aside from once licensing their operating system to third parties, at one time their computers could be purchased from several high street stores from where the apple customer experience could be sorely lacking.

it seems the majority of sales staff in these various retail outlets, though reasonably well-versed in the vicissitudes of windows-based computers and their peripherals, were, in many cases, utterly ill-equipped to converse with potential customers about the apple experience. and legend has it that if the stores actually stocked any apple computers in the first place, they were rarely on display or plugged in, and frequently not the latest model.

unsurprisingly, apple saw this as a potential problem and hardly conducive to appropaite sales growth, eventually taking the unusual step (at the time), of opening their own branded stores. the power of that white apple logo stood them in remarkably good stead, needing no additional branding on each storefront, while the interiors were not only welcomed as the future of retailing, but offered a hands-on experience very much not favoured by other high street shops. it transpires that their singular vision, originally viewed as a risky strategy, inevitably assisted them to reach those three trillion dollars, outstripping their erstwhile nemesis, microsoft.

the bicycle trade has not been periodically averse to following tentatively in apple's footsteps. for instance, brooks saddles opened their own dedicated shop in london in 2014, though i believe it no longer exists. similarly, specialized bicycles has several concept stores, all the better to promote their own brand without the distraction of competing brands to lure customers away from the s-works platform. but a replica of apple's initiative has yet to be fully formed. however, that doesn't mean nobody's thinking about it.

arguably specialized's main competitor at the sharp end is trek bicycle of wisconsin usa and the conspiracy theory might be about to be given a good stir, following trek's recent purchase not only of all six north virginia locations of retail chain, spokes etc., but baltimore's maryland's race pace bicycles consisting of seven locations. thirteen shops may not be the advent of a bid for world domination, but the outgoing owner of spokes etc. told his customers that all six locations will now become trek bicycle stores.

there have been several cycle retailers over the last few years who have retrenched to pixels only, selling direct to their customer base and eschewing bike shops altogether. however, operating a worldwide network of bike shops selling only one brand of cycles and accessories in the manner to which their owners would prefer customers to be introduced to the marque, is a substantial step forward from doing so via a website.

is the revolution really about to arrive?

thursday 20 january 2022

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celebrate local bike shop day?

local bike shop day

it has been said by someone more astute than i, that 'the internet won't fix your bicycle', a strident pointer that ordering bicycle parts online, gradually chips away at the commercial viability of bricks and mortar bike shops. with far fewer overheads than high street stores, the online experience can offer lower, more attractive prices. for some of us, admittedly, there's no option (there are no bike shops on the island), but one can hardly feel generous towards those who purchase online, then ask their local bike shop to fit the parts.

but in this modern, litigious and increasingly technological society, if we're not already at an impasse, we may be sailing very close to shore. though several manufacturers include thin slips of paper, advising that parts ought best be fitted by a competent, qualified or authorised mechanic, that is quite probably the thin end of the wedge. bicycles arriving in their original boxes, invariably feature block capitals on the lid, stating that the contents ought to be assembled by a qualified technician, on pain of the manufacturer not honouring the warranty.

the smaller part of this equation is signified by torque settings on stem bolts, seat clamp bolts etc. the majority of home mechanics are not in possession of a torque wrench, and thus wide-open to the corporate cold shoulder, should subsequent failure of a torque bolt result in component failure or, worse still, injury. i have already heard rumours of the main component suppliers intending to void all warranty claims unless parts have been fitted by authorised personnel. while that beggars the question as to how those of us in more remote areas should proceed, it will surely and unavoidably affect those who eschew the services of their local bike shop in favour of the online retailers.

the more unsentimental amongst the country's velocipedinists may well ask why ownership of a bicycle entails becoming beholden to the shop round the corner? surely in this day and age, they can darned well shop where and when they please? essentially, that's a somewhat unassailable stance; but ultimately, a bicycle is going to need servicing at some point in its career, so unless you fancy undertaking the necessary training to become an authorised technician for your favoured brand of componentry, and the expense that is likely to entail, what other option is there?

so an annual local bike shop day doesn't seem too outlandish a celebration. let's face it, if there's a national sandwich day and national cup of tea day, it would be churlish to object to something that celebrates the very outlets that might save our futures. but are those bricks and mortar bike shops as in thrall to the idea as perhaps they ought to be?

according to the association of cycle traders, local bike shop day 2021 was celebrated by 370 bike shops across britain, an increase of 37% over the previous year, which presumably equates to less than 300 in 2020, the very year in which those shops were given essential status, and allowed to remain open during the months of lockdown. according to figures, during those months, the number of brits shifting to the bicycle as a means of daily transport, increased rapidly; surely reason enough to celebrate? for those who figure that 370 is quite an impressive number, statistics show that there's currently an estimated 1,236 independent bike shops in the uk.

so only about a quarter of them thought it an equitable idea to celebrate their own survival in the face of adversity.

it will scarcely surprise you that the motor industry also holds a celebratory day (last held on 21 august 2021), though the number of franchised car showrooms is estimated to number 4,769, almost four times the number of bike shops. yet despite the ubiquity of the motor car, they have to have a day of their own, presumably to celebrate polluting the atmosphere and the death of over 1500 in 2020 alone. of course, the increasing technologising of the motor industry and the changing face of car sales (see yesterday's post), means that pretty soon, every motor car is likely to have to visit an authorised dealer more often than before.

yet, though the bicycle world may suffer from far fewer sales outlets than that of motor vehicles, according to department of transport figures, in 2020, on eight main roads, cycles outnumbered all other vehicles, and in 35 locations they outnumbered cars and taxis on an average day. add to that the possibility of london car drivers having to pay for every journey by 2024, if ever there was a time to celebrate national bike shop day, saturday 30 april would surely be it?

(but just on a minor point, i think it would serve them better to stick to one specific day each year - last year's bike shop day was held on 28 august. mind you, it doesn't seem to have troubled easter too much.)

wednesday 19 january 2022

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worth a try?

pound coins

in the early days of internet broadcasts, belgium's sporza channel was the saviour of many an early season weekend, covering all of the principal and many of the more obscure one-day classics, as well as preceding those with several super-prestige and world cup cyclocross events. no matter the size of computer screen at your disposal and the magnitude of your browser window, those broadcasts, with authentic flemish commentary, filled little more than a postage stamp-sized oblong in the middle of the screen.

and frequently overlayed on those considerably less than state-of-the-art live broadcasts, was invariably even smaller adverts, most of which could not be dismissed prior to at least thirty seconds having passed. the quandary provided by this state of affairs, was why anyone, having strenuously searched for the broadcast in the first place, would be inclined to click on an advert that would take them away from the very event that was the end result of said online exploration?

to be honest, the same principle seems eminently applicable to youtube videos. if i have sat down of an evening to watch a full concert featuring a band with which i find favour, why, midway through a striking performance, would i be inclined to peruse the much-vaunted features of a particular brand of promisingly soft toilet paper?

that said, there are moments during which it becomes all but impossible to ignore one's curiousity. most recently, when checking the variable quality weather forecasts provided by xcweather, my interest was piqued by an advert for an all-electric car, which, the advert assured, could be purchased on subscription. while i have no interest in motor cars per se, i was intrigued by this particular sales model. of course, on discovering just how much was being charged for one of these vehicles, i cannot deny there was a sharp intake of breath.

for a mere £800+ every month for a period of three years, i could avail myself of a brand new car for which every aspect of ownership appeared to be covered. for instance, if the tyres wore out, they'd be replaced without additional cost. in fact, according to the website, the only items for which the potential owner was responsible, were petrol, oil and something called ad-blue. the only downside appeared to be the fact that three-years of payments totalled around £30,000 without the option to purchase the car at the end of the arrangement. for why, i know not. on checking with google, i learned that the full purchase price of the car was nigh on £55,000.

very much a case of "you pays your money and you makes your choice."

obviously enough, during the three-year period, had i opted to invest thusly, i would be seen at the wheel of a shiny motor car, with that much-vaunted 'new car smell' lasting at least half of the three-year period. which had me wondering whether this is a financial model that would transfer to the velocipedinal world? for instance, specialized features an s-works tarmac sl7 at a bank manager worrying £12,700. perhaps if that could be purchased from the manufacturer on subscription for around £199 per month (£2640 per year), or a grand total of £7164 (you can tell i'm making up these numbers as i go along), including new chains, new cassettes, new tyres etc., throughout its three-year lifespan, that way we could all be seen riding around on professional quality machinery.

i'm sure that there's a glaringly obvious reason as to why such a scheme would fall at the first hurdle, but if it works for motor cars, why wouldn't it work for bicycles? granted, i haven't a clue what the car manufacturer does with the three year-old vehicle that the customer was disavowed from purchasing, nor do i know what the cycle company would do with theirs. but assuming no-one's thought of this all-inclusive means of purchasing and maintaining a new bicycle, i call dibs. it's my idea and if any manufacturer reading decides there are no potential flaws, be sure to factor in an appropriate level of commission. bank details can be sent on request.

tuesday 18 january 2022

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