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fassa bicycle protection

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the mighty dave t's words of the week

the mighty dave t

"i only do it for the coffee."

©2019 the mighty dave t, is a prendas sponsored rider and le patron of the thoroughly decent fellows.


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this is cambridge

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ritchey wcs upgrade ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

hoist by my own petard

medicine cabinet

there is a certain level of proselytisation required of the intrepid velocipedinist, if for no other reason than attempting to main order in the universe. for though you and i will always enjoy a decent bike ride, no matter the prevailing weather conditions, the same cannot necessarily be said for the great unwashed of the world. it thus becomes prudent to portray cycling in an enhanced light, always assuming it doesn't descend to people in glass houses, if you see what i mean.

i am remarkably fortunate in enjoying particularly good health. i haven't needed to visit my gp for well over twenty years. yes, i have one or two of the aches and pains that arrive with age, but there's nothing that prevents me from enjoying the riding of my bike. though mrs washingmachinepost is a childminder, entailing an endless stream of small kids with snotty noses who just love to play when i arrive home from work, i almost never catch any form of ailment, even when the mrs does. it suits my purposes to put this down to being a life-long cyclist.

thus, when any of my colleagues arrive at the office with sniffles, coughs or call in sick with rather dubious medical complaints, i have made it an annoying regularity to put it down to a lack of cycling. in fact, i have been known to take this a stage further by proclaiming that "cycling cures all ills." i seriously doubt that this has any basis in medical science, but as i mentioned above, it is incumbent on the valiant practitioner to have the activity seen in this positive, yet possibly spurious, manner.

however, so to do, will always hold the likelihood of things going demonstrably wrong. with two additions to the panoply of children occupying floorspace in the childcare arena recently, chesty coughs and runny noses have been unavoidable. by the beginning of this past weekend, i had regular need of clearing my throat and had acquired a tickly cough. by saturday, things had scarcely improved, but always willing to heed my own advice, i ventured southwest on the bicycle to debbie's for a double-egg roll and froth-supping. this was hardly the cycling expedition that would result in a feature on rapha's website, but it did take me out of doors in cold but dry weather and i figured this (verging on) strenuous activity might rid me of the dreaded lurgy without the need for medication.

sadly, the veracity of my self-administered medical advice had seemingly been stretched to its limits; by beddy-byes time, if anything, that cough was a tad worse.

sunday morning dawned cold and very wet, i could hardly speak without sounding like a long-time blues singer and my head was playing the bass and drum parts from an evening of rave music. despite arising to clad myself in polyester and lycra, i didn't feel any better and the thought of cycling in cold rain didn't seem like the ideal recovery strategy. so, discretion being the better part of valour, i went back to bed.

of course, should push come to shove, all the above will be deemed as inadmissable evidence for the prosecution. if you repeat this to any non-cyclist, i'll deny everything. but rest assured, that if any of you suffer from similar circumstances in the future, i've got your back.

monday 21 january 2019

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hot chillee ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

first world problems

specialized allez

as i mentioned earlier this week, i currently have an aluminium-framed specialized allez sprint comp disc in for review at present, a bicycle featuring the very same frame as adopted by peter sagan for criterium racing down under and also gainfully employed by the hagens berman axeon cycling team and the rocket espresso fellows. it's a frameset that can be purchased in both road and track guise. however, even with a very attractive retail price of £1900, fitted with shimano's 105 groupset, it's unlikely that any of the above are competing on stock equipment.

short of conducting my own online poll, i've no real idea how many folks buy an off-the-shelf bicycle and maintain it in its standard format. but in the interests of checking whether relatively low-cost machinery would benefit from an astute upgrade, in this particular case, i thought it would be a wizard wheeze to swap the dt swiss wheelset for something lighter and arguably more aero from larbert's wheelsmith. so, on saturday morning, i proceeded to do precisely that.

disc rotor bolts

the wheelsmiths have been on temporary sabbatical, their last gainful employment having been on a gravel bicycle and were thus still shod with a pair of challenge limus 'cross tyres. these were to be swapped for a pair of specialized turbo cottons which have been successfully reviewed in these pixels on a prevous occasion. swapping tyres is hardly the most onerous of tasks: the challenge tyres came off easily and the turbo cottons were only marginally tighter on the rim when replacing the 'cross rubber.

i generally carry a couple of spare cassettes to fit either campagnolo freehubs or sram/shimano. sadly, unless i pay close attention (which i didn't), these don't look substantially different, so having removed the lockring and slid the sprockets off another spare set of wheels, i realised i'd inadvertently opted for campag. scrabbling about my incredibly untidy bike shed, i found the shimano version in a box and dutifully cleaned it up a bit before placing it on the freehub of the wheelsmiths.

wheelsmith

annoyingly, once again, the previous incumbent had featured 160mm rotors front and back, while specialized tend to favour 160mm front and 140mm rear. this necessitated removing the bigger one to replace with the smaller one. this is the point at which you discover that the allen key doesn't fit because the five hub retaining bolts are torx. it's not hard to accommodate this, but the modern propensity to mix both types of bolt on a single bicycle is an irritation i wish someone would solve.

i believe i may have mentioned this once or twice in relation to campagnolo's componentry.

at any rate, i then attempted to inflate the tyres before fitting the wheels to the frame, only to discover that the reason one of the 'cross tyres had been flat, wasn't the length of time it had been lying in the shed, but more because there was a small hole in the tube. faff and annoyance in one morning.

the thru-axles on my specialized crux 'cross bike feature ratcheted levers for easy removal and replacement, but those on the allez offer only plain, ratchet-less 6mm allen bolts. i can see that being a bit of unnecessary faff when out in the big, bad world, miles from the tool festooned bike shed. however, and i'm sure you saw this coming, on fitting that rear wheel, i encountered the not altogether unexpected disc rub. oddly the front wheel gave no problems at all, but it took a touch more faffing than i'd hoped for, to stop that rear disc from dragging slightly on the pads.

i'm pretty darned sure that i'm not the only one for whom an apparently straighforward tyre and wheel change turned into over an hour and a quarter of my life i'll never see again. no doubt there are bike mechanics all across the world saying "i hear you bro.", or words to that effect. was it worth the change? i'm afraid you'll have to wait for the full bike review next week.

specialized allez sprint comp disc | wheelsmith

sunday 20 january 2019

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wheelsmith ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

the art of self-repair

machrie road

the machrie hotel, at one time owned by glasgow rangers football club had, until around ten years ago, fallen on hard times. owned by a succession of investors who, basically, didn't invest enough, it was in sore need of modernisation. that was until it was purchased by a wealthy couple who have spent several millions on creating not only the most modern hotel accommodation on islay, but the most modern-looking. the main attraction is the world-famous, nineteen hole links golf course, from which the dramatic revamp of the premises can best be admired. the frontmost portion of the original hotel building has been retained as it ever was, creating an impressive marriage of the old and the new.

however, the 47 bedroom hotel sits but a few hundred metres from the shores of loch indaal, entailing a lengthy, half-mile drive to reach the car park from the main road between bowmore and port ellen villages. the access road, historically, bore no resemblance to a road whatsoever, constituted as it was, of gravel, ash and sand. and after a couple of heavy showers, that track was liberally pockmarked with often substantially-sized potholes. riding to the hotel on a cyclocross bike was actually an enjoyable affair; avoiding the potholes was an excellent means of improving one's bike handling skills.

it was, however, apparently a lot less fun in a motor car.

given the clientele the machrie hotel was designed to attract, it seems unlikely that too many will be arriving by bicycle, if only because a golf bag makes for awkward luggage. despite being well-used to potholes on the disintegrating roads of argyll and bute, the majority of islanders were still likely to complain about having to drive to the hotel's front door at scarcely more than 4mph over a track that could easily be used for a stage of the rac rally.

so, at last, the unexpected inevitable has happened: the road is currently being re-surfaced.

potholes are a fact of life in the uk. both central and scottish government have been steadily reducing the roads' budget year on year, meaning fewer and fewer holes are being repaired. though i'd be hard-pressed to explain why, a former roads-engineer told a radio 4 investigation that the cost of fixing two potholes on an m25 bridge came to £500,000. we can only assume that the filling comprised of solid gold.

but, surely inhabiting the fringes of science fiction, professor purnell of leeds university has prophesied that by the middle of this century, potholes will have become 'self' repairing. i initially thought that this might be effected by tarmac exhibiting similar properties to that of memory foam, but professor purnell's solution seems every bit as far-fetched. his team at the university are currently investigating the use of drones to keep our roads in the (almost) pristine condition we'd like them to remain. this theory might conceivably have its antecedents in the current method of surveying the nation's power lines.

the leeds university project centres around the use of drones. one drone would survey portions of the road network to effect preventative maintenance, identifying and prioritising any cracks that may lead to more substantial infractions. the location of these would then be sent to a second drone equipped with a 3d printer which would produce an appropriate seal for repair. up to a point that seems quite logical, though i'm none too sure i'm in favour of an overhead drone, carrying hot tar and a 3d printer; that sounds like an accident and a lawsuit waiting to happen.

the professor has been quoted as saying that "...you won't have roads dug up [and] you won't have holes in the road with barriers around them." that beggars the question of just how those repair drones are going to reach suitably identified portions of road without being hit by cars or bicycles. however, being less than well-informed regarding both drone technology and roads engineering, i'd be reticent to poke too hard from a position of ignorance.

disappointingly, given that i intend to live until i'm 120, the projected mid-century instigation of such technology will offer me less than two decades of riding over pristine tarmac. only, of course, when i'm not getting a bit of rough on the cyclocross bike.

the machrie hotel, islay

saturday 19 january 2019

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rouleur magazine ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

rhythm and blues

buddy rich

over the years in which i have been teaching drumming to both adults and children, it's observable that everyone has their own rhythm. in order to gauge the level at which lessons might begin, i usually ask each drumset student to play me a straightforward 4/4 beat without thinking about any fills. the tempo at which that pattern is played does, of course, depend on their mechanical ability and co-ordination, but thta's every bit as informative for complete beginners as it is with those who have made it past the basics. what is especially notable about the latter, is the difference, however small, between the tempos displayed by each individual.

i've not made any particular study as to what it is that constrains the individual speed of playing, though i have read it may be related to heartbeat, but there is an observable differentiation between individual students. however, the intriguing part comes when matching two drummers on the same rhythm without any unifying backing track. who is it that decides the tempo, or who influences the other, especially if the opportunity exists to match more than two? that said, it's very rare that, even in a school music department that you can find three drumsets in the same room.

the next hurdle that needs to be overcome is often when matching the drummer with other musicians, rather than pre-recorded music. though it's a state of affairs i still find quite strange, every now and again, a student will continue to play at their own tempo, no matter that of the musicians they purport to accompany. for the practised drummer, it's something that's actually quite hard to accomplish on purpose.

oddly enough, there are uncanny parallels in the peloton, no matter the style of riding that rules overall. granted, the likes of cycle-touring remains largely unaffected; that appears to be a genre in which the lowest common denominator rules, though not always. islay is an island frequented by cycle-tourists in the summer months and it's less than surprising to see a male cyclist pedalling several bike lengths ahead of his female accomplice. for me, that would rather call into question why they bother heading out on tour together in the first place?

however, if we're willing to accept that, like the average drummer, cyclists also have a natural pedalling rhythm at which they tend to ride, how does that pan out when it comes to something like the sunday ride?

this might be more observable in a small peloton such as that of the velo club in which there is rarely more than eleven riders. depending on who decides to head off first when departing debbie's, rather controls our collective speed, heading north up uiskentuie strand. yes, it may have more to do with age and tyre width than natural rhythm, but the latter does come into play quite frequently. the interesting part is whether those following, opt to increase their own speed/rhythm to match that of the geographical leader. which is the prevailing mindset; is it easier to slow down or speed up?

though we are all familiar with the advice to ride with faster/better riders in order to improve our own abilities, does this actually increase our individual natural rhythms, or does it simply raise our cardio-vascular activity to enable faster riding? when subsequently left to our own devices, do we revert to that natural rhythm? as far as drumming is concerned, even though i've dramatically increased my ability to play fast paraddiddles and a rolling triplet, half-time shuffle, when adopting a simple 4/4 pattern, my tempo reverts to its original, natural state. or at least, i think it does.

i ask all these unanswered questions, not necessarily to give you or me sleepless nights, but to query an individual's ability to race successfully. a small booklet given away free with the comic many years ago, advised that the wannabe racer ought to aim for a minimum speed of 20mph (32kph) simply to hang on the back. though there are any number of trainers, coaches and methodologies to assist those intent on entering the competitive realm, maybe a good starting point would be an assessment of the natural rhythm of pedalling? but maybe i demonstrate my ignorance of such matters, for maybe it already is?.

i'll be paying a smidgeon more attention this coming weekend and possibly riding with a click-track.

friday 18 january 2019

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campagnolo

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the name of the game

registered trademark

just prior to my first visit to the fair town of portland, oregon, i came across the wheelbuilding skills of jude gerace (née kirstein) and her fledgling business entitled epic wheelworks. with the hospitality guidance of chris distefano, i paid a visit to her compact and bijou workshop, situated on the city's lower east-side. the elevator taking us to the first floor was almost as big as the small office festooned with rims, wheels and boxes of spokes adjacent to a couple of wheelbuilding jigs. it would be hard to imagine a smaller, small business.

but despite the relative insignificance (no disrespect intended) of epic wheelworks, the name had alerted the legal eagles at the specialized bicycle corporation, principally because mike sinyard's company produced a bicycle bearing the name epic. they issued a 'cease and desist' letter in order to protect their trademark, despite the fact that jude's cupboard could hardly be considered one capable of being conceived as a threat to the might of one of the world's largest bicycle manufacturers.

unsurprisingly, jude sensibly opted to change the name of her business (it is now called 'sugar wheelworks'), if only on the basis that specialized had far deeper pockets.

dorset's prendas ciclismo also suffered, though less drastically, at the hands of a slightly smaller, italian framebuilder. in the cult movie, 'white men can't jump', wesley snipes, playing the part of a basketball hustler, is regularly seen wearing a colnago casquette. it transpires that this was not a one-time stock item, but a design created specifically for the movie. i know; i spent years trying to find one. mick tarrant and andy storey at prendas, tenaciously tracked down the design and had a number made for sale on the prendas website.

after only a few days, colnago's lawyers visited a cease and desist' order upon the hapless pair, though the cap's popularity pretty much ensured that it had sold out before the order could be enforced.

in pretty much all industries, it's frequently hard not only to come up with an original product name, but one that isn't already in commercial use, no matter how obscure. yes, the internet has made that process a smidgeon simpler, but not everyone has the legal wherewithal to ensure no infractions occur. just recently i was asked to write a review of a cook book in which one of the recipes quite blatantly, but undoubtedly innocently, appropriated the name of a commercial product. chances are, the holders of the tradename will never find out, but you just never know.

but sometimes the big boys have need of shoring up their own commercial presence and once again specialized enters the fray. a friend of mine owns a rather expensive version of their current roubaix model, the one with the bouncy stem, while another owns the previous version. it transpires that the tradename roubaix was not actually in the possession of specialized in the first place, but licensed from the owners advanced sports since 2003. sadly, advanced sports has fared considerably less well than specialized, having filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2018.

thankfully, the company in demise agreed to remove the roubaix trademark from the filing cabinet before their assets are auctioned off later this month and specialized have, in the interim, taken on any related rights and obligations. had ase not agreed to this, it could have seen specialized bereft of the trademark it needed for one of its best selling bike ranges.

specialized have agreed to pay $700,000 for the rights.

so why would the bigger companies have a go at the little fish for what appear remarkably minor disturbances in the force? i mean, in the case of the colnago caps, what's the worst that could happen? one or two more colnagos might be sold? the problem is one of precedent. if we hypothesise that i have the skills to build my own bicycle frame for sale and i decide to call it an allez. specialized presumably own that trademark, but it's unlikely that mine would resemble theirs, and even more unlikely that any sales of my frame would impact upon specialized's bottom line.

but, if trek were subsequently to offer an allez badged bicycle for sale, things might be considerably different. and if specialized had left me alone, trek's lawyers could argue that this had set a precedent of not protecting their trademark. a ruling to this effect could cause all manner of upsets.

aren't you glad we only ride bikes?

thursday 17 january 2019

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sugar wheelworks ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

peter sagan is such a copycat

specialized allez sprint

along with the my reader, i like shiny stuff, particularly if it's composed of the very latest three-layer, nano-fibre carbon, all tricked out with the very best of componentry and wheels that would make me go fast and look good. i'm also particularly well aware that my bank balance is scarcely up to the job of paying for such a droolsworthy velocipede and that ultimately, none of the foregoing, no matter how lightweight, will make me any quicker to debbie's for a bout of froth supping.

specialized allez sprint

but meanwhile, back in the real world, less might not be more, but it's a darned sight more affordable. so, while i would dearly love to have the very top of the range sitting in the disintegrating bike shed, eagerly awaiting yours truly to give it a good seeing to around the highways and byways of the southern hebrides, so doing might just be a tad redundant, not to say, self-indulgent.

though my reader would be the first to agree that relevance is scarcely my watchword, when it comes to reviewing bicycles, i like to think my choices reflect the wherewithal of the majority, rather than that of lottery winners. therefore, since the onset of the festive 500, i have had the luxury of a satin finish specialized allez comp sprint disc edition. historically, aluminium has not featured amongst my most favoured of frame materials, more by way of prejudice than objectivity, but in the carbon era, despite working particularly well for marco pantani before the turn of the century, it tends to feature at the lower end of the food chain.

specialized allez sprint

it's an observable fact that the ubiquity of carbon fibre has promulgated this situation, something that encouraged my asking specialized for this particular bicycle to review. though my monologue probably ought to have commenced with a spoiler alert, the actual review of the bicycle is a few days distant, as i have a cunning plan, the veracity of which has yet to be tested. however, it's probably not giving too much away to state that all rides so far have been conducted with a confident grin upon my visage.

but while i apply my meagre critical faculties to the job at hand, the professional peloton has already been left trailing in the wake of quick-step's elia viviani, winner of the opening stage of the tour down under. and though i'm reasonably sure that the folks at specialized uk are not given to breaching manufacturer/reviewer confidentiality, it seems clearly evident that somebody has spoken out of turn, when really they shouldn't have. for how else do you explain that, a mere matter of weeks after 'my' allez comp sprint arrives, bora hansgrohe rider, peter sagan, is reported to be riding the very exact identical frame?

specialized allez sprint

here is a rider who has worn the world championship stripes on three separate occasions, the possessor of bike-handling skills that most of us would sell our back copies of the comic for and whose own 'limited edition' specialized s-works venge retails at the very wrong side of £10,000. yet he chooses a sub-£2,000 metal bicycle on which to ply his trade, the verisimilitude of a machine that i just happen to have in the shed. (i checked with specialized; other than colour choice, the frame is identical).

if this doesn't get me upgraded to major influencer status within a month, my name's not peter sagan.

specialized allez sprint comp disc

wednesday 16 january 2019

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dram fine cycle clothing

port charlotte cycle jersey

a bit of history.

more years ago than i can place a date and time on, a group of folks from glenmorangie whisky's bottling plant travelled to islay in order to participate in the annual half marathon, sponsored as it is, by ardbeg distillery. those with a specific interest in the amber nectar will have already made the connection: glenmorangie are owners of ardbeg, so to keep the tradition, this particular assembly wore ardbeg cycle jerseys, produced by livingston's endura clothing. these had previously been ordered for a twenty-four hour mountain bike event.

prior to this moment, the notion of a cycle jersey bearing whisky bottle graphics was pretty much unheard of, so i figured that i really needed to own an example of this ardbeg emblazoned cycle garmentage. speaking to one of the chaps thus clad, he informed me that they'd only had around 15 of the jerseys made, so there were no more to be had. for the next two years, i made a total nuisance of myself with ardbeg's brand manager, trying every subterfuge to have him agree to have some more jerseys produced. i'll give the fellow his due; at anytime during those twenty-four months, i would have told me to take a running jump, but eventually he caved. "we're going to have forty jerseys made, just to keep you happy, but that's all."

ardnahoe cycle jersey

one year later, at ardbeg's open day during the islay whisky festival, he confided that he was glad i had pursued my selfish task, for the jerseys had been a raging success. currently, they sell around 200 per year at the distillery shop and more from the manufacturer's online store.

this minor cycling success was followed by another from bruichladdich distillery, unfortunately designed by a gentleman who could scarcely distinguish a bicycle from a vacuum cleaner, blissfully unaware that the regulation apparel ought to feature three rear pockets. this was followed by a manifestly better option, but still bearing a design from the dark-side. latterly, endura took it upon themselves to produce a well-designed paean to bowmore distillery (but a few hundred metres from where i sit) and sold in a box remarkably similar to those containing a 70cl distillation of water, yeast and barley.

port charlotte cycle shorts

with the increase in ferries travelling to and from the island since the middle of last decade, augmented by the existence not only of a youth hostel in port charlotte and a campsite but a mile farther south, islay has become something of a mecca for cyclists with a predilection for its peaty and not so peaty whiskies. the ideal accompaniment to a bottle of the hard stuff, from their point of view at least, is surely a cycle jersey demonstrating their cultured affectations? yet oddly, though lagavulin and laphroaig have both tested the water, until recently, the number remained at three.

ardnahoe cycle jersey

you see, bruichladdich distillery produce a mind-numbing variety of whiskies, one of which takes its name from the former distillery at port charlotte. in one of those, right-place-at-the-right-time moments, i was asked if i'd be willing to undertake the design of a cyle jersey in tribute to this particular distillation. and not just a jersey, but a matching pair of bibshorts, the results of which you can see here. much as i'd love to take all the credit, most of the design work was already contained within the multi-page style guide handed to me from the outset.

meanwhile, at the north of the island, islay's ninth distillery nears completion at ardnahoe, quite a few months past the date expected. always willing to undermine an already fragile situation, i opted to design a cycle jersey as a bit of a wind-up. they might not have had an operable distillery, but at least they'd have appropriate velocipedinal apparel. much to my surprise (and i confess, i originally thought they were playing me at my own silly game), they sent the design through to endura and as of yesterday, these have arrived at the not-yet-open distillery.

port charlotte cycle jersey

the fact that my copy of adobe illustrator produced at least a portion of the design work for both of these cycle kits, is really neither here nor there. i simply offer this as a public service, to (as sheldon cooper would have said), inform you thusly. the rest is up to you. bruichladdich's endura-made port charlotte kit is currently available from the distillery, but if you really, desperately have to have an ardnahoe jersey, i daresay you could contact the distillery direct.

a pair of port charlotte bibshorts retails at £90, while the matching jersey costs £60. check with ardnahoe for the cost of their jersey.

bruichladdich shop | ardnahoe distillery

tuesday 15 january 2019

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chrome industries ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

showers pass ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

riding is the answer ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

endura cycle clothing ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

galloway cycling

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prendas ciclismo ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

wabi woolens ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

tell them we sent you

quick mention for those intending to visit islay's shores on a bike during the summer. velo club d'ardbeg recommended coffee/tea stops - in no particular order.

club headquarters at the old kiln cafe, ardbeg distillery. excellent food as well as designer coffees with froth. the single malt is apparently just ginger peachy. open monday to saturday from easter to september, seven days from june to september.

debbie's cafe

bruichladdich mini market (debbie's cafe), a few hundred yards from the distillery. highly commended designer coffees with outside tables. we like. open all year round with a cycling wall in the coffee corner.

welcometogreatcoffee.co.uk

port mòr bistro. now that the original debbie's is run by her mum, aileen, debbie has taken over the catering franchise at port charlotte's port mòr centre, where you can have some of deb's famously wonderful coffee as well as a wide range of foodtsuffs. highly recommended.

braehouse gallery, portnahaven. sited at the entrance to portnahaven village, the gallery also offers takeway coffees and a range of cakes. there's also quite a wide range of photos, islay souvenirs and other desirable odds and bits. though you can't sit in for coffee and cake, there is a table and chairs outside along with an adjacent bicycle rack for parking.

and recently opened in islay house square, bridgend in the islay studios photo gallery, a fine selection of designer coffees are now available while you admire the surrounding imagery.

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as always, if you have any comments, please feel free to e-mail and thanks for reading.

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.......................................................................................................................................................................................................... thewashingmachinepost

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book reviews

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