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ritchey logic ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

reticence

port ellen_sports

a friend of mine, who moved away from the centre of the universe around thirty years ago, joined us for the sunday ride, reminding me, by the speed at which he dragged us along en-route to saligo, just how fast he was and, unfortunately, still is. however, prior to setting off, he mentioned that a good many of those whom he had known prior to departing the isle, seemed to have acquired extra ballast in the intervening years. though there could be many reasons for this state of affairs, we both agreed that a lack of judicious use of the motor car was probably at the root of the problem.

i have nothing with which to compare, so it may be that mainland locations are every bit as guilty of following suit, but there does seem to be a preponderance of local residents who find it all too easy to get in the car and drive a matter of metres to wherever it is they need to go.

as i have bored you all to tears in the past, bowmore village is but 1.6km end to end, a distance that any healthy individual could cover on foot with relative ease. the gaelic centre is around 2km from the centre of the village, and i have frequently walked there for a variety of events and meetings. on days when i don't have the time to walk, i have employed the services of my bicycle to get me there and back. in this i am all but alone, with everyone else arriving by car. i understand why that is the case for those who stay in more remote parts of the island, since the local bus service is particularly poor, but the majority of village residents could do as i do.

but they don't.

saturday past was the appointed date for the annual village sports in port ellen, some 16km distant from bowmore, and which i had opted to attend to acquire photos for the newspaper. unfortunately, unlike bowmore sports a few weeks ago, the weather refused to play ball, and it had been raining since early morning. on the weekend that the met office had been issuing weather warnings to southern england for dangerously high temperatures, the rain persisted all the way to port ellen, throughout the time i was present at port ellen playing fields, and all the way home; a 32km round trip.

yet, as i rode along the road leading into port ellen village, there was a veritable plethora of vehicles parked opposite the ramsay hall and on the grassy strip overlooking the bay, the majority of which belonged to port ellen village residents. i should point out that port ellen is a tad more compact and bijou than is bowmore. reaching the playing fields would be pretty much a hop, skip and a jump for the majority.

and despite the continuous precipitation, at least some of those in attendance had presumably intended participation in one or two of the races scheduled for the afternoon. let's face it, if an old fart such as yours truly could pedal 32km in the rain, surely it was well within the capabilities of the majority of village residents to walk or cycle a few hundred metres to the playing fields. and though several would doubtless point out the inclement nature of the weather, they were all stood about clad in waterproofs the whole time i was present. and it will surprise you not at all that, despite the scottish government having passed legislation in december last year, forbidding parking on pavements, those outside the ramsay hall were completely obscured with parked cars.

because on islay, as elsewhere, folks just park wherever they want to, whether it proves an inconvenience for others or not.

there have been many recent initiatives purporting to lower the level of obesity amongst the uk population, but if those who could easily have walked to their intended destination, insist on climbing in the car, there will probably not be any noticeable difference. government policies often centre on reducing the waiting times for nhs services; few, if any, appear to take an interest in prevention by improving the health of the nation.

i doubt that islay is a great deal different than anywhere else; but over here a great many people can be recognised by the cars they drive. or more correctly, by the cars they've parked, frequently in disappointingly close proximity to their homes. disappointingly, i have no solution to what i see as an increasing problem. when i point this out to the guilty parties, most of them think i'm merely being humorous.

as private frazer of dad's army was wont to exclaim, "we're all doomed."

monday 22 july 2024

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cycling uk ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

aged to perfection

pashley guvnor

within the world of music, there is an intriguing disconnect when it comes to respect for and interest in, vintage instruments. before i head towards my area of expertise, even taking a brief look at guitars, there are those from the 1950s that are held in high regard as can be seen from the price tags appended to the headstocks. drums are no different; ask any professional you care to mention, and there's a better than evens chance that they will possess a slingerland radio king, a solid shell drum that gained much of its reputation at the hands and sticks of gene krupa, the drum company's poster boy during the 30s and 40s.

there's no doubt that these drums, and the guitars briefly mentioned above, often provide a sound that's effectively missing from modern-days instruments, partly due to improvements in manufacturing, and possibly every bit as much at the behest of the materials involved. i am certainly no expert in the field, but aged wood has a reputation of having acquired sonic properties yet to be realised by brand new stuff. and then there's the fact that many vintage drums were constructed from a single plank of wood, steam bent into a cylindrical shape, while the modern method is to glue several thin plies of wood and heat press into a similar shape.

it would be hard to argue that a mixture of wood and glue sounds as good as wood-only.

but at least part of the attraction for vintage products such as guitars and drums, is that they hail from the era in which les paul, gene krupa, charlie christian and sam woodyard entertained the audiences of the day. acquiring a gretsch jazz festival snare drum reputedly evokes the halcyon days of max roach, art blakey and mel lewis, hopefully conferring similar abilities upon the purchaser. in essence, it's the same notion that owning and riding a colnago v4rs will turn any of us into tadej pogacar. but the vintage meme possesses one glaring flaw that seems not to have entered into the psyche of many who own, or wish they owned, vintage instruments, and that's the fact that when max, buddy, mel and the other boys in the band played those instruments, they were brand new. much the same as the snare drums that are currently in my ownership, fulfil today.

pashley guvnor

perhaps in 50 or 60 years time, those snare drums sitting upstairs will be in great demand. the same goes for vintage k zildjian cymbals, played nowadays to evoke the 1950s, despite the fact that they were brand new in those years and possibly sounded entirely different.

and it's not a situation solely applicable to musical instruments. however, i'm unaware whether those who purchase vintage cars or bicycles are vainly attempting to recall the glory years, or whether, like yours truly, they simply yearn for a period when road bicycles were considerably less complex and arguably demonstrated more 'soul', an indefinable quality also lovingly apportioned to vintage drums, cymbals and guitars. from the professionals' point of view, there's a huge difference in appreciation; their bicycles are, to be frank, simply tools of the trade, employed as a means of either winning races, or helping their respective team leaders do so.

bicycle manufacturers are not oblivious to this state of affairs. if evidence were required, look at the marco pantani replicas that have been issued in limited numbers by bianchi, despite the italian company seemingly less in thrall nowadays to their trademark celeste paintwork, than they are to straightforward black.

but a manufacturer that could be said to have embodied the vintage look throughout its 98 years of existence is britain's pashley cycles. whether their bicycles have ever featured at the pointy end of professional cycle racing i know not, but i cannot deny that i am much enthused by their latest release, the guv'nor gt a bicycle that deliberately evokes the bicycles ridden by the heroes of the grand tours of 1926. this reynolds 531, lugged steel framed machine, harbours a level of modernity with its use of a shimano nexus eight-speed hub gear, complemented with shimano 6000 series roller brakes, but still offers more traditional features.

pashley guvnor

apart from the swept back moustache handlebars and bar-mounted bottle cages, the guv'nor gt seats the rider upon a brooks b17 leather saddle, augmented with a genuine leather pashley lunchbox saddle bag.

and considering the eyewatering price tags appended to modern carbon-fibre, the £1785 cost of the guv'nor gt is considerably more affordable for a highly desirable bicycle that will likely prove a great deal more practical than tadej's colnago or the cervelo of jonas vingegaard. but i can't help wondering if it sounds as good?

pashley guv'nor gt

sunday 21 july 2024

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the definition of definition

energy bars

it probably does me no favours whatsoever to admit that, while each and every bike ride is augmented with a lion of flanders water bottle on the downtube, ten times out of ten, i will return to the croft having consumed none of the water contained within. in the process of reviewing a training manual many years ago and intent on following the instructions in order that i might test the veracity of its contents, i observed the directive to begin drinking within ten minutes into the ride. after that, i was encouraged to sip from the bottle every five minutes. probably indicating that i have the attention span of a gnat, after only a few of those five minute sips, i forgot all about it and simply rode my bicycle.

it has frequently been pointed out to me that my liquid intake on a daily basis seems particularly low, but in fact, it has ever been thus; i drink only when i'm thirsty. and that, as i recall, was the countermanding advice from a nutritionist quoted in (i think), an issue of the comic. according to her, that was precisely what thirst was for. failing to eat properly on a lengthy ride can easily be defined as an error; by the time the mistake has been recognised, it's effectively too late, given the period over which your body can absorb the carbohydrates that would put you back on your feet (so to speak). liquid, however, is apparently far more easily assimilated, so drink when you're thirsty and don't bother if you're not.

the velo club's sunday morning ride is divided into three distinct stages: pedal for around 50km, stop at debbie's for coffee and a toastie, then ride about 15km homeward. unlike several of my compatriots, i never carry any food with me, such as energy bars or gels, and as pointed out above, i rarely drink any of the water in my lion of flanders water bottle. there is no doubt that i am getting slower by the year, but i tend to think that has far more to do with age than with my irrational drinking habits. however, that undoubtedly says more about me than the practice of consuming solids and liquids while riding a bicycle.

that could very well be because i don't think of any of my rides as training in the accepted sense of that word. maddie dixon, sports nutrition expert at coastal sports nutrition would surely be keen to point out the error of my ways. according to her, "Underfuelling in the short term won't do lasting damage, but it will probably have you being left behind and exhausted by the end of the day." over longer distances than practised by the velo club, i have no doubt that she's probably correct. however, she goes on to point out that "...chronically under-fuelling your training will have mid to longer-term consequences." not only to my cycling, but my health. this has brought me to call into question the rather subjective term (in this case) implied by the word training.

for instance, just because i don't consider my 70km or so on the bicycle each sunday morning to be training, could it be that it actually is? or are we playing with semantics here? does it only become training when i say it is? what's the difference between training and a fast bike ride? i can usually average between 23-25kph, and i have a notion that would scarcely differ if i decided to actually train. however, for a bloke in his late sixties, i'm quite content with that speed; sure, i get dropped from time to time, but my fellow pelotoneers are all more than 16 years my juniors. if i'm dropping them, does that mean they need to start training?

reading further through the proffered expert advice, reveals that rides of less than 121km fall into the category of short rides, meaning that the sunday ride is not considered to be long. however, i am told that even over such distances, i ought best concentrate on a balanced meal with the emphasis on carbohydrates (does porridge count?). but it gets worse (or better, depending on your point of view).

ms. dixon reckons that i ought to eat about two to four hours before going for a ride, which would entail arising between 5:30 - 6am. i will definitely not be doing that on a sunday morning. my meal ought to be "something with a little protein and low in fibre and fat." she suggests something like a turkey and avocado sandwich (i'm a vegetarian) on whole grain bread, or perhaps oats with honey/jam, banana and peanut butter. but the clincher, seen from my vantage point is "Water is crucial. Ensure you stay hydrated no matter the length of your journey."

but following the pre-ride eating advice as outlined above, ms dixon proceeds to advise that during my bike ride of less than 120km, i might want to snack on a banana or a small energy bar. she makes no mention of a cheese and tomato toastie at debbie's. the part that bothers me and one that probably will not be cleared up, brings me back round to the definition of training. for instance, let's take that sunday morning bike ride. if it's just a bike ride, then there's probably no need to arise at stupid o'clock, consume a hearty and healthy meal before clambering aboard my bicycle, replete with gels, energy bars and bananas in my back pockets and a full water bottle on the downtube. however, if the plan is to train to get faster, even if that's only advanced by 1kph, then perhaps i ought to heed ms. dixon's expert advice?

do not misunderstand me, i am not casting doubt on maddie dixon's expert advice - far from it. but i do need someone to clear up just what is and what is not regarded as training, because it appears that my diet (and liquid intake) might depend upon it.

coastal sports nutrition

saturday 20 july 2024

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the paradigm redefined

all road bicycle

a good friend of mine, now sadly departed, once earnestly informed me that, in the 1960s, a european manufacturer of luxury cars produced a vehicle that possessed, not by design, abominable handling. the only feasible remedy would have been to completely redesign the chassis, a commercially untenable solution, so instead they turned to the marketing department. the latter's means of defraying any possible concern from customers was to turn the problem on its head, by asserting that drive-ability of said vehicle was achievable solely on behalf of those with the skill to master its idiosyncracies. the subsequent belief system turned the vehicle's owners into an elite class; anyone who said otherwise was plainly a less capable driver.

similarly, i'm led to believe, the makers of a popular dishwashing liquid, the strength of which demonstrated a proclivity to cause mild skin rashes on a percentage of regular users. once again, the solution lay with the company's marketing department, who successfully encouraged customers to believe in a hitherto unrecognised propensity to be an avowed kindness to hands that washed dishes. in the world of commercial endeavour, such circumstances are hardly unknown. let's face it, the sole purpose of marketing is to encourage the great unwashed to purchase products of which they were scarcely aware they needed.

and still, the meme continues.

just past midweek, i was in receipt of a press release from a well-known uk purveyor of quality bicycles. one of the reasons they're well-known is through sponsorship of a uk-based professional cycle team, as well as the more common magazine advertisement and a slew of highly commendable press reviews. apparently unsatisfied with their present-day reputation, they have not stinted on their use of hyperbole to position themselves at the forefront of the velocipedinal avant-garde.

with the persistent infiltration of the gravel bicycle in our collective psyche, has arrived the dawning realisation that the reputed joys of riding the road less travelled can be easily transferred to the road bike that we all know and love. the principal thrust of this innovation has been seen on many bicycles over the past few years, in the shape and form of increased tyre clearance to accommodate an ever-widening of said tyres. where once the badge of a pure road bike was seen as a pair of treadless 25mm tyres revelling in ultra-close clearances between fork legs and chainstays, modernity has taught us that 30mm rolls more easily and sufficient clearance is the new black.

however, effectively ignoring a preponderance of all of the above, the bicycle company which shall remain nameless now claims to have 'redefined road', which, by the tone of the press release, i'm assuming is being positioned as a 'good thing'. and it appears that said range of bicycles can be all things to all people, delightfully free from any compromise or deficiencies. we are advised that the frames possess 'world-class aerodynamic performance' with 'road-focused, horizon-expanding capabilities.'

over the years, i have deliberately curated a highly cynical attitude which, by and large, has served me well so far, at the expense of unintentionally irritating one or two people, but there are statements within this marketing-driven missive that, to me at least, seem somewhat contradictory. for instance they claim that aero-optimised technology has been combined with the endurance properties provided by a less taut geometry, offering the reputed benefit of being able to ride all day, but across a variety of differing terrain. combining each of the foregoing apparently results in an 'enhanced ride experience' yet with little or no diminution in performance.

of course, such terms are entirely subjective and relative; it is left to our own apprehension as to what the ride experience is being compared, in order for it to be described as 'enhanced'.

obviously there has been a redefining of definitions, and not necessarily by the company residing at the top of the marketing ploy. for instance, uci cyclocross regulations demand a minimum tyre width of 33mm. from experience, i am well-aware that my cyclocross bicycle, when thus shod, is scarcely competitive with the speeds attainable on my ritchey logic, featuring 28mm tyres, yet these three new 'allroad' bicycles (one is an e-bike) feature tyre clearances between 35mm and 38mm. though we have been enlightened by the knowledge that wider rolls better, there is a statute of limitations resulting from the law of diminishing returns. in other words, 38mm is unlikely to roll faster than 28mm.

which doesn't really match up with claims of maximum performance.

in point of fact, i tend to think that the development of so-called all road bicycles is a rather spiffing idea. very few of us need the sort of machinery ridden by tadej, jonas and biniam, but instead, something capable of coping with britain's disintegrating roads, all manner of road furniture, and perchance the odd gravel track where tarmac just won't do. and many can appreciate the advantages of just such a genre of bicycle, intelligent enough, when invited, to appraise the veracity of that with which we are presented. the press-release seems to lean rather heavily on overkill to frame the bicycles under discussion as being revolutionary and reputedly "...redefining what's possible on a road bike."

as it transpires, these particular machines seem rather nicely priced, beginning at £1699 to £2,999. as with almost everything velocipedinal, the opportunity to spend considerably more has also been catered for by the top of the range model. but please, please, please just tell us the specifications, prices alongside a few photos, but dump the marketing hyperbole.

we're not stupid.

friday 19 july 2024

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world bicycle relief

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proper recycling

strava family

i, and several others, have droned on incessantly regarding the apparently endless level of so-called innovation that afflicts the bicycle industry. only a matter of days past, i received a missive from a good friend of mine, about the suntour/pedersen self-energising cantilever brakes that were once the darling of the mountain bike world. their reputedly startling efficiency in the face of adverse deceleration was subsequently overturned by the relative simplicity of the v-brake, but even that has effectively been consigned to history by the hydraulic disc brake, a means of stopping that has even inveigled its way onto the hapless road bike.

but rather than discussing the pros and cons of deceleration, we perhaps ought to be looking a smidgeon more closely at the acceleration of development by both cycle and component manufacturers, assured as we are by their marketing departments of the overwhelming necessity of ownership, but in reality, simply an unsubtle means of maintaining or increasing the sales figures. though you may think me naive in such matters, i am well aware that any business requires to turn a profit in order to remain solvent, but i still maintain that this does not need to be an endless and perpetual quest. there surely has to be a point at which any business is making sufficient return on investment to pay the bills?

but then, of course, there is the ever-present notion of relevance. once you've sold everyone double-glazing, then what do you do? in the case of double-glazing, you add one or two more panes of glass and hope that everyone falls for the subterfuge. in the case of the bicycle, if a different type of carbon fibre or method of layup fails to attract, there's always aero tubing, the addition of the previously mentioned disc-brake, or perhaps the wizard wheeze of stuffing all the cables and hoses inside the frame. surely that ought to work?

but instead of having products from a single manufacturer (yes, i'm looking at you, campagnolo) that fail to be interchangeable, perhaps the bottom line could not only be kept healthy, but in the process, gain the unfailing approbation of those who may have bought a previous model? such happenstances, however, are hardly the preserve of the bicycle industry, but in the light of how self-congratulatory we can often be regarding our professed environmental credentials, bicycles tend to be every bit as much a part of the built-in obsolescence that afflicts many other facets of modern life.

could the industry as a whole, perhaps take after isla rowntree, former and again, current owner of islabikes? prior to retiring as owner of the latter, islabikes had been making quality bicycles for children for eighteen years, with an over-arching philosophy that each bike be robust and sturdy enough to not only serve the child for which it was purchased, but younger siblings or relations to whom it may be handed down. additionally, their construction eschewed any technology that was deemed superfluous for the average child, such as suspension, oversized tubing, or an incredible heavyness of being.

as i can attest from personal experience, children tend to be far less attentive to their bicycles' wellbeing than those of us who demand the latest in pointless doohickies, bringing an inevitable need for regular maintenance. let's face it, if you'd owned an islabike for eighteen years, there's a better than evens chance it will require one or more spare parts. which is where we join isla rowntree in july 2024. though she continues to state that no more new bikes will be produced, she and a colleague are now operating an online repository for spare parts.

"We sold nearly 250,000 Islabikes - some may need a little love and care by now, but most can be rejuvenated with a few parts."

the ability for that to happen was one of the principal design parameters of the islabikes range, augmented by the bonus of backwards compatibility, meaning newer components were always designed to fit older models. so is that a possible forward route for the rest of the industry? take development to a practical limit, then stop and concentrate on maintaining all existing frames and components, rather than bringing out the latest must have item on which nothing from the previous range will fit?

it has often been promoted that it's not that humankind needs to build more environmentally sensitive products, but that it needs to stop making more unnecessary stuff altogether, thus reducing our impact on a dying planet. i'd prefer not to come across as a dyed-in-the-wool environmentalist, because i really don't see myself that way, but do we really need close on nine bottom bracket 'standards' and differing chainring bolt circle diameters that prevent interchangeability between products from the same manufacturer? are four-point crank arms a major improvement over the previous five?

now, about the vehicle convoy in the tour de france...

thursday 18 july 2024

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share the pain

strava family

i cannot deny, i had forgotten it existed, perhaps due to a drop-off in actual interest from members of the velo club. seemingly gone are the days when the three riders up ahead would suddenly take off in an unwarranted direction, leaving me to wonder what it was i might have said to cause this sudden departure. it was only following a brief passage of time that i would learn of a hitherto unknown or un-created nearby strava section that had been calling to them from their garmins.

lest you think my luddite tendencies extend that far, let me just confirm the existence of just such a gps device upon my own handlebars, but that which it may or may not record, remains between me, myself and i; strava hasn't a clue where i've been, what i've done, and just how slowly that may or may not have been accomplished.

as the years have rolled by, my personal use of the social media formerly known as twitter has considerably diminished. in common with my refusal to acquire cymbals that highlight the sixth decade of the 20th century with an apostrophe (ie 60's - it's a plural, not a possessive), i find myself less and less in favour of a platform that insists on being recognised solely by the 24th letter of the alphabet. whether that is the reason others have fallen away from x.com or not, i'm unaware, but it certainly no longer fulfils the original reasons that encouraged me to sign up.

in a different way i think the same may be true of strava.

no longer is strava a topic of conversation in the sunday morning peloton; its place has been taken by zwift and discussions concerning the correct functioning and calibration of wattbikes. these, to be honest, are every bit as tedious as when strava was first and foremost; i'm eternally grateful that we have some decent scenery around these here parts, or i may have cause to reconsider just who my friends are.

but this lack of concentrated conversation concerning strava might have spread even as far as strava towers in san francisco, as their most recent development seems ominously like a means of bolstering the coffers. despite turning in a decent profit (revenue of $275 in 2023), word on the velodrome would indicate that, while the company's installed number of users continues to grow, the number of active users is in decline. this has proved to be the case with many indoor training activities following the reputed end of the covid pandemic. already, peloton has instigated a rental service in the face of declining sales, and the departure of its ceo.

strava's latest strategy, (and i could be well wide of the mark by touting this as a hedge against further decline of regular use), has been to offer a shared annual subscription, comfortingly entitled the family plan. cheerfully continuing to describe their subscribers as athletes, this extended plan allows those athletes to share with anyone they'd like, such as friends, family or training partners, as long as those who fit the latter descriptions all live in the same country and are not already strava subscribers. though i get the family angle, i'm afraid my stingie-ness would be inclined to advise my training partners/friends to pay for their own subscriptions (£8.99/month or £54.99/year in the uk).

however, should your financial largesse be several levels more generous than my own, a family plan will cost you £99.99 per year, with no apparent monthly payment option. according to strava's reseaerch, over half their athletes (notice how tired that gets very quickly?) say that they're motivated by friends and family members who work out, and 77% feel more connected when they see friends' and families' activities on strava. that, i would contend, ought surely to be of concern to society?

however, the colourfully named zipporah allen, chief business officer at strava, offered by justification that "the magic of strava lies in the motivation that's found in our global community." all of a sudden, that apostrophe in 60's seems far more benign.

strava

wednesday 17 july 2024

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happy days are here again

mercian

a matter of a week ago, as i headed down bowmore main street for a ristretto at a nearby coffee and book emporium, i espied two bicycles atop a parked car. in a moment of arrogant disparagement, i failed to note the branding on that furthest from my deliberate path, but i did note that the other bore the unmistakeable lettering attributed to mercian cycles on the downtube. it would not be unfair to say that the bicycle had seen better days; the paintwork lacked any sheen whatsoever, and what may once have been an attractive red and cream colour scheme, now looked a tad dowdy, with the red veering close to light brown and the cream almost entirely comprising a shade of off-white.

nonetheless, it still bore attractive qualities personified by two downtube gear levers of indeterminate branding, what was once undoubtedly a polished alloy chainset, and brake cables that exited the top of the brake levers. all the above was festooned about a lugged steel frame, the fabric of which offered great appeal to the retro part of my velocipedinal appreciation. lord carlos would indeed, have been similarly impressed.

however, what lessened that impressiveness to a substantial degree was the fitment of a black plastic rear derailleur that truly had no business being attached to such a stately bicycle. what on earth had the owner been thinking to append such an unsavoury gear-changing device to steel tubing with the word mercian about its person? though halfords or evans cycles would hardly feature a suitable replacement for what had originally graced the rear dropout, there are plenty of alternative sources that would have been only too happy to comply, had they ever been asked in the first place.

standards, dear boy, standards.

that said, this bicycle's presence before me was a salient reminder that the company responsible for producing said marque had recently decided that the current market, obsessed with integrated cables and disc brakes along with gravel and aero, was not predisposed towards their more traditional, steel offerings, and had thus opted to wind up the business for good. i'd imagine that, apart from a few die-hards and luddites such as yours truly, we're possibly the only individuals troubled by such a despondent set of circumstances. as it turns out, a select few derby-based cycling enthusiasts deemed it to presage an unpalatable future, and opted to acquire the business, lock, stock and barrel.

there will, of course, be those who view this as akin to reviving blockbuster video, tower records, or even woolworths, but some things are just worth saving, and i'd like to point out that i think mercian cycles to be of far greater importance to civilisation, than any of the aforementioned. just like vinyl records, cassettes, and real books as opposed to the 'e' variety, i'm ever hopeful that cycling society will regain its love for steel bicycles, particularly those joined by cast lugs. i doubt there's any real harm in harbouring ambition, even if its achievement is essentially outwith my direct control.

according to those who are now the brand's new owners, they will "...continue to hand-build our frames in the heart of England, maintaining the heritage and spirit of Mercian Cycles while fostering innovation and growth." rather obviously, the continuation of the marque is something that will require external support; the new owners need sales to survive. keeping mercian cycles alive needs to be more than an intangible ideal. fortunately, there will be some continuation in the manner in which mercian bicycles are built, for as part of the transition, the business has retained many of the 'talented craftsmen' who build each bike by hand.

much to the dismay of many, i'm sure, a mercian vincitore with chater-lea chainset and grand tour pedals, handbuilt wheels on polished alloy campagnolo record hubs, new-old-stock campagnolo record groupset and a honey coloured brooks b17 saddle would be very much the 'bees-knees'.

that's christmas sorted.

tuesday 16 july 2024

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

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

willow bicycles ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

campagnolo ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

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

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

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