14 Feb 2016

14th February 2016 Buddy, can you spare some [UCI approved] Swarfega?

Sunday 14th 32F, 0C, quite windy, with a heavy overcast. Expected to stay grey with increasing winds all day peaking at 25mph gusts around lunchtime. Possible light snow showers again though it stayed dry yesterday. I am grateful for my yellow lenses in this weather.  A young chap went past on his bike grinning  like the proverbial Cheshire Cat with what looked like totally black lenses. I'd want to put myself under a lorry wearing those. Assuming I cold actually see the lorry coming! Spot all the TdeF rides wearing dark sunglasses during equally dark weather. The world's professional elite cyclists in the biggest race in/on the calendar and they haven't invented Campy Spar Record winter gloves, Duro-race snow goggles or Sram Raddish clear glasses yet? Dugh?

What are they waiting for? Some 'big name' sponsor to hand them a load of "free samples?" So called "top riders" were dropping out like pond flies due to the "unusually cold and wet" conditions in one big race. When does total equipment incompetence and lack of preparation begin to look like a deliberate act of sabotage on your own team's riders? Does the team owner run around half naked in bad weather? No, they sit in a heated limo! Just as they sit in luxurious comfort at a football match. Do the players come off the field when it rains or snows? Nope. They'd be lynched!

If the cycling rules demanded that riders had to wear "proper" cycling gloves below a certain temperature then "proper" cycling gloves might actually need to be invented! The present crap on the market is woefully inadequate! They soak up rain like a sponge and are as windproof as a pair of kiddy's summer socks.

The present crop of pampered, "fair-weather" riders make the early tour racers look like invulnerable superheroes! Winter training in warm conditions in backward countries in case the temperature drops below 75F? Or they might meet a vehicle going "the wrong" way? Today's wealthy "heroes of the road" wouldn't last a hundred meters under the early road conditions, rules and having to do it all on an all steel bike! Though, I suppose they'd all be fully at home with the early drug culture. Mending their broken, fragile egos and increasingly disposable £XX,000, one-stage machines, at a local smithy? Perhaps not.

Imagine, if you will in your wildest fantasies, that the Utterly Corrupt Incompetents demanded that a machine and its wheels and tyres must last at least a full calendar year. [Just as a first, modest proposal.] Punctures were to be mended beside the road by the rider himself, completely unaided. That mechanical problems may only be mended by the rider or he/she drop out of the race.

The result? Overnight improvements in machine and equipment quality and robustness. Fully puncture-proof tires almost overnight. How many riders would actually need to carry a 5 gallon pot of UCI approved Swarfega in their compulsory toolkit to avoid the team leader having dirty fingernails on the podium? The simple answer? None. It would never happen once the early mechanical development setbacks were over.

There would no longer be the annual obsolescence of the groupsets for obscene profit. Instead of shaving 3 grams from each part, as if it [remotely] mattered, equipment and machines would be built for increased mechanical and cosmetic longevity. How many potentially competitive riders give up because thy can no longer face the sneers of their wealthier clubmates over their woefully obsolescent machine spec? How dare they continue to ride [and win] while they are still sporting the 2015 Durex model of lever rubbers? Don't they know that the hoods have been updated to Spring 2016 non-backwards compatible, 0.0002W spec? As smilingly "approved" by some grinning and suntanned "god of the road" from the exclusive foyer of the 6-star Elysium Hotel. As the plastic cycling culture basks in perpetual sunshine under UCI rules. Haven't they heard of the dangers of UV exposure on plastics?

A walk along the marsh but there were only a few miserable Mallards bobbing on the pond/lake. In a fit of courage and near-revolutionary zeal I walked along the back of the marsh on the field edge. Having disturbed a solitary Heron I returned to the road to brave the Sunday drivers practicing their pathetic cornering skills. My fingers were freezing despite the gloves. A bit of sunshine wouldn't go amiss! And dark grey, windy [and miserable] it remained. No pressure to go out. So I didn't.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


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