So the whole pre racing season chat and comment in the cycling rags was, amongst all the poker faced predictions, about how unaffordable the new Rapha / Sky kit is. Despite an appreciation of quality and considered detailing, journalists err on the side of popular opinion and subtitle a top rating with the drawback of price. If they were being truly honest they would mark it down. The reason they don't? Because they know this is the best cycling kit by a mile. I am not disputing the kit is much more expensive than anything other professional teams are wearing (brand new full set of kit for any pro team will still put you back hundreds of pounds) but here are two things that concern me about:
ILL JUDGED COMPARISONS
Punters make a direct correlation between one product and another, whilst the companies that produce these make very different Ethical choices (using a specific supplier), Design (making something more enjoyable and comfortable to use) and sales (quality control and managing returns). Comparing a burger from your local butcher to one that is frozen and processed, kind of defeats the purpose.
People always want a good deal (myself included) and seldomly question the reasons why something retails cheaply. I went through a period 10 years ago when I bought independent brands of clothing. I could afford them because I knew the owner of the shop and he gave a discount. Cheap these were not, however some of the pieces still get used, commented on favourably and are not ready to be binned. What this insight did was make me buy less but better quality: not for fashion or vanity but because I knew the clothes were well put together and would last.
Buy cheap if you want but you'll end up with the same cost!
Posted by stupot at 01:49 PM Sunday 24 Feb
It now appears that I am going to vote YES at the impending referendum on Sottish Independence.
I don't think of myself as Nationalist but I've always been an Independent - although not necessarily in the context of National questions (Perhaps like others, the thought has only been in my mind for 5 years - before this I had never considered it). I have no allegiance to one political party and vote differently at local and national levels. I read updates from both sides on the debate of going solo.
Posted by stupot at 10:46 AM Wednesday 6 Feb
Complexion - In general, a healthy looking specimen
Almond topping - a good amount, nicely browned
Almond centre - a little meagre at the edges but a pass.
Dough - slightly under cooked at the edges
Overall - appearance better than the actual product 5/10
Posted by stupot at 09:03 PM Friday 11 Jan
My Friend Chris set up this blog when I moved to Japan in 2004. At that time it was a bold move and I still didn't quite understand how my digital character would adapt: A little like how I didn't understand a lot of the art I used to see at Art School degree shows (turns out I didn't need to understand it). Chris also mentioned new and fashionable social networking websites such as Habbo Hotel (still rocking and rolling) which I joined and wandered about the virtual world in, lurking in the corner like a pre pubescent boy unsure of making a move on a girl at the school disco. Except I didn't even know these people: it didn't matter a jot that they were in another computer in another room in another country.Continue reading "LONG LIVE THE BLOG"
Posted by stupot at 07:49 PM Thursday 10 Jan
The weather was fairly average when we left Glasgow, for the time of year. With our destination as wild and remote as Tiree there was no-one expecting calm and sunshine though; hiking boots and layers kept us overdressed for what was a quiet International airport but requiring the usual ridiculous security search (I'm tempted to let my trousers drop every time I take off my belt such is my contempt for authority), blast of perfume and hanging about in the ground floor gate which preludes most light aircraft island flights.Continue reading "Tiree Automatic 3 Partick Thistle 0"
Posted by stupot at 05:05 PM Wednesday 2 Jan
Complexion - slightly sallow but a reasonable tan (automatic light correction helps the photo)
Almond topping - pleasingly adequate and nicely browned
Almond centre - a healthy amount of paste without going overboard (it is, contrary to popular belief, possible)
Dough - slightly dry and lets the side down
Overall - A decent effort but obviously mass manufactured 6/10
Posted by stupot at 12:00 PM Sunday 21 Oct
BRAEMAR - GRANTOWN-ON-SPEY
(the hardest) 46 miles (of my life)
So we realise after three days on the bike that we a) need to stretch before and after cycling and that b) Autumn has arrived. Which is fine as Braemar has a nice wee outdoors shop to pick up hats and gloves. We decide against the detour to Ballater to pick up cycling specific stuff as the staff at BRAEMAR MOUNTAIN SPORTS are so friendly and honest (there was also a sales bucket). They tell us how many proper ascents we have to climb and, crucially, where the best place to stop is. Firstly though we need to stop for good coffee in the village and plumb for TASTE... which is positively avant garde for the Highlands. There is no tartan and no carpet: controversial stuff. The coffee though, is not bad, and we march on our merry way.Continue reading "Laughing at Walls"
Posted by stupot at 04:08 PM Tuesday 18 Sep
GLEN PROSEN - BRAEMAR
When I planned this trip I didn't actually know that there was a significant climb north before the Lecht. Hazy, non-cycling, teenage memories of Braemar and Blairgowrie did nothing to remind me of Glenshee - all I could remember was a ski hire joint in Blairgowrie - and we didn't even go back to visit. Useless!
The snaking around the outcropping Eastern Cairngorms / Angus Glens was enough of an early morning wake up call and the gels were certainly being being broken out today. The overall height not the issue but the constant steep troughs.
Posted by stupot at 11:04 AM Tuesday 18 Sep
PITLOCHRY - GLEN PROSEN VILLAGE
It was a jolly, coffee and cake, start to our second day at the welcoming CAFE BIBE: the raspberry bakewell was amazing and they were cool about putting another shot in a weak coffee. Oblivious to the weather forecast for the coming few days we dragged ourselves up and over the first climb of the day. This recurring theme is obviously a side-effect of taking quiet B-roads. Like any other modern dilemma, you have to weigh up if the side-effect is worth while to make life more positive. Of course, on roads where sheep out-number motor vehicles, the decision is easy. The road to Kirkmichael was a joy and we rolled down toward the village for more coffee and cake at THE VILLAGE SHOP, eschewing energy bars for the time being.
Posted by stupot at 06:08 PM Sunday 16 Sep
RANNOCH STATION - PITLOCHRY
I'd had a brief week after our holiday in Turkey with some late nights and weekend working and so was looking forward to getting away again for some physical excertion and spending some time in a part of the country I (realised last year whilst driving through) have sadly neglected from my travels.
I'd mapped and calculated the route 2 months previously, booked the accomodation and then basically gotten back to a very heavy shift of work. As with 2011, there were last minute adjustments to the bike (at Rannoch Station) and also a reminder of the route on the train up. We were only focussed on the fist day and it was to be a pretty straight forward roll to Pitlochry so we got moving along the lochside and headed toward Kinloch Rannoch past silver birch, fern, the first of many serious (victorian) civil engineering projects and toward lunch. I'd been to the village in my childhood but more recently in June to visit Mr Penman so I was confident the hotel would do alright scran.
The pub at the back was closed so we were ushered in to the Hotel proper with it's tired surroundings, tired music and tired staff. They were actually playing bagpipe laments at lunch time - "the older clientele like it". Amongst sporadic chat the visitors looked like suicide might be an agreeable alternative, the saving grace being a baby's gurgling and a stuffed, ginger badger that Ross had found an affinity with. A young Caribbean guy came in with three 50 somethings. I met him outside when we were packing up as he had come out for a macdoobie. Grenadan's certainly show up locals for friendliness and welcome. On the way out the young staff had suggested that playing popular music would be "a tragedy" so I started singing the Bee Gee's classic as we left them to their 1970's tartan take on tourism.Continue reading "GOING COLD TURKEY"
Posted by stupot at 05:17 PM Sunday 16 Sep