11 april 1998

Value Judgement

When I entered the grand world of cycling in a proper way instead of playing on a terrible ten speed racer, i bought a Muddy Fox Courier for £300 which, if the the blurb of the day were to be believed was what companies like to call a 'loss leader'. Just so that you and I know that we are talking the same language (not that you have to admit to it mind), this infers that the product - in this case the aforementioned Muddy Fox Courier - was being sold at cost price or very, very near to it.

This was in 1987 when £300 was £300 and, apparently, a ludicrous amount of money to spend on a bicycle and when mountain bikes were a bit heavy and had 'only' 18 gears (yes indeed, how did we manage?). You will not believe this, but it had bolt on front and rear wheels with 2" rims, a 48 tooth outer chainring (stop laughing at the back please) and friction shift gears made by Suntour. I am considering submitting this article for a PhD in ancient history when i've finished.

Anyway, just before I digress further and lose the plot altogether, I shall attempt to return to the unexplained plot. It is my great good luck to have more than a passing nod in the direction of the latest technology that the bicycle industry has to offer and I have seen much of its current fare clothed as the 1998 range. This provides a frame of only slightly inferior grade but probably lighter than the behemoth just described, twenty one gears, fully indexed (too difficult to explain in a family newspaper) using EZ Fire shifters permanently married to the alloy brake levers and with Hyperglide rear sprockets providing shifting under load with nary a hitch, glitch or crunching noise from the back wheel. Gasp if you must, but both front and rear wheels are fitted with quick release skewers, narrow alloy rims and an alloy micro adjust seatpost. All this costs marginally more than half what I paid for my Muddy Fox Courier about ten years ago. Who says civilisation is on the decline?

By the way, I have had an absolute landslide of communication (one e-mail and a passing nod in the Co-op) enquiring as to whither goeth this column of the past few issues. As a regular practitioner of the ancient art of pretending to be a fit old(ish) person, I have been whizzing about, hoping that fluorescent yellow is a colour and desperately trying to encourage my cycle computer that it can display more than a single digit at a time. This leaves little time or energy to compose irrelevant doodlings so there haven't been any. Subject closed but feel free to ask.

if any of the trainee teachers in hong kong are reading - "hello" and also to whoever resides at cafe7@cafeinternet

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

if you're a colnago owner or fan, take the time to join the colnago owners club. e-mail steve@colnago.demon.co.uk for more details.

this column appears with varying frequency in the dead tree version of the ileach but appears, regular as clockwork, on this website every two weeks. sometimes there are bits added in between times, but it all adds to the excitement.

it has also decided to be the unofficial graeme obree web column when there is anything of note to report. i doubt if graeme knows this.


graeme obree has now officially abandoned his attempt on the world hour record saying that the uci restrictions on what goes and does not go in the realms of bicycle and bar design does not allow him to produce enough power to reclaim the record from chris boardman. boardman claimed the record using graeme's 'superman' position which was subsequently banned by the uci. this now means that any other rider attempting the hour must find another position that will allow them to compete on level ground. surprisingly, abraham olano has indicated that he might have a go later this year.

in a surprising move, filming is due to start in the summer of this year on a movie about the life and times of graeme obree. now making a documentary about the chap seems like a particularly smart idea but a documentary this is not. apparently a well known scottish actor has already been offered the part of graeme and the director is the very same person who directed braveheart. i'm wondering who'll get the part of chris boardman since i can't see how they can miss him out of the movie. promises to be funny and serious and it couldn't happen to a nicer chap.

watch this page for further weird tales of the great, but strange, graeme obree.