If it’s too good to be true…
I don’t even know where to begin with this one, except to say, WTF?
The registration just opened. I am not going next year. It is a week later than this year’s edition, so it will hopefully be a bit warmer on the day. If interested, go here.
By the way, 50% of the spots for the Ronde van Vlaanderen Cyclo have already been taken. If interested, go here and register soon.
I just figured out what the above represents. I had thought that it was something else. Then, I noticed that the context sometimes didn’t gel with what I thought it represented but thought to myself, ‘horses for courses’. I didn’t think much of it until I realised recently that many women use it too, and I thought, ‘That’s odd…’
Apparently, there is a certain convention on what to do, and not to do, when overtaking another cyclist. It is similar to that of overtaking another motorist on the motorway. If you are going to overtake someone, then you should not overtake only to leapfrog in front of the person you’re overtaking. Rather, you should continue to maintain a faster pace such that you lose that person. Otherwise, you are just being a bell-end. I agree with this view in principle. However, I might be a little more flexible in practice depending on circumstance.
I pootled to and from Yerseke in the Netherlands the other day and was overtaken twice, in contrasting manners. The first was when I was still in Belgium, at the northern bit of the Port of Antwerp. He leapfrogged me and settled 2 bike lengths ahead of me. There was considerable headwind that morning, so I just tucked in behind him. And, voilà, no more headwind for me, at least for perhaps 5 km until he turned off at a junction. Therefore, I was quite pleased that he just leapfrogged me. On the other hand, his riding form was such that his joints seem to be moving in all directions and made me wonder if I pedal like that too. Not a particularly attractive sight.
Shortly after I entered the Netherlands, 3 pensioners on aluminium rigs overtook me. They said hello as they went past — it seems all roadies in the Netherlands greet each other, whilst the mountainbikers all seemed to be having a crummy Saturday or maybe they were just visiting from abroad, like me. The grandpas were going at a furious pace. They had beautiful, smooth pedalling form and soon disappeared from sight. It was obvious that they had about a zillion miles in their legs. I still don’t understand how they disappeared so quickly because we were in the midst of flat, empty fields that stretched for miles, with nowhere to hide, not even hedges. So, the 3 old men overtook me the proper way, and it was impressive. They ticked all the boxes: decorum, speed and form.
The first guy was useful given the headwind, but I have to admit that the 3 grandpas set the standard.
Uggs Australia are celebrating their 35th anniversary this month.
Someone by the name of Tacey Powers who works for the American department store chain Nordstrom said, ‘They are part of the everyday wardrobe. You own a sneaker, you own a flip-flop, you own an Ugg.’
I’m reconsidering my sexual orientation.
But wait, Uggs first gained popularity with male surfers in Southern California.
OK, so that rules out the entire cast of Baywatch. Where do I turn now?
I cycled past lots of sheep the other day. They are really not very pretty… The face, the posterior, the legs, the waist… not much to look at. (OK, they do have thin ankles…) They don’t even have a suprasternal notch… And, they turn into Uggs. Er… no.
Adam Glassman of O, The Oprah Magazine said that ‘Every high-end designer has done a version of Uggs in his or her own line.’ Well, yes, not really. Manolo Blahnik did a pair. If Manolo did a pair, then you could conceivably say that everyone’s done one because even if that is not factually correct, it may as well be because there is Manolo and there is everyone else.
However, Manolo did not do a version of Uggs as part of his line. That is a statement too far. He did a pair to be auctioned off for the benefit of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in 2009. It was a one-off.
It was not a lapse in judgement. Sometimes we do stuff for charity.
on a daily basis
on a regular basis
on an annual basis
So, is there anything wrong with ‘daily’, ‘regularly’ or ‘annually’, or is it all a bit inadequate without mentioning ‘basis’ and having a lower word count, given one less prepositional phrase?
WARNING: This post contains reference to Rapha.
A brand represents a point of view manifested by a compendium of tangible and intangible elements such as products, logos, styling, photographs, video, texts, colours, tone of voice, visual merchandising, service and anything else that is perceptible by others. A strong brand has a strong point of view.
Not having a strong point of view is being generic. Being generic is the antithesis of being a brand. A brand must be differentiated. It must stand out from the rest.
Having a strong point of view necessarily polarises the audience. There will be fans, and there will be haters. A strong brand ought to have at least 3 haters for each fan. For every person a brand delights, it should wind up at least another 3. Of course, winding up people is not the objective, just a by-product of delighting those that are like-minded and share the clearly articulated values and spirit of the brand. The haters, as much as the fans, validate the fact that the brand’s point of view is worthy of consideration.
Rapha have a strong fan base. They have come a long way in a short time. Thanks to the founders’ vision, particularly Luke Schybeler’s aesthetic vision, they have a powerful brand with a distinct point of view. They are also blessed with a gaggle of haters. The Internet is awash with Rapha haters; they can’t stop talking about Rapha.
Bottom line, the Rapha brand fascinates people.
Occasionally, one comes across a hater in the flesh, and they tend to be amusing encounters.
Just after the Troisvilles-à-Inchy cobbled sector in this year’s Paris-Roubaix Challenge, there was a Brit standing at the side of the road wagging his pump, indicating that he needed help. I had a little tumble at the beginning of the previous sector and fell behind my group. I wanted to catch up with the boys but decided to stop and help the guy, remembering the kindness I received from a Dutchman during last year’s l’Eroica. As he told me that he needed to borrow a pump because his broke, I saw him look me over and noticed that a subtle but definite tenseness surfaced on his face. I was wearing Rapha neck to toe. He was similarly in Castelli. I knew what that look was about, but I tried to make small talk about the evil cobbled stretches. Of course, he was in no mood for a chat with some guy wearing Rapha kit. He just pumped up his tyre, thanked me and was on his way as if he was escaping from something. By this time, there was no hope in catching up with my group, so I just chuckled at the episode and continued at my own pace.
One of my cycling friends absolutely loves commenting on Rapha kit. He is an Assos fan and has declared on more than one occasion that he would never buy Rapha. Nevertheless, he cannot help commenting on Rapha. You would be forgiven for thinking that he is an undercover PR agent on Rapha’s payroll. By the time he says, ‘Assos make the best kit’, he has already mentioned Rapha on half a dozen occasions. And, he would mention Rapha again several times before he makes another short and unmemorable remark about Assos. Furthermore, his comments about Rapha tend to provoke a comment or two, positive or otherwise, from others within earshot, but his comments about Assos attract no reactions. He helps to keep Rapha firmly on the radar screen whilst ensuring that Assos may, at best, provoke a yawn. Very useful, these haters. Alongside the brand evangelists, they are the co-stars of a marketer’s wet dream. I would think that Rapha adore the sound of haters unwittingly but enthusiastically kissing their backside, at no charge.
As I mounted my bike in foggy Oudenaarde, it was 2°C. I looked up at Sint Walburga Church and had Adele belting out Skyfall in my head. A good start, as far as my mental state was concerned.
After pootling along the canal for about 12.5 km, I got to Oude Kwaremont, the first climb of the day, not realising it was Oude Kwaremont. Halfway up the gradual, cobbled climb, I already felt completely spent and was being reminded of the fact that I had returned relatively late the night before from an afternoon in Paris. When I came by the familiar pub at the summit, I realised that I was on Oude Kwaremont. Yep, I remember the important things.
Later, I was a bit surprised that I actually made it up Paterberg even though the rear wheel was struggling to keep traction on the moist cobbles. However, when I got to Koppenberg, the cobbles were wetter for some reason, and my rear wheel just didn’t want to hug the cobbles any more at about the halfway point. I had Dead or Alive’s Spin Me Round playing in my head. Unfortunately. I just couldn’t keep pedalling with Pete Burns’s face on my mind. If you don’t believe me, then do try climbing Koppenberg whilst thinking about Pete Burns.
So, I thought, ‘Sod it’ and headed back to Oudenaarde to pig out on some carbonade flamande at the Brasserie De Flandrien of the Centrum Ronde van Vlaanderen. With a bit of the ‘better than EPO’ and a bit of the ‘approved by WADA’… The brasserie’s members of staff are always friendly, so it is always a pleasure to visit even if I had a crummy morning in the saddle.
They have not grasped the fact that an escalator keeps moving at least as long as people are on them, that it does not stop moving people forward unless it breaks down or the emergency stop button is pressed.
They do not keep walking or step to the side when they get off an escalator. They look like they just entered a twilight zone as they got off the escalator, perhaps wondering about which way to go, now that they actually need to propel themselves, or they are just in awe that something just carried them forward, upward or downward.
I am in awe that there seems to be so many of these virgins out and about unsupervised. Please, someone put a collar and fixed length lead on each of them.
Glass half full…