Monday, February 14, 2011

Any colour, so long as it's...

I remember (maybe through rose-tinted glasses?) choosing my first new bike in about 1958.
Drooling in the bike-shop window & pouring over the catalogues.

Bikes then were brightly coloured.
The one I chose was mainly in metallic middle blue, with panels of light blue outlined by fine multicoloured lines.
The bottoms of the forks were chromed, as were all the other steel bits.
The frame joints were elaborate-shaped lugs, outlined for show.
The rest was polished alloy.
With white hand grips & brake-lever covers.
And white-wall tyres.
Jewellery for boys!
All for £17-10s.

I just ordered a new bike.
It is going to cost 60 times as much, which is way more than any inflation data would allow...
For the frame, I had the choice between drab battleship grey & black.
The just-announced 11-speed gear hub (critical factor in this purchase) is light alloy, but black.
The alloy handlebars are - black.
With black grips.
The extra-cost adjustable handlebar stem - black.
Seat pillar - black.
Brakes - black.
Brake levers - you guessed it.
Alloy cranks - yep!
Saddle too.
And rims.
And tyres...

Maybe I can find a red bell?

Of course, I should have expected this.
You only have to sample any crowd to see that 80-90% of people are wearing black, black & black.
So I suppose bike manufacturers are just responding to current taste.
What a waste!

Parting thot: "I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars." - Og Mandino

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


If you look up our address in Google Maps (I am not publishing it - just believe me) you will find yourself some way down a disused road, beyond a No Entry sign.

Likewise, if you are a tradesman trying to find us by GPS, there is a 50% chance that you will get to the No Entry sign & have to phone for guidance.
Actually, we are now so used to this, that we usually manage to warn potential visitors beforehand.
But not always.

It seems that all map publishers (even Michelin) get their information from one of two sources.
NAVTEQ in USA & Tele Atlas in the Netherlands (now taken over by TomTom).

NAVTEQ has us correctly positioned.
Tele Atlas has chosen, taking itself for a tornado or angry deity, to uproot our whole road & dump it half a mile away, in no-mans-land.

Now both providers have special sites where they invite the public to provide feedback to correct errors:
Tele Atlas even sends you a polite e-mail with 32-digit reference number (they expect that many errors?) for your contribution, so you can follow its progress.

The only problem is that there is no progress.
I reported my problem first in April 2007, then again in January 2009 & August 2009.
Then the Mairie (town hall) had a go in October 2009.
And I tried again yesterday.

I am wondering what I need to do to grab their attention.
Immolation is out of the question.

Parting thot: "Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible." - Tony Robbins