I’ve had some positive comments on the book recently:
I think Michael’s comments serve to highlight one of the aspects or even themes of the book; the search for a soul within cycling and how it’s becoming lost under a welter of consumerist impulses. It’s evident in the amalgamation of cars and bikes as fetish objects, something I’ve written about before at the highest end, but is also now available at a Vauxhall dealership near you…
In this vein, there was an article in the Observer this weekend that explored life at Dulwich Hamlet FC. It seemed to be trying really hard to establish a causal link between hipsters (public enemy number 1) and a grass-roots, authentic footballing experience. It failed. Nonetheless, it’s a great article that looks carefully at the slow tide against the corporate experience that is modern day professional sport. It’s well worth a read. If you like football but feel uneasy at the obscene amounts of cash involved, or love cycling but bridle at the relentless zippsworks commodification of something unerringly simple, then Dulwich Hamlet, or FC United, or any unsponsored cycling club, are the real deal, not a purloined version of authenticity with money at the heart of aspiration.
Of course, I’ve had some negative comments about the book, none more so than Sir Michael Of Hutchinson, who seems to have looked at one picture caption and formed a judgement of the whole tome:
I’m surprised. I thought he was joking at first, perhaps ‘his idea of a plug’ as another esteeemed bikewriter suggested, but he then waded in to anyone who questioned his reading (or non-reading) of the text. Either way, it was a bit of a disappointment. I don’t know if it’s a case of hopeless romanticism, by I imagined that established writers might be prepared to look at a whole text before making a snap judgement. Equally, I imagined they might be supportive of new writers, rather than publicly airing injudicious comments to their 23,000 acolytes. I can only conclude that the monstrous TT behemoth is either a touch thin-skinned or not happy that someone else has written about him, as opposed to him writing about himself. He always seemed like a reasonable chap to me when I met him at TTs (albeit in full fanboy mode), as documented on this blog. I received an articulate response from another CTT National champion:
I had to look up the word ‘sook’. It’s a good one. I will be using it forthwith at every possible opportunity.
Perhaps I’ve missed something, beyond my unconscious and cunningly concealed, snide implication that if the National Hill Climb Championship features ‘Michael Hutchinson and a drainage van, riding downhill on a time trial bike, in a hill climb’, then it might not be the most appropriate event for the discipline, given that none of these things (Michael Hutchinson, drainage van, downhill, time trial bike) feature in any other hill climbs, apart from one other atypical dragfest when it was really really flat and lasted for 17 minutes with a 20mph average speed for the winner.
As for the number of people you can please at a given moment in time; the adage remains true.