Rouleurs and Readers,
Welcome to this, our first Braes City Rouleurs blog. Get yirself clipped in and jump on that metaphorical bike. This will be a short, and technical ‘stage race’ through the ages. It’s an inventive parkour. Easy on the legs, a little tougher on the brain. Setting off from First Wheel City, through Computerville, right up to whence The Braes City Rouleurs came to roll (on) the Highlands, Islands and roads of bonnie Scotland.
Lets get pedalling…
Story goes like this.
In the beginning, before God created house music, a hairy dude in a cave carved a wheel.
Not much happened with that wheel, apart fae the odd cart or chariot with blade and/or spike protrusions. Nothing to get too excited about. Unless you were getting chased that is.
So lets take a Vincenzo Nibali style sticky bottle and accelerate through a few millennias. Stopping off at the bottom 1800s Germany in a Bavarian BeirKeller for some well earned hydration . Time travelling is exhausting you know! But what’s this before oor very eyes. A dude rolling along on two wheels? It cani be? Is that Marty Mcfly? Naw It’s that kaiser, Baron Karl (with a K) Von Drais on a his ‘Dandy horse’. Yes, you read correct. The ‘Dandy horse’ or Laufmaschine as it was more parochially known.
In essence this was a running machine, akin to the rather ‘Dandy’ balance bikes that oor wee toddlers use tae burn off their rather excessive consumption of deep fried Mars Bars and cans of Irn Bru. (Aw bless their wee ginger Barnet’s). Stereotyping to the side. It was the dogs danglies of the day, with the added benefit of having alot less shit tae deal with than a horse.
Now a few metaphorical beers and a hundred years tae the wind. Best we head away from Bavaria and’ Laufmaschines’ and get back on the road, to good old blighty. Right Into the thick of WW2, where genius Alan Turing (of the AI test) and his cohorts were inventing one of the first modern day computers. (That’s when they weren’t cracking German codes in WW2 that is. Idle hands in awe that.)
Next we are going to take Mark Renshaw’s wheel in the HTC Columbia lead out train, muscle our way through the Peloton of Microchips, Apple 1s, Amstrad’s, Spectrums, Amiga’s, LAN’s etc. and get dropped off 2nd wheel with 250metres to go from the Champs du Internet revolution line.
Aye computers were good but they wurnae a great invention ( mountains without roads). Basically massive pocket calculators until they could exchange/transfer the information held on them.
Yi cani whack a good bit academia to make bold steps for mankind and thats what four universities did in the 80’s. Creating the first wide area network, so they could exchange information from computer to computer. Lets call it the internet for arguments sake. Arguably, one of the greatest, yet newest inventions ever . Could you imagine life without internet now? Or maybe you could and that’s why you get out on your bike to escape it?
That technological road over that mountain has now been laid and It doesn’t take long for the computer revolution to take its Grand Depart (tae Yorkshire) .
Next thing personal computers are flying into homes faster than TUE applications to the UCI before Le Tour. Satellites are fizzing out into space, like Bidons to the kerb after a feed stop.
Getting tired yet? Hang in, we are deep into the stage and now face a kicking steep climb into the 2000s. Fear not, we have our road captain Steve Jobs to pace us up. But first, I’ll send him back to the League of Innovators Team Car for gels and water to prepare for the final push to the pinnacle of this story. But, awe naw …snaw! He returns absent of gels and water (Lazy hippy mutha $£@$%). Instead he produces the gateway drug into a life of tech slavery from his black turtle necked jersey. Aye, the worlds first smartphone( and a chorus of Oohs and aahhs ripple around the world). WTF Mr apple Snapple!
I wanted a caffeine gel not a third hand! But since your here, let me see it, so I can peruse pictures of friends holding up pints of lager at Airports!!
The APP industry explodes with activity and invention. Just like the peloton did when Movistar hit the front on the run into Blockhaus right after Team Sky get wiped out by a Police bike during Giro 2017 Sneaky little f*****s. But it doesn’t stick and there is a breakaway.
Two yahoos on a sabbatical from Yahoo, see a chance to take advantage of this Machiavellian Movistar attack and jump off the front of the pack. The gap grows and they decide they would like a time check with the rest of the peloton. They stop, brainstorm, take a think shower and whatever else silicone valley, start up, blue sky chat they do. They come up with the idea for a group platform messaging service called ‘What’s App’ ( Intended to sound like the Budweiser frog advert. Remember ‘Whass uppp’?)
With ‘Whats App’ all of a sudden team’s everywhere find it so much easier to co-ordinate movements, regroup and discuss tactics.
In fact, getting a Whats App going is easy as A-B-C or 1-2-3 & 4
- Create group
- Add participants to group
- Name group. (Pick functional or funny name. Ours, was a play on the Braes area of Falkirk where we live, with those tartan rockers of the 70s ‘The Bay City Rollers’.
- Type a group message and send. (Then wait for your phone to sparkle up like a clear arctic sky, when it’s recipients ping back notifications. Apologies to my friends. It didn’t take long for this notification function to spoil the amor/zzz time in the bedroom and thus was disabled. Hence my rather tardy response time)
Early adopters i.e our little merry band of drunks, muso’s and miscreants, just so happened to be getting into cycling and quickly embraced this nifty little invention for its simplicity in delivering ‘team coms’. Through this galvanising medium, arranging adhoc rides became easy peasy lemon squeazy (Hey, great, no need to meet up down the pub noo to make plans. Wait a minute? where did all the pubs go?) NOTE to self: Huge advances in technology, doesn’t always bring solutions and salvation.
In truth, It was a bit slow to start with. First Call to action:
“Hey who wants to come out for a ride the morra morning at 8. Not too far 20 miles or so?”
Response 1: “f%$k off, it’s 2am and I’m still in the pub”
Response 2: “ Wife’s working and I’ve got to watch the kids, watching the telly”
Response 3 “ Who the f&%k are you?”
Awrite, so a little problematic initially, but soon we were grasping it like jelly beans at a feed stop. Now? Our ‘whats app’ cup spilleth over. There’s chat and alot of. Mostly bikes, wine, life, music, art, wine, races, wine, bikes, cheese, music and there’s also a little bit of wine chat…you catch my drift. ( we still occasionally arrange rides).
So there you have it. The time line of The Braes City Rouleurs. All the way from carving a wheel, to creating an app, to riding bikes.
Cave Man + German Barons + Cracking codes + Information exchange+ Tech slavery + Music – pubs** = The Braes City Rouleurs
Bet yir thinking,’ F**k me, that’s a whole lot of evolution (not a Led Zeppelin song) and invention to get folks out riding their bikes’, right? Correct and that’s why we plan to use this ‘gift’ ( tongue firmly in cheek) wisely.
Let’s nurture it. In-fact, lets feed it some Contador steaks and breath a Salbutamol inhaler into it. Blow this ‘mo-fo’ up from a group chat, to an online peloton for our kindred creative and curious rouleur types alike.
Thats where we stand now. This move into website territory wasn’t part of the game plan. For starters there never was a game plan. Just kindred spirits who liked bikes and the great outdoors. This just happens to be the next frontier or evolutionary techno-step. “One giant leap for The BCR, one small step for mankind.”
But this wont be the usual cycling website; Gear reviews, Strava feeds etc. Aye, for Sure( (Graeme Souness styli) we will have a lot of chat and articles on cycling,with the odd nod and a wink to strava, but we will be broadening our viewpoint. Exploring the sub culture , species and creative spirits that migrate towards this ” way of life”.
So here we are at the Edge of today , the first stretch of tomorrow . Let’s roll with it!
Come along for the ride. We will bring you;
- Long form adventure stories .( Ride to the Sun, The Tour of The Highlands and Ventoux)
- A Weekly ‘Rolling with’ blog. A collection of tastes, sounds and rides that a BCR rider has indulged in that week. P.S. Expect eclectic and wildly differentiating tastes
- We will also be taking submissions from guest Authors.
- We will be showcasing and celebrating local musicians and artists that tickle our fancy.
- We will also be specially curating for you; our fellow Rouleurs. Products that we know would be the ‘ danglies’ in your Cycling wardrobe, Bike set up and/or general lifestyle.
Here we are ( Yes a Bloc Party song). Almost at the end of our virginal blog post.
So welcome and from here on and in; enjoy our musings, mutterings, scribblings, and general bonhomie. If you like it? Share it with like minded souls out there.
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Last but not least.
‘Get out and ride. After all, It’s the unseen around every corner…that stops us riding in bus lanes.’
*For factual accuracy. What’s app wasn’t to blame for the decline of the great Scottish pub. Tesco and reality TV were.
**one day a pub will be our clubhouse!