Drifting home on Upper Street, N1, out on the white line avoiding conflict with anyone creeping out of White Lion Street or sweeping into Liverpool Road. Sitting comfortably just inside the plume of turbulent air towed by a number 73 bus, spying on the driver through the wing mirror and waiting for her to cut left into the lay-by along the elevated pavement and launch me toward Islington Green.
My attention is caught by an advert on the back of the giant rolling windbreaker. It seems Schwalbe have launched a limited edition London-branded range of their excellent tyres.
A small social advance since the days when contented cyclists could wait behind buses reading ‘Don’t just sit their fuming’, courtesy of Friends of the Earth.
Nor are Schwalbe the only German company who’ve noticed that some people in London, England even the British Isles, ride bikes. My old mate – OK I once had a chat with him at a trade show – Hartmut Ortleib has a new set of 30th anniversary bomb-proof bags.
You can now get a nice white, roll-top, fabric bucket printed with a handy map of our Irish Archipelago. Other charts are available for those with more ambition and time to go further, but there is – for example – no Italian edition.
Some people might say these examples of Germans thinking of English people on bikes only reveal the advance of mass customisation, techniques that combine economies of scale with short runs of niche products. I prefer to think of them as us unvanishing.