It was back in April this year when I was asked if I fancied doing the Pedal for Scotland Sportive ride with my friends, Adrian, George and Paul. Envious of the good times they’d had on the several, sizeable cycling tours they’ve been on over the last few years I accepted the challenge straight away.
However, there were a couple of problems. Having given up on road biking for mountain biking back in the mid 90’s, I did not have a road bike. And, having been much slower to get on the bike in 2011, nor did I have the fitness for cycling the proposed 100 mile route from Glasgow to Edinburgh.
I felt I had the time to overcome both of those minor stumbling blocks, though, and made my mind up that after my trip to the Indy 500 I would throw myself into training.
In this day and age, I still buy CD’s. I like them. I like that I can put them on the shelf at home and, when I look at them in years to come, they’ll spark a memory from the time when I first listened to the music on them. I like that I can rip the music from them and stick it on my phone, my laptop, my NAS drive at home, or any future device I might choose to listen to music on.
It’s that last bit that highlights a problem, though, in that for the most part I rip CD’s one time at a reasonably high bit rate and then they sit on the shelf gathering dust with the others. So, as much as I like buying and owning CD’s – not to mention the thrill of the chase in various music stores – they are but a conduit in terms of getting the music to me.
A few years back I bought the odd single from 7Digital – more because I either couldn’t find a CD in the shops or online, or it was too expensive when I did. Then, one day, I bought a whole album. I thought I’d miss having a physical CD with a nice booklet, and that I wouldn’t be happy with the quality unless I’d ripped it myself with my own settings.
The reality was that it sounded just fine and, as it only cost £5, seemed like a reasonable trade off in terms of convenience versus the lack of physical album. In the last three years I’ve gone on to buy quite a few albums under the condition that they’re worth it if they cost a bit less than the album would in the shop. £5 or less is the sweet spot – any more than that and I start doing all sorts of price-per-track and price-per-good-track calculations to figure out what business strategy folk would probably call the value proposition.
For nearly twenty years it’s been a dream of mine to attend the Indianapolis 500. When I saw the event live on TV for the first time in 1993 and watched as Nigel Mansell came within touching distance of winning the race as a rookie, I made up my mind that some day I would sit in the stands to watch the race in person. In May this year that dream finally came true, and the following is a detailed account of my trip of a lifetime.