Temple Adventure bike preview: ‘Your hipster grandchildren will be fighting over it in 50 years’ | Martin Love

Made from ultra-durable steel, the new Adventure bike from Temple has its sights set on the horizon

Temple Adventure
£1,795, templecycles.com
Frame Reynolds steel
Brakes disc
Gears Shimano 105
Wheels Hunt

At its most basic, a bicycle is little more than a pedal-driven contraption to take you from A to B, with less effort than walking. But add some soul, imagination and design into the equation and you have a magical machine with the ability to transcend the everyday. Therefore, when you buy a new bike, be sure to spend time and care savouring what could be the start of a beautiful new relationship. Over at Temple Cycles, that decision starts with a cup of tea. The independent brand that started out in the west country now has a shop and factory in Bristol and a new branch in London. Anyone who pops in for a chat and a test ride will find a warm welcome. All their bikes are made using Reynolds steel and are built in the UK. Steel frames are strong, long-lasting and lightweight. These are bikes your hipster grandchildren will be digging out of your shed in 50 years’ time. One of Temple’s latest models is the Adventure. Fitted with Hunt wheels, disc brakes and Shimano’s ever-reliable 105 groupset, it’s the ultimate go-anywhere bike ready to traverse rough terrain, keep pace on tarmac or tour through hills – and be your action buddy.

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Somnox sleep robot – like being in bed with a baby Darth Vader

The kidney-shaped cushion comes with a birth certificate and mirrors your breathing patterns to help you nod off. I would rather spoon a fork

Once you cyborg, you never go borg? We’ll see. This week I am testing a sleep robot (£549, meetsomnox.com) that aims to banish insomnia, aiding natural rest and reducing stress. It is an example of soft robotics, and could be revolutionary in the field: most tech is hard-edged, and many overnight devices merely track sleep rather than promoting it. Somnox describes itself as a “sleep companion.” The kidney-shaped, possibly sentient cushion breathes softly in and out, and plays calming noises. The idea is that users hold it close to them in bed, building up an emotional bond over time. Every night, you breathe together in time until you fall sleep, perchance to dream of electric sheep.

There is obvious industry and sophistication here. The product is made of high-quality material, with nothing extraneous in the design. It is heavy – like organic-material heavy. It is the weight of a baby. And it is comforting, cushioned with foam and soft, thick fabric. We climb into bed and I switch it on. A warm light within the fabric comes to life, pulsing in and out. The robot has a soft belly part, which gently expands and deflates, with a noise like a discreet ventilator. I start getting a strange feeling in my belly, too. “Creating life is our design philosophy” is the chilling strapline printed on the “birth certificate” included with each purchase. “It took us nine months to create your new sleep companion, just like a real baby.” (I hope the process wasn’t exactly the same.) It is a weird timeframe. Nine months to R&D, prototype, test and market a complex robot sounds insufficient. Unless they are talking about the manufacture of the specific item I am holding, in which case that is way too long. You couldn’t scale a cookie business if each biscuit took a month to make.

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Autumn winds

We sometimes give a lot of importance to things which simply pass through the day. Might make life easier to observe our emotions and moods without holding onto them too firmly

The pure wind circles the earth and shakes it time after time,
But who can pluck it up and show it to you?

Keizan Jokin Zenji, (1300) Great Patriarch of Sōtō Zen Buddhism, Denkōroku, kōan collection w

I only get pleasure by squeezing my thighs together – will I ever enjoy sex?

I do not enjoy sex at all – and can only masturbate this way. Can I learn to move on?

I am a 22-year-old woman and have been bothered by a sexual issue for a few years. I do not enjoy sex at all (not just penetrative sex ). Even oral sex or stimulating the clitoris does nothing for me. I have been masturbating by squeezing my thighs together since I was very young and, even today, it is the only way I can feel any pleasure sexually. I wonder if I am simply unable to adapt to other methods. Can you advise me?

You are probably correct about being hampered by your well-entrenched masturbation style. It is not unusual for a person to develop self-pleasuring methods that do not easily bridge to sex with a partner. This happens over time – sometimes in response to environmental pressures. For example, children learn that they must be secretive about their sexual feelings and start to find ways of stimulating themselves without even using their hands. But you can change this. Start by summoning sexual thoughts and feelings without any physical motion. Once your desire is strong, embark on systematic discovery efforts by connecting the erotic fantasies with different types of movement, touching and strokes, incrementally departing from your preferred method. Spend time exploring sexual feelings that emanate from stimulation of many different parts of your genitals and non-genital parts of your body. By enlivening nerve-endings in areas you did not previously consider erogenous zones, you will begin to create more diverse pathways to pleasure – and will eventually be able to share these discoveries with a partner.

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Are pets really good for us – or just hairy health hazards?

Many animal-lovers think a cat or dog can help you live a longer, happier, healthier life. But does the science back them up?

My childhood dog was called Biff. Biff was a handful. He was a loud, cocky shetland sheepdog who oozed bravado and bravery. Yet, underneath it all, he struggled with the dog version of impostor syndrome. Biff was a bag of masked insecurity. He was like the kid in school who says he has seen all the scary movies, but refuses to go to any sleepovers where scary movies are played; the kid who has “a girlfriend at another school”. It was that fragile side I especially loved about Biff during my teenage years. We shared an insecurity that neither of us had the cognitive skills to put into words. This was a friendship – one that lasted as he grew older, grumpier and more infirm.

He was an exceptionally licky dog, and loved nothing more than slurping his tongue over our jeans, shoes, socks and coats. Officially, this behaviour was something we attempted to quash – but, every few nights, I would tiptoe into the kitchen and allow him to lick my naked hands and wrists to his heart’s content. For me, the sensation was tickly and calming, and never once disgusting, even though those around me told me it was not a good idea, mainly because it was highly likely that, on any given day, Biff had stuck his snout into some poor fox’s rotting cadaver. I didn’t care. I washed my hands like a surgeon afterwards, obviously. But it was what Biff wanted.

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‘You burned my bagel!’: how to let go of a workplace grudge

Ever found yourself hating a colleague for the most trivial of reasons? Of course you have. But with help you can move on …

How many grudges do you have at work? The workplace grudge can spring with equal force from small and large hurts. These may range – allow me to try to imagine – from the seemingly accidental negligence of the person who changed the toaster setting in the canteen so that your breakfast bagel burned, to the larger disappointment of being overlooked for a job. In my – former – workplaces, I visualised grudges as small red flags fluttering above the heads of certain colleagues. This can’t be healthy. So why are grudges so powerful, and what is the best way to manage them?

“As soon as you point the finger at someone who has wronged you, there are always three fingers pointing back at you,” says Steven Sylvester, a psychologist and the author of Detox Your Ego. According to Sylvester, all grudges predate themselves because they spring from a grudge-ready mindset.

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A process of becoming

Life is a process of becoming,

a combination of states we have to go through. 

Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it.

This is a kind of death.

Anais Nin

My tears as a junior doctor were a ‘flaw’ that, in psychiatry, became my greatest strength

I burnt out as a GP but in mental health I could take time with patients and, at last, make a difference

“If you’re going to reject me, then reject me,” I said. I was deep in the bowels of Leicester University, being interviewed for a place at medical school. I was 35, a fact the learned professor interviewing me returned to again and again. How would I cope with the workload? Would the four hours’ driving each day prove too much? How would I support myself through my studies? Concerns that travelled through my own mind. Unlike the questions I asked myself, though, the queries in that interview room were all prefixed with “at your age”. I didn’t see my age as a problem, and eventually I told him so.

“Reject me for the hundreds of reasons you reject people,” I continued, “but don’t reject me because of my date of birth. Your date of birth should be a bit like your National Insurance number. You need it occasionally, to fill in a form, but otherwise why not keep it at the back of a drawer and forget about it?”

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Is screen time damaging for your kids? No study can tell you that | Oliver Burkeman

Adjusting your behaviour to each new wrinkle in the science is a mug’s game

Is too much screen time bad for your kids? Don’t look to this column for an answer. The truth is, nobody knows. The unceasing pendulum of lifestyle advice is currently swinging through a “debunking” phase, with numerous articles insisting it’s all been a big panic over nothing. But that’s partly because a report published earlier this year, by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said there wasn’t enough evidence to give firm guidelines to parents. As the paediatricians explained, though, the key problem is that sufficient high-quality research has yet to be conducted – a conclusion that somehow got turned into this headline, on the parenting website Motherly: “How harmful is screen time for kids? Not as bad as we may think”. The article was sponsored by the US mobile company Verizon – though science has yet to inform us if this was a matter of causation or merely correlation.

Of course, there are valid research findings in this area: there’s evidence that excessive childhood TV time is correlated with obesity and poorer mental health, while social media use probably isn’t often a direct cause of teenage depression. And some studies are better designed than others. But neither opponents nor proponents of screen time have much incentive to mention a more unsettling fact – that it’s almost certainly impossible to know whether too much screen time would clearly damage your kids. The reasons aren’t surprising: human lives are extraordinarily complex things, and no study that aims to say anything meaningful about the population at large can do justice to the innumerable variables at work in your particular family.

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