Race Report - The IOW 7 Hills - 'Bone Shaking. Record Breaking'

I love local races. There is something unique and special about competing close to home—the friendly faces and familiar surroundings produce a completely unique atmosphere. The '7 Hills' holds a particular place in my heart though, because 16 years ago it was my first ever mountain bike race. This year, it was all about setting a PB on the Isle of Wight course…

The Isle of Wight ClassicThe 26 mile race runs across the Island, from Freshwater Bay to Sandown Airport. It is an orienteering set-up, but along a pre-defined mostly signposted route; with 75 percent of it off-road along the central and southern ridges of the Isle of Wight.

Most previous editions of the annual race have been held in September, and I have competed in conditions ranging from scorching 'Indian Summer' heat, to Force 10 winds and torrential rain in the tail-end of a hurricane. The event has now shifted to a March date, which gives it far more of an early season 'Spring Classic' feel.

My fas…

Review - PEdAL ED Polartec Alpha Tokaido Wind Vest

The Polartec Alpha® Fabric is exceptional. Designed in collaboration with the U.S. Special Forces, it is made to be incredible light, insulating, and adaptable to varying temperatures. Japanese brand PEdAL ED have utilised the wonder fabric in the new Tokaido Wind Vest, and the results are good.

The Tokaido Wind Vest was designed by PEdAL ED after experiences in the Transcontinental Race and Silk Road Mountain Race—both ultra-distance cycling events, where kit is demanded to be super lightweight, and adaptable to incredibly varied temperatures.

The Tokaido uses Polartec Alpha in its purest form: with no internal lining or layering, so that the garment is super light and packable. On the outside of the vest is a lightweight windproof fabric to protect the wearer from wind-chill.

In terms of features, the Tokaido Wind Vest is refined for lightness. There are two large rear cargo pockets, a high-cut neckline, reflective detailing, and an internal pocket that the vest packs away into. I…

Review - Stance Off-Road and All-Road Cycling Socks

I first tried Stance socks a number of years ago, when I was sent a pair of their bright and colourful patterned running socks. The brand has an incredible following, and with good reason; the socks both perform superbly and look exceptional. Their latest jump into the world of cycling socks is an exciting new extension to the range.

Stance socks are made to look interesting and distinctive. Yet, unlike some 'standout brands' they also offer industry-leading performance in terms of cushioning, fit, and feel.

The two technologies that contribute most significantly to the performance of all the socks within the Stance range are the Feel360 supportive fit, and the silver ion fabric technology.

Good fitting socks make far more difference than people realise; a sock with the correct cushioning, arch support and heel support can make as much difference to comfort as the shoes that you wear. The Stance Feel360 technology provides a true wrap-around feel, which delivers great comfort…

Weekend Watch — 'PEDAL'

I came across this film earlier this week, and images from it have been flashing through my mind ever since. It makes me long for the open road again—for the escape and adventure.

This week I published a new blog: 'The Expedition Journals' — The sister  site to Life In The Saddle will be dedicated to long-form story telling from my biking, hiking, kayaking and running adventures.

Putting the new site together, and watching this short film reinforced something in my mind—I have a deep-seated love of 'the journey'—a desire to escape and see new places; whether by bike, boat, or on foot.

"Sometimes it breaks me. But mostly, it makes me..."
I am still putting together plans for my 2019 'Big Tour'—I am undecided on the destination, bike type, or distance.

When piecing together my ideas though, a particular quote from Hera's film comes to mind "you do not feel alone when you are out in the nature, but when you return to…

Review - Vaude Men's Steglio Softshell Winter Cycling Jacket

The Vaude Steglio Softshell Jacket is an innovative high performance winter cycling jacket; featuring a superb fit, deep winter insulation, and an eco-friendly weatherproof shield. It is packed full of well thought-out design elements, and much like other Vaude kit I have tested it is standing up admirably well to a winter of use and abuse.

The Steglio Windproof Softshell Jacket is a two layer jacket. The inner fabric is a soft brushed fleece material, which traps in valuable body heat. The outer is a windproof softshell material and uses Vaude's unique S-Cafe® oil coating (derived from used coffee beans!) to provide an eco-friendly non-PFC water-repellent finish.

The fit of the Steglio jacket is articulated and close fitting, but it has room for layering. The sleeves feature contoured seams to provide a comfortable fit when in the riding tuck; while the long low cut of the back panel provides protection from rear wheel spray, and the hem is held firmly in place by a gripper arou…