Tech Talk - Cockpits - Narrow Handlebars and Shorter Stems

I am constantly micro-adjusting the set-up on my bikes to find the most comfortable and powerful position. The latest upgrade to my road bike is a set of narrower Easton carbon handlebars and a shorter stem. It is a marked improvement. Here's why…

The standard large size road bike (56cm) will come with a 100mm stem and 42cm handlebars. Most 'racers' will whip that 'short' stem straight off, and replace it with anything up to 130mm in length. Most will stick with the 42cm width handlebars though. Both of these choices seems increasingly illogical, in my opinion…

Stem Length The main motivation for opting to upsize a stem seems to be "it's what the Pro's do".

The trend for long stems in the pro peloton relates to the tradition of opting for a smaller frame size, something that was done in bygone years because it helped to reduce weight. Something that is largely unnecessary now, because all top-end bikes are under the UCI weight limit; yet the tra…

Review - Tom Oliver Vegan Protein Bars

I am not a vegan, and I don't really agree with those taking it on as a 'challenge' or 'diet'. The exception, is if it means individuals consume more whole-foods and less processed products. Tom Oliver Nutrition is all about this approach, and provide a nice range of vegan protein bars.

The protein in these bars comes from soy protein, which is a good alternative for those that can't consume whey protein, and don't like the taste of casein or hemp.
Slightly off-putting when initially looking at these bars, is that the most prominent ingredient is Maltitol - an alcohol sugar. Some research reveals that this is a safe and natural sweetener though, and a substitute for sugar in a lot of natural products. Further ingredients are Soy protein, organic cacao, natural oils, and fruit peel. All pretty natural.
The Tom Oliver Vegan Protein Bars taste good, if a little dry in texture. My favourite was the Chocolate Caramel version, which has nibbed peanuts as a toppi…

Kitting Up for TorTour Summer Cyclocross

Last February, I rode the TorTour Ultra-Cross Stage Race in Zürich. It entailed three stages of snow and sub-zero temperatures, but proved to be fantastic racing (read the report here). This year, I am heading to the Lucerne region of Switzerland for the inaugural TorTour Summer CX Ultra-Cross Stage Race.

This is what I'm packing…

The Event The TorTour CX is a three day programme: featuring a short prologue stage on the Friday afternoon, and then two longer weekend stages that head out into the challenging Swiss Alps. The total distance is 200 kilometres, almost entirely off-road on gravel paths and single-track.

I haven't ridden in Lucerne before, but I have visited on family walking holidays. It is a beautiful and challenging landscape, with steep alpine peaks punctuated by azure blue lakes.

Racing in February for the TorTour Winter CX demanded the best winter kit available; there aren't many situations where you are racing for four or five hours through the snow. Thi…

Review - Louri Bike Frame Storage Strap

With tyre sizes getting larger, and distances getting longer, there is an increasing demand to carry kit and spares with you when you ride. Strapping kit to the frame is an easy and simple way to safely carry it. The Louri straps allow you to securely transport anything from spare tubes to water bottles, with a robust and durable Velcro wrap.

During the #7Countries7Passes tour I used a strap similar to this to hold a spare tyre underneath the pannier rack. On endurance mountain bike rides, I have used a strap to carry a second inner tube and/or tubeless repair canister. You can even use these straps for carrying things like a packable waterproof jacket or food supplies.

The Louri strap is a well made (British made), and fun example of a frame strapping system. Available in multiple colours, and in two different sizes, there should be one that will fit your bike's colour scheme, and your carry demands.

I have tested the Louri strap with a spare bottle, as well as with an inner tub…

Review - Project E2 Nutrition - Endurance Specific Nutrition Products

Project E2 Nutrition is a new player in the sports nutrition market, but one that has set itself apart from the masses through a unique focus on endurance sports nutrition. I have been testing their products over the last few months, with some positive results and feedback.

About the BrandProject E2 Nutrition is a fresh off-shoot of globally renowned brand CNP Nutrition. Using the knowledge and experience gained from years of producing industry-leading sports nutrition, CNP have created Project E2 Nutrition with a specific focus of fuel and recovery for endurance athletes.
The RangeThe Project E2 collection is composed of a comprehensive range of pre, during, and post exercise products:

The DrinksThe drinks range from Project E2 is designed to give endurance athletes a complete pre, during, and post workout/race hydration strategy.
PRE Workout Drink MixThe PRE…

Review - OSMO Nutrition Hydration Drinks

Sports drinks may appear to be a homogeneous product; there are different brands and flavours, but don't they all do the same thing - supply our body with electrolytes and sugar to keep it going?

The short answer is no. Within the 'sports drinks' market there is huge variety: different sugars, different electrolytes, different compositions, and of course different flavours. The universal fact I suppose is that most contain some kind of sugar, though that is a weak unifying fact at best.

However, OSMO Nutrition breaks even that strand of similarity. The nutrition ethos behind this brand is that sugar should not come from your drink; rather drinks should be for hydration, and sugar should come from solids. It is an interesting approach and one that appeals to me as someone who suffers from gastric reflux with an overload of high-sugar drinks.

OSMO Preload Hydration Powder The first component of the OSMO Nutrition range is the OSMO Preload Hydration Powder. This works on the…

Review - Creative Nature Protein Flapjack Bars

Smart snacking isn't always easy. Taking protein rich snacks like nuts, hummus, or whey protein shakes with you can be tricky; it becomes even more difficult if you are nut intolerant or vegan. Creative Nature flapjacks are 100% natural high protein snacks, which are great for travelling and everyday snacking.

Made from a mix of oats, hemp protein, dried fruit, and seeds; they are gluten free, dairy free, nut free, and vegan. Despite sounding like they can barely contain anything with a 'free-from' list like that, they are surprisingly tasty and nutritious.

My favourite flavour is without doubt the Salted Caramel, which has that sought-after mix of sweet saltiness that I often crave when bike riding. The Apple Pie and Cacao Orange flavours are also very nice, and all three have found their way into my jersey pockets and rucksack on numerous occasions over the last month of testing.

The Creative Nature bars are natural, flavoursome, nutritious, and satisfying. If you are …