Review - Tune Dreckschleuder MTB Wheel Set

It is common to hear "the best upgrade you can make to your bike is a new wheel set". That is not strictly true, but undoubtedly good wheels ensure you get the most from your frame and components, and it is often the item skimped on when a manufacturer builds up a bike. I fitted the Dreckschleuder wheel set from German manufacturer Tune to my Kona Rove for the #RoadsFromRome. This, no question, was an incredible upgrade...

Understanding wheel upgrades… Before jumping into the review proper, I think it helps to consider why a new wheel set could be an upgrade to a bike:
Rolling Resistance - The first is rolling resistance, or rather the ability to reduce rolling resistance. Consider that every time your wheels rotate you are relying on the numerous bearings inside the hubs to make it as smooth and as friction-free as possible. Therefore good quality bearings, with good quality seals to keep out the friction-inducing muck, will make a huge difference to the effort-required and…

Travel More - Cycling South Tyrol's Dolomites

I have ridden many of the mountain ranges of Europe; the Alps, the Pyrenees, the Central Massif, and many lesser known but equally challenging areas. Yet, one region clearly tops them all for me — the Dolomites.

The Dolomites always deliver. The mix of single-track roads and stunning mountain passes such as Timmelsjoch and Stelvio make it a diverse and challenging place for road cyclists. The brutally steep climbs and twisting gravel paths under the ski lifts make for incredible off-road riding. Then, for the more leisurely days, the pristine bike paths through the vineyards and orchards are pure tranquillity.

I rave about the riding in the Dolomites so much that I decided it was about time I wrote a post about it. There are many great parts to the Dolomites mountain range, but in this post I decided to focus on making the town of Merano a base, and look in detail at the routes and climbs you can reach from this stunning South Tyrolean province.

How to get there… First things first:

Review - Spurcycle Bicycle Bell

Some bells are better than their counterparts. Louder, clearer, more melodic, and crucially able to deal with repeated 'dinging'. I used to destroy those cheap plastic bicycle bells every few months on my commute (I am no shy dinger). But then I got sent a Spurcycle Bicycle Bell. It is the business.

The Spurcycle Bicycle Bell is not cheap — it's £49.99 RRP. That means it needs to be damn durable to outlast the equivalent number of plastic bicycle bells that could have been purchased for the same amount of cash. This bike bell is a thing of beauty though, and really does tick all the boxes.

The Spurcycle bell is precision made in the United States of America. It comes in a classic pure metal finish, or in a matt black coating. Its compact all-metal construction (even the strap that goes around the handlebar is metal) means that it looks and feels like it will last a lifetime of aggressive dinging. And, that dinging is a good ding...

The Spurcycle bell sounds with a clear, …

Review - Schwalbe Racing Ray / Racing Ralph MTB Tyre Combo

Selecting MTB tyres for cross country racing and riding always seem to be a compromise to me; a delicate balance between grip and traction for technical sections, versus the need for light weight and fast rolling performance. The new Racing Ray and Racing Ralph combination from Schwalbe promises to overcome the compromise, and deliver on both fronts; through specific tread designs for front and rear wheel.

Schwalbe Racing Ray - Front TyreThe Racing Ray tyre is a new addition to the Schwalbe line-up, and a new name in the house. It is designed specifically for the front wheel, and features forwards angled tread lugs to provide improved cornering, braking, and handling.

The Racing Ray is pitched as an all-round tyre, capable of both dry conditions and wet mud. It achieves this because the open tread pattern allows debris to be quickly shed from the tyre's surface, therefore providing continued grip and confidence.

Out on the trails this late summer I have encountered both moist condi…

Review - CYCED Wall Art Route Maps

I love maps. Maps hold memories; lines across continents that tell of a journey diverse and interesting. The route maps from CYCED are a great example of a GPX generated piece of wall art, which will remind you of a past adventure.

Getting a CYCED map made is super simple — you send them the GPX file from your activity, and they turn it into a beautiful map. The black outline of Europe in my above example of the #7Countries7Passes is a little difficult to see in this photo (although unfortunately my reflection is), but it is great in real life. Your ride could be anything from a round the Isle of Wight map, to a multi-day trans-Europe tour.

The prints are made and dispatched directly to you, so you can choose your frame.

A great gift idea to celebrate great memories — just say you are asking for your friend or loved one's route GPX so you can follow it, and then go get a map made up... though I am not sure I would believe anyone if they asked me for my route file from the #7Count…