Review – Rapha Core Cargo Pocket Bib Shorts

The first iteration of the Rapha Cargo Bib Shorts were one of the two pairs of bib shorts I chose for last year's #RoadsFromRome adventure. The storage capacity, robust fast-dry fabrics, and comfortable endurance specific seat-pad made them a top choice for the 2500 kilometre tour. The latest version—the Rapha Core Cargo Bib Shorts have been on test for the last few months; they offer some interesting developments over the first edition.

Rapha have retained the three core product attributes found in the original Rapha Brevet Cargo Bib Shorts—including the fast drying fabrics, side and back mesh pockets, and the endurance level chamois pad. However, other areas have been developed and altered to bring the product up to date with current trends and preferences.

The Rapha Core Cargo Bib Shorts use a new dense-knit fabric, which has a degree of weather and water repellence, and a fast-dry nature; bit it is lighter weight than the Brevet fabric in the predecessors. The bib section of…

Bike Review – Quella Bicycle Varsity Single Speed Bike

There is a beautiful Zen-like feeling to riding a single speed bicycle. The Quella Varsity Single Speed is a British designed and built single speed / fixed gear bike; perfect for city life or running errands around countryside lanes. My Quella Varisty Cambridge has just clocked over 5000 kilometres — so it seemed timely to write a review of the ride.

My first road bike was a steel framed Peugeot, for which I paid £50 to a family friend. I have a great emotional connection to that bike and frame — to the simplicity and retro looks that it has, and the adventures that it has taken me on. Yet, when the bottom bracket seized in its shell and the forks were mangled by a white van man, I decided it was time to look for another classic looking steel frame commuter bike that would uphold the Zen and do the 'Steel is Real' club proud.

My search led me to the London based company Quella Bicycle. Their range of urban inspired single speed bikes came to my attention because of their ele…

Review – Hutchinson Tires Overide Tubeless Gravel Tyres

I have a fond association with the Hutchinson Tires brand; in 2014 I spent a week in Provence with the product development team testing their Toro and Squale MTB tyres. The French brand has evolved their range significantly over the last few years, and the release of the new Overide gravel-specific bike tyre promised to be an interesting and (from past experience) superb mixed-surface bicycle tyre.

Hutchinson Tires were the pioneers of tubeless technology and designed some of the world's first tubeless road tyres; capable of taking the high pressures required for asphalt riding. Tubeless tyres have really come into their own with the growth of 'Gravel' riding though; because of their inability to pinch-flat, and the dramatically increased grip and comfort that can be achieved even on low volume tyres.

I have been testing the Hutchinson Overide 38c gravel tyre on my 3T Exploro for the last few months, and they are proving to be a superb summer gravel riding option.

The Ov…

Kit Care – Washing and Rejuvenating Cycling Base Layers

A base layer is the foundation of any layering system—it keeps you cool and dry in the summer, and warm and dry in the winter. Over time though, the fabrics become saturated by sweat and can breed bacteria; there is a simple solution—washing them with a tailor-made fabric detergent and conditioner, such as those from Nikwax.

Base layers are designed to wick perspiration away from your skin; this means absorbing the moisture and transferring it to the outer air for evaporation. Unfortunately, over time the absorbing nature of base layer fabrics means they also collect bacteria, which can breed and smell.

To rejuvenate a cycling base layer, or a technical running tee, you simply need a fabric detergent that is stronger than most. Be careful though, as technical fabrics and wool fabrics are delicate in their nature; Nikwax produce a dedicated 'Sweatproofing' range, including BaseWash and WoolWash to clean the fabrics.

After you have cleaned the fabric, it is a smart move to use …

Review – Rapha Brevet Insulated Cycling Jacket w/ Polartec

Can you really fit your whole life into a seat-pack the size of a small rucksack? When you do, it calls for specialist lightweight kit; the Rapha Brevet Insulated Cycling Jacket features super-light Polartec insulation, and has a tiny pack-size—making it ideal for cooler temperatures on your bike explorations.
Let us get straight to the point... this jacket is ludicrously lightweight; weighing in at just 74 grams for the Medium sample I have on test. That weight is thanks to a super-light weight Nylon windproof outer, and high level Polartec Alpha insulation; combined together, these create an impressively protective and insulating layer, with absolute minimal bulk. 
Polartec Alpha is a unique market-leading insulation fibre, which provides both great breathability when you are working hard, as well as effective insulation when you are more sedate in your movements. 
I used the jacket on my recent #XPDTN3Dolomites bikepacking trip, and for the early morning ride-outs, up above 2000 m…