Showing posts from 2017

#7Countries7Passes - The Kit Selection

As the time of the Grand Depart on the #7Countries7Passes tour approaches, this is the kit that has made my final selection for the 3,000 kilometre journey from Copenhagen to Andorra.

Read more about the #7Countries7Passes trip here

Below I have linked through to the product that I will be using, where possible; so that you can find more detail about the items selected.

If any of the kit changes between now and the departure, I will update the below lists (and eventually photos) to reflect the change.

The Kona Rove Ti First up, the bike. The Kona Rove Titanium.

This bike has already been on some great adventures in 2017, such as the Dirty Reiver Gravel Race.

For the #7Countries7Passes tour this bike has had a bit of a road-orientated overhaul. It includes fitting a Kinesis ATR Disc Fork, rather than the Lauf suspension fork; changing the handlebars and seat post to alloy options (following a crash back in April); altering the gearing for fully-laden touring; plus, a few other tweaks, …

Review - Restrap Top Tube Bag and Handlebar Bag

On my 'Coasts and Cols' tour, I used a seat-pack and frame-bag from Yorkshire-based brand Restrap (read my review of the bags here). For my upcoming #7Countries7Passes trip, I will again be employing kit from the brand; with the Restrap Top Tube Bag and Handlebar Bag being two new additions.

The Restrap Handlebar BagMy #7Countries7Passes tour contains close to 50,000 metres of elevation gain, over its 3,000 kilometre length. With that in mind, I have been scrutinising my kit list; stripping back any unnecessary weight and volume. I used an Arkel Handlebar Bag for my last tour, but the Restrap Bar Bag system will allow for a lower overall weight.

The dry bag holster design used in the Restrap Handlebar Bag is a simple but faultless concept. An 8 or 13 litre roll-top dry bag is easily strapped into the holster, and secured safely; perfect for housing a small tent or sleeping equipment.

The handlebar bag holster system has been chosen by many bikepacking luggage producers. This is…

#7Countries7Passes Kit Prep - The Kona Rove Ti

As the time of the Grand Depart on the #7Countries7Passes tour approaches, this is the bike set-up that I have settled on, for the 3,000 kilometre journey from Copenhagen to Andorra.

Read more about the #7Countries7Passes trip here

The Kona Rove Ti frame is kitted out with a Kinesis ATR Disc Fork, USE 29er Carbon MTB Wheels, and a lightweight rear pannier rack. Luggage comes in the form of the Arkel Orca 25 Panniers, a Restrap Framebag, and Restrap Bar Bag. To finish the build, there are a variety of accessories from Lezyne, Wahoo, Bar Fly and USE Exposure Lights.

Weekend Watch: Cross / Roads by Kona Bikes

This is why cyclocross is so very much boss...

Review - Bellroy All-Conditions Wallet

Some products are faultless. You use them every day, and every time you think about their great functionality they make you smile. The range of wallets and phone pouches from Australian brand Bellroy, fit firmly into that 'impeccable' category.

I use my Bellroy All-Conditions Phone Pocket Wallet every day. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you will have likely seen it placed in kit layouts, on café tables, and in jersey pockets. It is a fantastic little case, which is perfect for holding ride essentials, safely and securely.

The Bellroy All-Conditions Wallet is a new addition to my 'Every Ride Carry'. It holds many of the great attributes of the All-Conditions Phone Pocket, but in miniature size.

Small enough to clasp in your hand, the All-Conditions Wallet will hold your cash, cards, keys and coins, in a weather-resistant pouch.

The wallet is made from Bellroy's water resistant leather, and uses a YKK water resistant zip. It certainly provides enough prot…

Review - HexArmor ColdRush Du Rag Cooling Cloth

Chilling down is one of the best ways to kick-start recovery after a hot ride. During my #5MaratonasChallenge (view the blog series here), I had some rides in 30 degree heat; cooling your core temperature down after a ride like that is crucial to good sleep and recovery.

The HexArmor ColdRush Du Rag Cooling Clothing is a neat solution, which helps to rapidly cool down your head and neck - one of the greatest areas of blood flow in the body. Although it is not a cycling specific product, this kind of cloth has been used by many sports teams in search of marginal recovery gains.

To use it, you simply soak it in water; then wear it for up to 1 hour, to significantly aid the cooling process. The Garmatex fabric is designed to wick away sweat and moisture from your brow, head and neck, and provide a notable cooling effect.

It is a really simple product, but it works. I was certainly grateful for it to wear in the heat of the Italian Dolomites.

View the HexArmor products at (Li…

Review - Pinhead Locks Bicycle Security System

It is ironic that the lighter your bike gets, the heavier the locks are that you need to carry. As the value of your wheels, frame and components rises, you will need more cables and longer locks, to leave it securely unattended. That is, unless you employ a system of coded component locks, like those from Canadian brand Pinhead Locks.

The complete bicycle security system from Pinhead Locks allows you to secure your wheels, seat-post, headset and frame; without the need for copious lengths of cable or lengthy U-bolt locks.

Wheel locks The wheels are a secured through coded axle nuts. Whether you are running thru-axles, quick-releases or solid axles, Pinhead Locks provide an axle option to fit.

Fitting them is simple: you just insert the axles, then use the unique coded key to tighten them up. Reverse the procedure to remove them.

The chance of a prospective thief having a correctly coded key is a tiny possibility; so you can safely leave your wheels in your bike when you lock up the f…

Review - POC Sports Apparel - Raceday Climber's Jersey | AVIP Light Wind Vest | Multi-D Bib Shorts

I have long been a fan of the POC Sports helmets and eyewear range: previously reviewing products such as the POC Octal Helmet and POC Do Half-Blade Sunglasses.

On my #WildCardDolomitiRide, I finally got the chance to try out their apparel range too; in the form of the POC Raceday Climber's Jersey, AVIP Light Wind Vest and Multi-D Bib Shorts.

POC Sports Raceday Climber's Jersey The POC Raceday Climber's Jersey is a lightweight minimalist piece; designed to keep you comfortable in the hottest conditions, and on the most challenging gradients.

I tested the jersey on Haute Categorie climbs in the Dolomites, in 30 degree heat. It performed faultlessly.

The fit (I'm wearing a size Small) is very good; with plenty of stretch in the fabric providing a form-fitting cut. The fabric itself is a lightweight and highly breathable 3D mesh material, which wicks away moisture effectively.

With three rear pockets, subtle graphics, and fantastic colour schemes; this is a great jersey …

Review - Vredestein Fortezza Senso Xtreme Weather Clincher Road Tyres

Vredestein is one of the oldest names in tyre manufacturing; established in 1908, the Dutch firm are a specialist in road racing tyres. The Vredestein Fortezza Senso Xtreme Weather road tyres are their all-weather, all-season offering.

The Fortezza Senso Xtreme Weather tyres are designed to offer reassuring grip, great puncture protection, and long ride comfort; perfect for winter riding, or endurance riding. They achieve these three performance attributes through specific rubber compounds, tyre carcass reinforcement, and added tyre volume.

I fitted a set of Xtreme Weather tyres in July, for my #5MaratonasChallenge in the Dolomites. That probably sounds like over-kill; but the reassuring grip, and confidence inspiring handling of the 28c model, made them ideal for the mountains.

The tyres excelled in everything I threw at them. The 120TPI (thread per inch) casing provided a supple feel and added grip. The 'Full Protection' technology prevented any punctures, even on a few exc…