Showing posts from 2017

Review - LedLenser MH10 Headtorch

Earlier this year I tested the LedLenser MT10 Handheld Torch, and I was extremely impressed by the quality and design of the unit. More recently, I have been trying out another product from the Outdoor range in the German brand's line-up - the MH10 Headtorch.

The LedLenser MH10 is designed to be a versatile and lightweight headtorch; ideal for walking, running and many other outdoor pursuits.

Unlike a lot of headtorches that integrate the battery into the lamp unit itself, the MH10 has a separate battery pack on the rear; this has a number of advantages...

Firstly, it means the battery pack can be larger; facilitating a massive run time of 120 hours on low power mode, and six hours on high power. Second, it makes the headtorch a lot more balanced on your head; providing greater comfort and reducing the need to over-tighten the strap to avoid bounce. Thirdly, it has allowed LedLenser to put a small red light on the battery pack, to give a surprisingly effective aid to rear visibi…

Review - CYGLO Cycling Backpack Indicator Display

When you are riding in traffic, your lower back is by far the most visible part of your rear-facing silhouette. The innovative and unique CYGLO Cycling Rucksack, with its integrated indicator display, is designed to maximise your rear visibility and also provide useful warning signals about your movements to following vehicles.

Lightweight, packable, and practical The CYGLO pack from eelo is a lightweight packable riding rucksack. The bag folds into itself to create a pack size little larger than that of a lightweight windproof, and weighs only 365 grams inclusive of the electronic indicator display (explained below). This compact size makes it ideal for stashing in a pannier or pocket, to provide extra carrying capacity on shopping trips or errands.

The pack is made from water-resistant rip-stop nylon. It is a lightweight fabric, and not designed for extensive use and abuse, but it does brush off showers and rear wheel spray with ease, and is durable enough for light loads.

There ar…

Review - SJ Works Bicycle First Aid Kits

Many people seem to underestimate the importance of first aid. Coming from a family and friend network of doctors though, I have been made aware on many occasions of the importance of first response.

SJ Works is a Danish brand, who are looking to bring First Aid to the cycling market in a smart and convenient way; with saddle bags, frame bags and top tube bags that contain all the essentials you need for the first treatment of cuts, falls and bleeding.

The bags themselves are good quality: To test their durability, I removed the lightweight First Aid products from the saddlebag; then filled it with tools and used it as a normal saddlebag for a few weeks; it held up to the challenge admirably. The reflective material that covers the bag is a great added visibility aid too.

The First Aid products inside the bag are well thought through, and contain everything that I would normally put in a lightweight expedition first aid kit. There is also a neat booklet with First Aid advice, and a b…

Review - Vaude Exire Pro RC MTB Shoes

Vaude cycling kit is genuinely unique. As a company, the German brand has a heritage of producing top level outdoor apparel, with innovative fabrics and a focus on sustainable production. Their cycling kit extends this ethos into the two-wheeled world, and the winter jackets and shoes that I have tested to date have certainly been exceptional.

The Vaude Exire Pro RC Mountain Bike Shoes are the top tier race shoes from Vaude, and have some interesting features that set them apart from the norm.

Power transfer and race level quality The Exire is designed to be a cross country mountain bike race shoe; with a stiff sole and a fit that holds the foot firmly in place, to maximise power transfer.

The sole is made from high density composite, whilst the uppers are a PU coated polyester with a ratchet strap and two Velcro closure straps. The low stretch upper, the stiff sole, and the secure closing system, mean that your foot feels stable and secure inside the shoes.

Additional neat innovatio…

Review - Thule Vea Rucksack Duffel Bag

Thule bags have become my go-to packs. The Thule Crossover Duffel accompanies me on most foreign trips. The Thule Commuter Rucksack is my daily choice for the trip to the office. Then the Thule Legend GoPro Case keeps all my electronics safe.

The new Thule Vea Rucksack-Duffel is one of the most recent innovative packs from the Swedish brand. Designed to work as an everyday rucksack, and as a travel duffel bag; it is two bags in one.

The devil is in the detail As with all Thule products that I have tested, the quality shines through in the details. The brand is clearly a master of research and development, and you can tell that their bags have been tested in real life environments before they go into production.

The Thule Vea has some great design details.

For starters, there is the dual compartment concept: the main section of the bag can house a 15 inch laptop, tablet, files and valuables; all in specially designed and organised pockets. Meanwhile, a separate expandable bottom pocke…

Review - Union Coffee Equinox and Yaya Forest Blends

There are few things that go better together than cycling and coffee. The dark rich drink provides a boost, refreshment, a break from the pedalling, and a warming comforter.

Whether enjoyed pre-ride with your porridge, mid-ride at the café stop, or during post-ride chill-out time; coffee is fuel for the ride, and fuel for the passion.

The range of coffee beans from Union Hand-Roasted Coffee is sustainably and ethically sourced. Union Coffee works with its union of farmers directly, to provide them with the resources they need, a fair price for their coffee, and a reliable income for their families.

Union is also special because it small batch hand-roasts its beans. This allows for greater quality control, and overall a richer and better coffee.

The new Equinox coffee is a refreshing and fruity blend. Made as an espresso, it provides a good hit, without being overpowering. With hints of orange and dark chocolate, it smells and tastes fantastic on a chilly autumn morning.

The Yayu coffe…

Review - Smoove Chain Lube

What lube would you choose for a 3,000 kilometre bike tour? You're not sure what conditions you will encounter, and you definitely won't be able to wash and clean your bike regularly… I chose the South African brand Smoove Lube for the #7Countries7Passes trip.

Smoove is a dry chain lube: best applied a few hours before riding, to give it time to dry. However, unlike many dry lubes, which say they should specifically be used in "dry conditions" (suggesting they are inadequate for wet conditions), the Smoove Lube is a 'Universal Chain Lube' - suitable for all weather riding.

The lube is easy to apply, and doesn't create a 'gooey' feeling chain like some wet lubes. I applied a layer before heading out to Denmark for the start of the #7Countries7Passes, so it had plenty of time to dry.

Through the gravel of the Hansen's Cykelløb Race, the sunshine of northern Germany, and the rain and snow of Switzerland; the Smoove lube performed well. I didn…

#7Countries7Passes Day 14 - The Final Climbs to The Finish Line

The final day of a challenge often seems to be either a jubilant parade, or a fight of fortitude to reach the finish line. The final day of the #7Countries7Passes tour was very much the latter.

Starting out from the Corbieres, the route would take me deep into the Pyrenees; to the finish line at the top of the Port d'Envilara, at the Andorra border.

The day started out damp, and it wasn't five minutes before I had pulled on my waterproof.

The first few climbs in the Corbieres were nothing compared with what was to come; but they served as a warm up for the legs; as well as a reminder that those legs have done close to 3,000 kilometres in the last two weeks.

Today I had Gus following me in the Land Rover, to capture the spirit of the trip, on the final day of the challenge. I was super grateful to have a friendly face accompanying me.

A café stop, a puncture, and road works all slowed progress a bit, and it was 14:00 before we hit the long dragging ascent to the foot of the Co…