Showing posts from August, 2017

#7Countries7Passes - The final preparation

Copenhagen to Andorra, via some of the highest mountain passes in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and France. 3,000 kilometres. 50,000 metres of climbing. The #7Countries7Passes tour is imminent.

The bike is packed, the kit list is finalised, and the route is plotted on the map. My approaching departure from the Danish capital of Copenhagen, will mark the start of my longest and hardest bike tour to date.

The Route My route plans have been tweaked and modified over the last few months, but here is the current (still changeable) plan:

Checkpoints/Passes/HighlightsStart: Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen (Denmark)Checkpoint 1: Villingen (Germany)Pass 1: Hochtannbergpass (1675m) (Austria)Pass 2: Timmelsjoch (2474m) (Italy)Checkpoint 2: Merano (Italy)Pass 3: Stelvio Pass (2757m) (Switzerland)Pass 4: Col de Montgenèvre (1854m) (France)Pass 5: Mont Ventoux (1911m) (France)Checkpoint 3: The ‘Cycling House’ (France)Pass 6: Col de Pailhères (2001m) (France)Pass 7 (Finish): Port d'Envalira (…

Review - LedLenser MT10 Handheld Torch

The range of handheld and head torches from LedLenser are market-leading, in terms of quality, technology and performance. The MT10 handheld torch is one of their latest releases, aimed at the outdoor adventurer looking for a compact and powerful handheld torch.

It might seem odd that I am featuring a handheld torch on Life In The Saddle, given that it doesn't come with bike-light attachments. The reasoning is that with a little adapting, this could be a superb bike light or helmet light; equally, as it stands it is a great light to use for camping, touring and adventuring - all things that many cyclists enjoy.

Meet the M10 The M10 is the mid-range handheld torch in the LedLenser Outdoor line-up.

The unit has a 1,000 lumen max light output, which lasts for 6 hours. On the low power efficiency setting the light has an incredible 144 hours burn time.

Clever lighting technology The beam on the LedLenser M10 has an adjustable focus; so you can pinpoint in on an area a long distance a…

Review - Scicon Aerocomfort 3.0 TSA Road Bike Bag

For 2017, the best-selling Scicon Aerocomfort Bike Bag received some significant design updates. With thru-axle compatibility, added protection, and an overall lighter weight, it makes it even more of a market-leader than before.

Back in 2013, I reviewed the Scicon Aerocomfort 2.0 (read the review here). That bag has had some significant use: for transporting bikes on planes, trains, and even yachts. With many of my bikes now having thru-axle designs though, the Aerocomfort 2.0 had required some questionable 'bodging' on my part, to make it usable. I was therefore relieved when the new 3.0 was released earlier this year. This new design is much improved.

Thru-axle compatibility One of the biggest differences with the Scicon Aerocomfort 3.0 Bike Bag is that it will accommodate 12mm thru axles on the front and rear of the patented suspension frame system.

To fit thru-axles, you simply remove the QR inserts in the suspension frame, then use your bike's existing axles to secu…

#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…