Showing posts from 2018

Review - VintVelo Casual Clothing

Good quality cycling inspired tees and jumpers can be hard to come by. There are a plethora of brands producing cool designs, but the quality of the materials is also important. VintVelo, a local UK brand, produces some great quality kit.

Made from 100% cotton, recycled cotton, or bamboo, their selection of tees and jumpers are soft, luxurious, well fitted, and long lasting.

The designs printed onto the t-shirts and sweaters are fun and interesting too. 'Contre La Montre' (against the clock), and 'Allez Allez Allez' (go go go) are two of my favourites. The print quality seems to be good, with little deterioration after multiple washes and wear.

Life In The Saddle is about more than just time in the saddle, and kit like this from VintVelo is great après-ride wear.

 >> View the range at <<

Review - Blaze Burner Rear Light

Rear lights for long distance cycling are tricky: you want power to provide visibility on unfamiliar roads; a long durable battery life; but also something that won't add too much bulk to your ride. The Blaze Burner was my rear light of choice for the #BlackForest400.

The Black Forest 400 was 400 miles, non-stop and unsupported. 32 hours from start to finish. Finding a rear light that will give a decent output for that time is really pushing it, but the Blaze Burner did seriously well at trying. Using a clever mix of sensors and back-up power, it ran for almost the entire journey.

Not everyone is going to ride 32 hours non-stop, but considering I am also a strong advocate of 'daytime running lights', it makes a lot of sense to have a light that is bright enough to be seen in bright daylight, and that will also last a good few hours of riding. The Blaze Burner does both, very well.

The Blaze Burner rear light is instantly different from other lights: it mounts up using a f…

Review - Gore C5 Gore-Tex SHAKEDRY 1985 Waterproof Jacket

We all know Gore-Tex, but the new Gore Shakedry fabric is an incredible innovation. The unique super-thin fabric has 'constant beading technology', which means even after being bombarded with spray for hours on end, it stays waterproof. This is a game changing waterproof cycling jacket.

The Gore-Tex Shakedry technology is used in a number of the jackets within the Gore cycling range. The C5 Gore-Tex Shakedry 1985 Jacket is a super packable, highly breathable, 100 percent waterproof cycling jacket.

The Shakedry material, first used in the Gore ONE range in 2017, has an incredibly thin single-layer profile. The thin profile, and the fabric lay-up help to make the jacket super breathable - easily the most breathable jacket I have tested to date. The Shakedry coating also makes the garment incredibly protective though; both from wind and rain, despite its featherweight feel and tiny pack size.

The unique mix of attributes found in this jacket could mean this the only truly 'p…

Review - Solid State Cologne

Gifts for cyclists are a tricky thing to gauge. The peloton can be a fussy bunch, and buying bike components and clothing for a rider can often turn out to be a mistake. Perhaps an outdoor adventurer's cologne, like those from Solid State, could be a sensible choice.

I never used to be a huge wearer of cologne; I found it was just another thing to remember when travelling, and just another thing to squeeze into those airport security liquid sacks. Solid State has changed that.

The Australian brand Solid State produces a range of colognes that are wax based, rather than liquid. Using raw natural products such as shea butter, jojoba oil and beeswax, the scents are subtle and will be familiar to outdoor adventurers.

Because the Solid State colognes are not liquid based, they also don't contain irritants like alcohol or artificial chemicals. It also means that their size is a lot more compact and transportable.

The wide selection of different varieties within the range, from seas…

Review - Hiplok Z-Lok Combo Lightweight Bike Lock

Last year, I reviewed the very neat Hiplok Z Lok Bicycle Lock. The reusable cable tie design is great for securing everything from bag zips to car bike racks. The new Hiplok Z Lok Combo is an evolution of the product, and uses a combination lock to secure the tie.

The Z Lok Combo takes the design of the original Z Lok, but adds the benefits of a larger locking circumference and reset-able 3 digit combination mechanism.

The added length is genuinely useful, as I found the original Z Lok to not be quite long enough if you wanted to use it for securing a bike round a lamp post or similar. The combination lock upgrade is also great, especially if like me you have a tendency to lose small keys.

The toughened stainless steel band on the Z Lok is certainly enough to ward off opportunist thieves, and it would take a fairly serious set of bolt croppers to break through it. The locking mechanism itself also feels robust, and the ABS plastic outer avoids any rough edges that might catch on clot…

New Revolutions - Campagnolo Launch New 12 Speed Movement12 Groupset

I have always been a fan of Campagnolo. Today, they announced the arrival of a technological advancement that deserves serious merit: a 12-speed road bike groupset, with disc brake options. The new Campagnolo Movement12 is too exciting not to write home about…

The 11-speed Campagnolo Record groupset was my choice for my Neil Pryde Bura SL road bike build. Having visited the Campagnolo headquarters in Vicenza, I know the care and attention that goes into the production of every Campagnolo product; it is an attention to detail that explains why the Italian brand's parts out-last most others, and which also makes them ideal for an endurance road bike build.

The introduction of the new Movement12 12 speed groupset is exciting to me for a number of reasons. Firstly, it provides a wider range of gears, which makes it more suitable for endurance riding. Secondly, it combines that with disc brakes, which makes it more suitable to a gravel or adventure bike. Finally, it improves a number o…

Review - Peaty's Tubeless Tyre Sealant

A change of season demands a change of tyres, and with a recent switch from winter treads to summer treads on my CX bike, I needed some more tubeless sealant. I decided Peaty's Tubeless Tyre Sealant would be interesting to test.

Testing tubeless tyre sealant is a real 'hit or miss' game. If it works, then the often-laboured efforts seating the tubeless tyre in the first place (read my Top Tips for Tubeless Tyres piece) are worth it, and the puncture seals itself with a satisfying clog. When it doesn't work though, you are left standing at the trailside cursing the test product's manufacturer, and wishing you had stuck with your normal reliable brand… Thankfully, my experience with Peaty's Tubeless Tyre Sealant is very much the first of these two.

On springtime trails strewn with freshly cut hedge debris and washed out flints, my cyclocross bike equipped with 40c tyres has been up against a minefield of potential punctures. A few times this month I have heard t…

Review - Rapha Brevet Windblock Long Sleeve Cycling Jersey

The Rapha Brevet collection is designed with distance in mind. Providing comfort and performance, for many hours of adventure. The Brevet Long Sleeve Windblock Jersey is a highlight of the collection, and provides a superb outer layer for riding in mixed weather conditions.

The Windblock Long Sleeved Jersey uses merino wool throughout the garment, to provide breathability, stretch, insulation, and comfort. The technical wind-proof fabric is then overlaid as a second layer on the front facing edges of the sleeves and the chest panel, to provide notable protection from wind-chill and light precipitation.

The merino wool used within the garment is a unique quick-drying variety. The logical thinking behind this selection is that the jersey could be washed and dried in a matter of hours; perfect for overnight stops mid-way through a long distance bike tour.

Bikepacking and bicycle touring always place a premium on stowage space. Storage in the Brevet Long Sleeve Jersey comes in the form o…

Solo Adventuring - The Black Forest 400 #BlackForest400

I am frequently asked what inspires me to ride a bike. My answer is curiosity.

Curiosity to see how far you can ride; how fast you can travel; how many new places, people and cultures you can see along the journey.

Endurance cycling is an adventurous challenge, to both body and mind. At numerous points one will be shouting at the other to stop; but they rarely agree. It is a perpetual cycle of disagreement.

The idea of the Black Forest 400 ride arose from curiosity. At Christmas, I drove for nine hours to reach this beautiful part of Germany. On the drive back, I got wondering… could I ride that? Non-stop? Self-supported? A challenge was born…

400 miles, with over 8,000 metres of elevation gain. My longest ride to date.

Beginnings The ride starts from the historic town of Arras, in northern France. Arras was an important stronghold in both World Wars, and the scene of great battles (including the Battle of Arras in 1917). The long straight road out of town is lined with cemeteries; o…