Showing posts from March, 2018

Review - Velopac RidePac Cycling Wallet

I have got a bit of a thing for wallets. The RidePac and RidePac Lite from UK brand Velopac are two of my favourite new additions to my 'Every Ride Carry'.

Those who know me will know that my Bellroy Phone Pocket is in my hand for a significant portion of the day. It houses my phone, cash, and cards; essentials for my every day life. The only downfall of the Bellroy, is that over time the leather begins to suffer with constant subjection to sweat and rear wheel spray, when it is housed in your jersey pocket. It is also an expensive piece of kit to watch deteriorate.

The RidePac from Velopac provides an alternative, at a very competitive price. For £20 for the RidePac Lite, or £32 for the RidePac original, this is a relatively low cost investment for the protection it provides to your phone and valuables.

Yes, you could use a plastic freezer bag, and it would also protect your phone from your sweaty lower back; but, it won't last very long, and it will look distinctly naff…

Review - Hiplok FLX Lightweight Bicycle Cable Lock

Café rides and bikepacking / bicycle touring often share a similar conundrum: what to do with your bike when you are inside a shop or cafe getting supplies? Out of sight, your bike is vulnerable to opportunists. A lightweight cable lock like the Hiplok FLX could well provide the solution.

The Hiplok FLX uses a small one metre cable, housed on a spring-loaded retractable wheel inside the unit's plastic shell. A combination code is used to open and close the locking device, and it is easy to set your preferred combination using a small button on the side of the product.

The Hiplok FLX also features a 10 lumen red light, designed to be a back-up in case of emergency. You can clip the lock to a jersey pocket, and the light provides a respectable last-resort visibility aid if you are caught out later than expected on your cafe (or pub) trip.

The unit itself is not overly robust, and the braided steel cable would be no match for a set of bolt croppers. That said, this is not meant to b…

Recipe - High Protein Banana Bread

This low-fat, high-protein banana bread recipe is an adapted version of a childhood favourite.

It has all the sweetness and flavour of your traditional banana bread; but also delivers added vitamins, fibre, and protein, to help kick-start your recovery.

Ingredients6 scoops - MultiPower 100% Pure Whey Protein powder3 ripe bananas3 free-range eggs1 ½ cup water1 cup ground almonds1 cup plump sultanas and/or chopped dates½ cup milled flaxseed½ cup Rude Health Smoothie Oats½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)4 tsp runny honey2 tsp coconut oil - melted  1 tsp ground ginger1 tsp ground cinnamon1 tsp baking powder

MethodPre-heat the oven to 160°CLine a loaf tin with baking parchmentMash the bananas and whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add the water, honey and melted coconut oil, and ensure the mixture is well combinedAdd the protein powder, almonds, sultanas, flaxseed, oats, ginger, cinnamon and baking powderStir the mixture together with a spoon until a thick consistent batter is createdPour the…

Weekend Watch - Cicerone

In September 2016, Walter Beckers and Kendal Noctor travelled to mainland Europe to ride up mountains. Armed with routes and spiritual guidance from Phil Deeker, founder of Rapha's Cent Cols Challenge, they set off on a ten day journey to amass thousands of metres of elevation, testing their bodies and minds to breaking point.

I have ridden with Kendal on several occasions on the Isle of Wight. He grew up in a nearby village, and has the same passion and love for challenging riding as I do. This short film captures that passion perfectly.

7 Tips - How To Choose The Right Bike Saddle

Choosing the right bicycle saddle is similar to looking for a comfortable pair of shoes; there are numerous factors to consider, both physiological and intended use. In this article, I pick out 7 Tips to consider how you can choose the right bicycle saddle for your anatomy, and style of bike riding.

1 - Seat-bone Width The first thing to consider is the distance between your seat bones. Your seat/sit bone width determines the ideal width of the saddle you should choose.

You can measure your seat bone width using a piece of corrugated cardboard: place the cardboard on a hard bench, and sit firmly on it. Rock forwards slightly to mimic a riding position, and elevate your feet to press your seat bones down onto the cardboard, so that they make an indent. Then, mark the centre of the two indents, and measure the distance between the two points. This will give you your seat/sit bone width.

A narrow sit bone width would be 100mm or less, medium 100-130mm, and wide over 130mm.

Saddle widt…

7 Tips - Wet Weather Cycling Clothing and Gear

"There is no such thing as bad weather", or so the saying goes... but in reality, riding a bike in wet and cold conditions is a challenge. However, it is a challenge that can be made far easier, safer, and more comfortable, by knowing what the best kit is to use for foul weather cycling.

In this post, I have picked out 7 Tips to help you to stay comfortable and safe in poor riding conditions. Hopefully they make your next venture out into the cold and damp weather that bit more bearable.

1 - Mudguards My first suggestion, is that if you don't have them already, "get some 'guards". Mudguards are a vital element in staying comfortable in the wet. Even the best waterproof jacket will struggle after hours of being bombarded by rear wheel spray; while your face and feet will be grateful for protection from a front wheel showering.
You can now get lightweight mudguards that will fit almost any bike: from traditional full-length road mudguards, to minimalist Ass …

Review - Arkel Rollpacker Bikepacking Seat Pack

New bikepacking seat packs are hitting the market place every minute, but the Arkel Rollpacker 15 seat pack takes design and function to the next level. This could well be the best designed bikepacking seat pack to date.

Last year, I reviewed the Arkel Seatpacker 9 bikepacking seat pack, and praised it for its compact frame that adds significant stability to the design, making it perfect for off-road riding and rough-stuff touring. The Arkel Rollpacker 15 adopts a similar lightweight metal frame design, but it has a fundamentally different luggage set-up.

Bucking the trend of having the seat pack dry bag pointing inline with the bike, the Rollpacker sits it perpendicular to the bike's centreline. This has a number of advantages: first, it moves the weight closer to the bottom bracket, rather than having it sticking out over the rear wheel; second, it almost eliminates the annoying swaying of most seat packs; third, it allows for a larger load to be carried, because there is no is…

Recipe - Rude Health Horchata Porridge

Horchata is a creamy and sweet drink from the Spanish city of Valencia. Milk is the main ingredient, but can easily be replaced with a naturally sweet dairy-alternative such as Tiger Nut Drink. The flavour of the drink makes for a lovely fruity and almost tropical flavour when mixed with vanilla, banana and cinnamon in this Horchata inspired porridge.

A favourite pre-ride fuel.

Ingredients1/2 cup Rude Health Daily Oats1 cup Tiger Nut Drink (or ½ Tiger Nut Drink ½ water for less sweet porridge)1/2 ripe mashed banana1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract/powder1/4 teaspoon cinnamonOptional toppings:Desiccated coconutDried apricotsBlueberriesChopped walnutsNut butter
MethodCombine oats, mashed banana, cinnamon, vanilla and Tiger Nut Drink in a panSimmer for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally until desired consistencyPour porridge into a bowl and add toppings of choice

For The Love Of Tea - Twist Teas

Cyclists are known for their love of coffee (read my blog post 'Coffee - The Life Blood of Cyclists', but secretly there is also a love of tea brewing within the cycling culture.

Yes, a cup of coffee is great as a mid-ride caffeine boost, and it is an espresso machine rather than a teapot that you will find in most Pro-team tour buses. However, tea still holds an important place in the two-wheeled world...

A cup of tea is a gentle start to the day; a warming drink to bring you to your scenes. Similarly, there is nothing quite as comforting as a large pot of tea to bring back the feeling in your hands, after a cold winter ride.

Factor in other herbal and fruit teas within the tea family, such as Ginger tea and Rooibos, and there are definite health benefits and relaxation effects from drinking tea.

The range of teas from UK brand Twist are some of the nicest that I have tried. You can pick and choose your preferred selection box; to contain everything from the high caffeine Br…