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Showing posts from December, 2018

12 From 2018 – Life of Adventure – In Search of Up

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Another year comes to a close — months of memories and miles found. I began the year with very few objectives, ideas or motivations; but finished with a ride log that surpasses any of my expectations. Here is a look back at the last twelve months — 12 photos to commemorate another great year in the saddle.

Year End Statistics Numbers are certainly not everything, but they can tell a story. Below are my figures for 2018, as well as a break-down of the bike types ridden. 
My personal record broken this year was for elevation gained – 400,000 metres is the equivalent of climbing to the top of Mount Everest from sea level, more than 45 times — dedication to the #insearchofup motto.
Distance
25,185 kilometres (15,649 miles)

Time
1039 hours 55 minutes

Elevation Gain
403,693 metres (1,324,452 feet)
2018 Bike Distances 9448 km – Gravel/CX Bikes (3T Exploro / Kona P. Jake) 9070 km – Road Bikes (Neil Pryde Bura SL & others)
3870 km – Touring Bikes (Kona Rove Ti) 1593 km – Mountain Bikes (Pivot…

Wild Breakfasts - The Ultimate Outdoor Fuel

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Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. It holds purpose – to fuel up for the challenges that lie ahead. It also holds excitement and reward for getting out there and trying something new.

My favourite breakfasts are not those at the hotel buffet, or indeed a 'Full English'; rather they are ones composed of simple ingredients, accompanied by good coffee, and served with a stunning outdoor backdrop. These breakfasts, often enjoyed when wild camping and adventuring, are the ones that remain in my memory as special starts to special days.

In this post, I look at three of my favourite 'Wild Breakfasts' – with recipes, cooking guidance, and of course coffee recommendations.


(1) Soaked Muesli Porridge Using quality muesli to make your porridge is a great cheat to provide a beautifully textured and flavoursome porridge. I use an organic muesli that contains seeds, raisins, and a mixture of different oats and grains – such as the Nairn's Organic Muesli; when soaked, t…

Review - Vaude All Year Moab MTB Clothing Collection

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In all honesty, I have barely taken this kit off since it arrived with me for testing. Vaude have done it again with the Vaude All Year Moab Mountain Biking Collection — they have produced a superb set of cycling kit, inspired by their heritage and knowledge in the outdoor sports market.

This is innovative apparel, which performs both on the bike, and as practical everyday wear.


Vaude All Year Moab Jacket The outfit starts with the Vaude All Year Moab Jacket — a lightweight multi-sport jacket, which is ideal for everything from winter walks to downhill MTB runs.

The jacket is designed as a 'hybrid' piece of apparel — with strategically placed Primaloft® Eco Insulation on the front and shoulders providing warmth, and waterproof stretch inserts on back, hood and lower cuffs helping to shield you from the elements.

The exceptional side of the All Year Moab Jacket comes from the details — features like the elasticated cuffs that seal out the wind; or the pit zips that allow you…

Review - Hiplok Z-Lok Combo Lightweight Bike Lock

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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 a three digit combination locking 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 c…

Review - Hiplok FLX Lightweight Bicycle Cable Lock

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Café rides and bikepacking / bicycle touring share a similar conundrum: what to do with your bike when you are inside getting supplies? Out of sight, your bike is vulnerable to opportunists. A lightweight cable lock like the Hiplok FLX can 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 be a high protection lock; fo…

Review - Pro Bike Tool Torque Wrench

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Anyone that owns a carbon bike should have a torque wrench, and increasingly even anyone that owns an alloy bicycle. A torque wrench allows you to tighten bolts evenly and safely, without the risk of over or under tightening clamps. The Pro Bike Tool Torque Wrench is my personal choice.

It is worth spending a bit on a good torque wrench, as with frequent bike maintenance it will get a good bit of use; and you want to be reassured that it is a good enough quality that it is in fact delivering the measured torque level. The Pro Bike Tool Torque Wrench achieves a great quality level, and at a very good price.

Using the Pro Bike Tool Torque Wrench is super simple: you just rotate the barrel of the handle to set it to the desired torque level, and then fit your required tool bit to the ratchet head.

The unit has a nice feel and weight to it, and the extension arm is useful for reaching difficult bolts such as those on disc brake mounts, or the seat post clamp on my 3T Exploro (don't g…

Review - Thule Evo WingBar Roof Rack and K-Guard Kayak Carrier

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The new year is going to signal the start of many new adventures for me; including a dive into the world of expedition sea kayaking. The change has created a demand for some new transportation kit — the Thule Evo WingBar Roof Rack and Thule K-Guard Kayak Rack are two of those investments…

I have previously reviewed the very well designed Thule ProRide 598 Bike Carrier on the blog, and praised its practical and durable design for transporting bikes on the roof of your car. Ever since owning that bike carrier I have been keen to try one of the innovative T-track slide roof racks from the Swedish brand, to see if they truly deliver on their promised fast access and ease of use when combined with Thule's roof-top rack accessories.

A change of family car meant that a new roof rack was in demand, and so it seemed a logical choice to go for the new Evo WingBar from Thule. The exceptionally strong aluminium bar is super light, but also super strong — easily capable of taking the load of …

Stocking Fillers For Cyclists 2018

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For the past three years I have written quite extensive lists of stocking filler ideas for cyclists (check them out here); but this year I decided to try and narrow it down to a 'Lucky 7' picks. Here are my wheely great little gift ideas of 2018...


(1) Victorinox SwissCard Lite
After trying the Victorinox Bike Tool earlier this year I was keen to see what other gadgets the swiss brand had that would be suitable for a cyclist's jersey pocket. The SwissCard is a great little tool, which would easily slip into a rider's 'Every Ride Carry' and provide them with an extensive range of useful pocket tools: including a pen, mini knife, scissors, torch, screwdrivers, and tweezers. Of course it has the predictable faultless quality from Victorinox, which should mean that it lasts a lifetime.

>> Shop the Victorinox SwissCard Lite here <<


(2) Velopac RidePac Cyclocross
The Velopac (first reviewed on the blog here) has become my favourite ride wallet. It can c…