Posts

Showing posts from 2019

Review - Stance Off-Road and All-Road Cycling Socks

Image
I first tried Stance socks a number of years ago, when I was sent a pair of their bright and colourful patterned running socks. The brand has an incredible following, and with good reason; the socks both perform superbly and look exceptional. Their latest jump into the world of cycling socks is an exciting new extension to the range.

Stance socks are made to look interesting and distinctive. Yet, unlike some 'standout brands' they also offer industry-leading performance in terms of cushioning, fit, and feel.

The two technologies that contribute most significantly to the performance of all the socks within the Stance range are the Feel360 supportive fit, and the silver ion fabric technology.

Good fitting socks make far more difference than people realise; a sock with the correct cushioning, arch support and heel support can make as much difference to comfort as the shoes that you wear. The Stance Feel360 technology provides a true wrap-around feel, which delivers great comfort…

Weekend Watch — 'PEDAL'

Image
I came across this film earlier this week, and images from it have been flashing through my mind ever since. It makes me long for the open road again—for the escape and adventure.

This week I published a new blog: 'The Expedition Journals' — theexpeditionjournals.com. The sister  site to Life In The Saddle will be dedicated to long-form story telling from my biking, hiking, kayaking and running adventures.

Putting the new site together, and watching this short film reinforced something in my mind—I have a deep-seated love of 'the journey'—a desire to escape and see new places; whether by bike, boat, or on foot.

"Sometimes it breaks me. But mostly, it makes me..."
I am still putting together plans for my 2019 'Big Tour'—I am undecided on the destination, bike type, or distance.

When piecing together my ideas though, a particular quote from Hera's film comes to mind "you do not feel alone when you are out in the nature, but when you return to…

Review - Vaude Men's Steglio Softshell Winter Cycling Jacket

Image
The Vaude Steglio Softshell Jacket is an innovative high performance winter cycling jacket; featuring a superb fit, deep winter insulation, and an eco-friendly weatherproof shield. It is packed full of well thought-out design elements, and much like other Vaude kit I have tested it is standing up admirably well to a winter of use and abuse.

The Steglio Windproof Softshell Jacket is a two layer jacket. The inner fabric is a soft brushed fleece material, which traps in valuable body heat. The outer is a windproof softshell material and uses Vaude's unique S-Cafe® oil coating (derived from used coffee beans!) to provide an eco-friendly non-PFC water-repellent finish.

The fit of the Steglio jacket is articulated and close fitting, but it has room for layering. The sleeves feature contoured seams to provide a comfortable fit when in the riding tuck; while the long low cut of the back panel provides protection from rear wheel spray, and the hem is held firmly in place by a gripper arou…

Review - JetBoil Flash Stove and Java Coffee Set

Image
My JetBoil MiniMo Cooking System has accompanied me on more adventures than I can count—it is a compact and efficient gas cooking set-up. The release of the new super-fast boil JetBoil Flash with integrated Java coffee press looked to be the perfect secondary solution for shorter trips—where I wanted fresh coffee on the go, with a super portable stove.

The JetBoil Flash Stove uses JetBoil's patented FluxRing technology to deliver an incredibly fast boil time of less than 100 seconds for a full fill of 500 millilitres. The flux technology works by minimising heat loss from the burner and transmitting the maximum amount of energy into the cup.

The FluxRing cup screws directly onto the base burner unit and is insulated by a neoprene jacket with inbuilt heat indicator. The cup cosy also has an integrated webbing handle strap.

Each JetBoil Flash comes with a support stand for the propane gas cartridge, and a heatproof plastic lid. The cover that pops onto the base of the unit for pro…

Review - CocoPro Coconut Water Recovery Drink

Image
I have a new favourite post-workout/ride drink, and it is not a powdered recovery shake. CocoPro is a light, refreshing, and low calorie electrolyte recovery drink, with a good amount of protein for muscle repair, and only natural sweeteners.

I can honestly say that in the last year, I have given away at least ten times the amount of powdered recovery shakes than I have consumed myself (I have a lot of grateful friends). The reason is simple: I do not like the amount of sugar found in a lot of 'recovery' shakes, and I am also making a conscious effort to get as far away from processed foods as possible—instead, forming a diet with energy and protein sourced from natural wholefoods.

Coconut water is wonderfully natural electrolyte drink; far removed from the 'energy exercise' drinks found saturating the market. So, what is an electrolyte drink? The essential electrolytes most commonly found in the human body are sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, chloride, calcium, magne…

Ride Upgrades - Wide and Low 29er MTB Handlebars

Image
In my 'Ride Upgrades' series I look at changes you could make to your bike that make a real difference to comfort and performance.

In this post, I consider the trend of using wide flat handlebars and negative drop stems on 29er mountain bikes.


About 'Ride Upgrades'Nobody can accuse me of shying away from gradients; in 2018 I rode over 400,000 metres of elevation gain—the equivalent of climbing Everest from sea level 45 times. Yet, I have never been a 'gear geek—I am happy to ride last year's bikes, and I ride components into the ground rather than replace them prematurely.

It would appear I am an ambassador for "don't ride upgrades—ride up grades". However, I know full well that there are upgrades that make a notable difference to comfort and performance. This blog series looks at those enhancements that could provide you with a notable marginal gain.




'Wide and Low' I am a huge fan of 29ers. I remember when the big wheeled machines raised …

Review - Sahmurai SWORD 2.0 Tubeless Tyre Repair Kit Plugs

Image
Plugging or repairing a large hole in a tubeless bicycle tyre can be a necessity when the hole is too large for the tubeless tyre sealant to fill. The Sahmaurai SWORD 2.0 is a neat tubeless tyre reaming and plug system, which fits securely inside your handlebar ends.

In 2017, I posted a feature on 'How To Make Your Own Tubeless Plug System' . That system worked well for me, but it was not without its faults… namely, it was flimsy and broke after repeated use. Doh. The homemade creation was based on the Sahmurai SWORD design, which at the time was not available to the UK market. Now it is!

New for 2019, the Sahmurai SWORD 2.0 is an upgraded model of the original tubeless plug I tried to mimic. It is even more robust and easier to fit into the handlebar ends.

The Sahmurai SWORD is a two-part system: you use the reamer to clean out and ready the hole in the tyre; then you push the sword into the hole with a sticky plugging strip inserted. As you pull the sword back out of the h…

Kit Care – Re-Waterproofing and Restoring Waterproof Cycling Jackets

Image
In the 'Kit Care' series I look at how to rejuvenate and re-use well worn kit; saving you valuable money compared to replacing favourite pieces of cycling apparel. In this first post, I consider the frequent question of how to re-waterproof and restore a waterproof cycling jacket.

Waterproof shell jackets using fabrics such as GORE-TEX, Polartec NeoShell, and eVent are designed to last. With proper care and attention there is no reason the waterproofing and performance of a jacket cannot last for many seasons. The key is how to wash and treat these waterproof jackets.

GORE-TEX and other similar waterproof fabrics such as Polartec NeoShell, eVent and Conduit use an advanced waterproof membrane to provide a waterproof and breathable layer within a garment. This fabric is often coated on the outside with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish — to provide the 'beading' of water that you see on the surface of a jacket.

Two problems occur when using a waterproof jacket i…

The #XPDTN3Dolomites Italian Gravel EXPLOROation

Image
Boundaries were made to be broken. Comfort zones made to be crushed. The full story of the XPDTN3 Dolomites is available at XPDTN3.club, but here is a short sommario of the three days of diverse and incredible riding on the Italian Dolomite Giara last September…

The idea for this adventure was born last summer, when at the end of the #5MaratonasChallenge my host Igor Tavella from Holimites gave me the GPX file for a 'wild card ride', which took me on several sections of gravel road — it opened my mind to a great opportunity…

Igor said that when I returned to the mountain range I should bring a gravel bike; so that we could further explore these 'roads less travelled'; roads that can take you high above the asphalt, onto the plateau of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The idea of a three day adventure was born: starting from Badia, we would complete a figure of eight loop of gravel passes and paths in the Alta Badia region; stopping overnight at two remote alpine rifugi…