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Showing posts from December, 2019

12 From 2019 – A Year in Review – One Life. Many Roads.

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This year has been a constant and unrelenting state of 'flow' — jumping between work projects and personal adventures; meeting amazing new people and exploring spectacular places. I started 2019 with very few aims or objectives on the bike; but finished it with more memorable moments than I can count. This blog post is a look back at the last twelve months — 12 photos to commemorate another momentous year in the saddle.


Year End Statistics Numbers are not everything, but they tell a story. Below are my figures for 2019, as well as the split of bike types ridden. 
My personal record broken this year was for elevation gained – 452,269 metres. The equivalent of climbing to the top of Mount Everest from sea level 51 times. Dedication to my #insearchofup motto.
Distance
25,540 kilometres (15,870 miles)

Time
1095 hours 40 minutes

Elevation Gain
452,269 metres (1,483,822 feet)
2019 Bike Distances 18,441 km – Gravel/CX Bikes (3T Exploro / Kona P. Jake) 1665 km – Road Bikes (Neil Pryde Bu…

Review – Santini Adapt Winter Cycling Bib Tights

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Santini remain a historic brand in the world of cycling, yet their products are far from antique. The Santini Adapt Winter Bib Tights are some of the most technically advanced and best performing winter cycle wear I have used to date; using state-of-the-art Polartec fabrics, seamless technology, and a fantastic fit; these are ideal cycling tights for spring/fall and early winter riding.

The Adapt range from Santini is designed for versatility. As the name suggests, the fabrics chosen for these products are intended to be suitable for a wide range of temperature and weather conditions.

The Adapt Bib Tights glean their adaption capabilities from the Polartec Smartwool fabric used in their construction. Smartwool is a unique blend of wool and synthetic yarns; creating a fabric that holds all the exceptional thermo-regulation capabilities of wool, but with added durability and improved wicking capabilities of synthetics.

The Powerwool fabric really is next-level. It is beautifully soft a…

Review – Nite Ize Wraptor Rotating Smartphone Handlebar Mount

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I have been testing several products from Nite Ize over the last few months, and this handlebar phone mount is a fantastic little accessory to keep your smartphone secure and visible on your handlebars when you ride. As with other Nite Ize products that I have had on review, it also has an impressive quality level and some neat features.

The design of the handlebar phone mount is simple: silicone straps wrap around the four corners of your smartphone; then the mount itself straps to a handlebar (or pushchair bar) using a universal wrist watch style adjustable strap. When strapped in place, the phone can be fully rotated to allow you to either use the unit in landscape or portrait mode, or to mount the holder to either a horizontal bar or one pointing directly ahead (such as a bike's stem).

Once in the holder and mounted to the bars, the phone feels secure. I have used this on off-road bike rides, and the phone remains safely in the mount. It is also impressive how well the stretch…

Explore – 5 Best Family Leisure Cycling Routes Isle of Wight

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The Isle of Wight is the perfect place to explore by bicycle — with traffic-free cycle routes, quiet country lanes, and wonderful places to visit. For family bike rides and leisurely tours, it is tailor-made. In this blog post, I have picked five of my favourite Isle of Wight cycling routes for families and casual cyclists.



Wight Family Leisure Cycling Route #1 — West Wight WanderDifficulty – EasyDistance – 71 kilometres (6.3 miles)Elevation Profile – Flat (50 metres elevation gain) My first route is suitable for even those with young families or for those inexperienced on a bike. It begins in the town of Yarmouth — a great starting point; with a large car park and plenty of cafés and restaurants in the town.

From Yarmouth, the route follows the disused railway line alongside the Western Yar river through to Freshwater. This is a traffic-free and shaded route, which is perfect for a summer cycle. Look out for the wildlife and enjoy the views.

When you arrive in Freshwater, the End o…

Making Plans – Riding The Tour Divide 2020 #RidingTheDivide

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It has been on my Bucket List for as long as I can remember... the birthplace of bikepacking, and the most iconic dirt road touring route in the world. I have decided that 2020 will be the year that I take on the Tour Divide — 2745 miles with 50,000 metres of climbing; from Canada to Mexico, off-road down the length of the Rockies.

To date, my unsupported tours across the European continent have been beautiful eye-opening experiences; from the highest peaks of the Dolomites and Pyrenees, to the sub-zero fjords of Norway and rugged coastline of Scotland. These trips have taken me to amazing and unique places.

#7Countries7Passes#CelticCrossTrail#XPDTN3Dolomites

Yet, ever since I first strapped panniers to a £50 steel road bike and went touring through the mountains of the Pyrenees and French Alps more than a decade ago, I have dreamed of riding the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route — it is one of the most diverse and challenging cycling routes in the world.

The dream of Riding The …

Review – Nite Ize Radiant 750 Rechargeable Front Bike Light

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The Nite Ize Radiant 750 Front Bike Light is a compact but powerful rechargeable LED bicycle light; ideal for frequent commuting, or as an auxiliary light for longer rides on unlit roads. Its highlights include the simple and universal tool-free mount, and the superb build quality.

The Nite Ize Radiant 750 puts out 750 lumens on maximum power and will last for two hours run time in that high output mode. On low power mode it lasts 17 hours, at 75 lumens brightness — this lower power output is not enough to light up an unlit road, but it is certainly enough to 'be seen'.

The front bike light mounts using a universal tool-free wristwatch-style strap handlebar mount, which the light then slides into. The box also includes a helmet mount — providing plenty of versatile mounting options. It also works great as a torch off the bike.

The build quality of the Nite Ize Radiant 750 is high, and the unit is weather resistant and robust in feel. The internal lithium ion battery recharges…

Review – Stan's NoTubes Grail S1 Road/Gravel/MTB Wheelset

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The Stan's NoTubes Grail S1 Wheelset is designed to be a go-anywhere, ride-anything set of disc brake wheels. Combining robust mid-depth aluminium rims, laced with a high spoke count onto Stan's NEO hubs; this is a strong and reliable set of wheels for mountain bike, road, and gravel riding.

I have previously tested and extensively used the Stan's NoTubes Crest S1 Wheels — both on MTB and gravel bike. The Crest has a lower profile rim, and a slightly lighter overall weight than the Grail; branded primarily as an MTB and Gravel wheelset.

The Grail S1 is branded as a do-everything wheelset. It uses the brand's slightly narrower (24.1 mm width) deeper section rim (24.5 mm depth), which are more aerodynamic and rated to a higher pressure than the Crest wheels. Consequently, the Grail wheels are deemed more suitable for road cycling as well as off-road adventures.

I set up the Stan's Grail S1 wheels with tubeless 40c tyres. This is always easy on Stan's wheels as …

Review – Feedback Sports T Handle Tool Kit

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If there is one tool type that should feature in every home bicycle workshop, it is a T-Handle set. This seven-piece set from USA brand Feedback Sports is faultless in its quality and design and will be a true companion for a life of bike wrenching.

The Feedback Sports T-Handle Tool Kit comprises of seven T-handle wrenches: hex keys in 2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, and 6mm; then a T25 TORX key wrench. This set should cover you for almost all jobs on a modern bicycle.

The complete set is housed in a professional looking TPU coated water-resistant case for easy transportation and storage; the case also has room for a few other tools that you might want to take in your must-have toolkit.

The professional level tools are made from S2 grade stainless steel, which is incredibly durable even with daily use. Feedback Sports are so confident of this quality that they offer the product with a Lifetime Manufacturer's Warranty. Certainly, all other Feedback Sports products I have used to date have …

Review – Pro Bike Tool Universal Bike Wall Mount

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Hanging your bike by its top tube against a wall is a safe and secure way to store it; freeing up floor space and reducing the risk of it being knocked or falling over. The Universal Bike Wall Mount from Pro Bike Tool is one of the most innovative and effective bike wall storage solutions that I have come across.

The simple and highly adjustable design of the Pro Bike Tool Universal Bike Wall Mount is capable of accommodating road, cyclocross, mountain bike or hybrid bikes. This is something that does not hold true for a number of bike wall rack designs.

The Pro Bike Tool design is based on two pivoting arms, which can be adjusted in span to accommodate different lengths of top tube. Two TPR plastic cradles on the ends of these arms then hold the frame in a secure but gentle rest.

To allow the rack to accommodate different handlebar widths the arm cradle unit can be moved in or out from the wall by varying degrees; so you can set it to a depth that keeps the handlebars tucked in as cl…