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Good Reads – 'End to End' by Paul Jones

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Heart warming and intensely personal, this is the story of a journey and the people that have made it. An incredible journey, from Lands End to John O' Groats—by bicycle.  Within its pages it incorporates a history of cycling from 1880 to the present day; how the record to achieve this iconic distance has gradually been reduced to an unbelievably short time.  The book is meticulously researched, beautifully written, and brought to life by interviews with the historic cyclists themselves. As Jones writes the stories of the record breakers, he rides the course himself in several long stages—immersing himself in the history and landscape.  Jones is self-critical and trying to come to terms with his recent decision to leave his job as a secondary school headteacher. His writing is poetic, funny, and observant; describing both his inner turmoil and the outer landscape he passes through. I loved this book, I felt I wanted to take note of particularly resonant phrases so I could recall t

Review – Outdoor Provisions Nut Butter Sachets

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I have long been an advocate of nut butters for endurance fuel. Fuelling with fat and protein offers an energy source that is much more sustaining and lends itself to a more stable blood sugar profile than the peaks and troughs encountered with simple sugars. These two new nut butters from UK brand Outdoor Provisions are especially tasty blends, and they come in compact bio-degradable sachets—making them perfect for outdoor adventures and tours. Outdoor Provisions have evolved the classic jar of peanut butter that you would often find stuffed into my handlebar bag on long distance bike tours . The new 'Coffee, Almond and Cashew' and 'Almond, Date and Sea Salt' sachets are incredibly versatile and tasty energy snacks. Squeeze them straight into your mouth, add them as a porridge topper, pour them over an energy bar, or make an on-the-go banana and nut butter (BnB) sandwich... the possibilities are endless. However you eat them, you get the same smooth taste and natural e

Review – Julbo Fury Cycling Sunglasses

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Cycling sunglasses do a lot more than just protect your eyes from glare and UV rays; they are also a vital barrier against wind, grit, and overhanging trail surroundings. The Julbo Fury sunglasses are a lightweight set of all-weather riding glasses, which will protect your eyes even in the toughest off-road conditions. I have been testing the Army Green coloured Julbo Fury glasses for the last few weeks and have been highly impressed both by their styling and function. This model comes equipped with a Cat. 1 polycarbonate lens; designed to offer continued clear vision even in poor light conditions—perfect for those late evening and early morning rides. The wide cylindrical one-piece lens sits suspended within a robust but flexible frame; offering impressive ventilation to reduce fogging, as well as a superb level of coverage and protection. The frame is fitted with a flexible shock-absorbing grip insert on the bridge of the nose, as well as Grip Tech arms that hold the glasses firmly i

Review – HydraPak Flux 1L Flexible Water Bottle

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Flexible soft bottles have been a secret weapon of mine on bikepacking and cycle touring adventures for a while. The compressible bottles are the ideal solution when you need to carry more water on scorching days, or you need to stock up on fluid before heading off for an overnight camp. I remember one time on the #RoadsFromRome trip when a kind Italian man offered to help me fill up my water bottles at the end of a sweltering day. When I kept pulling soft flasks out of my pannier, he took great delight in the apparent magic trick, and then joyously started to try blowing one flask up like a balloon… (pre Covid-19 times). He did not get far—these things are surprisingly robust. Soft flasks have been used by runners for a long time, and feature in many ultra-running vests. Equally water bladders have been used in mountain biking hydration packs for years; offering a way to carry water when you do not have bottle cages on your bike. Flexible bottles like the new HydraPak Flux are somet

Explore – 5 Best Road Cycling Routes on the Isle of Wight

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Those that have ridden a road bike on the Isle of Wight will know that it is an incredible landscape to explore. The unique geology of the island has created a topographic profile that is undeniably tough, but unquestionably beautiful; from towering cliffs to wild wind-swept flats. In this post, I have selected five of my favourite road cycling routes on the Isle of Wight—an insider's choice for the best road cycling on offer, as well as my personal recommendations for café stops and highlights. Wight Road Route #1 – Panoramas and Pottery Difficulty – Medium Distance – 50 kilometres (31 miles) Elevation Profile – Moderate (400 metres elevation gain) We start with a fairly easy route in the West Wight—starting and finishing at the wonderful Caffe Isola in the centre of Newport, the ideal place for a pre-ride breakfast and coffee. The route then heads out of town through the rolling hills of Bowcombe and down to Chale Green—a picturesque village at the southern point of th