Posts

Explore – 5 Best Mountain Bike Routes on the Isle of Wight

Image
The Lonely Planet rated the Isle of Wight as one of the best places in the world to explore by mountain bike; it might not have mountains, but it has hundreds of miles of fantastic natural trails with a wide variety of terrain, and spectacular views.

I have been riding a mountain bike on the Isle of Wight trails for as long as I have been walking, and I can safely say I have explored every bridleway and bike path the Island has to offer. These five routes link up my personal favourite sections and paths; with a range of lengths and intensities to cater to different rider abilities.

For routes for Gravel Bikes and Road Cycling, check out my other Explore-IOW posts.



Wight Mountain Bike Route #1 — Red Squirrel TrailDifficulty – EasyDistance – 22.5 kilometres (14 miles)Elevation Profile – Flat (170 metres elevation gain)
The Red Squirrel Trail is a signposted family friendly mountain biking route on the Isle of Wight. The below selection of the route is a circular loop starting and fini…

Review – NiteRider Sentinel 250 Rear Bike Light

Image
I am a strong advocate of daytime running lights on bicycles all year round; but with the darkness drawing in, it is even more important to invest in good bike lights. The NiteRider Sentinel 250 is an innovative and powerful rear bike light that combines lasers with LED technology to create your own 'bike lane' on the road, as well as give brilliant rear visibility.

I have been using NiteRider bike lights for a number of years, and the NiteRider Solas 150 Rear Light that I reviewed back in 2017 is still a popular choice in my arsenal. The brand produces well-made, long-lasting, and reliable lights; which is why when I saw the innovative new Sentinel 250 released, I could see it could well become a new go-to option.

The NiteRider Sentinel 250 adopts a unique dual lighting approach: first, a set of high power LEDs pump out a fierce 250 lumens (maximum) to give you great rear visibility; then, on the base of the light two lasers create an illuminated 'bike lane' on the …

Review – Smith Ignite Aero MIPS Road Cycling Helmet

Image
The Smith Ignite is a cycling helmet that looks fast, feels fast, and provides impressive protection for your head. The Italian brand has utilised the latest in material technologies to deliver a lightweight, exceptionally comfortable helmet, which also performs very well in wind tunnel tests.

I have become a real fan of Smith's helmets; using their Overtake helmet for both everyday wear and on my two long distance bikepacking tours in the last two years — the #CelticCrossTrail and #RoadsFromRome. The Smith helmets are uniquely styled, but also have a clear focus on safety. They remain comfortable in a variety of weather conditions, and feature a number of genuinely useful design aspects.

The Smith Ignite MIPS helmet is designed as a dedicated aero road cycling helmet. It has been shaped to provide a slippery surface, and constructed using aerodynamically efficient Aerocore technology — which maximises air through-flow to offer maximum cooling, and a minimal drag factor.

The Aer…

Review – Smith Optics Ruckus Cycling Sunglasses

Image
As the darkness creeps in, a pair of cycling glasses with photochromic or light enhancing lenses is a real must; providing valuable protection from grit and spray, but not darkening or impairing your vision. The Smith Optics Ruckus glasses are an exceptional quality option from the Italian brand, featuring both lens options — for all riding conditions.

Cycling glasses do a lot more than just shield your eyes from the sun's glare — they also protect your eyes from wind, dirt, insects, and road/trail debris; making them an invaluable year-round accessory. For mountain biking in shaded forests, and when road cycling in low light conditions, you want either photochromic reactive lenses or amber tinted light-enhancing lenses.

The Smith Optics Ruckus Sunglasses are pitched as mountain biking sunglasses, but I have also found them to be a fantastic choice for road and gravel riding in all light conditions. They come with a photochromic reactive ChromoPop lens, and a high clarity amber t…

Review – NiteRider Lumina Micro 850 Front Bike Light

Image
A good quality high-power compact front bike light is a real asset — it can stay on your handlebars throughout the year; providing 'Be Seen' visibility as a running light, as well as helping light the way when the visibility falls. The NiteRider Lumina Micro 850 bike light is a superb example of a miniature front light that packs an impressive punch.

The Lumina Micro 850 weighs only 130 grams, yet it will put out 850 lumens on maximum output for 1.5 hours. On the most economical fixed light mode it will deliver 200 lumens for 9 hours.

I am a great fan of the simplicity of the NiteRider lights. The mount for example is just one single clamp design, which fits all sizes of handlebars and is fast and secure to attach. The light unit itself is robust, weatherproof, and has just one button that also doubles as a charge level indicator. Bike lights do not need to be super stylish — they need to work; that is the focus that NiteRider has maintained with their mount and unit designs…