Showing posts from September, 2013

Ride Stats: September 2013

September has been a fairly good month; nothing spectacular, nothing too bad Mileage up above 1000 again High hour count in part due to lots of commuting Speed down a bit compared to normal due primarily to a lack of racing Lots of BIG rides coming up in October, more news soon...

Review: Road Rags Hoxton SS Jersey

Back in the Spring I reviewed the superb Road Rags Smithfield ; a long sleeved top with a turtle neck collar, it fast became my favourite base layer on cold morning and evening rides. With autumn now in full swing in the UK, and the temperature at a cool and refreshing level, I have once again returned to merino wool, this time with the Road Rags Hoxton. This short sleeved jersey could in fact be worn all year round; combined with a base layer and arm warmers in the winter or by itself in the summer months. It is a superb go-to cycling utility top. That’s the beauty of merino wool; it keeps you warm when the temperatures are down, but when things heat up it is super breathable, so continues to be comfortable. The Smithfield impressed me greatly because of the quality of the merino wool. Its high fibre construction meant that it was not only very warm, but also fantastically durable; putting up with machine washes far better than most merino fabrics. The Hoxton is definitely

Review: Intrepid Apparel Campaign Shorts & Freedom Gilet

The end of the road season means one thing... mountain biking! Over the last month I've been enjoying hitting the trails and getting muddy again on the mountain bike, and in the process I've been testing out some cool new kit from a great British company Intrepid Apparel . The Freedom Gilet (RRP £69) and the Campaign Shorts (RRP £85) are perfect for Autumn mountain biking; robust, warm and designed to cope with the English weather. They've been a great bit of kit to pull out of the cupboard and throw on when it's time to rip up the trails. The Freedom Gilet The Freedom Gilet is quite easily one of the most robust and well designed gilets that I have tested. It is made for hours of use and abuse on the trails, with some very cool and well thought out design details. The gilet is made of a breathable softshell fabric, with a warm microfleece lining. Thicker than other gilets I have used, it is perfect for wearing with a long sleeved jersey on a cool morn

Review: Lusso Carbon Roubaix 3/4 Length Bibs

A couple of weeks ago I reviewed the Lusso MaxRepel Knee Warmers , which proved to be a great bit of commuting kit; useful for the cooler mornings to protect your knees, and then stuff in your bag when you commute home and the temperature is more kind. With the mercury falling quite consistently now though and summer almost certainly gone for another year, three quarter length bibs provide that much needed bit of extra warmth over shorts. The Lusso Carbon Roubaix three quarter lengths are a great example of this autumn/spring item of kit; I’ve been testing them out over the last few weeks and have been pleased with the results. The Roubaix Lycra is a fleece backed material that is both warm and soft, whilst also being effective at wicking away moisture. This fabric is used for the entirety of the bibs on the Lusso Carbons, and therefore provides effective protection from the cold for both your core and your legs. To ensure that even with this high cut the fit of the three quarter

Review – Tacx Antares Cycle Training Rollers

Autumn is rolling in, which means shorter days and wet and colder weather. For some that means night riding, for some that means indoor training. I like to do a mix of both, and having borrowed a set of Tacx Antares rollers from a friend last winter when the weather got bad, I decided that adding a set to my training arsenal would be a great addition. Mention cycle rollers and the blue conical drums of the Tacx Antares will often spring to mind—they are widely recognised to be one of the best value and best made sets of rollers available. They have not changed a lot since their first incarnation, but they have been tweaked to make them a superb example of the product. In this post, I give a review of Tacx Antares, then in a subsequent post I will give you some example sessions that are perfect for rollers . Built to last Tacx have a strong reputation for building high-quality products. The Tacx Antares Rollers follow suit—they use high-quality bearings in the rollers and str

Review: Sportique Balms and Body Care Products Mk2

A month or so ago I reviewed a number of Sportique Balms and Bodycare Products ; they were so good that I felt compelled to share my thoughts on some more products in the range. The quality has been similarly impressive... Elements Cream Wind, rain, sweat and dirt are hard on your skin; the Elements Cream is designed to protect against the "Elements". The cream is effectively a high quality moisturiser; stopping chafing and chapping of skin that is exposed to the weather conditions. For example, in the colder weather I have used the Elements Cream on my lower legs that are left exposed below knee warmers. The cream is effective at keeping your skin from drying out and chapping, and is easily absorbed and applied. Elements Cream is available from Wiggle Bike Shop (Link) Shea Butter Hand Cream Your hands are another area that often suffers in colder weather. It is important to keep them moisturised as the skin on your hands is a major barrier to infection, and fo

Review: Arkel Tailrider Trunk Bag

A few weeks back I was impressed by the Arkel Small Handlebar Bag when I reviewed it; the bag was superbly made, built to last and had some innovative features such as the fully waterproofed main compartment. In this review I take a look at another of my pieces of Arkel touring luggage: the rack-top Tailrider bag. Rack-top trunk bags like the Tailrider bag may seen unnecessary to some tourers... “why not just strap a waterproof roll-top bag to your rack?” That’s the attitude I took on my France and Spain trip , and came away from it much wiser. Roll-top bags are fine if you are just storing one thing in them, but when you want to store many small items in them they become a bottomless cavern. With minimal organisational compartments in your typical touring panniers, you often want to keep the smaller, easy to grab items in your rack-top bag. Organisation is therefore crucial. The Tailrider is designed with organisation in mind. Flip open the pelican-like lid and you reveal a pad

Weekend Watch: The Team Garmin Sharp TDF Stage 9 Story

The story of Team Garmin-Sharp's 2013 Stage 9 Tour de France win from Humans Invent on Vimeo .

Weekend Watch: Chris Akrigg Trial Trials

Trial Trails from chris akrigg on Vimeo . "Never really know what to say in this little box! I guess the original idea behind this edit was to go for a spin without getting off for them bloody gates, cliffs, stiles and things, or as i like to call it a triple XC ride. All aboard the Mongoose Teocali . Anyway you get the idea, hope you enjoy. NEXT..................."

Weekend Watch: Wiggle Honda Chasing Rainbows Promo

Chasing Rainbows Promo - Team Wiggle Honda from Cyclevox on Vimeo . I know it's not the weekend. It's not even close. But this is awesome, can't wait to see the full documentary, and very proud to be a part of the company that supports this team.

Weekend Watch: Mike Cotty's Les Alpes Adventure

This is truly amazing. A non-stop journey from Évian-les-Bains to Nice (666kms). Inspirational.

Review: Look S-Track Race Mountain Bike Pedals

Shimano M520 SPD pedals have long been the standard for mountain bike clipless pedals; they are durable, easy to use and good value. However, like even the higher end Shimano SPD models, the M520 presents a number of compromises.  For example, they're quite heavy, not great at mud clearing and their spring adjustment can take quite a bit of fine tuning; not to mention the contact area with the cleats is relatively small. Look is one highly innovative French firm, and the original inventor of the clipless pedal. For a long time they have been a real force to reckon with in the world of road clipless pedals with the Look Keo.  However, they have always been on the fringe of the mountain bike pedal range, previously with the Quartz pedal. With the entry of the new S-Track pedal I think that could all change... Look appear to have taken the  check-list  of minor faults with the Shimano products and ironed them out completely whilst producing the Look S-Track. This is a pedal that

Review: Lusso Max Repel Knee Warmers

Once again I am a cycle commuter, and most of my mid-week miles on the bike are done in the early morning or in the evening. Those morning commutes, even in August, can be a bit on the chilly side. With temperatures hovering around 10 degrees Celsius, I feel far more comfortable covering my knees up and protecting vital joints from the chill.    The Max Repel Knee Warmers from Lusso have been my choice for the last week, and I’ve been impressed by their quality and performance. Lusso is a British brand, making high quality, high value cycle clothing. The Max Repel Knee Warmers are designed to provide good insulation and protection in wet conditions. This is done through the use of a high density lycra material that helps to “repel” the water that is sprayed onto it. The warmers grip well, using small gel dots on an elastic gripper on both the upper and lower ends. They are true to size, and they have a neat seam on the back of the knee, which allows for an articulate