Showing posts from July, 2014

Review: Après Vélo Casual Apparel

The name of this blog gives an indication of what cycling culture is about; 'Life In The Saddle' is not just enjoying the culture of cycling whilst you're on the bike, but also when you are away from the bike, in a casual environment. Part of that culture is the clothes you wear, the coffee you drink and the places you visit. Après Vélo is all about the first of these; providing cycling casual wear that identifies and shows you as a cyclist in a cool and comfortable way. The Australian brand produces a wide range of casual tees, as well as hoodies and some select riding apparel. All of the range has a classic and unique style; kit that will make you stand out, whilst also being comfortable and well made. In this review I take a look at the Le Tournesol tee: a new top that is made to commemorate this year's version of Le Tour. The tee features a collage of the roads that the riders face on this year's edition of the race; cobbled roads, fields of sunflowe

Review: SUNDRiED Cycle Tee and Aire Sunglasses

SUNDRiED are a new brand on the block, with a range of eco-inspired and produced casual clothing and accessories. If you're an active person, with a passion for the outdoors, this is kit well worth checking out. The SUNDRiED brand came into being on a surfers' beach in Peru, and since then it has grown into a global network across countries such as New Zealand, the USA and the UK. Epitomising the word casual, this kit is about kicking back and making the most of what nature has to offer. The brand cropped up on my radar because of their new Triathlon inspired range of tees and hoodies; a set of clothing that focusses on Cycle, Swim and Run. The guys sent through the very nice Cycle tee to test, and a set of their Aire sunglasses; I've been enjoying them in the summer heatwave... The tee is 100 percent organic cotton, and has that quality soft and strong feel to it. It's got an athletic cut, so that it fits well and doesn't look like a tent; it's also put

Review: Hutchinson Toro and Squale Tyres

This review has been a long time in the pipeline, but then I feel (and have said before), that the best time to judge a pair of tyres is when you take them off the rim. Either you’ll be ripping them off cursing the quantity of punctures, poor grip and slow performance; or you’ll be taking them off ready to put a new pair of the exact same tyre back on there, because you’re impressed by them so much. I started testing the Hutchinson Tyres Squale and Toro earlier this season in the rather idyllic setting of a French farmhouse in Provence. At the Hutchinson Tyres press camp in late May, a group of other journalists and myself put the new Squale and Toro through their paces over two days of fast all-mountain riding. They proved an impressive set of rubber; hugging the gravel berms as we carved around them, holding steady on the rock gardens as we dropped down the side of the mountain, and proving that they are very much worthy of their usage with one of the best downhill race teams;

Wednesday Watch: Distance Over Time

Distance Over Time from SpindleProductions on Vimeo . Inspirational stuff!

Race Report: Ras de Cymru 5 Day Stage Race

From Wednesday to Sunday last week I was in Wales for the Ras de Cymru stage race. As an individual it was a bit of a mixed bag of success, but as Team Wiggle, we came away with some great results including stage wins, the sprinter’s points jersey and the overall team prize. The week started out with a team time trial, which at only 11 kilometers long, on a flat course, was always going to be a whole world of pain. I won’t make any bones about it; I’m lacking top end power at the moment, and knew that going into the event. A short team time trial was therefore always going to be a struggle. I lasted about 6 kilometers and then dropped off the back; it was only the first three times that counted, and I really couldn’t keep up with the pace. It was disappointing, but probably predictable. I ended up a good 2 minutes down on the team’s eventual time, and whilst they won the stage, I was placed almost dead last on GC. A good start for Team Wiggle, not such a good one for me. Th

Race Report: First Day At The Ras - Team Time Trial Success

It was the first day of the Ras de Cymru today in Wales, and Team Wiggle came away from it in first place, with Dan in the leader's jersey! The opening stage was a very short and very fast team time trial. It wasn't a great result for me personally; I'm struggling a bit with form, and still rather sore from my crash at the weekend. I dropped off the train at about the halfway point through the course, and I'm currently one of the slowest riders on GC. It was a great result for the team though, and leaves me to concentrate on my role supporting them for the GC, with the potential for a possible stage win myself, if I begin to feel better on the longer road stages. Bring on tomorrow and the Welsh mountains! After I had dropped off the back... the boys continuing to smash it!

Review: Lizard Skins LA SAL 1.0 Gloves

Lizard Skins are probably best known for their chain stay protectors; those famous neoprene tubes that protect your chain stays from chips, knocks and scratches as you ride over rough ground. Lizard Skins also produce gloves though, as well as bar tape, grips and protection. The LA SAL 1.0 mitts are the top of the range fingerless gloves, and feature an interesting and highly durable design. I'm quite picky about gloves, and tend to like a good bit of padding on the inner thumb, but fairly minimal padding elsewhere. I'm also a fan of mesh or Lycra backs, to avoid uncomfortable sweating on hotter rides. The LA SAL 1.0 mitts, although made of leather, feature a good bit of padding on the thumb and a well ventilated leather back, so things started out well from an initial impression. The leather used on the LA SAL 1.0 is no normal leather, it is premium quality Pittards, which means these gloves instantly appear to be a durable, comfortable and classy option; much like a nic

Mid-Season Update: Setbacks, Crashes and Slow Starts

This season really isn't going to plan so far, and there's a lot to be improved upon. Things started out badly when during the first race of the season there was a horrendous death at Portsmouth Mountbatten Centre, which called a halt to all the mid-week circuit racing there for the foreseeable future (a significant portion of my planned calendar wiped out). Things got worse when in mid-March on a brand new set of tyres and an oily roundabout, I lost both wheels and ended up face-planting the tarmac and coming away with 10 stitches in my chin. As the season continued, I realised that the mid-week races at Thruxton, Ludgershall and Goodwood were less accessible for me than I had hoped they would be; and the after-midnight return home made getting up at 6am for work the following day difficult and draining. In late April I went down with tonsillitis, which wiped me out for a few weeks. Then May proved to be a slow starter in terms of racing as well. June went by, the

Guest Blog: Recipe - 'Overnight Oats'

Suz Cranwell is a fellow Wiggle employee; a keen runner, cyclist and swimmer, and has kindly offered to write a few blogs for Life In The Saddle. This first one is a neat idea for a quick, easy and healthy breakfast... It’s summer and you’re commuting into work. You want a fresh, vitamin packed breakfast, but stuffing fruit into your rucksack risks you arriving with an unplanned smoothie... But porridge is so wintery. I have a solution! Oaty pots of summery happiness  1. Basically, get a jar with a screw top. Old plastic peanut butter jars are perfect.  2. Layer 2 heaped tbsp of greek yogurt, a few frozen berries and 3 tbsp of oats – in that order.  3. Keep going until the jar has enough in it to satisfy you in the morning.  4. Pop it into the fridge overnight. Chuck it into your bag (lid firmly screwed on). The oats will have absorbed the juice from the defrosted fruit, plus any liquid in the yoghurt – you know the bit on the top when it separate