Showing posts from 2015

The Festive 500 *805* 2015

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that"M. Luther King Jr.

For the fourth year running, it begins... The shortest day of winter is past, and in celebration I am going to ride my bicycle. Out of the darkness, and into the light. In preparation for a great 2016, it is time for the Festive 500.

The forecast promises another week of gale force winds and driving rain. No change on previous years there, then. My ride plans are not set in stone though, so I'll see how things pan out. The aim is simply to ride: with friends, with smiles and with a camera; to explore and take the road less travelled. This year, my hope is to make it an Imperial 500 (i.e. 805km rather than 500km). Let's see how it goes. I will document the adventurous week here on the blog...

Final Challenge Summary Stats:834 kilometres (518 miles)32hrs 50mins10,850 metres ascent

Ride 8: 'NYE Century Ride' (in a Gale) - Heading out into the elements for the last ride of 2015162.8km …

Review: Aftershokz Bluez 2S Headphones

In May 2015, I posted my review of the Aftershokz Bluez 2 Headphones; they proved to be an incredible product, which changed my daily commute significantly.

The bone conduction technology used in the Aftershokz range, means that you can enjoy your favourite tunes whilst riding, but still hear the warning sounds of traffic and ambient noise around you. This new-found ability to listen to music whilst riding safely, meant that I've used the Bluez 2 on an almost daily basis since; they deservedly featured in my Fifteen Festive Stocking Fillers for Cyclists 2015 blog post.

Last month, Aftershokz released the new Bluez 2S bone conduction headphones. I always thought that the original Bluez 2 were very good (clearly), but even the best products have a few niggles. Like any good R&D company though, Aftershokz took on-board user feedback, and the new Bluez 2S headphones promise to be the perfected product.

Better Sound Quality and Reduced Leakage The first improvement, is with the au…

Recipe: Rude Health Spiced Pear Crumble Cake

Afternoon munchies are a frequent problem for bike riders. Those morning rides set your metabolism buzzing, then come mid-afternoon your stomach is rumbling. This crumble cake recipe is from Rude Health, and is the perfect comforting solution!

It is made using whole sprouted spelt flour, which is rich in nutrients and enzymes, and leaves you feeling satisfied but not bloated. The wintry cinnamon sponge, with its crunchy nut topping, is filled with juicy chunks of apple and pear. It is great as an afternoon snack, or a dessert!

For the crumble topping:
80g ground almonds 50g grated cold butter 40g brown muscovado sugar 50g toasted chopped hazelnuts 
For the cake:
200g Rude Health Whole Sprouted Spelt flour3 eggs 2 small pears, diced into small cubes 1 small eating apple, cut into small cubes[Addition: 1 large handful of raisins] 60g maple syrup 60g honey 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp cinnamon [Addition: I would add 2 tsp for extra flavour]1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional) 10…

Review: Thule ProRide 598 Bike Carrier

Back in the summer, I reviewed the Thule ProRide 591; a roof-top bike carrier that is very well recognised on UK roads, and renowned for being superbly built and functioning faultlessly. Indeed, Thule confidently claim that the 591 is the "world's most popular bike carrier".

At Eurobike this year, the Swedish brand announced that they would be launching a new roof-top carrier, which would have improvements on the 591 in multiple aspects. The 598 has now arrived, and I've been testing it over the last month, and seeing how beneficial these new "marginal gains" are in the real world.

Improved Roof-Rail Fitting Thule started from the bottom up with the new 598, and have made some significant improvements on how the carrier mounts to the roof rails of the car. Similar to the 591, the 598 will fit multiple roof rails, including square section rails and Thule's aerodynamic Wing Bars. It is really designed to work best with the latter of these two types, and t…

Review: TrueStart Caffeine Controlled Coffee

I drink a lot of coffee. Probably too much. The taste, caffeine kick and even the smell, are all great attractions to me; I don't get through many days without a cup, or three.

Coffee is a well known caffeine source, and there are proven performance benefits from using caffeine before and during endurance sports. However, the caffeine content of coffee is notoriously varied, so TrueStart Coffee propose to overcome this, with caffeine controlled coffee.

Per serving of TrueStart instant coffee, there is the equivalent caffeine content (around 100mg) as a caffeine energy gel. This provides a measured boost, similar to taking a caffeine pill. This seems like a good idea, and it is useful to know how much caffeine you are taking on board through your coffee drinking; it should allow you to optimise your intake for performance gains.

However, I have a problem. As I've outlined above, the caffeine kick is only one of the reasons that I drink coffee. I gain as much enjoyment and sati…

Review: Arkel Randonneur Seatpost Rack

In my recent post on 'Getting Cross…' I outlined my aim to get a cyclocross bike, and start mixing things up off-road on my daily commute. Things are progressing on the bike front (although they're taking a while); in the meantime, I've been thinking about the finer details of converting to a 'cross commute, one of which is luggage…

To date, I've experimented extensively with my commuting carry solutions. However, I keep reverting back to the ease and comfort of using a single pannier for my daily ride. A pannier saves you from sweaty back syndrome, and it puts the strain of the weight on your legs, rather than your torso (and your legs).

The thing is, pannier racks weigh quite a bit, and they also look a bit clunky. Whilst that weight doesn't make much difference to my steel touring bike, it would be a significant "marginal loss" to add to a new lightweight cyclocross rig. As a result, I've been searching for a solution, and I reckon I might…

Review: Tate Labs Bar Fly SLi Garmin Mounts

Back at the start of 2014, I reviewed the original Tate Labs Bar Fly Garmin Mounts on the blog; they proved to be very well made and very secure. They were so good in fact, that I've been using them ever since, on a variety of bikes.

Earlier in 2015, Tate Labs announced their latest range of mounts, the SLi series. These mounts are made of similar high-strength plastic composites, and they are usable across all of the latest Garmin range. The critical new development though, is that you can now bundle the computer mounts with different add-ons, to make them extra versatile and useful.

In this post, I take a look at the Tate Labs Bar Fly SLi BAM Garmin Road Mount and the Bar Fly SLi-D Mountain Bike Garmin Mount. For the SLi Road Mount, I've trialled two of the additional add-ons, which allow you to mount a GoPro and a light, underneath the out-front mount.

Tate Labs Bar Fly Sli BAM Road Mount - GoPro and Light Bundles Tate Labs have taken their award winning Bar Fly 2.0 mount,…