Showing posts from May, 2015

Vittoria Open Pavé - The Ultimate UK Tyre?

Tyres are a very personal choice. Some find certain brands work, whilst others wouldn't touch them with a long-handled pedal wrench. I've been using the Vittoria Open Pavé for almost six months now, and for me, it is one of the best tyres on the market for UK weather and road conditions, all year round. The Pavé was designed (as the name suggests) for the cobbles of Northern France and Belgium. Made to be grippier, more robust and more supple than other tyres; it was formed with the capability to deal with the onslaught of the Koppenberg and Roubaix. The Pavé fast became a favourite with Classics specialists, and its distinctive green sidewalls (it is now available in full black, too) shod many professionals' wheels again at the start of this year. So, why would a tyre designed for the cobbled sectors of The Classics, be any use on UK roads? The first reason I believe, is the surfaces we experience here. The roads of the UK, and perhaps more so the country lane

Photo Blog: Endurance Conspiracy Tees and Hoodie

Finding a great t-shirt or hoodie, is a bit like finding a great trail or road; no matter how much you use it, it still feels great. Your favourite trails and roads represent you, your style of riding and what you enjoy; what you wear as casual kit does that to a large extent as well. Endurance Conspiracy is a cool and quirky American brand. It was founded in 2008 by two brothers, Tim and Tony De Boom, both of who are ex-pro triathletes. Based in Boulder, Colorado, it has a cult following in the US, with its unique style and artwork epitomising the desire to get out and explore! Tony has previously done artwork for big names, including Red Bull and Jack Johnson; but much of his best work is displayed on the athletic fit tees and hoodies of the Endurance Conspiracy brand. I was lucky enough to be sent a few items to test out. As there isn't much to say about tees and hoodies, except that these are quality cotton, have a beautiful soft feel, are washing well and have a great

Review: Hope Technology MTB Crankset

I'm a big fan of Barnoldswick based Hope Technology. Hope products ooze quality, style, functionality and durability. Whilst the only parts from the brand on my road bike, are the iconic Hope Pro3 hubs; on my mountain bike it's a different story, and the headset, hubs, rims, grips and crankset all now come from the great British firm. The Hope Technology crankset attracted some great press attention when it was released earlier this year. That's not surprising, because although Hope are constantly testing and developing products, they're the kind of company that won't release anything until it meets the grade, and betters it. Therefore, when a new product does come into wide-scale production, it's sure to be superb. This crankset certainly is. From the moment you unbox this carefully machined piece of metal, it demonstrates all of the signature Hope characteristics. From its anodised colouring, with its laser-etched graphics, to the custom installation too

Review: Aftershokz Bluez 2 Bone Conduction Headphones

Headphones and bikes don't traditionally mix well. When you're in traffic, you need all of your senses heightened; so placing plastic plugs in your ear canals doesn't really help. Luckily, Aftershokz have a solution... The Aftershokz headphones use a bone conductor technology, which channels noise through your cheek bones to your ear drums, rather than down your ear canals. The result, is that your ears are left open to vital warnings and ambient noise, whilst you can still enjoy your favourite tunes. The Bluez 2 headphones from Aftershokz are their latest release. As well as using the height of bone conduction technology, they also go one step further; pushing functionality in areas such as remote control and connectivity. The Bluez 2 use Bluetooth technology, which means no wires, no in-line remote controls, and no annoying moments when you pull the connector out of your iPod. Bluetooth technology also means that the Bluez 2 can control your device, all from butto

Nutrition: Ride Hard, Recover Well, Ride Harder

Ride hard. Recover well. Then, you'll be able to ride harder the next time... In order to do all three of these things though, you'll need to get your nutrition right. That involves taking on essential fast-release energy during your ride, and repairing your muscles with much needed protein once you've finished. Many of my snacks and (what I would label) "instant nutrition" for these two objectives, come from the well reputed MaxiNutrition brand. I thought I would share my favourites... MaxiNutrition ViperBoost Gels - 'The Kick' Energy gels are so developed now, and so effective, that I don't take much else in the way of food when I'm racing. Anything shorter than three hours, and I find these little sugar rushes are the easiest and fastest acting form of energy. The ViperBoost gels are some of the best I've tested (and I've tested a few!). They're effective, they're a good size, they taste great and they're ea

Racing: South Region Road Race Champs - Mojo Restored

I hadn't really been enjoying racing this last week. Last Sunday, I rode at the Southern XC South Champs, and only managed a rather poor 8th in the Sport category. Then on Thursday, at the Ryde Town Criterium race (before the Tour Series event), I was dropped from the lead group and only took 13th. In both cases, a lack of explosive power, and slightly timid bike handling, were my main downfalls. With the Island Games approaching fast, I wasn't looking in great shape with just a month and a bit to go... Today, I headed to the same Owslebury course that was used for the James Atherton Road Race , and signed on against some big names for the South Region Road Race Champs. I went with the (perhaps slightly pessimistic) view that I would be doing well if I even managed to finish. Luckily, I managed that. Unlike at the James Atherton day, the weather today was not a gale force nine and driving rain; rather, sunshine and a light breeze were a welcome set of conditions. The co

Guest Review: Rude Health 'The Peanut' and 'The Beetroot'

Suz is a colleague of mine, and a keen 'natural nutrition advocate' too. I passed a few Rude Health  bars her way to test out... Suz: Rude Health is known for creating virtuous, healthier-than-healthy cereals and snacks. Their approach is nothing artificial and nothing refined. Just pure, wholesome goodness! I was lucky enough to be given the chance to try out two of their snack bars: The Beetroot and The Peanut. Here’s how I got on... The Beetroot Bar The Beetroot Bar is literally just beetroot, dates, nuts, seeds and a weeny bit of oil. My first impression was that it looked and felt like a Nakd Bar – nice and dense, yet fudgy in texture. Thanks to the beetroot, it’s also got a curious pink hue. Beetroot can be bitter unless it’s mixed with something else so I wasn’t sure what to expect! The addition of dates to the mixture made sure that it was love at first bite! There was a slight earthy aftertaste but it was needed to offset the sweetness of the dates. T

Photo Blog: Tour Series in Ryde, Isle of Wight

I raced in the support race before the main event Photo Credit: Island Echo Tight corners and fast downhills made for an ultra technical course Team mate Andy Shackel had a great race, off the front for most of the 40 minutes duration Despite his early effort, Andy pulled out a great 3rd place in the sprint Then the big boys took to the course... Blistering pace Greasy corners A brave solo breakaway by Tom Stewart A thinned out field Union street was a killer A very nice Felt AR1 Strung out from the gun Stewart (pictured) was eventually pulled back in, but then Tom Scully his team mate attacked and took a classy win

Photo Blog: Coming Soon - New Adidas AdiZero Kit

Many people obsess about making their bike lighter (the weight weenies), but what about the kit that you wear? Adidas today announced that they're releasing a complete set of summer cycling kit; including socks, bib shorts and a jersey, which will weight in at just 200 grams for the lot! That's incredibly light, and follows on from the ludicrously light adizero jersey that won awards at Eurobike. Light doesn't always mean better, but I'll be very interested to test this kit out in the coming (hopefully warm!) summer months. Here's some great photos to get you warmed up in the meantime...

Review: Booq Boa Nerve Graphite Messenger Bag

Sometimes you get a product that just feels  right. The right style, the right fit, the right quality, the right functionality. The Booq Boa Nerve messenger bag seems to be one of those... Booq are an American brand that are best known for their high-end laptop bags. They're a small family run company, and specialise in bags for the professional; namely, those who like style and function in equal measure. The Booq Boa Nerve messenger bag is the company's foray into a product that could specifically be used by the cycling market (although I regularly use a messenger bag off the bike, too). It will safely house a 15" Laptop or 17" Macbook, as well as all that you're likely to need on the day-to-day office run. From the moment you unpack the Boa Nerve Graphite, it oozes quality and style. The nylon outer looks and feels hardwearing and water-repellent. The rubberised base of the bag provides extra protection from spray and ground water, and gives a water resi