Showing posts from September, 2015

The Inner Athlete - What Blood Profiling Can Teach You...

Blood. It accounts for about seven percent of human body weight, but it is critical to every bodily function we perform. It is also an incredible resource to learn about our bodies. The bio-markers contained within our blood cells can provide valuable information on everything from vitamin balance, to hormone levels. For a bike rider, the health of your 'Inner Athlete' is fundamental, and profiling your blood is the most effective and simple way to monitor and understand it.

A few months ago, I was contacted by the UK based blood profiling company InDurance. The InDurance team is composed of world-class athletes, top medics, sports scientists and top-level coaches. Their service is designed to bring to amateur athletes, a science that has long been used by professionals; the ability to measure and track your blood bio-markers, to improve your performance.

Through simple self-administered blood sampling, forwarded to the InDurance team by post, the group of experts is able to …

Nutrition: Fuelling Right - In Praise of Porridge

Advice on best-practice sports nutrition is constantly evolving and adapting. Take on-the-bike nutrition: in the distant past, Tour de France riders could be seen fuelling with wine and pastries! Nowadays, that is more likely to be gels and sports drinks. Although, recent research suggests that pistachios and rice cakes could be the real winner...

Interestingly though, there is one line of thought on sports nutrition that has remained quite constant through time... porridge! It seems that the importance of fuelling up on complex carbohydrates pre-event, has long been recognised. It also seems that popular opinion on the king of pre-ride fuels, has remained constant over time: porridge still tops the rankings.

Porridge has become quite a 'trendy' breakfast in recent years, and with good reason. A bowlful is packed full of low-GI carbohydrates, protein and dietary fibre. It's a nutritional combination that will keep you feeling fuller and fuelled better, for longer. Cyclists…

Review: ELEVEN Vélo Ride Pouch

What goes in your jersey pockets is always an interesting topic of conversation, between bike riders at least. It tends to throw up all kinds of discussion: Should you be a minimalist streamliner or a comprehensive conservative? Should you carry tools and spares in a saddle bag, or in your pocket? Also, how do you house that kit safely, to avoid it flying down the road or trail?

For me, my road cycling set-up is now pretty fixed. On the bike, I have a small compact saddlebag, containing tyre levers, two spare tubes, a small tube of lube and a spare mech hanger. In my two side jersey pockets go bars and gels, and then in my central jersey pocket goes my other ride essentials. These ride essentials consist of a phone, multi-tool, chain link, lip balm, ID card, cash, card, key and instant patches. It's these small essentials that I've always struggled to house safely, until now...

Now, I think I've found a solution. The Ride Pouch from Australian brand ELEVEN Vélo.


Review: Pedro's ChainPig, Degreaser and Cleaning Brushes

It's that time of year... Bike washing is no longer a once-a-fortnight activity, it is fast becoming part of the 'every-ride' routine. Mud, leaf mulch and not to mention road salt, will soon be covering our shiny bikes. It's time to bring out the big guns of the cleaning bucket...

Review: Pedro's Pro J Degreaser and Bye Grease Degreaser The first thing to add to your cleaning bucket, is a high quality degreaser. I've heard of people using washing up liquid, brush cleaner and white spirit to clean chains before; but really, the most effective and safest bet for your bike, is to use a dedicated bike degreaser, from a well-reputed brand. 
My current go-to option, is the Pro J Degreaser from Pedro's. It's a 'professional strength' product, which makes light work of caked-on lube, brake dust and road grime. Spray or brush it on, leave it for a few minutes whilst you work on other areas of the bike; then, give the chain, sprockets and chain rings a g…

Photo Blog: La Machine CC - Flamme Rouge Tee

The La Machine strap-line is "Clothing for cyc-a-holics". That sounds like me!

La Machine CC is a small start-up, based in the Netherlands (I instantly liked it, due to my Dutch heritage). The casual clothing range is the brainchild of Rens Robroek and Sander Tielen; two riders who share a passion for design, and a love of all things cycling.

At the moment, the La Machine range is focussed on good quality, soft feel, well fitted cotton tees and polos. It is fast expanding though, and long sleeved tops and sweaters are on the near horizon.

The brand has quickly established a well deserved reputation for producing quality apparel, with some quirky and interesting designs. I was keen to showcase an example on the blog, with a few photos. It is a range well worth checking out...

View the La Machine range at (Link)

Coming Soon... The New Wahoo ELEMNT GPS Computer

This week, Wahoo Fitness announced that they will soon be releasing a new GPS cycle computer - the ELEMNT. A unit, which they feel will rival products like the market leading Garmin Edge range.

My experience of Wahoo products has certainly been promising. In the past, I've tested their Bluetooth enabled TICKR heart rate sensor, as well as their neat RPM Cadence Sensor and Blue SC Sensor. I have also tested their RFLKT+ computer, which is the only other cycle computer to come from the American brand, and used a neat "reflection" of the Wahoo GPS app on your smartphone, to save the cost of housing a GPS within the unit itself. All the sensors and RFLKT+ unit proved to be great quality, and had neat intuitive designs; this trait is something that Wahoo is really pushing with the new ELEMNT computer.

Whilst the RFLKT+ required you to use your phone in tandem with the display unit, to provide a GPS position, the new ELEMNT will be a fully independent GPS unit and be able to …

Review: JBL Charge 2+ Bluetooth Speakers

With the darker months of winter on the near horizon, many cyclists (including myself) start to think about indoor training and cross training; looking for ways to mix up the monotony of long winter miles, and build a strength base for the following season. Indoor training, gym work and cross training might not be as enjoyable as riding around in the sunshine, but they can all be made far more pleasant with some good music pumping in the background. Enter the outdoor Bluetooth speaker...

The idea that a wireless, water-resistant and drop-proof speaker would be great for cycle training first came to mind at the Island Games, when we could have done with some pumping bass beats in our team warm-up areas. On my return, I started looking around for options, and the JBL Charge 2+ speakers were one of the best options I found.

The compact JBL Charge 2+ is a splash-proof, completely wireless unit. It also doubles up as a 6000mAh charging bank, which is pretty neat, and could be invaluable w…

Extending Summer - The Mallorca1127 Escape Plan

Despite current weather conditions in the UK remaining quite favourable, there are definite signs that summer is inevitably coming to an end. The evenings are drawing in, the mornings are distinctly chilly, and there is an increasing need for long sleeved jerseys and knee warmers. Once we roll into the month of October, things will only accelerate. So, I've come up with an idea to extend summer... I'm planning a Mallorca1127 Escape in the last week of October.

1127 kilometres is 700 miles, and it's the target I've set myself for the seven days of riding I have planned on the Balearic island, in the final week of October. The week will culminate with the TransTramuntana 4500 event on Saturday 24th October, which is an event that I've been eyeing up ever since my early-season trip to Mallorca to ride the Mallorca312; its 4500 meters of climbing and 235km length should provide a great finale!

Hatching A Plan The idea of a late season escape materialised soon after re…

Review: Sportful Fiandre Light NoRain Long Sleeve Top

Welcome to September, the month of change. The month of darker evenings and misty mornings; of single digit temperatures on still dusty trails and dry roads. Also, the month of increased rainfall, the start of autumnal gales, and the need for incredibly versatile and adaptable riding kit.

Enter the Fiandre range, from Sportful. This is a set of products that I've been keen to test for a long time, and I finally broke the fast, with the Fiandre Light NoRain Long Sleeve Top.

Le Fiandre, or Vlaanderen, refers to the Flanders region of northern Europe. It's an area that is famed for its unpredictable weather, Spring Classics and hard riding. This name, and the apparel within this Sportful range, promise to be kit that is perfect for the changeable autumn riding conditions in the UK. I've been giving this piece a good test run...

For most of September in the UK, as well as October (if we're lucky), we still get reasonable riding temperatures. The challenge of the condition…

Workshop Focus: Picking Your Pedro's Chain Lube

Maintaining a smooth running drivetrain is one of the challenges of racking up many miles on a bike. It awards good recompense though, and a well cleaned and lubricated cassette and chain will provide a more efficient and quieter bike, whilst also helping to prolong the life of the components.

Once you've ensured that your chain, chain rings and cassette are sparkling clean and dry (here's a link to my Bike Cleaning Routine), it's time to choose your chain lube. There are a whole host of lubricant options available though, and how do you know which one is best for you? Should you opt for a wet lube or dry lube? Light oil or Teflon reinforced wax?

In this post, I've picked out three of my favourites from the US brand Pedro's, and thought I'd talk through the differences between them, as well as why they are all good choices.

Review: Pedro's Syn Lube - Wet Weather and Endurance Protection
I'll start with Pedro's Syn Lube, because for the kind of En…