Showing posts from June, 2016

Book Review - Ventoux by Bert Wagendorp

Life. Death. Love; and Cycling. I had heard of the Dutch best-seller 'Ventoux' long before it was translated into English earlier this year. It is a captivating, inspiring, humorous, yet saddening, real life account. It will draw you in, and keep you reading; whether you're a cycling enthusiast or not.

It is an account of six friends from The Netherlands, who set out to climb the 'Giant of Provence'. The innocent trip evolves into a life changing, and indeed life-ending experience, for members of the group.

It is a tale of a tragic death, and the discovery of love; which leads to the dissolving of what was an inseparable friendship group. 30 years on, and the group are brought back together; by a long-brewing urge to re-live and commemorate what happened on the Ventoux. Now, pursuing careers as a crime reporter, a travel agent, a repentant ex-drugs dealer, a successful university lecturer, and a play director; the remaining five, from the original six, revisit th…

Review: Clement LCV Road Tyres

Clement Pneumatics are known for their top-end cyclocross tyres, which have shod the wheels of many past and current champions. In recent years, they have also started adding some new diversity to their range though; with the introduction of the X'plor tyres (something I'm keen to try on my Kona Private Jake), as well as the Strada LGG road tyre, and now the new LCV road race tyre.

The LCV is named after Lucca, a picturesque town in Tuscany, which has hosted some of the most prestigious races in the road cycling calendar. The name is intended to suggest what the LCV is built for... road racing.

The LCV tyres use a mixture of threads-per-inch, as well as a puncture protection belt and herringbone file pattern tread; the result is a supple casing, but also a tyre that should handle all road surfaces, in all conditions. With Clement's great reputation on the cyclocross circuit, I was keen to see how the new LCV stood up to the UK roads...

The results have been good. I fitted…

Review: Waterfield Designs Club Cycling Pouch

My review of the Eleven Vélo Ride Pouch was the start of a great relationship; the smart leather ride wallet is now securely part of my 'Every Ride Carry', and it comes in my jersey pocket on almost every outing. It is a great way to keep all your small ride essentials and valuables together; safe and protected.

The Ride Pouch was a joint project; between Australian cycle clothing brand Eleven Vélo, and San Francisco based bag makers, WaterField Designs. It seems I wasn't the only rider to become a fan of the product either, as WaterField Designs have produced a huge number to date; all made by hand in their San Fran workshop.

With so many riders using their product, WaterField Designs started getting some great feedback from out on the road; then, as great brands do, they took on-board those constructive criticisms, and have developed their new Club Cycling Pouch.

The Club Cycling Pouch isn't a replacement for the original Ride Pouch; rather it is designed to fulfil …

Bike Profile: Kona Private Jake

My Kona Private Jake is a seriously versatile bike, and probably the most used of 'My Rides'. From commuting to racing; from weekend-blasts to two week tours; the Private is a do-it-all rig.

I haven't changed a huge amount in terms of the specification of the bike, but there have been some subtle tweaks and alterations. Here's how it is currently set up...

Bike Specifications:Frame: Kona Race Light 7005 Aluminium Butted - Medium/LargeFork: Kona CarbonHeadset: Full Speed AheadStem: Kona Road DeluxeHandlebar: Kona RoadFront brake: TRP Sypre disc brakes 160mm rotorRear brake: TRP Sypre disc brakes 140mm rotorRear derailleur: SRAM Rival Clutch Mech 11spdShift levers: SRAM Rival 1XCassette: SRAM Rival 11-32 11spdChain: KMC 11spdCrankset: SRAM Rival Bottom bracket: SRAM RivalPedals: Shimano M520 pedalsWheelset: Novatec 30 Disc Wheelset Front tyre: WTB Cross Boss TubelessRear tyre: WTB Cross Boss TubelessSaddle: WTB SL8Seatpost: Kona Thumb w/ OffsetBottle cages: Lifeline Pe…

Review: Overboard Waterproof Accessories Bags

This is one of the first posts in a series of reviews of Bikepacking kit, which I'll be posting on the blog over the coming months, as I prepare my kit choices for the 'Coasts and Cols Tour'. I decided starting with one of the smallest and simplest, yet very useful pieces of kit, seemed logical. The Overboard Waterproof Dry-bags and Pouches, were an obvious choice…

Roll-top waterproof bags are a great way to keep things sealed, separated and safe when you're travelling. They certainly aren't a new item of kit for Bikepackers, but they are super useful. The collection of mini dry pouches from UK brand Overboard Bags, as well as their multi-sized multipack of larger bags, are ideal.

The Overboard kit is well made, and fantastic value; providing a stripped-back, minimalist approach. These dry bags are no exception. The multiple colours and sizes make them ideal as grab-bags for valuables, tools and small essentials; to stop contamination between different kit, and a…

Riding the HERO Südtirol Dolomites

​If you ride one mountain bike race in your life, make it the HERO Südtirol Dolomites. I've never been part of anything quite so spectacular...

The scale. The challenge. The passion, performance and pain. The celebration. This is a special event.

It begins at sunrise. The hotel breakfast room is filled with riders, from all over the globe; a nervous silence hangs in the air.

As the light rises over the peaks of Sella group, the streets of Val Gardena fill with the noise of clicking freewheels, and the sound of last minute chatter. 4000 riders, from Elites to amateurs, take up their places on the starting grid. Everyone hoping to be a HERO.

With a roar of music, smoke and cheering, the race starts. The frantic scramble to find position on the first climb. The racing heartbeat. The little voice in the back of your head; which tells you this is only the first of four major climbs today; don't burn all of your matches...

Summit. Descent; first on gravel access roads, then onto te…

Mountain Biking in the SüdTirol Dolomites #RideMoreOffroad

The Dolomites has always had a special place in my heart. The Italian mountain range has played host to some of my best holidays; from family camping under Mt. Marmolada, to riding the road passes during last year's Giro Delle Dolomiti. The jagged peaks and steep sided valleys, are instantly recognisable to me.

Having ridden many of the great road passes last year, as well as run up a few of the peaks in my October cross-training break; I decided it was about time to #RideMoreOffroad in The Dolomites. So, between the X-Bionic Cup last weekend, and the coming HERO Südtirol Dolomites, I've taken to the Dolomite trails. Here are my rides from a week of mountain biking in the iconic mountains...

Ride 4: Val Duron Recon4hrs 45mins - 57km - 2,275m ascent
​The aim of today's ride was to fill in the final piece of the jigsaw; taking in the final loop of tomorrow's 86km HERO route, up and over the Val Duron climb.

My route started out with a climb up to the Passo Sella; with a…