Showing posts from July, 2016

Taking Shape - The 'Coasts and Cols' Tour Route

I believe that within everyone, there is a desire to explore. A desire to push the boundaries of what you know, and where you've been. A desire to take the road less travelled. The 'Coasts and Cols' Tour was born out of my innate desire to explore; to see new places, and meet new people - all from the saddle of a bicycle. What was once a pipeline idea, is now taking shape: with dates, details and routes. In this post, I thought I would provide a bit of an update... The 'Coasts and Cols' Climbs The elevation profile of the 'Coasts and Cols' Tour looks rather worryingly like the heart rate graph of someone that is going into cardiac trauma; before flat-lining. It correlates to my upward and undulating route, from the moment I leave the north coast of Spain; this is then followed by the brutal and numerous cols of the Pyrenees; before rolling back up through France, on the flat plains of the west coast. The spikes and troughs in the route p

Weekend Watch: The Transcontinental Race to Istanbul

This is getting dangerously close to making it onto my bucket list ...

Review - Restrap Seat Pack and Frame Bag

My ' Coasts and Cols Tour ' is approaching fast, and with that comes the need to finalise my luggage and kit choices for the trip. The Restrap Seat Pack and Frame Bag fast ascended to the top of my bikepacking luggage wish-list; the bespoke design of the handmade holster and frame bag is stunning, and promises to be the ultimate bikepacking luggage. About Restrap Restrap is a small Yorkshire based brand, who started life producing high quality camera straps. Since those early days, they've expanded their product range dramatically; and because the staff were keen bike riders, a range of bikepacking kit was a logical diversification. Quality and superb function remain the two principle virtues of Restrap's bags, holsters and straps. All of the products are extensively prototyped, tested, and then produced by hand in the Yorkshire based warehouse. It is kit made to be so reliable, and so durable, that you really can #carryeverything with confidence. The Restrap

Review - Thule Pack 'n Pedal Shield Front Panniers and Thule Pack 'n Pedal Tour Rack

Thule bags have fast become a favourite of mine. I use the  Thule Commuter Pack 'n Pedal Rucksack on a daily basis, to carry kit to and from work. I use the Thule Paramount Rucksack , as my 'go-everywhere' travel bag. Then, I use a Thule Pack 'n Pedal Trunk Bag , for shopping runs and errands. The range of bags from the Swedish brand, is outstandingly good quality; and they are designed with intricate details, which make them a pleasure to use, and keep using. The Thule Pack 'n Pedal Shield Panniers are a more recent addition to the line-up from the brand; adding some colour to their range of panniers, in a simple but very effective design. The Shield Panniers will work with most pannier racks, but for this test review I've been trialling them with their intended partner - the Thule Pack 'n Pedal Tour Rack. Thule Pack 'n Pedal Shield Panniers - Small The Thule Pack 'n Pedal Shield Panniers provide a great waterproof solution to kit

Erdinger Alkoholfrei - The Isotonic Recovery Drink

There has long been a tradition for a 'recovery beer' amongst amateur bike riders, and even many professionals. The refreshing chilled beverage has the ability to revive, rejuvenate and relax you after a hard effort. The positive effects of alcoholic beer after exercise, are primarily psychological though; its benefits in terms of real physical recovery are very limited, or even negative. What you really need after a prolonged effort, is a drink that will re-hydrate you, and replace depleted muscle glycogen stores; so you're ready to fire on all cylinders again, sometime soon. Erdinger Alkoholfrei is the only 'beer' that can actually be labelled an effective sports drink; aiding re-hydration and re-fuelling through isotonic benefits. What are isotonic drinks? Isotonic drinks are those that have a similar osmotic pressure to blood; that means a similar number of dissolved particles per litre. This characteristic means they can be absorbed into the blood stre

Review: Wahoo ELEMNT GPS Cycle Computer

The cycle GPS market has long been collared by the big G…; to the extent that you'll probably say "did you track that on your Garmin?" a bit like "can you do the Hoovering" - the brand name has become synonymous with the sports GPS computer. It's about time that changed though, and Wahoo reckon they've brought out a Garmin-buster, with the new Wahoo ELEMNT. The ELEMNT has a number of unique design features and functions, which give it unique selling points over other GPS cycle computers; namely, it is easier to set-up, easier to upload activities, and easier to connect with other devices and sensors. In a world of time-constraints and social media sharing of sports activities, those are some real plus points! I've been testing a unit out over the last couple of months, to see if the claims hold true… Ease of set-up Wahoo like to keep things simple; which is nice, because life is pretty complicated as it is. Out of the box, the ELEMNT has th

Review: OKO Magic Milk Tyre Sealant

I've converted to tubeless tyres on pretty much all of my bikes; from mountain bike to cyclocross, and now even my road bike. The advantages of tubeless tyres are numerous. Earlier this year, I encountered a new hiccup with running tubeless though; though admittedly one I should have seen coming. I headed out on my mountain bike, after several months of just riding on the road; I hit a patch of hedge cutting and heard the tyre puncture; but then, there was no satisfying seal. The tyre deflated. The problem, was that the tubeless sealant had dried-up over a winter in storage. I limped home from that ride, and vowed that I would search for a sealant that had a longer lifespan; as well as noting that I needed to check this vital ingredient more often! (Read my post on ' 10 Top Tips for Tubeless Tyres '). During my search for sealant, I came across Magic Milk from OKO; a brand whose inner tube sealant I have previously reviewed  here on the blog . OKO are probably be