Showing posts from October, 2017

Review - Wahoo ELMENT BOLT

Last year, I reviewed the Wahoo ELEMNT, and it quickly won me over. The unit became my go-to cycle computer for everything for daily commuting, to guiding me across Europe on the 'Coasts and Cols' tour, and then this year on the #7Countries7Passes.

The Wahoo ELEMNT has a little brother though. The ELEMNT BOLT is a smaller, lighter, and sleeker version of the original ELEMNT. Yet, it retains the majority of the great easy-to-use functionality of the original unit. I decided to down-size, to see if it was an upgrade...

The Aero AdvantageOn my daily commute, and when trekking across Europe on a fully-laden touring bike, I am not sure I have too many concerns about how aerodynamic my profile is. That said, I do like things to look sleek and well-profiled; the Wahoo BOLT does that.

Wahoo market the ELEMNT BOLT as the most aerodynamic cycle computer out there. It has a unique design that means on its out-front mount the computer and mount lock together to create a smooth and slender …

Review - ForthEdge Blood Profiling Technology

There is a lot you can tell about your body, from the outside. Dark sunken eyes suggest fatigue; cramps suggest dehydration; yellow skin suggests anaemia. Yet, there is a huge amount that cannot be identified or seen without looking deeper within: underlying health problems, weaknesses and illness; these are far more likely to show up in your blood, even if you look and feel okay superficially.

ForthEdge offers a unique service: blood profiling, by post.

Blood accounts for about seven percent of human bodyweight, 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 bodily system is fundamental, and profiling your blood is the most effective way to monitor and understand it.

I was recently contacted by the UK based blood profiling company Fort…

Review - LedLenser MH10 Headtorch

Earlier this year I tested the LedLenser MT10 Handheld Torch, and I was extremely impressed by the quality and design of the unit. More recently, I have been trying out another product from the Outdoor range in the German brand's line-up - the MH10 Headtorch.

The LedLenser MH10 is designed to be a versatile and lightweight headtorch; ideal for walking, running and many other outdoor pursuits.

Unlike a lot of headtorches that integrate the battery into the lamp unit itself, the MH10 has a separate battery pack on the rear; this has a number of advantages...

Firstly, it means the battery pack can be larger; facilitating a massive run time of 120 hours on low power mode, and six hours on high power. Second, it makes the headtorch a lot more balanced on your head; providing greater comfort and reducing the need to over-tighten the strap to avoid bounce. Thirdly, it has allowed LedLenser to put a small red light on the battery pack, to give a surprisingly effective aid to rear visibil…

Review - CYGLO Cycling Backpack Indicator Display

When you are riding in traffic, your lower back is by far the most visible part of your rear-facing silhouette. The innovative and unique CYGLO Cycling Rucksack, with its integrated indicator display, is designed to maximise your rear visibility and also provide useful warning signals about your movements to following vehicles.

Lightweight, packable, and practical The CYGLO pack from eelo is a lightweight packable riding rucksack. The bag folds into itself to create a pack size little larger than that of a lightweight windproof, and weighs only 365 grams inclusive of the electronic indicator display (explained below). This compact size makes it ideal for stashing in a pannier or pocket, to provide extra carrying capacity on shopping trips or errands.

The pack is made from water-resistant rip-stop nylon. It is a lightweight fabric, and not designed for extensive use and abuse, but it does brush off showers and rear wheel spray with ease, and is durable enough for light loads.

There ar…

Review - SJ Works Bicycle First Aid Kits

Many people seem to underestimate the importance of first aid. Coming from a family and friend network of doctors though, I have been made aware on many occasions of the importance of first response.

SJ Works is a Danish brand, who are looking to bring First Aid to the cycling market in a smart and convenient way; with saddle bags, frame bags and top tube bags that contain all the essentials you need for the first treatment of cuts, falls and bleeding.

The bags themselves are good quality: To test their durability, I removed the lightweight First Aid products from the saddlebag; then filled it with tools and used it as a normal saddlebag for a few weeks; it held up to the challenge admirably. The reflective material that covers the bag is a great added visibility aid too.

The First Aid products inside the bag are well thought through, and contain everything that I would normally put in a lightweight expedition first aid kit. There is also a neat booklet with First Aid advice, and a b…

Review - Vaude Exire Pro RC MTB Shoes

Vaude cycling kit is genuinely unique. As a company, the German brand has a heritage of producing top level outdoor apparel, with innovative fabrics and a focus on sustainable production. Their cycling kit extends this ethos into the two-wheeled world, and the winter jackets and shoes that I have tested to date have certainly been exceptional.

The Vaude Exire Pro RC Mountain Bike Shoes are the top tier race shoes from Vaude, and have some interesting features that set them apart from the norm.

Power transfer and race level quality The Exire is designed to be a cross country mountain bike race shoe; with a stiff sole and a fit that holds the foot firmly in place, to maximise power transfer.

The sole is made from high density composite, whilst the uppers are a PU coated polyester with a ratchet strap and two Velcro closure straps. The low stretch upper, the stiff sole, and the secure closing system, mean that your foot feels stable and secure inside the shoes.

Additional neat innovatio…

Review - Thule Vea Rucksack Duffel Bag

Thule bags have become my go-to packs. The Thule Crossover Duffel accompanies me on most foreign trips. The Thule Commuter Rucksack is my daily choice for the trip to the office. Then the Thule Legend GoPro Case keeps all my electronics safe.

The new Thule Vea Rucksack-Duffel is one of the most recent innovative packs from the Swedish brand. Designed to work as an everyday rucksack, and as a travel duffel bag; it is two bags in one.

The devil is in the detail As with all Thule products that I have tested, the quality shines through in the details. The brand is clearly a master of research and development, and you can tell that their bags have been tested in real life environments before they go into production.

The Thule Vea has some great design details.

For starters, there is the dual compartment concept: the main section of the bag can house a 15 inch laptop, tablet, files and valuables; all in specially designed and organised pockets. Meanwhile, a separate expandable bottom pocke…

The #7Countries7Passes – A Journey Across Europe

There are easier ways to visit friends and family dotted across the European continent, than riding a fully loaded touring bike over some of the highest mountain passes. Those alternative options though, would provide little challenge…

On a rainy day last November, I dreamed up the #7Countries7Passes tour.

A 3000 kilometre self-supported ride across Europe; with 42,000 metres of vertical elevation gain, on a bike weighing 27 kilograms.

Reflections on Life In The Saddle's biggest adventure to date…

Joining The Dots The route for the tour started from the Danish capital of Copenhagen. I had been enticed by an offer to ride a gravel road race, sponsored by an ice cream company. Seeing as the Nordics are a part of the world that I haven't really explored to date, it seemed like a great opportunity to start an adventure.

From Denmark, I headed south to the ferry to Germany, before beginning a long series of back-to-back days to get me to the town of Villingen, near the Black Fore…