Showing posts from November, 2017

Review - Craft Cadence Waterproof Backpack

Winter commuting in the UK poses the frequent threat of precipitation; and there aren't many things more disheartening than getting to work drenched, only to find that the clean change of clothes in your rucksack are equally waterlogged. Enter the roll-top waterproof rucksack, to provide the solution...

There are multiple brands out there making roll-top dry bag style waterproof rucksacks, but this new release from Craft Cadence is one of the best designs that I have tried to date.

Made from tough PVC coated nylon, the bag has a real quality feel to it, and will withstand a thorough soaking, as well as significant use and abuse.

The design itself, like most roll-top bags, is simple but effective. The thing that separates the Craft Cadence model from others though, is the detail...

First, there is the roll top closure system. Most of these systems roll down and then have a single strap to secure the water-tight roll. The Craft Cadence Rucksack has a double defence system; where the…

Stocking Fillers for Cyclists 2017

Christmas is coming, and Santa is loading up his fat bike for the festive ride. So, I thought I would take a look at my top stocking filler suggestions for cyclists, runners, triathletes and outdoor enthusiasts.

Muc-Off Mechanic Mug First up, the classic mug gift. This quality enamel mug from Muc-Off features the legendary Doctor-X. Sip that post-ride Americano in style, whilst getting the bike shiny clean.

Sugru Self-Setting Glue Sugru is incredibly versatile stuff. Check out some of my previous posts such as 'Sugru Hacks for Cyclists' and 'How to Make a Homemade Tubeless Plug' for some ideas. Sugru have also just released their latest formula, which is more sensitive-skin and child friendly; ideal to give to kids, so they can fix their mudguards and light brackets when they inevitably snap them!

Muc-Off Eyewear Cleaner If you are giving someone some fresh new Oakleys or POC sunglasses for Christmas, then this would be a great addition in their stocking. The goggles …

Review: Tate Labs Rain Fly Rear Mudguard

Fed up with a wet back (and crack), and want some protection from road and trail spray? This new Rain Fly guard from Tate Labs could well be the solution...

Many readers will have seen and/or used an Ass Saver mudguard. The neat laser-cut plastic flap slots underneath your saddle, and provides valuable protection for your rear; while adding only minimal weight and aerodynamic drag. It is a KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) approach, to reducing the "mud-slick" effect.

The Ass Saver works well; but it isn't without its faults... The most significant downfall for the Swedish designed product, is that it rather too easily goes askew; exposing your back to your rear wheel. The second, is that it doesn't really provide protection for the back of your legs, or for a saddlebag or rear light housed on your seatpost.

The new Tate Labs Bar Fly Rain Fly promises to follow in the lightweight minimalist footsteps of the Ass Saver, but to overcome the two short-comings.

The guard atta…

Review - Knog Oi Bike Bell

I am a big advocate of the bike bell. Cyclists have enough problems being seen, without risking not being heard as they approach pedestrians and other path users. The main reason enthusiast cyclists don't seem to have a bell on their bike though, seems to be aesthetics, and (slightly unbelievably) weight.

The Knog Oi Bell is designed to combat the two fore-mentioned deterrents to having a bike bell. It looks sleek and sophisticated, but also weighs next to nothing.

Mounting is simple and easy, with a single bolt tightening the clamp, which will accommodate 23.8 to 31.8mm bars.

Possibly the best thing about the Knog Oi bell though, is its charm. It has a positively tuneful 'ding'.

A great stocking filler for any cyclist.

Review - Knog Blinder MOB V Four Eyes Rear Light

A good rear bike light is a huge asset, in terms of visibility and road presence. Even in the daytime, a rear light will help to alert other traffic to your position on the road. The latest Knog Blinder rear light - the Knog Blinder MOB V Four Eyes, is a great all-weather option.

I have tested Knog lights for many years, and they always perform in terms of functionality, and simplicity of use. The new Knog Blinder follows suit.

The light mounts up easily to any size of seat post (including aero seat posts) using a variety of rubber straps. Once on the bike, it is easy to turn on, and then to toggle through the five different light modes.

On maximum FLASH, the Knog Blinder V4 will output 44 lumens of light, and last for 4.5 hours. On Eco mode, the light will last for a whopping 55 hours of burn time.

When it comes to charging, it couldn't be easier; you simply remove the unit from the bike, and plug it straight into a USB drive on a computer, or a USB mains plug. Charging takes 4-5…

Review - Craft Cadence Tempo Waterproof Trunk Bag

A rack top trunk bag is the ideal solution to carrying light and small loads. Better than a rucksack as it doesn't leave you with a sweaty back; also better than a single pannier in terms of balance; it is my preferred option for a daily commute. The new Craft Cadence Tempo Trunk Bag is a good value and well-built execution of the concept.

Made from PVC coated nylon, and with a roll-top closure, the bag is waterproof and durable. A rigid insert helps the main section of the bag to keep its shape, whilst two small zippered pockets on the outside are ideal for things like a phone and keys.

The bag attaches to the pannier rack using two large Velcro straps on the underside. A third strap on the front of the bag can provide extra security, to stop the bag shifting back on the rack frame. The mounting system feels secure, and even with some off-road riding it has shown itself to be a stable design.

Neat additions include a light clip on the back of the bag, which is useful if you are …

Review - Restrap Commute Rucksack

Made in Yorkshire, the Restrap bags collection has fast become a favourite of mine. The new Commute Rucksack is the latest addition to the range, and another superb piece of craftsmanship.

The Restrap frame bag, handlebar bag and seat pack, have been my touring luggage of choice for long distance self-supported trips like the 'Coasts and Cols' and the #7Countries7Passes. Their durable, robust and faultlessly engineered designs allow you to travel far, in confidence that your kit will go the distance.

For daily use, when things are a little less 'epic', Restrap have released their new 'Utility' range; which includes this beautifully made roll-top waterproof rucksack.

Built with purpose Roll-top rucksacks don't need to be extravagant, they need to work. They need to keep your kit dry on your daily commutes, and allow you to ride in comfort and safety.

The Restrap Commute Rucksack focusses on the essentials, with the aim of delivering faultlessly on its inten…

Game Theory Of The Breakaway

If you have seen the film 'A Beautiful Mind' or you have done a bit of industrial economics, or even gambling, then you might have heard of Game Theory. It is a science that tries to make sense of the decision choices made by individuals, when they are faced with one-shot simultaneous move situations.

The application of game theory has found its way into topics from penalty shoot-out decisions, to how easy it is for two firms to collude to raise prices in an industrial market. In this blog, I try to show how game theory can be applied to a breakaway situation in a road race.

The classic example of game theory is the 'Prisoner's Dilemma': consider two gang members, stuck in two separate cells at a police station; both prisoners were arrested at the scene of a crime, and had no chance to discuss their alibi with the other.

Simultaneously, both prisoners are taken from their cells to separate interview rooms and told:
If you confess and your partner does too, then you…

Season Highlights - The Ride - 'A Final Climb' #7Countries7Passes

Dawn breaks on the vineyards of the Corbieres. The French commune Lagrasse lies silent beneath unusually dark and clouded skies.

Shorts and a jersey are pulled on over weary legs and shoulders. Over the past fourteen days riding across the European continent, this is a ritual that has been performed everywhere from mountaintop wild camps, to the spare rooms of friends and kind strangers.

Today is the finale of the #7Countries7Passes tour. The final climb to the finish line. Like the days that have preceded it though, it will be no easy ride; plentiful challenges lie on the road ahead.

Coffee is drunk. Porridge is eaten. Bags are packed.

Shoes pulled on, and ratchets tightened. Clip in for the final ride.

Today, for this final day, there is the novel luxury of having a friendly face and great photographer following in his iconic Land Rover: capturing the climax of the journey.

Within minutes of departing, the darkening skies give way. Rain pelts down onto dusty ground.

A quick stop.