Showing posts from March, 2019

Review - Restrap Rando Bag - Front Rack Rack-Top Pannier

The Restrap Rando Bag is designed to be a go-anywhere do-anything front rack pannier bag; with a semi-rigid construction to make it easy to load, and extra stable. I have used Restrap's panniers, handlebar bag, and frame bags for numerous long distance tours, and they are faultless. While I have not taken the new Restrap Rando Bag on any global adventures, yet; it has been fitted to my run-around Quella Varsity single-speed bike, and it is performing very well. The concept behind the Rando bag is that it would be ideal for a long distance randonneur (a.k.a. Audax'er) with a front rack, equally though it is superb as a daily run-around. It connects to the rack using two magnetic fasteners on the bottom front of the bag, and a tie-back strap on the rear of the bag; securely holding it in place but making it easy to remove. [N.B: you do need to use the magnetic buckle tie-back strap if you do not want to see your milk go flying down the road on the next downhill!] The Rando

Race Report - The IOW 7 Hills - 'Bone Shaking. Record Breaking'

I love local races. There is something unique and special about competing close to home—the friendly faces and familiar surroundings produce a completely unique atmosphere. The '7 Hills' holds a particular place in my heart though, because 16 years ago it was my first ever mountain bike race. This year, it was all about setting a PB on the Isle of Wight course… The Isle of Wight Classic The 26 mile race runs across the Island, from Freshwater Bay to Sandown Airport. It is an orienteering set-up, but along a pre-defined mostly signposted route; with 75 percent of it off-road along the central and southern ridges of the Isle of Wight. Most previous editions of the annual race have been held in September, and I have competed in conditions ranging from scorching 'Indian Summer' heat, to Force 10 winds and torrential rain in the tail-end of a hurricane. The event has now shifted to a March date, which gives it far more of an early season 'Spring Classic' fee

Review - PEdAL ED Polartec Alpha Tokaido Wind Vest

The Polartec Alpha® Fabric is exceptional. Designed in collaboration with the U.S. Special Forces, it is made to be incredible light, insulating, and adaptable to varying temperatures. Japanese brand PEdAL ED have utilised the wonder fabric in the new Tokaido Wind Vest, and the results are good. The Tokaido Wind Vest was designed by PEdAL ED after experiences in the Transcontinental Race and Silk Road Mountain Race—both ultra-distance cycling events, where kit is demanded to be super lightweight, and adaptable to incredibly varied temperatures. The Tokaido uses Polartec Alpha in its purest form: with no internal lining or layering, so that the garment is super light and packable. On the outside of the vest is a lightweight windproof fabric to protect the wearer from wind-chill. In terms of features, the Tokaido Wind Vest is refined for lightness. There are two large rear cargo pockets, a high-cut neckline, reflective detailing, and an internal pocket that the vest packs away in

Review - Stance Off-Road and All-Road Cycling Socks

I first tried Stance socks a number of years ago, when I was sent a pair of their bright and colourful patterned running socks. The brand has an incredible following, and with good reason; the socks both perform superbly and look exceptional. Their latest jump into the world of cycling socks is an exciting new extension to the range. Stance socks are made to look interesting and distinctive. Yet, unlike some 'standout brands' they also offer industry-leading performance in terms of cushioning, fit, and feel. The two technologies that contribute most significantly to the performance of all the socks within the Stance range are the Feel360 supportive fit, and the silver ion fabric technology. Good fitting socks make far more difference than people realise; a sock with the correct cushioning, arch support and heel support can make as much difference to comfort as the shoes that you wear. The Stance Feel360 technology provides a true wrap-around feel, which delivers great c

Weekend Watch — 'PEDAL'

I came across this film earlier this week, and images from it have been flashing through my mind ever since. It makes me long for the open road again—for the escape and adventure. This week I published a new blog: 'The Expedition Journals' — . The sister  site to Life In The Saddle will be dedicated to long-form story telling from my biking, hiking, kayaking and running adventures. Putting the new site together, and watching this short film reinforced something in my mind—I have a deep-seated love of 'the journey'—a desire to escape and see new places; whether by bike, boat, or on foot. "Sometimes it breaks me. But mostly, it makes me..." I am still putting together plans for my 2019 'Big Tour'—I am undecided on the destination, bike type, or distance. When piecing together my ideas though, a particular quote from Hera's film comes to mind " you do not feel alone when you are out in the nature, but when y