Showing posts from June, 2019

Making Plans – The #CelticCrossTrail Tour

Earlier this year I pulled up a heat-map of where in Europe my riding has taken me to date. It shows a spider's web of routes spanning most of the major European countries; from Denmark and Norway, to Spain and Portugal. An area right on my doorstep that is inexcusably poorly explored though, is the collective Celtic trio of Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. I have previously made some attempt at Wales: riding the trail centres, MTB endurance races, the Ras de Cymru road stage race, and the 300 kilometre Dragon Ride in the Welsh hills. I have by no means explored its full beauty though and have yet to venture out onto the Pembrokeshire coastline, or into the heart of the Brecon Beacons. I have ridden even less in Scotland. The most recent time was along the Scottish border during the Dirty Reiver gravel race. I have barely touched the beauty and wilderness of the Scottish Highlands— not yet venturing north of Fort William. Ireland is completely untouched. Despite reading ab

Review – Goodyear Eagle All-Season Tubeless Road Tyres

Road bike tyres are getting bigger, and better. The new 30c Eagle All-Season Tubeless Tyres from Goodyear Bicycle Tires are a superb endurance riding option. I have been testing them out over the last month, here is my review... I remember being one of the first riders in Team Wiggle (back in 2013) to make the switch from 23c to 25c tyres. The added comfort and grip was an obvious benefit, and has very little penalty in terms of added weight; as well as even some suggestions of lower rolling resistance from the larger diameter tyre [ read this past post for some insights ]. In the following years I switched from 25c to 28c on my road bike and moved from 33c up to 40c diameter tyres on my gravel bike. The benefits of larger volume tyres when riding long hours on mixed surface terrain are huge, and far outweigh the downsides (in my opinion). With this progression in mind, I was keen to test out the 30c diameter road-focussed Eagle tyres from Goodyear; an even larger volume of road

Workshop Focus – SwissStop Disc Brake Pads Review

There is a plethora of bicycle disc brake pads on the market, but ask professional bike mechanics what their preferred option is, and SwissStop is often the popular choice. The brand produces disc brake pads for all kinds of bicycle; from road to cyclocross, and mountain bike. In this blog post I report back on my review findings after testing the complete range of SwissStop disc pads both off-road and on-road over the last year, with close to 25,000 kilometres of riding. SwissStop make four different models of disc brake pads: Green Organic, Yellow RS Racing, ExoTherm, and Silver Endurance. All of these pads are organic (not sintered) formula pads; providing a low noise and rotor-friendly contact with the disc brake rotor. All the pads are also designed to be stable at extremely high temperatures, such as those encountered on long mountain descents. The pads differ in the composition of the organic formula though, and also in the case of ExoTherm there is a different back panel.

Review – Rapha Core Cargo Pocket Bib Shorts

The first iteration of the Rapha Cargo Bib Shorts were one of the two pairs of bib shorts I chose for last year's #RoadsFromRome adventure . The storage capacity, robust fast-dry fabrics, and comfortable endurance specific seat-pad made them a top choice for the 2500 kilometre tour. The latest version—the Rapha Core Cargo Bib Shorts have been on test for the last few months; they offer some interesting developments over the first edition. Rapha have retained the three core product attributes found in the original Rapha Brevet Cargo Bib Shorts—including the fast drying fabrics, side and back mesh pockets, and the endurance level chamois pad. However, other areas have been developed and altered to bring the product up to date with current trends and preferences. The Rapha Core Cargo Bib Shorts use a new dense-knit fabric, which has a degree of weather and water repellence, and a fast-dry nature; bit it is lighter weight than the Brevet fabric in the predecessors. The bib sectio

Bike Review – Quella Bicycle Varsity Single Speed Bike

There is a beautiful Zen-like feeling to riding a single speed bicycle. The Quella Varsity Single Speed is a British designed and built single speed / fixed gear bike; perfect for city life or running errands around countryside lanes. My Quella Varisty Cambridge has just clocked over 5000 kilometres — so it seemed timely to write a review of the ride. My first road bike was a steel framed Peugeot, for which I paid £50 to a family friend. I have a great emotional connection to that bike and frame — to the simplicity and retro looks that it has, and the adventures that it has taken me on. Yet, when the bottom bracket seized in its shell and the forks were mangled by a white van man, I decided it was time to look for another classic looking steel frame commuter bike that would uphold the Zen and do the 'Steel is Real' club proud. My search led me to the London based company Quella Bicycle. Their range of urban inspired single speed bikes came to my attention because of thei

Review – Hutchinson Tires Overide Tubeless Gravel Tyres

I have a fond association with the Hutchinson Tires brand; in 2014 I spent a week in Provence with the product development team testing their Toro and Squale MTB tyres . The French brand has evolved their range significantly over the last few years, and the release of the new Overide gravel-specific bike tyre promised to be an interesting and (from past experience) superb mixed-surface bicycle tyre. Hutchinson Tires were the pioneers of tubeless technology and designed some of the world's first tubeless road tyres; capable of taking the high pressures required for asphalt riding. Tubeless tyres have really come into their own with the growth of 'Gravel' riding though; because of their inability to pinch-flat, and the dramatically increased grip and comfort that can be achieved even on low volume tyres. I have been testing the Hutchinson Overide 38c gravel tyre on my 3T Exploro for the last few months, and they are proving to be a superb summer gravel riding option.