Showing posts from November, 2019

The #KomootAdventure Black Forest Micro Adventure

This November, I headed to the Black Forest in Germany to explore what the area has to offer for gravel riding. What I discovered was an incredible landscape of gravel tracks and single-track roads; over deserted mountain peaks and through colourful autumn forest. This was one of the best micro-adventure explorations I have undertaken to date.

I utilised Komoot's mapping facility to plan the three day exploration of Schwarzwald. The German mapping service proved its worth with great success; my routes linked together 'highlights' inputted by the Komoot community, and the resulting trails and paths were perfect for gravel bike riding.

My social media posts and photos tell the story of this three day exploration; but the best way to really explore this hidden gem of a region would be to plan a trip here yourself.

Review – Parcours Alta Gravel / CX Carbon Wheel Set

The idea and attraction behind a gravel bike is that it can go anywhere, and ride anything. That robustness and versatility does not have to mean performance sacrifice though; fitting a carbon wheelset like the Parcours Alta wheels to your gravel bike will provide a lightweight but incredibly versatile upgrade.

My Kona Private Jake has over 27,000 kilometres on its frameset to date and has eaten through multiple wheelsets and drivetrains in its lifetime. Yet, fitting the Parcours Alta wheels to its go-anywhere chassis has been one of the most dramatic upgrades I have experience.

The Alta wheelset is named after the most northern town in Norway — alluding to the claim that if you need a wheelset to take you far out into the back of beyond, then these should be your chosen hoops. My riding certainly pushes the boundaries of 'Gravel' — I often ride off-road trails on my gravel bike that are firmly in the mountain biking category, as well as riding my gravel bike fully loaded with…

Explore – 7 Essential Ingredients for an Isle of Wight Bike Ride

The Isle of Wight is an amazing place to explore by bicycle; with stunning views, great coastlines, quiet roads, and superb café stops. In this Explore blog post I consider some of my 'Essential Ingredients' to make the most of what the Isle of Wight offers to cyclists.

1 – Coastal ViewsThere is nothing better than riding a bike along a coastal road; looking out over the distant horizon and feeling the refreshing breeze on your face. The Isle of Wight offers coastal paths and roads in abundance, but the classic is most definitely the Military Road — ranked as one of the best driving roads in the world, it is also one of the best cycling roads to experience; best ridden in the late summer when the traffic levels are lower and you can enjoy the serenity of the English Channel views.

2 – Historical HighlightsFrom dinosaurs to royal castles and palaces; the Isle of Wight has a diverse and interesting selection of historical highlights to entertain and excite any age group. Some of …

Planning – The Black Forest Micro #KomootAdventure

The beauty of GPS mapping software is that you can plan the perfect bike adventure in just a matter of clicks. Using crowd-sourced information on the best trails, tracks, and roads — online and app-based mapping solutions such as Komoot enable you to explore completely new regions, without fear of getting lost or riding on unsuitable terrain.

I have tried and tested most online GPS mapping services that are available at present, and the one I keep coming back to is the German platform

Komoot offers five unique advantages over other platforms:
1) Reliable routing on suitable roads and trails — based on crowd-sourced information on rideability
2) A breakdown of the surface types encountered on a route e.g. paved, unpaved, gravel, single-track
3) Option to choose between biking disciplines: Road, Touring, MTB — to get the best route and surface
4) 'Highlights' across the map — unique attractions and POIs previous riders have identified
5) Downloadable route guidanc…

Review – Fix MFG Wheelie Wrench Multi-tool and Strap On Holster

Having a multi-tool with you on any adventure is a great idea; you never know when you might need to tighten a bolt or adjust a screw. The innovative Fix MFG Wheelie Multi-Tool is a compact unit, and slides into the special Strap-On Holster that can be mounted to a bag strap or belt — so it is always close to hand when you need it.

Fix Manufacturing is an American brand from Laguna Beach, California — sold in the UK through Cyclorise Accessories; it is new to European soil, and I was one of the first to test it out.

The Fix MFG Multi-Tool itself is a great piece of machining; made from durable stainless steel it is a compact tool containing all the essential torx bits, hex keys, and screwdriver bits; as well as detachable spoke wrench and 8/10 mm wrench. The quality tool bits should allow you to adjust any part your bike and carry out many small household tasks.

The Fix MFG multitool slots into a specially made holster that you can mount to any 5 mm or 10 mm webbing (two sizes availa…

Christmas Gift Ideas and Stocking Fillers for Cyclists 2019

Bicycle riders can be a tricky bunch to buy gifts for. This 2019 gift selection could provide some great ideas for cycling gifts. Not all of them are two-wheel specific, but all of them are fun and useful presents for a cyclist in your life.

Nite Ize Doohikey Key Chain Mini Pen-Knife This great little knife clips to your keys and provides you with a compact blade for those essential tasks. Whether it is cutting cable ties on your event numbers, or unpackaging the endless supply of cycling kit and components that arrives at your door; this sharp little locking blade is a super little companion. I personally find it especially useful for trimming tubeless tyre plugs and cutting race numbers down to size.

>> Shop the Nite Ize Doohikey Key Chain Knife here <<

Smoove Universal Chain Lube This is my go-to bicycle chain lube; whether riding road, gravel, or mountain bike, and whatever the conditions. It uses a unique wax-based formula that completely dries onto the chain, witho…

Review – OKO Magic Milk and OKO Magic Milk Hi-Fibre Tubeless Tyre Sealant

I am a tubeless tyre convert; on road, mountain bike, gravel, and touring bike. Yet, the hunt for the best tubeless tyre sealant continues — with all major brands having pros and cons. Over the last few months I have been testing out OKO Magic Milk and OKO Magic Milk Hi-Fibre Tubeless Tyre Sealant. Here is my review…

The quality of the tubeless sealant is a key component in achieving success with tubeless tyre conversions; for more tips check out my post 10 Top Tips for Tubeless Tyres.

OKO are better known for producing tractor tyre sealant, but what works on big knobbly tyres should work on bike tyres. Their OKO Magic Milk is a synthetic tubeless tyre sealant that promises to seal large holes, require less sealant, and last longer than natural latex sealants. The latest release of the OKO Magic Milk Hi-Fibre is a further synthetic latex sealant development; containing quick seal mixed fibres to seal even larger holes at higher pressures — ideal for road race and downhill racing tyre…

Explore – 7 Best Cycling Cafes on the Isle of Wight

In this 'Explore' blog post, I have picked out my 'Lucky 7' cycling cafés and pit-stops on the Isle of Wight. These venues are spread across the Island, but all serve up great homemade cakes, freshly ground coffee, and light lunches. They are welcoming to all riders — whether you are a muddy mountain biker or Lycra-clad road cyclist.

For route ideas to link up these great cafe stops, check out:
5 Best Road Cycling Routes on the Isle of Wight5 Best Gravel Biking Routes on the Isle of Wight5 Best Mountain Biking Routes on the Isle of Wight

The Garlic Farm Café – Newchurch (Central Wight) The Garlic Farm is well situated just off the Sandown to Newport cycle path, and it is also on the route of a number of my Road Cycling Routes and Gravel Bike Routes. Year round, this delightful café serves up breakfast, brunch, lunch, and afternoon teas; not all have to have a garlic theme. Homemade cakes and fresh coffee are always available too, and you can sit outside in the sunshine, o…