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Showing posts from May, 2020

Recipe – Peanut Butter and Banana Baked Oat Bars

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Flapjacks are a staple of the cyclist diet. The fact that my High Energy Flapjack Recipe is one of the most viewed blog posts every month confirms that. How can you create variations of the oat based favourite though—to add greater variety and interest? This recipe is for a different kind of oat bar—held together with banana, eggs, and coconut oil—rather than the traditional flapjack honey/syrup and butter. I am not going to claim that it is healthier or better, but it is a great alternative. The less crumbly nature of the bars also means they are ideal for jersey pockets. Ingredients 2 medium bananas 1 large egg 1 cup rolled oats ½ cup wholemeal flour ¼ cup coconut oil ¼ cup dark brown sugar 1 tbsp peanut butter 1 tsp vanilla essence ½ tsp baking powder ¼ tsp salt 1 cup of your flavouring of choice: choc chips, chopped dates, raisins, etc. Method Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius Grease a 6-inch square baking tin with butter or coconut oil Mash the banana

Review – BTR Deluxe Pannier Rack Top Bicycle Trunk Bag

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I must admit that I was a little sceptical that a rack-top pannier trunk bag from an unknown brand could be 'Deluxe' when it retails for less than £25. However, the BTR Deluxe Waterproof Rack Pannier Bike Bag is a well designed piece of kit, and offers impressive value as a piece of luggage for cycle tourers, bicycle commuters, and bikepacking enthusiasts. Here is my review... Most rack-top 'trunk bags' retail for at least £40, from major players such as Topeak. So, with the BTR Sports Deluxe bag coming in at £25, I was not sure it would be up to the rigours of everyday use and abuse. Yet, it has shown itself to be a strong performer. The thing that particularly stands out with the BTR bag is the design consideration. Tiny things make a significant difference with luggage that you use every day, and this bag has some notable features that make it a smart choice for a cycling trunk bag. First, the bag attaches to the rack using a universally compatible set of hea

What Is in Your Gravel Adventure Jersey Pockets?

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A few weeks ago, I wrote a post ' What is In Your Gravel Adventure Bar Bag? '—it had a great reception and led to another conversation in a similar vein— What to pack in your cycling jersey pockets for a long unsupported off-road endurance ride? This is my line-up of jersey pocket riding essentials for bikepacking and gravel adventures… First, I recommend reading the ' What is In Your Gravel Adventure Bar Bag? ' post before reading this one—because for me, the bar bag is the best place to store most of your essentials on an off-road adventure—as there is less chance of items flying out on bumpy trails. So, what comes with me in my cycling jersey pockets is therefore a selection of easy-to-access essentials—ones that you might want to grab whilst riding, when you cannot stop to access your bar bag. The Jersey — Sportful Super Giara Jersey My gravel jersey of choice is the Sportful Super Giara Jersey . This cycling jersey was designed with gravel and off-road

#RideFuel Review – KIND Breakfast Bars

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I am always on the lookout for new and interesting cereal bars—that can work as good #RideFuel energy bars for long bike rides and adventures. The new Breakfast Bars from KIND looked to be a super choice when I saw them arrive on the shelves of my local shops—moist, nutritious, and offering some tantalising flavours. I picked a few up to stash in my jersey pocket… Ravenous, on a 200-kilometre gravel ride this week, I pulled out one of each of the three flavours of the KIND Breakfast Bars over the course of the ride (in addition to a local bakery stop). It served as a great taste-panel test of the #RideFuel . The bars are made with five wholegrains: oats, millet, buckwheat, amaranth, and quinoa. Soft-baked, they are moist and flavoursome; as well as packed full of slow release carbohydrates, protein, and fibre. There are three flavours to choose from: KIND Breakfast Peanut Butter, KIND Breakfast Blueberry Almond, and KIND Breakfast Honey Oat. The line-up has a distinct resemblan

Endurance Nutrition – A Cyclist's Shopping List

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We all know the importance of eating right. What you eat affects your health, your mood, and your cycling performance. You Are What You Eat— so, your shopping list could be likened to your body's fuel receipt. Are you fuelling right for endurance sport and cycling adventures? In this post I take at items that often feature on my own shopping list. The product selection is strongly influenced by insights that I have gained from nutritional experts, as well as key ingredients used in recipes from books such as Hannah Grant's ' The Grand Tour Cookbook '. I have split the list out into different nutritional categories—to make sure all bases are covered, and hopefully give a range of options for different dietary preferences. Some ideas for your weekly shop... Protein Eggs  — egg yolks are a source of choline—important to reduce muscle fatigue Wild salmon  — fish is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids Frozen plaice fillets  — white fish is a source of lo

Recipe – Sprouted Spelt Pancakes

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Read a cookbook such as Vélochef or The Grand Tour Cookbook, and you will see that many sports nutritionists are moving away from white flour based pasta; turning instead to traditional ancient grains such as spelt and rye. These light and fluffy spelt pancakes are a flavoursome low-GI carbohydrate energy source, as well as being rich in protein. Ingredients (Makes 5 large pancakes) 150 grams – Spelt Flour 25 grams – Icing Sugar 150 ml – Milk  2 Eggs 1 tsp Baking Powder 1/2 tsp Cinnamon Method Add all the ingredients to a bowl and whisk together until smooth Cover and place in the fridge for 2-3 hours Melt a knob of butter or coconut oil in a heavy frying pan on a medium heat Spoon in the mixture and flip the pancake halfway through cooking Enjoy!

Good Reads – Skratch Labs Feed Zone Portables Cookbook

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A year or so ago, I reviewed the Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix here on Life In The Saddle. I was impressed by its subtle flavour, natural ingredients, and how effective it was at warding off cramps. In the last month, I have been testing out recipes from their 'solid fuel' solution: the recipes in the Skratch Labs Feed Zone Portables Cookbook. The Feed Zone Portables Cookbook is a collection of recipes for snacks, breakfasts, lunches, and light meals, which you could take with you on any of your outdoor adventures. From rice cakes to panini rolls, and cookies to granola—this is a collection designed for easy transportation and easy consumption. The book is most definitely written for the American reader—with quite a few Americanisms like "grit" and "put it out for 10"; as well as using a lot of ingredients that are far cheaper in the States than they are this side of the Atlantic (such as maple syrup and blueberries). Yet, being selective about

Recipe – Healthy Homemade Black Olive Hummus

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I am a big fan of Hummus (a.k.a. Houmous). It is a great source of vitamin B6, manganese, dietary fibre and protein; as well as copper, zinc, iron, folate, and phosphorus. Made of just a few simple and natural ingredients—it can be a quick and easy lunch or snack, and it will help keep you healthy and aid recovery. A lot of shop bought hummus uses oil or thickener to give it consistency. However, after a bit of experimentation I have found that this recipe—made in a Nutribullet —is super easy and even tastier than most. Ingredients (2 large servings) 400 gram tin organic chickpeas (in water) 175 gram tin black olives (pitted) (drained) 1x tbsp tahini paste Juice of half a lemon 1 clove of garlic 1 tsp paprika ½ tsp chilli powder ½ tsp black pepper ½ tsp salt Method Drain the water from the tin of chickpeas and place it to one side in a cup (you will need it later) In the small Nutribullet cup—add the drained chickpeas, olives, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, p

Coffee – The Life Blood of Cyclists

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It seems every cyclist I know is in love with the dark aromatic drink—coffee. What is it that makes us love this bean-based beverage so much? Is it the caffeine kick we crave to keep our legs spinning? The warming feeling when you are getting ready to brave the elements? Or is it tradition, and part of a long running café culture in our sport? In this post, I look at the natural stimulant that makes so many of us tick. I try to find out what it is that really makes coffee as valuable as liquid gold for many two-wheeled enthusiasts. Stimulate and Motivate We cyclists like to see ourselves as a hardy bunch—often rising at dawn to train throughout the year or pitching up camp in wild and remote places on our bicycling tours. Those brisk mornings are often a struggle. It can be a challenge to pluck up the willpower and strength needed to pull heavy legs from under the duvet or sleeping bag and get them turning those crank-arms. A fresh coffee supplies a unique source of motivat

Weekend Watch – 'Music for Free'

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Earlier this year, I wrote a post titled ' Why The Divide – Motivations for The Tour Divide 2020 '—it considered why I have such a deep passion to ride the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route from Canada to Mexico. This beautiful short film by Ben Weaver perfectly showcases that message of community, spirit, and adventure. I should say that my plans for Riding The Divide are on hold until June 2021—in light of the current Covid-19 situation. It does not seem responsible or safe to travel at this time. My expected departure from the UK is just one month away, and so I have had to make the call to postpone the adventure until next summer. It is a disappointing realisation, but undoubtedly the correct decision. This film only re-enforces my enthusiasm to ride the GDMBR next year, and keeps my passion alive.

Review – Vaude Vatten Lightweight Waterproof Cycling Trousers

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I have not opted for waterproof cycling trousers on past bikepacking and cycle tours, but after reading up on kit lists for the Tour Divide, I decided that a pair of 'rain pants' could be a worthwhile investment. The Vaude Vatten Lightweight Waterproof Cycling Trousers are an impressive and well-made choice. On past bike tours I have taken water-resistant leg warmers as my shielding layer for my lower limbs in cold and wet conditions; normally the GripGrab AquaRepel Leg Warmers or the Sportful NoRain Leg Warmers . These have several advantages: they supply warmth and light water-resistance, and they take up minimal room in your pannier or seat-pack. The downside of just using leg warmers is that on tough days in the saddle the fabric inevitably becomes saturated, and with that loses it wind and water protection properties. This, is where the addition of waterproof rain pants comes in… The Vaude Vatten Waterproof Cycling Trousers are specifically design for bike riding—wit

Good Reads – 'The Bicycle Clip Diaries' by Nick Raistrick

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Nick is passionate about bicycles—all kinds of bicycles, but particularly the tough practical workhorse bicycles ridden by millions all over the world. His mission is to find out how bicycles are being used across the world. He travels all over—from South America to Japan and Zanzibar. Nick is eloquent and forthright; his writing is funny, well researched, and very readable. The copy I had was a first edition proof copy, and initially the spelling mistakes, typos, and grammatical errors nearly made me put the book down. But, I persevered because I recognise a good storyteller; and Raistrick is clearly that... I laughed out loud. I gasped at his cheek. I was fascinated by his descriptions of other cultures. I was nearly brought to tears by his heartfelt tales of his family. Excusing the need for some proof-reading and editing, this book would be a very welcome addition to any cyclist’s bookshelf. Indeed, it should be read much more widely; by politicians and policy advisers—with i

Good Reads – Far Ride Magazine

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To justify an £18 price tag, a magazine must be exceptional. Every word must capture your imagination, and every image should inspire adventure; you should feel immersed in the stories in such a way that they come alive and speak to you. Far Ride Magazine, goes a substantial way towards achieving that—with its beautiful stories of bikepacking and adventure cycling. This journal pushes the boundary between magazine and book—a volume printed on heavyweight and colourful paper, with a spine as thick as your thumb. There is no doubt it is worthy of a place on your coffee table, based on front cover impressions alone. Dive into the publication, and the content lives up to the same impressive standard. Captivating stories of urban exploration in Singapore; accounts of Mexican dirt road adventures; personal and intimate insights into great bikepacking races such as the Transcontinental; even homemade ride fuel recipes… The content is varied, unique, and accompanied by awe-inspiring an

Review – Elite Deboyo Stainless Steel Vacuum Thermo Bicycle Bottle

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On the #BlackForest400  I was caught out by sub-zero temperatures through the nighttime section—an insulated thermo bicycle bottle like the Elite Deboyo Ombra Stainless Steel Bike Bottle would have been the perfect solution. It is also the ideal substitute when cafés are closed, or you are wilderness riding. The issue on the #BlackForest400 was not so much that I had not expected the cold temperatures, but rather I had failed to anticipate the closure of almost every garage and takeaway in the Ardennes region, on the night before Good Friday... The situation meant that I could not stop for a much-needed warm drink in the middle of the night. A thermal insulated vacuum bottle, like the Elite Deboyo, would have allowed me to fill up before the shops shut up, and have a warm drink to get me through the night. The Deboyo Insulated Vacuum Bottle is also the ideal solution for very warm days. Thinking back to my climb of the Col de Montgenrve on the #7Countries7Passes , when the tempe