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Showing posts from December, 2020

Review – Yale Maximum Security Defendor Chain and Lock

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One positive seen in 2020 is that bicycle usage in the UK has soared—rising an estimated 45% YoY (official statistics TBC). Unfortunately, with increased bicycle usage there is always an accompanying rise in bicycle theft; with more shiny new bikes on the road and an increased demand for bikes, bike theft is more lucrative to criminals than before. The solution to keeping your new bike secure and safe is to invest in a high security bicycle lock, such as the new Yale Maximum Security Defendor Chain and Lock. This 1.1 metre chain and maximum-security coded padlock is a Sold Secure Gold rated product that will keep your pride and joy safeguarded from even the most determined thieves. Yale is a house name in the world of security, but their range of high security bicycle locks is a new element in their portfolio. They have however produced a superb set of products to meet the cyclist's demand. The Yale Maximum Security Defendor Chain is a 10 mm titanium reinforced hexagonal hardened s

12 From 12 – Photo Highlights of 2020

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Twelve photos to reflect on twelve months of a quite different and challenging year. There have been no races, events, multi-week tours or distant destinations in 2020; yet here are twelve images that showcase a year that has still been fun and enjoyable in many ways... January January – The Kona Sutra Ltd arrives, in anticipation of the 2020 Tour Divide. This bike was built for 3200 miles of off-road exploration. I have enjoyed riding it around the Isle of Wight and the Dolomites this year, but it is still definitely destined for greater adventures... February  February – The XPDTN3 Algarviana . This was my last escape from the UK for a while. An amazing gravel adventure across the width of Portugal, just before the world went into lockdown. March March – Back in the UK, I took to tearing up the trails and tracks of the Isle of Wight; riding a different kind of bike everyday and making sure no route was ever the same was a way to add diversity and interest within the confines of the

Kit Care – How To Clean and Cure Smelly Cycling Shoes

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It that time of year when your cycling shoes begin to pong. Over the summer months, a build-up of sweat, dirt, and body oils creates the ideal environment for bacteria to breed in; then, with the constant damp of winter, your cycling shoes may never fully dry out—letting the bacteria multiply and emit unpleasant odours.  Smelly cycling shoes are not uncommon, even in almost new footwear. I have taken new pairs of shoes on month-long touring trips and been on the verge of throwing them away at the finish because the stench is too severe. Bacteria build-up in shoes not only causes smells. If you leave your cycling shoes dirty, bacteria will lead to the decomposition of the materials and stitching, especially in synthetic and natural leather. Removing bacteria will therefore reduce the chance of the fabrics rotting and extend the life of your footwear. The good news is that I have found a solution to cure smelly cycling shoes; as well as a means to keep them fresh forever more… Nikwax Sa

Review – Deuter Trans Alpine Pro 28 Mountain Biking Backpack

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There are few backpack brands that have so rich a heritage as Deuter; and there are probably no other mountain biking backpacks that have the prestige of the Deuter Trans Alpine Pro. I have always known someone that has one of these iconic go-anywhere packs, then this year I had the chance to own and test one myself. Here is my review… The Deuter Trans Alpine Pro 28 is designed for epic adventures. The rugged design, extensive storage options, comfortable back system harness, and bike-specific features create a backpack that will carry your kit safely and securely on explorations into the most testing terrain. A Comfortable Carry  The harness design is the thing that sets great mountain biking backpacks apart from good ones. The Deuter Trans Alpine Pro 28 features a superbly comfortable back system—combining Deuter's AirStripes technology with Air-Mesh shoulder and waist straps. Anatomically shaped breathable shoulder straps adjust to your torso, while a sternum strap and 'h

Christmas Gift Ideas and Stocking Fillers for Cyclists 2020

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Cyclists can be a tricky bunch when it comes to Christmas gifts, with their peculiar fashions and particular tastes. These gift ideas for cyclists are my personal suggestions for great presents that almost any bike rider would appreciate. From solutions for smelly feet and long dark wet winter rides, to cleaning kits, care products, and the finest coffee outside of Italy. There should be something for cyclists of all backgrounds and ages—whether you are looking for a Secret Santa idea, special gift, or simply a stocking filler. Muc-Off Rainproof Essentials Case With the Muc-Off Rainproof Essentials Case you can keep your valuables clean and dry as you ride through the winter weather. Made with a water-resistant fabric and featuring a waterproof zipper; the jersey pocket-sized wallet can house essentials like a phone, keys, cards, and coins; or mechanical aids like a multitool and inner tube. The internal divider and zippered compartment mean you can keep objects separated to avoid dama

XPDTN3 Algarviana – Exploring Portugal's Secret Gravel

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Just before the world went into Lockdown in March 2020, I squeezed in a last minute trip to Portugal's Algarve—to explore some of the amazing and unique gravel riding on offer there... Dust rises, rocks ping from beneath tyres, and the scent of wild rosemary and jasmine fill the air as I barrel down the narrow twisting singletrack to the serene Guadiana River below. This is only my first evening in the Algarve, but I have already added it to my list of ' Gravel Riding Meccas '. I first came here last December—seeking respite from the cold and grey of the UK winter. Then, the region delivered unquestionably—with 18 Celsius temperatures and dusty trails, explored on a rental mountain bike. That first trip also opened my eyes to an iconic point-to-point bikepacking adventure that could be staged in this unique landscape… The Via Algarviana is an ancient hiking route spanning the Algarve from the Guadiana River on the Spanish border to the Cabo de São Vincente lighthouse at the