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Showing posts from 2021

Review – Hydro Flask Insulated Coffee Flask with Flex Sip Lid

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How can you have great coffee on every ride? How can you reduce plastic waste? How can you conform to social distancing guidelines? One simple solution, is a quality insulated coffee flask… The Hydro Flask Flex Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Coffee Flask is a superb example of a portable coffee solution; allowing you to take steaming hot coffee with you for those deep winter mid-ride breaks. I have always been a great fan of #coffeeoutside —it just tastes better. There is nothing like the feeling of sipping on a mug full of freshly brewed coffee sat on the side of a mountain or sheltered from the wind in a forest. Taking a hot drink with you on an outdoors adventure, particularly a bike ride, can be a little problematic though… you need a flask that is robust, leak-proof, and will keep your beverage warm for several hours. After much searching and testing, I came across the Hydro Flask Flex. This insulated bottle, when combined with the new Sip Lid, makes for the perfect cycl

Kit Care – How To Clean and Cure Smelly Cycling Shoes

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It is 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 leathers. 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… Nikw

5 Best Strength and Conditioning Exercises for Cyclists

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Riding a bike is not just about turning the pedals. Your body and cycling will benefit from integrating strength and conditioning exercises that build your core strength, leg power, and help reduce the risk of injury. These five exercises are simple strength-building drills taken from yoga and 'functional trunk strength' (a.k.a. core stability) workouts; they will help increase your comfort on long endurance rides, and also aid cycling performance improvements. 1. Squats If you do one thing, SQUAT. Squatting is the most natural but most powerful weight training exercise that we can use for building cycling strength. The motion uses our powerful quadriceps, glutes, and lower back muscles in one fluid motion. The key thing with squatting is to display good form. You do not want to be bent over like a hunchback. A simple set of instructions for good squatting technique: Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, splayed at 30 degrees With your arm

Workshop Focus – When To Replace Your Bike Chain

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Your bicycle chain is the link between the power you put down through the crank arms and the cogs on your rear wheel—that when turned, propel your bike forwards. That means your chain gets a tough time; it transmits all that power as it bends and stretches around your drivetrain. A bicycle chain is composed of inner plates and outer plates, held apart by pins, and with a bushing/roller on the pins that allows the chain to roll around cogs. All these metal surfaces touch each other as the chain works, which means friction. Bicycle chain lube goes a long way to helping reduce the friction on a bicycle chain (read my previous blog post on ' How to Choose Your Bike Chain Lubricant '. But, over time that friction will wear away at the inner-plates, pins and bushings of your chain, causing it to streeeetch… Chain stretch is a bit of a miscommunication of what is actually happening with your chain as it wears. Your chain does not stretch as such, but the distance between two bushings/

Review – Victorinox Bike Multi Tool Kit

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I have a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife that has featured in my 'every day carry' for almost a decade; it still performs like new and is an invaluable asset. I recently discovered that the Swiss brand makes a bike tool, and I was keen to see if it lives up to the same exacting Swiss standard. The Victorinox Bike Tool is effectively a mini socket set: the magnetic 5mm hex key detaches from the tool holder and then you fit any bit piece to it: the range includes 2-6mm hex keys, a T25 Torx key, and flat and cross-head screwdriver bits. All the bit pieces are made from high tensile stainless steel and have a very good fit in bolt heads—promising not to round off fittings, if used correctly. The body of the tool also features two clip-in tyre levers that are made from strong plastic composite, and do a good job of levering stubborn tubeless tyres from wheel rims, as well as having a nice rounded profile to protect the tube. The whole bike tool weighs just 92 grams and is 100mm

Gift Ideas for Adventure Cyclists 2021

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Cyclists can be difficult people to choose birthday and Christmas gifts for, but I hope that this selection of products will offer some new and interesting options to fill stockings, put under the Christmas tree, or wrap up as a birthday gift for a two-wheeled fanatic in your family or friend group. From bar tape to body lotion, and hip bags to hand torches; there is sure to be something in this gift list that would be a good present for the cyclist you know and love. Marvellous Maps Great Britain Adventure Map I love maps, and I love adventure. This Great Britain Adventure Map was always set to be a superb Christmas gift idea in my opinion. It did not disappoint when it arrived; with incredibly detailed coverage of the best adventure possibilities that the UK has to offer. From ideas about hiking trips, to beaches, historic highlights, sea kayaking destinations, bicycle touring routes, and long-distance driving routes; there is sure to be something that tickles your fancy and inspir

Kit Tips – A Guide to Cold Weather Winter Cycling Clothing

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Low temperatures and winter storms push wind-chill factors to sub-zero. Bike riding does not have to cease in freezing conditions though; with the right clothing, there is no reason not to enjoy your cycling, even in the icy months of winter. In this blog post, I offer my tips and advice for the right clothing to keep you comfortable when cycling in the depths of winter… 1 – Long Sleeve Base Layers Cold hands when cycling in low temperatures? Long sleeve base layers are the key to comfort here. Your hands are an extremity—they are one of the furthest points from the central boiler pump that is your heart. In order to keep them warm, you need to keep the blood that is flowing to them warm. Protecting your lower arms from wind-chill and insulating them with a long sleeve base layer will aid warm blood flows down your arteries all the way to your hands. The best long sleeve winter cycling base layer I have used is the GripGrab Expert Seamless Thermal Long Sleeve Cycling Bas

Book Review – 1001 Cycling Tips by Hannah Reynolds

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I have always enjoyed Hannah Reynold's writing. Much like me, she has dabbled in most disciplines of bike riding: from mountain bike racing to road criteriums; endurance cycling to utility cycling. Her depth of knowledge and years of experience are unpacked in her latest book ' 1001 Cycling Tips '. 1001 Cycling Tips is the essential cyclist's guide—to just about everything bike related. From choosing a bike, to training your fitness, using navigational apps, and exploring new cycling disciplines. Hannah provides her tips and advice through 1001 bullet point chunks, crammed into 150 pages, with some great colour photography. The tips range from basic technique: " #900 ­– On easy, off-road descents the three key things to remember are: head up, weight back and heels down. " Through to deeper sports psychology: "#717: You can outperform your fitness, but if your head falls off in a ride or race it is game over, however good your legs are." Plus, some gr

Book Review – The Road Book 2021: Fourth Edition

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In 2018, a team of dedicated cycling enthusiasts took over the colossal task of delivering an annual publication, seven days after the final race of any given season: a book 900+ pages in length, that takes you on a deep dive into the year's cycling calendar and reflects on the highs and lows of the year's bike racing. The Road Book is beautifully put together, with care and attention to detail. It includes in-depth race reports, exclusive essays, team profiles, imagery, trivia and infographics to document the events of the past season. With exclusive first-person accounts from cycling's biggest stars: including Tour de France and Paris-Roubaix winners Tadej Pogacar and female star Lizzie Deignan; as well as contributions from the best cycling writers and journalists—the book is a bible of cycling knowledge and passion. The 2021 edition, the fourth in the series, is packed with race reports, quirky statistics and infographics from the entire calendar of the men and wo

Review – BAM Bamboo Clothing Winter 2021 Collection

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It is the time of year for chunky knitwear and cosy joggers; for winter hikes and indoor gym sessions. BAM Bamboo Clothing has got you covered for all the above, as well as offering a great number of other pieces for every casual and active occasion, with their beautiful new winter collection.  I have previously posted about BAM's range of sustainable clothing here on the blog ( previous posts ), and their kit continues to be some of my favourite every-day off-the-bike wear for both active wear and casual lounging.  Beautifully soft, stretchy, breathable and moisture wicking—bamboo trumps most synthetic fabrics in terms of its technical performance. In addition, the BAM range also includes other natural fibres such as merino wool, known for its luxurious feel and insulating properties.  This winter, I have been testing a trio of products from the BAM Bamboo Clothing AW21 range:  Bleaberry Merino Bamboo Chunky Knit Cosden Bamboo Bouldering Trousers Print On Demand Graphic T-Shirt 

Review – Thule RoundTrip Bike Duffel Bag

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I am a sucker for bags, and a fanatic kit organiser. These two personality traits have led me on an ongoing search for the best bag for every pursuit, whether it is trans-continental bike tours, overseas travel, or a daily cycle commute. No one bag ticks all the boxes for every kind of trip, but having a multitude of bags does allow you to be super-organised and prepared for any kind of adventure… The Thule RoundTrip Bike Duffel Bag is designed to carry all your kit when you are heading to a bike race, training camp, or on a multi-day trip with your bike. Featuring dedicated storage pockets for your helmet, shoes, sunglasses, tools, and clothes; it has a place for everything, so everything can be kept in its place and easy to access. Thule bags have become my go-to luggage choice, they are faultlessly made and last for years. So, when I was looking for a bag to transport riding kit and accessories, they were the logical brand to turn to. The RoundTrip Bike Duffel is the perfect compan

Review – Alterlock Bicycle Motion Detection Alarm and GPS Tracker

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How do you secure you bike when you are camping on a bikepacking trip or when you dash into a shop for a quick snack? What do you do to prevent opportunist theft? There are various 'hacks' that can help solve the problem: such as a lightweight cable lock or clipping your helmet around your wheel; however, after a lot of consideration, I decided that a motion detection alarm would be one of the lightest and simplest ways to alert you of theft attempts, while a GPS tracker would let you keep track of your bike if a theft did occur. Alterlock is a Japanese firm that have produced a compact motion detection alarm and GPS tracker for bicycles, which could provide you with the peace of mind you need to sleep soundly at night or feel confident leaving your bike outside a shop on a touring trip. The Alterlock unit is a slim plastic capsule that attaches to your bike underneath your bottle cages, using the bottle cage bolts (much like a pump bracket). The unit connects with your s

Review – Souke Sports Custom Cycle Clothing

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For the Wight Prestige event I had some last minute custom cycle clothing made up by a new brand on the market, Souke Sports .  The China based company offers a fast and efficient design service for custom cycling jerseys. I have been nothing but impressed by their offering... The Souke brand offers a 'semi-custom' design service; where you do not have to worry about the fabric choices, but can focus solely on your design. You do not need to be a professional fabric designer to use their 3D design tool either; it is super easy to get a great result.  One of the highlights of Souke's service is that there is no minimum order quantity; unlike large factories that require 50+ jerseys per size to be ordered, the Souke team can do single orders of one size, with a maintenance of quality level. Finally, it is QUICK. From ordering to receiving my jerseys took less that 10 days, and the brand will guarantee a 15 business day delivery time. This is incredibly impressive for a prod