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Showing posts from January, 2021

Endurance Nutrition – Staying Fibre Fit

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Dietary fibre is not something often talked about in sports nutrition; but it should be. Nine out of ten people do not get their recommended 30 grams of fibre each day; a problem that is often responsible for minor stomach discomforts, but also for more serious issues such as bowel cancer. In this blog post, I look at the importance of fibre—in partnership with the  #RyvitaFibreFit challenge. Fibre is a nutrient that exists in two forms – soluble and insoluble – you can only get it from plant sources; you will not find it in meat, fish, or dairy. Insoluble fibre is not digestible and passes through the body. Plant sources such as nuts and seeds are useful sources of insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre is digestible. Soluble fibre is found in rye, oats, and barley; along with fruits and vegetables. A healthy diet should include both types of fibre. The government recommends an adult should eat 30 grams of dietary fibre a day—but most adults are eating much less than this. Fibre is an impo

Review – BTR All-Weather Waterproof Wedge Bicycle Saddlebag

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The BTR All-Weather Waterproof Wedge Style Bicycle Saddlebag can certainly go the distance—it came with me on last year's #CelticCrossTrail bikepacking adventure —a 1875-kilometre ride that featured some of the worst riding conditions I have ever experienced. The compact waterproof saddlebag kept its contents dry and secure throughout that journey and has remained on the bike to this day. As with the earlier reviewed BTR Waterproof Handlebar Bag, this waterproof wedge saddlebag is as simple but as effective as they come. Made from 100 percent waterproof fabric with a large easy opening roll-down closure—it seals out the elements in all conditions. The saddlebag has a universal fit design, with three hook-and-loop fastening straps attaching it to the saddle rails and seat post. It should fit any bike, and it has great adjustability while remaining securely in place. Note: I recommend knotting the saddle rail straps when you have set them to the right length, as they can slip in the

Kit Care – Washing and Rejuvenating Cycling Base Layers

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A base layer is the foundation of any layering system—it keeps you cool and dry in the summer, and warm and dry in the winter. Over time though, the fabrics become saturated by sweat and can breed bacteria; there is a simple solution—washing them with a tailor-made fabric detergent and conditioner, such as those from Nikwax. Base layers are designed to wick perspiration away from your skin; this means absorbing the moisture and transferring it to the outer air for evaporation. Unfortunately, over time the absorbing nature of base layer fabrics means they also collect bacteria, which can breed and smell. To rejuvenate a cycling base layer, or a technical running tee, you simply need a fabric detergent that is stronger than most. Be careful though, as technical fabrics and wool fabrics are delicate in their nature; Nikwax produce a dedicated 'Sweatproofing' range, including BaseWash and WoolWash to clean the fabrics. After you have cleaned the fabric, it is a smart move t

Review – Vaude Aqua Box Light Bikepacking Handlebar Bag

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Vaude make superb apparel and equipment; they have been my choice for clothing, tents, and bags on many past bikepacking adventures . The new range of bikepacking bags from the eco-conscious German brand caught my eye because of their simple and smart designs. The Aqua Box Light is the new ultralightweight handlebar bag in the range, offering four litres of storage in a tiny 170-gram package. Here is my review… Handlebar bags have evolved a lot since the traditional 'box' design that sat prominently in front of the handlebars of a touring bike. With the growth of bikepacking , riders have demanded lighter handlebar bags that will house their valuables safely within their gaze but will not obscure the bike's front wheel for those technical off-road sections. The Vaude Aqua Box Light Handlebar Bag is a further evolution of the minimalist tendency seen in handlebar bag design. It is in essence a shaped roll-top waterproof bag that attaches to your handlebars with two robust

Review – Thread.com 'Innovation in a Clothing Marketplace'

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Thread.com  does not sell cycling clothing. But their concept of personalised online shopping—tailored to your physique, tastes, environment, and even social situations offers an innovative and interesting concept that I was so impressed by, I felt compelled to write about it here on Life In The Saddle. I have never had the luxury of a personal shopper. I have friends, family, and colleagues comment and guide me on my clothing choices; but my style is very much my own: created from my own tastes, preferences, and the kind of clothing that is most suited to the environments and social contexts that I often find myself in. I do have preferred casual clothing brands, but I am by no means loyal to them. I opt for quality clothing that lasts, looks good, and remains timeless despite changing fashions. My style, if I could define it, would be a rugged outdoor profile with neutral tones and colours inspired by nature. The above list of preferences is not the easiest to shop for. A lot of '

Review – Hiplok Z-Lok / Z-Lok Combo Lightweight Bike Lock

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Bikepacking, cycle touring, and ultra-distance cycle racing are all rapidly growing pursuits; whilst café stops, bike errand runs, and quick pop-to-the-shop bike trips are thankfully also ever-increasing… All these pursuits and activities require the need for you to leave your bike unattended outside a shop or café on a frequent basis. To keep your ride safe, you need a lightweight lock that is easy to transport but will deter opportunist theft as you head inside. The Hiplok Z-Lok and Z-Lok Combo are two simple but remarkably effective bicycle locks that can fulfil this demand with colour and style. Hiplok is a UK-based brand, who became known for their pioneering wearable chain lock. That Gold Standard lock, and the other lighter weight chain locks within their range, are well-made pieces of security equipment—but all of them are hefty in weight and bulk. The Z-Lok and Z-Lok Combo are a minimalist solution to a bicycle lock, and a great diversification within the brand's line

7 Tips – The Ultimate Bike Cleaning Routine

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Riding is tough on bikes… sand and mud grind away at components; water washes away grease and lubricants; road salt eats metal parts. The only solution is regular bike cleaning. Your wallet and your sanity will thank you for it in the long term—components will last longer, and your bike is less likely to adopt squeaks, creaks, and groans. This step-by-step bicycle cleaning and lubricating routine will help keep your bike in top condition. 1 – Drivetrain Degrease First of all, remove the worst dirt and grime—the dried on chain lube that holds grit and salt. - Use a spray-on degreaser: spraying the whole length of the chain, the chainrings, cassette, and jockey wheels. - Leave for a few minutes and then agitate all areas with a claw brush or old toothbrush - Thoroughly rinse all degreaser from the chain and components 2 – Wheels and Tyres Next, clean the mud and brake dust from the wheels and tyres. - Spray bike cleaner onto the wheels and disc brake rotors - Using a

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