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Showing posts from March, 2021

7 Tips – How to Ride Cobbles in The Spring Classics

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The cobbled Spring Classics races are notoriously hard to ride. I interviewed World Champion, Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders winner Johan Museeuw. These are his top tips for riding on cobbles and taking on the Spring Classics. Johan Museeuw was World Champion in 1996; he won Paris-Roubaix three times and he won the Tour of Flanders three times. With this incredible parcours, he is undoubtedly one of the best riders to share his advice on riding the Spring Classics, whether you are a racer or a sportive rider. Tip 1 – Tyre Pressure and Size for Riding Cobbles "Normally, everyone is riding with a tyre pressure of 7 to 8 Bar (100-110 PSI). But, for the Spring Classics and Paris Roubaix, depending on your weight, this changes: we ride 5 to 6 Bar (70-85 PSI)." A lower tyre pressure allows the shocks of the cobbles to be absorbed, and for better grip on the uneven surface. "For tyre geometry [size]  for the Spring Classics and Paris Roubaix, you go bigger. In my time,

Review – BAM Sustainable Bamboo Clothing and Activewear

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Cycle clothing is a long way behind the curve in terms of sustainability; unfortunately, companies within the industry have been slow to recognise the value of natural fabrics that are sustainably sourced. Bamboo clothing is one of the most sustainable clothing choices on the planet, and the range of activewear from the brand BAM Bamboo Clothing has fast become my go-to choice for off-the-bike wear. Beautifully soft, stretchy, breathable and moisture wicking—bamboo trumps most synthetic fabrics in terms of its technical performance. In addition, unlike some natural fabrics like pure merino wool, bamboo is also impressively durable and able to stand up to the rigours of outdoor pursuits and adventures. This year, I have been testing a selection of products from the BAM Bamboo Clothing range: Fordsland Bamboo Joggers Origin Quarter Zip Bamboo Knit Bamboo Training T-Shirt Rowtor Waterproof Recycled Jacket I put together this outfit as the ultimate 'comfort' kit for trekking and wa

Review – Hutchinson Tires Tubeless Touareg Gravel Tyres

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Hutchinson bicycle tyres have taken me across continents, to the podiums of mountain bike races in the Italian Dolomites, and now it seems they are set to conquer the gravel scene… " Touareg " means ' free folk '—it is the name of a nomadic tribe in the Sahara Desert. The French brand Hutchinson Tires selected that name for their latest tubeless gravel tyre because of its special ability on rugged (mostly dry) off-road trails. This is a gravel bike tyre for back-of-beyond adventures. Hutchinson Tires maintain a build quality level that from my experience is second-to-none. They were one of the pioneers of tubeless bicycle tyre technology, way before it became mainstream; over the years they have perfected the balance of protection, weight, grip, and immaculate fit that is sought after in all tubeless set-ups. The Touareg tyres are a mixed-surface gravel tyre, intended to be used primarily on dry and loose terrain. The tread pattern is a file-style arrow pattern tha

Wet or Dry? Ceramic or Hydrodynamic? What Is the Best Bicycle Chain Lube for You?

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Winter, summer, off-road, on-road, gravel, mud, rain, and heat… all these things can affect the best choice of bicycle chain lube for your type of riding, in addition of course to your budget. So, what is the difference between wet lubricants and dry lubricants? What is Hydrodynamic lubrication? Are Ceramic lubricants an appropriate choice? I try and answer these maintenance questions… What Is Chain Lubrication For? Before getting into the details of types of bike chain lubrication, it is worth considering what exactly chain lubrication does. Principally, it reduces the level of friction by creating a layer of lubrication between the chain rollers and plates; it is what prevents that horrible grinding and squeaking sound that you get with an unlubricated chain—a sound that is predictably highly inefficient. However, chain lubricant adds an element of inefficiency itself, called 'stiction'. Stiction is the stickiness factor that chain lube creates; the feeling you would have tr

Review – Ortlieb Frame-Pack TopTube Bikepacking Frame Bag

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Ortlieb have cemented their reputation as ' the original waterproof pannier brand ' with good reason—their bags are superbly made and designed. I bought a set of Ortlieb Back Roller Waterproof Panniers for my 2011 France and Spain Tour and they are still going strong a decade later… When Ortlieb (eventually) made their approach on the fast-growing bikepacking market the expectation level was appropriately high. Could the German brand deliver equally exceptional luggage for the rack-less touring market? In this review, I am looking at the Ortlieb Frame-Pack TopTube bikepacking frame bag. This bag is designed as a solution for riders who want to use their frame's main triangle for storage space, while still being able to house water bottles on the frame (it only takes up the top half of the frame triangle)—this is my preferred set-up. The best bikepacking frame bag, for me, will fulfil the following five criteria: It maximises the available space within the frame triangle It

Review – Secure Cycle Store Metal 3 Bike Bunker Cycle Locker

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A lack of infrastructure is the most frequently sighted reason for UK residents not using bicycles for transport. Infrastructure goes further than bike lanes and bicycle-friendly trains though; it also includes storage, both at home and at work/your destination. Providing adequate and secure storage for bicycles is a sure way to increase the number of cyclists on the road; this was my motivation for finding and reviewing the ultimate at-home bike storage locker. The SCS Metal 3-Bike Bunker is a home solution to having a secure place to store your bike. For those individuals without a garage, or those concerned about the inadequate security offered by your standard wooden garden shed, this galvanised metal bike locker is the best at-home storage solution I have seen. The 3-Bike Bunker is a maximum-security all-metal bike shed. Made from thick heavy-gauge galvanised steel and with an integrated heavy-duty metal door with Yale lock, it offers first-class weatherproof and high-security sto

Review – Arundel Looney Bin and DTR/STR Sideloader Bottle Cage

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Arundel is a beautiful town in West Sussex, with a magnificent castle that I have passed on many occasion. Arundel Bicycle Company was formed in 2000, after the founders returned from a trip to the Milan bike show; with a desire to make carbon cages that looked 'Italian beautiful' but would hold your water bottles securely, even on the roughest terrain. Over the years, Arundel bottle cages have cemented their reputation as some of the most reliable and best made carbon bicycle bottle cages in the world. They have been the choice of professional riders on the rough roads of the Spring Classics races and have been selected by multiple championship winning XC mountain bike riders looking for dependable bottle storage. Over the last month, I have been assessing two cages from the Arundel range: the Looney Bin Adjustable Cage, and the DTR/STR Sideloader Cages. Review – Arundel Looney Bin Adjustable Bottle Cage The Looney Bin is an innovative 'Carry Anything' cage. The plasti

Good Reads – 'End to End' by Paul Jones

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Heart warming and intensely personal, this is the story of a journey and the people that have made it. An incredible journey, from Lands End to John O' Groats—by bicycle.  Within its pages it incorporates a history of cycling from 1880 to the present day; how the record to achieve this iconic distance has gradually been reduced to an unbelievably short time.  The book is meticulously researched, beautifully written, and brought to life by interviews with the historic cyclists themselves. As Jones writes the stories of the record breakers, he rides the course himself in several long stages—immersing himself in the history and landscape.  Jones is self-critical and trying to come to terms with his recent decision to leave his job as a secondary school headteacher. His writing is poetic, funny, and observant; describing both his inner turmoil and the outer landscape he passes through. I loved this book, I felt I wanted to take note of particularly resonant phrases so I could recall t

Review – Outdoor Provisions Nut Butter Sachets

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I have long been an advocate of nut butters for endurance fuel. Fuelling with fat and protein offers an energy source that is much more sustaining and lends itself to a more stable blood sugar profile than the peaks and troughs encountered with simple sugars. These two new nut butters from UK brand Outdoor Provisions are especially tasty blends, and they come in compact bio-degradable sachets—making them perfect for outdoor adventures and tours. Outdoor Provisions have evolved the classic jar of peanut butter that you would often find stuffed into my handlebar bag on long distance bike tours . The new 'Coffee, Almond and Cashew' and 'Almond, Date and Sea Salt' sachets are incredibly versatile and tasty energy snacks. Squeeze them straight into your mouth, add them as a porridge topper, pour them over an energy bar, or make an on-the-go banana and nut butter (BnB) sandwich... the possibilities are endless. However you eat them, you get the same smooth taste and natural e