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Showing posts from July, 2021

Review – Small Beer x Paria Summer Cycling Jersey

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Small Beer are specialists in brewing classic styles of beer, below 2.8 percent ABV; this summer they have launched an exclusive, sustainably sourced cycling jersey – designed to celebrate getting out of the house and onto the open road. Much in the same way that Small Beer serves as an answer to the everyday polarisation and compartmentalisation of either 'drinking' or 'not drinking', this limited-edition jersey is designed to embody the freedom of local adventure after lockdown. To help raise awareness of the importance that exercise has on our physical and mental health, all profits from the jersey sales go to MIND Mental Health Charity. The jersey is manufactured by Paria, in a vibrant and eye-catching design; using colours taken from Small Beer’s brand colours, bottle, and brewing kit shapes to make up the geometric pattern. Because the environment deserves as much care and attention as us, the Small Beer jersey has been manufactured using Green Soul Technology; a

Personal Care – Why Do Cyclists Shave Their Legs?

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It is an often-asked question by non-cyclists: why do male cyclists shave their legs? Is it for speed, is it for aerodynamics, is it hygiene, or is it style? Or is it just tradition? I have been removing my leg hair for over a decade, and it has become second nature now. Yet, when asked the reason for doing so, it is often hard to pin down an exact motivation. In this blog post, I thought I would try and sum-up my Top 5 reasons for why cyclists shave their legs: reasons from my own personal experience of riding a bike—both clean-shaven and hairy legged. (1) Hygiene For me, the main reason that cyclists should shave their legs is hygiene. If you have ever been tasked with cleaning the alloy wheels of a car, you will know how hard it is to remove the baked-on layer of brake dust, oil, road salt and general road grime. The front wheel of a bike sprays a cyclist's legs with a similar concoction of nasties when they ride on the road, as well as potentially a more rank mixture when

Review – Vulpine Merino Henley Tee and Gravel Shorts

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Some kit is exceptional. Clothing that goes straight back on as soon as it is out of the wash. Apparel that feels comfortable, looks great, and lasts for years. The London-based Vulpine brand makes kit like this… Vulpine makes a range of technically advanced, intricately detailed, everyday cycling clothing; clothing that makes every bike ride a stylish and enjoyable experience—whether you are tripping across town or heading up into the hills on an adventure. I have been testing out two of the pieces from their latest summer range: the Merino Henley T-shirt and the Vulpine Gravel Shorts. Review — Vulpine Merino Henley T-shirt The Henley tee is a classic British design and has become one of my favourite smart-casual summer tops. It is a little smarter than a standard tee but offers greater freedom of movement than a shirt or polo. The Vulpine Merino Henley uses 100% pure merino wool, with a superfine weave—the result is a soft, stretchy, breathable, moisture-wicking, and naturally odour

Explore – An Isle of Wight Gravel Bikepacking Micro-Adventure Itinerary

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I maintain that the Isle of Wight is one of the best gravel bike riding destinations in the world; it offers outstanding variety in terrain, and outstanding beauty in its backdrops—combining to offer challenging and awe-inspiring riding. In this blog post, I have created an Isle of Wight mixed surface (Gravel) bikepacking itinerary that could be completed by most experienced riders over two days. The route starts and finishes from Ryde, which is easily accessed with a bike from the mainland using the Wightlink FastCat service that operates from Portsmouth Harbour Train Station to Ryde Pier Head. This service is the perfect option for those travelling to the Island without a car, using train or public transport from further afield. From Ryde, the route skirts round the north-eastern shoreline of the Island, before heading in-land over St George's Down towards Newport. These first trails are a mixture of gravel cycle paths, sandy trails, and rougher chalk downs. Newport is the centr

Best Family Leisure Bike Cycling Routes on the Isle of Wight

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The Isle of Wight is the perfect place to explore by bicycle—with traffic-free cycle routes, quiet country lanes, and wonderful places to visit. For family bike rides and leisurely tours, it is tailor-made. In this blog post, I have picked five of my favourite Isle of Wight cycling routes for families and casual cyclists. Wight Family Leisure Bike Cycling Route #1 — West Wight Wander Difficulty – Easy Distance – 71 kilometres (6.3 miles) Elevation Profile – Flat (50 metres elevation gain) My first route is suitable for even those with young families or for those inexperienced on a bike. It begins in the town of Yarmouth—a great starting point; with a large car park and plenty of cafés and restaurants in the town. From Yarmouth, the route follows the disused railway line alongside the Western Yar River through to Freshwater. This is a traffic-free and shaded route, which is perfect for a summer cycle. Look out for the wildlife and enjoy the views. When you arrive in Freshwat

Review – Souke Sports Cycle Apparel Jersey and Shorts

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I am always on the lookout for new and interesting cycle clothing brands. This year, Souke Sports came to my attention with the release of their new Pro Line. The Chinese-British brand started from an Amazon-based value-offering; but this latest range, and the establishment of their new direct-to-consumer website souke-sports.com , cater towards the higher end of the market. I have been testing the Souke BS1601 4D Padded Bib Shorts and Souke Hi Race Lightweight Pro Jersey for the last few months and have had a positive experience. Both garments are still relatively inexpensive, but both deliver an impressive performance level for their affordable price tag. The Souke BS1601 Bib Shorts feature a decent quality foam seat pad, perforated mesh bib straps, and ventilated panels on the thighs. They do not have the level of compression-fit or the long-distance seat pad comfort provided by the most expensive cycling shorts on the market, but they do offer a satisfactory level of padding and

Review – Teravail Washburn Tubeless Gravel Tyres

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The Washburn gravel tyres from Teravail are designed to be a fast-rolling gravel tyre; built for dusty hard-packed summer trails, but also at home on the backroads and cycle paths of a city commute or mixed-surface cycle tour. The Washburn tyres feature a slick central strip that minimizes rolling resistance for greater speed. On the sides, transition knobs and raised side lugs then help to supply cornering traction and grip. I have been testing the 700 x 38c version of the Teravail Washburn, and have been impressed by the speed, light weight (600 grams), durability, and the resilience to punctures. I have been running the tyres tubeless at around 42/45PSI pressure. The Washburn proves to be the ideal tyre for real mixed-surface summer riding. They feel fast on the road but can also manage the rough stuff—finding traction on loose gravel and compacted mud. My testing has been mostly on dry summer trails, and I can foresee that the Teravail Washburn would struggle if things were to get

Review – KFLOW Portable Travel Coffee Maker

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I have made coffee in some wild and beautiful places… from a tiny tent at the top of an Austrian Alp, to the cabin of a sailing boat in the middle of a storm swept English Channel. Coffee has become an integral ingredient in my adventures—as important as the lubricant on my chain of my bike or the map in my pocket. Coffee outside always seems to taste better. When possible, freshly brewed coffee is also still my strong preference (although I am a great advocate and user of thermally insulated flasks to take coffee with you that you have brewed at home). The KFLOW Portable Coffee Maker came to my attention as a tool for outdoor coffee brews; it is a compact pump-action coffee maker, which could easily be transported in a pannier or bike bag. A quick read of my post Brewing in the Wild – Adventure Coffee Tips will give you an idea of my normal coffee brewing techniques for back-of-beyond adventures; the KFLOW Portable Coffee Maker could be a sixth addition… The KFLOW unit, whilst incre

Top 10 Cycling Cafés on the Isle of Wight

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In this blog post, I have picked out my favourite cycling cafes on the Isle of Wight. These venues are spread across the Island, but all serve up great homemade cakes, freshly ground coffee, and light lunches. They are welcoming to all riders—whether you are a muddy mountain biker or road cyclist. For route ideas to link up these great cafe stops, check out: Best Gravel Cycling Routes on the Isle of Wight Best Road Cycling Routes on the Isle of Wight Best Mountain Bike Routes on the Isle of Wight Best Family Leisure Cycling Routes on the Isle of Wight Caffe Isola – Newport (Central Wight) Located in the heart of the town, Caffe Isola is set in a converted and beautifully refurbished church. The Italian themed café is famed for its great coffee, freshly made cakes, and splendid lunches. You can see the Island Roasted Coffee being freshly roasted in the atrium above the main café and browse the superb range of local produce on sale. The Garlic Farm Café – Newchurch (Central Wig