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Showing posts from August, 2021

Review – Qaou Adventure Beluga Modular Tent, Hammock & Shelter

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I have been searching for the perfect bikepacking shelter. Is it a tent, a tarp, a hammock, or a shelter? The truth is that any one of these could be the ideal bikepacking shelter choice, depending on the conditions that you are camping in. In sweltering summer heat, a hammock or inner tent only might be the best solution. For a fast pitch, a shelter or tarp may suffice as protection from the elements. Then, in more severe conditions, a fully clad two-layer tent (ideally with a porch to stow your kit) would be the best solution. The Adventure Beluga is a new style of modular shelter from the French brand Qaou Outdoor, which offers an incredibly versatile and adaptable tent—capable of being all the above named variations, without compromise. In the package you receive an inner tent, plus two outer material layers, pegs, poles, and a hammock hanging system. Here is what it can create: 1) All-weather tent with porch: zip the two outer layers together, use the inner tent and poles, an

Review – Santini Polartec Delta Pietra Cycling Jersey

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The Santini Delta Pietra Short Sleeve Jersey wins my personal award for being my favourite summer cycling jersey of summer 2021. Designed for extreme heat and utilising some of the most advanced fabric technologies in the world, from Polartec; this jersey boasts exceptional style, fit, and performance whether road cycling or gravel riding. The Delta Pietra features Polartec© Power Stretch – an extremely breathable textile with four-way stretch. The back panel (aside from the pockets) uses Polartec© Delta, which acts as a unique cooling system—facilitating the transfer of heat from the body through sweat moisture wicking performance. The Delta Pietra jersey is designed for hot weather cycling, but I have found it performs exceptionally well in all summer conditions. Its raw-cut sleeves hug the arms without restricting movement and it is held gently but firmly in position by a coloured elastic gripper at the hem. The jersey has an exceptionally good slim fitting cut, and is avai

Review – Science in Sport SiS BETA Fuel Energy Products

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I have been testing out the new range of BETA Fuel energy products from UK brand Science in Sport. They are tasty, easy to take onboard, and a notable scientific development over their predecessors and many other energy products on the market. Here's the low-down… BETA Fuel Drink First launched in 2018, the original Science in Sport Beta Fuel drink was an isotonic product using both maltodextrin and fructose at a ratio of 2:1 to optimise carbohydrate delivery and utilisation during exercise, while minimising gastrointestinal issues. The new Beta Fuel range has a change in the ratio of maltodextrin to fructose to 1:0.8. In comparison to the (still highly scientifically impressive) 2:1 ratio, the 1:0.8 ratio has been proven to: Enhance total exogenous carbohydrate oxidation by 17% Enhance mean power output during 10 maximal sprint efforts by 3% Increase the percentage of ingested carbohydrate oxidised from 62% (2:1 ratio) to 74% (1:0.8 ratio) Reduce symptoms of stomach fullness and n

Review – Shanren Miles GPS Cycling Computer

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The Shanren Miles Cycling Computer is marketed as "your first GPS bike computer” – a budget level GPS cycling computer that evolved from a Kickstarter campaign, and has since developed into an impressive budget product offering. The Shanren Miles GPS retails for just $89.99 and features full ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity for speed, cadence, heart rate and power meters. The Miles GPS also claims to be the world's first GPS computer to feature a power estimation feature that can compute real-time and normalized power without a meter fitted to your bike. While the Shanren brand is not as well-known as companies such as Garmin, Lezyne, or Wahoo, they seem to be making some impressive ground. First Glance The Shanren Miles GPS has a non-touch screen 2.1" LCD display. There are three physical buttons located on the bottom edge of the GPS that have different actions depending on the active screen. The primary actions for each button are: Left Button (Data Display / Record Ride

What's in Your Adventure Road Handlebar Bag?

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Last year I wrote a post 'What's in Your Gravel Adventure Handlebar Bag?' – it proven to be popular; perhaps because it provided a glimpse into my personal choices for my ride support kit. In this post, I turn to my road riding set-up, which is distinctly different from my Gravel bike bag—with a lighter weight and more streamlined kit.  An obvious difference with my road handlebar bag is that to keep weight down, I also use a saddlebag on my road bike; to house my tool kit, spare tube, and repair kit. I also store my pump on the frame of my road bike rather than in the handlebar bag—to further distribute weight. I do not do these two things on a gravel bike because these two areas tend to receive too much in the way of wheel spray and muck. Omitting the tool kit from the line-up, you will see that my Adventure Road Cycling handlebar bag is also subtly different in design and contents… Apidura Racing Handlebar Bag Mini Pack I have long admired Apidura kit, and their ne

Review – Craft Cadence Small Waterproof Handlebar Bag

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Waterproof handlebar bags are a great way to carry valuables and accessories on your ride when you have filled your jersey pockets, or you are wearing a casual tee. The Craft Cadence Waterproof Handlebar Bag is a superbly made example and has performed admirably throughout my testing; much as the Craft Cadence Waterproof Backpack did a few years ago. Made from a durable and fully waterproof coated tarpaulin material, with welded seams, the Craft Cadence Waterproof Handlebar Bag uses a simple clam shell closure design to keep its contents safe and dry. The bag boasts 3 litres of storage capacity in its waterproof interior, with an internal mesh pocket for small item organisation. This bag's capacity is enough for ride accessories, spares, a waterproof jacket, lunch, and even a camera; all essentials to take with you on a ride. The bag attaches to the handlebars using two robust belt straps, and a further optional third strap is supplied that can loop round the headtube of th

Book Review – 'Pennine Bridleway' by Hannah Collingridge

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Pennine Bridleway by Hannah Collingridge  is a guidebook to this exceptional off-road National Trail. It takes you on a multi-day off-road cycling adventure from Derbyshire through the Yorkshire Dales to Cumbria, following the Pennine Hills. The pocket-sized book documents the big ride—split into four sections: each section including detailed directions, stunning photography, as well as information on points of interest along the route—bringing the history and landscape of the trail to life. Researched, ridden and written by mountain biking expert and freelance writer Hannah Collingridge, the guidebook is clear and easy to use; with embedded Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 maps, easy-to-follow directions, details of distance, ascent and difficulty gradings, bikepacking hints and tips and local knowledge. There is also a comprehensive introduction and a detailed appendix, as well as a link to downloadable GPX files. This route only first came to my attention through Hannah's book, but it

Book Review – 'Big Rides' by Kathy Rogers and Markus Stitz

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I have been dreaming a lot lately. Dreaming of faraway places, wilderness, and wild camps; of campfire dinners, loaded panniers, and long twisting trails that meander across the map. Big Rides by Kathy Rogers and Markus Stitz arrived on my doorstep just in time to add some achievable goals and route ideas to my bikepacking dreams. The book features 25 of the best long distance road cycling, gravel, and mountain biking routes across the United Kingdom. Markus Stitz is a friend I have contacted on several occasions regarding route ideas and trip itineraries. Big Rides is a paperback portfolio of beautiful routes all over the UK, crowd-sourced from knowledgeable bikepackers, but curated and edited in a comprehensive and very coherent manner in this detail publication by Markus and Kathy. From well-known routes such as Land's End to John O'Groats, to lesser-known trails such as the West Country Way or the Great North Trail. This book presents every route in meticulous detail, as we