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Showing posts from 2022

Review – GripGrab Explorer Waterproof Gravel Shoe Covers

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By popular demand, and after countless hours of testing, GripGrab has launched the new Explorer Waterproof Gravel Shoe Covers. Based on the popular Flandrien Road Shoe Covers , this off-road cousin brings style and waterproof functionality to off-road riding Following the launch and popularity of the Flandrien—which combines the retro style of the 'Belgian bootie' with modern waterproof technology—riders asked for a more robust off-road version that could put up with the demands of gravel riding. Now, with the launch of the GripGrab Explorer Waterproof Gravel Shoe Covers , that time has come. Hours of design work and in-the-field testing, through several generations of prototypes, have led to this new release from the Danish brand. Design and function The design, functionality and features of the Explorer Shoe Covers were meticulously developed in cooperation with enthusiast gravel riders (myself included)—providing feedback from numerous test rides in varying conditions. T

Nutrition Review – Mission Performance Teas

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Tom Whittle founded Mission after his experience taking on endurance challenges, and discovering the inefficiencies and downfalls of high caffeine energy drinks.  When completing an epic cycling marathon down the length of South America, Tom discovered Yerba Mate as an alternative to coffee and high sugar energy drinks. Yerba Mate is a slower release natural caffeine source than coffee, and it allows you to feel the energising and cognitive focus benefits of the stimulant for far longer — avoiding the spikes and crashes often associated with caffeine consumption. On returning from South America, Tom teamed up with nutritionists and tea experts to create a range of performance orientated teas using 100% natural ingredients.  Following a successful test of these new blends, when Tom broke the World Record for crossing Iceland on foot, Tom founded Mission teas. Ever since, Tom has been on a 'Mission' to equip athletes and everyday individuals with drinks that will keep them focuss

Review – Lezyne Helmet Micro Drive Pro, Lite Drive 1000XL Front Light & Strip Pro Alert Drive Rear Light

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This autumn, I have been testing out three of the latest lights from Lezyne – a brand that I have relied upon heavily in the past to provide reliable, long-lasting and high-powered illumination of my rides. The trio of lights that I have on test from Lezyne is comprised of the Lezyne Micro Helmet Drive Pro 800XL, the Lezyne Lite Drive 1000XL headlight and the new Lezyne Strip Pro Alert Drive rear light. I have been consistently impressed by the individual performance of all three lights, as well as how well they work together in tandem to increase your visibility and provide superb illumination of the trail or road ahead. Review – Lezyne Micro Helmet Drive Pro 800XL First up is the lightweight but powerful helmet mounting Lezyne Micro Helmet Drive Pro 800XL. The Helmet Drive has that distinctive Lezyne CNC-machined shell, with built in cooling fins for heat management and optimal performance; it mounts to your helmet using a versatile Velcro mounting strap with a plastic composi

Review – SeeSense ICON3 Front and Rear Bike Light Set

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See.Sense is a cycling technology and data company from Northern Ireland; since 2015 I have tested three different versions of their award-winning bike lights , and the new ICON3 is their latest and most developed bike light set. The brand has used their eight years of experience to produce what is undeniably one of the smartest and technically developed bike lights available. As with previous See.Sense models , the ICON3 was released after a successful campaign of crowdfunding on Indiegogo; the campaign smashed the original funding targets – testament to the number of bike riders and investors that believe in the See.Sense product. As the new flagship model within the See.Sense range, the ICON3 is crammed with even more tech than the preceding models. It comes equipped with increased brightness and smarter features, as well as USB-C charging and a new 'twist and lock' mount system. The ICON3 is 20 percent brighter than its predecessor: pumping out 350 lumens from the re

Review – Veloforte Nutrition Bars, Drinks, Gels & Chews

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I first tasted and reviewed Veloforte bars here on Life In The Saddle, back in April 2018  – they were an instant hit. After meeting members of the ever-growing Veloforte team this summer, I was eager to try out their new extended range of bars, drinks, gels and energy chews. Veloforte Natural Energy and Protein Bars  The Veloforte energy bars are where it all started. Based on Panforte – the Italian traditional Christmas dessert – these bars are a similar chewy sweet treat, packed full of fruit, nut and spices. Christmas cake has always been one of my favourite ride energy snacks, and these wholesome handmade bars bring a similar refreshing taste and energy boost to your everyday ride. The complete range is comprised of seven bars: all branded as 'energy bars', but with the Mocha and Forza versions also delivering an impressive 10-12 grams of protein (so they might also be classified as protein recovery bars). The flavours range from the tangy Classico with its apricots and

Review – Altuvita Cycling Phone Wallet Mk2 (Plus Size)

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Protecting your phone and cards when cycling is a necessity; your jersey pocket is bombarded by spray, sweat, and grit — none of those go well with electronics. The Altuvita Cycling Phone Wallet is a neat weather-proof phone wallet that is designed for cycling.  The case is a hard-shell design, which is quite different from the other soft designs that I have reviewed and used in the past . The hard case gives significantly more drop protection for the wallet's contents; the coating material is also water resistant, as is the zipper, so it provides a weather-proof and sweat-proof barrier. Inside the Altuvita Cycling Phone Wallet you get four sleeves that can be used to house cards and paper cash. There is no zipper compartment for coins, but then perhaps few riders carry shrapnel in their pockets these days? The cards are held securely in the slots, with no risk of them slipping out when you open the wallet. On the other side of the wallet is where the phone sits. This Mk2 ver

Review – Steed Bikes Thoroughbred Single Speed Bike

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A single speed bike is a beautiful thing: as simplistic and straightforward as they come. Every pedal stroke equates to the same distance travelled; every revolution turning a single chainring and a single cog that moves two wheels forwards. The Steed Bikes Thoroughbred Single Speed bike is one of the most stylish and well-built single-speeds that I have ridden to date. Ian Steed set up Steed Bikes fuelled by a passion for superior design and faultless functionality. He wanted to create a bike that could nip through the city streets every day of the week, while looking and feeling like a premium steed. The Steed Thoroughbred is an affordable but first-class level single speed bike. Based around a steel frame, and with a strong choice of components; it is a real pleasure to ride. The ultimate single speed bike Many single speed bikes you find in the city will be worn-out 'spares bin' bikes, formed of cast offs from other bikes, or bodged together with random parts. The St

Review – Praxis Zayante Carbon M30 Direct Mount Crankset

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Do not underestimate the upgrade that a carbon chainset and top-level bottom bracket will have to performance; the crankset of a bike is the primary power transmission tool, and its design therefore plays an integral role in the efficiency, feel, and performance of your bike. The Praxis Zayante Carbon Crankset is one of the best value, best made carbon crankset upgrades you will see on the market today. The name Zayante comes from a redwood tree covered climb in the Santa Cruz Mountains of Northern California; a secret training ground for professionals, and a road steeped in history. The name alludes to the relatively hidden, but undeniably valuable upgrade that the Zayante could make to your performance. The Praxis Zayante Carbon is designed for road cycling or gravel bikes, with ultimate versatility. The carbon crank arms come in lengths of 160 / 165 / 170 / 172.5 and 175 millimetres; built onto a unique stepped Praxis M30 spindle—that requires a Praxis M30 Bottom Bracket to fi

Review – LITELOK X1 High Security Angle-Grinder Resistant Bicycle D-Lock

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It is an unfortunate reality that bicycle theft is at an all-time high in the United Kingdom. Yet, brands such as UK-based LITELOK offer some hope – they have been pioneering a new technology to keep your bike safer, even in the highest risk areas. The new LITELOK X D-Lock offers unparalleled security, tested to be " up to 15 times more secure, yet lighter than the best performing D-lock on the market"  thanks to its unique Barronium™ alloy construction. The LITELOK X1 is the first bike lock I have come across that achieves the Sold Secure Bicycle Diamond and ART4 insurance-rated standards, it also meets the 'Police Preferred Specification' of Secured by Design (SBD); these ratings assure that this lock provides the best available protection to secure bicycles, e-bikes, motorcycles and scooters. So, what makes the LITELOK unique? The LITELOK X uses a three layer protection: A hardened fine-grain high-tensile steel core provides inner strength against multiple

Book Review – ‘The Complete Guide to Cycling Psychology’ by Mark Beaumont and Dr Jim Taylor

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Mark Beaumont is quite possibly my favourite 'famous' cyclist. His books ' The Man Who Cycled The World'  and ' Africa Solo ' have pride of place on my bookshelf; I have watched his documentaries and interviews on many occasions; and I have even ridden with and interviewed Mark several times. Mark Beaumont is the first to admit that he is not a World Tour professional, nor an Olympic level champion. He is however the Guinness World Record holder for the fastest circumnavigation of the globe by bicycle, and with that I believe he holds the accolade of being one, if not the strongest cyclist on the planet, in terms of spirit and mental fortitude. Considering Mark's incredible endurance achievements on a bike, and his everyday approachability, his latest book ' The Complete Guide to Cycling Psychology' , written in partnership with world-renowned sports phycologist Dr Jim Taylor, was always set to be a winner.  The book takes you through every aspect o

Review – Lezyne Pocket Torque Drive Wrench

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The Lezyne Pocket Torque Drive is a compact torque wrench that you can easily slip into a jersey pocket or race-day tool kit. Presented in its own soft-shell case, it gives you with the tool-bits and confidence you need to adjust delicate bike components accurately and easily. When it comes to adjusting stem bolts, seat post clamps, saddle rails and even gear lever clamps, you need to be careful not to overtighten or under tighten the bolts; overtightening could result in stress fractures, whilst under tightening could result in slippage between components. A torque wrench allows you to easily adjust a bolt to the correct torque level. Traditional torque wrenches are bulky items though; they are made for workshop use and not for taking with you on a ride; this presents a problem for ad-hoc adjustments on the go. Leyne's new Pocket Torque Drive is the brand's solution to torque wrench transportation; small and light enough to take with you on your travels. Oozing the fame

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

Personal Hygiene and Skincare for Bikepacking and Cycle Touring

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A question often asked in the bikepacking and cycle touring community is “ how do you keep clean and maintain good personal hygiene on a multi-day cycle tour? ” The secret for me, lies with a few products and techniques. These are my tips for healthcare, hygiene and skincare on bike touring expeditions. The first thing to consider is the potential problem areas for hygiene and healthcare when clocking a lot of miles in the saddle. All these problems can be traced back to three root causes: bacteria, weather, and bodily fatigue. These three factors solely or jointly cause issues like saddle sores, infection, sunburn, windburn, and gastrointestinal discomfort. To protect from and help cure the above ailments, I use a simple choice of products that come with me on most bicycle touring adventures… 1. Mum&You Biodegradable Baby Wet Wipes These wipes are an essential for cleaning yourself and your equipment when on a bicycle tour. You can use them to wipe away sweat and bacteri

Best Gravel Bike Cycling Routes on the Isle of Wight

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I ride a gravel bike on the Isle of Wight more than I ride any other; it is the perfect way to explore the vast network of quiet roads and exciting open trails. In this post, I have tailor-made a selection of the best gravel cycling routes on the Isle of Wight, with suggested pit-stops and highlights. The Isle of Wight roads, trails, and tracks are my home. I have toured all over the world, but whenever I come back to this small island off the South Coast of the UK I am amazed at how diverse and beautiful the riding is here. 'The Island' is very easy to get to with a bike—use one of the three car ferry routes from Portsmouth, Lymington or Southampton; or come as a foot passenger and bring your bike for free on the Wightlink FastCat  from Portsmouth Harbour train station. You can get to the Island from Central London in just a little over three hours. Once you are here, there is a plethora of bike-friendly accommodation: from hotels and B&B's to campsites and Eco-l