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Review – KOO ALIBI Cycling Sunglasses

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KOO's ALIBI sunglass caught my eye earlier this year. With their half-frame design, sturdy looking Grilamid arms, and ventilated lens for clarity of vision; they are an impressive pair of cycling sunglasses. When the brand announced the release of their new 'Galaxy' collection within the ALIBI range, I felt compelled to give them a try… The Super Blue MR colour is a cool and space-inspired option from the Italian brand, with a Category 3 protection high-performance cylindrical polycarbonate lens by Zeiss. The vision clarity is outstanding, and mounted up the glasses feel secure and comfortable thanks to their grippy arms and nose piece. KOO glasses that I have tried in the past have always had a quality feel about them, and the ALIBI is no different; these glasses look the part and allow you to keep riding on or off-road in comfort and with great clarity of vision. >> Shop the KOO ALIBI Galaxy collection here Disclaimer: KOO provided a pair of KOO ALIBI GALAXY

Book Review – '100 Greatest Cycling Climbs Tour de France' and 'Another 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs' by Simon Warren

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Simon Warren's '100 Greatest Climbs' has become an iconic bucket list for hill climbing enthusiasts across the UK. In recent years, Simon has branched out into many more editions focussing both on localised regions of the UK e.g. 'Cycling Climbs of Wales' as well as further afield in volumes such as '100 Greatest Cycling Climbs of Spain'.  The latest addition to Simon's library is 'Another 100 Greatest Climbs' and '100 Greatest Climbs of the Tour de France'. Both brilliant pocket-sized books that give you all the information you need to create the ultimate climbing bucket list. 'Another 100 Greatest Climbs' promises to be " Longer, Higher and Steeper! " than the original 100 Climbs volume. How?  ' Longer' because Cragg Vale is the longest continuous uphill gradient in the whole of England; 'Higher' because Belanch-na-Bà is Simon's new favourite climb; and 'Steeper'  because Vale Street in B

Recipe – Fruit and Seed Banana Baked Muesli Flapjack Bars

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My recipe for High Energy Flapjacks has always been a favourite on the blog. So, when I heard about this great banana baked muesli bars I thought it needed to be shared with the cycling world—these are a great healthy homemade cycling energy food bar. Combining Rude Health's Ultimate Muesli with seeds, fruit, coconut oil, honey and bananas—these make a great snack either for on the bike or for those early morning or afternoon stomach rumbles. Ingredients (makes 10 breakfast bars) 300g porridge oats (or Rude Health Muesli) 4 medium size ripe bananas (peeled and mashed) 150g dates (chopped) 150g golden sultanas  150g dried apricots (chopped) 150g trail mix or mixed berries/seeds/desiccated coconut 30g pumpkin seeds and/or sunflower seeds or nuts 30g Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil 2 tbsp runny honey 2 tsp vanilla essence 1 tsp ground cinnamon 0.5 tsp ground nutmeg Method  Pre-heat the oven to 180°C Mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl Chop the dates and apricots (this c

Recovery – Do Massage Guns Help Recovery? Exploring the Science of Percussion Therapy

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Sore muscles after a tough workout? Athletes rely on various recovery techniques to minimise muscle soreness and improve performance after their endurance training and workouts. In recent years, percussion therapy guns, often called "muscle guns," have exploded in popularity. But do these high-tech devices actually help with recovery? Let's delve into the science behind percussion therapy, and consider the potential benefits and research that supports their use in muscle recovery. What is Percussion Therapy? Percussion therapy involves applying rapid, pulsating pressure to targeted muscle tissues. This is typically achieved using a handheld device, which delivers percussive vibrations deep into the muscle tissue. Potential Benefits of Percussion Therapy for Muscle Recovery: Several potential benefits of percussion therapy exist, although research is still ongoing to fully understand their mechanisms. Here's a breakdown of some key areas: Reduced Muscle Soreness

Review – CYCPLUS AS2 Pro Max Electric Pocket Bike Pump

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The world is going electric. There are no two ways about it, electronic gadgets have been making our lives easier and faster for years, and the power of electric shows little sign of slowing up in a hurry. The new AS2 Pro Max Electronic Bike Pump from CYCPLUS is a neat little gadget that takes the hard work and frustration out of inflating your bike tyres, while being small enough it could fit in a jersey pocket. I have been testing it out, here is my review… The AS2 Pro Max is the first handheld electric bike pump I have come across to date. I have used bulky compressors and handheld CO2 inflators, but this is a reusable handheld electric bike pump that is charged up using a USB-C cable in just one hour, and can quickly inflate or top up tyres on your bike or car. The AS2 Pro Max is the top of the range model from CYCPLUS, designed to be more powerful and have a greater capacity than its two smaller siblings. It weighs in at 205 grams, and measures 60 x 32 x 81mm in size – small

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

Review – Le Col Polartec Pro Winter Cycling Jacket

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We are nearing the end of winter here in the UK (I hope), but I wanted to share one of my favourite pieces of the season: the Le Col Pro Jacket, featuring Polartec® Power Shield Pro®. The Pro Jacket is branded as Le Col’s ' fastest winter cycling jacket ', thanks to its close fitting cut and high performance fabric. Polartec® Power Shield Pro® is the star of the show, with its highly breathable, waterproof and windproof properties, and its four way stretch. Polartec® Power Shield Pro® is a new bio-based performance fabric, it uses Biolon in 45 percent of its composition; a renewable, non-GMO, non-PFAS, plant-based nylon with a 50% lower carbon footprint than virgin Nylon. With 20K breathability and 20k waterproofing, Power Shield Pro® offers a durable, waterproof and windproof layer to shield you from the elements.  Power Shield Pro® also uses a new molecular diffusion technology that moves water vapour out of the fabric while maintaining a barrier against water droplets. B

Book Review – 'Gravel Rides Lake District' by Andrew Barlow

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The Lake District has long been one of my favourite destinations in the UK, with its never-ending green wilderness, craggy peaks and glistening lakes. I have been to Cumbria on many walking holidays, but I have never taken a bike there; but, I think this book is the final motivation to change that... ' Gravel Rides Lake District ' is a pocket-sized guide to 15 of the best gravel bike rides in the beautiful Lake District National Park. Ranging in distance and difficulty, from 17 to 270 kilometres in length, there is something for every gravel cyclist, with a mix of terrain and backdrops.   The guide has been put together by local expert Andrew Barlow, and the routes include colour 1:50,000 Ordnance Survey maps, simple directions, and profiles of each route. There are also details of great local cafe stops, and a link to downloadable GPX files. It is a brilliant easy to follow pocket route guide.  >> Shop the 'Gravel Rides Lake District' by Andrew Barlow Disclaimer:

Kit Care – Extending the Life of Your Kit With a Dehumidifier

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We invest thousands of pounds into our outdoor equipment and apparel, and spend hours researching the best options to keep us comfortable, safe and fast. But, post purchase, do we invest enough time and care into looking after these investments? I am normally quite fastidious at keeping my kit clean and organised, helping it to last as long as possible and avoid premature replacement. In this pursuit, there are some tips and tricks that I have learnt through trial and error over the years. Moisture is one of the biggest enemies of both hardware and clothing. Putting equipment into storage just slightly damp is a recipe for mildew, rust and bacterial growth. From bikes to waterproof jackets, gloves to rucksacks; I have made the expensive mistake of stashing these items damp and slightly dirty, to come back a month later and find them ruined. So, what can you do? Clean It Quick Keeping kit clean is the first step. Read some of my previous posts such as ' Re-waterpro

'Crossing Boundaries' – Multi-Purpose Outdoor Apparel

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As cycling culture evolves, and adventure riding  becomes a more mainstream activity, it is interesting to watch the development of new 'bikepacking apparel' and adventure specific riding kit. The truth though, is that adventure riding and bikepacking are just cycling combined with other well-known outdoor pursuits, such as camping, hiking and mountaineering. As such, it may well be that kit from those pursuits can be re-purposed and utilised on your bikepacking adventures — reducing the amount of kit you need to buy, and the effect of doing so on the planet. In this blog post, I have selected two of my favourite pieces of outdoor apparel, both of which are fantastic for bikepacking adventures: the Rab Electron Pro Lightweight Down Gilet and the Rab Power Stretch Pro Pull-On Mid-Layer. Review – Rab Electron Pro Lightweight Down Gilet A lightweight down jacket has featured in my bikepacking kit list  since my first tours, but switching it out for a down gilet is a more r

Review – Shokz OpenFit Open Ear Headphones

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I have been using Shokz (previously Aftershokz) open ear headphones for almost a decade now, and their performance is second to none in terms of sound quality, build quality and design. The new OpenFit from Shokz offers an ultra-lightweight, open-ear construction without the band design used on the OpenRun Pro, making it more suitable for everyday wear as well as for active sports pursuits. The flexible ear hook design of the OpenFit headphones allows it to fit to any ear shape, and remain securely and comfortably in place for hour upon hour of listening. The DirectPitch™ technology produces an immersive audio experience with deep bass notes and fantastic clarity, whilst still allowing you to listen to the external environment and maintain your situational awareness. Battery life on the Shokz OpenFit is superb, with each charge offering 7 hours of listening, and each full charge of the case/unit offering 28 hours of listening. A useful fast-charge function also allows you to top u

Personal Care – Outdoor Wellness Essentials from Weleda

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Outdoor pursuits in the winter months are tough on your skin, body and immune system. Windburn and cold temperatures take their toll on delicate skin, while your body often takes knocks and abuse in cold temperatures. The range of skincare and wellness products from Weleda is what keeps me functioning at my best through the freezing and wet months; this collection of products is my personal go-to. >> Use the discount code TIM24 to get 30% off Weleda at Weleda.co.uk     Winter Skincare Weleda Skin Food Face Care provides you with the protection, rejuvenation and cleansing that your face needs when it is being blasted by rain, wind and snow. Start using the Nourishing Day Cream to hydrate and soften the skin before heading out into the elements, then cleanse with the Nourishing Cleansing Balm and Nourishing Night Cream when your day of adventuring is done. The Skin Food range has long been my favourite range of moisturisers, providing un-matched levels of soothing and protecti

Review – Osprey Escapist Bikepacking Frame Bag (Medium)

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Osprey has an earned reputation as one of the best backpacking brands in the world, with their innovative designs and lightweight but durable packs being used in some of the extreme adventures and by many everyday outdoor enthusiasts. As a result, when they announced their launch into the world of bikepacking bags I was immediately interested; if their on-bike luggage options are as good as their hiking bags then they will certainly make a great impression. Osprey already has an extensive mountain biking backpack collection, with a dedicated department focussing on bike-specific designs; so, it was a logical step to launch the Escapist collection to target the bike adventure market and the growing bikepacking community. I was sent Osprey’s new Escapist Bikepacking Frame Bag to test, and over the last month it has been put through its paces on my Kona Private Jake gravel/cyclocross bike, with some very positive results… New Escapist Bikepacking Bag Range All the on-bike bags in

#FrozenFjords – Bikepacking Across Norway's Ice Fields

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How far can we ride into the frozen wilderness? Will we experience comfort or despair under a blanket of snow? Will we find grip and traction on ice rink roads? Will we freeze? These questions, and many more alike, flash through our minds as we leave the port of Copenhagen — our ferry steaming ahead towards Oslo, the Norwegian fjords and the snow-covered forests beyond. An adventure into the unknown for three intrepid bikepacking musketeers. It is thick fog as we cruise into the Oslo fjord the following morning. The sun rises low in the sky, and we catch glimpses of the snow-covered landscape on the horizon. This is the land of the Vikings, and we'll need to summon their courage to ride out into the frozen wilderness. Our spiked ice tyres rumble on the tarmac as we head north west out of the city and into the hills. The roads soon empty of cars, and the snow deepens on the verges. It is not long before we leave the tarmac behind, ducking under a barrier that signals the start of a