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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

Personal Care – Preventing and Treating Cycling Saddle Sores

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Are you sitting comfortably? Saddle sores are a serious concern for many cyclists; at best they can be a cause of discomfort, at worst they could end a ride or adventure. After many long distance bike rides such as the #BlackForest400 and #7Countries7Passes , these are my tips for preventing and treating saddle sores. 1 – Saddle Choice Having the correct width and length of saddle makes a huge difference to the chances of encountering saddle sores. Too wide, the saddle will rub on your seat bones. Too narrow, you will sit on your perineum rather than on your seat bones. Recommended reading:  'How to Choose the Right Bicycle Saddle for You' 2 – Saddle Height The height of your saddle plays a significant role in determining the pressure and friction on your nether-regions. If your saddle height is too high then you do not put enough pressure on the pedals; increasing the pressure on your perineum or sit bones and increasing the rocking motion in the saddle