Friday, 31 October 2014

Review: MaxiNutrition Cyclone Milk

Back to back weekend challenge rides with the New Forest 200 and then the Falmouth to London ride left me feeling rather weak and worn down last week. Time to bring in the serious recovery tools.

Pre-made protein shakes like Cyclone Milk are certainly the most convenient and least messy way to get your protein hit post-ride, or to top up your protein intake as a snack. Put one of these in your kit bag or commuting rucksack, and you don't have to worry about used shakers or needing milk to put in your shake.

Cyclone Milk is made of UHT skimmed milk and whey protein powder pre-mixed into a drink. It contains 3 grams of creatine per drink, a massive 30 grams of protein, and it's fat-free.

It tastes like a proper milkshake, although you do need to give it a really good shake to avoid gloopy bits at the bottom. I've always preferred protein shakes mixed with milk rather than water, so this is a great solution when you're away from a fridge.

It seems to work at aiding recovery too; I'm sure more sleep and a restful week of easy riding has helped me in feeling better in the last week or so, but I'm also sure the high quality protein hit that each of these drinks provides has also helped to recover some rather sore muscles.

Check out the MaxiNutrition range at http://www.maxinutrition.com




Thursday, 30 October 2014

Review: Bagaboo Macbook Case

Some things are really worth looking after well; your bike and your computer are two of those. Unfortunately, often the two don't always mix that well, and travelling on a bike can lead to you knocking and bouncing your laptop around a lot. I recommend investing in a good case.

If you want something just so, then it is worth going bespoke; that's what the Bagaboo Macbook Sleeve is all about. Yes, you could buy a standard neoprene sleeve and it would work all right, but it wouldn't look as cool, last as long or perform as well as something like this case.

I had the case made in the same colours as my Workhorse Messenger Bag (Link), it's also the same ultra durable Cordura outer material, which is water resistant and stain resistant. It's padded on all six sides and it has a strong Velcro closure, so it's not going to suddenly open and let your laptop fall to the ground.

As is the trend with all the Bagaboo kit I've tested, it is superbly made. Because it is a custom case, it fits a 13" MacBook perfectly, and has enough room for a few sheets of A4 paper in the case as well. It's got a lovely feel and look about it, and I am sure it will last for years.

Another bombproof and ultra cool product from the Hungarian brand.

View the range of Bagaboo products at Bagaboo.hu (Link)




Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Review: Primal HiVis Fusion Jacket

Summer seems like it is long in the past now, and the short days of autumn and winter are here for a while. Temperatures are dropping and the weather is becoming even more unpredictable. With the racing season behind us too, your riding is more likely to be about training miles rather than race days. All of the above should be reflected in your kit, and autumn typically demands more warmth, protection from the elements and safety in the low light conditions. Conditions that the Primal HiVis Fusion Jacket is designed to cater for exactly...

Whether you're saying that neon fabrics are "back in fashion" or "still in fashion", there is one thing that is obvious, they're in the cycling industry in abundance in 2014/2015. In my mind, that's a great thing; anything you can do with reflective detailing and high visibility colours is a significant bonus when you're riding in traffic.

As the temperatures fell this last week, I pulled on the Fusion jacket and took off on my commute. 

It seems right to start the review with the most obvious thing: the design. For a long time, HiVis meant fluoro jackets that developed a muddied and grey look all too quickly; road spray and grime are not a good friends to bright colours. Primal seem to have really addressed this with the design of the Fusion though: the high visibility panels are on the front of the arms and the upper back, where drivers will see them most; whilst the areas that traditionally discolour quickly (such as the "tyre slick" rear area and the cuffs) are left in black, so they stay looking better for longer. Clever.

Reflective detailing in the design is also subtle and well integrated. There are no massive reflective stickers or straps, rather the stitching on all of the seams has reflective material integrated into it; providing a significant visibility aid. There are also two reflective bands on the left arm, and although these would probably be better suited on the right arm in the UK, they are still a benefit for following traffic and side-on visibility.

The fabric used in the Fusion Jacket is one of the nicest thermal fabrics I've tried. It is called "Strata", and has a deep-pile feel to it, whilst also having a very comfortable four way stretch. It feels luxuriously warm in sub 10 degrees, yet is breathable enough to be usable in anything up to 15. It seems to be washing well too, with no thinning or stretching in high stress areas.  

Perhaps the best highlight of the Fusion Jacket for me though, is the fit. So often winter jackets are baggy, restrictive and cumbersome, but the Fusion feels and is cut far more like a jersey. It uses Primal's "Race Cut Fit" and is very well contoured to the body. There's a full length zipper to provide easy ventilation, and there are three deep pockets on the rear - another feature that is often overlooked in winter apparel. It is like a long sleeved race jersey, with more warmth and added safety features.

Overall, a superb bit of kit. Warm, comfortable, close fitting and bright! There is little doubt in my mind that this is going to get some serious use right through to the months of spring.

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