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Showing posts from August, 2013

Review: Arkel Small Handlebar Bag

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On my 2011 France and Spain Touring trip I had plenty of time to consider how the bike luggage I was using could be improved upon and added to. Over those 1500 miles I created an image in my mind of the perfect kit set-up for Lite Touring; I wrote this up as my Comprehensive Lite Touring Kit List.
When I got back from the trip I spent a long time researching the best kit that I could find to take on my next big tour (which was planned for this September, but has been postponed to next year). I came across the Arkel brand; a Canadian company that makes incredibly high quality, lifetime guaranteed touring kit. I was impressed!

To test out the range I reviewed the Arkel Touring Saddlebag; it has a highly innovative design and quite frankly is the coolest and best made large saddle bag I have seen.
Spurred on by the saddle bag’s quality and the fact that Arkel has just set up a UK distribution depot (so the products no longer have to come air mail from Canada), I went in for a full Arkel set…

Ride Stats: August 2013

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August 2013...

Yet again beats my record for the number of miles I have done on the bike in a month (I did last month too)Has included a real mix of riding; from the Channel Island, to France, to commuting to my new job at WiggleA fair bit of off-road riding in there as well, when I've had the chance. I'm hoping to do more in September.Suprisingly, despite including my holiday and a fair few BBQs, my weight has remained steadyOverall a very good month both on and off the bike

Race Report: Surrey League Kermesse - Don't Give Up!

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When you turn up to a race and find out that the race before yours on the same circuit had 25 punctures, it doesn't bode well. When your race briefing includes a warning of a cattle grid on the course, and a warning of deer on the course, it rather adds to the trepidation. Oh, it was raining as well. 

Anyway, enough complaining, today Sambo and James came with me to the last of our Surrey League races in West Sussex.  It was an exciting one...

The course took us through a deer park, and some rough road surfaces, and was composed of 12 laps of the 3.5 mile circuit.

On the fourth lap I launched an attack, with Jimbo slowing the pace momentarily on the front, I kicked off the front. Bringing a bit of my mountain bike experience back into play I went on the worst section of road. The attack worked, two riders came with me and we were opening up a good gap on the main field. It was tough going, the course didn't give much let up, you were either holding on flying over the flinty rou…

Review: Ragpicker Summer Pro-Race Socks

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Ragpicker is a London based firm, run and owned by a small group of dedicated road cyclists. It was set up following the success of British cyclists in London 2012, and aims to produce a selection of classic, innovative and beautiful kit for road riders.
When the firm was first set up, they kindly sent me their classic cycling caps to use (you have probably spotted them on the blog in photographs). As the firm expands, they are adding to their range, and their Pro-Race Summer Socks are the latest piece of stylish kit I have had to review from them.
Firstly, I would like to point to the great value. The socks come in a three pack of green, pink and dark blue, all for a superb price of £20. Cycling socks are expensive, by sock standards, but these are a great value option by any reckoning.
Second up, the styling: classic white with colour bands. These are socks that will complement almost any race strip, and although using white socks in wet conditions will almost certainly demand a good d…

Review: Salice 005 Sunglasses

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Almost a year ago I reviewed my set of Salice 006s on the blog (Link); they were a great set of shades, and proved popular both with myself, and you blog readers (It is one of the most viewed reviews to date).

Unfortunately however, a slight incident with a pothole last month left my 006s under the wheels of a taxi. I was distraught. However, looking on the Salice website I found the new 005 model; in neon yellow! Cool! I got a set, and here's my thoughts on them...

If I liked the 006 model, then the 005 I love. They look fundamentally different; they have two separate lenses. The lenses tilt inwards slightly towards the cheekbones, giving a more aero look, and the fit is narrower and more secure on your head.

Sunglasses choice is crucially about looks for most people, however, you also need to consider build quality, value and features.

Build quality of the Salice 005s is great; they have strong hinges, the lens quality is superb, and the feel of them is sturdy, yet lightweight.…

Photo Blog: GripGrab Summer Products

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GripGrab was started in 2000 by three Danish brothers. Its mission is to design and produce clothing accessories for runners and cyclists that excel in extreme conditions and use. They make gloves, overshoes, headwear, socks, arm warmers and leg warmers of the highest calibre. This is kit that is good enough for the pros, yet the range is broad enough for every budget.

At the start of 2013 I became a GripGrab Local Hero. The role supports local riders who love to ride, race and train hard, while also spreading the word about the GripGrab brand. The position has allowed me to test many products from the GripGrab range, and I can honestly say that it is some of the highest quality, best designed, and most superb value kit I have ever used.

I'm so impressed by the GripGrab kit that I want to share it with the readers of the blog. To give an idea about the products I thought a cool way to do this would be a photo blog. If there is anything that you see in this range of summer GripGrab…

Book Review: David Millar's 'Racing Through The Dark'

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Belief. Something that can take years to establish, yet seconds to dismiss. A word that in the 1990s and 2000s held little association with the spectators’ perception of professional cycling. With the Festina Affair, Operation Puerto, Ullrich, Landis, Contador and Armstrong, to name but a few, it was hard for cycling fans to watch the performances of their idols, without at least some scepticism of the honesty of the entailing victories.

A month ago, I read and reviewed Tyler Hamilton’s ‘The Secret Race’ (Link). Hamilton’s account of the widespread doping leaves you with a distinct distrust of the professional peloton, and gives a stark realisation of how widespread doping became.

‘Racing Through The Dark’ by David Millar is fundamentally different. Yes, it is a confession, and in part it is a justification of the doping that Millar undertook in the early 2000s. However, crucially, it makes you believe in professional cycling again. It gives you faith that things are changing, if slowl…

Ride Stats: July 2013

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July 2013 was my biggest month to date in terms of miles on the bike. Which was hard going, as I was out of the country for two weeks on a sailing holiday. I took my bike with me, but the rides were slightly lower paced than in other months due to the lack of racing and team mates to ride with. Now I'm back, the focus will be on re-gaining some of the lost power, in hope of some good results in the later part of the season.

Review: Half Baked Brand "Ride Like You Mean It" Jersey

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Half Baked Brand are a Devon based outfit that make a whole range of cool, quirky and unique custom jerseys. Last month they released one of their latest designs; the “Ride It Like You Mean It” jersey. It is a feature packed top, at a great value price tag, and it is sure to make you stand out in any peloton.

The jersey is a stunning sky blue colour; quite easily one of the nicest, if not the nicest coloured jersey that I own. The theme is truly classic; with the white and red bands bearing a resemblance to jerseys of a by-gone era, and giving a very traditional appearance.
The looks may be classic, but this is a modern jersey in terms of the materials, design and feel.
Boasting three good sized and well elasticated rear pockets, as well as an additional smaller zipped valuables pocket, there is plenty of room for all the ride essentials for those long summer miles. The full length zip facilitates maximum ventilation when you’re pushing hard on the climbs, and the strong zipper design is…