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Showing posts from October, 2013

Ride Stats: October 2013

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Biggest month on the bike to date in terms of hoursNot bad considering I had two weeks with minimal slow riding due to a coldBase miles mostly - hence slow average speed and low HRLower cadence than ideal, but probably due to lots of commuting (free-wheeling and stopping affects average)Weight is stable at off-season 73 Kilograms

Review: Phew CC Lobster Mitts

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Back in the spring I reviewed the Phew CC Early Winter Gloves (Link); a lightweight full finger wind-proof glove that is perfect for the changeable conditions in spring and autumn. Earlier this month they brought out their new Lobster Mitts; a set of gloves that promises to keep your hands toastie even when the thermometer continues to fall.

Lobster mitts have been around for some time. I had a pair a number of years back that were split two fingers, two fingers and thumb; grouping the fingers together dramatically increases warmth and reduces the surface area of the glove exposed to the elements.The problem with this past pair was that it made gear changes rather difficult because of the clumsily large fingers. The Lobster Mitts from Phew.cc have changed that; they have the index finger separated from the others, allowing easy shifting as if you were wearing normal gloves, but with the other three fingers still benefiting from being in a shared pocket of warm air.

The Lobster Mitts …

BIG IT UP! The 25mm Tyre Takeover!

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BMC Racing, Team Blanco, FDJ, Omega Pharma, Orica-Greenedge, Argos Shimano, Sky: just some of the teams that were running 25mm tyres this year. 700c x 23mm is no longer the norm, pro teams are switching up to bigger profile rubber all over the peloton, with research showing that it can provide significant gains both in terms of aero-dynamics, grip and comfort.
I’ve long been running 25mm tyres on my winter/touring bike as it helps to cushion the load better, provides a bit more grip, and is less susceptible to pinch flats when the bike is heavily burdened. However, for racing I have always used Conti GP4000S tyres with 23mm profiles, or at the most extreme I tried a 21mm Vittoria for a time trial once. That might no longer be the case...
The thinking was that the smaller profile tyre has a lower surface area, so lower rolling resistance and also less weight (rotating weight as well, so even more significant). 25mm tyres were only to be used on particularly rough terrain and for heavil…

Review: Lezyne MegaDrive Front Light

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Most of the time when I’m out night riding I use a Hope Vision 2 front light; it’s a quality piece of kit that at 480 lumens packs a good punch for lighting the road or trail. However, Wiggle recently had a batch of lights in for staff to test and the Lezyne Megadrive jumped out at me as an impressive bit of kit, so I've been giving it a trial out on the bike.
Let’s start with the unit itself. Compared to the Hope V2 head unit (which has an external battery pack), the Megadrive is heftier both in terms of size and weight. Sat on your handlebars it is a noticeable presence, and takes up a fair bit of handlebar real-estate. However, the weight and size is there for a good reason; this self contained unit is made of beautifully CNC machined aluminium, with a self contained battery pack: It is built to last. This follows a theme with all Lezyne products I have tested; Lezyne pumps are similarly made to a superb quality level and can be seen as a long term investment, as opposed to ma…

Weekend Watch: Best of Red Bull Rampage 2013

Photo Blog: Five Autumn Warmers

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A short photo blog: five bits of kit to keep you riding and enjoying your time on the bike this autumn:









Review: Arkel Dolphin 48 Rear Panniers

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This is the final piece in the jigsaw of my series of reviews on Arkel’s Lite Touring kit, to date I have reviewed the Arkel Saddlebag, the Small Handlebar Bag and the Arkel Tailrider. All have impressed me greatly. In this review I consider possibly the ultimate waterproof rear pannier: the Dolphin 48.

Look at most round the world bikes and the long distance touring panniers that you will see on them increasingly resemble roll-top dry bags. Gone are the majority of external pockets and flip top lids, and instead we see a focus on keeping kit dry and safe without the need for a rain cover, and with a distinct focus on durability.

For my France and Spain touring trip I used a set of Ortlieb panniers, they then got used for almost two years of daily commuting to university and stood up well to the challenge. However, the Ortlieb panniers, though durable, had a number of niggling feature downfalls that stopped me from truly accepting them as the 'ultimate touring pannier', Arkel…

Hints and Tips: Training With Rollers: Session Plans

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Rollers are a superb training tool; a few weeks ago I reviewed the Tacx Antares Rollers, a set that have become famous for their great value and build quality. In this post I'm following up the review with some session ideas that you can use your rollers for.

Rollers are particularly useful for working on technique, high cadence training and recovery. The low resistance means they allow you to easily spin at a high RPM; working on elements of your cycling that can be hard to target out on the road or on a turbo trainer.

Recovery Spin Session (30 minutes) This session is designed to be done post-race, or on a rest day. The objective is to get blood flowing to your muscles to flush out lactic acid that has built up during hard efforts. The “intervals” are very low intensity, but are added to bring variety and interest to what could otherwise be a monotonous spin session.5 mins – 100 RPM Gentle Spinning (100 Watts)1 mins – 120 RPM Fast Cadence (140 Watts)5 mins – 105 RPM Gentle Spinn…

Mini Review: OneLife iD Mini Tags

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Carrying some form of ID with you when you are out on the bike is a no brainer. If you come off and get knocked out (or worse), the emergency services will want to contact your next of kin as soon as possible, and it’s one hell of a lot quicker and easier for them if you have some form of ID.

The MiniTag from OneLife iD is a compact and cheap way of taking some form of identification when you don’t want to be taking your wallet with you on your bike rides. It is one third the size of a normal credit card, and can feature three lines of contact details on the back as well as your name (sorry I'm not going to show a photo of my family’s phone numbers to you guys, that’s just a bit too weird). The scanner code on the front then links to your online profile, which can store lots more information, including allergies etc.

You can attach the tags to a saddlebag, helmet, jacket zipper or similar. Anywhere that you think will be visible to the emergency services.

You get three tags for …

Review: Solo RT Thermo Roubaix 3/4 Length Shorts

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With winter approaching and the temperatures falling rapidly, reaching into the wardrobe and pulling out a pair of three quarter length bibs is becoming a more frequent occurrence.

A few weeks ago I reviewed the great Solo Super Roubaix Arm Warmers and Knee Warmers; but as the mornings become even cooler, three quarter lengths are the next step in keeping comfortable when you’re out on the road or trails.

Solo.cc kit has proven to have some great characteristics in all my reviews to date; whether it was the warm winter jersey and base layer review that I published in the spring or the arm warmer review more recently;all the kit has proven to be well made, well designed and has a great fit. I'm pleased to say the Retro Tech ¾ length Thermal Shorts follow the theme.

Starting from the top down, the bibs on the Retro Tech three quarter lengths are high cut and very comfortable; although they may present some problems when nature calls, they keep the warmth in and the chill out very well,…

Wednesday Watch: The Lance Armstrong Lie - Trailer

OK so it's Tuesday, but this could be interesting...

Weekend Watch: Red Bull Rampage

Red Bull Rampage starts next week. Prepare for some more of THIS...

Weekend Watch: Tony Martin's World Champs TT Win

SPOTTED: Tony Martin warming up on a set of Tacx Antares rollers. Reviewed on the blog here.

Review: Solo Super Roubaix Arm and Knee Warmers

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Autumn is a season of change, some days it is close to zero Celsius in the early morning, but then by mid-day it can be in the mid-twenties. Weather like that calls for flexibility in your kit choice, and warmers are a superb accessory to accomplish this.

In the spring I reviewed a wide variety of kit from Solo.cc; the Solo Cycle Clothing Review received a great audience, and I was thoroughly impressed by the products that it featured. The Solo kit proved to be well thought out, made to the highest quality and it performed admirably during testing. To extend the review of the Solo range I am here reviewing the Roubaix Arm Warmers and the Roubaix Knee Warmers; both products that are perfect for the cooler weather. In a later post I will also be reviewing the rather fantastic Roubaix 3/4 length bib shorts.

Solo Super Roubaix Arm Warmers
You could be excused for thinking that all arm warmers are equal; just Lycra tubes that keep your arms a bit more comfortable in cooler weather. Wrong! …

Wednesday Watch: 2013 World Champs Shimano Race TV

Photo Blog: GripGrab Autumn Products

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At the start of 2013 I became a GripGrab Local Hero. The position has allowed me to test many of the products from the GripGrab range, and I have to say they are some of the best that I have ever used.

Earlier in the year I did a photo blog on GripGrab Summer Kit; the post got a great reception and I had many people asking me about the products on Twitter. To introduce a few more of the fantastic GripGrab products to you readers I thought I would do another one, this time on autumn themed kit. If you have any questions or want to know more about the featured products tweet me or leave a comment at the end of the post.

The GripGrab range is available in the UK from Wiggle (Link)