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Showing posts from May, 2014

Weekend Watch: Peter Sagan Goes Mountain Biking!

Weekend Watch: 2013 UCI MTB World Cup Recap

Seriously considering taking up XC again...

Photo Blog: Hutchinson Tyres Press Camp

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Last week I was in Provence testing the new Enduro range of tyres from French brand Hutchinson. The photographer at the camp was Dave Trumpore, these are a few of the fantastic shots he captured:















Review: Thule Enroute Escort Rucksack

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If you commute by bike, travel a lot, or just like to keep your gadgets with you, a good quality rucksack is a must. Thule are known for their fantastic roofracks and bike carriers, but the Swedish company also produce some superb bike luggage too, and as an introduction to the range, this review features the largest of their daypacks, the Enroute Escort.

The Escort is a 29 litre pack made to carry kit, laptop, tablet and more; making it ideal for a riding commute, and for general travelling. 
I'm a bit of a bag geek, and love it when you find a good pack; the Enroute Escort is definitely in that category, and I'm using it as my primary kit carrier at the moment. 
A good place to start is the pocketing, as that was a significant reason for me choosing this bag. Closest to the back is the electronics pocket, housing a well padded sleeve for both an iPad and a 15 inch laptop (or 17 inch MacBook). The Swedish quality shows through even on details like this; the soft lining of the sl…

Why Everyone Should Go Cycle Touring

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Cycling is a diverse sport, and there is no excuse to ever get "bored" of riding a bike. 

One week you could be flying round a race circuit at 50Kph, the next you could be camped half way up an Alp with a Primus stove on the boil, after 100 miles of self-sufficient touring. It never fails to surprise me how much a bicycle has to offer...

This summer I'm embarking on my second major touring trip of the last three years; it will be 1000 miles up the backbone of the Pyrenees, then up the Bordeaux Coast to St. Malo. I can't wait. Two weeks with great friends and a constant feeling of adventure.
Should you give cycle touring a go? 
Definitely, everyone can and should; there is nothing quite like it. The early morning wake ups with the dawn, the kick-start coffee stops for brioche and croissants, the empty continental roads. The laughs, the lunch stops with baguette and cold meat accompanied with fresh figs, the afternoon sun, the evening pizza and beer. The tired legs, the in…

Review: Lezyne Phone Wallet

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I've tried a lot of phone carrying systems on the bike, I mean a lot. Waterproof sleeves, waterproof boxes, zipped wallets, bubble wrap bags, Aquapacks, plastic bags, and a whole array of other things. All have their merits, most have their disadvantages as well; most common is that they disintegrate or degrade after a few months of daily use. The Lezyne Phone Wallet seems like it might have got the wallet/phone case combo nailed though...

Let's be clear, this isn't a sleek, fully waterproof case that will save your phone in a monsoon (although it will certainly help); but then it isn't designed to be, it's made to be a stash pack for your phone, your cash and your cards when you go out riding. It does that very well indeed.

The Phone Wallet is made of robust ripstop nylon, with a hardened back plate. The phone is kept in a section with a full length water resistant zip, and can be accessed through a clear plastic window underneath a rigid flip-open lid. The lid a…

Turbo Music: Rebel ft. Sidney Housen 'Black Pearl'

First heard this going up the side of a mountain in a shuttle, on the way to another downhill run in Provence. What a pump up break down! Then I found the video... Awesome!

It's Good To Do Something Different...

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Enduro mountain biking... full suspension bikes hammering down dry and dusty trails, body armour on, handlebars vibrating like a jackhammer, gravel spraying out at the corners and a huge grin spreading across your face... It's good to do something different.

This week I was in Provence with Hutchinson Tyres riding 'Enduro' on their new tyre range; it was a great laugh.
I'm not going to lie, there were times when I was scared out of my skin, times when I lost it and crashed out (leaving me with a sprained wrist and some minor cuts), times when I really wasn't sure why I was doing it instead of riding XC or road back at home. There were those times, but most of the time I was loving the change, loving the dry trails, loving the gravel slides and the whooping berms, and generally loving the experience of staying with a team of enthusiastic bikers in a French Gite for a few days. It was great fun. 
I can see why Enduro has been such a huge hit; it requires a huge amount o…

Review: TICKR Bluetooth and ANT+ Heart Rate Monitor

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I've been testing a number of Wahoo Fitness products over the last week or two, and the TICKR is the third in the trio including the Blue SC Speed/Cadence sensor and the clever RFLKT+ handlebar control unit.

The TICKR heart rate monitor isn't the most revolutionary piece of kit, but it is something that I have been keen to see for a while; a HR strap that you can use with all your devices.
The TICKR is clever because it is both Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ compatible; so you'll get data whether your using your iPhone with an App like Wahoo Fitness, or if your using an ANT+ device like a Garmin. 
Are you likely to need to use both? Well if you use an app on your phone to monitor resting heart rates and running, but you use a Garmin for riding, then it is very useful, and saves having two sensors. 
It's well made too; a theme that seems to be common with the Wahoo products. You get a good quality strap and the sensor itself looks smart and even has little indicator lights t…

Review: Wahoo RFLKT+

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Last week I reviewed the Wahoo Blue SC Speed/Cadence Sensor (Link); now it's time to complete the package with the rather clever RFLKT+ handlebar display unit.

It's all well and good having your iPhone as your GPS computer, and you can get a huge amount of data when you upload your rides online; but mounting an iPhone on your handlebars is both a bit unsightly and precarious. This is where the Wahoo RFLKT+ comes in; it "reflects" the display on the Wahoo iPhone app onto your handlebars, in a simple and neat display unit.

The RFLKT+ is even more than just a reflection though, it also allows you to customise your display, link in ANT+ sensors with your Wahoo iPhone App through the ANT bridge, and even control your music and workout data through the sleek compact unit. In addition, you also get barometric altimeter readings that are far more accurate than the GPS generated ones used on most iPhone apps, and this is clearly a more weatherproof solution that having an iP…

Photo Blog: Goodwood Circuits

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Race report from the event can be found HERE. Photos courtesy of Stephen Kennedy

Weekend Watch: Onboard in a ATOC Sprint!

That's quick!

Weekend Watch: ToC FlyBy 2014

2014 ToC Flyby from Elliot J on Vimeo. I want to go to Cali!

Race Report: Goodwood Gallops #2 - Flat as a pancake.

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Goodwood race circuit is known for its car racing heritage; for over a century it's been a venue that classic racing cars have blasted round at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The less common use is as a bike racing venue, and up until a few years ago it was a regular weekly race meet for south coast racers.

The series was dropped from the calendar for a few years, but now it's back, and as popular as ever. Last week was the first meet, but I was a bit under the weather, so this week was my first outing at the Chichester venue...

The course is flat, I mean completely flat; there isn't any reason to change between two or three sprockets for the majority of the race. The corners are pretty wide and sweeping too, and don't require much braking to navigate. Couple that with the fact that from most points on the circuit you can see the rest of the circuit, and it means a breakaway attempt is pretty unlikely; you'll have a job to get 'out of sight, out of mind' …

Review: Wahoo Fitness Blue SC Speed/Cadence Sensor

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For most, there is one thing that goes with you on almost every ride... your mobile. That GPS equipped phone could be the best cycling computer that you've ever had; with a good app, be it Wahoo Fitness, Strava or another recording app, you can use your mobile to record a huge amount of data about your rides.
One thing though, that you can't normally record with a phone cycle computer is your cadence; or your speed if you are on an indoor trainer. This is where the new Blue SC Speed/Cadence sensor from Wahoo Fitness comes in...
The Blue SC easily pairs with your phone, with it's own unique bluetooth sync. It's unique because previously if you wanted speed/cadence data on your phone, you needed an ANT+ sensor and then an ANT+ dongle as well. There's no dongle needed here though; the Wahoo App will receive it straight from the sensor through Bluetooth, you can then record your cadence and speed on your iPhone, either for live viewing (the Wahoo Rflkt is awesome for …