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Showing posts from October, 2014

Review: MaxiNutrition Cyclone Milk

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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 recov…

Review: Bagaboo Macbook Case

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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…

Review: Primal HiVis Fusion Jacket

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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…

Mini Review: Mulebar Salted Caramel Energy Gel

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Mulebar certainly do some interesting flavours, and Salted Caramel seems like one that is particularly suited to this time of year, when you can do with a bit of comfort on the bike.

This gel has a great taste, texture and is a good size to squeeze down in one go. It provides a good energy kick, and it also contains electrolytes that should reduce the chance of muscle cramps.

If you keep your energy food mixed, and throw in a few interesting flavours like this, then it can make fuelling on the bike far more enjoyable.

Mulebar products are available from Wiggle (Link)

Mini Review: Mulebar Eastern Express Energy Bar

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A savoury energy bar? That's definitely something new! I was intrigued to try this interesting flavour from UK based brand Mulebar.

The Eastern Express bar tastes remarkably like a bar of Bombay Mix; with a tangy curry-like flavour.

It's certainly quite different, and can make a pleasant change from the sweet and sticky traditional bars that dominate the market. The bar has a nice texture too, helped by the crunchy pistachio nuts.

If you're someone that struggles with not having a sweet tooth, but you're still in need of effective fuelling on the bike, then this could be a good option.

Mulebar products are available from Wiggle (Link)

Review: Sugru Self-Setting Rubber

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Self-setting rubber... What could that be used for? That's what I thought when a few packets of Sugru turned up for testing. Well, it turns out they can be used for rather a lot in the world of bikes...

Sugru is the brain child of a material scientist named Jane. She decided that she wanted to "hack" many of her existing tools and utensils to make them better and more comfortable to use. The first compound used sawdust and silicone chalk; it's come a long way since then and now uses a silicone based compound that dries solid when exposed to air for 24 hours.

Sugru is the irish word for "play". So, I set about finding inventive uses for the stuff.

The first came pretty quick when I broke the quarter turn mount on my Mio GPS unit. I decided that for daily use these mounts are fundamentally flawed, and have a limited lifespan; so, as I had one spare, I decided to "hack" a Hope Tech QR light mount onto the computer. It isn't pretty but it works, …

Review: NiteRider Lumina 400 Front Light

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The photo to the right was taken as I raced into London at the end of the Trafalgar Way ride. After 300 miles non-stop, eight counties and a hell of a lot of wind, rain and hills, the last thing I wanted to worry about was lights. Luckily the NiteRider Lumina 400 works faultlessly.

NiteRider is a brand which I have to admit wasn't overly familiar to me before I read up on it a bit; in short though, it's a brand that triumphs quality, practicality and compact designs, for everything from commuting lights to high performance off-road lights.

The Lumina 400 falls pretty much in the middle of NiteRider's range; it's not super powerful, but it's compact and not too hard on the wallet. It makes a perfect commuting light, which has the power to be used on unlit roads as well.

Straight out of the smart packaging, the Lumina looks and feels like a quality light. The ribbed outer casing promises to help dispel heat build up, whilst the ports, button and lens look fully cap…

Riding The Trafalgar Way - Falmouth to London in 24 Hours

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Dawn breaks over Pendennis Point, Falmouth, one of the most westerly towns in the UK. Overnight an Atlantic storm has battered our hotel, and whilst the rain has ceased for now, the wind is still extreme. Time to start a bike ride to London.

The Trafalgar Way holds a lot of heritage, especially for someone that has grown up near the Victory in Portsmouth. In 1805, when Admiral Nelson died in the battle of Trafalgar, Lieutenant Lapenotiere rode non-stop along this route from Pendennis Point to Admiralty House in Whitehall, London. The journey took him 37 hours and he used 21 horses. I planned to attempt it on a push-bike, in 24 hours.

Joining me on the journey was a team of riders that would do certain legs of the course with me, as well as a support crew in a camper-van and a film crew. It was to be a real team effort.

We headed out of Falmouth, down the cobbled high street and up into the hills behind the town. The weather was mild, and the wind was from behind, all set for a long d…

Gearing Up For A Giant Challenge - Riding the Trafalgar Way fromFalmouth to London

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I thought last weekend's ride was big, it was certainly my longest ride to date. This weekend things are about to get a whole lot bigger though...

I've been invited to 'Ride The Trafalgar Way' this Saturday; a route that follows the historic path a horse messenger rode non-stop in 1805 to announce the death of Admiral Lord Nelson. The route traverses the country from west to east; from Pendennis Point in Falmouth to Admiralty House in London.

The distance is 500 kilometers (310 miles). My hope is to complete the ride in around 24 hours. Non-stop.

To say that I'm a little nervous would be fair, this will be by far the longest that I have ever ridden in one go, and the latter part of it will be in the dark.

However, I'll be fully supported by the RTTW (Ride The Trafalgar Way) team, and will have a support car, camper van and some very experienced personnel on hand to help me through.

I'm not doing it alone either; at the same time as I hope to ride the route…

Ride Report: New Forest 200

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Autumn can be one of the best seasons to ride in; changing colours and interesting conditions. Yesterday was certainly interesting.

I decided that having let a number of my 2014 Objectives slip away from me, it was time to knock off at least one more, and complete a double imperial century (200 miles). If I was sensible I would have done this in the middle of summer, with a long summer day... unfortunately, those are now long past though, so I decided it had to be an Autumn Epic Adventure.

The plan was simple: ride to the Yarmouth-Lymington ferry, meet up with the Wightlink Race Team boys, head over to the start of the Wiggle New Forest 100 near Ringwood, complete the 'epic' sportive with them and ride home, probably with an extra loop to bring the miles up.

The reality, was that the weather made it far from simple.

In order to get to get to the start on time, I would need to be up at 04:30, out the door by 05:00 and in Yarmouth by 06:00. When my alarm went off though, I was gr…

Review: Bagaboo 'Hunch' Hip Pouch and Felvarrom Belt

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Regular readers of the blog will know that the Hungarian brand Bagaboo is quite easily one of my favourites out there. They're a smallish company producing bespoke and beautiful products that last incredibly well. In the past I've reviewed their Workhorse Messenger Bag (Link), which still looks as good as new, despite almost daily use. I've also reviewed their Rancid Rucksack (Link), which is a great little day pack that is ideal for longer mountain bike adventures and commuting.

In this review, I move one size further down the line-up with the Bagaboo Hunch Hip Pouch, and the matching Felvarrom inner tube belt. Two very cool products that provide a unique and quirky look.

Bagaboo Hunch Hip Pouch    The Hunch Hip Pouch is designed for those around-town errands, lightweight commutes and mini-adventures on the bike. It's a quirky take on the rather scorned "Bumbag", with a distinctly cool appearance and practical design.

The pouch is made of Bagaboo's two …