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Showing posts from April, 2016

Review: Tate Labs Rain Fly Rear Mudguard

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Fed up with a wet back (and crack), and want some protection from road and trail spray? This new Rain Fly guard from Tate Labs could well be the solution...

Many readers will have seen and/or used an Ass Saver mudguard. The neat laser-cut plastic flap slots underneath your saddle, and provides valuable protection for your butt; while adding only minimal weight and aerodynamic drag. It is a KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) approach to reducing the "mud-slick" effect.

The Ass Saver works well; but it isn't without its faults. The most significant downfall for the Swedish designed product, is that it rather too easily goes askew; exposing your back to your rear wheel. The second, is that it doesn't really provide protection for the back of your legs, or for a saddlebag or rear light housed on your seatpost. The new Tate Labs Rain Fly promises to follow in the lightweight minimalist footsteps of the Ass Saver, but to overcome these two short-comings.

The guard attaches to y…

Ride Photo Blog: The Wight CX Century

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The sound. The sound of flints and gravel; pinging and crunching beneath wheels. The sound, of tubeless tyres hitting tarmac, momentarily; buzzing like an angry bee. The sound of friends, wincing and shouting; as they fly down chalk downland and rutted single-track, slightly out of control. The sound, of cyclocross.

Today, I rode a CX Century. 100 miles of chalk, gravel and mud; intermingled with very occasional tarmac respite. I rode 100km of it with great friends; old friends and new.

It was a superb day to be in the saddle of the Kona Private Jake - a bike which has affirmed itself as my new favourite.

Here's a photo essay, to sum up the day's events...
























Review: Thule Paramount 29L Rucksack

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Back in 2014, I reviewed the Thule Enroute Escort Rucksack; and it fast became my go-to pack for day trips, weekend breaks and business trips. In 2015, I reviewed the Thule Pack 'n Pedal Commuter Rucksack; and that is now my choice for daily cyclocross commuting. Between the two reviews, I have also used, abused and been impressed by a number of other Thule products within the range; including their famous bike carriers. (All the reviews can be found here). The theme with the products from this Swedish company is clear; they are carefully designed, tested and refined by outdoor enthusiasts; it is also evident that quality is paramount. So, on that note, I was interested to try out the latest release: the Paramount 29 Litre Daypack.

The Paramount 29L Rucksack is designed to be an everyday carry; smart enough for the office, but rugged enough for ventures off the beaten track. Features like light mounts, a waterproof base and a well-padded laptop compartment, serve to demonstrate t…

Book Review: 'Eat Right' by Nick Barnard

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It is an age-old cliché, but You Are What You Eat. As a cyclist, perhaps you realise it more than most; but if you fill your diet with processed food and the wrong balance of nutrients, you soon realise it. What you put into your body, has a direct correlation to what it will give back to you; both in terms of feelings and performance. Eat Right, and you will perform at your best.

Eating natural whole-foods, in their raw and unmodified state, is one step towards eating right. Celebrating seasonal produce, is another. Adopting age-old production methods, and experimenting with foreign traditional foods and recipes, is a third. It is all part of enjoying and getting the most from your food. That is what Nick Barnard's 'Eat Right' is all about.

Nick is the co-founder of Rude Health - a brand that regular blog readers will be familiar with. Their ethos is around the best possible natural products, which make the most of whole-grains, nuts, seeds and fruit; through a range of …

A Spring Classic - The New Forest 200

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It's 5:03am: I'm rolling out. The weather man wasn't kidding when he said it would be raining. It's hammering it down. Lights on, stomach full of porridge and coffee; it is time for a Spring Classic.

The plan is simple. Ride to the Yarmouth ferry, and cross to Lymington; then ride up to the start of the Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive near Lyndhurst; ride the route; then, ride home. 200 miles. Simple.

The first 30 kilometre leg is wet; as the weather man had warned it would be. I arrive at Yarmouth with sodden shorts and dripping gloves. Thank goodness for Castelli Nanoflex warmers and Gore Windstopper technology; at least most of my body is still warm and functioning. On the ferry I dry my gloves with the hand dryer in the toilets; then pull out the route map, and plan the next 295 kilometres left to ride.

Rolling northwards through the forest, the clouds begin to clear. The sun is coming up, and I'm beginning to get a bit of feeling in my hands and feet again…

Review: Erdinger Weissbier Alkoholfrei - The Sports Drink!

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Most of us know (deep down) that alcohol and endurance sports don't mix. Alcohol dehydrates your body; it reduces your reaction times and suppresses your immune system; it contains empty calories and lots of sugar; it even affects hormone production. Whether consumed before or after exercise, alcohol can negatively affect your performance, and your recovery.

I first sampled Erdinger Alkoholfrei at the Mallorca 312 Challenge last year; you got a refreshing pint of the stuff at the finish line! It instantly surprised me; both because it tasted great (not normally the case for alcohol-free beer), and it also genuinely seemed to help with rehydration, after a tough 10 hours in the saddle.

Erdinger Alkoholfrei is a German Weissbier, it is made in the Erdinger brewery, which also produces a great range of normal strength beers, and they use the same skills and expertise to make the alcohol free version. Although it is branded as alcohol free, it actually contains less than 0.5% volume …

Going Tubeless on Road Tyres

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Don't stop at the end of the tarmac climb. Keep riding. Take that little path that continues on where the tarmac ends. The bumpy bridlepath, which rises skywards. Ride longer. Be stronger.

The only problem with taking the road less-travelled, is punctures. Pinch-flats, thorns and flints become your worst enemy. Going tubeless with tyres, is something that I have been doing for quite a while; on mountain bikes.  It is an incredibly effective way of dramatically reducing flats. On my road bike though, I have traditionally remained reliant on inner tubes for inflation. With 2016 being my year for testing out new things though, I've made the change...

Tubeless tyres hold a number of advantages over their tubed counterparts.

First, there's the puncture prevention. You eliminate the chance of a pinch-flat - when you compress the tyre to such an extent that the bead of the tyre pinches the inner tube, causing snake-bite like cuts. You also eliminate the risk of tubes suddenly fa…

The Search for Dirt - #RideMoreOffroad

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It might sound obvious, but in order to be a great mountain bike rider, or racer, you need to ride a mountain bike; a lot! It is something that I realised in earnest at the Island Games mountain bike events last year.

Mountain biking is about a lot more than just your engine, which you can train effectively on a road bike. It is about handling; it is about confidence; it is about core strength and upper body strength. It is a whole different world, for both mind and body, than the world of skinny tyres and tarmac.

2016 is all about change for me. It is a year of trying something fresh and new. One of the proposed changes, was that I pledged to myself I would ride more off-road. The objective was to more often take to the trails; to stir up some dust (or mud!), and find spice in the variety and challenge that off-road riding has to offer.

The problem for me, in the past, has been that I enjoy riding on the road too much... Road riding is simple, fast, hassle-free and time efficient; a…