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Showing posts from December, 2016

2016 Year in Review

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Another year comes to a close. Another season of rides concluded. They say that variety is the spice of life, and 2016 has certainly been a flavoursome one...

There was a significant change in focus for me at the start of the 2016 season: I moved away from short course racing, and turned my attention to endurance challenges.

The season began with the H12 Mountain Bike Race in Denmark, as part of the GripGrab team. 12 hours of dust, roots and laughs.

From Denmark, to the Dolomites: June's X-Bionic MTB Cup, and the legendary HERO Dolomites were next on the agenda. Both these mountain bike races proved to be fantastically challenging events, but I came away with podium finishes against fields of amateur and elite Italian racers.

On the road, my events of the year were RideLondon100, and the Rapha West Country Prestige.

My final major challenge for 2016 came in September, with my long distance 'Coasts and Cols' tour: a 1,900 kilometre bikepacking expedition through France and…

Photo Blog - The Festive 500 CX

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The greatest adventure is what lies ahead. Today and tomorrow are yet to be said. The chances, the changes are all yours to make. The mould of your life is in your hands to break.
(J.R.R. Tolkien)

The Festive 500 starts again. They say that life begins at the end of your comfort zone; that seems apt with this yearly challenge in mind.

This year, I'm attempting to complete just the 500 kilometres (rather than 500 miles that I undertook last year). However, my target is to do it all on a cyclocross bike, with as much off-road riding as possible. This is the #Festive500CX.


Festive 500 CX Ride 7 - Short but sweet, end of year finale 65 kilometres. 1,069 metres elevation. 2 hours 40 minutes.




Festive 500 CX Ride 6 - Festive commutes 78 kilometres. 683 metres elevation. 3 hours 10 minutes.


Festive 500 CX Ride 5 - The 9 Roads to Nowhere 181 kilometres. 3,014 metres elevation. 7 hours 54 minutes.

An epic ride to the lighthouses, coastguard cottages and radar stations of the Isle of Wight.

Review - Vaude Primapro Winter Cycling Jacket

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A few weeks ago I reviewed the Vaude Alphapro Winter Jacket, and then the Vaude Termatic RC II MTB boots; both products were great performers, and also some of the most interesting pieces of winter kit that I've tested to date. The Vaude Primapro Jacket follows a similar design theme to the Alphapro jacket, but in a slightly lighter, less feature-rich (and slightly cheaper as a result) package.

The jacket uses PrimaLoft Silver Insulation - a synthetic, but eco-friendly insulating material. With 60 grams of padding in total, it is a lightweight and highly breathable jacket; yet it delivers significant winter warmth. The outer of the jacket is a lightweight nylon, with stretch inserts for added movement and comfort on the sleeves, shoulders, and on the drop-tail rear hem. Because the jacket doesn't have softshell panelling like the Alphapro jacket, it has a slightly lighter weight and has greater packability.

Pocketing on the Primapro comes in the form of one large rear zippere…

Review - Vaude Termatic RC II Winter Mountain Bike Boots

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Why bother investing in a pair of winter cycling boots? Couldn't you just pull a pair of overshoes over your summer cycling shoes, and probably be equally as warm and comfortable?

If you're a road cyclist, then yes you probably could; especially if you choose a high-quality set of overshoes, like those from GripGrab. However, for mountain bikers and commuters, where walking off the bike is a more frequent affair; then, overshoes fall down.

Walking around in overshoes is a bit like going for a hike in a fleecy pair of slippers. It's not comfortable, it's rather slippery, and both your feet and your footwear are not going to stay looking or feeling top-notch. While I always ride on the road in proper SPD SL road shoes, I've commuted in mountain bike shoes for as long as I can remember; they provide better grip off the bike, more protection on the bike, and have greater longevity. When the winter approaches though, you end up needing to try and keep the mud, wind, a…