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100 Climbs Yorkshire

A review of Simon Warren’s Cycling Climbs of Yorkshire. The book features 75 climbs from all corners of Yorkshire from the East Riding to the Yorkshire Dales and south Yorkshire climbs.

hills-yorkshireI was brought up in Yorkshire, learning to cycle amidst the dales and hills. Climbs like Park Rash and Fleet Moss were enough to create a little fear and trepidation in the average club cyclist. It was only on rare summer days, we would go ‘over the top’ to Hawes and leave the comfort of the lower Wharfedale slopes.

These days I’m fortunate to often go back to Yorkshire and I often end up searching some new hill climb challenge. There is a great variety in Yorkshire, from the big hills of the Yorkshire Dales, to the ridiculously steep 30% gradients of the North York Moors and also the short cobbled climbs of Halifax and Calderdale. It was only in recent years, I started to learn the joy of climbs around West and south Yorkshire – built up areas, but still some great hills and good for cycling.

 

fleet-moss-may-2016

Fleet Moss

The 75 climbs offer a broad overview of the Yorkshire climbs. Of course, you could easily find another 25 or 50 climbs to add to this selection, but it is still a lot to be getting on with. Continue Reading →

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DeFeet e-touch dura gloves review

I have owned several pairs of DeFeet gloves in the past years, and like to race with them on. A new version has been brought out – DeFeet e-touch dura gloves – so have bought two pairs.

de-feet-e-touch

de-feet-e-touch dura gloves. An old one underneath. White isn’t best for dealing with dirty wheels.

Advantages of the DeFeet e-touch gloves

  • Grip is very good. A big benefit of these gloves is the rubber type grip on the inside of the gloves. This is particularly useful for riding with my Trek Speed Concept bars (without any bar tape). Other wooly gloves can be really quite slippy on these carbon bars, so it is a useful addition.
  • Warmth. I get cold hands so am quite sensitive to warmth of gloves. These are quite warm without the bulk of a big ski glove. I can wear them down to 5 or 6 degrees for racing. The temp guide by manufacturer is 6-16 degrees.
  • Long cuffs. In theory, the gloves go down to the end of your wrist helping to cover up that gap between the end of gloves and the start of arm warmers. Keeping your wrists warm definitely helps keep your hands warm too.
  • Breathable. They are quite breathable and I can wear into early summer, even in double digits temperatures (10 degrees plus) without getting too hot.
  • E-touch. I do sometimes use iPhone whilst riding, the e-tap at the end of thumb and forefingers means you can leave your gloves on to swipe away. This is a useful addition to the old version.
  • Aerodynamics. Most cyclists won’t worry too much about aerodynamics of gloves, but it is an issue for me. Better than bigger stockier gloves, but it is no aero glove. Yesterday, when racing I put a pair of large aerogloves over the top of these.

Continue Reading →

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Fizik WP Winter Overshoe review

I was sent this Fizik overshoe in November, and have been using it almost every ride over winter.

It’s been quite a wet winter, with roads covered in surface water so it has had a lot of testing.fi-zik-overshoes

It is designed to be waterproof and windproof, and compared to other overshoes, it has performed very well in terms of keeping feet dry. When the roads are constantly wet – even on long rides, it keeps feet dry.

It is thinner than many of the other overshoes that I have, so a little less heat insulation. However, for me that is not a problem because I put hotpads down my socks anyway! Also, the thinner overshoe is beneficial because on my time trial bike, I have speedplay X1 which is quite a short spindle it means your foot is very close to the crank and other overshoes get stuck between pedal and crank. Continue Reading →

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DHB Flashlight Thermal Gilet

Review by Garga Chamberlain

DHB’s flashlight series is all about high-visibility in darkness and low-light conditions, so it’s aimed more at commuters and those training solo rather than the bunch-rider.

flashlight-gilletThere are lots of high-viz gilets around so why would you choose the flashlight? Well number one reason would be that it’s very weatherproof. The windslam membrane does what it says on the tin – no icy blast is going to penetrate this fabric, so the core of your body will always be warm when you’ve got this gilet on and zipped up. As with most windproof membranes, it also keeps a fair amount of rain off. Not 100% waterproof on a long ride in the rain but certainly adequate protection on a rainy commute of up to an hour in my experience. A brushed micro-fleece inner fabric adds insulation so it’s ideal for midwinter riding.

The high visibility comes from the majority of the garment being a vivid fluoro yellow, but there are generous areas of reflective scotchlight taping as well, which will shine out when hit by car headlights. These care on the rear of the gilet and around the front/neck and shoulders too.

Comfort-wise, the fit is surprisingly sleek for a bit of commuter kit, but with lots of stretch in the fabric you shouldn’t have trouble getting into it if you’re blessed with a fuller figure. There are nice details too, like a gripper around the hem to stop it riding up and a “zip garage” at the neck to stop the zipper from chafing.

In all my rides in the Flashlight Gilet so far, I’ve been warm enough in all weathers and confident that I’m totally visible (through a commute that varies from unlit cycle paths to a busy city centre). The construction seems good with robust zips and stitching so I expect to be riding to work in this for a good few years.

Buy

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DHB Aeron Roubaix Long Sleeve Jersey – Review

Review by Garga Chamberlain
With this jersey priced at £60 I was expecting something functional but basic – in fact it’s a really versatile and well-designed piece of kit that I am already wearing day in and day out.

dhb-aeron-roubaix

The thermal, moisture-wicking fabric is tightly woven with a brushed texture on the inside for warmth on the front, sides and front-of-sleeves but the underarm panels and middle of the back are a lighter and more porous mesh that lets your body breathe without allowing the chill to penetrate where it shouldn’t. I’ve found this top just right in cool to cold conditions, but the stretchy fit allows you to slip a thermal or windproof baselayer underneath for days when the temperature is right down around freezing point.
The stretchy fabric and sleek cut are what makes this jersey so comfortable to ride in – close fitting and flexible with long sleeves that leave no chance of a gap between cuff and glove, the Aeron also has an excellent gripper around the tail of the jersey to prevent it riding up when you lean down on to your drop bars or tri bars – it’s equally good whether you’re in that aero position or sitting up to recover after a
hard effort.

Continue Reading →

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Warmest socks – heat holders

Cycling at this time of the year is dominated by how to keep warm, especially fingers and toes. The warmest socks I’ve found are these heat holders – a thick pair of tubular type socks.

  • They have a thick layer of fibres to keep wthe armth in.
  • The length of sock means heat rises up the foot and ankle, keeping whole foot area warm.
  • There is no elastic to constrict the blood supply.

They are pretty chunky and in terms of aerodynamics, pretty useless, but for keeping feet warm, they are as good as they get.
heat-holders

Left sock (outside of sock) Right sock (inside turned inside out)

Overall Review of Heat Holders

They are the warmest sock I’ve found.

Don’t worry about sizing they are very elastic.

If you wear them around the house, they don’t last forever, and bits of fibre do start to come off. I have worn holes in the heels of some socks I’ve had for two years. But, I bought a new pair recently because they are still excellent value. If you want to keep feet warm, these are very good. As the weather warms up, they can become too hot, but they don’t get too sweaty, there is room to breath too.

As mentioned in recent post on  hotpads, I get very cold feet, so I use an inner pair of socks, a pair of hotpads and then these heatholders on top. Cold feet will never be an excuse to stop cycling.

Cycling in the 2 degrees

Yesterday, the mercury was edging just above freezing. It was just about tolerable to cycle for a couple of hours. I had several thermal layers, 3 pairs of gloves and the hot pad / heat holder combination on the feet. The feet were amongst the warmest part of the body. Continue Reading →

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Assos LS. Skinfoil baselayer review

The Assos LS Skinfoil longsleeve base layer is a top of the range base layer, designed to offer comfort and temperature control. In summary – expensive, but very good.

assos-climar-ange-2

My other career modelling for skinny cycling clothes

I bought the Climarange 4/7 Fall version, as that seemed to offer the biggest range of temperatures for the base layer to be useful. I have used it over the winter (mostly wet and mild). But, also used it this weekend, cycling in pretty chilly temperatures of 2 degrees.

Fit

I took size L, (waist 30-32) which was a good fit, allowing for my lanky body shape. I would have liked arms to be a little longer, but it felt close to the skin without being tight in any particular parts. Assos say that it is manufactured like a tubular design (rather than flat bed). This seems to mean it has better contours to the shape of the body.

They say it is important to get the right fit because if it doesn’t fit close to skin it doesn’t work as it should. Continue Reading →

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Scicon Aerocomfort bike bag review

The Scicon Aerocomfort bike bag is a soft case bag for transporting a bike. It is unusually wide at one end to minimise the amount of bike dismantling required. Although it is a soft case, it is reasonably well padded.

I spent a long time trying work out the best bag to buy. In the end I went for this. I recently used on a trip to Sicily.

See also: Taking your bike on a plane

.scicon-bag-2The bag – a little unusual shape, but not much bigger than other bike bags. It doesn’t particularly look like a bike bag.

Features

  • Separate compartments for wheels. This was a big improvement on my last bike bag because there the wheels were loose in the bag. The wheel sections are quite well padded.
  • No need to dismantle handlebars – One end is wide enough to take.
  • Weight: 8.9kg
  • External Dimensions: L 118cm x D 25cm x H 90cmFolded Dimensions: L 106cm x D29cm x H 24cm
  • Additional padding for top tube and handlebars
  • Swivel bike pump
  • 1 antishock bike frame

Continue Reading →

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DHB Aeron Roubaix Softshell Gilet

 Review by Garga Chamberlain
I’ve always used lightweight jackets and gilets before – the type that fold up to the size of a satsuma at most and give reasonable wind protection but not a lot of warmth. This softshell gilet is very different – it has a windproof / water-repellent outer fabric and a warm microfleece lining, so even when packed flat it’s about the size of a couple of thick-cut sandwiches. On the plus side, it’s been perfect for such a wide range of conditions this winter that I’ve not had to take it off and find room in a pocket for it.
dhb softshell
The softshell gilet is part of DHB’s performance range, so it’s aimed at the serious cyclist wanting good value training kit rather than the commuter or occasional rider. Having worn it for a few weeks of winter weather though, I’d say just about anyone who rides in all weathers will love this piece of kit.
Genuinely warm and windproof, this gilet has kept my torso dry in some sharp showers and sustained drizzle too. The cut is definitely sleek, with a lot of stretch and an effective gripper around the base, so when I drop down into an aero position it doesn’t sag around my middle like some jackets do. It’s great in windy conditions, with no flapping of fabric and zero rustling. The zip is robust and backed by a storm
flap which protects from wind penetration and also prevents any rubbing at the neck.
My favourite feature is the storage – 2 very large, stretchy pockets give me space to carry all the gear I need on a long ride (bananas, bars, lightweight waterproof etc.) or my winter commute (small lock, bunch of keys, wallet, etc.). Honestly you can cram a lot of gear in there and the flaps at the top of the pockets make sure it stays put while still allowing easy, fumble-free access when you’re riding.
There’s good reflective trim at the back, a reflective logo on the front and if you opt for the navy/fluoro colourway as I did you’ll be seen from miles away. If you are more worried about how you look than how well you get seen in the dark, there’s a cool-looking black version available too.
gilet-side
Verdict – warm, windproof and showerproof with a sleek, body-hugging fit and generous storage.
Related product

Buy

  • DHB Soft Shell at Wiggle
      £65   (currently on sale for under £40 – a bargain)
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Knog blinder R70 – Review

The Knog Blinder R70 is a rear LED light unit with integrated USB recharge, peak lumens of 70 and only weighing 50 grams. It is easy to attach and comes with three different length straps for the ability to fit to seat posts of different sizes.

This summer I spent a lot of time trying to get a satisfactory light for my time trial bike, which has a large circumference aero seat post. (I felt the choice was pretty limited. See: rear light for aero seat post) Many people advise a light which can be put under the saddle – but there I often have a water bottle or saddle bag. What I really wanted was an clip on rear light which would go around the seat post. But, because it is so large (34cm circumference) many lights didn’t fit.

When I say the new Knog light had an adaptation for aero seat post I asked a copy for review. Knog sent me a copy and I was happy to test.

r70-blinder-tt-bike-on

Review

Firstly, it is quite similar to many other Knog lights that I have used in the past few years. I have both a Knog front light USB and a Knog 4V rear light. I have used them for other two years, and have had good experiences.

Previous model Knog blinder 4v

Previous model Knog blinder 4v

The only problem is that I broke the strap of the Knog 4V rear light trying to stretch it around an aero seat post.

Continue Reading →

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