Martyn Ashton Road Bike Party 2

We knew when Martyn Ashton released his big hit Road Bike Party video there would be another to come.

I’m sure you will all agree though we weren’t expecting this.

May I also wish Martyn a speedy recovery. We can’t wait for another one.

Enjoy

Danny MacAskill – Imaginates

It’s been two years in the making but Danny’s childhood dreams have finally come to life. Above is the trailer and below the much anticipated finished article, you won’t be disappointed!

Martyn Ashton’s – Road Bike Party

I had the pleasure of meeting Martyn Ashton at the Revolution 37 (report online shortly) in Manchester where he made a special guest appearance and I realised I hadn’t shared his brilliant film with you.

In the style of the much followed Danny MacKaskill productions, but Martyn adds a twist; he takes the £10k carbon road bike used by Team Sky‘s Bradley Wiggins & Mark Cavendish for a ride with a difference. With a plan to push the limits of road biking as far as his lycra legs would dare, Martyn looked to get his ultimate ride out of the awesome Pinarello Dogma 2. This bike won the 2012 Tour de France – surely it deserves a Road Bike Party!

Shot in various locations around the UK and featuring music from ‘Sound of Guns‘. Road Bike Party captures some of the toughest stunts ever pulled on a carbon road bike.

A Film by Robin Kitchin
Produced by Ashton Bikes
Music: Sound of Guns ‘Sometimes’

Out takes video

Review – howies Brenin Windstopper Jacket

Some of the Cycling Shorts. boys and girls have got their hands on the pre release howies Men’s Brenin Cycling Jacket to put it through it’s paces.
If you’re not familiar with howies they’re an independent active clothing company based in the beautiful Cardigan Bay in Wales, UK. The company has a passion for cycling and the outdoors. They produce high quality and environmentally friendly thoughtfully designed products. howies have recently taken to sponsoring track cycling, now they are turning their attention to the road. This is the first time howies have ventured into road cycling specific clothing. Having such a good reputation we would be expecting nothing less than great… is it a tall order?!

Brenin Windstopper Jacket

The lightweight shell pack-away jacket is made from 100 percent recycled polyester. It features stretch and wicking fabric in the arms and side panels for unrestricted movement when cycling. It is being sold predominantly as a Men’s jacket but we’ve found it really works for the girls too with it’s stretch fit.

Design details include a zipped chest pocket with earphone cable slot on the inside and an internal clip to attach your keys. Reflective bars on the cuffs and hips, a reflective logo on the chest pocket, adjustable hem and soft fleece lined collar. The jacket rolls up and zips into it’s chest pocket for storage with the key clip becoming a clip to secure the jacket pouch to you while riding.

The windstopper qualities of this jacket are excellent and we love the breathable panels on the arms they allow you to stay warm without overheating. The wicking properties of the fabrics are very good. It doesn’t feel like a crisp packet as these jackets often can, the fabric actually feels very soft. Although the jacket isn’t described as being water or showerproof we were pleasantly surprised that when we got caught out in the rain the core of our bodies were totally dry and the only damp areas where our outer arms but they dried out quickly while cycling. The jacket is very easy to care for and well constructed. You can just leave mud to dry on and let it crumble off, rinse it under the tap or just pop it in the washing machine at 30 degrees. It can’t be tumble dried but it dries very quickly on it’s own and if required you can give it a warm iron….

[flagallery gid=14 name=Brenin Jacket]

Click SL (slideshow) or FS (fullscreen)

What the boys say…

Good length at the back to cover your rear and protect it from mud when on the bike. It looks good off the bike too, it’s not too obvious that you’re wearing a road cycling jacket. We love the chest pocket for you phone, MP3 or other device it has a slot on the inside to feed your headphones through from the pocket up to your ears, protecting the cable as much as possible from the elements. You can also clip your keys into the pocket. Initially we had mixed feelings on only having one pocket but the general consensus was one was fine; you have other layers that contain more than enough packets and the position of the zipped pocket is perfect. The soft fleece lining on the collar is welcome on a cold damp day and it isn’t the sort of fleece that will stick to your stubble and make you look like you’ve been intimate with a wookie. The soft shell construction means it’s ideal for days when you don’t want to carry other bulkier layers around with you. It fits neatly into your jersey back pocket like a cycling cape or gilet would.

What the girls say…

Us girls don’t get very excited when presented by men’s/unisex clothing… we have visions of looking like we’re wearing our dad’s cast offs but we were more than happy when the Brenin Jacket landed on the doorstep. We all have our own styles and we come in assorted shapes and sizes so it was going to be a challenge for the Brenin to please everyone. The biggest test was going to be the fit. First impressions out of the bag were good. Well made and nice design touches.
Sizing… well obviously the sizing is in howies men’s S,M,L and XL, this seems to translate as small being a women’s generous 10-12 and medium a 14-16 (and so on). The sizing is flexible thanks to the stretch fabric panels and it will of course depend on how many layers you intend to wear under the jacket as to which size you require.

It fits your curves thanks to it’s uniques side stretch panels that hug your body. If you’re short in the body most female (never mind unisex or mens) shell jackets are a problem as the waist often sits on your hips which means it’s too narrow to zip up comfortably and the hip part of the jacket is somewhere further down and in Anna’s case generally somewhere near her knees. With the Brenin the extra stretch accommodates curves so you don’t end up looking like you’re sporting a high tech bin liner. If the Brenin is too long you can use the adjustable hem to lift it up. Sleeve length is obviously a problem for shorter ladies on unisex clothing as they can be hanging off the ends of your hands but the elasticated cuffs and slim cut sleeve of the Brenin mean you don’t have a balloon of fabric on each arm. The cut really is great for most heights and shapes. We would like to see an XS in the range at some point… Oh and can we have more colours please?!

To sum up… In the very apt words of that influential cyclist Shakira (well I’m sure she must at least own a bike), if your breasts are “small and humble” or even like some (I’m paraphrasing here) “mountainous region” this jacket will work for you… and dare I push it too far… I feel I can’t help myself… our “hips don’t lie”… ok that was too much…. but I know you were all thinking it! Thankfully that has drained my vast knowledge of Columbian songstresses lyrics… The Brenin gets top marks from the girls!… Buy one for the other half, I’m sure he won’t notice if you borrow it!

It’s the first time we can really say… one style fits all!

Jacket weight: 200g
Size when packed away: 14x12x7cms
Available in UK Men’s Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Price: £100
Available from: howies stores and howies online now!

Pros:

excellent adaptable fit for both men and women
Packs away neatly inside it’s own zipped pocket
reflective hi-vis areas
breathable
stretch panels
easy grip zip pull
excellent windstopper
lightweight
unrestricted movement
zipped pocket
internal earphone cable slot
flattering shape
adjustable hem
environmentally friendly (made from recycled materials)
extremely well constructed
responsibly manufactured

Cons:

No colour options (yet)
Doesn’t come in female specific sizes (a problem for ladies under a UK size 10).
Same problem at the other end of the scale for the more substantial gentleman.
Pricer than some other brands but you have to take into account the eco, ethical and quality standards for the product that other brands don’t necessarily meet.

The Brenin is a favourite of ours it’s earned itself one of our “Star Buy” ratings!

Review – Visibly Better – Two Zero TZ-3 Super Bright Flexible LED Light

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TZ-3 Super Bright Flexible LED
I’ve opted for the Red rear LED Light. The LED light is a great addition to your high-vis set up. This little light has a recessed button so you can’t accidentally switch it on by dropping it or resting something on it, it has a large button that is easy to use with gloved or cold fingers. It comes housed in a solid body with a stretchy flexible silicone mount loop. Press the on off button once and you get a solid light, press it again and it will flash intermittently (don’t use in flashing mode if on a bicycle or motorbike), press once again and it switches off… simple. There are two small recessed screws on the underside of the body to allow you to replace the battery (CR2025) which the manufacturer says should last you 100 hours.
I’ve tried the light on my bike frame and handlebars and because the light has a shaped underbelly it sits comfortably on flat or curved surfaces and with the silicone stretch loop it won’t slip or move against metal, handlebar tape, carbon fibre or painted surfaces and fabric. The loop can be pulled up and fully over itself depending on the diameter of the item you’re wrapping it around, you can put the strap over the front of the light body or further back over the casing and it doesn’t press or restrict access to the button. It’s coped fine with the scrapes and drops it’s had so far. It really is ideal to attach to your helmet, it neatly slots through the helmet vents and is a real upgrade to just using a reflector, because it’s so lightweight you don’t notice it’s there. I’ve also attached it to bags and backpacks and it works a treat. When you pair it with the Verso High-Vis Gilet by TwoZero (read our review here) it sits neatly on your back just above your shoulder blades and when you have a backpack under your gilet it sits up and faces behind you without being obscured by your backpack, it takes over from your helmet reflectors if they become hidden behind the bulk of your bag. It comes in a choice of white or red LED light and both provide a strong bright light. A great addition to you cycling safety gear, it’s small, lightweight, flexible and it fits neatly into a pocket when it’s not in use.

Colour: Red LED or White LED
RRP £9.99 with free UK delivery
Available from: www.two-zero.co.uk for delivery worldwide
also available from other online and high street retailers

What TwoZero say about their product:
Easy fit silicone loop LED
Flashing or Solid State
Long Battery Life 100hrs (replaceable)
red and white LED version
easy to attach to TZ bags, Verso Gilet and rucksacks

 

The Car-Less and Car-Light Lifestyle

I love all things about cycling, but one of the things I love to hear about is when people tell me about their Car-Less lifestyle. I’m totally amazed by what these people are doing and have the utmost respect for anyone who has chosen to take this route in life.

There is also the term “Car-Light” which, as the name implies, is a step down from living a full out Car-Less life and only occasionally taking out the car. Living extremely Car-Light has been on our goal sheet for the past six months now, and my wife and I are doing what we can to move ourselves into that reality. I hadn’t really considered it before, but it  mentioned that in today’s society, families who get by on only one car could pretty much be considered “Car-Light”….I realised that I’m closer than I thought. We’ve been a one car family for 7 of the past 9 years, and I love it.

So what’s it like living Car-Less?

I really wanted to know more about this lifestyle, so I reached out to some people in the cycling community to find out. To me, the king of living Car-Less has got to be Ryan Van Duzer. Not only has he been living his life without a car, he doesn’t even have a driver’s license.

I’ve never had a license!!! When I turned 16 I kept on riding my bike, while all my friends got cars and forgot about their bicycles.

-Ryan Van Duzer

And what a life he’s been living. Keep your eyes on this dude because he is totally going places. Fresh off being the star of “Out of the Wild“, he was awarded the gig of being host of the show “

Ryan’s adventurous Car-Less life didn’t just happen, he made it happen:

People always ask how I live without a car…truth is, I created a life that doesn’t require a car…When I travel, I look up bike stores to rent a bike, not Avis.

Amsterdam and Copenhagen seem like places where everyone lives the Car-Free lifestyle…what about the European country of Sweden? I asked Marcus Ljungqvist (not to be mistaken with the Pro Cyclist, Marcus Ljungqvist from Sweden) what the cycling situation is like in Sweden:

“Malmö is the best bike-city in Sweden and probably pretty good in an international standard too. It is light years behind cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, but is working hard to close the gap.”

-Marcus Ljungqvist

Marcus began commuting to work about 2.5 years ago and soon realised that the 50km round trip didn’t really take much longer than his car or the bus.  He says that taking his bike is a fourfold win. The four factors that he builds his argument against when promoting the bike as the Ultimate Transport are: “time, economy, environment and exercise.”

Now that he’s living the Car-Free life, Marcus says it feels really strange to not take a bike somewhere.  ”The very rare occasions when I use the car within the city, I always hate it; congestion, parking and the cost of gas.”

Andrew Wright’s Car-Less journey began when his vehicle was taken off the road due to a “roadworthiness” issue. He and is wife live in Australia and decided to give it a go by riding busses and trains as their means of transportation. Before too long, Andrew realised that co-ordinating the schedules between these two sources really “sucked” and he looked to the bike to save him.  As a guy who used to say, “If it has no motor between the wheels then I’m not interested”, this was a major shift in lifestyle. He bought himself a $20 garage sale bike and hit the road. Within 3 months Andrew had lost over 40 pounds and was hooked on the Car-Free life. His love of cycling has now filtered down to his three daughters and he rides them to school almost every day…even in the winter.

“So there is my story. We cycle. We catch the bus. We catch the train. We borrow a car when necessary.”

-Andrew Wright

If you’re not able to live the full out Car-Free life, becoming Car-Light is a great option….especially when you have a family. Rob Perks of oceanaircycles.com started living Car-Light four years ago so that he could combine outdoor exercise with his commute to work.

With a young family, you’d think it might be a little challenging, but what does Rob say about living car-light?

“It’s not too hard. Our daughter is almost big enough to ride in a kid seat and then we will be able to ride again as a family. For now my wife and I mostly ride in shifts. I run many of our errands by bike. When we do fire up the car we combine as much stuff into one loop around town as we can.”

-Rob Perks

Cyclelicous‘ Richard Masoner has been living the car-light lifestyle since he was in college…..and continues this way now that he’s married and has a family. He doesn’t really consider his family to be “car-light” because they do own and drive a car for certain things….but in my opinion, he’s definitely living it and doing a great job of promoting this lifestyle along the way. Richard says all the “schlepping” to and from events can be challenging, but “cycling is it’s own reward” and makes it all so worth it.

The list of people living Car-Less and Light goes on and on…here are few tweets from Twitter friends living the lifestyle:

Advice from the Car-less/light Experts:

So what do you think? If you’ve been thinking about making the switch to a car-less or car-light lifestyle, here are come comments and advice to those already doing it:

Marcus Ljungqvist: “Just do it. A lot of people see it as a huge challenge, but it is a lot easier than one could imagine. For sure, some things might get a bit more complicated, like buying new furniture, but you may still have your car, a friend with a car, car-rental and so on. Some stuff are actually easier, like dropping the kids off in the morning and grocery-shopping (using a bike-carrier or cargo-bike).”

Ryan Van Duzer: Don’t be scared of leaving the car behind, the bicycle will bring so much joy to your life that you’ll forget all about that heavy box on wheels!

Richard Masoner: LIVE CLOSE TO WORK, SCHOOL, SHOPPING!

Rob Perks: Start with whatever bike you have, even a rusty beach cruiser with a flashlight taped to the bars will work. Do not obsess over “needing” the right bike to get going. Start with easy stuff like going to dinner where there is less time constraint. Move more and more of your car time to bike time as it comfortably works for your situation. As you ride more and gain experience you can tailor you bike(s) to better suit your needs. Once you start to cut the car dependence you will wonder why it took you so long to get started.

Your Comments:

Are you living car-less or light? What advice do you have for others thinking of making the switch? If you’ve been thinking about moving to this lifestyle, what barriers are preventing you from doing it?

Photos c/o Michael Graham Richard, Ryan Van Duzer, and Marcus Ljungqvist

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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