Kreis is a relatively new brand to the UK market and comes at it with the angle of offering limited run Club orders. Their designs are very modern and striking and give an opportunity to have a coordinated wardrobe for not too much money. The clothing is made for them by Kalas, a Czech company that have enabled Kreis to bring their designs to the public.
The overall emphasis from Kreis is on creating your own statement and having them help you realise it. Most of the designs are size customisable too, offering a great deal of flexibility for every shape and size of cyclist. Emphasis is placed on the ‘pre-order’ stage of purchase where the details of what you need can be tailored to you.
Kreis Echelon-Gipfel Renntrikot Jersey
The design of this jersey and indeed all the kit we had for review certainly turned heads. This jersey was of simple construction with a lycra front and sleeves, and mesh panel rear. This gave a great amount of breathability from the rear portion and the modern aero design most riders now seek. It fitted very snuggly and was comfortable in the classic cyclist tuck, without any flapping. Importantly the three rear pockets were accessible and deep enough to carry usual cyclist needs. Renntrikot has a full length zip which worked easily and gave flexibility when venting is required in warmer temperatures. In long term testing it washed well, it’s light colours remaining clean.
Our Test model was sized ‘4’. This was in modern terms a ‘race fit’ i.e. tight and was in the realm of a small/medium. As with all brands your own size and fit differ from other manufactures sizes.
The Jersey is listed at £85
Kreis Echelon-Gipfel Tragerhose Shorts
Shorts are in modern terms one of the biggest areas of discussion amongst Cyclists of all persuasions. Each contact point with the bicycle has to be perfect or your ride is going to be very short indeed. Kreis offer gender specific inserts to provide the comfort and they actually are pretty comfy. Quite a few rides gave plenty of confidence in the chamois. Fit is the secondary area of comfort for shorts, any ruffles or bagginess will soon become a problem but the Tragerhose are made of a nice weight of lycra that is soft and solid enough to help their panelled structure to fit well. The only negative for us was that the leg ‘gripper’ arrangements were baggy on our test item. This is probably down to the simple fact that the test shorts were size 5, which equates to an XL on the Kreis sizing chart. The grippers have their silicon band cleverly embedded in the fabric itself, meaning that the old fashioned ‘just above knee elastic line’ is totally eradicated. A smaller size would have given a better fit here.
The shorts are listed also at £85
Kreis Echelon Accessories
We also tested the Echelon Armwarmers which are made of a ‘roubaix’ (brushed lycra on reverse). These proved to be lovely and snug in cooler conditions. They have a silicon top gripper to keep them in place and were longer than most modern styles giving less chance of a chilly gap at the top. At £20 these compliment the rest of the Echelon range nicely without breaking the bank and could be worn with other clothes as they are mostly black with just a few details.
A Radlerkappe was also sent for our enjoyment, that’s a cap to you and I, and although with helmets being solely the order of the day the cap was called into service on a couple of low sun evenings to prevent dappling light affecting the eyes. There is a functional mesh panel within its structure that prevents any overheating allowing a good point of ventilation.
The hat comes in three sizes and we tried the Medium which was perfect for a ‘normal’ head. £15 buys you the perfect piece to finish your pro-rider designer look.
The Armwarmers are listed at £20 and Cap at £15
For someone on a modest budget this range could be ideal and with a bit of input even unique to you. A lot of modern riders wish to have their own identity in a crowd and this could help them get there.
CyclingShorts.cc gives the Kreis Range 93% and a star buy rating.
Range available from:
Bioracer Pixel Jacket
This years show runs from 26th – 28th September 2014 and has exhibits from just about every brand you have heard of in the Cycling World and then some.
There are many highlights and there has been a push this year to get some of the fresh new equipment on show for the punters to drool over.
Kim Madsen presents New XTR Di2 Gruppo
Top of this list was the Shimano stand where Kim Madsen and his team have unveiled the new XTR Di2 Groupset and have set it up on a working bike along with a 3D interactive Trainer that when wearing the magic 3D goggles allows you to actually ride in the mountains!! There will be big queues to play with this so get there early!! Kim and his team are part of Shimano’s drive to keep the fun and excitement in cycling and when you see the faces on the grown-ups testing the new kit you will see this plan’s working!!
For Weight Watchers the big draw will be Treks stand featuring the new super light Emonda range which features there lightest ever production model. The excuse that they haven’t got one in the colour you want is out the window as they have a vast range of custom options to match your team or club kit, seeing is believing but this bike is measured on how fast your jaw drops when you lift it and say ‘Wow’!!
Bioracer have a fantastic simple stand which shows their new super safe Pixel range which reflects light the give riders visibility in poor light, ideal for winter and at the other end of the scale their much talked about Speedsuit time trial wear actually had people queuing to see what Martin and all the top testers have been using to help cheat the wind.
The exhibition is vast so take sensible shoes and enjoy the entertainment such as at 14.15 pm everyday Jules Thraser from ATG training giving a demo on how to program Shimano Di2 components, easy when you are shown well!!
For anybody who is coming to the end of their racing season, one of the things you will no doubt be thinking about is who you are going to be riding for next season. Given the costs of racing nowadays, it often seems to be a good idea to ride for a team. This can be a minefield, so we’ve enlisted a new writer – Starley Primal’s Tanya Griffiths (who won the elite women’s Tickhill GP this year) she’s here to give you some valuable tips:
Starting the Process
So, how do you get on a team? There are two ways; either you will be approached by a team manager or director sportif (generally riders who have had many notable results and are highly sought-after), or you apply to a team. Probably 90% of team riders are there through application rather than head-hunting, so if you haven’t been approached by a team, that is no reflection on whether or not a team would want you to ride for them.
Make sure you know why you are applying
When selecting the teams you want to go for, you need to decide why you want to join a team, because every team is different. Maybe you want a group of riders to get together with so that you are not so alone when you go to races? Or are you attracted to the professionalism of a team, where you get the support of mechanics and soigneurs and get the fancy kit and the bikes and make a real show in front of the crowds? Or are you after results, do you want to be a part of a team that gets good results and always has their riders at the front of the peloton? Do you want to be amongst riders that you can learn from – where you are the support rider for the team, or one that you can lead, where you will be the supported rider? Is a team that rides with tactics and a clear game-plan important to you? If you’ve paid enough attention at races, you should be able to pick out the teams that are geared towards your goal. But be realistic. Don’t waste your time on a team that you are not suited to. One year’s racing isn’t enough to apply to a UCI team. That being said, there is nothing wrong with being ambitious.
Do your homework
Firstly, make a note of all of the teams that you have seen out on the circuit this year. If you are not sure, take a look at race results. The British Cycling website has a team rankings list, which is useful for this sort of thing (although you will have to click on each team to see if they are a women’s team or not). Follow teams on Twitter and Facebook and check their website if they have one. These places are where they are likely to advertise for riders and should provide contact details (usually an e-mail address).
Facebook groups are also a good way of finding out about new teams that might be starting up. If there is a local cycle racing group page, make sure that you are a member. The London Women’s Cycle Racing group is also a good one to be a member of, even if you are not based in London, because they have a large following and it is therefore a good place for new teams to advertise.
How do you apply?
So you’ve got your potential target teams, then what? Sending an e-mail to a team manager saying that you want to ride for them is not likely to get you anywhere. If you do get a response, it’s likely to be a polite request for your CV. You must look at it in the same way you do when applying for a job, which in some ways you are, although it’s more than likely not a paid position.
A team manager will want to know how you will fit in the team. Whether that’s the level of rider you are, the type of rider you are, or your character. They will also want to know what you can add to the team.
Preparing your Palmares
Your palmares (a list of your achievements) will play an important part in your CV, although maybe not as much as
you might think. Put together a list of your achievements this year and anything of note in previous years. They will be looking for something meaningful, so a mid-week win in a race with 3 riders will not say as much about a rider as a 25th place in a national series race, so make sure you think that way about what results you include. You want them to
Tickhill GP 2014 Harry Tanfield & Tanya Griffiths
sum up your level as a rider, so if you have taken part in a stage race, include this result even if it is not as good as you would have liked, that you have experienced a stage race is of benefit to the team. Also, if you came 2nd or 3rd in a race behind a notable rider, include who the winner was. This helps the team manager understand the level of competition that you had in that race.
When selecting which results to include, also think about what sort of races the team is likely to be doing and the type of races you would want to do. You may have decided that you are better at stage races, or longer distance road races, so balance your results to show these types of races. Alternatively, you might want to focus on criterieum races or racing on the track, so show these. Most teams will want versatile riders, as they are not able to support enough riders to have those that specialise, for example, in crits and those that specialise in road races, so ensure that you do show results from your less favoured disciplines too.
You’ve got your palmares sorted, now what? This is your chance to talk a bit about the side of you that your results don’t convey. Very few riders believe that their results show their strengths as a rider, so this is your chance.
You need to think about why you want to join that particular team. Make sure that you tailor what you write to suit that particular team, as you would with a job. Don’t write one generic CV and blast it off to any and every team that you can get contact details for.
Why are you applying to that team specifically?
They will want to know why you want to ride for that team. “I just want to ride for a team” is unlikely to get you anywhere. They also want to know what you will bring to the team. You will need to tell them about your strengths, what type of rider are you? Are you a strong climber, sprinter, support rider, good all-rounder? You may not yet know. You also need to be honest and tell them what your weaknesses are. If you climb like a sack of potatoes, tell them. You won’t feel comfortable turning up at your first race for the team on a course that doesn’t suit you because you twisted the truth a little bit on your CV. The team may ask you to still ride races that don’t suit you, but it will feel much better if you’ve told them. You might also include areas that you are currently struggling with, for example, technical cornering, but also include how you are addressing this weakness.
Get the introduction right
So, you’ve now got your palmares and you’ve told them what your strengths and weaknesses are, what you will bring to the team and why you have chosen to apply for that team. You will also need to include a short introduction to yourself. Tell them something interesting that will give you personality. If you work, what is your job, are you still at school/university? What are you studying? When did you start cycling, is there a nice story of how you got into the sport. What inspires you as a cyclist?
Sponsors expect professionalism
Once you’ve got this together, it is really important to remember that a team is looking for someone who is going to represent their sponsors. Professionalism is very important both on and off the bike, your attitude and actions will reflect back onto the sponsors. Try to include something that will indicate that you will act responsibly and professionally. Sponsors are after promotion, so if you have been in the local paper, write a blog or do any other promotional work, include this. A sponsor may see you as someone who will provide them with added opportunities to advertise them, so it could bring an added dimension to your application and will give you something to bring to the team that other riders may not have.
Bringing everything together
Now you need to put this together into a complete CV. I would suggest no more than 2 pages, keep your paragraphs clear, concise and to the point. Punchy, not wordy, some teams will receive hundreds of applications; they simply won’t read it if there is too much information. Think about the layout, make it look attractive. Include photos, but think about why you are including them. Each photo should be there for a reason; does it show you in a break-away? Riding amongst top riders? You on the attack? It’s a good way of showing the type of rider you are and will provide an attractive element to your CV. Take a look at CVs on the internet for inspiration. It’s not a work CV, so don’t be afraid to add some colour, but don’t go over-the-top. Never lose sight of what your CV is for, keep it legible and clear, but make it stand out!
Don’t forget to add your contact details. Your e-mail address and telephone number are vital. You don’t want to be in a position where a team wants you but can’t contact you!
Once it is complete, you are happy with it and you have asked other people to read through and check it for you, put it into an appropriate format. A pdf is the most common format, but you may be an IT whizz and create a website for your CV (just make sure that the link works, it’s easy to use and not open to Joe Public if you don’t want it to be). If you do create a website for your CV, it is a good idea to have a pdf version of your CV too, as some team managers will want to print all of the CVs out to go through them, rather than look at them on the computer.
Job done? Not quite – you will need to write an opening e-mail which will quickly introduce yourself, explain the reason for your e-mail and highlight that you have attached your CV. This e-mail is important, as it’s the first impression that they will have of you, so think about what you write. You don’t want them to dismiss you without reading your CV. And MAKE SURE YOU ATTACH YOUR CV! It’s always a good idea to include any attachments before you write the e-mail. Sending another e-mail saying “oops I forgot to attach it!” doesn’t give a good impression, although don’t panic if this does happen to you, we’ve all been there!
Clean up your “online presence”
So, CV sent. Time to bite those fingernails and wait for a response! There’s nothing you can do about it now? WRONG! Remember what you told them about being a professional and understanding the importance of promoting a sponsor in the right way? Well that starts now. Potential teams and sponsors might be reading what you put in your blog, twitter, facebook, instagram etc… go through your old posts and delete anything that doesn’t represent who you want them to see. Once you have sponsors, you are in the public domain. If you are one of those people who thinks “it’s my account, I’ll write what I like”, you are unlikely to be the type of rider that a sponsor is looking for. So keep it positive, don’t “slag” people off, keep swearing to a minimum and avoid writing anything that is overly offensive, rude, prejudice or political . You never know who might be watching!
When waiting for a response, remember, teams don’t make up their minds straight away, they want to see who applies and build a team around who they want. It may take months, so be patient. All teams generally respond in one form or another, so be patient. You may get lots of rejections before you get a call from an interested team.
Tanya Griffiths rides for Starley Primal Pro Cycling and is the organiser of the Women’s Eastern Racing League. You can follow her on Twitter @TanyGriff . The Women’s Eastern Racing League is also on Twitter: @WERLeague
- Races to take place on Sunday 28th September
- Prize of ￡1000 for both men’s and women’s races
- Raleigh, Condor, Hope, Pivot, Ridley and Kinesis in attendance with latest products
Opening its doors from the 26th-28th September, The Cycle Show returns to the NEC Birmingham, and new for 2014 will be a series of cyclocross races on the Sunday [28th September].
Organised by the Derby Cyclocross team, the races will include categories for elite men and elite women, plus a mixed industry race for staff from bike shops, distributors and cycle media. What makes the stakes even higher is the large ￡1000 prize pot on offer for both the men’s and women’s elite races.
The course will start and finish inside the show with outdoor sections taking in parts of the woodlands at the NEC. The course will be a suitably tough challenge for top riders and guarantee some great racing to showcase the sport to visitors.
Chris Holman, Event Director at organisers Upper Street Events, said: “It’s really exciting to be hosting cyclocross races at the show and arguably it’s long overdue given the growth in interest in the sport here over the past few years. Hopefully by showcasing cyclocross to a wider cycling audience we’ll help to develop that interest even more.”
Exhibitors including Condor, Hope, Raleigh, Kinesis and Pivot will all be showing their latest cyclocross bikes and kit, as well as having experts on-hand to give advice about the sport in what is set to be an exciting line-up for cyclocross fans and enthusiasts.
Condor will be showcasing their Bivio-X and the championship-winning Terra-X framesets, which have all been tested by the Rapha-Condor JLT pro riders. The frames are hand-built in Italy, disc brake-ready and feature internal cabling and a tapered head tube for easier shoulder carrying. The company provide their expertise in helping customers choose the componentry that makes up the full bike – offering truly bespoke machines for their customers.
Lancashire based Hope Technology is exhibiting at the show with particular focus on their range of disc-brake compatible 700c wheels, all of which feature sealed- cartridge bearing hubs. Keen to show off more of its British innovation, visitors will also see the V-Twin hydraulic disc brake conversion kit that enables riders with cable discs to easily and economically upgrade to hydraulic discs, and their Retainer Ring – a narrow-ride ring – specifically designed for use on cyclocross cranks. The brand will be represented in the Sunday races by a strong team lead by National Series Champion Paul Oldham.
Additionally, famous British marque Raleigh will also have several riders taking part in Sunday’s event, including Jake Poole and Matthieu Boulo. It will be demonstrating all of its 127 years of experience from humble beginnings in Nottingham, with the RX Pro – an aluminium model featuring a lightweight frame, all-carbon 15mm thru-axle fork and SRAM’s powerful Rival 22 HRD hydraulic brake. Alongside that will be the top line RX Team model featuring ‘speed blend’ direct-connect carbon frame and fork, Cole tubular wheels and SRAM’s new cyclocross-specific Force CX1 groupset – which will also be displayed in its own right by Fisher Outdoor.
Kinesis UK are demonstrating the exceptional value and versatility that cyclocross machines can bring to the rider; it believes that its Crosslight Pro6 frameset with cutting edge, disc-ready technology teamed with quality branded components makes for great package of functionality and value. It will also bring the Crosslight FiveT model, which offers superb versatility with clearance for 3 rings, twin bottle mounts, rack and mudguard eyelets making it suitable for touring or commuting.
Ridley pride themselves on being the worldwide leader in the cyclocross market, which is reflected in their large range of cyclocross bikes. The standout model for us this year is the X-Night 20 Disc. This is built around their lightest CX frameset, the X-Night but brought up to date with Ultegra Di2 and the new Shimano R785 hydraulic disc brakes.
American brand Pivot Cycles will also be on-site giving visitors the chance to get up close to their Vault bike, which shares DNA with their LES MTB model. The full carbon frame offers the latest innovative cyclocross geometry with a lower bottom bracket height, slightly shorter chain stays and an overall fit and finish that the brand believe to be the “ultimate cross and gravel crushing design”.
Adult tickets for The Cycle Show are priced at ￡13 per person when booked in advance – offering attendees a saving of over ￡3 per ticket – while children aged 14 and under can attend for just ￡1 each with an accompanying adult. Concession prices are also available to students and those over 65.
To buy tickets or for more information on The Cycle Show 2014 and for more information about the cyclocross racing, please visit www.cycleshow.co.uk
Racing Weight Cookbook
Lean, Light Recipes for Athletes
by Matt Fitzgerald & Georgie Fear
Matt Fitzgerald and Georgie Fear have come together to produce ‘The Racing Weight Cookbook for Athletes’. This book is aimed at endurance athletes, giving you the tools and knowledge to improve your diet, to fuel performance for training and racing. It’s all about obtaining your optimal racing weight through healthy eating, within the requirements of your bodies needs. It explains that conventional diets are no good for endurance athletes.
I’ve read the pre cursor to this book ‘Racing Weight: How to get lean for peak performance’ so was really interested to see what this book had to offer.
The book is also very cleverly aimed at different kinds of cooks. Those that can’t cook, those that can cook a little and those of us who love cooking. So even if you love cooking but don’t have time, you can use the ‘can’t cook’ section.
As both a coach and an athlete I was very interested to see if the cookbook would enhance what the first book delivered and it certainly does that.
There is a brief outline about the first book, but there is enough information for you not to need to read it. It’s easy to follow and won’t take you long to get started, a definite plus!
This book is really good for those of us who have never managed to stick to a diet for longer than a few weeks, that’s because it is not a diet book. It gives you lots of tips and tricks to get the energy you need without overeating, tips for swapping foods and best of all, lots of recipes. It looks at how many carbohydrates your body needs, dependant on your weight and the amount of hours you are training for. There is also a handy table that can help you score the quality of the food you are currently eating. It’s very easy to follow, which was great for me as I do tend to get bored very quickly.
I have to say the recipes are amazing and the pictures make the recipes look appetising. I particularly liked the chocolate peanut butter banana shake as a post workout meal. Eating post workout is something I struggle with, but this was a great recipe, easy to make and super quick to drink. Plus and I always think this the seller… it tastes great!! Really, it does!
I’ve also had a go at one of their Granola recipes, wow, honestly I have been bowled over by every recipe I’ve tried.
One thing about recipe books though, which I do dislike, besides the American measures, is the need to buy things that most people don’t have in their store cupboard. So essentially it’s all about planning and shopping.
I pondered over whether a club cyclist would buy a book like this or whether it was specifically aimed at competing athletes. On reflection, everybody who spends quite a lot of time on their bikes would benefit from this book, you don’t need to be competing, just putting the miles in, so maybe the title ‘Racing Weight’ will marginalise sales of this book.
Would I buy it? As a coach? Yes I would, as an athlete? Yes definitely. Would I recommend this book? Without a doubt.
The Racing Weight Cookbook gets a Cycling Shorts Star Buy Rating!
Author: Matt Fitzgerald and Georgie Fear
Published by VeloPress
Available in Paperback
Price: RRP £16.95 or $24.95
Following my high scoring reviews of the Bike Floss (90%) and the Bike Polish & Frame Protector (100%) from UK Company Purple Harry, I now turn to their Wash & Polish Mitt.
It is made from good quality microfibre material and shaped into a three fingered ‘lobster claw’ glove, which according to their website “has been ergonomically designed with the bike’s shape and contours in mind – allowing access to difficult areas whilst avoiding catching on the drive train and snagging in components”.
For this review I will be comparing this mitt with my usual cleaning materials; standard square shaped microfibre cloths bought from my local Pound store!
The Mitt costs at least SIX times more than the cloths I have been using for many years for cleaning and polishing duties, but is it worth the extra expense?
I hit a problem with the Mitt straight away; I couldn’t get it onto my hand.
My hands are not excessively large, but I struggled for a while before having to resort to using scissors to cut the black narrow cuff stitched into the Mitt to allow my hand in. Due to the Lobster claw shape your second and third fingers are forced apart, which felt uncomfortable to start with, but overtime became less troublesome.
Also while working on the bike, because you have two pairs of fingers held together, it restricts how well you can get into those small little gaps and crevices that need to be reached while cleaning or polishing. My natural instinct is to use just the finger-tip of my index finger to get to those more intricate areas, something you can’t do very successfully with this Mitt as the combined width of two fingers stops you reaching as far as you would like.
Also with my normal square cloth I can easily reach every corner on the frame by using it in a flossing action by just pulling one corner into the tight spot, for example cleaning between the rear wheel and chain stays, the gap is far too narrow to get my finger in between.
Another disadvantage of using the Mitt is that the actual area of material that you can use for cleaning/polishing is very limited; meaning that it quickly becomes too dirty or clogged. You have the whole Mitt but in reality can only effectively use the finger tips for finer work and the length of your fingers for working on the more accessible areas.
To use the other side you will need to take the Mitt off and put it on your other hand. This means that it might become too dirty to finish the job, you will have to wash it after every use or you will need to buy a couple more!
My way of working is that I currently have several microfibre cloths in use, each one is given a different task depending on how dirty it is; brand new ones are used for dusting and polishing only, but once they become clogged or a little dirty they then move onto drying or light cleaning duties and the previous one used for this purpose is ‘downgraded’ to more dirty tasks and so on until the very last one is used exclusively for chain cleaning work – and once this is oil soaked it is binned and another trip to the Pound shop is made to buy a fresh one to start the process again.
These cloths can be washed too, but as they cost as little as 99p for three it is not worth the effort. As they are square shaped you can use every inch of the cloth, both sides included, and by wrapping your index finger in the cloth with the remainder held in the palm of your hand you can reach those smaller awkward places with a clean patch of fabric every time unlike the Mitt.
From the picture above; in the bottom left is a new cloth, and each one in a clockwise direction becomes progressively dirtier.
So, as you can gather from my comments, I would not recommend that you pay £5.99 for this Mitt, instead buy six standard cloths and use a rotation system similar to mine, you will get much more value for money and they’ll do a better job too!
Left, is a comparison of cleaning area between the Mitt and cloths for the same price. Unfortunately I am awarding my lowest score so far, all the effort that has gone into cutting out the shape, stitching it together and attention to detail like adding the cuff and Purple Harry label has not only cost a lot to do, it has also severely restricted its usefulness, which is reflected in my score below:
Sorry to the Guys at Purple Harry, I can only give the Mitt a paltry score of 17%.