Okay, I will admit it, I have been eyeing one of these up for quite a while. In fact, ever since I bought the full sleeve (rain cape) version in 2012.
The gilet comes with a small bag that means that it can be folded away into a compact size and put back in your pocket – a great idea for those of you wanting something that you can take on and off without worrying that you haven’t got space in your back pocket to keep it.
Being 5′ 7″ and a size 10, I struggle with a lot of women specific cycling clothing as it tends to be too short and I often end up “borrowing” my husband’s cycling clothes as they tend to fit much better. Not so with this gilet. It is fairly long in the body and has a scooped elasticated bottom on the back of the jacket to ensure a snug fit.
Sometimes, jackets can be quite tight around the neck, which means that you never end up doing the zip right to the top. Again, there is enough room within the design to ensure that this is not a problem.
It is windproof and breathable, and is great for keeping the chill off at the start of a ride. It is small enough to be packed away until you need to put something on to keep you warm on that descent back down into town.
There is one improvement that I’d look to make – there is no back pocket so it can be a bit difficult trying to get food out of your jacket pocket. Not a major issue, I admit, but with gloves on it can be difficult. Also, the RRP is £55 which could be seen to be quite expensive for a gilet and therefore not a “needs must” purchase but a “wish list” purchase instead. However, the best price we’ve found is at ProBikeKit who are selling them for less than £40, at the moment, which makes them a bit more affordable:
- Fit – 89 out of 100 the gilet fits well, and the elasticated bottom means that it stays in place
- Quality – 95 out of 100 – I would expect a market leading brand to be high quality, and I wasn’t disappointed
- Price – 70 out of 100 – £55 for a gilet may prove too expensive for some
- Value for money – 80 out of 100 – ultimately, high quality doesn’t come cheap but I liked the fit, quality and think it looks great.
- Overall that’s an impressive 84 out of 100!
Would I recommend this gilet to my cycling friends? Definitely!
After the success of last year’s inaugural Cycling Development North West women’s road race league, I was approached by Carley Brierley, a female coach in Blackpool, to assist her with developing some women’s race training sessions for women in the New Year, which Huw Williams has instigated.
After an overwhelming response, and all three sessions being oversubscribed within a week of going live, I decided that it would be a good idea to try and ease the move into road racing for women by including a novice league within the women’s league, especially given that there seems to be less early season circuit races (in the North West at least) this year.
Last year, a guy called Sean Jackson, of Cucina Cycles in the North East, provided some sponsorship money which I used for the Most Improved Rider Award and the Most Tenacious Rider Award. This year, we will be scrapping these awards and, instead, the money will be used to provide for the leaders in the Novice League.
You might think that I have gone off on a tangent with this concept, however the women who took part in the CDNW women’s league last year really improved as road racers as the season progressed. The races were aimed at developing confidence whilst being encouraging, with 100% (yes, that’s right 100%) of the women who completed my end of survey said that they would definitely recommend the races to a friend, and with this in mind, some novice women racers might be put off about joining the league thinking they don’t have a chance. But by holding a separate “mini-league” I hope to reach out to those women so that they will have an opportunity for a race within a race. Ultimately, there aren’t enough women to hold two separate races, but I know from experience that racing with second and third category women is much better than racing with fourth category men!
So ladies, if you want to get into racing, here is your chance! You will need a full racing licence (as you are racing on the open road) however if you are thinking of racing anyway, a day licence costs at least £10, so if you plan on doing more than three races, you will save money by purchasing a full licence. For the record, I am not a sales person for British Cycling, I am just someone trying to persuade more women to have a go at the sport I enjoy.
If you haven’t bought BC membership yet, you can find more about it here: http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/membership
If you like the thought of giving racing a go and would like to register for the league, as a woman you don’t need to be a member of an affiliated club – it costs £5 to register for the league and you have to agree to marshal a race (it can be one you are riding if you can find somebody to do the marshalling for you): https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/club/subscriptions?&club_id=6406
Cycling Shorts unleashes Santa’s Little Helpers.
Yes the panic is setting in, so much to get organised and so little time, the Cycling Shorts team have put our collective heads together to give you a list of gift ideas that won’t disappoint even the fussiest cyclist in your life.
We’ve split our choices into four perfect price parcels for commuters, kids, pro’s or fans. Click on the images or text links to visit the retailers (we’ve tried to find the cheapest deals for you). If nothing takes your fancy take a look at last years suggestions by clicking here.
It would have to be a Handmade Cyclist print or 5. My personal favourite is the Monument Collection, I love the style of them and the little stories behind each print- the dog in Paris- Roubaix, the Chapel in Lombardia. You have to be a bit of a bike geek to really appreciate them! I came across Neil’s work when he provided South West Women’s Race Series with prints as prizes. A great gift at only £25 each or buy the full set of 5 for £100.
If you are thinking about giving racing a go next season, sign up to one of the race training sessions that Cycling Shorts staff writer; Heather Bamforth is coaching – price is £20 per four hour session and is aimed at female riders who are either novices, fourth or third category riders.
Safety on the road is a hot topic at the moment, so I would suggest a OneLife ID Band, these silicone bands come with an etched metal tag with a unique URL and QR code that links to your personal profile where your “in case of emergency” can be stored and if someone enters the pin number on the back of the tag into the website your medical data can be viewed by a paramedic. It’s a highly customisable system, show as much or as little info as you want and it has multiple uses, lost property, ICE or Meditag. You can buy stickers, bands, keyrings and cards. Keeping a loved one easily identifiable in an emergency situation could save a life. If you click here you can see an example of what a profile looks like.
Remember there’s a discount of 15% with xmasgift15 until 11th December!
For the kids two items: the Bell Fraction Helmets and The fun Handlebar Heroes… Giddy Up!
For the Boys: A nice retro wool racing cap, Walz do a great quality cap for a good price, available from Always Riding from £19 to £23. Or maybe some leather trouser straps from Brooks, they have a great new range of bright metallics from £14.66.
howies do some great t-Shirts for men and women but my favourite this year is their mens Labrador T-Shirt.. a bargain at £25
Pegatin provide bike sitckers decals to the cycling stars; a great stocking filler. Choose the country flag and name and you’re ready to go! Starts at £9.99.
Why not treat the track cyclist in your life to a Track Cycling Calendar only £16.99, with photographs by top cycling photographer Guy Swarbrick… or for the track sprinter who likes their caffeine rush why not head over to V-Sprint’s website and order an Espresso Set. V-Sprint have cycling in their blood, owned by European Team Sprint Champion; Jess Varnish’s Dad. If you can’t stretch to a set of V-Sprints custom made wheels go for the coffee hit!
Stitch-Mi-Lane is a brand I’ve only recently come across, I bought one of their gorgeous Bike Twist Snoods recently and it’s getting a lot of wear this winter. I love it, really soft and cosy wool. Coming in under budget though is the Commuter Cowl at £28, or the Snug Spectator Merino Bike Bobble Hat also at £28. Want something for the living room? Why not get a Stitch-Mi-Lane Bike Wheel Cushion… my favourite is the blue and orange colourway, again a snip at £28!
For the lazy cyclist: Brite Ride Mega Bike Wipes £19.99 Or if they are feeling a little more energetic… give it a polish! Get a Purple Harry Bike Wash & Polish Mitt for £5.99, Purple Harry have a great range of cleaning products, check them out!
Hannah Walker Matrix Mug £16
Cool little gift for someone you know who loves cycling, drawn by the amazing Marty McCrossan, this little gift won’t break the bank and it’ll help fund Matrix Fitness RA with part of the proceeds going directly to the team!!
Fancy a read… Rob Hayles: Easy Rider £16.99 – Very funny book which will keep you entertained for hours, and shows you the insights of what it takes to become a Pro bike rider! It’s one of those books you’ll read many a time and have you laughing out loud like I did on a flight to Germany!
It simply has to be the traditional Christmas undies under the tree – a three pack of Look Mum No Hands Podium Pants (£25) will bring a smile to the faces of all; simply perfect for your pedaling partner! Why not accessorise with a pair of Rapha Winter City Riding Socks (£15), in pink, of course.
What Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a book to curl up with as the kids clean and prepare your bike for the traditional Boxing Day ride. This year has seen a cycling book eruption. My particular favourites, of which I will select three (the reviews are coming – I promise you readers… and you too dear editor!) have been, in no particular order…
Long Race to Glory – How the British Came to Rule the Cycling World, by Chris Sidwells. A wonderfully written and entertaining history of the many characters and events that have paved the way for the riders of today.
The Pain and the Glory: Team Sky Giro & Tour Diary, by Team Sky, Sir Brailsford and Chris Froome. Another fine tome, packed full off Scott Mitchell’s beautiful photography and supported by a free interactive Augmented Reality App that allows readers to scan selected pictures and then to sit back gazing in wonder as Scott tells you the story behind the photograph.
One for you Kindle folk: The Winter Cycling Survival Guide: How to Cycle through your first Winter – keep warm, get fit & stay motivated (A Beginner’s Training Guide.) by Rebecca Ramsay.
There’s no finer place to circle the important cycling dates of 2014 than in the Roths 2014 Tourleben – calendar (42-42 cm). Full of great photos that capture many of the legends of cycling. You won’t see many of these in the UK. Classy and inspiring.
Here are some of my favorites. It’s so wet over here so some warm wool cycling socks or rain booties—both of which I’d love right now, just to walk the dogs!
David James: Some top quality bar tape makes a real difference to comfort when riding and with so many colours and styles to choose from it should be easy to find something just right.
The majority of your heat escapes via your head – do yourself a favour and buy a bobble hat – Scruffy Dog Creations are selling like hot cakes at the moment! You can find out more about this brand, which boast handmade knitwear by checking out their Facebook page. If you want to buy one right now, you can purchase them from Victor and Liberty, priced between £26 and £29
It has to be the Defeet Slipstream Hi-Viz Overshoes (Pink) RRP: £13.99
Every cyclist needs to keep their neck warm in the winter and this Merino collar from Rapha goes down a treat for both the men and ladies alike. Available in just about every club colour you’d need, it’s understated by over delivers in warmth.
Winter Collar £25
Secret Santa could get me a set of Speedplay Cleats. I became a SPEEDPLAY disciple earlier in the year. A little odd at first but once you’re used to them they’re brilliant. The best way I’ve found of describing the Speedplay experience is to say that it’s just like having the spindle of the pedal running through the ball of your foot.
Good prices online, but do what all good riders should do… check out your local shop..£28 in mine.
Domestique: The Real-life Ups and Downs of a Tour Pro – A bumper year for cycling books in Britain – Wegelius’ tale has to be most enlightening book I’ve ever read on Pro road cycling. Click here for my review.
One23 Coloured Multi-Tool – £11. Perfect for fitting in your pocket or saddle bag. Small, but adds rainbow coloured functionality to an often grey wintery world. Who says multi tools need to be boring.
Santa’s Little Helper
New club kit! Abergavenny RC have great new kit for 2014 and I would be very happy to get some for Christmas.
Adidas Response Womens Tour Rain Jacket £85. Brilliant jacket for training in during those cold winter months or rainy days, it’s great to use as a thermal as its a very warm jacket but also keeps you dry. It isn’t that fluorescent ‘hi-viz’ that everyone hates to wear so they’re seen on the road by trucks and cars, instead it’s still a bright colour just a lot nicer and actually looks cool to wear! It’s unisex however there is a mens version with blue stripes down the sleeves!
Rouleur Centenary Tour de France
Evocative as ever from the lovely folks over at Rouleur. Outlandish quality both in terms of its content and binding. Listen to the most recent Rouleur podcast for a review of the project.
Whilst I must admit I’m not a subscriber to VeloCast’s premium content – with this package on offer its hard not to sign up. If it’s half as good as their work for Eurosport then I’m sure it will be a triumph.
This would be on my Santas list… Limited edition print from Aaron Kuehn. I love this picture, it’s something that I come back to time after time and it’s great for showing folks who are learning which bit is which on a bike. On sale for $99.
Velobici Ella Vest and Shorts Set – £66 for the set. Designed and made in the UK, this set is soft, durable and discrete. Perfect for the leisure rider, commuter & more serious cyclist alike.
Would love to get one of these from Santa – Chapeau Etape Cycling Jersey Black/Red RRP: £70.00
The only thing that every cyclist in the UK should have is gold or silver membership of British Cycling because this gives you up to £10 million in third party liability cover, with gold membership also giving you personal accident insurance. For peace of mind, buy your loved ones membership of British Cycling.
Louis Garneau RevoXR3 – I have two pairs of these and I defy anyone to tell me that £200+ worth of Specialized or Sidi are really worth the extra amount of money. Firm on the sole comfortable uppers and the heel retention ratchet system is superb. Currently £79.99 in Evans.
or Tifosi Roubaix Photochromic glasses. Dont fog up, protect your eyes, go from clear to black in a jiffy. every bit as smart as Oakleys every bit as good, but no poncey price tag.
Everyone is carting some bit of tech around these days, why not use a musette in true cycling tradition but with a modern twist. The folks at Stolen Goat have a Harris Tweed design for £48
I LOVE this silver necklace from Oliver Bonas. I never take it off!
Silver Bike Necklace £38
These have been a hit for Ana Nichoola, although you’d be lucky to get your hands on a pair they’ve been so popular. The Star Tights are great for the commuter, the easy-going cyclist and the regular club runner.
Winter Star Tights £55
I don’t want to leave the boys out – Every bike deserves to be treated like a piece of art and what better way than hung on the wall. Bike Shelf £75.41
Why not let the fine folk at Rapha keep you warm and cosy with their distinctive stripy 100% merino wool Cross Scarf, £40.
I have to agree with Loz. The podcast, jersey and eBook bundle from Velocast is a must have for the pro-cycling fan. I’ve been a subscriber since the early days and honestly can’t think of a better team than Scott and John – full of panache and plenty of chapeaux! Their stock & legend is growing fast. An absolute bargain.
Something Under The Tree
I have always struggled with women’s jackets – I am totally in love with all the jackets that Bioracer make because they actually fit and are Italian made but are also well-priced. They also follow the European fashions (the brand is massive in Belgium, Holland and Germany, to name a few!) A good example is the Climate long sleeve jacket.
For readers in the UK, Onimpex are the sole distributors, so you will need to visit their website: www.onimpex.co.uk Retails in the UK for £109.
A perennial favourite, the Garmin Edge 500 is a popular choice amongst cyclists due to its size (small and therefore lightweight).
I love being able to relive the best parts of my season back, and there’s no better way to capture the moment than with a GoPro. The built in WiFi also allows you to connect your camera to the GoPro app on your smartphone. The app allows you to control the camera, play back your recordings and allow share you content.
So your trusty steed has gone to the bicycle graveyard in the sky… you can still have those memories, hang the memories pride of place above the mantelpiece hunting lodge stylee (but with less actual death involved). Bicycle Taxidermy have the answer…. Love it!
This is one for the boys, you can’t beat the quality of Le Col clothing, any man would be happy to receive a stylish Mizuro B5 Winter Jacket, worth the price tag of £249.99.
For the girls… Ana Nichoola hits the list yet again with her fabulous “Hello Yellow” Commuter Cycling Raincoat. Too good just to use for cycling!
For the city cyclist who likes to travel around town with their iPad in understated style. New Yorkshire brand Blanket Row bring you their Finkle Street Bag and iPad sleeve set. This set is hand tooled from quality leather, it sits comfortably across your body, on your shoulder or slide both arms through the adjustable strap and it sits neatly on your back while riding. There’s plenty of room inside for your other accoutrements, it’s a very adaptable bag and currently comes in Red, White and more traditional dark chocolate brown. popular with bot men and women. I’m seeing them pop up everywhere. £165
It has to be – Assos ij. intermediate_s7 Windproof Long Sleeve Jersey – around £179.99
Bont Vaypor+ and Bont Vaypor Shoes £225
The coolest and comfiest shoe around! With the option to ‘heat mold’ the shoe to suit your feet these shoes are the bees knees with regards to the quality for money. They are well made, cool, comfortable and will last you a long time (if you a person who takes care of their belongings). Now with the option to have a ratchet fastener (buckle) or a dual dial retention system the shoe is suited to everyone. If you want to look like the next Bradley Wiggins look no further as he won the 2012 Tour de France in a pair of these!
What about a cheap as chips trip to the World Cyclocross Champs in 2014. The £250 would bring fantastic memories and start lots of conversations off for years to come.
This is on my list. Do a bit of track? Do a bit of testing? Do a bit of Road? Just like being a tart and don’t care what the club bore calls you?
You need The Casco Speed Airo helmet. First all round helmet for TT,Track and road. Comes with a visor too. Should knock out at around £240 so still under budget, but currently available at Amazon for £199.99.
A long weekend of vintage steel, cobbled climbs and fantastic Flandrian festivities – the Retro Ronde van Vlaanderen is calling you! One of the most magical events there is. Beer and racing Friday, several cobbled Crit’s on Saturday and the Ronde on Sunday. Be quick, as registration is open and numbers are limited to one thousand.
Book your pedaling pal a full cycle fit at, er, www.cyclefit.co.uk. Two hours spent one-to-one with a fully qualified technician should see them riding in blissful comfort. It changed my cycling experience completely.
I think a good gift is always some fresh cycling clothing as a great mid priced gift. A new Castelli jacket or a fantastic lined pair of ladies (or men’s bibs) something you’d love to have but really “don’t need”
Woodguards – £150 per set. These super stylish mudguards are handmade in Edinburgh from re-claimed timber and brightly coloured formica. A piece of lovingly crafted art
Dream Gift… The sky’s the limit!
Similar to last year – I would love to give some bikes to those children who miss out over Christmas. Can you imagine their faces if they received a new Isla Bike or one of the new Frog children’s bikes. To see that would be a memory to last for ever. I borrowed a Brompton from my work this year as they have a couple for staff to use, but if they weren’t available, if I was having something myself I would be very happy with one of those.
I would buy/own a Scottish women’s UCI registered cycle team. The team would race road, track, mtb & cyclocross.
Cippolini RB1K Full Super Record Group other than pedals Which would of course be Speedplay… plus, if you get something like this, give Chris Froome one of your old bikes to help him get African riders racing, or donate to www.re-cycle.org.
Unless you’re millionaire, I can’t imagine there are many cyclists with the Vis Vires Factor Bike on their list… wonder if it comes in my size. Although, for that price, you’d hope it was made to fit!
Canyon’s stock continues to rise as it now supplies two teams at World Tour level and with bikes that look like this you can see why.
I’ve just taken my nephew on a Balance Bike Building Course and we have great fun, but I’d love a full on Frame Building Course From The Bicycle Academy £360+ depending on which course.
Dreams may come true… Nico and his team at www.go4cycling.com offer a sublime and unrivaled week in Flanders during which you will be waited on hand and foot, ride with legends like Johann Museeuw and Team BMC, participate – with your own support and feed stations – at the Amateur Tour of Flanders, wander the service course and meet the teams as they set up, play Belgium hopscotch as a VIP as you track the pro’s during not just the Ronde but also the Scheldeprijs and Paris-Roubaix (unless Specialized have forced the town to change its name!) it doesn’t end there. Check out their website and then check you bank account. They do offer an amazing weekend too, along with almost every major event you can think of.
My personal ‘best bike’ as test ridden at Eurobike 2013 was the Airstreeem Race Air (Triple E) with Di2. It was fast, very fast, and agile, balanced, smooth and fun. In fact any Airstreeem bike would make me grin.
Here’s my final suggestion: the new Kinetic Rock & Roll indoor trainer – A fantastic bit of kit. I would recommend mashing it up with a few of the excellent, often hilarious, but always leg crushing, training vids from www.thesufferfest.com, a Garmin ANT stick and speed/cadence sensor, and a subscription to www.trainerroad.com. Keep your eyes peeled for a full review of this set up soon. A revolution in indoor training is born!
I went to an event that was at the local art gallery. Bike Art at the Dairy Center in Boulder Some great and inspiring bike art as well as some fantastic gift ideas for the high end.
Carnival by Brian Echerer – Glass and recycled bike gears $700 available at his Etsy shop.
Illustration by a friend of mine Kathleen King – Zommin’ Thru $1800
You may have seen we’ve covered the development of the Hovding Invisible Cycling Helmet on Cycling Shorts and it’s finally hit the market, it’s still pricey at this stage but what a great invention! Yours for €399 Euros.
All cyclists love proper coffee, the stronger the better, get cafe quality coffee with the new Sage Coffee Machine by Heston Blumenthal
Simply a Team Sky bus with all the mod cons, gadgets and extra fittings to make a long transfer as comfy as possible! Imagine rocking up to a womens tour series or national series in one of them or even your local club run (you could have your cafe stop in it at the end of the ride with your club/team mates), instead of it being wrapped in Team Sky change it to Epic-Scott colours! It’d certainly turn some heads and be very cool! Maybe Team Sky will be selling it soon as surely they’ll want a new one in the not so distant future??
First up we have Stages power cranks, for people who want to have a go at power but might not be able to afford the SRM version. From £599 at most bike retailers – there is a Shimano version and SRAM version too – here is the link to the ones that Evans are selling.
At the other end of the spectrum is a Van Hool tailor made coach for your trips to races and events – imagine the envy when you rock up to your local circuit race in one of these bad boys!!!
Incidentally, Lotto Belisol were selling their team bus (admittedly with 817,000 km on the clock), so if you are interested: www.lottobelisol.be
Nothing takes your fancy here? Well take a look at last years suggestions by clicking here.
Back by popular demand, the women’s race training sessions are returning to the North West in the New Year, with sessions being held at Tameside, Rhyl (Marsh Tracks) and Blackpool (Palatine Leisure Centre). Hosted by Huw Williams, me and Carley Brierley, the sessions are designed to offer women who are either relatively new to cycling or are third/fourth category riders the opportunity to develop their confidence and skills so that they will have the tools available to embark on a competitive cycling career, up to whatever level they wish to attain.
Session 1: Tameside Cycle Circuit, Manchester OL7 9HG
Sunday 5th Jan 2014 9am-1pm
Session 2: Marsh Tracks, Rhyl, LL18 2AD
Sunday 19th Jan 2014 12noon -4pm
Session 3: Palatine Circuit Blackpool FY4 2AP
Sunday 2nd Feb 2014 12noon – 4pm
Each 4-hour session will be progressive, on a dedicated, traffic-free cycle circuit where you will learn the techniques, skills, tactics and group riding etiquette needed to race, as well as advice on training theory and practice that will allow you to prepare for the coming, 2014 season. Each session is structured in a way that allows all riders to participate at their own level of ability and there will be no instances of novice riders feeling ‘out of their depth.’
The sessions will be delivered by Carley Brierley, British Cycling level 3 road and TT coach, Heather Bamforth a level 3 ABCC coach and current 2nd category racer and Huw Williams, a British Cycling level 3 road and TT coach. We also have guest riders from two of the UKs leading womens’ race teams, Epic Scott Contessa WRT and Matrix Vulpine, on hand to answer questions and offer tips and advice during the training.
£20 per rider per session payable on the day
You have to be female and wearing a helmet at all times when on the track.
How do I enter?
Please email me at [email protected] for more details and to register your interest. Spaces are limited, so please register early.
I must admit that I had never heard of Multipower before their products arrived on my doorstep for review. However, their website tells me that they are Europe’s leading sports foods producers, with their products for sale in 36 countries, and have been established for over 35 years. They now have a number of brand ambassadors, with Cannondale Pro Cycling their cycling representative for 2013.
I was given three different products to review: Multicarbo Hi-Energy Jelly, Multicarbo Jelly and Recharge Drink.
1. Multicarbo Hi-Energy Jelly & Multicarbo Jelly
Most people will be familiar with energy gels that seem to be popular nowadays. They act as quick and easy energy replenishment which you can just swallow however I am sure everybody will also be familiar with the fact that they can be difficult to open and are also extremely sticky if you have the misfortune of not being able to open it properly mid-ride. If you dislike gels for this reason, then the Multicarbo jellies may be a pleasant alternative for you.
For a start, these jellies are just that – jelly. This means that they are solid rather than liquid, but rather than being difficult to chew, you can nibble at the jelly or just swallow it without chewing. The other positive about these jellies is the packaging that they come in. Unlike the modern gels which have a tab which you have to be able to tear off before you can access the contents, the jelly’s packaging can be opened before you ride, with the benefit of the jelly’s solid nature meaning that it won’t leak in your back pocket. You can also eat half of the packet and put the remainder back in your pocket, safe in the knowledge that you can eat the other half later on in your ride.
For anybody who is counting the calories, both of these jellies have 120 kcal per 50g sachet, which is on a par with other brands of gel, which tend to be 45g rather than 50g. Both seem to be available in orange flavour only at the moment however it is neither too sweet in flavour nor too acidic. Both are also described as being a “time release carb mix”. They are quite expensive with an RRP of £30.99 for a pack of 24 however this is on a par with their competitors.
For more information about the Multicarbo Jelly, visit: www.multipower.com/uk/product/multicarbo-jelly
For taste and ease of use, I would give these products 90 out of 100. For value for money, I would be more inclined to mark them down due to their cost and as such give them 70 out of 100. Overall I give them 85 out of 100.
2. Re-Charge Drink
The final product that I was asked to review was the imaginatively named “Re-Charge Drink”. This is Multipower’s pro-peptide offering, to help you refuel after your ride.
Most of Multipower’s competitors offer protein shakes that can be quite thick and difficult to drink. However, the Re-Charge Drink is 4 parts carbohydrate to 1 part protein and comes in a refreshing orange flavour rather than the more traditional chocolate/strawberry/vanilla flavours. The amount of carbohydrate in the drink means that it is easier to digest however it can be quite difficult to get the texture right – if you’re not careful it can become a bit powdery, so try to be economical with the powder or put more water in to negate this.
I’m sure many readers will be aware of how expensive any recovery drinks are: the benefits of this drink are that it is only £12.99 for a 630g tub which makes 14 servings, which equates to 92p per serving, rather than the competitors’ £2.85 per serving. So, if you feel that most recovery drinks can hit your purse, this might be worth a shot! The other benefit is that because it is much thinner than other recovery drinks, you don’t need a shaker bottle, which means less calories used in washing the bottle!
You can find more information about the Re-Charge Drink here: www.multipower.com/uk/product/re-charge-drink
Marks out of 100 are as follows: taste – 75 out of 100 (I personally feel that there is room for improvement); ease of use (does what it says on the tin) – 85 out of 100 (the carbohydrate content helps replenish your depleted glycogen stores post-ride) and value for money – 95 out of 100 (you will struggle to find a cheaper alternative). Overall – 85 out of 100.
No matter what type of sporting discipline you participate in, it is always important to review your season once you have stopped racing.
For those of you who read my beginners’ guide to racing earlier this year, you may remember that I talked about the importance of having goals to aim for during the season (and also beyond), in order to achieve what you want to achieve – it is incredibly difficult to feel satisfied and contented if you don’t know what you want out of the season.
So for those of you who set goals this season, whether those were distance related, time related, or just getting on your bike more, it is important to revisit the aims that you set yourself at the beginning of the season and to compare them to what you did actually achieve.
Original Goals – Realistic or Unattainable?
At the start of the season, you would have had an idea, whether you wrote it down or not, as to what you wanted to achieve. Nobody can tell what the future holds and nobody can tell you that you can’t achieve what you want to achieve, as everybody has to have a dream, but it is important to be true to yourself. This means that you have to be honest with yourself too. For example, there is nothing wrong with wanting to win a Premier Calendar or a National Series event this season, but if you only started racing this season and were a fourth category rider at the start of the season, the likelihood is that you will struggle to get a ride in a National Series event, and if you are a male fourth category rider, then you can’t even enter a Premier Calendar. Don’t get me wrong, being honest with yourself is not easy – everybody wants to feel that they are better than they are, it’s only natural, but you have to have a reality check at some point, if only for your own sanity. Otherwise you will spend your spare time dwelling on the fact that you have failed in your mission, wondering where you went wrong and basically mentally beating yourself up.
If you achieved your targets, congratulations! And, if so, the next port of call for you is to ask yourself how you can build on what you have achieved this season, and whether you feel that you pushed yourself in achieving those goals, so that you set some more SMART goals for next season.
Missing Targets Is Not The End of the World
Sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes you get ill. For the majority of people (and that will include most readers of this article), cycling (or any sport in actual fact) is a hobby that you do in your spare time. It is important that you remember that fact. Cycling is fun, a way of keeping healthy and fit and making friends. Even if you are competing, you still should always remember that you are doing it because you enjoy it, not because your life depends on it. And if you feel that it is the latter, and your whole sense of being in life is dependent on the results you get, then you need to have a word with yourself, my friend, because getting depressed about what you haven’t achieved is not healthy. And if your “team mates” are not supportive enough, you do not have to stay with that team or club. Your mental well-being is paramount – without that basis you cannot prepare yourself mentally for the challenges that life throws at you.
Evaluating the Season
If you haven’t achieved what you thought were reasonable goals, ask yourself why that might be. Maybe you have had a stressful time at work, or a member of your family has been ill, or you just haven’t had the spare time to dedicate to training. Some things are out of our control and as an adult you just have to accept that fact and move on. Instead, look at what you have achieved this season in spite of all the other issues you have had to deal with and take those achievements as a positive. Don’t beat yourself up about not getting the results that you thought you were capable of, but use them as a stepping stone for what you want to achieve next season. Don’t underestimate the British weather either – if you wanted to go under the hour on a 25 mile time trial but every single time you rode an event it was horrendously windy, that is something out of your control, so just deal with it and move on.
If you have missed some of your targets this season, do yourself a favour and list the goals that you wanted to achieve at the beginning of the season in one column, then in a second column list how you did in reality – you will probably find that you were not too far wide of the target, and if there were things that appear to be out of reach, think about why that might be and how you might be able to change things to achieve those goals next season. If you use a training diary, or an on-line tool such as Garmin Connect or Strava, have a look back at all of that data you will have created and try and evaluate it to see whether you might have done too much leading up to the event where you didn’t hit the target, or you might have not done enough.
In the grand scheme of things, life is incredibly short. This isn’t a dress rehearsal and you have to take the best out of the challenges that life throws at you. Be honest with yourself, think about what you could have done to make things better and then you can start thinking about what you might want to achieve next season!
So until next time, enjoy riding and keep safe!