Homeward Bound

gabby1

Photo Credit for top image and link to Neon Velo: Marshall Kappel

Gabby Durrin Press Release (as one door closes another opens)

A lot has been going on this year for me. I have been away from racing for a little while and I have made some big decisions over the past couple months.

I am RETIRING from professional cycling, and I am very happy to be moving on to the next chapter in my life. I have been racing professionally for the past 13 years, and they were the most amazing years of my life. The memories and friendships I’ve made along the way will stay with me forever.

I have written a blog about what I have been going through over the past couple years with depression and losing the spark for racing. I am very proud of what I have accomplished, and am excited to find that spark in the next adventure and chapter in my life.

http://www.team-awesome.cc/neon-velo/closing-a-chapter-and-starting-a-new/

Neon Velo Announcement

We’re pleased to announce that Gabby Durrin has accepted a full time position as brand Marketing Executive for Neon Velo starting 2016. The role comes with a move back to the UK where both Gabby and Jeremy will work closely with Neon Velo brand at their Hertfordshire based headquarters. Gabby will be using her years of experience in the cycling industry to help grow the Neon Velo Brand, it’s Race Team and Products. Jeremy will continue racing for the team on the road and CX primarily in the UK and Europe. Jeremy and the other team riders will also help to further develop the exciting Neon Velo product range through 2016.

-Neon Velo’s Emma Backhouse stated.
“Gabby has such a wealth of knowledge within the industry and the sponsors who have supported her throughout the years really show the level of professionalism she carries with her. She will be a valued asset to the program on multiple levels and we can’t wait to see what the next year brings!”

-Gabby Stated earlier today.
“We are extremely excited about this opportunity for our next step with Neon Velo. I am very happy to have been offered such a great position and it makes the transition from professional cycling seamless and allows me to maximize my 12+ years of industry experience to the full potential. Neon Velo is an exciting brand with big ambitions and we’re looking forward to 2016”

 

Gabby Posted the following statement on Facebook earlier today.

2016 has a whole new exciting opportunity for me.

 

Thank you all for all the great years, and this won’t be the last of me you will see around cycling.

I will update you all soon on what my next adventure is, but it’s definitely exciting!

I will be moving to the UK with Jeremy Durrin after accepting a full time position with Neon Velo as brand marketing executive. Jeremy and I will be based in Hertfordshire close to where the Neon Velo HQ is based.

gabby2

Photo Credit Brad Warren

I am very excited about this huge change in my life. Having over 12+ years experience in the cycling industry I am looking forward to working on the business side. This opportunity will be great in helping me to transition out of professional cycling and into the business world!

Jeremy will still be racing for Neon Velo on the road and in cyclocross primarily in the UK and Europe with an early season USA cyclocross campaign.

2016 is set to be a whole new change and array of opportunities for Jeremy and I. We are both looking forward to the future.

I am very fortunate to have this opportunity and it has come at the perfect time for me. Retiring from professional cycling was a tough thing to do and it is rather scary and unknown, but this move certainly allows me to focus on new challenges and experiences which is really what life is all about!

I now get to write a whole new chapter in my book of life! Follow along…

Happy New Year everyone. May your year be filled with happiness, health and adventure!

On behalf of Cyclingshorts I would like to wish Gabby and Jeremy all the best for the coming year. Remember you can keep up to date with all things cyclocross, sports nutrition, training and cycle holidays at www.cyclingshorts.cc

Sim Parrott


We’re All going on a Winter, Spring, Summer Holiday!

A Time to Reflect

So it is New Years Eve and time for many of us to reflect on the past year and look forward to the coming year.

I often wonder what each year will bring and look back with mixed emotions on the year past. Learning from the hard moments and reminding myself of the successes and high points, both providing motivation for the coming year.

January is here and many of us will be looking forward to the warmer weather and riding on empty roads in the summer sun, I know I am. BUT I have a confession to make I am secretly hoping to get some serious snow before winter is over as I just love riding in the crisp cold that snow brings, and I think that there are few things more changeling then getting out on your CX bike on the cycle paths and bridle ways in the white stuff. I digress so back to the main point.

I have a few things on my list for the year and I am really looking forward to working hard to meet as many of my goals as possible.

First on my list has to be train more and eat less! Mind you this has been top of my list for several years but I have started to do something about this in earnest from the middle of last year onwards. I must now just keep it going. The Gym and Turbo training is going to play a big part of this. As a premium user on Strava I have just signed up to some CTS training plans so watch this space!

Next is to consider going abroad to get some early season miles in, I do not really want to head out to a full on training camp but would rather hit something I can tailor to suit mine and my friends needs. (I have a feeling that Mrs Bikeboyslim might have an impact on this goal!)

Finally, I want to make sure I hit the French Roads in the summer, for my four week block with leading rides in the Vendee, will reduced weight improve stamina and top end speed, ready to get my big block of training in before I ride the Keswick Adventure X Monster Miles.

So what better to talk to friends and hit the internet to do a little bit of research and find some possible companies and destinations that fit the bill.

 

Cycle San Remo

I am sure, if like me, you love getting out and about on your bike in classic cycling countries then where better than the town at the end of one of the all time best spring classics, Milan – San Remo.

Cycle San Remo offers all this and more, including riding over to the Monaco sea front for lunch or being in Italy for the Giro.

The city of San Remo, which was founded in Roman times in a large inlet on the western Ligurian coast, is known as “The Pearl of the Riviera of the flowers” and is famous throughout the world for its perfect climatic conditions.

The climate is mild all year round, due to a privileged geographic location, protected from the north winds ensuring a lowering of the rainfall quotient. Added to this, this stretch of coastline experiences temperatures which allow the growing of tropical plants in the luxuriant botanical gardens which extend the length of the “Riviera of the Flowers”.

The climate, the cafes, restaurants and the classic roads, what more could a cyclist ask for?

Cycle San Remo holidays on the Italian Coast

Cycle San Remo holidays on the Italian Coast

Cycle San Remo is run by Mark Newman and Andy Marsden.

Mark lives in Italy, near to San Remo, with his wife Julie.  They moved there full time in 2006 after buying a house there in 2001.  Mark has worked hard at building up contacts with businesses, politicians and locals in the area and has extensive knowledge of the terrain, roads, culture and history of the region.  He is a good Italian speaker, with some knowledge of German and French too.  Mark has been riding a bike since his early teens and also managed teams in various guises taking them to leading events in the UK (Girvan, Tour of Lancashire etc.) and also many European races.  Mark was also the manager of Andy Marsden when he was racing on the indoor velodromes in Ghent and Antwerp.  Julie runs her café bar in the mountains of the Argentina Valley behind San Remo catering to mostly local clientele who are very demanding in their quest for the best coffee in the region.

Andy assists Mark with groups of cyclists when they visit Italy, plus manning the stands at the various trade shows such as Eurobike in Friedrichschafen, Germany and Bike Motion at Utrecht, Holland.  Andy has raced extensively in the UK as an elite, plus rode in Belgium for the small professional squad Asfra Flanders.

Cycle San Remo is a holiday on the bike, riding in beautiful scenery, taking in much of the Milan – San Remo final miles such as the Cipressa, Poggio and sprint finish along the Via Roma in the heart of San Remo.  Cycle San Remo’s aim is to share with clients some of the culture of Italian life, with the best cafes, restaurants and the warmest hospitality in the region, including forays into the areas around Nice & Menton, which was ceded around 150 years ago from Italy, and the elegance of Monaco nestling between the two countries.

San Remo coastal cycle route

San Remo coastal cycle route

Distances covered vary, but around 100km per day is the norm.  It all depends on the group dynamics and we never, ever leave anyone behind. Julie (Mark’s wife) also offers trekking in the mountains and is more than happy to take people either on a tough walk to the summit of Saccarello at 2200 metres or more gentle strolls through olive groves and chestnut forests.

Cycle San Remo use two hotels; a small family run business in the mountains, some 10km from the coast at Montalto and a much larger modern hotel directly on the beach, this too is family run.  Both offer outstanding food and a fine selection of wines.

If this has whet you appetite then Andy and Mark hold an informal presentation at the Tandem House cycling café in Stockport on Friday 16th January.  Guest speakers as well as Cycle San Remo will be Barry Broadbent, a former UCI commissaire and head of the anti-drugs testing at several Tours de France, Giro d’Italia and La Vuelta plus many of the top European one day classics, Ryan Bonser, Team Sky mechanic and also Darren Kenny.

If you can’t make the presentation Mark is available on UK mobile 0774 705 4293 until the end of January then on his Italian number (0039) 346 372 6542

Check the website for full details www.cyclesanremo.com. Riding in Italy is certainly on my bucket list and I am sure we will be heading over to ride with Mark and Andy in the not too distant future.

Cycle San remo’s 2015 programme starts with Milan – San Remo, flying in on the 21st March for the race the following day.  Then we have Like Bike Monaco over the Easter period and the opening stages of the Giro d’Italia with the Grande Partenza opening with a team time trial along the bike path in San Remo.

This year they are also running six Darren Kenny Cycling Schools throughout the season.  Darren is an O.B.E. and gold medallist in several Paralympics.

The season starts in March and runs through to the end of October so groups can book either a long weekend, flying in Friday mornings and leaving Monday late afternoons or evenings, or for a full week from Saturday to Saturday.  The airport of choice is Nice, just across the border in France and just about an hour transfer time.  It is served by most UK airports by several airlines, including Easyjet, Jet2 and British Airways etc.

 

 

Your Bike Travel

Alex Dowsett with members of team YBT

Alex Dowsett with members of team YBT

Your Bike Travel (YBT) was set up by cycling enthusiast Gareth Stonier in 2013. When starting the company Gareth wanted to do so alongside a current top level professional rider who could help him choose the best locations and rides for YBT’s clients, as well as being available to ride with their guests whenever possible. In fact YBT claim it is the only cycling holiday company set up with the help of a current World Tour rider.

Thus YBT began their relationship with Team Movistar’s rider Alex Dowsett. Alex helped the company choose the

YBT's support car with Team Belkin.

YBT’s support car with Team Belkin.

locations, hotels and different rides available to meet all levels of cyclists. The company has run two annual ride with a pro events where guests get the opportunity to ride alongside Alex and gaining many handy hints and helpful riding tips from him.

I had a chance to talk to Alex about the new business at a round of Revolution in Manchester. It became very clear during our conversion that he is really passionate about making sure they are the best in the business and that they offer a wide range of opportunities for all.

YBT run holidays from two locations, Alicante and Majorca, which is no surprise as around 80% of the current World Tour cycling teams run their winter training camps at these two locations. Both locations offer great winter weather and selection of quiet training roads.

YBT's Mechanical support

YBT’s Mechanical support

The company offers a choice of three or four star hotels along with self catering apartments for those who prefer a bit more freedom. YBT offer both guided and non-guided holidays at their range of locations. The neat things about YBT is that you can get a group of friends together or organise a bike club week away and YBT will tailor the week for you.

YBT’s packages range from non guided breaks from 3 to 14 days, guided 7 or 14 day breaks and specialist triathlete packages which include everything a triathlete could need, and of course carbon bike hire for those who don’t want to travel with their bike. Packages are available all year round and normally they can be arranged for guests within 48 hours.

YBT’s website has great information about the possible rides and includes ever important ride profile. They use some top quality hotels in each destination, all fit for a World Tour rider.

Unfortunately you won’t always be able to ride with Alex, just check the website for details of opportunities to train or ride with him. However YBT has four great riders on the ground to offer help and support:-

  • GarethStonier, Cycling enthusiast and amateur timetriallist. Also works as a guide forYourbiketravel.

    Excellent quiet roads

    Excellent quiet roads

  • Jario Armando Losasa, Ex professional rider from Colombia. Armando has ridden in Europe, South America & the US at the highest level. Great people skills and riding experience are his strengths.
  • Fernando Perez, Fernando currently competes in the Lubricantes Benacantil amateur team. Another affable and intelligent guy. A real asset for Yourbiketravel.
  • David Gomis, Fernando’s team mate at Lubricantes Benacantil and a great descender. Friendly and always willing to offer help and advice.

One of the bonuses of choosing YBT is that you can make travelling easier by hiring one of their bikes for as little as £69 for the week, possibly cheaper then flying/traveling with your own pride and joy.

Chatting with Gareth the other day he was very proud to tell me,

“This is only the company’s second full year since its inception and bookings are already being placed with guests who visited in 2014. Which means we must be doing something right!”

If you want to find out more then take a trip to YBT’s website at www.yourbiketravel.com planning and booking your trip is ultra simple.

 

Cycling Holidays Spain

CHS

We have been training in this part of Spain year after year, its amazing

                                                                                                                                                         — Mark Cavendish

If you want to train like a pro and ride where the pros ride in the winter then CHS is the company for you.

Since 2000 CHS have been providing bespoke training camps for cyclists of all levels.

Based in the beautiful marina Alta mountains of the Costa Blanca within easy reach of Alicante and Valencia airport, CHS have proved themselves as a leader in cycling training camps and holidays.

Relaxing evenings by the pool.

Relaxing evenings by the pool.

CHS is owned and run by  Nozad Nawras an Englishman who with his parents moved to Spain some 20 years ago,

Nozad used to live in London and was a Special needs teacher (Science and PE teacher) covering a wide spectrum of

Team CHS support car.

Team CHS support car.

disabilities. His passion had always been sport and although being a footballer, when he made the difficult decision to give up football having played at almost the top level, he made the transition to endurance events, ‘which was tough as I was genetically a sprinter!’

Nozad has represented his country in Athletics, qualified for the world champs in triathlon a few years back, and regularly hooked up with the odd pro rider out in Spain as well as the Brownlee brothers who train in the region. He now races road bikes in Spain.

The first training camps started back in 2000 during his holiday times as a teacher. He saw huge potential as the conditions are the best with perfect roads and perfect weather.

It was when his dad passed away 4 years ago that he moved over full time. Nozad says ‘I owe him everything, His hard work has allowed me to continue a passion of mine and provide a great training camp and service to many cyclists who now are great friends of mine.’

Team Astana on winter training block.

Team Astana on winter training block.

So what are you looking for from a training camp? Maybe CHS might just have the answer for you. They certainly know how to make you feel at home, in fact CHS provides you with a real home from home, from the healthy home cooked food, using local fresh produce to the post ride massage and spa, everything you could want is on hand. When you are out on the road, there is no need to worry about mechanicals as the CHS team car is on hand to support all your needs on the excellently guided rides, and you never know you might just find yourself mixing it with some of the pro teams out on their winter training block.

Being able to put your passion to the test without compromise is what CHS is all about. They cater for cyclists of all levels and base their philosophy on the fact that given the right conditions and support, you can train to your max and improve every area of your cycling from fitness to technique.

The CHS model is based around how pro teams train during their winter blocks. Everything is taken care of allowing you to focus 100% of your time on riding and development, it’s all about the bike! CHS pride themselves on their outstanding reputation and client feedback. At CHS they strive to make your training experience the best it can be and they have a true passion for cycling.

So if you’re a cyclist, no matter what level and you want the best in training camps, with the extra special personal touch, then C.H.S claim that they can and will deliver.

This appears to upheld with their full, all inclusive Pro Package cost £475 for the week, offering great value for money. Just add in travel and bike transportation or hire one of CHS’s full carbon bikes for an extra £100.

If you want to find out more then visit www.cyclingholidayspain.co.uk and start planning your holiday today.

 

Trek Travel

Trek Travel

This company came to my attention via the guys a Bikechainricci in Cornwall, who have used them before and rate them very highly. Bikechainrici had invited me along on one of their trips, which sadly I could not join as it was in term time (the joys of teaching!).

Trek Travels website makes the following claim:-

TREK TRAVEL MAKES EVERY MOMENT MAGICAL. 

YOU MAY NEVER WANT TO GO HOME.

Sipping wine off the coast of the Mediterranean. Lounging in the finest hotels in Europe and climbing the most epic mountain passes you could ever imagine. At Trek Travel, we’ve custom-built the perfect vacations for lovers of luxury, disciples of cycling, and families who want to see the world like they’ve never seen it before.

A Trek Travel vacation is unlike any bike trip you’ve ever taken, from first clip-in to final farewell. Why? 

They claim the reason’s are simple

OUR GUIDES ARE TRAINED TO MAKE YOUR TRIP MAGICAL.

They aren’t just experts in riding; they’re trained in delivering uncompromising service in ways you won’t believe. We know that it’s the unexpected surprises that make a trip magical. That’s why our guides pride themselves on anticipating your needs before you ask. It’s their job to provide you with moments of “wow”.

WE INCLUDE MORE.

When you choose Trek Travel, you get so much more than the experience of a lifetime. Added benefits like discounts on bike purchases, special Trek jerseys or arm warmers and socks, a dedicated travel coordinator and exclusive events to connect you with your fellow travelers are just a few of the special touches to make your trip even better.

WE ARE THE BIKE TOUR EXPERTS.

One look at our travel calendar and you’ll see: travel options abound. We offer cycling trips around the globe, from Zion National Park to the Croatian coast, and everything in between. And since we’re the world leader in bicycle tours, we know the best hotels, dining, excursions and rides. All with that special “insider” twist.

TREK BICYCLES SET US APART.

It wouldn’t be the perfect vacation without the perfect bike. That’s why we’re proud to offer a complete selection of Trek bikes, from the race-ready Domane with electronic shifting to the cruiser-comfortable Trek 7.6 FX hybrid. The best part? Your perfectly tuned-and-ready bike is already included in the trip cost. Upgrades are available as well.

YOUR DAY. YOU DECIDE.

Perhaps you want to spend the day taking a quiet ride through the Tuscan hillside or touring the local village, but your spouse has always wanted to ride the famous switchbacks of Alpe d’Huez or the moonscape of Ventoux. At Trek Travel, our vacations are built to deliver the ultimate in flexibility. Our guides can accommodate the most hard-core roadies while delivering unparalleled attention to the needs of all vacationers, all at the same time. You pick your mileage, itinerary and experiences. We take care of the rest.

GUARANTEED TO RUN*.

Rest assured when you book with us your trip will run.
*For most trips this will apply, but some trips are so special we need a few more people to run them.

Some very bold claims and looking over the website Trek Travel certainly seems to much more like the Kuoni of cycling holidays. They have a multiplicity of destinations from Majorca to Moab. Just be aware when you are looking at prices on the web, Trek list the total cost and it is only when you open the specific holiday will you get an idea of the price per person. Trek certainly caters for every type of rider including some family holidays and they make it very easy to select the holiday that is right for you.

So if you want a package cycling holiday then get in touch with Trek Travel at www.trektravel.com

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions! Who would I pick? To be fair I would probably rule out Trek Travel. This is purely and simply a personal preference, I really do not like the big corporate look of Trek and to be totally honest I like going with the smaller and maybe more personal businesses, the companies where the employees have much more of a stake in what they are doing. However I know that have always had excellent service from Trek Travel.

So for me it would have to be Cycle San Remo, CHS or YBT and to be fair I just can’t split the three. For the full on chilled riviera experience it would have to be Cycle San Remo, however if I wanted to train like a pro it is impossible to split CHS and YBT. But at the end of the day, as they say, ‘The choice is yours!’.

All I can say is whoever you go with I hope you have an amazing time. Remember It’s all about the bike!

Happy Cycling Holidays.

Bikeboyslim

Beet It Sports Bars Review

Beet It

Beet it Sports Bars

This time last year I had the privilege to test Beet It Shots and wrote quite an in-depth review and report about the product and the impact 0.4g Nitrate has on sports performance. This year I have had the privilege to test Beet It pro-elite Beetroot and oat flapjack.

For those who do not know much about the idea of using Beetroot as a super food then I recommend reading my previous review but in a nut shell.

Research has shown the the consumption of 0.4g of Nitrate prior to taking part in a sport significantly boosts your performance.

The science: beet nitrates are converted into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a signalling agent that causes vasodilation, a widening of the blood vessels. Wider blood vessels equal increased blood flow. Better blood flow means more stamina and improved oxygen usage, leading to a 15%ish boost in performance.

But beetroot products are not just for endurance athletes, a lot of the famous beet root juice users like Mo Farah are distance aerobic-energy-based athletes.  Additionally, the majority of studies have been performed on runners, swimmers, rowers and cyclists. On the surface, the science behind beet root juice seems like it only provides a simple aerobic/endurance boost.

Beet juice-derived nitric oxide works so well it has been used in the Olympics as a supplement by endurance athletes for years now. No wonder this preconception is so pervasive. However, improved oxygen usage can be a boost to any athlete.

Nitric oxide is able to temporarily bolster the aerobic/oxidative system and helps traditionally non-aerobic, non-endurance athletes recover faster, even if they aren’t participating in a long-distance, endurance-based activities because the body draws its ability to regenerate energy from that system.

Therefore, if you’re an olympic athlete or a recreational sports person, you can benefit from beet root juice products.Beet It Sports Bar

This has certainly been born out this summer from my experience in the heat of riding in the Vendee. Beet It sports bars are easily digested and taste much nicer then the shots, with the added bonus that they contain slow releasing oats for addition food supply while riding.

I followed a simple regime, eat a bar 1 hour before riding and I also tested a second bar towards the end of rides over 2/3 hours. I did not start using the product until I had built up some miles in my legs and I had that ever present thigh burn at the start of rides.

The most instantly noticeable affect of the Nitrate is the lack of thigh burn at the start of rides and the ability to ride longer before fatigue begins to set in. Which is pretty much the same finding as last year so the delivery system does not affect the absorption and performance of the product.

What was new for this year was the consumption of a second bar on longer rides, while this did not necessary boost performance further but it did have a more noticeable effect on day two. Riding out on day two I did not have the expected heavy legs but it was as if I had had another bar that morning. So now my routine is to have a second bar post long ride to aid recovery.

I really can not recommend this product highly enough, it is the best sports nutrition product I have ever used, and I have used a few, it is way better then any gel, protein carb mix you can buy and to be honest is the only thing other than a zero calorie electrolyte that I will ever use.

jerseyBeetitBarsReviewRatingIf I was Victor Kiam I would buy the company the product is that good. Beet It pro-elite beetroot and oat flapjacks are a must.

I’d give it 110% but my editor tells me I have to cap my enthusiasm at 100% they are a CyclingShorts.cc star buy!

RRP: £25.00 for a case of 15 bars

Pendle Tandem Carrier Roof Rack Reviewed

Earlier this year my wonderful wife surprised me with a Tandem for our 25th Wedding anniversary, which does fit in the back of our people carrier however does not allow us to have anyone else in the car, which would be a bit of a problem when we head to France for our family summer holiday. The solution a tandem roof rack, but which one?

If I am honest I have never really been a fan of bike racks that clamp onto the frame, they often scuffPendle Tandem Roof Rack or damage the tube they clamp to and the the thought of only one clamp point with a Tandem did not appeal.

I scoured the marketplace and came up with three main options but the cost of two of the choices really ruled them out, so I finally plumped for the Pendle Tandem Carrier with front fork clamp. It also meant that I would be supporting a British Engineering firm, in my eyes a big bonus.

The prices direct from Pendle where not great so I placed an order via www.roofbox.co.uk a company I have used over the years to buy roof rack items at very reasonable prices and that was certainly true of the Pendle Rack.

I eagerly awaited the arrival of the bike rack, almost like an expectant father. Roofbox did not let me down, rapid delivery to my place of work in plenty of time for my test run for the Great Manchester Cycle a few weeks before our holiday.

The weekend before the ride I decided to fit the rack to our roof bars, as we no longer live in the 70’s flat pack world of missing parts and several trips backwards and forwards for missing screws and nuts, I assumed I did not need to go through the check list provided with the rack. How wrong could I be!!

I quickly and easily assembled the main part of the rack body and got it in place to clamp to the roof bars, but wait there is something missing. No maybe I missed them in the shrink wrapped packaging, surely the bottom plates for clamping to the roof bars are still in the box. After several minutes of vigourusly shaking the box nothing, they where missing, unbelievable! A quick email to Pendle to ask for the parts job sorted, but no joy ‘please contact supplier’. Ok fair enough but surely they will only contact Pendle etc etc. A quick call to Roofbox and a very helpful customer service assistant kept me on hold while she rang Pendle and got the parts shipped directly to me  (Roofbox 10, Pendle 0!).

The parts arrived the following day and I fitted the rack to the roof bars, but wait I am two bolts short! A quick hunt through my own spares box and two suitable bolts later rack fitted and set up in time for the Great Manchester Ride.

I contacted Pendle direct about the missing bolts and the over all initial lack of service. I did get an email back from one of the directors offering me bolts but to be fair it was sorted. I really wanted to point out that we are no longer in the era of parts falling off cars and missing bits from self assembly furniture, and that it might be an idea to actually do some quality control on final packaging.

On a positive note the rack does do what is says on the tin and works really well holding the tandem in place very securely, which is all it needs to do. (Pendle 10 out of 10 for functionality). It is not perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing item and maybe not of the highest quality for chroming and powder coating but that does not matter too much.

When we arrived in France I noticed another family with a Pendle rack and asked if they had any problems with supply. They too had bought from Roofbox with excellent service, and yes they too had parts missing for the bike rack, you’ve guessed it bottom plate and bolts. Hmm looks like mine is not an isolated instance. Come on Pendle! Nelson, Lancashire is surely not languishing 30 years behind us all, get your quality control sorted!

jerseyRatingPendleTandemRackFunctionality 90%

Quality of Service/ Customer service attitude (Pendle) 10%

Quality of Service/ Customer service attitude Roofbox 100%

I would recommend Roofbox for bike rack and roof bar supplies, but I might just pay the extra and avoid the hassle of buying a Pendle rack again.

RRP: £162.00 for both versions

Giro Monaco Mitts Reviewed

Giro Monaco Mitts

Giro – Monaco Mitts

I know that mitts can be somewhat of a personal thing and that is certainly true for me. I have being pursuing the perfect set of mitts ever since I bought my first pair of classic crochet backed leather palmed road mitts in the 1980’s.

To be honest not a single pair of modern gel inserted synthetic mitts have ever cut the mustard in comparison to my first pair of classic mitts, that is until I bought a pair of Giro Monaco’s from www.sportspursuit.com, the discount online sports clothing company.

The top of the Giro Monaco’s may not be the longed for crochet cotton but rather a modern nylon/polyester mix, for which I can forgive them, as the mitts are very comfortable. But the, hands down, wining feature has to be the sheepskin leather palms, with no gel inserts but slightly thicker padded areas in the key contact points of thumb, heel of hand and base of fingers.

The mitts have been comfortable from the moment I slipped my hands inside, dare I say they fit like a glove, well a fingerless glove! But seriously they have been the most comfortable pair of mitts I have owned, even twelve months on and over 2000 km of riding in mixed conditions they are providing a far superior level of comfort. As time has passed they have become just like that pair of favourite trainers or slippers the ones you know you will be gutted when they finally give up the ghost. There are some limited signs of wear on the palms but the leather is not splitting or cracking even after the soakings in the rain they have received.

I suspect that they have another 12 months or more left in them but I think it is time to buy another pair to give me time to gently say good bye to a comfortable old friend while taking time to introduce myself to my new friend.

GiroMittsCSReviewRatingWhat will I replace my old friends with? Yes you’ve guessed it another pair of Giro Monacos. They get aCyclingShorts.cc Star Buy Rating!

Rating 95%

 

Giro Monaco Mitts at Amazon

 

Let There be Light! – Bontrager Glo & Ember LED’s Reviewed

Bontrager Glo and Ember LED lights

Bontrager Glo and Ember

Bontrager Glo and Ember

As the nights have become dark we all need to make sure we can see and be seen.

Bontrager’s Glo and Ember lights might not be quite the thing if you want to see but they will certainly allow you to be seen.

For the last couple of years I have been using the cheap £2 frog eye lights that are available by the shed load on eBay. While they do a job there is certainly a question over the level of lumens they produce and to be honest there ability to withstand the elements is suspect. I thought it was time to try out something a little more up market, even though this might go against my cheapskate grain!

As soon as I picked up the Bontrager lights I could tell they where going to perform significantly better then the cheap frog eyes.

The marketing blurb on Bontrager’s website describes the lights as follows:-

Test lights supplier by Bikechain Ricci

Test lights supplied by Bikechain Ricci

Instantly add front or rear safety lighting with the Glo headlight and and Ember tail light. Used as a stand alone system in twilight conditions, as additional lighting or as an emergency back-up, these compact, bright and stylish lights can be run in either steady or flashing modes and provide over 40 hours of run time. Each includes two CR2032 batteries and an elastic strap for attachment to a variety of surfaces including helmets.

http://www.bontrager.com/model/11364

The blurb on the packaging is slightly more generous with the run times, 50/100+ hours (Glo front light) and 100+ hours (Ember). The Glo offers 5 lumens and the Ember 3 Lumens.

Ember provides a bright rear light even in daylight.

Ember provides a bright rear light even in daylight.

Fitting the lights is dead simple and the multi hole bands allow for very secure fitting to either seat-post or handle bars, as well as potential use as a helmet light.

These little bad boys are way brighter then any lights of this type I have used before, certainly making them worth the money. They really are great lights to allow you to be seen by but not so good for you to see the road ahead. I frequently use them as my road lights riding city streets to and from the dark lanes or off road ride areas, where I switch to my high power Cree LED lights.

If you are looking for something that will help make you visible on your town or city commute in these dark winter months then get yourself along to your local bike shop and pick up a pair of Bontrager Glo and Ember lights.

CyclingShortsBontragerGlowEmberReviewRatingA definte one to ask Santa to leave in your stocking.

 

A CyclingShorts.cc Star buy at 90%

Retails for around £25 – £30 per set (can be bought individually).

A big thank you to @bikechainricci for supplying these lights for test.

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