Cycling Gear

Ortlieb Bike Tourer Panniers – Product Review

In spring a young man’s thoughts turn to love; a not-so-young man’s thoughts turn to touring. One of the challenges of touring on a tandem is luggage capacity. Mary’s philosophy is to take absolutley everything she might possibly need. Before we got Lady CoMo this approach worked reasonably well, but the tandem forced us to […]

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Brooks Cambium, I'm a saddle tester!

A few months ago I received a newsletter from Brooks announcing that they were to introduce a new range of non leather saddles. They also announced that they were looking for 100 cyclists to volunteer to test out the new saddles before they went on general sale. I've always been a bit of a sucker […]

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The London Bike Show 2013

By some strange coincidence our weekend visit to London happened to coincide, once again, with the London Bike Show. With many local roads covered in frozen snow a morning spent wandering round a nice warm hall looking at bikes seemed a very good option! Bikes and tea, what more could you want?

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Uniglide and Hyperglide compatibility

I've been reading about how Shimano's 10-speed MTB rear derailleurs are not compatible with their 10-speed (STI) road shifters. This affects those of us who prefer to use lower gears on our road bikes rather than grind our way up hills. It reminded me of when I had a pair of wheels built in the […]

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B17S Saddle and the ThudBuster

Surprisingly, our bodies do not stay the same as we age. For almost four years Mary has been living with a discomfort that is specifically feminine and greatly aggravated by riding. Short rides have been a chore and long ones have been excruciating, sometimes resulting in painful, broken blisters. I mention these details only in […]

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A Frame of Carbon and Fibre

It's worth taking a close look at this one ... fixed gear, no less

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Breaking Up Isn’t That Hard To Do

We were supposed to ride on Saturday. The previous weekend was brilliant for weather and we spent all of it in the garden or around the house. We didn’t get on the bike once. This weekend we were going to ride, ride, ride to make up for lost time. What did we wake up to? […]

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Bespoked 2 (the sequel) – more 'bike porn'

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Hilary's post regarding Bespoked 2012. I too attended the show and her photos reminded me of some of the fantastic craftmanship that was on display. Melanie, my wife. took a different view, accusing me of ogling 'bike porn' again...charming! Rather than repeat much of Hilary's post (and because her photos are […]

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Bespoked Bristol, The UK Handmade Bicycle Show

There's something special about a handmade bike. There is absolutely nothing wrong with factory built bikes but they just don't have that uniqueness, that personal touch, that sense of timeless British craftsmanship. I've no use for a handmade suit, my furniture is all flat pack, but a handbuilt bike is a luxury I can just […]

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Service: Chain Reaction Cycles

I received an email last Friday (thanks Chris) informing me that Chain Reaction Cycles is selling 9-speed Shimano Tiagra model 4503 triple front mechs for £10 (RRP £31.99). Free delivery. This is the same front mech as the one on our 2008 Ridgeback Panorama touring bikes. With the industry move to 10-speed (why?) they are […]

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Handpump Comparison: Topeak vs. Lezyne

Is there anything more frustrating than a lousy handpump? In our short cycling career I must have gone through a dozen pumps, most of which are now landfill. There are two main requirements for a good handpump in my humble opinion: it must fasten securely to the valve stem, and you must be able to […]

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The London Bike Show

Last Sunday I visited the London Bike Show at the Excel Centre. It was held in conjunction with the Outdoors Show, the Adventure Travel Show and the Boat Show. Boats make me seasick but the rest sounded right up my street.

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A really useful battery charger

Maha Powerex MH-C9000 WizardOne Charger-Analyzer This AA-AAA battery charger wasn't given to me for Christmas but would have made a good present. My Garmin eTrex Legend HCx GPS and front/rear lights all use AA batteries. For cycle touring, normal batteries make sense as there is no need to carry a charger and replacements can be […]

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Moon X-Power 500 front light

Moon X-Power 500 mounted on my winter bike Other than the items on Santa’s list I foolishly thought I had everything I needed for my bikes. Since February I have spent close on £3000 on bikes, clothing and equipment (but clawed back £273.65 on selling bikes now not needed). A further cost will now be […]

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Bike upgrade: hydraulic disc brakes

... from cables (known as mechanical). My Giant Escape Disc is now equipped with Teppan Yaki SP5 floating stainless steel rotors and Shimano Deore M596 hydraulic brakes (opposed 2-piston design) with sintered pads. These brakes are 'bottom end' MTB (this bike is actually a hybrid) but according to Singletrack Magazine have "gained some of the […]

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Pimp My Ride

The Satin Bowerbird is found in the forests of Australia. Like all bowerbirds it clears a small area and decorates it with carefully collected objects in order to attract a mate. These can be flowers, pebbles or even discarded sweet wrappers, bottle tops or old biros. The Satin Bowerbird has a particular fascination with shiny […]

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Something's wrong: I'm satisfied with my bike

Cateye TL-LD1100 LED rear light The satisfaction is not the one I'm tempted by whenever I cycle over a busy motorway. After all, I'm sometimes down there on the road myself and besides, this is the movement of people and goods that keeps the wheels turning, so to speak. Most of the things society now […]

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And now… my winter bike

As I looked out of the window for the third time this morning – it was still raining! The BBC weather web site had promised cloud with a light rain shower. This was seven o'clock and a heavy pouring. I had been looking forward all week to my third CTC ride but didn't fancy getting […]

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Sit bone pain… It's a pain in the ***

Saddle Review. The RIDO R2 Saddle Current saddles one each on my road bikes: Brooks Finesse – Ladies.

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Trek carbon monocoque

What bike is this? I took this photo in rather a hurry as we queued to drive onto the cross channel ferry a couple of weeks ago. The owner wasn't there so I couldn't ask exactly what bike it was. After searching around for "trek carbon monocoque co-molded" (written on the frame) I think it's […]

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Belt drive bikes

Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) is a Canadian outlet for high quality, outdoor gear including products they market under their own label. (I believe Hilary's Mountain Equipment sleeping bag is a MEC product.) Last year they introduced a line of bicycles, which caused some consternation among local bike shops. As a cooperative MEC is subject to […]

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Balmy in Biggleswade

The sun fought to burn through the pinky-purple haze when Brown Bike and I set off at 7am this morning. We avoid travelling before 9am because we are not keen on commuters. They know these country lanes forwards and backwards (but mostly not sideways). They know the exact speed they can take each corner, and […]

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Buying a new bike: more knowledge, more expense

I think it was when I'd cycled 25 miles (in one go) that I went from being somebody who rode a bike to being a cyclist. There is a clear distinction between these two groups; the main one being that I would actually buy 'Cycling Active' and not just browse through it on WH Smith's […]

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Choosing a new bike: "A little knowledge…"

Natural aging had brought me to forty three years old, but a lack of attention had taken me to over fifteen stone. One hour of five a side football a week was not enough to keep anywhere near an acceptable level of fitness. So one Sunday in February this year I dug out my rusting […]

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Carbon fibre fork failure

A couple of weeks ago an acquaintance's cycling companion snapped the carbon fibre fork on his Trek bike. He crashed badly and: Quote: is paralysed from the neck down with little prospect of recovery. This is of course a total horror for a cyclist. He's 61 years of age.

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Scott Sportster 10 Solution

Scott Sportster 10 Solution 2011 Mrs Taylor's new bike is a Scott Sportster 10 Solution hybrid bicycle, 2011 model.

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Bicycle gear ratio analysis

27-speed drivetrain My touring bike was supplied with a Shimano Deore 48/36/26 chainset (with 175 mm cranks) and a Deore 11-32 9-speed cassette. I soon replaced the cassette with a Deore XT 11-34 and have just fitted a Deore XT M771 48/36/26 crankset: this 'trekking' crankset has wider ratios than M770 mountain bike cranksets with […]

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The Santa Ponza or Torremolinos Bag

I'm not hugely into style. I'll rephrase that. I don't care about style. I prefer function. I've owned many bicycles in my time, certainly more than 30, but I've never bought hugely expensive stylish bikes for the sake of style. On the other hand, I'm keen on function. I've bought all sorts of cycling clothes, […]

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A tale of two tyres (or four or six)

Ignorance was bliss: I thought I was happy with Brown Bike's Schwalbe Marathon 28mm tyres.

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Broken cycling helmet

(Click photo to enlarge) Lucky he was wearing a helmet. Not broken completely, but fractured. It worked.

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SpinScan

One of the interesting aspects of the CompuTrainer is the SpinScan. I’m not sure quite how it’s done, but the system measures the torque applied to the pedals at each point in the compass. The visual display gives you an idea of the efficiency of your pedal stroke – an ideal pedal stroke would show […]

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Bullet cam cycling helmet test

I'd been testing my DogCam Bullet HD on the handlebars of my bike. Yesterday I fixed the camera to my cycling helmet and rode to the Bolton Arena. My speed awareness course was held there today, starting at 8.00 am. By coincidence the Bolton Arena was designed by me in 1996. This is only the […]

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DogCam Bullet HD video camera

A video camera the size of your thumb...

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Weight on my Giant bike

My Giant winter bike weighed about 25 lbs new, but the suspension fork and a Brooks saddle probably bring it nearer to 28 lbs (I must weigh it). That isn't a fire extinguisher in the bottle cage. For this afternoon's ride I decided to try the red Lifeventure thermal mug I was given at Christmas, […]

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A quick spin

On New Year's Eve I hurtled around the village preceding a local loop. This was about 12 km (7.5 miles) which I did in 3 min 22 sec. That's 214 kph (134 mph). A personal best. And, if I'm not mistaken, a world record for human powered vehicles. Click on the piccy for the viddy.

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Christmas, gettin' out and about again, and a Paramo review

December has been a horrible month as far as cycling has been concerned. My last Audax ride was on the 12th of December and that was the very last day I rode my bicycle... not like me at all.

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Bike shop survey: UK retail trends

As two of my sons work part-time in bike shops – one in a large chain and one in a small independent – I hear the view from the retailer's side: issues like margins, stock levels, cash flow, what is profitable and what is not, etc. During November, BikeBiz gathered the thoughts of 95 independent […]

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CompuTrainer

Yesterday was rematch day. Same route, same opponent. Before going further I will warn you that this post has an Irish angle. I have never ridden a bicycle race and I don't think I ever will. I'm a bit past the time of life to take up competitive sports, if you know what I mean.

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Exposure Joystick (Mark 2) Front Light

I bought this at the end of 2008. It was a bit of an extravagance, I don't do that much night riding but Winstanleys Bikes had it at a particularly good price and I just couldn't resist it! The current model, the Mark 5, is even brighter but otherwise much the same. I use it […]

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Chopping and Folding

The CTC has a handy guide to help me distinguish between trekkers, tourers, audaxes and other marketing terms. Roadsters are now called "city bikes" and racers are now called "road bikes", in much the same confusing way that crossbars are now called "top tubes". I need to learn this new language so my LBS can […]

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A prototype bicycle by Geoff Apps

Gorgeous bike design A prototype bicycle built by Geoff Apps in 2006, prompted by the availability of the Shimano Nexus Inter-8 hub gear. An article about Geoff appeared in the CTC 'Cycle' magazine Aug-Sept 2010 edition. There's something strangely Valkyriesque about this image, and it's a beautiful machine. I asked on his blog if he'd […]

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Giant Escape Disc

It's a bit of a weird name for a bike. I've just bought (ordered) one from a local bike shop. The Giant Escape Disc is a 'tackle anything' hybrid bicycle built on a lightweight AluxX SL Aluminium frame, with Shimano transmission and disc brakes, and mine will be fitted with a short-travel suspension fork for […]

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Assos Arm Protectors

Arm warmers are handy things, ideal for those days that start off a bit cool but then warm up. Trouble is they tend to either fall down or dig into the top of your arm. Or at least the ones I've got for a fiver out of the bottom of a rummage bin do! This […]

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Minx-Girl and the Rickshaw messenger bag

As I recently put up a review of my favourite cycle luggage company, I thought it best that I should therefore review my cycle messenger bag. It was my birthday in March, and my eldest purchased for me, a Rickshaw Zero Messenger bag from Minx-Girl: http://www.minx-girl.com/

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Carradice of Nelson, a British Company, with true British Values

Carradice, the very word oozes 'canvas and leather strapping'. No where in my opinion can you buy better cycling luggage and saddlebags than from Carradice. I am rather new to cycling, so when recommended this firm by other members of the CTC forum back in 2008, I took a look.

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A breathable cycling jacket

Fed up with the poor breathability of my breathable Montane cycling jacket, I set about finding a waterproof cycling jacket made from a material that really is both waterproof and fully breathable. After some investigation, I opted for the Quito jacket from Páramo Directional Clothing Systems. It's fashioned by former street ladies in South America, […]

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