A former bank worker now working for a major national outdoor company Stu is an avid mountain and road cyclist and tests kit for MyOutdoors around the BreconBeacons and South Wales. As a member of South Wales Mountaineering Club stu, along with partner Julie (who also tests for us) also both climbs and walks. When not tearing up mountain bike trails Stu can be found on the road either commuting by bike or taking part in muscle draining sportives in the Peak District.
With his retail experience and insight Stu is able to help us with real time buying trends and reviews based on a wide range of kit for comparisons. Stu has also started writing for MyOutdoors Blog, first documenting his "conversion" to a road cyclist and soon to be reliving some of his recent cycle tours that have taken in both the Balkans and Estonia/Latvia. You may even be able to pick him out in photos of wild camping in Magillicuddy's Reeks on the site - Stu gets around!
First of all a confession. When I got the call about going to Canazei and experiencing skiing the Sella Ronda, I may have bigged up my ability a bit. To be fair I have skied reds in Italy and France (although not always very well) and thought how much harder can it be? Besides this was a trip to the Dolomities, somewhere I've always wanted to visit and no way could I pass the chance up. Do you know what? I was right not to. The next few days were full of the some of the most beautiful views I've ever cast my eyes over.
I was supposed to be going cycling in the Dolomites in July. A perfect chance to test the Rapha Brevet with it's Polartec Alpha insulation I hoped. For various reasons sadly that didn't happen and so I searched for the opportunity to give this snazzy piece of kit a good test. It stood up to South Wales summer drizzle quite admirably but I wasn't sure that was enough of a test for something that costs £150 and it certainly wasn't testing the Polartec Alpha. I know I've got it. This year's touring was taking in the mountains of both Serbia and Montenegro. Perfect.
Cycling jerseys put up with a lot. Exposed to rain, road grime, energy gels and the potent sweat of the Mamil. Usually worn once then washed and worn again because usually after one hard ride the jersey needs dealing with at arms length. This shortens the life of any garment but Polygiene claim to have solved the problem and with Maloja providing one off test pieces I decided to see if they were right.
There's more to a good pair of sunglasses than just reducing the sun's brightness. Our Cycling Editor's partnet, Julie, puts a pair of Smith Optics Asana, designed specifically for adventure, to the test.
When it comes to closed road sportives Prudential Ride London is the biggest. With thirty thousand riders attempting either 46 miles or, as nearly twenty five thousand do, the 100 mile version. A legacy event from 2012 the event is massivly over subscribed and just like it's sister event the London Marathon , it can be difficult to get a place. This year I was lucky enough to be invited to ride so I headed to that London to see why eighty thousand apply every year to ride through a city.
I've got a confession. Although I know I'm extremely photogenic and I'm unaware the camera is pointed in my direction on most occasions, I may just be a little bit of a poser. No don't argue with me I am honestly, trust me.
I heard the excitement in her voice, Well as much excitement as a Yorkshire accent can actually convey, "A closed road sportive around Loch Ness, I've got to do that." Problem was the only spaces available were charity and I don't get why people should sponsor me to enjoy myself so I didn't fancy it but Julie being new to proper cycling ie road it was still enough of a challenge to warrant it. So in the depths of a Scottish spring we made our way to Inverness.