I've managed to get a few rides in this summer. Unlike a lot of people I actually adore the heat. I think I'm actually part lizard and out on the bike the feeling of the sum on my skin is pretty close to my idea of heaven. Of course with all this sun it's been the perfect chance to test out some sunglasses including the striking Aeromax from French company Bolle.
There's an age old debate amongst road cyclists about sartorial elegance. Should kit match? Obviously one doesn't want to mix up colours and cause a clash thus looking a fool, but should brands be mixed? A lot of cyclists don't believe they should and I've started to come around to the idea especially when the Craft Monument MSR set landed on my doorstep.
Sunglasses are important. In one of my former incarnations as a wannabe rock singer I put my failure to make the big time down to a lack of decent shades. It had nothing to do with the rise of grunge or a lack of talent but my sunglasses. Amazingly these days as a cyclist I rediscovered the importance of the correct eyewear and not just for looking good but also to protect the eyes. Who knew? Anyway over the years I've been through a few pairs until about 5 years ago whilst flush with the redundancy payout of a different incarnation I purchased a premium pair which were just about perfect I thought so when the Smith Optics Attack Max arrived for test they had a lot to be compared to.
Hopefully the elusive season known as "Spring" will arrive soon. You'll know when it does. The drizzle becomes slightly warmer and pink thighs and knees will be evident as far as the eye can see. Yes the British cycling male will decide it's shorts time. Europeans are bemused by the rush to expose legs in Britain. At a brand event I was discussing with a German fellow and he couldn't understand why, when the temperature is below 10 degrees why us Brits risk injuring our important knee ligaments for no sensible reason.
A few years ago I was writing some interactive cycling training to be rolled out country wide. I was restricted to items that this particular company sold and as I was writing the module on saddle fit and comfort, it occurred to me that for all the talk of good shorts, the right saddle etc I had to miss out something very important in the process. Chamois Cream. A lot of people don't like to mention it but smearing a good dollop cream into your bits can make a huge contribution in avoiding saddle sores
Winter isn't going yet. When we go out for a ride I reckon we still have a while of faffing about with getting layers right and wrapping up. It's an absolute pain I know but with the sportive season sneaking up on us we need to get outside and train.
I have massive hands and skinny wrists. It's true and trying to find gloves that both fit and perform isn't easy especially for the colder months. I've been through many a pair and either they don't fit or I don't get any feedback from the handle bars. The price has been irrelevant £7 gloves have outperformed £70 gloves. So when the bonKa gloves landed I my door I didn't let the brand or the price influence me.
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.