Rapha SS14

As a lover of rapha – this hits the spot

cork grips


As always I’m interested to see what Rapha‘s doing each new season and this collection does not disappoint. New styles of old favorite pieces, and new additional pieces that expand the brand’s offerings for the sartorially discerned cyclist. I’ll just touch on what caught my eye but the whole lookbook can be viewed here.

The Trade Jersey (pictured above) was introduced last year but they’ve taken the concept of the jersey further with the addition of embroidered text and graphics inspired by the heroes.

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Touring Bike Build #5: Handlebar bag and a rack bag (just in case)

I was pretty desperate for a rando type leather bag for the new touring build but I wasn’t convinced on the need for a front rack on the bike.

Thus began the search for just a Plane Jane handlebar bag but not one that was saggy like the one i had on my Yuba Mundo (name and shame it was an Altura Orkney) with a wire connection that scraped away at the the bar …. then i found this info on www.pathlesspedalled.com

What led me to the Arkel handlebar bag was primarily its aluminum quick release system. I despise the current “smash a wire” technology employed by every other handlebar bag maker. They are essentially single use and a pain to move from bike to bike. Arkel’s system seems more elegant (and weighs less than a mini front rack) but I could never find a good video of how they actually worked. So I made one.

 won’t go into too much detail (that’s what the vid is for!), but here’s the executive summary.


Great mounting system
Roomy for a small bag


Straight out of the 70s styling
No rain cover for $120
High position on the handlebar takes getting use to after rack bags

Their words not mine – it is v expensive in the UK – £100 but hey ho feeling flash baby.

and also bought a rack bag – an Ortlieb in yellow. So luggage is all sorted now ……

What is Bicycle Travel? – PathLessPedaled.com (GREAT VIDEO)

How great is this film – never thought about the Brompton as a tourer ….. wow

Our ode to bicycle travel. Some people think that it is all about the bike, but we all know that it isn’t. When we go on tour, the most indelible memories we bring back are about the people we’ve met.


Bike WHY?? Here is just one reason

If you travel by bike you can’t help but smile – and people can’t help but smile back

Our ode to bicycle travel. Some people think that it is all about the bike, but we all know that it isn’t. When we go on tour, the most indelible memories we bring back are about the people we’ve met.


Entering the harbour when the waves are huge …. Sailing nightmares

Years ago i went sailing with my ex father in law who wanted to test his Moody 47 in heavier seas.

Moody 47 on a much nicer day 15knots peachy
Moody 47 on a much nicer day 15knots peachy

I had already been kitesurfing in the morning but my father in law was not a great sailor (the sort that tacked with a cruising chute up and wondered why it wrapped in the rigging). Although the wind was hitting 25knots the boat was of such a design as to be able to handle it …..

We went out and the waves had already got a lot bigger. We sailed with a reefed (furled main and a staysail for a few hours) Having gotten the boat well out the water beating upwind over a decent 20 foot set of waves. The problems came up when we headed back and I saw the entrance to the harbour had waves breaking before the entrance. This was a combination of bigger waves and a dropping tide.

I suggested we go up the coast to a larger commercial harbour which had better deepwater marina facilities but as he was going the next morning overseas to work for 4 weeks he was adamant he wanted it back in its own dock. He also wanted me to take it in … well it was directly downwind into the harbour mouth .

‘Do you have a drogue (sea anchor)’ i asked

‘What is that?’

my plan was to half deploy and motor in with it keeping us stern on in the breaking waves
my plan was to half deploy and motor in with it keeping us stern on in the breaking waves

Do you even have a steel bucket or any bucket? NADA

So that is how i came to be motoring in (with its great 75hp motor) into the harbour. I tried to time the run between sets but as we were screaming towards the harbour I heard the roar of a wave to see the white water at eye level just about to hit us from behind. I slipped into neutral then full into reverse ….  but as soon as the prop hit white water it just spun. The boat broached hard to Starboard (R) and when it came up I gunned the engine went hard to Port (L) and missed the sea wall by 20 foot. My testicles were so far up that i could have sworn my tonsils had regrown …..  Afterwards I remarked

‘bloody hell that was CLOSE’

My father in Law replied ‘It isn’t so nerve-wracking when you are not steering’

Well it was his £125k boat …. and it was insured.

So when i saw this video I though Woahh that was nearly me.

watch from 2:26

Danny with the boys bash barcelona

Taking a team of riders to a city overflowing with unique spots to ride is usually a safe bet to produce a new video – however, things are never that easy!

With Ali Clarkson and Sean Watson both on the injured list and Danny MacAskill and Duncan Shaw needing to leave the trip early, the pressure was on. Fortunately, between showers, slams and sangria all of the riders managed to make their mark on the streets of Barcelona and this video is the result.

For more information on the Arcade, Fourplay and Skye Team bikes featured, check out InspiredBicycles.com.

13 Cent Killer – Christian Bland & The Revelators
Mexican Dogs – Cold War Kids
Keep Me – The Black Keys

Monday Bike Style: Mongolian Wide Open


A sense of Mongolia



Series of images taken along 3500 km of cycling in Mongolia. 50 days of riding in, what it has to be, the most beautiful country in the world. First along the high steppe and later along the Gobi desert. Simply unforgettable. None of these images make justice to the stunning beauty of this country.

The brompton got some love today

The thing about your regular commuting and utility bike is that they get neglected and abused … Looked at my brompton the other day after cycling to the lawyers and then the mortgage person and it was filthy with bits of rust on the chain. I had been admiring the fact that it was the best bike for riding in the rain – I never get splashed riding the bike.

Anyway today took it downstairs and used the portable washer (that plugs into the car 12V lighter port) to wash it clean using Muk Off to get rid of all the grease.

Then inside and some more oil and ready for more abuse…..

A day on the water

It doesn’t look windy but it was – well gusty windy blowing 18-35knots that is almost a doubling of wind speed. Nearby prestwick airport has a more sheltered and more stable reading 18-31.

I went out fully gimped out on my 6m kite – having the remnants of a cold which didn’t last long as a few litres of sea water flushed neti style through my nostrils …. Nice.

After an hour I was done in ….. February kiting sure makes you feel alive ….

love the way you can see the tracks - the zigzag wave riding and the long downwind jumps
love the way you can see the tracks – the zigzag wave riding and the long downwind jumps
for those that love stats
for those that love stats

Was using the New Cabrinha Tronic board (137cm twin tip) – only used it with the 6m kite so want to have some time with a 8m kite before I review it …. but it’s good

Touring Bike Build #4: The Frame Arrives and Dynamo Light time

out the box - and slip the handlebars on
out the box – and slip the handlebars on

The frame has arrived and 2 forks although think I might stay colour matched for the moment … Here it is in splendour (though nice Fuji Xpro1 and a 1.4 lens and some LightRoom tweaking)

hand cut lugs
hand cut lugs
named lugs
named lugs

mercian frame details-3mercian frame details-6

Nitto Rando bars
Nitto Rando bars
flayed bars
flayed bars

mercian frame details-4

and then bought a dynamo and light for the tourist setup – will piggyback the tail light off the back. Best thing is it generates full power at lowish speed and once you stop it has a stand light which stays on for 10 minutes – enough time to get a tent up ….

hub and revo light
hub and revo light

BLURB The Revo is an all new concept for Exposure Lights. For the first time Exposure Lights is doing away with batteries and embracing the latest in dynamo developments. New super-efficient dynamo hubs enable the Revo to be used both on and off road.

800 Lumens
Ride duration
Dynamo Hub


Dream bike: surly Krampus (customised)


This bike from the cycle monkey blog really talks to me ….

It’s not often that we’re asked to build the ideal bike for someone commuting in Siberia. We dreamed up this build for a customer of ours who is a British expatriate working in the snowy climate of central Russia. He intends to do a mix of snow, dirt, and paved riding in sub-freezing temperatures and wanted a dependable bike that could handle a range of conditions but still feel speedy. He ruled out a full fat bike and opted for the more versatile “29+” platform, a tire/rim designation that Surly invented to provide the float and traction of a fatbike, but the fast rollover of a 29er mountain bike. Once we agreed on the type of bike, we set to work planning out the build specifications.

Surly’s Krampus is the bike that brought the 29+ platform into the world, and is still one of the few bikes designed specifically to use 29×3 inch tires on 50 mm wide rims. The Krampus frame is optimized for speedy trail riding, but since its debut, it has also gained a reputation for being a comfortable off road touring bike. Our customer’s riding style is a perfect mix of these two disciplines: a stable, touring-style setup to deal with snowy or sloppy conditions and also a nimble-handling geometry that will roll fast and get him where he needs to go quickly. We sent this Krampus frame off to a framebuilder to get a belt drive splitter installed and also had the frame powdercoated black to fulfill our customer’s desire for a stealth-looking all-black bike.

red Bull Storm Chase

Well there is an upside to some of those massive storms

Frenchman Thomas Traversa was crowned the champion of the storm surfing universe. Despite weighing just 60 kilos, Traversa won the final leg of the Red Bull Storm Chase in hurricane conditions off the coast of Cornwall, UK, in front of Marcilio Browne from Brazil and Leon Jamaer from Germany.

With building-high waves and gusts of wind reaching 70 knots, only the best were nominated to participate in the “Red Bull Storm Chase”. During an 18-month holding-period, ten of the world’s best windsurfers waited patiently to catch three of the biggest storms on oceans around the globe to determine who was the very best. After Mission 1 in Ireland (January 2013) and a second mission in Tasmania, Australia (August 2013), Red Bull Storm Chase picked the storm-ravaged coast of Cornwall, U.K., for the third and final location for a showdown between the remaining four.

The road to Roubaix

The weather is bleuch everywhere


Hell of the north

The Road to Roubaix is paved with mud and grit and puddles and hail. There’s no escaping Belgian conditions, even if you’ve escaped Belgium. Wind whips around my chainrings. Hail leathers the peak of my cap. Rain water is flung in tremendous arcs from the rear wheel. No question about it. It’s February. Its Wales. It’s the gulf stream taking advantage of its priveldged position as the main determinator of British conditions.

This ride was never going to be lengthy. When wind speeds top 40mph, its – perhaps –  time to hide away. But training doesn’t do itself and part of the ‘attraction’ of Paris-Roubaix is its grittiness. So we head out. First East, then North West, then South. The roads were covered in snaking torrents of water. Fresh Eddies swirled around debris. Traffic is quiet on this particular morning. It’s neither early, nor late, but the weather is a…

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Red Bull King of the AIR – when kiting is all about height without the fancy stuff

For the second year in a row Cape Town’s Big Bay played host to 24 of the world’s best kiteboarders as they went head-to-head in a unique ‘flag out’ competition format. in front of a 12 000 strong crowd Dutchman Kevin Langeree managed to edge out his compatriots Ruben Lenten (second) and Steven Akkersdijk (third) to become Red Bull King of the Air 2014 champion.