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Fat Wrap Handlebar Tape Review

Fat Wrap Handlebar Tape Review
Hands up if you have ever suffered with pain or discomfort in the wrist and hand areas when cycling?   If your hand is in the air, then you will understand how painful and frustrating this can be.  At one end of the scale it can be annoying, with the other end ruining your ride, and even causing you to take time off the bike! Time off the bike is that last thing any of us wants to happen.   So what is all this pain about?   It can manifest itself in different ways; common symptoms are numbness, stiffness, tingling, feeling weak or struggling to hold the bars, and in some cases, just bloody painful!  Sometimes there are reasonable explanations; a longer than usual ride or maybe you haven't been out riding for a long time.  And if that is the case - take it easy and ease your...
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Yoga for Cyclists | Q and A with Alice McNeil from Hope Yoga

Yoga for Cyclists
Many of us cyclists are guilty of only taking care of one thing - your pride and joy that is your bicycle.  We invest hard earned cash to buy the bike and carry on this trend throughout it's life to make sure it is running in tip top condition. But what many of us overlook is our own bodies.   We put our bodies through mile after mile of sitting in the same position, often carrying our equipment in panniers or similar bag.  And if you are like me, you sometimes bring along a little too much!     I recently attended the Cycle Touring Festival where I had the pleasure of going to a yoga session with Alice McNeil from Hope Yoga. It may have only been an hour session, but i really felt the many years of aches & pains from cycling and constant computer use (I work...
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Grip, Release, Shuffle, Grip, Release, Drop....

Grip, Release, Shuffle, Grip, Release, Drop....
  Hello and welcome to another guest blog post. This time out author is Kent MacWilliam. I have been in contact with Kent after he sent me an email about his handlebar tape product, Fatwrap Handlebar Tape .  Kent wanted to share his great article about the types of handlebars you can use for bicycle touring. So lets get started. Hope you enjoy!   Grip, release, shuffle, grip, release, drop.... Bike touring can be an endurance test as much as an adventure. Our butts, knees and hands support us as we focus on the glorious scenery.  For comfort, we dial in our clipped pedals, set the seat post height and upgrade our saddle. But what about our hands? So many riders commit to a handlebar set-ups without knowing all the options, and many more never look at the alternatives. This article looks at common and sometimes underused handlebar options, and explains how...
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Life changes bring more Cycle Touring Opportunities

Life changes bring more Cycle Touring Opportunities
If you read my past cycling blog posts, you will know that I'm currently based on the beautiful island of Jersey, Channel Islands. For those of you who don't know, Jersey is a very small island off the coast of France, and is part of the British Isles. A stunning island that has been an awesome place live for the past 5 years. That said, cycling on an island 9 by 5 miles in size has brought some challenges with trying to keep cycling interesting. Same roads, views etc. To help overcome this, I re-invented my cycling by starting cycle touring in nearby France to break the boredom. That was five years ago and I'm so glad I got out there and tried something new. It brought this website and a host of great adventures. Life can bring big changes. We all get them from time to time. Some good....
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Cycle Touring Advice | What do I need for my first Bicycle Tour?

Cycle Touring Advice
So, you have possibly made the best decision of your life. You have decided to go on a bicycle tour! But what next? You have a destination in mind. Maybe have some ideas of what to do along the way and thoughts about where you can sleep. The start date is approaching and your brain starts to take over with all these questions. Do I need special gear? Do I need a dedicated touring bicycle? Do I need to spend lots of money? Start by chilling out! The simple answer to these questions is no. Of course you need a few basic items to get started; bicycle being the most obvious starting point. But aside from a bicycle, I bet many of the items you need or think you need, you already own. If not, I also bet many of your friends & family could help you out. Check out a blog post I...
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Get out of bed and go Cycling!

Get out of bed and go Cycling!
It is fair to say that in terms of cycling, 2016 has been a bit of a struggle so far for me! The most amount of miles I have got on the bike has been my 15 mile daily commute to work, and the occasional Saturday or Sunday quick (1 hour) morning ride. Maybe the effects of the Christmas holidays are lingering. Whatever the reason, it is time for change. So, today I kick started my cycling for 2016 back into life. It may have been blowing a gale, driving rain and generally unpleasant when I woke up, but after a hearty breakfast, I got dressed in my cycling gear and braved the elements! And I'm so glad I did. I survived and came away with a renewed energy and focus. My body is back to life after a month of chilling out a little too much! The ride today...
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Eating and Cooking on a Bicycle Tour | Part 2

Eating and Cooking on a Bicycle Tour
Welcome back to Part 2 of this post about my take on eating and cooking whilst on a bicycle tour. In Part One  I talked about how I cook, where I eat and what works for me. In this part I'll run through a few of the things I like eat and how I cook them. Lets get started There is no better place to start than my favorite meal of the day. A great breakfast will get in you the mood for crunching away the miles, hour after hour. It kicks starts your body and is the foundation for feeling happy all day. As I touched on in Part One , try not to skip breakfast or eat something that isn't matching the energy needed for you day of cycling. You are on a cycle tour, not a dieting boot camp! Getting this wrong could mess up your day and leave you...
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Eating and Cooking on a Bicycle Tour | Part 1

Eating and Cooking on a Bicycle Tour
In my list of things I love in this world, both cycling and food are high up there. Obsession is probably a better way to describe my commitment level for both :-) My poor suffering family, friends and work colleagues generally have to listen to me talking obsessively about one of them constantly. And more often than not, I'm dreaming of my next meal shortly after finishing the last! I have always eaten well to feed my cycling over the years, but nothing prepared me for the hunger I would feel after progressing into the world of cycle touring! With many long days in the saddle and having all my kit on the back of the bicycle, three meals a day soon turns into many more! This makes bicycle touring and food a perfect match me :-) I have read many posts from people asking what, when and how to eat...
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2016 | A Year of Cycling Adventures

2016
Happy New Year! With Christmas and New Year well and truly over, it is time to get moving with cyclingtouring.org  in 2016! The Christmas holidays were a welcomed break. My family and I headed off to the Brecon Beacons for a short break, visiting family, eating good food and generally chilling out. Staying on a farm, located on top of a Welsh mountain in high winds and rain may sound crazy to many people (my wife included!), but I find it really invigorates you. The beautiful views and peace & quiet really help get away from busy day to day life :-) 2015 was such a busy year in so many ways. The launch of cyclingtouring.org  in June/July was an obvious highlight for me and seeing the community grow at a steady pace has been a pleasure. The support and positive feedback from everyone has been fantastic. Please keep it...
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Get Up & Go Cycling!

Get Up & Go Cycling!
I wrote a little blog post last Sunday evening after popping out for a night time cycle ride, to encourage other people to be motivated during the dark and cold months. Here it is...   It was a Sunday night. Dark and getting cold. I was little tired from the previous night's Halloween party. I guess, hungover is a better way of putting it! My mind was feeling a little guilty for not going out riding during the day when it was glorious sunshine and I was also very aware I had a big ride coming up the following weekend when I head off to Northern France for 3 days of undisturbed cycling. I'm pleased to say my motivational side won and I talked myself into popping out for a quick hour in the darkness.  On the back of a beautiful day of sunshine, the sunset was simply amazing! I...
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Think Today, Ride Tomorrow

Think Today, Ride Tomorrow
If you are living in the Northern hemisphere right now, then the nights are closing in, the mornings are dark and your bed is making you want to hide under the covers. Well, it is for me anyway! If you read my last blog post , then you will know it doesn't always stop me riding, but it can be a struggle to get motivated sometimes. For me, it is the time of year when I start to think about, what next for my cycling? Did I go where I wanted to during the warmer months? Should have gone for a ride instead of popping to the pub beer garden!? We cannot beat ourselves up about missed opportunities, but we can have ideas for the future and start to make plans. We all need something to look forward to :-)  The one thing I'm a little frustrated about this year...
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Keep Cycling during Autumn & Winter

Keep Cycling during Autumn & Winter
As autumn and winter approaches in the northern hemisphere, like many people I'm starting to find it a little chilly and darker, especially when it comes to riding my bicycle. To be honest, I have not always been the greatest fan of the colder months. But in recent years I have decided to embrace it and get out there. What I have found is that it is really enjoyable to be out on my bicycle when everyone else is tucked up indoors. It feels like I have the roads to myself at times and I get to see areas near and afar from a different perspective.  This year will be no different. I have already dug out my warmer cycling gear and given it the smell test, serviced all my bicycles (especially the single speed commuting bicycle I ride to work every day) and made sure my lights are working....
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Sleeping Bags for Cycle Touring | Terra Nova Voyager 800

Sleeping Bags for Cycle Touring
Are you like me? And have owned a few cheap sleeping bags over the years. Purchasing them for occasional usage; crashing at someone's house, back garden camping, festivals, etc.. You stand in your local camping shop with a couple of thoughts in mind. It has to be cheap (preferably in a sale) and the right colour. Little thought goes into the quality and if it will keep you warm and comfortable. I don’t think anyone can be criticised for this approach. Lets face it, many vendors market us with these cheap, quite often low quality items for those very same reasons. People quite often don't care. If it is only for a night or two, why did I need spend a fortune? This methodology is okay at the time, but maybe not so great when trying to stuff your bulky sleeping bag into your panniers for your first cycle tours!...
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Getting Started with Tents for Cycle Touring

Getting Started with Tents for Cycle Touring
Your first cycle tour is all planned. You know roughly where you want to go and how long you will go for. You have thought about camping, but your last experience was at a Scouts/Girl Guides weekend away when you were 12 years old! Looking through your local camping shop and on-line you become even more confused about what you need? And the price tags on some kit can be eye watering! Has any of the above been in your mind?  If yes is the answer, then don't worry. My next few posts are going to tell you about the kit I took on some of my first cycle tours. And how not breaking the bank doesn't mean you have to suffer too! I'm certainly not a rich man and when this cycle touring lark started for me, I didn't want to buy the greatest gear until I knew I...
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Micro/Mini Cycle Tours - Maximise Cycling Opportunities

Micro/Mini Cycle Tours - Maximise Cycling Opportunities
Do you ever dream about long and elaborate cycle tours?  For many of us these don't fit in with everyday life all year round.  They need to be planned, time booked off work and much more.  Sometimes you need to think smaller and take opportunities when and wherever possible.  You don't always need to slope off for months, it could be an afternoon off work or a long weekend away.  Use your imagination and you will see many opportunities. I'm never one to miss an opportunity to ride my bicycle, so I decided to turn a trip to see friends in the UK into a mini cycle tour.  Normally I catch a 45 minute flight from Jersey to the UK, but with flight costs being high (school holidays) and the weather being good (kind of), I booked myself on the ferry crossing to Poole, Dorset.  With my bike of course! On paper...
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Cycle Touring Navigation: Paper Map or GPS Device? | Part 2

Cycle Touring Navigation: Paper Map or GPS Device?
Welcome to part 2 of this blog post about the world of cycle touring navigation.  Read part 1 here. As touched on in part 1, I love paper maps and still use them for my touring planning and navigation.  I also love GPS devices.  Having it all available to me is how I like to go touring. GPS devices do bring many benefits to the cycle tourist.  For me, one of the key benefits is the ability to get you back on track when lost.  If you have never been lost, then you are very lucky!  For those of us who do get lost and on occasion need to get to a destination a little quicker than usual (maybe darkness approaching or meeting up with someone), then whipping out some form of GPS device is a great backup to have.  The simplicity of clicking some form of ' Locate Me...
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Cycle Touring Navigation: Paper Map or GPS Device? | Part 1

Cycle Touring Navigation: Paper Map or GPS Device?
So what is it to be when you go on a cycle tour? The good old paper map or a modern day GPS device (Garmin, smart phone, Bryton, etc..)?   Some people get a little hot under the collar about this subject.  They think you have to chose a path and stick with it. What if your battery runs out? What if your map isn't detailed enough or doesn't cover the whole area?  The usual ping pong points of view.  Who cares.  I don't.  I always use both paper maps and GPS. They both have their merits and downfalls,  but together they are a formidable force that get you where you want to go with little trouble.  Why struggle when you can have it all :-)  But I guess life would be so boring if we all agreed, and this is one topic that will never be put to bed....
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Convert an old bike into a new cycle touring bike...

Convert an old bike into a new cycle touring bike...
My touring bike I use today started it's life as a hard tail mountain bike. A Cube Reaction Race Edition to be precise.  A mid range aluminium frame mountain bike that cost me around £1500 at the time. It came with all the usual parts; suspension front forks, hydraulic brakes, typical MTB gearing (triple ring - lots of gears), knobbly tyres, etc...  And over the years, I had replaced or serviced just about every part to keep it running in tip top condition. Check out the photo below from after completing the Brecon Beast endurance MTB race in Wales. I have awesome memories of cycling through the Welsh countryside, which is probably why I love cycle touring so much. The bicycle has given me many memories, so why not continue that and convert it?     When starting out in cycle touring, I had dreams of bespoke, hand built, Rohloff...
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Cycle touring equipment and my first cycle tour…

Hello Everyone! In my last post I did say I would write up about converting a bike for cycle touring, but I have decided to write a quick post about getting started with cycle touring and the kit you may need.  Next time, I promise to write my mountain bike conversion post with pictures. If you are anything like me, you love to read about new kit, browse web sites/shops for new kit and overall get very excited at the prospect of new kit!  I enjoy the pre-purchase research, maybe more than receiving and using the piece of kit!   Now, that aside, you have to be realistic with what you need and ultimately what you can afford.  And for people new to the world or cycling touring, or any other sport/hobby, you need to see if you like it first, before investing your hard earned cash. You can still do...
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