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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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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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Stove for Bicycle Touring | Jetboil Zip Review

Stove for Bicycle Touring
A few of my recent posts have been focused on the kind of food I like to eat whilst out on a bicycle tour. So now seems like the perfect time to write about the stove I use to cook it on. A Jetboil Zip. Before I get started, if you did miss the previous posts on food, then check them out now.   Cooking and Eating on a Bicycle Tour | Part 1 Cooking and Eating on a Bicycle Tour | Part 2     What is a Jetboil? Jetboil stoves are compact, lightweight and very portable. The whole concept is to pack down all the components into the main cup/vessel compartment, making it an all in one stove. The stand, gas canister, burner and pan stabiliser all sit perfectly inside. The whole unit then takes up little space in your pannier or ruck sack. Perfect for any adventurer! ...
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Bicycle Lights | Ay Up Lights Review

Bicycle Lights
With dark mornings and nights closing in fast, this makes it a perfect time for me to write few paragraphs about my bicycle lights of choice.  Bicycle lights are subjective. It is all about your needs, surroundings and ultimately your budget. Ask yourself some questions before making a choice and spending your hard earned cash. How long do they need to stay on for ? Are my cycling routes in well lit/dark areas ? How will I charge the battery ?   Let me start with my riding habits and where I ride to give you an insight into why I made my choice. I live on the small island of Jersey. An island that is made up of miles of country lanes, with the majority not having any form of street lighting. It is fair to say it gets pretty dark! I do like riding at night in the pitch...
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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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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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Brooks Saddle | Your backside will love you forever!

Brooks Saddle
I have always known about the iconic cycling brand Brooks being famous for their leather saddles; very popular with touring cyclists across the world.  It wasn't until I got the cycle touring bug that I actually thought about purchasing one. Up until my love of bicycle touring started, I had only been interested in road and mountain bike lightweight saddles - the kind of ones that can bring tears to your eyes! Maybe not quite that bad, but you get my point. I now wanted to give Brooks a try and see if the forum posts and reviews were correct; these magical leather saddles actually mold to your backside and make you feel at one with the bicycle. I chose to ignore the posts about the 'breaking in' period and the suffering people have reported!  And with cycle touring and Brooks going hand in hand, buying myself one, I thought...
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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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