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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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First Summer Tour of 2015

First Summer Tour of 2015
Time has flown by since I returned from my quick mini cycle tour of France; busy time at home and work, and a serious case of man flu hasn't helped :-)  Now that I have finally got round to downloading my photos from my iphone, I thought I would write a blog post about my cycle tour.  Hopefully give you all a reason to get out and go cycle touring, and if you are thinking about heading out on your first cycle tour, then some encouragement to get out there and enjoy.  The ferry ticket for this mini cycle tour was booked back at Christmas.  Winter in Jersey is very boring and you can go stir crazy on an island 9 by 5 miles in bad weather!  Having a bicycle tour to look forward to is a must - the dreams of sunny days riding along in France, taking in...
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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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