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Still biking? Definitely…

“Still biking Grant?” is a question I’ve been asked many times throughout my life, by friends or different people that I’ve met along the way. Riding a bike has been such a big part of what I do, it’s hard to imagine it not being the case. I think it’s the momentum, freedom and just being outside, that I love so much

Q36.5 An Evening with Mario Kummer at Swinnerton Cycles – Part 2

The difference in clothing by Q36.5 begins with its appearance. This includes visible texture or pattern within a fabric, the shape of the garment, combined with a modern, minimalistic look.

The light weight and feel of each item is also a trait of Q36.5.  These features are apparent throughout their collection, and they are particularly noticeable in the products designed for cooler temperatures.  Historically, cyclists had to rely on heavy, bulky and restrictive clothing during late Autumn, Winter, through to early Spring.  Thankfully, this has all changed.

As mentioned in the earlier article, Mario Kummer of Q36.5 was visiting Swinnerton Cycles to present the new Summer and Winter products.  Mario had numerous items with him which were due for release for Winter 2019.

First up was the Long Sleeve Hybrid Que X. The previous version has been a big favourite of mine for Spring and Autumn, so I was eager to learn what had changed.  The appearance of the new garment is slick and purposeful, and features such as pockets and reflective inserts are discretely integrated.  The sleeves are formed from a combination of fabrics, which create an efficient, close fitting cuff and forearm, with windblock protection on the upper arm.   The new arm pocket is an excellent feature, constructed of mesh fabric with a reflective trim, it’s perfect for carrying energy bars or gels.  A new collar design has also been introduced. This provides improved on bike comfort, whilst its close fit prevents cooling.  Having used Jersey Short Sleeve Seta which also has this collar design, I can certainly vouch for its comfort.   The technical fabrics provide higher thermal efficiency and improved vapour transfer, giving additional warmth, with reduced potential for cooling.

Hybrid Que X Green

The Hybrid Que X is available is a number of colour options, including a stealth black, and brighter shades such as blue, orange, and green.  Where possible, I prefer to use clothing which potentially enhances day and night time visibility,  This is made easy with the Hybrid Que X, as the main colour of the garment is present throughout its front and rear panels, and a reflective inserts are placed in key areas.

Hybrid Que X - Grant riding

When the Winter really begins to bite, the Termica Jacket has been my “go to” item for all weather protection.  The new Termica Jacket X is packed with features to assist the winter cyclist to perform at his or her best.

The difference between the first and second generation jacket becomes apparent as soon you pick up the Termica X. The reduction in weight is noticeable.  The collar of the new jacket has certain traits of the Hybrid Que X: its outer is formed in three overlapping pieces of fabric. This serves to improve on-bike comfort, and provide a resilient seal from cold air.  A fourth item of fabric is located on the interior of the collar, which really locks out the winter elements.

Q36.5 have used their advanced design methods, combined with new technical fabrics to increase the performance of the jacket.  The fabrics are highly resilient to winter conditions, and their overall breathability has increased.  The mid layer of the fabric is an active membrane which responds to temperature change, varying the potential for heat retention and vapour transfer.

When using clothing by Q36.5, I find the need regulate heat build up via the main jacket zips is extremely rare, as is the presence of condensation, and the consequential cooling it can create.

Other visible advancements are the laser cut cuff to the sleeves. This contributes to reducing the weight of the jacket.  For me, the reflective inserts to the rear hem and lower arm are an excellent feature, as they are sized and located to maximise visibility in low light.  Q36.5 include their signature, invisible pocket system to the back panel, plus a forearm pocket.  This combination ensures ample cargo capacity for food, essentials and mobile phone.

The Termica X is offered in black or silver colour options, and it has a modern, almost futuristic look (particularly in the silver option).

Termica X Grey Grant riding

Q36.5 cover the clothing requirements of a cyclist from head to toe, and their tights (for winter riding) are captured in the X re-design process.   A number of brands offer winter tights, and at a glance, it would easy to assume they are all similar.

The L1 Salopette Long and Termica Salopette Long by Q36.5, incorporate densely woven fabrics, which feel different to the touch, and this translates into a high performance garment when in use.  I can confirm that the first generation of L1 and Termica Salopette Long both provide superb comfort and highly efficient protection from the elements.

Something that really differentiates them is their function when in use.  In the upper area of the garments, the fabric, panel shape and layout, assists in stabilising the upper body.  In the leg area of the Salopette Long, the fabric is orientated to ensure the fibres offer the least resistance to the downward movement of the pedal stroke, but optimum retraction, to support the leg through the upstroke.  Q36.5 include this feature to reduce fatigue, and it really is something to be experienced.

As part of the evening with Mario, we were able to check out the X version of both the Salopette Long L1 and Termica Long Salopette L1.  Design expertise and developments in fabric technology have contributed to the increase in performance of these products.  The new Long L1 (for mid- season, early winter) and Termica Long L1 (for winter) both provide increased thermal properties.  Comfort and performance has also increased due to a reduction in seams, and panel layout.   The seams have actually been omitted from the saddle area and replaced with an anti-stress panel.  I have experienced this design detail in other Q36.5 products, and I can vouch for the improvement it provides in both stable contact with the saddle, and all day comfort.

Other optimising features are the laser cut finish at the base of the leg (reducing seams), and the reflective panels which are eye catching as well as a helpful safety feature.

Within the items on display were current products such as the Air Insulation Jacket, and Salopette Wolf 2 Bib Short.  If you have not already done so, both of these products are really worth checking out.

During the evening Mario also gave a  brief insight into a couple of exciting developments which were not available to view, They included new Overshoes and Gloves.

Termico GlovesWinter overshoes 2

Since Mario’s visit, I have had the opportunity to use products such as the Hybrid Que X, Termica Jacket X, and the new Overshoes and Gloves.   More detailed insights into these products will be coming in future, but for now, if you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line at grant.williams1973@ntlworld.com or head to the Q36.5 website.

 

Salopette Elite Bib Short by Q36.5 – A Product Insight

The desire for a bib short with specific properties of the Salopette Elite had entered my mind, and featured in conversation, during the summer preceding its release.  I have been a committed advocate of Q36.5 of cycling apparel for a number of years, and prior to the Elite, I was using either the Salopette L1 (no longer produced, but check out the Salopette Miles Gregarious Ultra for the current alternative) and Dottore L1, almost exclusively throughout the summer season.
The Salopette L1 being my “go to” bib short for the majority of training and everyday riding, and the Dottore L1 being the choice for the rides when additional performance and comfort is needed.  I also simply enjoy experiencing the difference in fit and feel that higher level cycling equipment can bring.

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Being UK based, in the Midlands, conditions generally enable riding outdoors throughout the year, but like many cyclists, I really look forward to the summer months.  I love to be on the bike when the sun is out and the temperatures are high, ideally in the hills or mountains, either in the UK or abroad.  Could Q36.5 offer a bib short that could potentially surpass their superb Dottore L1, for riding in these conditions? For me, the answer is “yes”, the Salopette Elite currently has the edge.
The performance of the Elite is created from a blend of technical features and fabrics. The bib short has a slightly different appearance, partly due to the use of Dyneema Yarn within certain panels.  The Dyneema provides resilience, an efficient short-saddle contact area, and temperature control. The material also contributes to the Salopette Elite being very light in weight.
The Chamois Fusion Vented is a key component within the Salopette Elite. Q36.5 created this chamois to assist rider comfort when cycling in hot conditions.  Other more subtle features are the lightweight, resilient mesh, tubular shoulder straps, and a lack of conventional leg grippers (more detail is given on this later).
Continue reading “Salopette Elite Bib Short by Q36.5 – A Product Insight”

Q36.5 – An Evening with Mario Kummer at Swinnerton Cycles

Mario Kummer of Q36.5 recently visited the UK.  During his time here, he spent an evening at Swinnerton Cycles, one of the UK’s main stockists of the Q36.5 range of clothing.

Q36.5 are an Italian company who create high performance cycling equipment, based in Bolzano, on the edge of the beautiful Dolomite Mountains.  Mario began with a presentation about the brand, providing an insight into its history, the founder, Luigi Bergamo, their approach to design, production and sustainability.

Mario provided information about the clothing offered by Q36.5, and the ethos of their Essential Collection.  This is a range of high performance equipment, comprising minimalist design, formed in a way to enable cyclists to sustain a healthy body temperature.  It also serves to provide protection from the elements throughout the seasons, whether training, racing, or carrying out recreational cycling, in more demanding conditions.

Cross Over Equipment

Q36.5 also offer Cross Over Equipment, a range of stylish, urban sportswear, incorporating their design flair with high performance fabrics.  The Active Trouser features an adjustable waist and leg. These subtle details provide on bike functionality, should you choose to wear them for a commute, but do not compromise their style, or potential for other activities.   The Hoody, Vest and Jacket include reflective inserts. These are a great addition whether walking, running, or cycling in low light or darkness.

Having used a number of items from this range, I can vouch for its comfort and versatility, whether being active or simply relaxing.

Cruise Equipment

Much of my cycling is carried out in the UK, and I particularly enjoy our Spring, Summer and Autumn seasons. Q36.5’s Cruise Equipment is extremely suited to the variable conditions we experience, as it is designed to provide thermal comfort when temperatures are in the region of ten to sixteen degrees Celsius, and it has wind blocking, and water resisting properties.

Q36.5’s UF Active fabric plays a significant role in the performance of the Cruise Equipment. The fabric comprises a dense outer layer with a fine Merino wool interior. Its construction is highly breathable, retains warmth even when damp, and dries quickly.

The Cruise Equipment comprises of jerseys, an insulative vest and accessories in the form of arm, leg and knee warmers.  The on-bike comfort is something to be experienced. The thermal comfort provided by these lightweight garments is excellent.  This is complemented by a close fit, with the stretch and shape enabling ease of movement.

Rider visibility is aided by the inclusion of colour panels, reflective inserts and zip. The jerseys and vest have discrete pockets with ample capacity for nutrition, phone, essentials case and additional layers or waterproof shell.

Having used items of Cruise Equipment for riding in the hills, flatlands, and various training intensities, its versatility and comfort is something I really value.

Summer 2019

For this summer, there are mix technical developments, new colours, and eye catching graphics.  The new Jersey Short Sleeve Seta is subtly stylish, and is offered in Tiffany (light blue) or Anthracite.  It’s hard to choose a favourite between the two, but for me, the Tiffany just takes it.

This jersey offers an advancement in performance and versatility, enabling a cyclist to remain comfortable, even during high levels of exertion in warm conditions, and when riding in cooler, summer temperatures.  This, in the main, is achieved by incorporating silk and silver thread into the fabric.  Silver thread also provides anti-bacterial properties to the garment. Continue reading “Q36.5 – An Evening with Mario Kummer at Swinnerton Cycles”

Q36.5: New Additions for Winter 2018

Q36.5 are introducing a number of exciting products for the winter season. These are in the form of the Cruise Equipment, and an insulative jacket. Certain products have also been updated to incorporate ongoing refinements.

Cruise Equipment

This addition comprises jerseys, an insulative vest and accessories in the form of arm, leg and knee warmers.  The Cruise Equipment is designed for temperatures between 10 and 16 degrees Celsius, and aims to sustain rider comfort in a range of conditions.  Q36.5 utilise a technical fabric, combined with their design expertise to achieve this performance criteria.

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Their UF Active fabric is used throughout the Cruise Equipment line. It is lightweight, but has a dense, water repellent, windblocking exterior, and a fine Merino wool interior. This combination provides protection against the elements, warmth, and comfort. This is partially achieved in the way the fabric manages moisture and humidity, combined with its fast drying time.

Q36.5 place great emphasis on rider visibility, and incorporate a mix of reflective inserts and colour panels throughout the Cruise Collection.  Having witnessed the effectiveness of the reflective inserts on the Jersey Long Sleeve WoolF, and WoolF Leg Warmers, I can confirm their low light/night time visibility is superb.

I have used the Jersey Long Sleeve WoolF during late summer and early Autumn, and already anticipate that the Cruise Collection will be extremely suited to the varied climate and conditions we experience in the UK.

The Jersey Long Sleeve WoolF is close fitting, and its Merino interior makes it very comfortable when worn next to skin. I combined the Jersey with Baselayer 1 (a sleeveless baselayer) also by Q36.5, and found this combination worked extremely well.

When spending long periods on the bike, the jersey seems to almost disappear, other than discretely providing protection from the surrounding conditions, and efficient pockets to carry items required for the ride. A visual reminder of the jersey’s presence, is when the bright green colour contrast panels at wrist level catch your eye.

My time using the jersey has generally had a bias towards endurance rides, although some climbing has featured. When the gradient has become more challenging, I have remained comfortable, neither feeling excessively warm, nor experiencing a build up of perspiration inside the jersey.

Q36.5 identify the jersey’s potential to ensure rider comfort when the intensity of the ride is high. Respecting the level of performance their clothing consistently provides, I am sure this will be the case.

The Air Insulation Jacket

The Air Insulation Jacket is described as a mid season and early winter item of equipment, and the warmer brother of the Hybrid Que (a long sleeve Jersey/Shell).

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Q36.5 form the core of the jacket from Hybrid Air Protection fabric. This is a new,
two layer fabric. Its outer layer has windblocking and water resisting properties. The inner is a brushed loft knit jacquard, which provides warmth, and manages any moisture or vapour build up, without adding bulk to the jacket.  The jacket has a water repellent treatment for improved drying time and to provide protection in wet conditions.

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The Jacket has a sleek, performance orientated appearance, and it is currently offered in either black, or orange. Both incorporate reflective inserts and colour contrast panels to assist visibilty.  I have the orange version,  and really value the option of an eye catching colour.

When first trying the jacket for size, I noticed the collar was close fitting, and I was intrigued to learn how this would feel and perform whilst riding. Within a short time the benefit of the design became apparent, as the potential of cooling from the neck area seemed greatly reduced (it prevents cool air entering, and reduces loss of warmth retained by the new fabric).

Q36.5 incorporate their Invisible Pocket System into the rear panel of the jacket. This provides ample cargo capacity for nutrition, phone, essentials case, and more.  The design ensures the pockets sit flush when not in use. A zip pocket also features.

Having used the Air Insulation Jacket on a number of occasions, it has become firm favourite.  From the first ride, I noticed how comfortable it was to wear; its pre-shaped fit, combined with the stretch,  and softness of the fabrics contributes greatly to this.

I have now used the Air Insulation Jacket for both flat and hilly rides, in temperatures ranging from 10 and 14 degrees Celsius. Whether climbing or holding an endurance tempo, thermal comfort has been perfect.

Q36.5 also offer a women’s version of the jacket, the Hybrid Jacket Lady.  My partner has been using this item during the last 18 months, and finds it excellent for mid season and early winter cycling.

Hybrid lady

If you are looking for a mid season/early winter jacket, the Air Insulation by Q36.5 is really worth checking out.

For more information, feel free to contact me or go to www.q36-5.com

The Sweetest Climb: Port de Pailhères

 

By Grant Williams

I am always on the look out for new climbs, and it was beautiful images of the Port de Pailhères in France, that caught my eye, whilst eagerly skimming the pages of yet another cycling magazine, which had recently dropped through our letterbox. 

The riders had visited the climb during October 2012 and the mountain tops were snow covered. These were in contrast with the dark colours of the valley and a vivid blue sky, with the road snaking its way up to the summit. These images were more than enough to make me want to visit, and experience what they had. 

The Port de Pailhères remained out of reach for a few years, but the desire to visit was constant. I love being on my bike in the high mountains. The memory of these times, or planning the next adventure, both play a huge part in who I am. 

A passion for these bike trips is something I share with my partner, Emma, and we were both excited about visiting the Ariège Pyrénées, an area neither of us had visited before.  We chose to stay in a pretty village, just above Ax-les-Thermes. The western approach to this wonderful climb begins in this town, so it seemed a perfect location. We had two weeks to explore the area. 

Our journey to these places tends to involve travelling long distances in the car, and it’s usually late afternoon or early evening when we arrive at the destination. Any fatigue quickly disappears when the road signs begin the show the name of climbs we are here to ride, and the excitement of being in the mountain environment builds.

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The first day involves setting up the bikes, and putting the ride kit in some form of order. This is well practised, and quickly leads on to a look at maps and weather forecast.  Rain was due by early afternoon, but that was a few hours away, we were in the Pyrenees, and the Pailhères was on the doorstep. Why not just take a ride up, and see how far we get before the dark clouds sweeping into the valley prompt us to turn around, and head back down to the apartment? 

There was already some cloud cover, but it was warm, and it felt great to be breathing in the mountain air, clicking through the gears, and reconnecting with the movement and sensations that come with being on the bike. 

When riding from Ax-les-Thermes, the Pailhères gifts the rider with a mix of sensory treats. Quite early on the ascent, we enjoyed the beauty of the mountain lake Goulours, heavily wooded on one side, more open on its others. The water a mix of blue or glass clear, depending on the angle of view. We stopped and gazed for a few moments, before heading on, promising to return and walk its shoreline. 

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Sections of the road surface were fresh when we visited, the new, black macadam was smooth, and made the steeper gradients which occur through the tree line, that little bit easier. The presence of the new surfacing was softened by the River Lauze which edges the road. The water looks so fresh and clean, sparkling when the sunlight catches the flow. The sound of the moving water forms a beautiful distraction from the deep breaths of exertion while climbing, or the blend of bicycle and the wind, during a descent. 

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The pitch of the road eased before the ski village of Ascou-Pailhères came into view, and the bike effortlessly gathered momentum. This was one of those moments of contrast on a climb, when the forces of gravity and gradient temporarily relent, the legs spin easily, and the body and breathing relax. 

Cattle wandered freely, enjoying this grassy area, and evidence of their presence decorated the road surface…. I would look out for this natural hazard on the way down!  Glancing up at the high mountain peaks, it was easy to become completely immersed in the moment, but I was searching for view points that would allow me to look down the valley, and check for signs of rain clouds moving in. This was hindered by the landscape and trees, so I rode on, passing through the ski village, clicking up though the gears, as the road began to elevate again.

A wide area of macadam, static ski lifts, and being further into the mountains made me feel quite small, compared to the scale of the surroundings. Another wonderful sensation of the mountains.   As the climb rose above the tree line, the surface suddenly changed to being quite pale and weathered. The road cut into the hillside was edged by rock, deep orange and black in colouration. 

The height gain created the potential to view the valley below, the horizon was slightly darker, and one or two compact black clouds had ominously drifted in. Looking up, the sky remained relatively clear, and a large switchback gave way to what looked like a virtually straight run to the top.

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I continued on, climbing a relatively consistent gradient of around 8-9%.  The air was slightly cooler now, and the landscape sparse, with no more than grass covering the mountain side, and the occasional flower adding life and colour to the rocky outcrops. Having watched the Tour de France reach the summit of the Pailhères, I knew of its barren top, and the reality was similar to how I had imagined.

I glanced behind to increasing cloud below, and recognised that heading back had got to happen soon. Looking up, the road curved left, then disappeared over a brow. If that was the top, it was reachable on this ride, so clicking down a gear, I pressed on. 

Continue reading “The Sweetest Climb: Port de Pailhères”

Review of Shave Cream & Post-Shave Lotion by VeloSkin

Product Review by Grant

Shave Cream by Veloskin

The Shave Cream carries the brand’s signature, fresh, citrus scent, created by the inclusion of orange blossom and bergamot. It is a subtle, clean fragrance, which adds to the experience of using the product, and complements the other high quality ingredients which are used to form the Cream.

Like the Chamois Cream, the Shave Cream is quite dense in texture, which makes it easy to remove from the canister, and to use.  On application, it’s density immediately changes, and the Cream applies readily and evenly across the skin.

To gauge the performance of the Veloskin product, I used it alongside a shaving gel by a popular, long-standing brand, who manufacture shaving products and accessories.

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Setting aside appearance and fragrance of the Creams when shaving, the difference in performance of each product was noticeable. The Veloskin Shave Cream provides a much more comfortable shave, in which the razor travels smoothly and consistently, without causing any irritation. The resulting shave being close, clean, and with no visible skin damage or discomfort.

To create the product, Veloskin use more than ten natural ingredients, which are specifically chosen for their properties to care for the skin both during and after shaving. I certainly found the choice of ingredients results in a superb Shave Cream.

Since the trial, I have continued to use the Veloskin Shave Cream virtually every day for a number of months, and it has continued to provide the same level of performance and comfort.

If you are looking for an excellent Shave Cream, VeloSkin’s is really worth checking out.

Post Shave Lotion by Veloskin

The Post Shave Lotion is a rich, smooth cream, which can be can be applied to either legs or face after shaving.  The lotion has the natural fragrance of orange blossom and bergamot, which VeloSkin use as their trademark scent. This subtle fragrance is something I really like.

Continue reading “Review of Shave Cream & Post-Shave Lotion by VeloSkin”

Veloskin: Chamois Cream & Soothing Gel Review

Product Review by Grant.

Good fortune played its part in me being drawn to Veloskin, before I could even buy their products.  Some of my favourite rides follow the steep contours of the Lake District, and images of these roads featured in the brand’s Instagram activity. How could I not be intrigued? So I was very keen to make my first purchase, soon after their launch during Summer 2017.

Veloskin offer a range of skincare products to meet the needs of cyclists. Their current range includes Chamois Cream, Shave Cream, Post Shave Cream, Moisturiser and Soothing Gel. These types of products play a key part in keeping us comfortable and healthy, and I put a lot of effort into choosing what I believe are the right ones. This is primarily based on high quality, natural ingredients, the performance of the product, and experiencing a non-adverse response when using them.

Veloskin use natural ingredients within all of their range, selecting each one on its quality, suitability and benefits to the skin.

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Chamois Cream by Veloskin

On opening the canister of Chamois Cream you are greeted by a fresh citrus scent. The fragrance is created by the inclusion of orange blossom and bergamot, and is a signature of the Veloskin range. I really like the scent, which was seemingly inspired from cycling in Mallorca and Northern Italy.

Fourteen natural, active ingredients are included within the Veloskin Chamois Cream. These were selected based on their potential to soothe and hydrate, protect, moisturise and revitalise. The cream’s properties are anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiseptic, as well as providing nourishment for the skin and the wonderful scent.

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The cream is quite dense, not sticky, and despite its relatively solid appearance, it is easy to apply and achieve a smooth, consistent, protective layer.

Continue reading “Veloskin: Chamois Cream & Soothing Gel Review”

Knog Blinder Mr Chips Front and Rear Light Set

Sculpted aerodynamic profiles, and significant variation in tube diameter have become integral to many of the frames and components that we use. As much as we enjoy the benefits of this technology, it can make mounting equipment such as lights, computers etc, a little challenging.

The Knog Blinder MOB  Mr Chips front and rear light units are packed with features, but the aspect that initially drew me to them is their versatility to be used with modern bike/component design. These units are compact, neat, and lightweight, making them a discrete addition to your bars and seatpost.

The Knog Blinders have the potential to be mounted on both round and aero tube shapes. This is achieved by the shape of the lights, in the area where they contact the handlebar or seat post, and the inherent stretch within the rubber strap, which also forms part of the means of attaching the light. The strap is a replaceable item, but I have have not experienced any breakages during the twelve months that I have been using the lights. Once attached, the lights remain in position. Different length straps are provided to enable interchangeability between bikes.

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The front and rear lights have five different modes which range from the unit being constantly lit, strobe, and variations of intermittent flashing. These are accessed via the on/off button which sits at the rear of the light. From a personal perspective, I would prefer this button to be slightly more pronounced, as operating it with cold, wet hands, or in full finger winter gloves, would ideally be a little easier.

A combination of the LED technology and the design of the front and rear units provide a clean, bright light. The beam has a 120 degree angle, to assist front and side on visibility. The lumen output for the lights is shown as 80 for the front light, 44 for the rear. Knog identify that the lights provide the potential to be seen from at least 1.2 kilometres. Friends who I ride with advise me that the visibility provided is extremely good. Continue reading “Knog Blinder Mr Chips Front and Rear Light Set”

TORQ Fitness: Performance Coaching and Fitness Testing

Blog Post by Emma

Grant and I don’t race our bikes, but we simply love riding and to get the most out of our year, especially our summer trip to the mountains of Europe, we use TORQ Fitness for our training.  So I thought I’d write a little about this, to dispel any myths that training plans or coaching are only for those who compete.

You may be familiar with the brand from their superb range of energy and recovery products. However, TORQ first started out in 1999, set up by Director Matt Hart as a fitness and coaching consultancy, with the nutritional products coming a little later in 2002.

We started going to TORQ in 2007, after a friend recommended it.  We had enjoyed three summer trips to the French Alps and the Dolomites in previous years, and we decided to explore how we might benefit from more structured training.  At that time, TORQ were based in the village of Westbury, near Shrewsbury, so only about an hour and a half away from us.   However, they have since relocated to the picturesque location of Bryn Mawr in Powys.

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Back in 2007 we attended a full day’s education, which also included the fitness testing.  The education covered various aspects of training: energy systems, aerobic and anaerobic training, nutrition etc.  It was also a time to discuss our aims/goals, what we hoped to achieve and what our training capacity was.  I must add that a very fine lunch was also included and the chance to sample TORQ’s products. All of this was to form the basis of our first 6 months training plan.

Since that first visit, we’ve returned every Autumn, to carry out a test, in preparation for the following year’s training plan.  We generally run our plan from January to June, our main objective being three weeks cycling in the mountains.   So let me tell you more about our fitness testing experience.

It’s a good idea to have a substantial breakfast, as you need to leave a gap of 3 hours between eating, and taking the first part of the test.  This is the lactate threshold test, which is carried out indoors using a power meter on your own bike or on a Watt Bike.  A resting heart rate and lactate reading are taken first.  Then you are asked to start pedalling at a low wattage, which you increase at gradual intervals, whilst your TORQ coach measures your heart rate and takes blood lactate readings.  Don’t worry, this is painless! A quick needle click in your ear lobe is all it takes.   Throughout this process you will be asked to confirm your perceived level of exertion.  From this you will ultimately learn what your lactate threshold is, and what your endurance training zones will be (using power and / or heart rate). Continue reading “TORQ Fitness: Performance Coaching and Fitness Testing”

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