Family Driving – Subaru XV

This one is interesting – the Subaru XV is classed as an SUV but for me, it’s more of a hatch back riding on higher suspension. Subaru like to call it a Compact Crossover SUV – it’s a hatchback.

I was excited to get behind the wheel of a Subaru again, the last time was around a year ago when I was lucky enough to pilot the WRX STI Impreza Final Edition, for me this was a bit of a childhood dream, to be driving an Impreza. Growing up in the 90’s Colin McCrea was a hero, I bought his Play Station games and seeing his control of a car and his ‘If in doubt flat out’ mentality was awe-inspiring. I’ve seen Jimmy McCrea behind the wheel of the famous L 555 BAT Impreza, trying to keep my cool and stop my inner child screaming and jumping around as Jimmy flicked the Impreza from side to side, sliding around fellow rally legends Ari Vatanen, Markku Allen, Stig Blomqvist, Timo Salonen and Mikki Biasion.

So, to my next experience being a Subaru XV, it has a fair bit to live up to…

Obviously it’s an impossible comparison but there are some hints of the brands legacy in a car which doesn’t know which category it belongs. The seating position is good, the steering wheel is nice, coupled with responsive steering and competent handling. It won’t leave you with an ear splitting smile on the bends instead just a bit more confident on the country lanes or exiting a round about.

So, let’s get in to it…

The Engine

Uh, I wish I didn’t have to start here, the 1.6 Linertronic is a Horizontally-opposed, 4-cylinder boxer engine matched with a CVT gearbox with 114ps and 150Nm of torque. Plant your foot and for all the revs you’ll feel as if you’re going nowhere fast, 0-60 comes in 13.2 seconds and by todays standards that is very, very slow, smaller engines will get there quicker with much less noise from the engine. I also found it thirsty, averaging 34mpg when I drove it around for a week.

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I found the engine underwhelming and a bit of hard work, to look at the positives, it does well in Japan and the US but over here, I didn’t enjoy it.

Handling

As mentioned above I found it competent around the bends, it wasn’t something which I was left hankering for more corners but it was just that, fine.

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Off road, with the X-mode which gives you hill descent control and some clever electronic differential things. It handles the bumpy stuff just fine and pottering about at low speeds is far more capable than most soft-roaders which this would come up against.

Family life

The back will comfortably hold two iso-fix car seats, which are very easy to locate and house. It actually made switching car seats between cars so easy it would take minutes. in stead of being lost between the leather on the seat, you can just slide up the iso-fix housing cover and pop your little one’s seat in. The cabin is light, thanks to the sunroof and roomy, there never felt a cramped feeling, being six foot I usually have to have the seat further forward than I would usually like, with a child seat behind me, here though there seemed to be plenty of room.

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The boot is where the XV is let down, the size of a large hatch back, the floor of the boot is higher than you would think due to the differential at the back. Meaning the iCandy Peach and carry cot was a struggle to get in along with everything else for two kids.

The roof rails are also a welcome addition meaning a roof box could be attached to boost storage space for longer journeys.

Would I buy one?

The Subaru XV isn’t for me, the engine let’s it down as does the boot space, there’s many things which are likeable but the car is hitting an identity crisis, it doesn’t really know if it’s a hatch or an SUV.

I think there’s better places you could put your money with this model coming in at £24,000 and the 2.0 coming in closer to £28,000 it’s starting to creep in to Volvo XC40 territory.

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Parenting and Professional Cycling: In Conversation with Daniel Lloyd

I’m incredibly excited to say that my Parenting and professional cycling series continues, this time with Dan Lloyd, Grand Tour finisher and current GCN presenter. Dan had a solid rise through the ranks of professional cycling in a short space of time and enjoyed success along the way. Dan didn’t start his career in professional cycling until after his 25th birthday so, there’s still hope out there for some!

  • At what age in your life do you think that you were interested by cycling and was there a certain inspiration which got you on the bike?

I got into it when I was 13.  My friend’s Uncle used to give him old copies of MBUK magazine, and it really sparked an interest for me.  I pestered my Dad to get me a MTB, and about 8 months later, for Christmas, he got me a Marin Muirwoods.  It was about £400, I loved it, and I loved the sport.  That was when I got addicted to it, basically.

  • What came first professional cycling or parenting? Am I right in thinking they coincided around the same time?

For me it was slightly different to convention, in that when I met my wife, our older son Ralf was already 3, so I didn’t do the early years with him.  I was 25 at the time, and still hadn’t really made it.  Lorraine had to be patient with both me and Ralf from that respect, as I continued to try and make a career out of it.  So you’re right, they kind of coincided.  Jude was born in 2011, which was the year that I didn’t get my contract renewed with Garmin, so it has never really been such a factor in his life.

  • What was it like travelling Europe with a small baby at home and a first time mum? Did you have much time to think about what was going on at home or were you focused on racing and your job?

I’d say I was still very focussed.  I think every pro cyclist is, even if becoming a parent changes your life and outlook significantly.  When Jude was born, for example, he was a little early, so I came home the day after Amstel, landed at 2pm, and was back home with Lorraine and a baby by 11pm.  In my head I was still going to go back for Fleche and Liege, as I was due a break after that period anyway, but the team told me to stay at home.

I have always been very fortunate with Lorraine, she’s a real doer, from family life to work life, she just gets things done, without (too) much fuss!  That makes a big difference.

  • You must be passionate about cycling to get in to racing but is there a point that you think, this is no longer my passion, this is my job and a way to provide for my family?

I don’t think I was at the top level long enough for that to become ‘a thing’ for me.  The first time that anything like that dawned on me was when my contract wasn’t renewed.  Until that point, my career had always been on an upward trajectory, both in terms of the level that I was riding, and also the money I was earning.  The end of 2011 was tough for a few weeks, as I had no plan for what to do after racing, and I suddenly realised how hard it was going to be, to earn a similar amount in the ‘real world’.

Again, Lorraine came into her own.  She hadn’t been working for a year, but immediately realised what the situation could be, and went out and got a job.  As it turned out, I landed on my feet with a few other things in 2012, and then GCN came along at the end of that year, but it was only really that time at the end of 2011 where I realised what financial responsibility I had to provide for my family.

  • It must be easy for people to forget that you were, once, a professional cyclist before a GCN presenter and Eurosport commentator. Considering you’ve ridden in four classics and finished two Giro’s and a Tour, what is your proudest moment on the bike and also off of it?

Proudest moment on the bike will always be my first Tour of Flanders.  It was the race that I always loved the most, and to be honest I don’t think I ever thought I’d ride it.  The whole experience was amazing, from start to finish.  The start in Bruges gave me good bumps – that massive square packed with fans, riding up on to the podium with Thor and Heino, that was brilliant.  And then in the race itself, I was going really well (for me).  Between the Paterberg and the Koppenberg, I’d made the front selection, and so Andreas Klier said to attack if I could.  I went, Chavanel, Quinziato and Leif Hoste followed me, and so for a while, deep into the race, I was at the front.

After that, the dream soon came to an end, the lights went out for me when Chavanal attacked, and I was later passed by Boonen, Devolder and Pozzato at warp speed, but it was a great experience, particularly with Heino getting 2nd on the day.

Off the bike, I’m of course proudest of my family.  Like everyone, we’ve had our ups and downs, but we’ve come through strong and it’s great to see how well Ralf and Jude are doing in life.  From a work perspective, I’m very proud of what we’ve all achieved at GCN.  We didn’t really know what we were doing at the start, we were just kind of making it up as we went along, but every single person worked their arses off, and that paid off, just as it would do in sport.  What gives me the most satisfaction is the feedback we get from the public.  I like to think that we made cycling accessible, and fun, which is why we all got into it in the first place.

  • Your first Grand Tour came in 2009 at the Giro d’Italia, which you’re now doing a very good job on reporting for Eurosport, what was that first tour like, the training, the preparation, riding it? When did you find out you were going to be riding it that year and how did that feel?

The preparation was awful – I’d come down with some sort of bug in the lead up to the race, so I just wasn’t feeling myself.  It got to the point where I felt so bad in training, that I was considering calling management to say that I wasn’t in a fit state to ride.  It’s the last feeling you want to have on the lead up to your first Grand Tour.

Thankfully, I felt good during the race itself.  I made the mistake of eating and drinking too much (on the bike!), though, and put on 4kgs in 2 weeks.  I was just so fearful of bonking or not having enough energy to make it through, that I went overboard.  It was tough, but also rewarding – we got 4 stage wins, and Carlos was up there overall.  The whole thing was a massive learning curve, but like many things in cycling, it was fun, in hindsight!

  • You strike me as a man who would have a very understanding wife and who would support your training fully by looking after the kids while you went off galivanting on the bike… What was it like for you?

I’ve already alluded to that, above, but you’re right, Lorraine was always very supportive of my training and racing.  And that’s one of the reasons that I don’t ride so much now.  I’m still away a fair bit, and up at the office a lot, so I just can’t justify getting home and heading out on the bike for 2 hours, it wouldn’t be fair.

  • One thing I feel when I go off on my bike / train and leave my wife with the kids is guilt, I feel guilty that I’m having a nice time away from the kids relaxing, while they’re both probably screaming, crying, causing havoc and driving my wife mad. Do you ever get over that?

Yeah, you do.  Ralf is 16, Jude is 8, we’ve got past that stage.  In fact, if Lorraine and I want to head out for the evening, Ralf looks after Jude – they get along pretty well.  At this stage of life, the stresses are less, it’s just a case of taking them to their various clubs, sport etc.  And to be honest, with Ralf driving in a few months time, it’s going to get even easier.

I used to get a heavy heart when I was shutting the door to go away for a few weeks.  It wasn’t so much guilt at not behind able to do my part, but just the wrenching feeling of knowing how much I was going to miss them.  That actually got harder as I got older, I don’t know why.

My tactic was always to claim that I’d had very hard days when I was away, but I’m pretty sure I was never believed…..

  • What advice would you have to any cycling parent to young kids?

That depends.  If you’re a pro, you need to use it as extra motivation, to push yourself harder, to be more efficient with your time, to make the most of every moment that you’re having to spend away from your family.

If cycling is just a hobby, it’s a really tough one.  I would say that most people have to throttle right back on the amount of time they dedicate to cycling, and I also think that’s the way it should be.  It takes up an enormous amount of time, and money too.  The parenting phase of your life is a long one, and I guess it never really ends, but there will come a time when you’ll have a bit more freedom again, and that is the point at which you can spend longer cycling again.  Before that – concentrate on your family, just ride if or when you have time.

  • You’ve got the power to change one thing about professional cycling, what is it?

Based on the first week of the Giro, I’d say long boring sprint stages.  Unfortunately, like most, I don’t have the answer.  I like watching the sprints, I have so much respect for what those guys and girls do, but the 5 hours or so that comes before it is, I think, a terrible advert for our sport.  If you’ve never watched a bike race before, and you flick over with 80kms to go on a flat stage, you’re never going to watch a bike race again.  It’s a tough one – I’m all for tradition, but at the same time I don’t want cycling to get left behind because it wasn’t willing to adapt.

 

So there we have it – Daniel Lloyd on Parenting and Professional Cycling, for me, I will take away the advice cycling and having young kids – Dan is right, when it comes to it you do have to take a step back from your hobbies when you become a parent. Accepting that and with less peer pressure and time, it get’s easier and more about the enjoyment of cycling that clocking miles and high average speeds.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this series and if there’s anyone who you would like to see interviewed, comment below if there is anyone you would like and I would do my damnedest to track them down!

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Cycle To Work Scheme – twenty years on

Twenty years, that’s a long time. A life time for some, well, those who were born in 1999 anyway, what were you doing in ’99? Me? I was not even ten, probably causing havoc in my mum and dads back garden, being told about the Millennium Bug and dreaming of a Subaru Impreza P1.

The Cycle to Work Scheme was started as a way to encourage the nations workforce to a healthier life and ease road congestion. As an incentive, companies enlisted in the scheme are able to save money when reimbursed through the scheme, while employees are entitled to an affordable way to purchase a new bike, tax-free. Yes, a tax free bike, you just need to work for a business which is signed up to the scheme and you’re only allowed £1,000 towards your bike and equipment.

Bikes can be used for your weekend ride as well as commuting to work, and at the end of the loan term – which is essentially a hire period for your equipment – employees can purchase the gear by paying any outstanding fees; otherwise, it will belong to the employer.

As an incentive, it’s very enticing but did it work? Well, people are travelling further on bikes, on average, in 2002 987 miles were covered per year rising to 1144 in 2017 however, the number of cyclists has largely stayed about the same.

The Scheme falls down in trying to convince non-cyclists to become cyclists and ditch the car for the bike, no surprise that the main reason for this was road safety and having the confidence to ride the bikes on the road. There are other moans and groans to of it taking too long to travel by bike, a car being more convenient and (surprisingly for me) there’s too much traffic. You’d think with more traffic people might see the advantage of going by bike?

With 57% of the people who are involved in the scheme already cyclists, it’s seen as a fantastic way to upgrade your bike and kit which is affordable and still indulge in your passion for pedal pushing.

And for those who make a long term commitment to swapping their car for their bike, they can enjoy incredible health and financial benefits as detailed in this infographic from Merlin: What would happen to your body if you swapped your car for a bike? The results showed that once the year is up, you’ll have stronger muscles, prolonged mental health benefits and have saved a small fortune.

I feel like I’m preaching to the choir here as many of you reading this are probably already cyclists and already own a bike but, n+1, right? My point remains though, when living in East London, commuting by bike was easier and better than travelling by tube, certainly in the summer when the tube was just so hot and busy. Conversely, travelling by bike, the smog was just so much that it actually had an effect on my lungs. However I felt better about myself when I did cycle in. If things are made in to a routine they become easier.

I think what really needs to change is employers mindset. An area to store bikes which is safe and simple maintenance equipment is a huge benefit, as is a shower. However, it seems that installing an electric charge point for cars is a better incentive for employers as the cost of installation is cheaper than that of a decent shower for cyclists. The government can do all they can in building a better infrastructure but, to me, it means nothing unless employers will build the bike shed and showers. So more than tax breaks, help your workforce to a healthier life and it might become a benefit for employees.

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Wahoo Releases the ELEMNT ROAM GPS Cycling Computer

Quickly following the release of the limited edition ELEMNT BOLT, Wahoo have now released their ROAM GPS Cycling Computer.

It seems there is a new trend in cycling, in the form of adventure cycling, with clothing and bike manufacturers pump out glorious looking photos in hot landscapes with stunning scenery and sunsets, Wahoo have followed with this new GPS.

The ROAM, it seems, is here to help cyclists navigate around if they want to go off an explore a road or trail which they’ve not before. It has some cool New Smart Navigation features which will enable cyclists to do so, by guiding back to your original route, which has been pre-planned in to the ROAM, you can also create a new route on the fly, or help you find the fastest way home.

Other new features found on ROAM include an ambient light sensor that automatically turns the screen backlight on or off and adjusts the brightness of the screen and Quick Look LEDs through changing light conditions, indoors or out; and an integrated out-front mount (patent pending) that gives ROAM a clean, sleek look. ROAM’s interface includes several new Smart Navigation features accessible directly on the computer, including:

  • Get Me Started — Navigates cyclists to the start of their route
  • Back On Track — Navigates cyclists back to their route if they take a wrong turn
  • Take Me To — Allows cyclists to select a location on their ROAM using new pan and zoom functionality, and get directions to that location
  • Saved Locations — Easily route to locations saved on ROAM 
  • Route To Start — Find the shortest route back to the start of your rideRetrace Route — Reverse your route to navigate back to the start along the original route

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“As more cyclists are using their bikes to explore lesser-trafficked areas, or navigating while riding new roads or trails, we are so excited to offer ROAM — a computer purposefully designed to meet the challenges of cyclists around the world, especially navigating while riding,” said Chip Hawkins, Wahoo CEO and Founder. “With ROAM, we’ve taken our proven, intuitive, and easy-to-use ELEMNT platform — loved by all kinds of riders — and added features to create a powerful new tool that cyclists can use to guide them on every kind of ride.”

More than just being able to point you in the right direction when you get lost the ROAM also features a 2.7” colour display and 17+ hour battery life, for those days you feel like riding from the moment you wake up until you go to bed. Other new features found on ROAM include an ambient light sensor that automatically turns the screen backlight on or off and adjusts the brightness of the screen and Quick Look LEDs through changing light conditions, indoors or out; and an integrated out-front mount.

ROAM is available today at WahooFitness.com and will put you back £299.99.

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Train like a Pro with Wattbike

This weekend saw the return of Former Road Race World Champion, Lizzie Deignan. After one year out giving birth to their baby daughter, Orla, Lizzie returned to racing at the Amstel Gold Race.

Lizzie turned herself inside out with 40km to go with a storming break, her efforts were not enough, with Canyon-SRAM’s Polish rider, Katarzyna Niewiadoma the eventual winner, attacking on the final climb of the Cauberg and holding off Annemiek Van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) who was in hot pursuit.

In an interview with Lizzie published on this site, she said she would forgo all other races to win the UCI World Championships held in her home county of Yorkshire, in September. Lizzie hopes to do this with the help of Wattbike which she claims to have been her go to training tool during pregnancy and beyond. Helping Lizzie to squeeze in training around naps and after bed time!

“I’m really excited to rejoin the peloton and to race with my new teammates at Trek Segafredo, first at the Ardennes and then fittingly back on my home roads for the Tour de Yorkshire. I can’t wait to race in front of the home crowd again! It’s been a whirlwind year off the bike to have baby Orla and I’m looking forward to the new challenge of racing while being a working Mum! I couldn’t have done it without the support of my sponsors including Wattbike. Having the Wattbike to hand throughout pregnancy and for my return to cycling has been invaluable – allowing me to carry on riding safely in all weathers and with a big bump! It remains my go-to training tool.” Lizzie Deignan

Wattbike, who last year returned to track success with the prolific and inspiring HUUB Wattbike Test Team hinted at more sponsorship opportunities for 2019 that are yet to be announced.

“At Wattbike we are all really excited to see Lizzie’s return to cycling, we have been supporting her for three years now. It has been great to see her using the Wattbike throughout her pregnancy and her training as she returns to form. We’re really optimistic about the future and cannot wait to see how it progresses”.
Rich Baker

After being founded in 2000 Wattbike launched its pioneering indoor power trainer in 2008. It is now an industry-leading manufacturer of indoor cycle trainers, with a proven heritage in performance cycling. Wattbike trainers generate the world’s most accurate power, technique and performance data, captured through cutting-edge analysis and with unrivalled accuracy. With a desire to create the ultimate indoor cycling experience and a reputation for true innovation, Wattbike trainers perfectly replicate the sensation of riding on the road for professionals and beginners alike.

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Pinarello Dogma FS is now available

In Treviso, Italy in 1952 by Giovanni Pinarello manufactured a bike three years later, the bike carrying Giovanni’s name, Pinarello won it’s first stage at the Giro d’Italia with Fausto Bertoligo Piloting the machine.

Jump in to the modern day and the bikes have been at the sharp end of the peloton at pretty much every Grand Tour since the founding of Team Sky. Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas all have a yellow one, with Froome also having a pink and red one along with their usual black.

Pinarello have been putting this Grand Tour winning nouse towards the classics campaign, most notably Paris Roubaix. First Pinarello released the K10 with rear suspension, but now they’ve gone a bound further with the Dogma FS with DSAS, or Dogma Smart Adaptive Suspension if you don’t want to use acronyms. The Dogma FS is the worlds first electronic front and rear suspended road bike.

The idea? To try and guarantee the unbeatable Pinarello handling and racing performance even on rough terrain. Pinarello claimed that this bike will help their riders bounce over the cobbles 5 kilometres per hour quicker than that of a rigid bike, with the rider expending a small amount less of energy.

The Dogma FS seemed to fall slightly short at 2019 Paris Roubaix with the first Team Sky rider across the line down in 21st place, 1 minute 40 behind the winner, Philippe Gilbert (and what a winner he was by the way). Team Sky’s race captain and Cobble lover Luke Rowe earned himself 8 world tour points, finishing down in 32nd, some four minutes 25 down.

The stiffness of the bike can be changed by an interface, on the down tube. From here the rider can switch the system on and off, switch between manual and automatic mode. Thanks to BlueTooth and ANT+ you can change these settings using your Garmin or Smartphone, handy when you’re hitting the cobbles hard.

All this is powered by an LiPo battery pack and circuit board which are assembled in the seat tube. It is equipped with a CPU that run the suspension control algorithms. It is able to collect data from gyroscopes and accelerometers to distinguish the road condition and change the state of the suspension itself.

If you think the pot holes on your local route are getting jus too much to bear, you’re in luck. Pinarello have now said that this bike is now available for you to buy, available in just four sizes (53, 55, 56 and 57.5) and one colour option of Matt Black (500) the frameset alone will cost you £7,500, the addition of Dura Ace Di2, Talon Bar and Fulcrum Carbon Wheels will cost you £12,000 with the bike. You’ll be glad to hear that if you place an order for your bike now, before June, it’ll be delivered in September, just in time to use as your winter bike…

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Times They Are Changing.

A quick update from Pusher of Pedals – there’s a little change to the site coming up!

No longer will the blog be dedicated to just bikes, but also cars and family lifestyle. The automotive world has been a life long passion of mine, in my work (TV and Event production) life I’ve worked on more car shows than anything and I’ve loved every minute of it. Top Gear, Car SOS, Stars In Their Cars while also working on CarFest and London Classic Car Show.

This, to you, may seem strange, how are these connected? Well, my life has changed, I’m now a parent, I’ve two boys, Barnaby who is two and Elijah who is two months. They are my world and the way in which I look at life is now different.

So, from here on in, I’ll not only be writing reviews on bikes and cycling related products like clothing, tech and supplements but also kiddy tag alongs, kiddy seats, helmets – while also looking at the automotive world. Family cars, with the occasional sports car, how do they swallow up everything which family life brings and are they useable and likeable?

There will be change BUT change is mainly for the better.

As ever, your feedback will be listened to and look at building a better more useable blog for you to follow and enjoy.

Stay tuned and hopefully we’ll all enjoy the ride together, on two wheels or four!

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Wahoo Unveils New Limited Edition Colours for ELEMNT BOLT

Now regular cycling house hold name Wahoo has released limited edition colours for the ELEMNT BOLT on the first day of the Sea Otter Classic.

I’ve never used the ELEMNT Bolt, but two years ago I did try out the ELEMNT and loved it, back then I more than thought it was more than an adequate replacement for any Garmin which was on offer. Just seeing how Wahoo has taken off since then can only confirm that.

The ELEMNT BOLT, the world’s first GPS computer designed to be aerodynamically efficient, is equipped with Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ dual-band technology, ELEMNT BOLT pairs seamlessly with all of your cycling sensors. It works with the free ELEMNT companion app, which allows you to set up your data fields, customise your profiles, track performance, and share ride data effortlessly — all without clicking through confusing menus. Plus, programmable LED QuickLook Indicators provide an easy way to see if you’re on pace with important performance metrics.

The new colours do not cover the whole BOLT, just the back, replacing the traditional grey, are a shocking pink and bright blue. “While the classic grey looks good on any bike, we know that some cyclists look for opportunities to use their bike to express their own style, and we want to help by offering more colourful options,” said ELEMNT Product Manager Megan Powers. “Our customers were especially clamouring for a pink BOLT, and in looking at the whole cycling landscape, it was clear that there was an opportunity to match many current bikes and kits with a blue BOLT. We’re pleased to offer Wahooligans these new Limited Edition colours, and hope they’ll help cyclists create their own unique on-bike looks.”

I’d have preferred colours which are not so gender splitting, orange, green, purple… maybe even yellow, green and polka dot white and red, to match that or the Tour de France jerseys.

Blue and pink just feels a bit boys and girls. I don’t feel as if it would be an addition to my bike or kit colours, however a nice bit of colour never goes a miss. So, more colour options, please Wahoo!

The Limited Edition BOLT colours are available for sale at WahooFitness.com now and cost £199.99.

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New bike day – LOOK e-765 Optimum

LOOK have announced the arrival of two new gravel bikes to their range – the 765 Gravel RS and e-765 Gravel – signifying the historic French marque’s arrival in the fast-growing segment.

The e-765 Optimum bike represents a brand new direction for LOOK, utilising the marque’s unrivalled carbon expertise and marrying it to the excellence of an integrated Fazua motor and battery system. The e-765 Optimum is made entirely in-house, and as a result carries with it LOOK’s potent performance DNA alongside the convenience of electrical assistance.

At the core is a fully-fledged carbon performance road bike – the carbon frame is made up of specifically optimised fibres laid up into an endurance-bred geometry that allows the e-road bike to meet the needs of its rider; stiffness and responsiveness where it’s required balanced by compliance and durability.

The frame’s seatstays are an important source of innovation – created using a new ‘3D Wave’ design that incorporates two deflections into the tubes, LOOK’s engineers have built an extra 15% vertical compliance into the rear triangle of the e-765 Optimum, compared to a standard carbon construction, supposedly resulting in a comfortable all-day ride.

Meanwhile, the e-765 Optimum’s neatly integrated Fazua motor and battery system produces assistance without disrupting the aesthetic of the bike.

Fazua’s motor and battery system is world-renowned for its integrated and lightweight design – the motor and battery adds just 4.6kg to the overall weight of the bike, with the entire machine weighing an average of 13.4kg. The motor will assist riders up to 25km/h, with four modes possible including a 400W ‘rocket mode’ selectable through the handlebar-mounted remote. More than enough power to give you a Chris Froome style boost up the Colle delle Finestre.

The close partnership between Fazua and LOOK has enabled the French brand to research their own power mapping profile for the electronic control unit, developed for optimum performance in a road riding situation following a year-long study into rider habits by LOOK.

The Fazua system has an integrated app, which allows the rider to turn your smartphone into a fully-functional bike computer, including GPS navigation, speed recording, as well as providing metrics on how they are using their battery power and motor, and temperature readings. Plus, the electrical system is completely detachable, converting the e-765 Optimum into an ordinary pedal-powered road bike.

Bernard Hinault, 5-time Tour de France Champion and LOOK Ambassador, said: “When the LOOK teams first spoke to me of their desire to develop an electric road bike made of carbon, I must say that I was surprised. However, the time spent engaging in the design process alongside the engineers, and in particular the first few pedal strokes on the e-765 Optimum convinced me immediately!

“It is a genuine revolution for any cyclist – I would never have believed they could retain all of the sensations of a 100% muscle-driven bike. It has become my benchmark bike!”

Two models will be available, featuring Ultegra Di2 and Ultegra groupsets, with immediate availability in Europe before spreading to other territories in the near future.

e-765 Optimum Ultegra Di2 – €7,699
e-765 Optimum Ultegra – €6,499

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The challenge is set.

Last night saw the return of something to my life which has been missing for almost a year. Exercise on a bike.

I felt like my legs couldn’t turn the pedal, power was nowhere near what I used to be able to put out and I couldn’t manage very long at all. You can see my sorrowful attempt of a ride here.

Screen Shot 2019-03-25 at 07.54.53
My terrible attempt up the brutal climb at the start of the 2018 World Championships, Innsbruck.

There’s a few reasons why I’ve been off the bike; work, raising a young family (a two year old and a one month old), moving home, laziness… I could go on but this would bore you to tears.

However, this week I signed up to the UCI World Championships Sportive. 100 glorious miles through the Yorkshire countryside, following some of the route which the World Championships will take place. Magic.

So what better time to start getting back to some form of fitness than six months before the big event!

I’ve done century rides before, Sportive’s also, but never with trying to fit in training around family time!

So follow on as I go through the training, riding and equipment which is going to get me there.

Oh and to add to the story, I’m dragging my wife along for the 100mile ride… the poor mite only gave birth last month, has never ridden a sportive before but those that train together, right?!

UCI 2018 Road World Championships
Alejandro Valverde winning the 2018 World Championships in Innsbruck

As always, links below.

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