Bradley Wiggins Motor Home for sale!

British Car Auctions, later this month, are giving bidders the chance to win Bradley Wiggins former motorhome.

Bradley Wiggins Sporthome for sale at BCAThe coachbuilt Sporthome by McLaren is based on a long-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 316 2.1 with manual transmission.  It was commissioned by Sir Bradley in 2014 and while finished in white, has been vinyl wrapped in Team Wiggins colours of blue with chromed wing mirrors and bull bar and 8-spoke alloy wheels AND it’s only covered 5,500 miles!

Wiggo Van 006

The Sporthome features bespoke red, white and blue leather seating with ‘Wiggo’ detail on the headrests.  The custom GB-inspired interior includes a double bed, combined shower/toilet, integrated kitchen area with fridge, cooker and wash basin, overhead lockers and a storage area/repair bay for cycles. It doesn’t finish there either, in the seating area, which has two swivel seats, fold down table and five TV screens (two of which have Sky, obviously).

To say it’s understated on the inside would be an understatement, garish dashboard styling is not one to my taste, but then again who am I to question the king of the cycling mods? If you wanted a motorhome perfect for the cycling get away then what better one to have, you would imagine that there’s everything you would need to make yourself feel like Wiggo himself – minus a few Olympic gold medals…

The Sporthome will be offered for sale at BCA Blackbushe on Thursday 21 September from 11.00 am.  To see the full catalogue listing and images online at bca.co.uk.

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ZWIFT men’s cycling academy

Yes, that’s right. You’ve heard of the women’s cycling academy where ZWIFT pick the best women from their cycling platform and give the best one a place in the Canyon // SRAM pro women’s team.

Screen Grab ZA Launch 2

Well, ZWIFT have teamed up with Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, as they expand their mission to find the next best in pro-cycling talent. The overall winner stands a chance of racing with the Continental Squad in 2018.

On 1st September, all graduates of the 2017 Team Dimension Data | Zwift Academy will unlock charitable donations to Qhubeka, funded by Zwift. Top performing graduates aged under 22 years will then progress to battle it out for a pro-contract on the Team Dimension Data Continental Squad for 2018.

Phase 1 of the Academy consists of a six week structured training program designed by elite coaches and a roster of group rides and races. From an anticipated pool of over 5,000 successful graduates, ten top U23 riders will be selected to complete an additional two weeks of riding and training. From this group, three top finalists will continue to the Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka November training camp in Cape Town, South Africa, where one will earn the opportunity to race with the Continental Squad in 2018.

Screen Grab ZA Launch

“Zwift has proven itself to not only be a rigorous data and training platform, but also a place where cyclists around the world can come together, engage, and become better riders,” says Doug Ryder, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s Team Principal. “We want to take part in this unique experience to not only identify and discover talent, but also to educate others about our charity partner Qhubeka, an organization that works to bring rural communities across Africa closer to nutritious food, clean water, schools, employment, and health care by providing them with utility bicycles.”

“Zwift has built a track record as a training tool used by top professional talent but we want to go much wider than this” says Eric Min, Zwift’s CEO and co-founder. “With 2017 enrollment in the women’s Canyon//SRAM Racing | Zwift Academy already open, we know with this expansion, we can create the largest online training community in cycling, where every participant of every ability is trained and coached into a stronger cyclist.”

So if you want to be riding for Team Dimension Data in 2018, get yourself on ZWIFT and get yourself riding! Someone has to win, so why couldn’t it be you?

Screen Grab ZA Launch 3

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Merckx restoration – Part 1: The Setup

Eddy Merckx, a name which everyone in cycling knows, the hard Belgian who won Grand Tours for fun and made everyone else look like amateurs.

On top of his ability on the bike after his retirement Mr. Merckx carried on his good name by creating beautiful steel frames that were provided to teams in the peloton. These classic steel frames can be worth a fortune today, if in good condition and of the right era.


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Imagine my disbelieve when I go to take the rubbish out of my East London flat and there, in front of me is an Eddy Merckx bike. Sitting there a little bit worse for wear desperate for some TLC. No quicker was the rubbish thrown out, the bike was back up on my balcony looking a bit happier to be in the sunshine. I couldn’t believe my luck. A Merckx frame and it’s just begging to be restored. Lucky me.

I quickly set about the research of the Merckx frame desperate to know what year, model, how the bike should look and how to restore it. However a few things didn’t quite add up. I couldn’t quite figure it out…

Frame numbers are on the bottom brackets of a Merckx bike, I found a really useful website that would allow me to see which classic Merckx I had. Wonderful. However, the frame number on this Merckx didn’t match. ‘What’s going on here?’ I thought, is this some sort of super rare Merckx?

A bit of history for you – in the 1970’s Eddy wanted to cash in on his name, he wanted to produce more bikes than his factory could. To facilitate this along came British bike manufacturer, Falcon. In February 1973 they released a series of frames which were ‘approved’ by Eddy Merckx, each bike sold a lump of money would go to Eddy for allowing the bike to carry his name and Falcon would get the rest, good for the goose and the gander. What was the case though is that a lot of these frames were cheap, build them quickly and cheaply, sell them for as much mark up as possible to cash in on the Merckx name. The steel was of a lower quality, it was heavy and the only thing that made this bike a Merckx, not a Falcon, was the decals which were stuck on the bike.

What I had sat on my balcony was a Falcon. A sheep in wolfs skin. A Falcon in Eagle feathers. I had been duped.

Enthusiasm knocked and feeling slightly subdued I wondered what to do. I could just take the bike back down to the bin store, no harm done, leave it there for the next person to be passionate about it. Then I realised – this is still a bike, an awesome commuting bike. A bike I could still do up and be proud of. It actually has its own little interesting story. People still buy knock off Piccasso’s thinking they’re the real thing, right?

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So – over the next few weeks / months I’m going to be turning this slightly rusted, Merckx approved frame in to something I can be proud of and you dear reader can follow the story here. Right from getting the parts to its first finished ride!

I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments and ideas as the restoration progresses and of the whole idea! So tweet me, comment on Instagram, comment, like and share on Facebook and also below.

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My Cycle To Work Scheme – Smith The Route Helmet

The chaps at Smith sent us pedal pushers over one of their ‘The Route’ helmets. When they did, they asked me which colour I would like, their charcoal black or bright orange. Using this for the commute I chose bright orange and I’m glad I did. I’m convinced the colour got me noticed on the road and stopped me from being hit by a car turning right and not looking. I’m not saying that is the reason you should buy this helmet, what I am saying is think what purpose you’re buying your helmet for. Be it weekend Road riding, track racing or on the commute, colour and type should always play a part.

“The Route helmet represents a movement within Smith to bring the award winning technologies found in our popular Overtake helmet to the everyday rider.” Said Graham Sours, Smith Helmet Category Manager. “We ride on the road and commute by bike and these new models exemplify all of us as cyclists in our own unique way”. So let’s see what Graham is talking about shall we?

  • Who are Smith?

In 1965, Dr. Bob Smith, orthodontist and original ski bum, developed the first sealed thermal lens and breathable vent foam goggles so he could get a few more powder runs on days when everyone else had to go indoors. For over 50 years, SMITH has pioneered advanced products to fuel fun beyond walls, creating innovations that amplify awesome, and crafting gear where every detail makes a difference.

  • Comfort

This Smith helmet comes with MIPS technology, this is basically a plastic layer between your head and the inside of the helmet.

This layer helps to reduce the tension which the helmet can put on your head. When you tighten your helmet it’s not just the inner band on the helmet that tightens but the whole of this layer meaning the pressure is spread all around your head and not just at the band contact points.

All added up this makes the helmet extremely comfortable for a longer ride and you don’t have that classic head strap mark across your forehead when you take it off, that’s a plus!

The MIPS® lining also reduces rotational forces that the brain is exposed to during oblique impacts to the head.  When combined with MIPS®, the helmet liner is separated from the head by a low-friction slip plan that allows the head to slide during impact and may reduce instances of traumatic brain injuries.

  • Ventilation

There certainly are 18 large air vents on this helmet and the all important vents at the back to allow the air to flow over your head keeping it cool. It also includes anti-microbial X-Static performance liners with Reactive Cooling, ultra light single layer webbing, and a VaporFit™ adjustable system for increased comfort and it works!

I have to say, the times I wore this helmet I always felt nice and cool and arrived where I needed to be a little less red faced.

Another area where The Route scores well.

  • Would I buy one?

Yeah, I would. I think the design is good, it cools well and is very comfy to wear.

It’s much more of a commute helmet over one for a weekend road warrior, as it’s not as sleek for some. However it’s durability, comfort and the bright orange is great for the commuter in the hot summer months!

The Route is available in many colour choices, for £129.99 with MIPS technology and £109.99 without. My advice, spend the extra £20, it could save your life.

Well done Smith.

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Strava – Join the Club

Hello,

I just wanted to write a quick update to let you know I’ve started a Strava club, you can find the link here if you would care to join in!

I’ve only been uploading my commuting rides on there at the moment – I’d like to be able to link people together from all over and hopefully bump in to fellow commuters along the way who also commute from East London in to the City and Westwards!

As the community hopefully grows then maybe we can start organising weekend rides and further on from there, who knows. The possibilities are as far as the miles in your legs! Endless.

It’s a place for all you bike-curious lot. New, old, seasoned cyclists to mediocre lycra lovers. All are welcome, all are accepted and absolutely no one is judged!

Look forward to you joining the pedal pushing club!

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My Cycle To Work Scheme – Blaze Lazerlight

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You may be aware of the lighting brand Blaze, they have been ‘blazing’ a trail now for a couple of years in the world of bike lights. They’ve got a bit of a range, the rear burner, the front burner and the one I’ll be reviewing in this write up, the Lazerlight.

Keeping safe on the roads morning and evening, on your commute is very important. The Blaze team are different in what they do to help improve bike safety with this Laserlight.

If you’re a London liver, like me, you may have noticed them on the Boris Bikes (or to give them their unofficial name, Santander Cycles) lately. In short, it is a light for the front of your bike which also projects, via laser, a green bicycle on the floor up to six meters in front of you as you ride. What’s the point of it and is it any good? Well for £125 you would ruddy well hope so, if I’m spending that much I want it to last forever and for it to shoot frickin’ laser beams out of it… Let’s see if it can do both of those things! Here’s what I found.

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First impressions were good, the Blaze comes packed in a nice looking high end box and as you open it, you’re presented with just the light. It’s got some weight to it but it feels smooth and high end, which you’d expect for the whopping £125. As you get it out the box the first thing you want to do is start firing the laser, which you can’t do until the light is attached to its bike mount, you can however turn the light on. It comes with enough charge to at least test the light with, I didn’t ride it straight out the box but you might be able to get away with it if your ride is short. I would not advise this though, if you’re going to ride with your bike light in the dark, please make sure your light is fully charged, that’s just common sense.

Charing is easy, it’s a USB charger so will plug in to your computer/laptop or even a USB plug charger like that of your phone. The charger attaches via magnet to the top of the Laserlight. The Laserlight its self tells you how charged it is by LED lights, which change colour and flash or stay solid to let you know how charged the Laserlight is. Charing is as simple as charging your phone.

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Attaching it to your bike is easy too, the only thing you should know is you need the supplied Allen Key to fully tighten the light mount to your bike. The light then just slots in to the mount, attaching and detaching easy. So, I guess, unless you’re constantly changing bikes, fully tightening the mount to the bike with an Allen Key should only be a one-time thing. If the light goes on the mount easy enough, which it does, it’s not that much of an issue for me. If you are going to be constantly swapping bikes and lights, keep a hold of that key!

Turning the light on confused me a bit, being a bloke I obviously tried to do things without reading the instructions. I didn’t realise there was a lock feature on the light which is turned on/off by holding down both the light and laser button at the same time. The advantage being that the light wont switch on and run down it’s battery life if you’ve dumped it in your backpack/bag – I’ll come back to battery life later it’s a claimed 13 hours… There is a couple of different settings for the LED light, 100 lumens, 300 lumens and flashing. For the laser – on, off or flashing. They’re super easy to toggle through just by pressing the respective buttons. You can have whichever combination of the lights going at any one time.

However, this leads me back to the battery life… If you have it on full 300 lumens and bike laser staying on constantly, expect it to run flat in 40 minutes. not 13 hours. Blaze claim on their website that you can get 4 hours at 95% depletion but this is a get me home measure. It seems a bit of a cop out to me, no one takes four whole hours to cycle home, I’d hate to forever be charging my Laserlight each time I get to the office and home from work, as fun as the magnetic charger is. Which brings me back to the price, if I’m paying £125 on a front light only, I want it to work all day long. Not some dim 100 lumens which I worry will get me seen as I’m on my 20-minute commute home.

So, with the battery life and cost in mind, is this light just a gimmick? Well, Blaze have released some numbers on the light apparently tests by TRL (Transport Research Laboratory) when a Blaze Laserlight is fitted and the laser is turned on, visibility to a bus driver went up from 72% to 96% compared to an LED light alone. That’s very impressive. Very, very impressive. And TFL (Transport for London) wouldn’t have put 12,000 on them on their Santander Cycles if they didn’t believe in the light.

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The safety is there for all to see, six meters in front of you. It’s cool and when I was cycling around with it on, it’s not only bus drivers who notice you, pedestrians, car drivers, scooters and other cyclists all knew you were coming. It did make me feel a lot safer on the road and can you really put a price on your own safety? If you’re Blaze yes you can, it’s £125.

You can buy a Blaze Lazerlight and check out their range here

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Runderwear – Pants

A little while ago, the chaps at Runderwear got in touch, they wanted to showcase their seamless underpants.

As a cyclist I explained that I’m not that interested in pants during exercise. As many of you fellow Pedal Pushers might do, when I’m on my bike, in my Lycra enjoying the wind through my helmet, I don’t wear undergarments. They get in the way and stop your comfy chamois working as it should. Actually wearing underwear while cycling can add to the chaffing! At Runderwear they felt confident that these next level undercrackers would be beneficial to new cyclists who may not be as keen to fully embrace the Lycra. I was sceptical.

I should say, I usually have lots of photos to accompany my blog posts. Don’t you worry dear reader, I’m not going to be taking pictures of me in my pants!

When the pants arrived, available in briefs or boxers, they didn’t exactly jump out at me. Which was nice really, I don’t suppose you want your pants to be showy! They’re understated in black with a blue trim, quite classy. The key thing about these pants is that they’re seamless, so they’re not meant to rub or chafe as you wear them.

  • The fit

In trying them on, they reminded me of a pair of ill fitting bib shorts. Baggy in the middle and not quite ‘right’. I had to double check I didn’t have them on back to front! It felt really odd pulling bib shorts on over the top of boxers and instantly the shorts scrunched the boxers up. Even though there is a gripper layer so the boxers shouldn’t ride up, the power of the Lycra was too much in this instance. Sorting that out you could still see the line of the Runderwear underneath my bibs. This made me feel a little bit conscious. I don’t know why, it’s not like wearing no pants at all is less on show but it just made me think “Oh, great – now everyone can see my pants.”

  • Performance booster?

Once they were on and I was riding though, I didn’t notice anything beneficial from having them on. In fact, I didn’t notice them at all. Which was nice, I kept thinking they wouldn’t allow my chamois to work effectively or that they would add to any form of chaffing but they were completely unrecognisable.

They’re sweat wicking and breathable too – again as a cyclist, so are my bib shorts. I wouldn’t want to, or feel the need to, add an extra barrier.

  • Worth the money?

Not for me I’m afraid, if I don’t notice them doing anything other than being noticeable to others then I don’t see why I would spend the £13 on a brief or £18 on the boxers. I mean it’s not like I wear underwear when cycling in the first place.

They’re 100% seamless chafe free underwear and they were exactly that. I guess they may stop you from buying lots of chamois cream. I think the clues in the name, these are for the running market. Unless I’m going to do a Froome up Ventoux then, personally, it’s a no from me.

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Wahoo ELEMNT – An alternative to Garmin

Wahoo! Finally, an alternative to Garmin and it’s from the aptly named people at Wahoo – may I introduce you to the Wahoo ELEMNT.

Now, I’m not going to do a side by side review, I’m just going to tell you straight what this Wahoo has to offer. It’s up you if you want to go Android over Apple, I’m not here to tell you that you should do this or that, what I am here to tell you is the Wahoo ELEMNT is great. I’m not going to make you read all the way through to find that out, I’m telling you from the off, it’s brilliant.

For £249.99 it does go head to head with the Garmin Edge 520 – that’s the only comparison I’m going to make – it’s up to you to make the choice but hopefully you will gain some insight from this post.

Let’s talk a little about Wahoo Fitness because you may not know too much about them, it’s a tech-fitness company that has created a whole raft of sensors and devices for runners, cyclists and fitness enthusiasts. Founded in 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia – they’ve gone on rapid growth and over the past three years have supplied Team Sky with their KICKR for warm ups, cool downs and indoor sessions. Not only do they supply Team Sky with the KICKR, Wahoo Fitness also supplies Team Sky with the TICKR (always missing out letters these Americans…) to track the heart rate of the Team Sky riders. So already, in six short years, supplying arguably the strongest team in the Pro Peloton, right now – impressive.FullSizeRender

So, now we know that Wahoo Fitness come with credentials, what does the ELEMNT come with?

Well, opening the box you have three mounts, cable ties, a micro USB charger and of course, the Wahoo ELEMNT it’s self. First impressions are good, it’s not huge, coming in at 105 grams you wonder as to how they’ve managed to put a whole GPS unit, battery which will last for around 7 hours and all the electronics to make the Wahoo tick over. Incidentally Wahoo claim on the box that the ELEMNT has a week worth of battery, surely that depends on how much you ride in a week.

FullSizeRender[2]On powering up, Wahoo Fitness are obviously very proud of their KICKR as there’s what looks like a team sky rider pedalling away as the ELEMNT ‘warms up’ and searches for any updates. If it’s the first time you’re turning on your ELEMNT and you’re keen to get riding, you need to sync this powerful little tool to your phone first. This is so easy to do, you need the Wahoo ELEMNT free App and to go to ‘Pair Phone’ in the ELEMNT menu. This is easy enough to do in the Wahoo ELEMNT App, you scan the QR on the phone and hey presto, as long as your Bluetooth is on, you’ve got yourself a fully paired phone and sensor. Simples.

Functionality and ease to use on the ELEMNT must have been in the mission statement because I have never been able to navigate my way around a device so easily and comfortably. Within seconds, my phone was paired to the ELEMNT and I could of gone off on a ride there and then.

However, I wanted to try out the ELEMNTs trump card, the Turn by Turn (Or TBT as Wahoo are calling it, obviously) Navigation.

This is the Wahoo Fitness ELEMNT trump card, it offered riders an easy navigational system that can be followed by prompts, while this is only available for rides you have either downloaded or built on RideWithGPS. You can still download routes which you have made on Strava and follow these with the on screen mapping system, it doesn’t give you the same prompts as you get with RideWithGPS, best of all you don’t even need a paid for membership! You can use your free membership, how cool is that?

IMG_9621Once you’ve created your route you simply pull it to your ELEMNT, it’s super easy as you can link many different accounts to your ELEMNT; Strava, RideWithGPS, iPhone Health App, even Garmin Connect. The next time you power up your ELEMNT and pair it with your phone, it will automatically update the maps and you can choose them for your next ride! It really is that easy, there’s no plugging in to your laptop / PC it just uses the power of your smart phone.

What’s best about the Turn by Turn navigation, even if you’ve turned the wrong way, it can think, it will bring up new prompts to bring you back on to the road you should be on. The prompts appear differently depending on which page you’re on, on the map page they display as a banner mid-way across the screen, whereas on the elevation plot and regular data pages they’ll appear on the bottom.ELEMNT_TurnByTurnMap_Rd2

If you go the wrong way, the LED’s across the top of the ELEMNT flash read and you get what can only be described as a whimper, not a BEEP! Which is what it should be. Wahoo have said though that they’re looking at making the audio prompts louder, which they need to be because when you’re on a busy road or chatting with friends as you cycle along, you can’t really hear them.

ELEMNT on BarsSee those LED light’s I just mentioned? Not only do they indicated when you have to turn and if you’re going the right or wrong way, but the ones down the left hand side really help you train. They start playing on you, you can set them to your average speed, average watts or average heart rate and they will tell you how you are performing on that ride. They really make you push your fitness goals and also make you feel really disheartened when you’re climbing a hill and all of a sudden you see your speed dwindling down from a floating 18mph to 7mph in no time at all! These lights also help you train when you have the ELEMNT paired up with the KICKR, I did not have the luxury of having the KICKR for this test though. All signs from other reviews report that it works well though.

It’s of course not just about the flashy lights and knowing which way to go. The ELEMNT just seems to be able to have Bluetooth add on after add on, you can link your Heart Rate Monitor to it, your gears – so you can see which gear your in at any one time. Your watt reader or even your KICKR – you can even see the elevation that’s coming up on the routes which you’ve loaded in. That really helps you when you are trying to figure out how much pain you have to shut out up the climbs. It seems to have all the bases covered, if your device is ANT+ or Bluetooth, you’re pretty damn certain that the ELEMNT can connect to it!

IMG_9627You will notice in my pictures I have the Backlight on for most of them, this isn’t on because I need it to be on to read the screen. The screen on the ELEMNT is super crisp, so easy to read, at a glance, in direct sunlight, at night – I have never had an issue with the screen.

While we’re on the subject of the screen, you’ll notice while you’re riding along with the map page up, people’s names popping up and seeing where they are on the map. These are other Wahoo ELEMNT users, this really helps bring a cycling culture about, you cans see their user name and where they are on the map, if you’re lucky enough it might be one of your friends and you can go join them. If they’re not on an instructed solo from the missus that is!

ELEMNT_SegmentGoThere is a little more to offer, the latest update on the ELEMNT allows you to take full advantage of Strava Live Segments. You do this by simply starring a segment on Strava.com. Then, whenever a starred segment is encountered on a ride, the ELEMNT will then bring up a dedicated Strava Live Segment page showing segment progress, distance remaining, as well as the segment’s full elevation profile. Additionally, the Strava Live Segment page can be customised via the ELEMNT companion app to display other key metrics such as power and heart rate.

When riding a Strava Live Segment, the ELEMNT’s LEDs come in to play again, especially for riders searching for that KOM or personal best. The top row of LEDs indicate a rider’s progress within the segment, lighting up sequentially, while the side row of LEDs indicate the whether the rider is over or under the pace for the KOM, their personal best, or the pace of a pre-selected opponent.

ELEMNT_SegmentFinalPushWhen a rider enters the final 200m of a segment and is within 2 seconds of their target (KOM, personal best or opponent), a helpful ‘Final Push’ page takes over the display to alert and motivate the rider. Once the segment is completed, a segment history page allows riders to review all Strava Live Segments ridden up to that point in the ride, rather than having to wait until the ride is finished to see how they performed.

So, as you have probably now read, Wahoo’s first foray in to the GPS market seems to be a successful one. They have come out with a few new ideas and certainly thrown the gauntlet down to Garmin. There are features on the ELEMNT, which Garmin does not have, such as Bluetooth Smart sensor support or loading of routes from third parties (Strava RideWithGPS, etc.) that could persuade buyers toward the ELEMNT instead.  On the other hand, it could be the slightly crisper ELEMNT screen. Who knows. All I know is that the ELEMNT is a very strong riding partner and I was very lucky to have it in my life for a month.

Bravo Wahoo!

The Links!

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My Cycle To Work Scheme – Canyon RoadLite

In my latest series of blogs on cycling to work in the city I take a look at the Canyon RoadLite.


The guys over at Canyon got in touch and thought that this bike is the perfect bike for getting yourself in to the office in maximum comfort and style, and why not? Canyon make some fantastic bikes and are the supplier of pro team, Movistar. They have seen Nario Quintana ride to a Giro d’Italia Grand Tour victory and to second place, behind overall winner Chris Froome, in the Tour de France, taking the White Jersey in 2013. On top of all this, at the Rio Olympics 2016 they are supplying bikes for 20 different athletes from 10 different countries.

To say these bikes have a thoroughbred then could be seen as an understatement, so what’s next for the German brand? Well, commuting it seems – and the Germans seem to take getting to work seriously. Canyon claim their aim while developing the RoadLite was to take the performance from the Grand Tour winning road bikes and combine that with comfort and this machine is ready to take you to a king of the commute. While it’s not a flat out road bike, it’s still a good weekend explorer, a road racer it is not, this is a fitness bike.

So, what do you pull out the box when it’s delivered? Well, if you’ve ordered the same bike which Canyon sent me, the RoadLite AL 6.0, then you’ll notice the box wasn’t too heavy to carry from the delivery van to your home. For £719 you get a 9.20kg aluminium bike frame, two Mavic Crossone wheels, a Iridium saddle and a Canyon seat post with VCLS tech for extra comfort and stability. Canyon even through in a couple of in house made pedals too. This bike really does take aluminium to another level, I didn’t think that getting a bike this sturdy and this light was possible with just aluminium alone. However, if you spend an extra £250 Canyon will shed a further 700 grams by upgrading the gears and cranks from Shimano 105 to Shimano Ultegra, changing the wheels to DT Swiss R 24’s and giving you a carbon fibre seat post.

For me the paying the extra £250 isn’t really worth it. If I were to buy this bike it would be a commuter, for that reason I don’t see the need to upgrade from the 105 to the Ultegra and get a couple of other jazzy upgrades. The middle of the road model, which this one is, is just right.

But what is it like to ride? Well, I pumped the 28mm tyres up to 90psi and took it out for a 6 mile spin (similar to that of a commute) and you can find that on my Strava, if you want to look through it. I have to say, the bike is well balanced and extremely comfortable. Averaging around 12 mph the bike just cruises, there’s very little chance to get above 12 mph average cycling around central London to work, so this was a great little run out for this test. I didn’t even brake in to too much of a sweat, which was comforting to know if I were cycling to the office I wouldn’t be arriving in a shower of sweat.

I found the bike stable and able to absorb the bumps and divots in the road, even though the saddle isn’t overly padded, you don’t feel the need for it to be as you don’t feel sharp juddering bumps up in to your nether regions.

Let’s have a quick chat about the wheel base, it’s quite long. I got my measuring tape out and measured 110cm, compared to my road bike that’s 10cm more. which you would think would make the bike feel cumbersome and lethargic through the bends, not so, the bike still holds some cornering ability, it’s not as sharp as your road bike though.

Yes Alex Dowsett, if you are reading, I agree – these can get very hot!

That’s not so much as an issue through because you’ll be able to scrub off your speed without issue. It comes with disc brakes… ooohhhh. Now they’re bad aren’t they? No, they’re not. They’ve just been shunned by the pro peloton over safety concerns. The concerns being that it would encourage riders to descend mountains harder knowing they could slow down quicker. Also they heat up, if there was a crash and people have

You can see the stays for normal rim brakes if you replace them.

jammed their brakes on, you have a hot disc  coming towards your face… Not cool. The brakes on this bike, however – while they do still get hot – are fantastic. I know I keep going back to it but for a commute, you need sharp brakes, you never know when someone could step out on you, cut you up or just give you a reason to have to hit the brakes. I’ve never been so confident in hitting my brakes, you quickly drop your speed and not in a throw you over the handle bars kind of way. Worth a mention, there’s still the stays for rim brakes if you really feel the need to replace them.

You can also see the internal cables for the gears here.

You’ll notice the handle bars are a mini version of the bull bars you used to have on your mountain bike as a kid, so that when you were throwing your bike around it was softer on your supple hands. This is no different, while the brakes and gear are in the usual position you can position your hands slightly wider on the bars just for an added bit of comfort, a nice touch. I found the gears slightly awkward though, while they clicked in to place perfectly, I found them too central on the bars and with my hands sitting slightly wider it added a little movement of the wrist to click through the gears which just felt slightly off.

So, would I part with my cash for this bike?

Of course – I would happily ride it every day to and from the office. It would even be a nice little weekend warrior with the family, it’s so versatile. Stick a couple of paneers on there and you’ve even got yourself a shopping bike! What’s really notable is the little bits of detail on the bike. there are stickers near the cables to stop them from scratching the frame, the gear cables are even internal! On a bike for less than a grand! Unheard of. The colour scheme is superb and it’s very classy. A great bike for the price and getting you to the office!

Here you can see the plastic labels to stop the frame getting scuffs from the cables.

The Links

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Ribble Sportiva – Women’s Road Bike Review

I think we could all agree, the only thing us British people seem to be good at is cycling. Since the Wiggo inspired revolution of 2012, we’ve seen British Cycling grow and grow. Boris Johnson introduced major cycle lanes in to the heart of London and Saqid Kahn looks to extend the cycle route with the new plans of CS11. Each morning I cycle to work, there seems to be more and more cyclists enjoying the commute in to the office.

Over the last 12 months, British Cycling have been able to draw up the following stats:

  • 2,069,200 adults in England now cycling at least once every week
  • 3,628,400 adults in England now cycling at least monthly
  • Over half a million regular cyclists are women, an increase of 2% in the last 12 months.
  • 385,600 young people now ride bikes frequently
  • Frequent cycling among people with an impairment is now at 184,000

Considering such a boom, certainly in the male market, it would be natural that the female market would follow suit. However, it seems to be that, even though there is a large proportion of female riders and enthusiasts, the help, bikes and tech may not be there for women as it is for men.

My wife – she wouldn’t of even cared for a bike race or event before she met me, in the years I’ve been with her, she has now; been to see three stages of the Tour de France, watch Wiggo go around a track for an hour and attends regular spin classes to keep fit. I know I’ve done a wonderful job. On the sofa the other night though I caught something in her eye, it was a reflection on from the iPad… She was looking at bikes and she admitted it. She wanted to take on the open road, feel the wind through her helmet on the country lanes and experience cycling on the roads. I was made up. Obviously, I started with all the questions to which I got a blank expression, talking about groupsets got me no where and when I mentioned the length of the handlebar stem I got a roll of the eyes as if I was putting in some sort of sorry cycling innuendo.

So it was a bit of a challenge as to which manufacturer to choose. However, the guys over at Ribble stepped up to the plate. They got in touch, as they too are keen to get involved with the cycling boom. One of the biggest online bike dealers in the UK, Ribble specialises in using quality, thoroughly road-tested frames from the far east as the basis of their customer-specced bike packages. They offer exceptional value, with fully built carbon bikes available for under £800. As an entry level bike, they offered up the Ribble Spotiva, an introduction to the Sportive range of Ribble bikes. With a 7005 frame, an aluminium alloy with amazing strength to weight ratio. It’s the same alloy used on the men’s frame, the only difference is this is set up for female geometry. Meaning it has a lower stand over height and a shorter top tube.

The handle bars are slightlu pointing backwars, but that is what my wife finds comfortable

The guys at Ribble were really good, what they didn’t know, you don’t need to know. They chatted my wife through all the selection options and even the length of her pedal arm. Of course when someone else starts talking to you about it, it’s then interesting isn’t it?! I could have sworn I’ve bored her to tears over cycling subjects for years…

Pedal stem chosen and handle bar tape changed to Celeste colour, the bike arrived in super quick time.

After ordering, my wife is a lover of reviews so we both did some digging to see if this outlay really meant this was the bike for her. However, the only review we could find of the bike was in The Good Housekeeping Institute. I find this slightly off, so here we go, here’s my attempt!

The bike arrived in almost one piece, all it needed was the handlebars fitting on, the saddle height adjusted and the pedals screwing on. All of which we did together, not even an issue – we were ready to ride.

While she uses SPD cleats in her spin class and is used to them, using them out on the road is another thing! They’re really good pedals to get used to a new bike and also riding on the road in cleats in. I picked them up on Wiggle for £28.99. With a couple of up charges – Tiagra Groupset, R501 wheels, Continental Ultra Sport tyres, a white handlebar steam and the all important Celeste handlebar tape – the total cost of the bike: £678.89

Even a bike which was ordered online and got delivered in a box to me, the gears didn’t need and fiddling with, changing down and through them wasn’t an issue, each gear changed was met with a satisfying ‘thunk’ in to gear.


First off, the transition from spin class to road brings in different factors; road surface, wind, weather conditions and other road users. The perfect place for us to start the full test and transition was down at the Olympic Velodrome where they have an outdoor mile long circuit, for cyclists only. For £6 you can cycle around pretty much all day, there’s toilet and water facilities on a circuit which has everything but a mega long climb (it is only a mile after all) but it does have a couple of short upward kicks.

Back to the bike – well, in short, it performs fantastically. Not only does it have fantastic weight for it’s price but upgraded the Groupset from the 105 to Tiagra gives miles better performance for only £39.99 on Ribble, it’s well worth it.


For a first time rider who is wanting to tackle road cycling head on I think its a great introductory bike. The balance of the bike is something which is very noticeable, it really gives you the confidence to ride the bike.

Gone are the days of a women’s bike just having a Top Tube which is easier to step over, Ribble have changed the geometry slightly so rather than just shifting the saddle forwards and fitting a much shorter stem, all of which could make for a twitchy, uncomfortable ride. Ribble have made the overall reach so that handling is not compromised. This is super noticeable because on the mile long circuit there are some tight twisty bits which the Sportiva glides through, with ease. Theres no mid corner twitch or worry, you can really get in to the corner at speed with confidence. To this improved handling setup the addition of a carbon front fork and you have a smoother ride that (slightly) reduces bumps and stones which may make you worry on the corners.

On this short and punchy circuit the bike performed admirably, it seemed to eat up the sprint, feeling stiff and ridged and that every pedal stoke had a purpose, to put as much power through the chain as possible. Flat out sprints were strong and sharp rising out the saddle to hammer down the power isn’t an issue and neither is negating a small bump in the road, up and out the saddle the pedals feel light enough underneath you to tap through your cadence with confidence of tackling the climb.

To a slightly longer ride – as the frame shares its build with the mens 7005 Sportive, you get the same sort of no messing from this frame. It’s great for a Sportive or leisure ride. Longer days in the saddle are comfortable and I’m pleased to say that uphill climbs are almost a joy. Almost. Having the bladed forked Shimano R501 wheels also helped here, while they’re not super light and the raciest of wheels, they are solid and they bring the weight down a bit. They’re durable and replacement spoke are easy enough to come by, they’re a welcome addition.

IMG_9652

To sum up, its a great first time bike, it brings together many elements; looks, durability, set up and low weight. it’s perfect for an entry level bike which will help you to decide whether you want to start taking things a little more seriously in a year or so. Easily enough to add stuff on to like better wheels, pedals or even electronic gears, we couldn’t be happier with it. Well done Ribble!

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