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Winter guide - British cycling - European cycling - Nutrition - Bikes

UK’s Leisure Cycling and Travel Magazine




Escape the cold winter


Cycling in the


£5.95 / €6.59


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LONDON TO PARIS 3 d a y s | 2 c i t i e s | 455 k m 21 J u l y 2019 WATC H T H E TO U R D E F R A N C E F IN A L E O N T H E C H A M P S - É LYS É E S

ACCOMMODATION | FULL C ATERING | COMPETITION AWARDS Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity. Registered charity no. 1160024.




10 Welcome to Snowdonia Snowdonia National Park is a special part of the country where people come to relax and enjoy a wide range of leisure activities in spectacular surroundings. Its landscape is unique. > Snowdonia

24 The Peak District and Derbyshire


From rugged gritstone moors and rolling limestone dales to lush meadows and leafy forests, the quality and variety of its countryside is second to none. > Peak District

Cycling Jerseys When the temperature starts to plunge, this is the gear you need to see you through on two wheels.

> Winter Cycling

48 Winter Bikes

28 Gavia Passo Doble rh+ may currently be a new name to you but that’s all about to change. They have stormed the Italian market equaling the mighty Castelli in market share. > The Alps

44 Isle of Wight Cycling Festival

> Guide

The Isle of Wight Council is extremely keen to promote ‘Bicycle Island’. The three week festival, running from August to September, is aimed to provide something for everyone; whether serious MTB road riders, leisure riders or young families. > Isle of Wight





to December issue Every journey begins with a dream. We at BIKE make dreams become a reality by exploring the cycling world and sharing our knowledge with fellow cyclists. Showing unshakeable commitment towards high-performance and adventure, our December 2018 issue guides you on how to make the most out of cycling these winter months. There’s simply no need to let the coldness get you down. Instead, embrace it! With numerous, beautiful places ideal for cycling around this season, your bike most certainly shouldn’t be left gathering dust. Touching upon Snowdonia’s National Park, a delightfully varied landscape of steep river gorges, waterfalls and green valleys (page 10); Derbyshire’s Peak District, where you will not only find lush meadows and leafy forests but also scrumptious restaurants and shopping malls (page 24); The Alps, an ideal place for breathtaking, rocky adventures (page 38); Slovenia, a beautiful country with fresh air and stunning sights wherever you cycle to (page 42); Morocco, a northern African country of diverse mountain ranges, long stretches of coastline and glorious beaches (page 56); Marrakesh, where you can you can partake in exhilarating rides under Moroccan blue skies while getting your adrenaline pumping (page 58), and the Isle of White, which consists of outstanding coastal scenery and chocolate box villages (page 44), we open up an array of exciting travel opportunities all favoured for their different, yet outstanding, qualities. What’s stopping you from jumping onto the saddle and peddling to some of these terrific destinations? When you’re next filled with wanderlust and get the urge to stick on your helmet, we can help you reach the finish line or your chosen target with our top of the range cycling jerseys (page 18) and sturdy winter bikes (page 48). Slipping and sliding while wearing a ridiculous amount of restrictive layers is no longer necessary. We have sourced the right gear to see you through wet and snowy weather on two wheels – coldness no longer has to be a bitter experience. Nevertheless, apparel and equipment aren’t the only factors that need to be considered. When it comes to bike management and maintaining adequate nutrition and hydration while on the go, cold weather presents unique challenges; hugely impacting your overall performance. Helping you to better plan, prepare and perform, we offer tips on how to keep your bike stable via our winter survival guide (page 6), as well as bring health to light to ensure you consume the correct amount of carbohydrates to bolster your immunity and increase your motivation while on the saddle (page 34). Get the most out of your ride by contacting us via: > Leah Alger - Editor

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winter jersey guide - british cycling - european cycling - nutrition - bikes

UK’s Leisure Cycling and Travel Magazine




escape the cold winter


E. Publisher

cycling in the


Webify Media Ltd DECEMBER 2018

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Cycling through winter can seem like a daunting idea, even for those who have ridden in the colder months many times before.



Although we’d admit that it’s hard to beat cruising around in the summer while wearing short-sleeves and sunglasses, there’s still a lot of enjoyment to be had from winter riding – let alone the benefits of keeping your legs turning and a bit of (very) fresh air. Here, we outline key points to consider when facing a winter of cycling:

Clothing The most obvious and arguably important factor in winter weather riding is, of course, clothing. The right windproof, thermal and waterproof gear can keep you dry and warm on rides so that you barely notice how cold it is. A full set of winter clothing can, at first, seem like a large expense. Choosing carefully and layering up can give you a range of clothing to suit a range of temperatures. Despite the temptation to throw on thick fleeces and waterproofs to stave off the cold, they will make you sweat, even when the temperature is nudging zero. Sweat can accumulate under your clothes to make you feel wet, cold and clammy. Use cycle-specific clothing. Other sports clothing may not have the correct purpose for your position when riding, or the correct properties to keep you moisture-free. Good quality winter/windproof gloves and overshoes will keep your extremities warm – the most susceptible areas to getting cold first. Not sure whether you have enough clothes on (or too many)? Then go outside before your ride and see how it feels. Remember that the effort of riding will, of course, warm you up a bit.

Punctures It’s a sad fact that the worse the weather, the more likely you are to get a puncture. Wet road conditions create some kind of magical lubrication for thorns, shards of glass and sharp pieces of flint to stab their way through the carcass of your tyre and into your inner tube. This usually happens at the most inconvenient point of the ride. Make sure that you have at least two tubes and a working pump and check everything works, especially if you haven’t used them for a while. Some people swear by CO2 cartridges to inflate their tyres, but be aware that these run out after only one or two inflations. In addition, when you operate them in low temperatures, the gas can cause the head of the canister to freeze,, and it isn’t unknown for them to freeze and gloves and fingers. We say this from bitter experience. If you are riding in a group, make sure you have enough tubes and pumps between you. Nevertheless, don’t rely on anyone else.

Lights We’re seeing more and more riders using lights all year round, and not only in the dark. Instead, they are used as a way of highlighting presence to other road users. In winter, this is arguably more important as it can be very gloomy and

CASTELLI Nel Mezzo Ros Jersey Castelli does winter wear well – and its new Nel Mezzo is no exception. This jersey is much closer to a ‘winter jacket’ than the others on test here, you could wear it well into winter. From the ‘Rain-or-Shine’ (ROS) collection, it’s designed to excel in cool and dry conditions as well as light rain. The fabric is a tight weave Nano Flex Xtra Dry, with quick drying and fleece like polyester on the inner and nylon on the outside. It keeps a fair amount of water out and straddles the jersey/ jacket divide, sitting closer the latter yet without feeling restrictive. The fit is spot on, form fitting without being restrictive. Sizing isn’t particularly ‘Italian’ and a small was perfect for our size 8-10 tester. There’s three rear pockets, plus a zipped side pocket. This isn’t a cheap jersey, but its versatility means that it should wear well from late October to the dawn of spring, and from experience if washed and looked after should last several seasons. For more information visit



“Give your bike a regular look over, and wash off the accumulated grime regularly” overcast. Especially when the sun is at its weakest. Small, light and very bright rechargeable LED lights can be commonly found and won’t break the bank.

ride along can land directly into your face, water bottle, up your back and soak your backside in a highly uncomfortable way.

Having lights with you at all times also relieves the worry that you will get caught in the dark during shorter days.

Anyone who has ever tried to ride directly behind someone who doesn’t have mudguards in the wet will know exactly how much water is sprayed up by a rotating bike tyre.

Make sure that your lights are charged (or you have fresh batteries) before every ride.



You should keep your bike in tip-top condition at all times. In winter you’ll need to pay particular attention to moving parts, such as your chain, gears, cables, hubs and bottom bracket.

Teetering around damp, mucky lanes on your 23mm racing rubber is not the best idea for a number of reasons, including the risk of lack of grip and slicing up expensive rubber. We’d opt for tyres that offer a degree of puncture protection and are harder wearing. Coantinental Gatorskins are a perennial favourite for winter riding, but many other tyre manufacturers offer similar models. They don’t stop all punctures, but every little helps. Tubeless tyres and solid tyres are also an option. These are typically more expensive and more fiddly to install than regular tyres and tubes.

Mudguards As any cycling club member knows, mudguards are a musthave in the winter. The spray and grunge kicked up as you

Give your bike a regular look over and try and wash off the accumulated grime regularly. Check for wear on rims and brake blocks, as wet weather can be particularly harsh on these areas. Keep your chain oiled regularly, and make sure that your cables are in good shape. Salty water off gritted roads can play havoc with components, and water getting into exposed cables can cause havoc when shifting. By keeping on top of your bike’s maintenance you can minimise the number of mechanical mishaps you may have when riding. The last thing you want is to find yourself stranded at the side of a very cold road.


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WELCOME TO SNOWDONIA By Llinos Angharad The Snowdonia National Park Authority Croeso is the Welsh word for ‘Welcome’, and the Park Authority welcomes all cyclists to Snowdonia. Everyone must see for themselves the splendours and wonders of the National Park.

Snowdonia National Park is a special part of the country where people come to relax and enjoy a wide range of leisure activities in spectacular surroundings. Its landscape is unique. Nine mountain ranges cover approximately 52% of the Park and include many peaks that are over 3,000 feet (915m). Apart from the beauty and charm of its high mountains, Snowdonia is a delightfully varied landscape of steep river gorges, waterfalls and green valleys. Oak, ash, rowan and hazel woodlands are found scattered throughout the Park whilst the beautiful Dyfi, Mawddach and Dwyryd estuaries and twenty-three miles of coastline and sandy beaches contribute to the overall diversity of the landscape. There are more National Nature Reserves in Snowdonia than in any other National Park in Britain, and it is home to a wealth of special habitats and fauna and flora– the Snowdon lily (Lloydia serotina, a rare arctic-alpine plant), found on the slopes of Snowdon and ‘y gwyniad’ (Corgeonus clupeoides pennantii, a fish that is unique to Llyn Tegid) are just two

examples. In addition to conservation work, management work is also essential. The Park works continuously to control the Rhododendron ponticum and Japanese knotweed within the National Park. Considered as the backbone of Wales, the area has inherited the geological developments of the Ice Age. There are numerous U-shaped valleys, crushed scree on cliff-faces and mountain lakes, all shaped by glaciers. History and culture is everywhere and the Welsh language is the mother tongue of 58.6% of the population. The landscape illustrates the history of the area through Stone Age burial chambers, Roman forts, churches, castles, slate quarries and other industrial works. Snowdonia National Park was created in 1951 and is the largest in Wales at 823 square miles or 2,176 square kilometres. It is twice the size of Anglesey, a little smaller than Pembrokeshire, making it the third largest National Park in Britain after the Cairngorms and Lake District. It’s the same



size as the counties Cardiff, Merthyr, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Newport, Caerphilly and Torfaen put together. Its English name derives from its highest mountain, Snowdon. Standing at 1,085m above sea level, it is the highest mountain in Wales; higher than all mountains in England. On a clear day you can see as far as the Lake District and Ireland. Every year, over 6 million visitor days are spent here and in recent times, Snowdonia has become one of the most popular destinations for outdoor activities in the UK. People visit Snowdonia from all over the world to explore this dramatic and beautiful area. The area is renowned for its walking and climbing but it also has some of the best mountain biking facilities in the world.

“Its English name derives from its highest mountain, Snowdon�



Lôn Gwyrfai This is a multi-use recreational path created especially for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. The path leads through a variety of landscapes offering fantastic views of the surrounding area. The path from Rhyd Ddu to Llyn y Gadair is even and wide and, therefore, is even suitable for wheelchairs. The remainder of the path has some steep sections. Luckily, there is a footbridge to cross in Beddgelert Forest. If you don’t fancy cycling both ways, you can create a circular route by using the bus service, or the Welsh Highland Railway to bring you back to the start. Distance: 4½ miles - 7 km Time: Approximately 3 hours

Marin Trail The Marin Trail near Betws y Coed is a proper mountain bike trail in every sense. Big climbs, big descents, brilliant single tracks and truly awesome scenery make this a trail to remember. Most, but not all, of the climbs are on forest roads, giving you time to soak up the views of the mountains of Snowdonia, and all of the descents are on single track. The single track from very tight, technical and rocky to dark forests and exposed ridge lines. Distance: 15.5 miles / 25km Time: Approximately 3 hours

Mawddach Trail, Dolgellau This trail is located in the south of Snowdonia National Park and is considered to be one of the best trails in Britain, for cyclists as well as walkers. It follows the beautiful Mawddach estuary, giving visitors the chance to experience some of Snowdonia’s splendid, striking scenery and beautiful wildlife. The trail stretches for nine miles between Dolgellau and Barmouth and can be joined at several points, including Morfa Mawddach and Penmaenpool. Mawddach trail also follows the track bed of the old railway line from Barmouth to Ruabon. The line was opened in 1865 and proved to be very popular with visitors; it was also used briefly to carry slate. As cars became more popular, the line became less cost-effective and was closed in 1965.The river Mawddach has been designated a ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’ and a ‘Special Area of Conservation’ because of the salt marsh and lowland peat habitats there. Distance: 9 miles - 15km (one way)

Beddgelert Forest Enjoy the stunning views along Snowdon and towards the Beddgelert Forest mountain biking trails. There are two loops: Yellow Trail Distance: 6 miles (9.5km) Time: Approximately 1 - 2 hours

Green Trail Distance: 2.5 miles (4km) Time: Approximately 1 - 1.5 hours



Penmachno Forest The Penmachno Forest mountain biking trails are challenging with steady climbs and with spectacular views. They are maintained by the local Menter Bro Machno. There are two loops and one trail: Dolen Machno Distance: 19km (11 miles) Time: Approximately 1.5 - 3 hours

Dolen Eryri Distance: 7 miles (11km) Time: Approximately 1 - 2 hours

Penmachno Trail Dolen Machno & Dolen Eryri) Distance: 19 miles (30km) Time: Approximately 2.5 - 5 hours

Coed y Brenin Coed y Brenin, north of Dolgellau, is owned by Natural Resources Wales and is home to a network of fantastic hand-built, all weather, single tracks. Coed y Brenin was the first forest to be developed for the sport of mountain biking and, to this day, retains its reputation a premium location for various sports. Here, there are eight routes suitable for everyone from families and novices to rocky technical trails for expert riders.

Snowdonia Off-road cycling is a relatively new activity which can rise to conflict with landowners and other countryside users alike. Like walking and horse riding, it can lead to damage and erosion on fragile upland surfaces, particularly when the ground is wet, or when large numbers of walkers and cyclists are involved. The following voluntary agreement to remedy the problem has been negotiated between the cycling organisations, the Sports Council for Wales, Gwynedd County Council and Snowdonia National Park. Authority: 10.00am to 5.00pm from 1st May - 30th May Please do not cycle to or from Snowdon during September. Full access from October to the end of April. A pdf map, available from the National Park website, has been produced to help you plan your day with a circular route which can include an ascent of Snowdon before 10.00am or after 5.00pm. For more information on Snowdonia National Park, please visit the website:



IN SNOWDONIA Steve Shrubshill



7 reasons to go cycling in Snowdonia







For the sensation of pure escapism is at the top of our list. Cities and urban conurbations are a thing of the past. They do things differently here. To cycle in a landscape so dramatic, yet removed from hustle and bustle, is as close to meditation on two wheels as you’ll get.

Easy to get to. Despite the apparently endless eiderdown of creased greenery, Snowdonia is easily accessible by train, thanks to its proximity to large Midland cities. If you are travelling by car, it is pretty much equidistant between the top and bottom of England. It took me four hours to reach from London.

Adventurous mountains! If road cycling isn’t your thing, this area is more than accommodating of mountain bikers, with downhill hotspots such as Coed Y Brenin attracting enthusiasts from every corner of the globe.


Why not supplement your trip to Wales with a traversal of Mount Snowdon, England and Wales’s highest mountain. If you are brave/ stupid enough, it is even possible to reach the summit by bike - but it would definitely help if your steed of choice had full-suspension, and an engine… and wings preferably.

Get cultured. Although we are all on the same landmass, arriving in the wilds of Snowdonia will feel like you have just alighted after a long haul international flight. The language used in this part of Wales is predominantly. You guessed it, Welsh, and the locals are more than happy to give free lessons on request. Especially after a few beers.

Get that Tour de France feeling. We’re in the high mountains here and there’s no better place - in the UK - to replicated (albeit badly) the heroes of the world’s greatest bicycle race. Engage the granny gear and get ready to grind.

Bring the family. There are myriad family-friendly offroad routes in Snowdonia catering for little legs. Enjoy a peaceful pedal amid the national park’s spectacular surroundings with nary and engine in earshot.



This ride begins in Betys-Y-Coed - a popular base for hikers, bikers and holiday makers - and spends the earlier stages of the route under the shadow of Mount Snowdon before looping back round through a rucked carpet of luscious Snowdonian scenery - speckled with lakes, picture-postcard settlements, and encompassed by stunning pasture land. However, cycling in such a theatrical arena is never without its fair share of, can we say, extreme physical application - you will literally be climbing mountains. The first such struggle you will endure, after a rolling five miles or so out of Betys-Y-Coed, is a traversal of Pen-Y-Pass. This is where walkers amass to scale Mount Snowdon, so it can be rather busy during the summer months. Luckily, the roads are generally quiet and allow you to focus on your own personal battle. Cycling in areas like this really is a paradox. While your legs and lungs are functioning at full capacity, combining to propel you towards the summit, your mind is elsewhere, in a much happier place, delighting in the great outdoors, pondering the endless range of peaks before you, wondering why on earth you’d never been to the place before. And after the baptism of fire up the first pass, you will begin feeling that well-earnt - a sensation of satisfaction will sweep over - a feeling that would be hard-pressed to happen upon in leafy suburban lanes. Now, with the blood suitably pumping, a thin layer of sweat collecting on your back, the ride has you - you are utterly immersed

in both the process of turning the pedals and the Snowdonian wilderness, and after the travails of the initial climb, you are able to bask in rolling terrain until you meet the double lake combo of Peris and Padarn. Break out the bananas and soak up the scenery. This fuelling strategy will now likely serve you well - for after rounding the farmost lefthander of this anticlockwise loop you are presently greeted by a wall of a climb en route to Betws Garmon from Cwm-Y-Glo. Although this stretch of road isn’t in Snowdonia, and instead skirts the national park’s border, it still comprises a certain amount of venom. And after the initial ascent, the road then plunges down allowing a cursory recovery period, before steadily climbing back into the park, and then swooping down for lunch in Beddgelert. If there was ever any excuse to feast with wild abandon, then this lunchtime would be it. With a solid 30 hilly miles in the legs, and a further 20 or so remaining, you should, nay must, take this opportunity to unscrupulously consume a gleeful quota of calories. The last challenge of the day comes straight out of the starting gate post lunch. Some eight miles of ascent awaits you, the last five of which boast gradients that will nigh-on negate the double helpings of cake you had at lunch. But upon reaching the peak of this climb, the day’s toil is all but over, and you can virtually freewheel back to Betys-Y-Coed, having completed a thigh-busting, yet soul-cleansing day in the saddle.

Take a brake:

breakfast, lunch and dinner in Snowdonia

Breakfast: Snowdonian villages tend to comprise the bare essentials; a pub or two, a couple of B&Bs, and, if you’re lucky, a Spar or a Co-op. Obviously, breakfasting in a B&B - in my case, Ellen’s Castle in Dolwyddelan - will see you served with a full plate of calorific items custom-designed for a hard day out on the bike. I also bought a packet off Welsh cakes from the local Spar, just in case the bacon, eggs, sausage, beans, mushroom and rack of toast failed to comply. Lunch: the chocolate box settlement of Beddgelert, situated at the halfway stage of the route, is encompassed by sumptuous sprawling peaks and offers a fair range of pubs and eateries. Caffi Gywnant, on the descent down from Pen-Y-Pass, boasts a menu comprising, amongst other items, homemade lamb burgers and freshly baked cakes. Enjoy these in a friendly and relaxed environment to the backdrop of a dramatic mountainscape. Dinner: dinner came in the form of a hearty plate of hot fodder back at Ellen’s Castle. With offerings on the menu such as Welsh lamb cutlets, seafood pie, and beef pie, you can exert yourself on the bicycle during the day, safe in the knowledge that sapped strength will presently be repleted in the form of delicious local fare. However, if you wish to get involved in an ale or three after a hard day in the saddle, there is a more comprehensive range in Y Gwydyr, a friendly pub just a few hundred yards down the road.


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When the temperature starts to plunge, this is the gear you need to see you through on two wheels It’s easy to see the onset of the colder months as a time to hang up your wheels, but if you’ve got the right clothing there’s no need – or excuse. With some clever layering you’ll be able to ride in comfort until spring. Look for features such as water resistance, high collars and lightweight thermal insulation to keep you warm and dry for longer. More racy cuts are great for speed demons whereas the more relaxed fit will allow you to add a thermal vest and tackle more varied conditions. Here’s our pick of the best.



Escape Pro Winter LS Aussie firm Maap is determined to brighten up our winter with this stunning azure outfit. The cut is slim without being restrictive and the lightly fleeced Italian polyamide fabric feels wonderfully soft and warm. There’s more than enough stretch in the material to add a base layer if you need too, and the super-tight cuffs help to keep draughts out. Anti-sag material in the pockets means you can pack them full of winter essentials such as gloves and snacks, without worrying you might pull the jersey out of shape. With its sleek profile, this one is a great choice for racers looking to make winter training as comfortable as possible, while still looking fantastic.

Sportful BodyFit Pro Thermal WorldTour riders went into the design with this one. It’s a belter. It treads the fine line between jersey and jacket. With a fleecy lining, it’s warm enough to be worn on its own on faster rides in autumn and spring, while being perfect for under a waterproof jacket when in depths of winter. The three rear pockets are spacious enough for all your bits and bobs and we particularly like the bright stripes down its back and sleeves, to keep you visible when it grows gloomy.

Endura Pro SL Designed with feedback from the top flight Movistar race team, the Pro SL is slim fitting but offers enough space for a base layer underneath for that bit of extra warmth. We like the feel of the wool/polyester blend fabric and found it soon wicked away sweat on climbs – important if you don’t want to get chilly on longer descents. It has three pockets and a zipped one for any valuables. There’s also a reflective, which is if you’re riding in fading light. You can easily pair it with a gilet or a jacket later in the season. This is one for anyone looking for a nononsense, high quality top at a great price.



Continental Thermal It’s the details that set this gorgeous top apart from rivals. From the oversized metal pullers on the zips, to the thumb loops that stop the sleeves riding up, it’s been really well thought out. There’s even a bright red, waterproofed liner and zipped pockets for valuables which are not only stylish but also practical. Even the three main pockets at the back are cut at the perfect angle to access while in the saddle. With its flattering fit and gold reflective piping you’d assume it was designed in some sunny, southern European clime; its actually stitched together in Leicestershire using fabric made in Nottingham. It might be a few quid more than other tops in our selection, but the meryl and lycra material is thick and luxurious enough to make this a jersey you’ll be enjoying in the winter weather for years’ to come.

Morvelo Camo Thermoactive Brighton-based Morvelo always come up with something a bit out of the ordinary and this time they’ve gone for a British Army camo vibe – something we’ve never seen in road cycling kit. To make sure you don’t disappear into the roadside hedges, they have included some orange badges and diagonal stripes across the four back pockets (one with a zip). The fabric has a fleecy lining for added warmth and the cut is generous enough to accommodate a base layer.

Club Thermal Stripes never go out of fashion, whatever the weather. This one’s got three of them – in fuschia, black and ivory. It’s made from thick fabric so should see you right through the winter, maybe teamed with a jacket on the coldest days. The carbon grey material has got a nice fleecy lining so it’s soft on the skin, and there’s a water resistant coating to keep the drizzle out. It’s been cut a little longer at the back to keep your bum warm too. There’s the standard three-pocket set up, plus a zippered and waterproofed section for your phone and cash.



Madison RoadRace Light They’ll certainly see you coming in this fluo-yellow number, and with its racy cut, it’s a lot more stylish than the usual high-viz offerings. There are nice tight cuffs – one black and one yellow – that keep the winter cold out. It’s got four pockets, including a zipped one for valuables, with the outside ones angled for easy access. The nylon and polyester-mix fabric is thin, so it’s better suited to autumn and spring rides but can be teamed with a gilet on cooler mornings. Also available in black and a rich burgundy.

Trofeo Baracchi Cycling history aficionados will appreciate this one – a nod to the muchmissed Trofeo Baracchi two man time trial, held at the end of the racing season until the early 1990s. The combination of blue and white stripes, red detailing and dark blue sleeves sounds a terrible idea on paper but actually works really well. It looks even better from the back where there’s an Italian flag and time trial logo on the dark blue pockets panel. Made by Santini for Poole-based Prendas Ciclismo, it’s lightly fleeced inside with a raised collar to keep out the chill.

Pro Team Long Aero Rapha headed into the wind tunnel to create what they claim is their fastest jersey ever. It uses a dimpled fabric at the back of the arms and shoulders to disrupt airflow and reduce drag. The cut is on the sporty side to help you slip through the air - while the jersey is a bit thin for day-long rides in the coldest weather – it’s great for fast training rides where you need a bit more protection than what’s offered by short sleeves. There are three pockets, the outer ones angled for easy access, plus a waterproof section for valuables.



Alphonsine Grey & Blue With its unique fluffy, merino fleece fabric, the chic Alphonsine certainly grabbed our attention. It’s a lovely, warm jersey that will keep you toasty on even the chilliest mornings yet remains nicely breathable. Its styling won’t suit everyone – the grey, blue and red combo will be a bit too unorthodox for some – but anyone who wants to turn heads on the road will love it. The shoulder patches are made from a windresistant material for extra protection, and there’s an eye-catching red chest pocket. Practical details include three rear cargo pockets plus a valuables section, and there’s a two-way full length zip on the body so you can fine tune it to suit your riding position.

POC AVIP LS Ceramic Ceramic material has been printed on to the shoulders, sleeves and hips of this jersey to help minimise road rash should you take a tumble. You won’t want to risk damaging this though – it’s too good looking. POC’s AVIP – Attention Visibility Interaction Protection – concept uses a combination of black, white and black again to grab the attention of drivers. It’s another racy top which will appeal to faster cyclists, but works well layered up with a jacket or gilet. We particularly like the longer sleeves which means there’s no cold spot at the wrist when worn with gloves.



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THE PEAK DISTRICT AND DERBYSHIRE Located at the centre of England, the Peak District and Derbyshire is one of the country’s premier and most popular destinations. Boasting Britain’s first National Park, it encompasses a wealth of natural and man-made landscapes - ranging from areas of breathtaking, speciallyprotected beauty and classic country houses to distinctive market towns and villages, pioneering industrial heritage.

Janette Sykes



From rugged gritstone moors and rolling limestone dales to lush meadows and leafy forests, the quality and variety of its countryside is second to none. It’s no coincidence that National Trust chairman, Sir Simon Jenkins, it has one of his top five most inspiring landscapes, along with Mam Tor to Stanage Edge, The Roaches, Chatsworth, Dovedale and Kinder Scout – in his book England’s 100 Best Views. Yet there’s much more to the area than the dramatic uplands of the Dark Peak and Kinder Scout, site of the famous 1932 Mass Trespass, and the gentler contours of the White Peak and Dovedale, inspiration for Izaak Walton’s much-read and best-selling paean to fly-fishing, The Complete Angler. Few people are aware that the Peak District encompasses parts of Cheshire, Staffordshire, Yorkshire, and Derbyshire. There are also lots of well-kept ‘secrets’ to discover, such as the Chesterfield area, with its famous Crooked Spire, or the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site stretching from Cromford to Derby, where Sir Richard Arkwright introduced the world’s first factory system. Surrounding cities such as Derby, Manchester and Sheffield, there are all ideal places to catch up on some culture, dine out in style, splash out on shopping or take in top class sport and entertainment. Characterful country houses range from majestic Chatsworth and medieval Haddon Hall to hidden gems such as Renishaw Hall and Gardens, Bolsover Castle, Tissington Hall and some of the finest and most varied National Trust properties in Britain. Most hold special events throughout the year, and many are specially dressed for Christmas to offer added appeal during a seasonal visit. Chatsworth, the historic home of the Dukes of Devonshire, is justifiably known as ‘The Palace of the Peak’, with its

treasure trove of both traditional and modern artworks, superbly landscaped gardens, 1000-acre estate, everchanging exhibitions, and popular annual Country Fair. Once described as ‘the most perfect English house to survive from the Middle Ages,’ enigmatic Haddon Hall is home to the Manners family, with a unique atmosphere that never fails to enchant, with delightful terraced, formal and wildflower gardens overlooking the peaceful river Wye. National Trust gems range from Eyam Hall, Calke Abbey, Dunham Massey, Hardwick Hall and Kedleston Hall, Little Moreton Hall, Lyme Park and Quarry Bank Mill to Sudbury Hall and The Museum of Childhood and Tatton Park. The Peak District and Derbyshire’s historic houses and eye-catching landscapes have also served as the scenic backdrop for everything from prime-time TV dramas to Hollywood blockbusters. Chatsworth appeared in Pride and Prejudice and The Duchess, both starring Keira Knightley and in the BBC adaptation of P. D. James’s novel Death Comes to Pemberley, screened over Christmas 2013. Haddon Hall has featured in no less than three TV and film versions of Charlotte Bronte’s evergreen novel Jane Eyre, as well as making a ‘guest’ appearance in Pride and Prejudice and Elizabeth, starring Cate Blanchett. Lyme Park stepped into the spotlight when Oscar-winning actor Colin Firth emerged from its lake in a dripping wet shirt and breeches back in 1995, as Mr. Darcy – visitors still flock to see where he won the heart of Elizabeth Bennet. Garden lovers can get much delight in discovering a kaleidoscope of colour in the Peak District and Derbyshire throughout the year – from delicate carpets of snowdrops in early spring through to formal summer borders and rich autumn hues as late season flowers flourish and trees



prepare to shed their leaves on the area’s of many country estates and in its woodlands. Glorious gardens complement all the area’s historic houses, but there are lots of other hidden gems that merit a visit, such as Hopton Hall or the National Memorial Arboretum. Wild flowers also thrive – from bluebells and orchids in the spring to plush carpets of purple heather cladding the gritstone uplands of the Dark Peak in late summer. So it’s an ideal time to make a date in your diary to celebrate the national tourist board. The age-old art of creating living art installations made from petals and other natural materials, known as Well Dressing, is unique to the Peak District and Derbyshire. Well Dressing’s origins are unclear, but it is believed to have been introduced by the Romans or Celts, to give thanks for the area’s plentiful fresh water springs. Talented volunteers in up to 80 towns and villages decorate their wells with designs inspired by the Bible or special anniversaries between May and September. Most communities see it as the perfect excuse for a party – staging carnivals, processions and other special events – and visitors are more than welcome to join in the celebrations. Handsome market towns include Ashbourne, Bakewell, Buxton, Chesterfield, Glossop, Holmfirth, Leek and Matlock Bath. Quintessentially English villages range from photogenic favourites such as Ashford in the Water, Edensor and Hartington to former hives of industrial activity such as Cromford, or Eyam, where villagers sealed themselves off in the 17th century to stop the Plague from spreading. The Peak District and Derbyshire is also the perfect place to enjoy England’s great outdoors, with some of the finest walking and cycling in Britain. You can celebrate the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Pennine Way by conquering England’s most famous long-distance trail, stretching 429 kilometres from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholme, just inside the Scottish border. But if you’re not a hardened hiker or serious biker, explore the area’s gentler landscapes, ranging from safe, traffic-free former railway trails to scenic riversides and winding valleys, where you can indulge in a relaxing stroll or some stress-free pedalling. The area recently hosted the Stokeon-Trent to Nottingham leg of the Tour of Britain, featuring top national and

“The Peak District and Derbyshire has around 65 miles of familyfriendly, traffic-free routes, while Derbyshire has 283 miles of cycle routes – 227 miles on greenways and 57 on roads” international cyclists in September. But you don’t have to be super-fit to take to two wheels here. Whatever your age or ability, there’s a bike and a route to suit. The Peak District and Derbyshire has around 65 miles of family-friendly, traffic-free routes, while Derbyshire has 283 miles of cycle routes – 227 miles on greenways and 57 on roads. Bakewell, the only town in the Peak District National Park, is home to a famous pudding that was made by accident in Victorian times at what is now the Rutland Arms Hotel. The flustered cook set out to make a strawberry tart, but her culinary disaster created a classic treat that would no doubt have won the equivalent of The Great British Bake. Now, visitors flock there to sample the unique and traditional recipe, and Puddings are sent by post to sweettoothed fans all over the world. Bakewell is also home to the annual Eroica Britannia vintage lifestyle and cycle event, held each June, when thousands of cyclists from all over the world don retro gear and take to pre1987 bikes for a relaxing ride through some of the Peak District’s finest scenery, pausing to enjoy the finest food and drink at picturesque towns and pretty villages along the way. Noncyclists can join in the fun by cheering them on their way and enjoying a feast of local food, shopping, events and entertainment at Bakewell Showground. Dining out is a delicious treat, thanks to a wide range of cafes, tea rooms, pubs and restaurants serving wholesome, locally produced food and drink. First-class theatre, music, dance, comedy and other live entertainment are staged throughout the year at venues in Buxton, Chesterfield, Derby, Manchester and Sheffield and also at

regular festivals, ranging from rock to rarely-performed opera. Internationallyrenowned Buxton Festival, which includes a star-studded Literary Series, welcomes visitors from across the globe. Art lovers can also look forward to immersing themselves in the second phase of a major Arts Council-funded project, The Grand Tour. Classic and contemporary works, scenic countryside and vibrant cities will form the stunning backdrop for a very special journey through Derbyshire and neighbouring Nottinghamshire. Chatsworth, Derby Museums, Nottingham Contemporary and The Harley Gallery at Welbeck are among the key venues for exhibitions and events showcasing everything from old masters to cutting edge masterpieces. Visitors will once again have the opportunity to emulate the European adventures of the aristocracy in the 17th and 18th centuries, creating their own regional Grand Tour to enjoy the countryside, country houses, gardens, cities and towns of both counties. It’s the perfect excuse to book a holiday to catch up on the area’s rich cultural history and landscapes – including privately-owned works that have not been seen in public before and specially commissioned exhibitions. Bringing together the very best art works, both old and new, plus a host of special events, The Grand Tour is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that shouldn’t be missed. But, rest assured that, whatever your interests and whenever you visit the Peak District and Derbyshire, you’ll be guaranteed a warm welcome and a wonderful experience. It’s a very special destination at any time of year.


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Text by John Orchard



GAVIA PASSO DOBLE When John Orchard rode the Alpine Pass with Grand Tour winner Alberto Cantador Now, I love to ride and I love to dance, so when I received an unexpected invitation from Italian cycle clothing manufacturer rh+ to ‘Pasta Party and DJ with Alberto Contador’ at the top of the Passo di Gavia in the beautiful Italian region of Lombardy, naturally I jumped at the chance. I knew that the 32 year old Spanish Grand Tour winner was renowned for his sense of fun and the chance to get down to his grooves sounded like too good an opportunity to miss. rh+ may currently be a new name to you but that’s all about to change. In only 10 years they stormed the Italian market equaling the mighty Castelli in market share. Having spent that time perfecting their product range, they felt ready to spread their wings and enter the competitive UK and US markets. rh+ have recently teamed up with fleece manufacturer Polartec to create some of the most technically innovative riding kits around. In addition to the new AirX-Change clothing range, rh+ and Polartec launched their collaboration with, and sponsorship of, Team Fundacion Contador; an organisation formed to spread awareness of the health



benefits of cycling and to give promising young riders a chance to ride on the World Tour circuit. The launch of this collaboration and the RXDUE event (an ascent of the iconic Passo di Gavia with Alberto Contador) took place in the beautiful city of Milan, mecca for the world’s fashionistas and birth place of iconic Italian bike builders Bianchi. Seeing the enormous scrum of journalists and film crews squeezed into the room reminded me just how popular Contador is in Italy and Spain. He is a huge sporting celebrity and draws an adoring crowd wherever he goes. When faced with the glare of the media circus Contador comes across as reserved but when you get him alone he is warm and full of fun, putting everybody at ease with his infectious smile. 2016 was his last season as a pro rider and he retired as one of the most successful riders of all time. The winner of seven Grand Tours (TdeF 2007 & 2009: Giro 2008 & 2015; Vuelta 2008, 2012 & 2014) Contador is second only to the great Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Jacques Anquetil in terms of Grand Tours won. He still claims he won two more Grand Tour victories after being stripped of his 2010 TdeF and 2011 Giro wins following a doping scandal. Contador still claims these victories but the record books no longer share the same view. Back in the day, we gathered to Milan to focus on what was the future. Contador was joined by Polartec CEO (and owner of uber cool US bike builder Independent Fabrication) Gary Smith and rh+ President Giovanni Cagnoli to answer questions about their collaboration and role as official sponsor of Team Fundacion Contador. The young team currently consists of mainly Spanish riders with just one Italian and one Belgian exception. I asked Contador whether there would be opportunities for young UK riders to join the team and he confirmed that there would be, in fact the team was actively looking for riders from those countries. In addition to bringing on young riders and promoting the idea of cycling for health the Foundation pledged to invest significant money in developing improved treatment and rehabilitation techniques for stroke victims. This is a subject painfully close to Contador’s heart as, in 2004, aged 21 he suffered a life-threatening stroke which required major surgery. He was lucky to emerge with no lasting after effects but quickly set about doing all he could to raise stroke awareness. With the formalities over we drove three and a half hours north past the shimmering waters of Lake Como to

the Hotel Palace in the picture perfect mountain town of Bormio. Once checked-in we were equipped with a bike and furnished with clothing from the new rh+ AirX-Change range which we tested on the climb of the iconic Paso di Gavia the following day. This, at the time, was a remarkable kit, beautifully made and exquisitely detailed. I thought that I might overheat in the long bibtights, thermal jersey and jacket I had been provided but the rh+ team had called it just right. When I woke in the morning it was to forecasts of chilly conditions. I have reviewed the rh+ AirX-Change range earlier, but suffice to say, I could not have asked for better equipment in which to ride the Gavia. The Passo di Gavia and its sister Passo dello Stelvio sit between two provinces, Sondrio in the north and Brescia in the south. During the winter months this area is an established destination for skiers and snowboarders but in the summer the region is quiet. Despite being one of the world’s most perfect destinations for cyclists most stay on the French side of the Alps. One innovative idea to attract more cyclists to the area was the proposal to close the Gavia Pass from allowing cars and trucks for one day a week during the summer months. Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a busy road but it was nice to know that you won’t meet a truck when rounding a blind bend at 65kph. The Passo di Gavia climbs skyward from the pretty Alpine towns of Bormio on one side and Ponte di Legno on the other meeting at the summit at a height of 2618m. When ridden from Bormio the climb is 26km long. It begins gently at first, the SP29 road leaving Bormio and meandering gently through the pine trees. The route passes uneventfully through the sleepy villages of Uzza, San Antonio and San Gottardo before entering the verdant Parco Nationale dello Stelvio. At 13km you reach the village of Santa Caterina, the road ramps up, turns right and the real fun begins. Up to this point in the climb I had been riding with rh+ General Manager Marzio Demartin, an ex professional skier with the build of a pro cyclist. He had been taking it easy on me and we chatted as we rode along together. Having reached the turn he rose from the saddle, accelerated away and as he disappeared into the distance shouted over his shoulder, ‘This is where the real climb begins, welcome to the Gavia!’ We had decided to set off early as my flight time from Milan Linate airport meant I would have to take on the Milan rush hour traffic. Up the mountain early





and off the mountain early was my mantra. Back in Bormio Alberto Contador was addressing a crowd of eager cyclists before formally firing the start gun, hopping into a helicopter and flying to Ponte di Legno where he would do the same on the other side. He then returned by helicopter to Bormio. There he mounted his Tinkoff-Saxo S-Works Venge, rode up the Gavia, over the summit and descended into Ponte di Legno before turning around and riding back up to the summit! Out of Santa Caterina the crumbling tarmac twists through the pines and in a heartbeat you’re clear of the hustle of the world below. This is an impossibly pretty climb, small and intimate, gentle even, replete with mountain goats who casually occupy the road and eye the passing, panting cyclists with mild disdain. At about 20km the road kicks up to its steepest gradient. The scale of the landscape grows and each bend reveals another colossal Alpine vista. The scale of the mountain scape sends shivers down your spine. It was here during the 1988 Giro that a US 7-Eleven-Hoonved rider, Andy Hampsten from North Dakota made history in the most extreme conditions the Giro had ever seen. As the weather closed in and the torrential rain turned to snow, the peloton pleaded with the race organisers to cancel the stage. Most teams were woefully ill-prepared for the conditions but the 7-Eleven-Hoonved management had predicted the weather and had stocked up on extreme weather ski gear for their riders. With the peloton in disarray, Hampsten and Dutch rider Erik Breukink attacked, descending the treacherous snow covered roads into Bormio without fear, desperate for the shelter of their team cars. Breukink won the day and Hampsten entered the record books going on to become the first and only American to win the Giro d’Italia. Having passed the steepest section the road flattens and winds its way across a plateau before revealing the biggest surprise of the ride, a mountain top lake, Largo Nero sparking amidst the snowcapped peaks. Heartened by the sight of the summit and with the relentless

pull of gravity reduced by the gentle gradient I upped my pace. I could see a considerable group of cyclists and photographers gathered at the inflatable summit marker which had been specially erected for the event. As I grew nearer, the sight of the crowd made me stronger and I crossed the line at a pace that seemed to impress the assembled group. Did I really hear them cheering? Only once I came to a gasping halt did I turn and see Alberto Contador, resplendent in his neon team colours a mere 50m behind me. Maybe the cheers hadn’t been for my efforts after all. Before I had a chance to ask him where his playbox was and what was top of his DJ playlist he was passed me and into the descent without stopping. As I sipped my hot gluwein and drank in the grandeur of the mountain peaks something remarkable occurred to me; I had beaten Alberto Contador over the summit of the Passo di Gavia. I had completed the 26km in 1:50:46 and I was proud. Somehow the fact that Alberto had set off a full hour after me didn’t seem that important. P.S. The descent of the Gavia is a particularly exciting one due to the steep gradient and tight corkscrew bends; it’s like riding a roller coaster on a bicycle. On the way down I overtook an unsuspecting motorcyclist who did a comic book double take as I flew silently by. This is a fairy tale of a climb, tough (the average gradient is 8%, the middle section ramps up to 14%) but never spiteful. Just when you feel you might be running out of juice the mountain gives you something back, a flat section or a tiny descent. I will return to ride the Stelvio but in the meantime if you have a chance to ride the Passo di Gavia take it, you will not be disappointed. P.P.S. On my return home and on closer inspection of my invitation I noticed that I may have been the victim of a hurried translation from Italian to English. Only then did it become clear that instead of ‘Pasta Party and DJ with Alberto Contador’ it should have read ‘Pasta Party with DJ and Alberto Contador.’ Oh well, I thought, there’ll be plenty of time for that next year.


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FUEL PROPERLY for winter cycling

Sally Jones



For winter cycling Preparing for winter rides isn’t just about dressing correctly to protect your body: cold-weather conditions also present unique challenges when it comes to maintaining adequate nutrition and hydration

Consider Your Calories Although estimates vary, studies show that there can be up to a twofold increase in calorie burn during cold-weather exercise, particularly during strenuous training sessions in wet or icy conditions. Not only does the weather provide additional resistance (think rain, snow and sleet), the weight of additional clothing, thermoregulation and inefficiency of cycling in cold weather can all increase calorie burn. Cold weather cycling may also blunt appetite, and a failure to consume sufficient calories, protein or carbohydrates can significantly impair performance, recovery and immunity. At the other end of the scale, if you find that your training volume and intensity has reduced, you may need to reduce your calorie intake to maintain your weight. Be aware of changes to your training sessions and adapt according. The easiest way to assess whether you’re achieving the right energy balance is to keep an eye on the scales – a pound of body weight is roughly equivalent to 3,500 calories, so to gain (or lose) a pound a week, you’re looking at an increase (or deficit) of around 500 calories a day.

Hydration station Whether you’re training for fun or competition, experts agree that maintaining an adequate fluid intake is one of the biggest challenges presented by cold- weather workouts. Unlike in warm temperatures when physiological mechanisms prompt us to drink, feelings of thirst are blunted in the cold, despite sweat loss. And as recognising thirst becomes more difficult, the risk of dehydration increases. In one study comparing the hydration levels of athletes performing cold or warm weather sports, the cold-weather team had

the highest incidence of dehydration, with voluntary fluid intake insufficient to meet the demands of exercise. More recently, in a study commissioned by the International Olympic Committee, researchers found that voluntary fluid intake and drive to drink were significantly lower in winter sport athletes, blamed on the belief that sweat loss during cold-weather workouts was insignificant. But it’s not just a reduction in drive to drink that’s to blame: exercising in cold conditions increases water loss via respiration, as the body is forced to warm and humidify the cold dry air breathed in. In addition, the constriction of blood vessels in cold weather causes an increase in the fluid circulating the body’s core organs, which the body tries to restore by increasing urine output, a phenomenon known as ‘cold diuresis’. Bottom line – although sweat losses tend to be lower in winter, you’re still at risk of dehydration due to reduced fluid intake and water loss via respiration and increased urination. And since even mild dehydration can affect performance, maintaining an adequate intake of fluid during cold weather rides should be a key priority of any training plan. Aim to start your training sessions well hydrated, start drinking early on in your ride, and adopt regular drink ‘breaks’ every 15-20 minutes. Weighing yourself before and after a typical session wearing minimal clothing will help you determine whether you are consuming adequate fluids – remember



you’re aiming to minimise loss of body weight to less than two per cent. Although less precise, monitoring your urine colour and volume is a helpful indicator – if you’re well hydrated it will be plentiful and straw coloured. Warm fluids may be tolerated more readily when exercising in the cold, and can increase your motivation to drink – try an insulated container or wrap your sports bottle in clothing or a sock to prevent it becoming too cold. You should also be able to open any drink bottle with your gloves on.

All hail carbohydrates As the body’s preferred source of energy, carbohydrates are king when it comes to fuelling endurance exercise, although the body’s limited capacity for storage necessitates a regular intake to delay fatigue. This becomes particularly important during cold weather, as shivering accelerates the use of muscle and liver glycogen (stored carbohydrate). In studies dating back to the early Nineties, scientists studying groups of men made to shiver for two hours discovered a sevenfold increase in carbohydrate oxidation, compared to less than a twofold increase in fat oxidation. More recently, research has demonstrated that while rates of fat and protein oxidation remain relatively constant during exposure to cold, carbohydrate oxidation is stimulated, with studies suggesting the dominant source being muscle glycogen, particularly as shivering intensifies, or when plasma glucose levels are low. Couple this with the carbohydrate demands of longer rides, and the risk of glycogen depletion increases, which can lead to dips in performance and early fatigue, increasing the risk of injury, particularly on icy terrain. But it’s not just early fatigue – glycogen depletion can also impair thermoregulation, resulting in more rapid decline in body temperature. Interestingly, research suggests that an early (rather than delayed) intake of glucose during cold exposure can reduce reliance on the body’s glycogen stores, delaying time to exhaustion. To avoid early fatigue, plan accordingly. A meal containing slow- release carbohydrates eaten two to three hours prior to a bike session will top up glycogen stores and extend carbohydrate availability – try a bowl of hot porridge oats topped with baked fruit, eggs on toast, soup and bread, a baked potato, or a banana and peanut butter sandwich. Failing that, a small carbohydrate-rich snack such as raisins or a banana eaten 30-60 minutes prior to exercise will boost blood glucose levels.  Refuelling during rides of up to 60 minutes isn’t necessary if your habitual diet and pre-ride meals contain sufficient carbohydrate. For rides lasting over an hour, 30-60g of carbohydrates per hour is recommended to maintain blood glucose levels – isotonic sports drinks or sports gels are convenient, although a recent study from Appalachian State University demonstrated that bananas were as effective as sports drinks in fuelling endurance rides (a medium banana contains around 30g of carbohydrate). As with fluids, any ‘on bike’ fuel should be easy to open and eat without needing to remove gloves. Easily consumed

sources of carbohydrates include bananas, fig rolls, trail mix, oat and fruit based energy bars, sports drinks, gels, jam or honey and banana sandwiches. Remember that if you’re opting for a gel or solid food over a sports drink you’ll need to factor in fluid intake too. Post-workout, a meal or snack containing a mix of carbohydrate and protein will optimise glycogen resynthesis and aid muscle recovery – if you’re aiming to cycle again within eight hours, aim to start re-fuelling within 30 minutes of leaving the bike. Recovery options include a pint of milk and a banana, a bowl of cereal and milk, a bagel with soft cheese and soup, chicken stir-fry with noodles or a sandwich with a protein filling.

Warm it up Consuming cold foods and fluids in chilly weather doesn’t just reduce your motivation to eat and drink – they can also contribute to a dip in body temperature. From a practical standpoint, icy drinks and semi-frozen sports bars or snacks are also difficult to eat (not to mention unpalatable), which can lead to dehydration and fatigue if you’re unable to consume sufficient amounts during your ride. To avoid this, opt for warm foods and fluids before, during and after training using insulated containers if needed. Sports drinks can be warmed for sessions on the bike, and a thermos of hot chocolate is a comforting recovery option – studies show chocolate milk to be an effective recovery aid, thanks to the combination of protein and carbohydrates. When it comes to post-workout meals, hot healthy dishes such as oatmeal with milk, hearty soups with chunky bread, chilli and rice, meatballs and pasta, or winter stews with baked potatoes will aid the recovery process. Desserts such as rice pudding or baked fruit and custard also provide a good mix of protein and carbohydrate.

Bolster your immunity Flu season takes hold in the winter, and this, coupled with the immune-dampening impact of intense training, can significantly increase the risk of illness and interruptions to training. Research also shows rates of upper respiratory tract infections (affecting nose, mouth, and bronchial passages) are increased during winter months due to the fact that cold, dry air favours the survival and transmission of viruses. Aside from adopting a policy of regular hand-washing to avoid the spread of germs, a well-balanced and nutritious diet is your best bet for bolstering immunity. Include plenty of brightly coloured antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables, lots of essential fatty acids (fatty fish, walnuts and omega 3-rich eggs) and immune boosting ingredients such as coconut oil, fresh garlic, chilli and ginger. A healthy balance of gut bacteria is also vital to immune function, with research showing that a daily probiotic can boost immunity by reinforcing the gut barrier. In a 2011 study led by scientists at Loughborough University, a daily probiotic supplement taken during four months of



endurance-based winter training was effective in reducing the incidence of respiratory infections in a group of highly active men and women. If you don’t want to splash out on a probiotic, consume a daily serving of live yoghurt – the natural active cultures can stimulate immune function, with some research suggesting regular intake is as effective as probiotic supplementation. Another supplement worth considering is vitamin D – as the majority of our stores are made via the action of sunlight on the skin, deficiency is common during winter months, with low levels linked to a greater risk of colds and flu. As dietary sources are limited to fatty fish, eggs and butter, a supplement can act as a safeguard, particularly if your sunlight exposure has been limited in the earlier months. And although it won’t prevent you becoming ill, experts believe a mega dose of vitamin C can help reduce the length and severity of symptoms if you do develop a cold – up to 1,000mg is thought to be effective. Foods highest in vitamin C include peppers, dark green leafy veg, kiwis and oranges.

Remember that a lack of sleep and high stress levels can also influence immune function, so aim to establish a good sleep habit by going to bed at the same time each evening, turning off electronic devices and avoiding alcohol.

Think ahead: Plan, Prepare, Perform To fuel effectively for winter rides you need to think ahead and prepare accordingly – leave it to chance and you could find yourself with just a semi-frozen sports drink for company. Consider the length of your rides, any pit stops you might have, and the availability of foods and fluids when you get to the end. It’s also wise to think about whether there is somewhere you can heat food up, or whether you need to take a thermos or insulated drinks bottle with you. To save time, cook hot foods in bulk – soups and stews can be prepared at the beginning of the week and individually portioned ready for pre or post-ride nutrition – serve with crusty bread, rice, noodles and fresh vegetables. Make sure food and fluids are available for the recovery period, whether that’s at work, at home, or elsewhere. If convenience or heating foods is an issue, it might be an idea to keep a stash of instant soup, hot chocolate or oat sachets in your kit bag.

Last but not least, remember that icy conditions are hazardous, which means you should carry some emergency rations in case of any events which leave you out in the cold for longer than anticipated – dried fruit, chocolate, raisins and peanuts, a Snickers or energy bar are popular choices.



RIDING THE ALPS “we decided on a catered chalet in Morzine, in the Alps, which we would share with some friends”

Text by Lindsey Backhust



I was looking for an alternative destination for our holiday this year that would cater for the activities my boys participate in. One a keen downhill mountain biker, the other is passionate about road riding. So, we decided on a catered chalet in Morzine, in the Alps, which we would share with some friends, their son also being a downhiller and their daughter a somewhat reluctant roadie.

As the day of departure approached I was a bit apprehensive, after all I was travelling 589 miles with three children and an eighteen-year-old, two of my own and two down-hilling friends of my sons. I had last been to the Alps twenty years ago so I wasn’t sure how I would cope with the driving. Luckily the French roads were as good as ever and we arrived in Dijon, our just-over-halfway stop, late afternoon. The next day we set off early only to arrive in Morzine to find it was raining and there was low cloud – very disappointing as it wasn’t what we were expecting. We could get this kind of weather at home! After a wait we were allowed into our chalet and spoke to our hosts. According to them there was a race the next day up the Col de Joux Verte; known as the Grimpee d’Avoriaz. This is an iconic route that was first climbed in the 1975 Tour de France and the record of 33 minutes is still held by Bernard Hinault, 860m for climbing over a distance of 14km. This was all the incentive Jack needed. My youngest son, 12 years old, has not a gram of fat on him and is nicknamed, by his fellow club riders, ‘the whippet’. We headed to the start despite the miserable weather, only to discover we were a week late. He wasn’t going to let me get away with it that easily. We headed to the start in front of the church where there was a line painted across the road. We set our Garmins and we are off, Jack speeds off like a rocket and is lost from view. I keep thinking will he be alright, the first couple of kilometres pass easily but then, despite signs to Avoriaz, I take a wrong turn. I realise I have made a mistake and turn round. I rediscover the 1km markers and start to count them down. The switchbacks keep coming, the cloud is so dense you can hardly see anything. I feel woefully under prepared – what am I doing? I know I have to keep going though because I have to catch up with Jack. Eventually the last kilometre sign appears - just one to go, it must be 10 degrees colder as it is almost 1800m, a final push and I have made it to the top and there is Jack shivering beside the finishing line. 59 minutes and 41 seconds not bad for a young one. Now we have the descent to contend with. We are cold and our hands are freezing which makes braking quite difficult – we were planning on taking a circular route but instead we take it steadily back the same way and finally we thaw out. Our sense of achievement is huge. Our next riding adventure is a 30km route that is a warm-up for a longer ride. This time we go with our friends Richard (the Dad) and Emily his daughter. This time we are going to have the luxury of a support car of Claire (the Mum) and their other son Will. Emily hasn’t really done any long rides before so this is a baptism of fire. The cloud is still low so

disappointingly there are no views to begin with. My legs are still hurting from the exertions of the day before so I am taking it steadily. The road out of Morzine towards Les Gets is a busy one, Jack is over taken by a French man and then hops onto his wheel and follows him into Les Gets at speed. Unfortunately Jack with his limited French can’t understand him when they go their separate ways in Les Gets. We start heading uphill – that is the trouble with The Alps - you can go one of two ways - up or down. We reach a point where Richard says we are at the top – I am slightly sceptical but I am relying on his navigating skills as I can see a road ahead that appears to be going upwards – we are in one valley and I know we need to get to the next. A slight descent and then surprise, surprise it starts going up again – never trust a man and a map. Despite some breaks in the cloud the weather deteriorates again, Emily jumps in the car but I battle on knowing that it cannot be any worse than the day before. We reach the ‘real’ top which is then followed by a glorious descent – the sun has come out, the cloud in the valley has started to lift and the road is smooth - delightful! It feels like we have ridden much further than twenty miles as that distance at home would feel like a short blast. It’s now Wednesday and we are half way through our holiday so we plan to do a longer route. The sun is out and it is warmer than it has been. This time we are doing ‘An Excursion en Vallee d’Abondance Tour de Trechauffe’. The first 10 km are a steady descent so a nice easy start to the ride before the uphill. We head for the Col du Corbier. We pass through the village of Le Biot and the 1km marker posts are in evidence – it starts off at 6% but soon progresses to 7%. The switch backs are in view but we know it is only 7km to the top. With 3 km to go Emily is starting to flag, some words of encouragement and she keeps going, Jack and Richard are already ahead. The last 2 kms appear, but the incline increases to 8% then 9%: it is getting tougher but we know we are so close – a last push from Emily and finally we see the sign Col du Colbier. Her first Col and her first significant climb – girl power! Richard is waiting for us at the top but Jack has already disappeared – he gets cold if he hangs around, “the whippet”. Emily and Richard decide to take it easy for the remainder of the holiday but Jack has set his heart on climbing the Col De Colombiere. This Col has featured twenty times in The Tour de France, the first in 1960 and most recently in 2010 when Christophe Moreau was the leader at the summit. We start in Cluses, a town in the bottom of the valley. Heads down and we are off, once again Jack quickly disappears from view. I think of all the famous cyclists who have ridden this route before me; the sun is out, The Alps are looking spectacular



and it feels decidedly warmer than it had the first day we headed out. The gradient is gradual to begin with, the first kilometre sign we came across was sixteen and just 2%; this soon increased to 6% but my legs were feeling good and as yet nobody had passed us. Jack is ahead - a small dot in the distance. The mountains spread out before me, the road is smooth and I am enjoying the ride. I pass through the village of Le Reposoir where a small stream runs through and I contemplate paddling. Then the road changes dramatically and starts to climb steeply, gaining height via some impressive switch backs. I turn the corner and there in front of me is the top. It looks teasingly close and I suddenly increase my speed as I think it is not far to go. My eyes are deceiving me though as I am still only at the 14km marker. The gradient changes from 9% to 10% and the final kilometre is 11%. I am nearly there, a man comes past and shouts: ‘well done, keep going just 500m’ though it is probably the hardest of them all. At last I am there! The summit and Jack are waiting – it has taken him 1 hour 15 minutes. It took me a little longer. There is a massive smile on his face and a large grin on mine. There was a time when I had to wait for Jack – now that era is almost a distant memory. A few photos at the top and the chance to enjoy the view was needed before we head back down again. I think sometimes we underestimate what our children can do. Jack and Emily both ride because they want to, not because we as parents make them. They have pure drive and enthusiasm for the sport of road cycling. Sometimes it is Jack that makes me push my boundaries. I probably wouldn’t have ridden the Col De Colombiere – he wanted to do it because in the past it had been ridden in The Tour de France. He wanted to follow in the footsteps of some of his heroes of the sport. My boys have always been keen cyclists and have been mountain bikers from a very early age. My husband and I regularly took them to Wales and The Lake District despite living in the furthest south eastern corner of the UK. Sadly my husband was diagnosed with leukaemia and despite intensive treatment he passed away. The boys decided that they wanted to join a cycling club and it was the support of our local clubs that helped us get through this difficult time. Thanet Road Club is a Go Ride Club that encourages children to participate. Through their development programme the boys are steadily becoming very competent riders. It has also pushed me to become both a stronger cyclist and a coach. But more about the Go Ride programme in a future edition, for now we’re basking in Alpine glory.





SIMPLY CYCLING SLOVENIA Text and images by Paul Wadkin

I had been a builder for a number of years in the UK, my home being Yorkshire. In a twist of fate I fell off a roof one day and broke my right wrist. The doctors said ‘well that’s your building days over’.

I was sitting at home with my broken wrist, and my new computer, when all of a sudden an advert popped up for property for sale in Slovenia. I had never been there before, nor even really heard of it but decided there and then I was going to live there. After my wrist had healed I sold my house, and over a family dinner for my father’s birthday, broke the news to my parents, sister and her family. At first my father thought I was just going for a holiday and asked when was I going, and for how long - then I had to break the news that I was going for good. The next day I packed up my possessions and my dog and set off on this big adventure, across Europe and down to Slovenia! The beginning of my journey took me to the West of Slovenia, but property was expensive, even then. An old man that I met while staying on his farm suggested I try the North East, as it was less popular and much cheaper. Off I set again, and eventually found an old farmhouse which had not been lived in for many years’, So long in fact there was a tree growing though the roof! But to me it was perfect and I paid £16000! Only one room, the kitchen, and the bathroom was inhabitable, so I lived in there with an old stove for heating and cooking, while renovating the rest of the

house. Turned out the doctors were wrong in their predictions of my wrist…! But I was now living my dream, the adventure had really begun! One day while I was clearing rubbish from my old barn, I discovered an old bike, but I managed to somehow pump the tyres up, and rode it slowly the 3 km to my local bar, Trnek. I did the same the next day and so on till I went a little further each day. Being a smoker at the time, cycling was not easy. But eventually, thanks to the almost traffic free roads, and the wonderful warm weather, I got fitter and ditched the cigarettes. And that was how I began my company, I wanted so much to share this beautiful country with others who love to cycle and be out in the fresh air.

“In between my working hours I would cycle every road, path, and trail”



Slomskov Mill Apartment & Camping

Of course, life is never that easy, and I spent many hours cleaning houses, cutting grass, anything that would earn me money to put into my new venture. Slowly I put together a website, bought 10 good quality hybrid bikes, and managed to obtain a government grant for a cycle trailer. In between my working hours I would cycle every road, path, and trail. I looked for tourist farms, guest houses and small hotels, for my guests to stay in on their trip. Over 13 years I learned the complex Slovene language, mostly by joining the local fishing club and asking the long suffering fishermen hundreds of questions. 13 years on and I have come a long way since my little farmhouse with the tree growing through the roof. Thanks to my new home, which I have slowly, over 7 years, restored back to life. I have thoroughly enjoyed guiding many wonderful cycling tours across Slovenia, Croatia, Austria and Hungary, meeting many interesting and lovely people along the way. Now I am introducing simplyhikingslovenia which will begin to feature on my website very soon. When I say “I love what I do”, I really do. This is reflected in my tours and the individuality of each one. With my tours I give the true essence and experience of the country I love so much, the country that Is now my home. Just pick the link on the right to follow this story.

Simply Cycling Slovenia > WEBSITE > EMAIL > PHONE NUMBER 00 386 51 497 735 > ADDRESS Paul Terence Wadkin s.p. Slomškov mlin Razkrižje 30 9246 Razkrižje Slovenia




Text and photos by Hilary Searle



Lonely Planet recently included the Isle of Wight in its top ten best places in the world to cycle Not only does it have outstanding coastal scenery and chocolate box villages but it also has an enormous road network for its size. For every busy road there is a quiet lane running almost parallel. An extensive network of bridleways offers fun and challenge for MTB enthusiasts while former railway lines have been turned into cycle tracks that are ideal for gentle family rides. The Isle of Wight Council is very keen to promote ‘Bicycle Island’ and the three week festival running from August to September aimed to provide something for everyone, whether serious MTB or road riders, leisure riders, or families with young children. The festival began with a day of family cycling activities in Seaclose Park, Newport. A wide range of children’s activities were on offer, ranging from tiny balance bikes, to junior cyclocross organised by British Cycling. A varied group of youngsters took part, some on junior race bikes with full Team Sky kit, others on BMX or Barbie bikes, all clearly enjoying themselves. Another popular feature was the pump track; kids seemed to take to this very well but the few adults who ventured on tended to fail dismally! On a more practical note, the long cargo bike on display was a big hit with both adults and children alike. Definitely in the ‘don’t try this at home’ category was the stunt display of the Dare2Be riders, impressive and terrifying in equal measure. More useful inspiration was to be had from the MTB skills courses also held on the field for both beginner and intermediate riders. Of course, for the seriously intrepid, there was the Around the Wight Adventure Triathlon. Starting at 8.00am this included a sea swim, a cycle round the island and a trail run. Makes me feel tired just thinking about it. For me, Saturday’s highlight was the cycle cinema, held just as the light started to fade. Young and old gathered at Seaclose to watch ‘Paddington’ with the projector powered solely by pedalling. A row of stationary bikes provided the power to inflate the giant screen and then run the film. Bikes were sized for both children and adults and there was no shortage of eager volunteers to provide the motive power. I have to admit that I found it surprisingly hard work and was happy to hand over to someone else after about 15 minutes.

Sunday was the most perfect cycling day imaginable. The sun shone brightly the whole day with just a gentle cooling breeze. The main event of the day, the MTB Slammer, offered 50k and 25k routes that attracted 100 riders. On a gentler note, forty people took part in the Wayfarer Cycle Touring Club’s Sunday run from Newport to Fort Victoria with both an easy ride and a faster paced section. Shorter rides included one to the iconic Needles and a fossil hunting ride from Shanklin.

“outstanding coastal scenery and chocolate box villages” > Hilary Searle

The main events were held at weekends but there was also plenty to do during the week. New or returning cyclists were well-served with free classes in basic bike maintenance and Bikeability training to improve riding skills and build confidence. Short family rides took place every day, usually with a focus on cake or ice cream. Nothing is closer to a cyclist’s heart than food, and free food is guaranteed to bring them in droves. Wednesday morning saw the Bikers’ Breakfast laid on free of charge by local campaign group Cycle Wight with support from the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce. Arrive by bike to claim a free breakfast. More than



100 people turned out to enjoy the wonderful spread provided on Newport quay. For some this was a quick socialising snack on their way to work while others enjoyed a leisurely meal and gossip before setting off on the ‘Autumn Tints’ ride to Freshwater Bay. The term ‘Autumn Tints’ refers not to the foliage of the trees but to the age of the riders with the slower group including several sprightly octogenarians. A strong east wind made for an almost effortless 15 miles to the seafront café stop at Freshwater Bay, one of the most beautiful spots on the island. Of course, the ride back was a different story!

“The sun shone brightly the whole day with just a gentle cooling breeze” > Hilary Searle

I was initially surprised to find that there were very few events scheduled for the second weekend of the festival but all became clear when I realised that this was the same weekend as the Bestival music festival – all ferries would have been fully booked months in advance. Local clubs invited visiting cyclists to join them on Sunday with a choice of Mountain Biking with the Sunday Social Ride or a leisurely road ride with the Wayfarers. Both rides left from the old Merstone station at 9.30 and 9.00 am respectively. The Wayfarer easy riders enjoyed a gentle 14 mile ride to the tea garden in Niton while the normal section joined them after a hillier 20 mile ride. The tea stop is always the highlight of any bike ride but the Wayfarers’ stoving section eschews the joys of the café in favour of brewing up on a handy picnic bench. Trangias are the stove of choice for most but there are devotees of gas stoves and flasks are acceptable. Large slabs of cake are mandatory! The weather gods had smiled throughout the first week but Monday brought gales and heavy rain that continued into Tuesday morning leading to the cancellation of the planned 30 mile ride exploring central and west Wight. While the men cried off, myself and another lady still turned up, and actually enjoyed a pleasant ride in rapidly improving weather. Bike maintenance classes were held in four different locations and I decided to give the one nearest to me a try. As an experienced cyclist I wasn’t sure if this would teach me anything I didn’t already know but it turned out to be excellent, covering the setting up and tuning of brakes and gears as well as the M check and puncture repair. It is easy to forget that there is a definite technique to removing and refitting tyres and tubes. The three-hour class was completely free, a genuine bargain.

On Thursday, the two mountain bike rides were blessed with sunny weather, and by the weekend conditions were perfect for the plethora of cycling events taking place. Saturday offered a choice of gentle on and off road rides, a family ride on the Red Squirrel Trail and Frocks on Bikes – ‘a chance for women to dress to impress – on bikes!’ Obviously not the place for me and my smelly lycra! Sunday offered two children’s rides, a family ride, and yoga for cyclists, but the main event was ‘Cycle the Wight’, a circular 50 or 70 mile route around the island organised in conjunction with the British Heart Foundation. The ‘Round the Island’ cycle route is permanently signposted and mostly follows quiet country lanes. Riders could start at any time between 9 and 11 am with a choice of start points near to the ferry terminals or from the Blackgang viewpoint on the south coast. I opted for the 70 mile route starting at Blackgang and enjoyed blue skies, quiet roads and wonderful sea views all the way to Freshwater. This section has the longest climbs of the whole ride but the stunning scenery provides ample reward for the effort. It has to be said that this is not an easy ride and I take my hat off to the charity riders who had never done anything like this before. A total of 1400m of ascent means flat roads are few and far between and short steep climbs are frequent. I opted for the hillier, on road, route between Freshwater and Yarmouth but the riverside cycle path is a much prettier option for those with wider tyres. Pleasant flat lanes led to the picturesque village of Newtown, a spot where I often linger, but today it was on to Cowes, a series of up and downs leading to the esplanade and fine views across the yacht-filled Solent. Checkpoints supplied water and energy bars but I also carried a flask and sandwiches which I ate while waiting for the chain ferry across the Medina to East Cowes. Road closures meant a lengthy detour on busier roads from Wootton to Havenstreet. I hoped this might miss out a few hills but no such luck! Skirting Ryde, it was on past Bembridge seafront, through tiny lanes to Alverstone, the climb to Upper Ventnor, down to Niton and then the final climb back up to the top of Blackgang. Around 300 people took part but the staggered starts meant I saw very few other riders. If you are quite happy with your own company it is an excellent challenging ride. The final week of the festival was fairly quiet although Bikeability training continued and there was a gentle family ride each day. The major event of the weekend was the Wightlink Wight Challenge combining a 19 mile MTB ride, 2 mile canoe and 8 mile run. I preferred to finish the festival with the Wayfarers’ Sunday morning run, a hilly ride with wonderful views, and the afternoon Tweed Ride, a gentle meander around Newport wearing vintage costume. Great fun until I had to nip into the Ladies while sporting a false moustache! A champagne toast provided the perfect ending as we raised a glass to cycling, the Isle of Wight and the festival. Cheers!


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Looking for a bike which can withstand winter conditions? We explain what to look for and highlight some key models on the market The idea of having a ‘winter bike’ may seems like a luxury to some, but for anyone who has moved into the second bike terrain it’s a sensible choice, which allows you to keep your best bike pristine, ready for the rides where you want an injection of speed.

What is a winter bike? A winter bike is a steed that’s specced to cater for the demands of off-season weather: rain, grit, and the corrosive powers or salt scattered on the roads to counter ice. Key features will include wide tyres, designed to provide grip and comfort, disc brakes which cope well with wet conditions and mudguards. The professional road cycling calendar sees the racing season kick off in spring, finishing around September. Traditionally the winter months are used for building up endurance via long, slow ‘base miles’. Amateurs tend to copy this pattern – therefore winter bikes often have a more relaxed geometry – typically seen on sportive or endurance bikes. The gearing may also see a tweak – with smaller, compact chainsets and wide-ratio cassettes suited to ample climbing and high mileage slipping onto the spec sheet.

What’s the difference between a winter bike and an adventure or gravel bike? The adventure and gravel bike genre has grown dramatically in recent years. These bikes are designed to allow riders to choose between tarmac and off-road sections. Features include wide tyres, disc brakes, more stable and relaxed geometry – all

conventions you’d expect to see on winter bikes too. A key differential would be that on a gravel bike the bottom bracket will often be higher, too – to cater for rocks and roots. Adventure and gravel bikes carry many of the same features as good winter bikes. The differences can be presented on a sliding scale – with race bikes on the left, winter bikes in the middle and adventure bikes on the right. Adventure bikes will have even wider tyres, sometimes knobbly, and often even more relaxed geometry when compared to winter bikes. Some brands even choose to use the same frame for winter and cross bikes, with altered gearing and tyres. An adventure bike or gravel bike will certainly cope well with winter riding – but if you want a ride that feels quicker and more nimble on the road, a winter orientated road bike or sportive bike may be more suited to your riding style.

Winter bikes to look out for We’ve gone into detail about exactly what to look for in a winter bike below. However, if you’re after specific bike suggestions, then you’re in luck. We’ve teamed up with nine major brands keen to show off their suggested ideal winter bikes – here’s a look at some of the models on the market for this winter…



Cannondale Synapse Disc Tiagra The Cannondale Synapse, launched in 2006, was one of the first bikes to be designed with sportive riding in mind. The 2018 version incorporates technology used in the CAAD race frames, as well as Cannondal’s SAVE (Synapse Active Vibration Elimination) technology which is all about compliance and comfort.

Cube Nuroad Pro The Nuroad is a bike which blurs the lines between ‘winter bike’ and ‘gravel bike’ – it can be ridden on towpaths and gravel tracks as well as broken tarmac. You can fit rubber up to 40mm and the geometry is borrowed from the Cube Attain endurance road bikes.

Orro Terra C 5800 Hydro This creation from East Sussex based Orro is constructed from carbon, but Orro uses ‘Innegra shielding’ where it’s needed to protect vulnerable areas. There’s space for tyres up to 42mm, or 38mm rubber with mudguards and the geometry is ‘New UK Adventure Geometry’.



Whyte Wessex One With a strong reputation in the mountain bike world, Whyte has translated this to its mixed terrain capable Wessex One winter road bike. They key differential factor between this and other bikes listed here is the use of a single chainring which caters well for winter conditions and cuts down maintenance.





Ribble CGR 105

CGR stands for ‘cross, road and gravel’ and this model from Preston based brand Ribble was built to be capable of tackling all three. Relaxed geometry creates a stable ride, and you can fit 38mm tyres plus mudguards. As per all Ribble bikes the frame can be built up with any spec using their online bike builder.

Specialized Allez Elite The Allez is a longstanding model from Specialized, and saw a redesign for 2018. Major adjustments made included the introduction of ‘wide ranging geometry’ and an S-Works worthy fork weighing just 350g. Tyres are 25mm, this is a more road-going model.

Boardman CXR9.2 Winter Road Edition This winter edit from Boardman uses its premium carbon C10 cyclocross frameset, deccing it out with road-ready spec. Wheels are the brand’s own, fitted with 28mm rubber. It’s built up with SKS mudguards, and the mounts are built discretely into the frame and fork, cable routing is fully internal.


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THAT CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE Jamais Contente (Never Happy): the name of the car that, way back in 1899, was the first to go at 100 km/h. This name could also describe Carlo Dondo (1942): he is never entirely satisfied with his creations; his first thoughts are how he can improve them and simultaneously invent something new and useful.

Being an inventor is not a job but a state of mind, a kind of virus that gets into your bloodstream as a child and that Carlo soon learned to recognise and take advantage of amid the one thousand and one necessities and surprises of everyday life. Finding in Switzerland a more receptive and productive base than in Italy, which he left when he was just sixteen years old. The idea of the drop bar mirrors came from a traumatic experience of Carlo Dondo after two serious accidents on his custom made racing bike. Two accidents that could have been avoided if only he hadn’t had to turn around to check the traffic behind him. His innate passion for cycling urged him to find a solution suitable for all road bike enthusiasts.


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The license plate device Carlo invented in 1984, for which he won his first Silver and Gold medals in Geneva and Brussels, was already a consolidated business at the end of the last millennium, so much so that a few years after selling his business to a third party he started to focus on and improve every aspect of the product range that embodies his entrepreneurial philosophy: the Sprintech® Racing drop bar mirror for racing bicycles and the Sprintech® City for MTB were born. Just as had happened for the license plate device, when the drop bar mirrors were presented at the Innovation Exhibition in Martigny in Switzerland in 1996 they won the second prize for Innovation and in 2012 the Gold Medal at the

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n his first Silver and Gold medals in Geneva and ast millennium, so much so that a few years

International Invention Exhibitions in Brussels and Geneva. Today the Sprintech® mirrors have earned the reputation among cyclists as the best in the industry. When other brands rattle and spin out of position, Sprintech® mirrors hold true. Riders value the superior quality of these products thanks to their sleek design and ease of fitting. Last but not least, the mirrors are unobtrusive, adjustable and secure positioning when riding over cobbles or bumps. Once used, you will wonder how you navigated the roads without a mirror! SEEING WELL is only the first half of safety. The second is BEING SEEN. Carlo understood this early on and, between one ride and another, he began to reflect on this. Something that would ALWAYS be visible while riding, especially for the biggest threat to cyclists: the car behind them. As a result SPRINTECH® VISION 360° was created, uniting reflective power and movement. From tests carried out the perception distance at a speed of 50 km/h at dusk/darkness goes from 25 METRES without Vision 360°, to a staggering 150 METRES with two Vision reflectors affixed to the back wheel’s spokes. This means that the cyclist is visible 9 seconds earlier. This is more than enough time for car drivers to adjust their speed and avoid any danger to the cyclist. Recognition for the innovation and its usefulness again came from the panel at the Brussels International Exhibition in 2012 where SPRINTECH® VISION 360° won the Gold medal. The SPRINTECH® products are made in Switzerland. More information can be found on



WWW.SJSCYCLES.COM When it comes to safety and dependability, there is one choice that has proven to stand out above the rest, SPRINTECH, made in Switzerland. Easy to install and instinctive to use. Unobtrusive, adjustable and light, only 28grams including the mounting plug.


Sprintech® Racing and Sprintech® City mirrors have AWARD W earned the reputation among cyclists as the best in the industry. When other brands rattle and spin out SPRINTECH® R ® bar mirror for r of position, Sprintech mirrors holdRACING true. SPRINTECH® drop bar mirror


When it comes to safety and dependability, there is one choice that has proven to stand out above the rest, SPRINTECH, made in Switzerland. Easy to install and instinctive to use. Unobtrusive, adjustable and light, only 28grams including the mounting plug.

CD PROJECT SARL – C.P. 224 – 3960 SIERRE – SWITZERLAND PHONE +39 338 14 55 199 FAX +41(0)27 455 90 60

and SPRINTEC city bikes and invented and p the Innovation invented andfrom presented at the Innovation The idea of the drop bar mirrors came two in Martigny, S traumatic experiencesExhibition of Carlo Dondo. Two in 1996 where in Martigny, Switzerland serious accidents on his tailor made racing bike. the prize for I in have 1996 where they won the prize for and in 2012 at t Two accidents that could been avoided if only he hadn’t had to Innovation turn his head to check and in 2012 at the BrusselsInternational E the traffic behind him. His innate passion for Belgium wher International Exhibition in Belgium where the gold m bicycles urges him to find a solution suitable for all racing bicycle enthusiasts him.the gold medal. they like won

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MOROCCO Sarah Williams

Morocco is a fantastic destination for people who love spending time in the great outdoors. The diverse mountain ranges, long stretches of coastline, glorious beaches and national parks all offer heaps of ways to have fun away from the bustling cities and towns. There are numerous adventurous activities to choose from. Cycling is by far the most popular activity with Morocco visitors. Hop onto the saddle and peddle to some of these terrific destinations.

Imlil The picturesque village of Imlil is located in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains. As well as being a prime destination for hiking enthusiasts, it is also a popular destination for keen cyclists. As well as shorter local trails through the mountains and other nearby Berber communities, those who want a longer experience can spend a day riding the 67 kilometres (42 miles) from Marrakech. The hustle and bustle of the Red City fades away, with the surroundings becoming more rural as riders get out into the countryside and ascend the foothills of the mountains. The journey can be completed in a day. After exploring Imlil and spending the night in a local accommodation, why not continue to Ijoukak? The scenic valley village is located 62 kilometers (39 miles) from Imlil.

Tafraoute Tafraoute is an oasis town in the Anti Atlas Mountains. Start your trip on the beaches of Agadir before cycling 166 kilometres (116 miles) into the mountains. Travelling from the coast to the mountains lets you appreciate the varied nature

of Morocco’s diverse terrains. There are several interesting communities to explore on the way, and there are plenty of places to break the journey and rest for the night if desired. Nestled in a stunning valley, Tafraoute is one of Morocco’s natural gems. Surrounded by nature and exuding a laid-back vibe, local attractions around Tafraoute include Les Roches Bleues (the Blue Rocks), an eye-catching piece of art work with painted blue rocks standing out against the naturally red surroundings, Ait Mansour Gorge, hilltop granaries, and a rock formation, La Tete du Lion, that looks like a lion’s head. In town, the museum of La Maison Traditionelle offers insights into the Berber way of life. Soothe your muscles and wash away the day’s grime in the Old Hammam. If you don’t want the long ride from Agadir, preferring to just explore locally, there are several bicycle rental shops in the town. Bike around the Amlen Valley and soak up the natural splendour.

Zagora Sitting on the fringe of the world-famous Sahara Desert, Zagora is gaining popularity among foreign



visitors keen to experience desert life. Still an active trading post, the area is also home to several tribal groups. Popular activities in the locale include camel riding, camping in traditional Bedouin tents and marveling at sandy expanses. The Tinfou Dunes present an impressive sight. A great cycling route to Zagora is to start at the “Door to the Desert”, Ouarzazate. Explore the well-preserved kasbah of Ait Benhaddou, visit the local movie studios, and admire the large Taourirt Kasbah before beginning your journey to the desert through the mountains. Make a detour to the Fint Oasis, one of Morocco’s hidden jewels. Soar through the splendid Draa Valley and feast your eyes on the wonderful vistas. Zagora is 163 kilometres (101 miles) from Ouarzazate.

Ourika Valley Located 32 kilometres (20 miles) from Marrakech, the fertile Ourika Valley is popular with hikers and cyclists. Snow-topped mountains

rise in the distance as you peddle through verdant back country on minor roads. You can see how locals live as you cycle through villages and small communities; stop to refuel at a roadside eatery and soak up the atmosphere. Within the Ourika Valley, the riverside restaurants at Setti Fatma are also appealing. You can cycle there and back in a day. Independent rides are possible if you rent a bicycle, or you can join a guided cycling trip whereby you will be transported part of the way towards the mountains by minivan. The nearby Gadji Valley is another ideal destination for cycling enthusiasts. Other excellent cycling destinations in Morocco include around Chefchaouen and the Rif Mountains, the Ahansal Valley, Tiznit and Merzouga.

Tips for Cycling in Morocco Cycling is possible throughout the year in most parts of Morocco. The hot temperatures in the summer can make cycling different. Though, the coastal areas are reasonably cool year round. Carry plenty of water and refill at every opportunity regardless of the time of year you cycle around Morocco. The Atlantic coast typically offers flatter terrain with less challenging cycling routes. In general, look for a motor mechanic if you need bicycle repairs. Be wary of placing items in a bike basket; snatch and runs may occur, especially in more populated areas. Cycling through the maze-like streets of old medinas can be a hair-raising experience for the uninitiated. People drive and cycle on the right-hand side of the road in Morocco.



MARRAKECH ATLAS ETAPE The riders assembled behind the ambulance; the more powerful who might see the day as a trial as to how they would cope with the ‘Ouka Monster’, one of the steepest étape in the cycling calendar, and those who simply wanted an exhilarating ride under the blue Moroccan skies. Organised as a fund-raising event for Education for All, the riders had the bonus of knowing they were raising funds to provide homes for girls from the poorest of Moroccan families so that they might continue their education and create a better future for themselves, their children, their families and their country. The ambulance moved off, with riders jostling for position to get a good start to the day. It shepherded the cyclists along the perimeter fence of the Moulay El Hassan Grand Prix Circuit onto the main road to Ourika where, after a couple of hundred metres, its flashing lights and screeching siren signalled the beginning of the Marrakech Atlas Etape. For experienced riders the first thirty kilometres to the staging point at Ourika is a warm up, a chance to stretch the legs in preparation for the thirty-five kilometres to the summit, an unrelenting climb to 2,624 metres without flats and dips to ease the legs from the interminable turning of the pedals. For others it’s the turnaround point, and the slow, steady rise to 850 metre from the flat plains of Marrakech can feel equally as unrelenting, although with the comforting thought that once they’ve fed and watered at Scorpion City, it’s downhill almost all the way home. The constant to-ing and fro-ing of the backup vehicles, dispensing water, bananas and the occasional puncture repair made sure that no-one suffered from the affects of the heat, and it was with a sense of pride that everyone who set out returned under their own steam. Timothy Madden is an experienced triathlete, and has been cycling in Morocco for years. This was his second Atlas Etape. “On the way out there’s a peloton that’s moving along pretty good. And then these strong guys got out in front. Those guys are really strong. Because you are riding out with these

guys and you get your adrenaline going fast, you put so much in, but once you get away from the pack it’s a lot harder. You are making a balance, “do I slow down, but if I do, do I have to work harder to stay in the pack?” The Marrakech Atlas Etape is an inclusive event from talented riders to the likes of Eddy (short for Edwina) Brocklesby, who completed her fourth Iron Man in 2013 – at the age of seventy! – the event is open to everyone, whatever their age, experience or energy level. “That was really tough,” says Eddy, not pulling her punches. “I think it’s the consistency of just going up, up, up. I don’t think climbing the actual hills is the issue. There are 2,300 metres climbing in Iron Man and that’s about the same as this, but I think it’s something about the consistency of it and you don’t get any relief. It’s tough, but fabulous, absolutely brilliant.” But while the going up might be gruelling, the coming down is another matter altogether. Chris Gurney. “The coming downhill was just awesome, absolutely amazing. you realise you were just climbing and climbing and climbing and don’t realise you have reached the stop until coming down. It was a bit tougher than last year because of the heat, but I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.” Every event needs a character, and the Brompton that James Tuffs completed his second Atlas Étape on appears to be filling the role. It might seem a bit masochistic to tackle the Ouka Monster on a folding bike with wheels not much bigger than a large dinner plate but despite having said that, he wouldn’t be back at the end of last year’s event he was there again this year. “The views are truly, truly stunning. It was fantastic, beautifully organised, great weather, but for us non-acclimatised people it was bloody hard work. Nice sense of achievement now though.” Come and join us for the 2019 event.


CYCLE TOURING FROM A NEW PERSPECTIVE The Atlas Mountains, Atlantic Coast, Sahara Desert … Morocco is the ideal place to have an amazing cycling adventure this spring. Hire a bike or bring your own to enjoy the great weather and fantastic landscape of this exotic country on Europe’s doorstep.





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This is an inclusive event suitable for the serious amateur or professional as well as the passionate and determined rider. 2 courses 140km and 60km. Marrakech to Oukaimeden 2129 metres of altitude gain in a single ascent. Bigger than Galibier, Mont Ventoux, Tourmalet. Ride the Ouka Monster for a good cause. Benefits of this event to World change starts with educated children. Please join us, enjoy yourself with a personal challenge and help make a difference. See for full details or email



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Men and women of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines serve their country, often at times of danger. Established in 1922, the RNBT helps non‑commissioned Sailors, Marines and their families (The RNBT Family) throughout their lives. Your donation will help us to help them. The Royal Naval Benevolent Trust, Castaway House, 311 Twyford Avenue, PoRTsmouTH, Hampshire, Po2 8RN T: 02392 690112 F: 02392 660852 E:



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BIKE Magazine - December 2018