Monday, 21 November 2011

Season of Mists...

I love this time of year, you never know quite what you're going to get with the weather - one day it's mild, the next freezing, clear then raining.

Yesterday was particularly foggy. Not much fun, but the Frankley Beeches looked rather beautiful...


Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Don't Want To Spend A Few £s On New Cycle Lights? It's Your Life...!

As the clocks have gone forward and the nights start earlier, cycling in the dark is almost impossible to avoid. And that's why it's so important to have a good set of lights - and spend more than you might like...

Here's a review of Cateye lights cycle lights which cost £60 - the EL-320 front light and TL-610 rear light:


Do you remember the lights we had as kids in the 70s and 80s? First off we had those awful back wheel dynamos that rubbed the tyre flat, took twice as much effort to pedal and fizzled out at the traffic lights. And the yellowy light they gave off was like a candle inside a cathedral at midnight.

The other lights were huge white monstrosities, which weighed a ton, took huge size 'A' batteries and lasted about an hour...

If you haven't bought bike lights for a long time I strongly recommend you take a look at what modern LEDs can do. The light is almost blinding - there's certainly no danger of anyone missing you in the dark and they are strong enough to light your way on a country road.

And the batteries (the small AAA ones) last months.Try before you buy, the really cheap ones seem a good idea, but the light is pretty feeble.

The Cateye set above cost £60 (I already had a decent back light, so paid half that), but it's your life at the end of the day...

The police used to advise cyclists that they should only have the lights on steady. I'm not sure what the law is now, but I've never heard of anyone being arrested for having flashing lights, and they are 10 times more visible.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Rapha's Free Repairs Mean I Don't Have To Eat My Shorts...

I may have mentioned once or twice that Rapha is my cycle-wear maker of choice. Well now I've found another reason to confirm my affections for them...

Rapha Bib Shorts

I've got to be honest, at £145 Rapha's Classic Bib Shorts aren't cheap! But it's one of those occasions when you get what you pay for.

For a start, like all their clothing, the Rapha shorts are incredibly functional and beautiful. The shorts use the best pad available, by Cytech. The result is incredibly comfortable shorts - the best I've tried - and I can quite happily cycle 100 miles a day without the slightest discomfort.

I'd compare wearing these shorts to an average pair with the difference to using lovely modern quilted toilet paper after using that awful waxy stuff we had at school in the 1980s!

So you'll understand how cross I was when I managed to snag the shorts on some brambles while going for a pee. Talk about spending a penny...

One of the seams was a mess and I thought the shorts were ruined. But I remembered something I'd read on Rapha's web site - they offer a free repair service. How many companies would do that?

So I packed the shorts off to Rapha and waited.

Sure enough, after 4 weeks (longer than their usual timescale, but the repairs lady was away) I received them back and they really are nearly as good as new, you wouldn't spot the repair unless you used a microscope.

So thanks Rapha, keep up the good work and I'll keep buying your gear!