Matt Willey

Matt Willey

Cycling AccessoriesFeaturedNews

Pelotan: dedicated sun protection for cyclists launches across Europe

Pelotan Pack Shot Low Res

As Europe’s summer season hits full swing, skin protection becomes an important consideration for anyone spending prolonged periods of time exposed to the sun rays.

Razor sharp tan lines can elicit a nod of mutual respect from riders (rule #7…) but often lead to a hunt for aloe vera to soothe painful sunburn which, aside from affecting short term performance in the saddle, can have damaging long term consequences.

Pelotan, from, is high-performance sun protection designed to help cyclists cultivate those tan lines without risk of burning. The flagship product is an alcohol based spray which is clear, quickly absorbed, lightweight and breathable. It has been laboratory tested as lasting up to 8 hours at SPF 30, meaning you can focus on a full day in the saddle without risking skin damage.

Pelotan was born on the roads of Europe as founders struggled to avoid sunburn on long sunny rides. High profile cases of pros getting burnt during stage events and countless examples of riders burning from even shorter training or social rides highlighted the necessity for a specialist product. The team set about creating a brand that recognised the needs of cyclists from professional athletes to weekend enthusiasts.

Manufactured in the UK, Pelotan is dermatologically tested, contains no preservatives and isn’t tested on animals.

Tom Austen, Director at Pelotan said: “Riding in the sun is one of the greatest joys of cycling, but also presents challenges if you’re unprepared. We set out to create sun protection specifically for cyclists because legs should only burn on the inside, not the outside!

“We are launching across Europe in Summer 2018 and believe riders of all abilities can perform better if they avoid sunburn – from the pro peloton to the casual club rider. Pelotan is designed to give cyclists maximum comfort whilst riding and help craft those all-important tan lines.”

Pelotan are working with Ribble Pro Cycling for the 2018 season.

Austen added: “Pelotan are proud to support incredible cycling teams throughout their seasons, from training camps to races. We develop premium sun protection products with the performance cyclist in mind as we firmly believe that in a world of marginal gains, comfortable riders race harder.

“Our formula enables our teams to train, race and recover for longer – from sunrise to sunset. As the UK’s #1 domestic team, we are delighted to partner with Ribble Pro Cycling and we are looking forward to working with the team for the 2018 season.”

Pelotan are launching via a dedicated e-commerce website – on May 29th and are also running a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo – to help fund new product development and to launch internationally after the end of the European season.

The product will also be available in the Rouleur Emporium.

Pelotan are offering crowdfunding packages including limited edition jerseys designed in collaboration with Isadore, bidons and exclusive experiences with Ribble Pro Cycling including a day following the team at a UK race including a trip in the team car, plus specially designed Ribble Pro Cycling training plans.

Cycle ClothingNews

Danilo ‘The Killer’ Di Luca partners with Vélobici to launch DL Killer Collection


This season, Giro D’italia winner Danilo Di Luca, aka ‘The Killer’, has partnered up with British cycling brand Vélobici on an exclusive collection of cycling clothing and footwear, available worldwide and launching at an exclusive event in the UK on 14th April at Café Ventoux in Tugby, Leicestershire. The event will also be showcasing Di Luca Bikes latest creations.

A few seasons ago, Leicestershire-based cycling company Vélobici partnered up with Italian professional road racing cyclist Di Luca for the making of the Vélobici Continental bike and this season, they’re back together to collaborate on and launch the new ‘Killer’ collection, consisting of a jersey, speedsuit, bib shorts, baselayers and the brands exclusive Premgripp® socks.

They certainly caused a stir with the Continental, combining the most lightweight carbon available on the market, the unidirectional Toray T800, using the monocoque technique, resulting in a beautifully crafted frame that exceeds expectation. By redefining shapes and structures, Di Luca and Vélobici were able to develop an exceptional frame weighing just 800g. They’ve pulled out all the stops again for the fabrics and innovative technology used for the new ‘Killer Collection’ available on Vélobici’s website.

The jersey is made from a VB/Pro-VR2, an exclusive high-tech performance nylon, developed with a honeycomb fabric construction that provides a lightweight 150g fabric that excels on the road.

The new three- season jersey promises to perform exceptionally under warm conditions, thanks to the fabric’s ease of movement and impressive wicking capabilities.

The ‘Killer’ bib shorts are made from 280g VB/Pro-VR1 performance fibre. They feature the new state of the art bioceramic 7-hour VB Pad, as do the ‘Killer Collection’ suits, constructed using Foam Carving Technology that removes any unnecessary foam from the sides, and avoids any aggressive step between different foam densities.

In both the shorts and the suit, special attention is given to the crotch area, the latest technology allows increased blood flow around the male anatomy that can decrease the sense of fatigue. Wave Body Contour Technology gives you comfort, however long you’re in the saddle.

The pads are then covered with the latest bioceramic anti-bacterial fabric that is made using clay minerals. The minerals help reflect F.I.R infrared rays emitted by the human body providing the rider with better oxygenation, freshness and thermoregulation, it increases the flow of blood and reduces negative effects caused by intense exertion. Full details can be found here:

There are also road shoes within the collection, handmade in Italy they perform as good as they look! Available in two styles, the KS1 with Atop lace system and the classic laced leather Vito Collection. They both feature the very latest HMS technology that helps mould the shoes to your feet to create the perfect fit. The ultralite hull/sole has been engineered by experts in the development of road shoe performance with the input of top professional cyclists. Made from 100% carbon fibre, it has been scientifically proven that significant power gains are transmitted through the pedals giving the rider increased performance.

Breathability is important in any performance shoe and both the KS1 & Vito has been designed with ventilation holes on either side of the frontal upper and tong, and also the carbon sole. The KS1 feature the advanced dual directional ATOP lace system. Adjustable with one hand, it’s quick and easy, and can be tightened or loosened on the move and the anatomical shape of the KS1 gives the front half and toes of the rider’s feet the freedom of movement without losing any stability or performance.


Drake & Hutch bring #sockdoping to your off-bike wardrobe


Established in London by a group of young designers with the aim of creating affordable everyday essentials made with the same quality and attention to detail found in a bespoke suit, Drake & Hutch blend modern fabrics with contemporary British design, providing clothing that makes you smile.

The Tour de Toes design has definitely been making us smile over the past few weeks – they’re beautifully made socks, with a fabulous bicycle design which is sure to cheer up any cyclist’s off-bike ensemble. They’re a natty addition to a working wardrobe, and perfect teamed with jeans and trainers.

Drake & Hutch was set up to provide everyday essentials with a focus on quality, attention to detail and ethical production. They have partnered with one of the oldest sock mills in the world. Based in England they are a family-owned business who have been manufacturing socks since 1882. Worn by the likes of Kit Harington, Donald Sutherland and Victoria Beckham, your feet will be in extremely good company!

And just in time for the run-up to Christmas they are offering readers an exclusive 30% discount when using the code: VAMPER2017. We know the cyclist in your life will thank you for a pair in their Christmas stocking!

Cycle Clothing

Henri Lloyd Sport confirmed as official ‘Off Bike’ clothing partner to Team Sky

Team Sky - Henri Lloyd Image[3]

Henri Lloyd has announced its new partnership with Team Sky which will see the brand installed as the team’s Official ‘Off Bike’ Clothing Partner until 2020.

Widely regarded as one of the global market leaders in technical sailing and lifestyle apparel, Henri Lloyd, has recently launched a new era of performance apparel – Henri Lloyd Sport, a transitional and multi-activity sports clothing collection.

Henri Lloyd’s pedigree in supplying leading teams and sports people for over half a century, and the company’s extensive knowledge and expertise in innovative fabric technology and design, made them the brand of choice for Team Sky’s off bike clothing partner.

Team Sky riders and support staff will be kitted-out in the latest product technology from the Henri Lloyd Sport collection, which will reflect the team’s identity and brand ethos.

Martin Strzelecki, CEO of Henri Lloyd said; “We are thrilled to announce our official partnership with Team Sky, a team that reflects our shared values of innovation and performance. We are very excited about our future together and wish the team every success for the forthcoming racing season”.

Team Sky Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said;  “Henri Lloyd is an iconic British brand with its roots in Manchester. Like Team Sky, they are extremely proud of that heritage.

“Throughout their history Henri Lloyd have led the way in the science, design and production of best in class technical wear which is made to take on the toughest conditions – from extreme temperatures to rain, wind and snow.

“Henri Lloyd understand elite performance needs and they work with those who have to be at their best in extreme environments, from the America’s Cup through to Formula One.

“They are continuously looking for advancements and new solutions to the same challenges that we face as we race and train in all conditions around the world.

“We are excited to begin collaborating with Henri Lloyd, sharing and benefiting from their knowledge and working together to ensure Team Sky stay ahead of the competition”

Henri Lloyd Sport will also be launching an official Team Sky merchandise range in 2018.

Team Sky Henri Lloyd Sport & Paul & Martin Strzelecki – Henri Lloyd Chairman & CEO and Sir David Brailsford – Team Sky Principle


Zwift Hosts ‘Ride With Reason’ month of charity events


Zwift has announced it is hosting three premier charity events for riders around the globe. Zwifters will get a chance to ride with the pro-peloton’s most notable riders, including Mark Cavendish, Andre Greipel, Marcel Kittel, Thomas De Gendt, and Jens Voigt.

On Monday Germany’s Andre Greipel (Lotto–Soudal), one of the most prolific sprinters in the sport, lead a three-ride series of Zwift’s new Group Workouts in support of ALS research at Rostock University. Greipel’s mother is currently suffering from the degenerative brain disease ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and he’s passionate about supporting their efforts to fight this debilitating disease.

“Obviously, this cause is close to my heart and I want to help anyone suffering from this terrible disease,” says Greipel. “Through this event, I can raise awareness of ALS by connecting with thousands of cyclists around the world, while we raise money to drive research.”

Funds will be raised through donations at

Immediately afterward, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka is opening up their training camp to all Zwifters with 19 group rides and group workouts during the week of November 13-19 in support of Qhubeka. Deemed “the world’s largest training camp,” Team Dimension Data riders like Mark Cavendish, Edvald Boasson Hagen, and Steve Cummings will lead rides with the goal of funding 500 Qhubeka Bikes to be distributed throughout South Africa in order to bring people in rural communities closer to healthcare, jobs, and education.

Zwifters who donate at can permanently unlock a virtual Team Dimension Data fan kit and Qhubeka Bike. 100% of all donations go to funding real-life Qhubeka utility bikes in South Africa.

One of the most popular charity events in Zwift is the Ride On for World Bicycle Relief (WBR), taking place this year on December 2nd with thousands of cyclists riding as long as they’d like within a 24-hour period with pro cyclists like Jens Voigt, Fumiyuki Beppu (Trek-Sagafredo), Laurens Ten Dam (Sunweb), Lawson Craddock (Cannondale-Drapac), and Greg Henderson (USA Cycling). Past iterations of this event have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations and matching funds from bike industry brands like Trek and CycleOps and the goals for this year are similarly ambitious. By creating the world’s largest online cycling community, WBR and Zwift hope to raise a quarter million dollars and crush 1,000,000 miles to empower students, healthcare workers, and entrepreneurs through the power of the bicycle across all of in rural Africa. If participating riders can reach 1,000,000 miles, Trek Bicycles will donate an additional $40,000 to WBR.

Zwifters participating in the Ride On for World Bicycle Relief will automatically sport WBR gear in Zwift to show their support. Participants can donate, setup their own fundraising campaign, or join a fundraising team at

“When an entire community comes together, it can really make a difference,“ says Eric Min, co-founder and CEO of Zwift. “Zwifters are some of the most generous and open-hearted people I’ve met and that our platform can be the way we bring together this global community makes us feel, honored we can play that part.”

Zwift’s Ride With Reason launched on November 12th and any current or prospective Zwifter can join. Information on how to take part in your first Zwift ride is at and a full listing of Ride With Reason events can be found at


Sustrans Bike Life assessment highlights overwhelming desire for segregated space

Cycling in Birmingham city centre Photoshoot for Bike LifeCycling in Birmingham city centre Photoshoot for Bike Life

Bike Life, the UK’s biggest assessment of cycling in cities, has revealed that four out of five people (78%) want more protected bike routes on roads built to make cycling safer, even when this could mean less space for other road traffic.

Bike Life, produced by Sustrans and seven major UK cities, indicates  that out of the 7,700 people surveyed over two-thirds (69%) say more cycling would make their city a better place to live and work. Most residents interviewed think that more space for cycling and walking or buses, as opposed to more space for cars, is the best way to keep their city moving, improve people’s health or air quality.

Sixty four per cent would cycle more if on-road cycle routes physically separated from traffic and pedestrians were available. Even people who said they never ride a bike still overwhelmingly support the provision of segregated routes (74%), even when this could mean less space for other road traffic.

However, currently a total of just 19 miles of cycle routes on roads, physically separated from traffic and pedestrians exist in six of the seven cities (excluding Birmingham where no data is available).

Out of the 7,700 people surveyed over two-thirds (69%) say more cycling would make their city a better place to live and work.

Furthermore, only 30% of residents interviewed think cycling safety in their city is good. And three-quarters (75%) support more investment in cycling.

Bike Life also found that people cycling in the seven cities take up to 111,564 cars off our roads each day. If these cars were lined up this would equate to a 333 mile tailback – a distance greater than from Cardiff to Newcastle.

Xavier Brice, CEO for Sustrans said: “Bike Life shows that most people living in these seven cities think cycling is a good thing and are far more supportive of bold and ambitious plans for cycling than decision-makers often think. They want dedicated space for people on bicycles even when this means taking space away from cars.

“From Mexico City to Manchester, city leaders around the world are waking up to the fact that their cities need to be designed around people, not motor vehicles and that investing in cycling and walking is key to keeping their city moving, and improving health and economic vitality.

“At a time of falling funding for cycling in the UK – outside of London and Scotland – we call on governments at all levels to work together to meet people’s needs by investing in segregated routes that make cycling across our cities attractive, safe and convenient.”

Chris Boardman, British Cycling Policy adviser and now Greater Manchester’s first Cycling and Walking Commissioner, said: “Evidence has shown us time and again that the world’s happiest and healthiest cities all have high cycling rates in common. It’s no coincidence, cycling really is the silver bullet.

“More people using bikes instead of cars would address so many of the problems our urban centres face – health, congestion, air quality, social inclusion…you name it, more cycling will have a positive impact on it.

“Greater Manchester is determined to become one of the most attractive city regions in the world and, in pursing that aim, it’s great to see through Bike Life the vast majority of our residents want us to prioritise making cycling a safe and attractive thing for them to do.”

For more information and respective city Bike Life reports visit

Click to open the Sustrans Bike Life Summary 2017 Report


FeaturedLocationsNewsSportivesWomen's Cycling

Yorkshire Velo Tours Challenge Rides programme for 2018 is announced


The new and expanded Yorkshire Velo Tours programme of Challenge Rides for 2018 is has been announced via the brand’s website:

The seven events start in March 2018 and run each month through to September.

Each unique routes is designed to allow cyclists the full Yorkshire Dales experience, featuring roads used in the Tour de France and the Tour de Yorkshire that will also be ridden again in World Road Championships in 2019.

The Yorkshire Velo Tours Challenge Ride events are ‘guided rides’ where all riders benefit from a pre-ride bike check, a support vehicle and team mechanic and ride in a small group with a dedicated ride leader. There is also a carefully chosen cafe stop.

The rides all start and finish in the cycling-mad town of Ilkley and take riders over classic climbs like Fleet Moss, Malham Cove and Park Rash and a ride to the Druid’s Temple near Masham. The distances are comparable with a medium length hilly sportive and will present riders with a challenging route as well as a true taste of Yorkshire.

Cost is £40 with the option of a weekend package (2 days cycling / 2 nights B&B) from £220pp

Full details can be found at:

Cycling AccessoriesFeaturedReviews

Reviewed by VeloSkin natural skincare regime for cyclists


Before I launch headlong into this review, I want to begin by thanking VeloSkin for two reasons: firstly, for reaffirming my faith that the cycling industry can deliver products that truly crossover and become fundamental requirements of ‘real life’. And secondly, for providing me with, after a 25 year search, a suite of shaving products that my stupidly sensitive skin can actually embrace.

Due in no small part to cycling’s spiralling popularity, the seemingly inexorable rise of products aimed at the cycling community seems to show no sign of abating. As the number of interested parties grows, so unfortunately does the slew of tenuous products loosely aimed at the likes of you and I – or, our wallets/purses/bumbags.

We at HQ bear witness to a good number of products purporting to have been ‘developed’ specifically for cyclists. By ‘developed’, I mean sourced on DHGate or Alibaba and then shipped in from China at little expense. So it is refreshing, both metaphorically and literally in the case of VeloSkin’s Post Shave Balm, to test a range of products that not only has exemplary development credentials, but delivers over and above expectations.

It is rare that a brand can ingratiate itself into your personal stable immediately, in my case almost never, but VeloSkin has done just that.

A beautifully packaged set of VeloSkin products was couriered to us on our recent Moor Retreats weekend by brand founder Chris Bairstow (VeloSkin are, incidentally, the official skincare partner of Moor Retreats) and I immediately embarked on a regime to test the Shave Cream, Post Shave Lotion, Chamois Cream and Soothing Gel to the max.

For lovers of Pete and Dud I aimed to have all cheeks covered – upper and lower.


I’ll admit that until this point my skincare regimen over the years has been patchy at best, non-existent at worst. Bar a few mid-teen years using Laboratoire Garnier (after all, it was the Nineties – we were new men, apparently) I had been prepared to let the ravages of time and the elements dictate the evolution of my complexion. Nevertheless, with a gorgeous new black and orange box to open I was ready to re-board the skincare wellbeing train.

Post-cycling retreat and with a decidedly stubbly face, Monday morning was the perfect opportunity to try out the VeloSkin Shave Cream and Post Shave Lotion before a day at the office.

I’m nothing if not meticulous when it comes to my shaving ritual, so I set to work with a hot wet towel softening the stubble and opening the pores, before applying the Shave Cream. It has fresh, clean scent of orange blossom that isn’t overpowering at all. The cream develops a rich, luxuriant feel that softens the stubble/beard and allows a really comfortable shave. I mean, seriously comfortable. I have been through so many shave products over the years and none have come close to allowing me to escape a shave without skin blemishes – but with the VeloSkin cream there is no sign of skin irritation.

Where have you been all my life?

The Post Shave Lotion takes the positive experience a step further: this thick cream absorbs into the skin with ease, again featuring orange blossom as its lead scent. The range seems to suit my skin so much that I have taken to using this as a daily moisturiser or ad-hoc skin ‘pick me up’ when I am looking a little overtired.

We both tested the Soothing Gel on our Moor Retreats weekend. With two long days in the saddle and hills 0’plenty, the combination of a post-ride massage followed by an application of VeloSkin Soothing Gel was just the fillip our weary legs needed. VeloSkin’s Chamois Cream was a hit, too. Chamois cream is a topic that divides many among the cycling community, and what works for one may not work for another – but what I will say is that VeloSkin seems to have cracked (no pun intended) it here. Although Victoria has long been a fan, I’ve never been keen on chamois creams before – but this one has proved brilliant on long rides and definitely increases my comfort in the saddle.

It is rare that a brand can ingratiate itself into your personal stable immediately – in my case, almost never – but VeloSkin has done just that with its range of cycling specific skincare products. Not only has it managed to develop a skincare range that satisfies the needs of cyclists, it has also delivered, for me, a solution to a longstanding skincare problem and for that I am truly thankful.

The full range of VeloSkin skincare products can be seen at:

VeloSkin are offering readers an exclusive 15% discount on first orders when using the voucher code: VAMPER15


Moor Retreats offers a delicious taste of Devon with its luxury cycling breaks


If your weekends are all about adventures, the great outdoors and interesting conversations over hearty food and glasses of red wine, then a Moor Retreats luxury cycling weekend will certainly be up your street.

We love a long weekend, so we were only too happy to sneak away from the office early on a Friday for a head start on our journey to Chulmleigh in Devon, to meet up with Ross Lovell – the host and (excellent) ride leader for the weekend.

Moor Retreats is described as a fusion of two things: a love of all things endurance-related (road cycling, sportives, triathlons, mountain biking, marathon running, ultras), and Ross’s infectious and immense enthusiasm for his Devon homeland. His pride in the region is justified: the Devon landscape is incredibly beautiful.

Having a ride leader on hand who knows all the shortcuts, scenic routes, best views, hidden gems and the finest hills is a luxury in itself and Ross will happily wax lyrical about what makes his home county so great for cycling.

He is a certified British Cycling coach who has Everested both the iconic Haytor (twice a summit finish in the Tour of Britain) and the notoriously punchy Dartmeet, ridden a Coast-2-Coast-2-Coast and even a 330mile nonstop lap of the Devon borders. Elsewhere in the world he has raced the Absa Cape Epic in South Africa and 1000km Transportugal mountain bike races, ridden the 330km Tour du Mont Blanc three times, is a double finisher of the infamous Norseman, has 20 marathons and ultras under his belt and spent 6 months bikepacking around Europe, amongst other things. He has worked with brands like Skoda, Mitsubishi, Trek and Continental on big European rides as well, so definitely take the chance to tap into his knowledge of some of those infamous words in cycling – Galibier, Sa Calobra, Stelvio, Grossglockner, Izoard, Bonette…


Following the somewhat inevitable M4 Traffic snarl-ups our arrival was somewhat delayed at the charming Old Rectory in Chulmleigh, but the welcome from the friendly group who had assembled around the refectory table for a hearty supper and wine soothed any woes. What better way to unwind on a Friday night than with a group of like-minded cyclists over a bottle in Rioja in beautiful surroundings?

Our bikes were checked over by the on-site mechanic, Frank, to ensure they were in good shape to hit the road the next morning while we all turned in, ready for an early night. On our beds were fabulous goodie boxes, full of treats for cyclists: OTE nutrition packs, Le Col cycling jerseys, a wonderful Simpson cycling magazine and Veloskin skincare products, plus tee-shirts and chocolate.

Both Ross and Frank worked long into the night finishing bike builds for those who had taken up the option to ride out on the stunning Factor One bikes. For a small additional cost of £50 those on the retreat weekend can experience ride either a Factor ONE or Factor O2 for the day. All bikes have Di2 gearing and Black Inc carbon wheels and member of the Factor UK team will ride along with you and be on hand to answer any questions about the bike.

We didn’t take the opportunity to ride the Factor bikes this time around, but we would definitely go for it next time. They are gorgeous pieces of machinery and all those riding walked away from the weekend with big smiles and various acquisition plans.

The next morning the alarm went off at 7am and we sprang out of bed for breakfast. Homemade granolas, fresh fruit, eggs and toast, juice and coffee set us up for a big day of cycling: our itinerary showed a 75-mile ride with around 6,000ft of elevation lay ahead, so we were all pretty keen to fuel ourselves well.

After the usual discussions that cyclists have about what kit to wear for a ride – “Are you wearing arm warmers?” “Should I take my shoe covers? Is it going to rain?” “Which jacket are you wearing? Are you putting a baselayer on?” – it dawned on us that with a support vehicle, we could simply throw extra layers in the car to cover all eventualities. (Mostly wet ones). We set off in high spirits, ready to explore Dartmoor by bike.

The superb support vehicle which kept us fuelled and supplied with extra layers

What a day. Utterly fabulous – if a little damp. If there is one thing which can be said about the British climate, it’s that it is reliably unreliable. It goes without saying that if you’re going on a long ride with high elevation in the UK, you should take extra layers and waterproofs.

After a bit of a downpour in the morning, we paused at a pub to dry off and warm up with a coffee and biscuits before pressing on towards our lunch stop. I’m not going to lie – it’s a challenging route, and if climbing ain’t your bag, a cycling weekend in Devon probably isn’t the right thing for you. But if you’re not afraid of a challenge and you’ve got some miles in your legs, the peaks and troughs of the region are spectacular – and the views second to none.

Almost as spectacular as the hills of Devon are the treats baked by Ross’s mother, who is clearly employing some sort of wondrous witchcraft in the kitchen to create such utterly mouthwatering morsels. Her millionnaire’s shortbread, rapturous rocky road and, frankly, exquisite crispy cakes were just incredible. If you think I’m exaggerating, all I can say is, book a Moor Retreats break and see for yourself. (Ross could also launch a Moor Treats cookbook – it would be a huge success!)

The weather did take a turn for the worse, and as visibility lessened, Ross sensibly decided we should take a slightly shorter route home for safety. Nevertheless, we covered 50 miles and more than 4,000ft of elevation, so it was by no means a picnic – we all felt that we’d earned the massages and hearty supper that awaited us back at The Old Rectory.

The expert team from Devon Sports Massage, who can count Olympians, Commonwealth Games athletes and now mere mortals to their roster of clients have a huge amount of experience across both Deep Tissue Sports Massage  and Therapeutic Massage and after a long day in the saddle it was the perfect way to unwind.

A hot shower, a cuppa and freshly baked scone later, and I think we were all in that state of bliss that comes of intense physical exertion, tiredness and satisfaction. Collapsed on the sofa watching the final stages of the Vuelta on TV, we were a happy bunch – not least because our muddy bikes were being carefully cleaned and checked over by Frank. Is there any greater luxury than someone else cleaning your bike for you after a ride?

Unsurprisingly, nobody was up for a late night after a big day in the saddle, so we all called it a night after another good homemade supper ready for a 7.30am yoga session in the fitness studio.

Annelie Carver who led the yoga session has over the years she has experimented with Yoga styles ranging from Hatha and Iyengar to Ashtanga, Kundalini and Vinyasa flow. More recently however, she has developed a new style called Yoga Conditioning which incorporates traditional Yoga practices and dynamic sequences with a focus on improving posture, developing core stability, stamina and improving strength and flexibility in a wide range of muscle groups.

The cyclist-targeted yoga session was so worthwhile and, along with the sports massage the previous evening, really helped us all to limber up and feel ready for another day of riding.  

The route for Sunday was a little bit shorter than Saturday’s planned ride, at 55 miles. And while Saturday’s route took in Dartmoor, Sunday’s route made for Exmoor. It was a gentler start, in much better weather, crowned by a magnificent descent to Dulverton, seriously this is one of the best descents we have made in the UK – long, sweeping and on beautiful tarmac with low rolling resistance, the stuff of dreams. 

In Dulverton we paused for lunch (and more of Ross’s mum’s treats). Victoria opted to bow out at Dulverton and take on the role of photographer; whether it was her aching posterior or the fact that she could see more rain clouds gathering overhead, I’m not sure, but she certainly hopped in the support car at an opportune time as the heavens opened. It was a wet pull up over Exmoor but the bleak landscape and native ponies wandering across the road made for a memorable ride, and with only 20 miles to go, a bit of rain didn’t matter.

Back at the ranch, a hot bath eased the legs before another supremely satisfying supper around the refectory table – a delicious lentil and feta bake with Mediterranean vegetables which tempted everyone back for seconds and thirds. (Despite the exertion, you may gain weight on one of these weekends).

At we are lucky enough to receive invites to all manner of cycling related launches and trips, but there was something special about the ‘out of the blue’ invite from Ross and the team at Moor Retreats that spurred us on to make the 450 mile round trip. As it turned out that initial feeling was spot on. The weekend with Moor Retreats and our fellow cyclists was a memorable one for all the right reasons.

The attention to detail, the level of planning and execution, the setting, the Old Rectory venue, the food and the general level of support was absolutely first class.

For those fearful of being holed up for the weekend with aggressive, bolshy club riders, fear not… nothing could be further from the truth.

The rides are challenging, yes, but where would the sense of achievement come from if that were not the case? The weather does have a tendency to sometimes throw a spanner in the works, yes, but you can ensure that no two days will ever be the same.

The Moor Retreats Devon cycling weekend was one of the most enjoyable we have had on a bike – spending time with engaging, funny and positive people with cycling as the thread that held us together is the stuff we all dream about.

For more information on a Moor Retreats weekend visit:

Cycle ClothingFeatured

Back in Black: Ten Eleven Twelve of the best black cycling jerseys for 2017


I’ll stop wearing black when they invent a darker colour – Emanuelle Alt

Despite appreciating the odd splash of colour, usually on other people, my clothing colour palette is what some might describe as… well, lacking.

Much to Victoria’s amusement, my off-bike wardrobe is an embarrassingly tri-partite colourway with shades of grey, blue and black – no others shall pass!

As you might expect, my on-bike uniform adheres to similarly strict parameters; only recently have I branched out and allowed Velobici’s Maroon Rene jersey to disrupt my equilibrium – it is a beautiful thing (and looks great with black).

With all that in mind, I decided to bring you a run-down of my favourite black cycling jerseys for 2017. There are some stunners in here – be prepared to part with some cash…

#1 Morvelo Stealth Stormshield Rain Jersey

Available from and currently priced at £105.00

#2 Rapha Flyweight Jersey

Available from and currently priced at £95

#3 Stolen Goat Men’s Core Jersey

Available from and currently priced at £60

#4 Revival Collection Jersey

Available from and priced at £98


#5 Grade Cycling King of Pain Team Jersey

Available from and currently priced at $125

#6 Mono Cycling Waves Jersey

Available from and priced at £85

#7 Route Aero Stealth Jersey

Available from and priced at €118

#8 Smith&Reed Black Block Jersey

Available from and priced at AUS$85

#9 Breva Woven Black Jersey

Available from and priced at €139

#10 Attaquer Race Jersey

Available from and priced at £109.95.


#11 Chapeau! Etape Jersey

A late entry to our list courtesy of a nomination from Liam at, the Etape Jersey is available from and is priced at £99.99


#12 Stolen Goat Ibex SS Cycling Jersey


Another new entry to our list is this gorgeous number from Stolen Goat, the Ibex SS Kuro Black Jersey is available from and is priced at £79.99


*If you have any further nominations for the #BackinBlack Best Black Jerseys for 2017 list, please email them to:

Cycling Accessories

Bike protection specialists Fassa announces new Defender range

Fassa Bicycle Defender

Bike protection product specialists Fassa has announced the launch of its latest new product, the Fassa Defender.

In a natural evolution of its single-sided Fassa Separator, the Defender provides double-sided protection for bikes in transit and in storage.

Inner Velcro tabs secure the Defender around the bike providing a protection blanket in approximately 20 seconds.

Industrial strength materials have been selected and tested to ensure the Defender stands up to hard use, and the occasional jet washing down when muddy.

“The core material is a woven Polyethylene rip stop material, and with 14 threads per inch is the strongest available on the market. Ready to stand up to the potential damage a rough edged pedal can cause. Another example is the thread we have selected. Bonded on both the inside and the outside providing strength and longevity in the harshest environments. The inner padding is made from closed cell foam, which prevents the build up of moisture,” said the brand.

“The Defender was designed and tested at our HQ in Dorset. Each Defender is made up of 23 different components and take approximately four hours to make by hand and machine in our workshop and are made to order,” Fassa added.

To fit, simply first fold outward the wheel covers, lay the top gusset over the top tube, fold out the flaps over the front and rear wheels and attach and secure using the built in inner velcro tabs.

Nothing needs removing from the bicycle to fit. The bottom section is free of Velcro so the wheels are free to rotate if you need to move the bike with the Defender fitted. The straps secure through the seat post and over the bar stem, just like with the Separator.

The Fassa Separator comes in Silver, with a built in UV protector, or black and is available at, retailing at £100.

60 SecondsWomen's Cycling

Interview with the Vamper: 60 Seconds with Specialized Cycling Ambassador Ruby Isaac


I suspect many of us wish we had found cycling a little earlier in life. The same can’t be said for the subject of our latest 60 Second Interview.

Ruby Isaac is 9 year old cyclist from Kettering whose YouTube channel and Instagram hashtag #racereporterruby have seen her garner the attention of Specialized for whom she is now an ambassador and race reporter.

Ruby has built up a loyal following on social media and is often seen rubbing shoulders with the great and the good of the cycling world.

See what Ruby had to say in our Interview with the Vamper: 60 Second chat.

Ruby, who or what inspired you to ride? How did you get into cycling?

It was definitely as a result of watching Laura Kenny riding at the Olympics. I then had the chance to meet her which was cool, she actually did my hair for me so I can say I have raced with Laura Kenny hair!

You are now an ambassador as well as a race reporter for Specialized  – could you tell us how that came about ?

I made a few videos and they went on Twitter and YouTube and started doing very well. Specialized saw them and contacted me and said they were really cool. I then had the chance to go to the Tour Of California to interview some riders for Specialized as well as spending some time with Boels-Dolmans. It was at the Specialized HQ where they asked me to be a Specialized Ambassador.

Ruby Issac Specialized

How does the relationship with Specialized work – what sort of interesting things have they done with you?

Specialized are really supportive, they really just want me to have fun on my bike, which is great.  It’s amazing for me to be able to show people how cool riding a bike can be. I have done some really cools things recently.  A short time ago I raced at the Junior European Tour in Assen. Specialized came with me and we did some filming together.  It was really cool, riding behind a car as someone filmed me on roller skates – I even had a drone flying over me which was  awesome.

Would you like to be a professional rider in the future?

I really want to be a professional rider one day – I love racing on the road but also the velodrome. Recently I passed my stage 2 at Derby Velodrome which was great fun.

You have now met a lot of famous faces in the cycling world. Who has made a big impression?

Everyone I have met has been amazing. Peter Sagan was awesome, and it was brilliant fun filming with him. Helen Wyman has been brilliant, she is really supportive and I even managed to have some coaching time with her. Christine Majerus is such great fun, whenever I am with Christine I just seem to be laughing all the time. Laura Kenny was amazing when I met her and all the Boels-Dolmans riders have been so nice to me.

Are there any cyclists in particular that you look up to?

Laura Kenny is a massive inspiration, watching her was the reason I wanted to ride a bike in the first place. Christine Majerus is such a strong rider and works so hard for the team and is awesome fun. There is also a rider called Skylar Schneider from America, she has been really supportive and given me loads of great advice. She is only 19 and has been so helpful. And Peter Sagan has been great, watching him doing tricks on a bike before filming was just amazing. I also think Tao Geoghegan Hart is brilliant rider – when I met him in America he was so nice to me and often likes things I put on Twitter.

Ruby Issac trackside

What is your favourite piece of cycling kit and why?

Well I love my bike, Specialized custom-made it for me. It has my name on it as well as Gummy Bears and full DI2. Christine Majerus gave me one of her Boels Dolmans jerseys, that is definitely my favourite top to go road racing in. In the velodrome I wear the Matrix kit that Helen Wyman gave me. It’s so cool to wear the same kit that I have seen Laura Kenny wearing!

Tell us about your current favourite place to ride: where do you like to go?

I love riding in the velodrome, it’s just such fun riding a bike with no brakes on the track. The road race in Assen was amazing, we raced on the roads with a convoy and motorcycle outriders – that was so cool!

What is next for Ruby?

I have something amazing coming up at the end of October which is just unbelievable but I’m not allowed to talk about it just yet – you will just have to keep your eyes peeled, but I can’t wait! Next year I will be going back to the Junior Tour of Assen again which was so much fun. Most of all, just carrying on having fun on my bike.

And finally, what are your three favourite music tracks to ride to?

I love SIA – Greatest, I listen to this before I race. I also like Katy Perry – Roar, and Can’t Stop The Feeling. I always listen to those tracks before I get on the bike.

I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me – of course, Specialized, but also all the people who have give me support on Twitter and all the professional riders who have been amazing.

Ruby Issac Matrix

Cycle ClothingFeaturedNews

New September collection sees MAAP strengthen its regional foothold


MAAP has announced the opening of its new European warehouse in the Netherlands in time for the launch of its new September collection.

MAAP’s European warehouse will be freshly stocked with MAAP’s latest trans-seasonal collection of performance cycling kit and the reimagined Team Bib 2.0 which launches today.

The September release features:

  • The reimagined Team Bib 2.0, featuring an ergonomically engineered chamois.
  • Continued application of key fabric technology and treatments such as MAAP’s wind tunnel tested Hex-tech® fabric and the supremely comfortable yet durable pre-dyed Pro Base material that retains colour and form after washing.

MAAP Co-founder Jarrad Smith said: “The roads and cyclists all throughout Europe are a constant inspiration to us here at MAAP. We’re truly excited to opening a warehouse in Europe so that we can better support and serve the European cycling market. Here we go!”

MAAP recently put the Team Bib 2.0 and September range to the test with a selection of ambassadors from Australia, Italy, Switzerland, and Sweden, in the searing summer heat and high altitude passes at the lesser known but uniquely classic Julian Alps in Slovenia.

MAAP’s entire range is available online at


The guide to the best late summer cycling kit sales

VeloVixen Summer Sale

As the SS17 season draws to a close and we begin to think about building our winter cycling wardrobes, we mustn’t forget that there are some real bargains to be had at this time of year.

Here we bring you a few of the best and most beautiful brands committed to luring you onto the rocks of spendthriftness. (Ed – That isn’t even a word is it?)

You’ll be glad of it come spring 2018.

La Passione Cycling Couture – up to 40% off

The purveyors of high-quality Italian road and urban cycling wear have a shockingly good up to 40% off sale across men’s and women’s ranges.


Vulpine – Over 50% off

Having risen phoenix-like from the ashes, Vulpine is now in the capable hands of Mango Bikes. The urban cycling aficionados have a Summer sale featuring some huge discounts, over 50% in some cases.


Findra – up to 40% off

Now is a great time to snap up some bargains from Findra, the cycling brand for women that specialises in beautifully soft Scottish Merino wool.


VeloVixen – Over 30% off

The home of women’s cycling apparel, VeloVixen has a brilliant end of season sale on at present featuring brands such as Morvelo, Endura, Castelli, Café du Cycliste and Primal.


Castelli Cafe – More than 40% off

UK Castelli specialists Castelli Cafe has some superb discounts in its current sale, including across its excellent jackets and jersey ranges.