Matt Willey

Matt Willey

News

Vamper.cc makes the shortlist as Cycling Media Awards 2016 finalists are named

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The finalists in this year’s Cycling Media Awards have been announced, and we are delighted to confirm that we have made the shortlist in the Blogger of the Year category. The winners will be announced at a ceremony held at the Islington Metalworks in London on 10 November.

Vamper.cc faces really stiff competition from some great bloggers including Voxwomen, Beth Bryn-Hodge, Chipps Chippendale and Mark Treasure. We feel really privileged to have been nominated by some great industry partners and loyal readers and look forward to the awards evening.

Fingers crossed!

The list of finalists by category is as follows:

Magazine of the Year

Rouleur
Cyclist
Singletrack
MBUK
Bikes ETC
InCycle
Velorution
Cycling Plus

Website of the Year

Road.cc
Cycling News
Bike Radar
Road Cycling UK
Cyclist
sportive.com
Total Women’s Cycling
Factory Jackson

Specialist Writer

Jessica Strange – VeloMe
David Gould – Singletrack
Aoife Glass – BikeRadar
Andrew Dodd – Factory Jackson
Peter Walker – The Guardian
James Spender – Cyclist
David Arthur – road.cc
Oisin Sands – sportive.com

Best coverage by a Mainstream – Print

Times
Telegraph
Vice
The Guardian
Women’s Fitness
Coach

Best coverage by a Mainstream – Online

Sky Sports
BBC Sport Online
The Observer
The Times
Guardian

Best Broadcast Coverage

BBC Sport
The Bike Channel
The Voxwomen Show
ITV
Eurosport
Red Bull TV

Best Cycling Podcast

The Cycling Podcast
Cycling News Podcast
The Velocast.cc
Prowomenscycling
The Rouleur Podcast

Blogger of the Year

Vamper.cc: Matt Willey & Victoria Bowskill
Mark Treasure
Chipps Chippendale
Beth Bryn-Hodge
VoxWomen

Photographer of the Year

Balint Hamvas – cyclephotos.co.uk
Marshal Kappel – Rouleur
Simon Wilkinson – Swpics.com
Saskia Dugon – Saskia Dugon Photography
Bryn Lennon – Getty Images
Chris Keller Jackson – Freelance

Cycle ClothingReviews

The MAAP Base Jersey and Bib Short review: #WhatIWearforBest

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We all accept and understand certain inalienable truths, things we know will never – and should never – change.

For me, I wholeheartedly know that the Settle Pudding served up by The Lion at Settle (North Yorkshire) is the greatest meal ever, that the first Rage Against the Machine album has untouchable mythical status, that anyone who doesn’t appreciate the merits of John Hughes’ seminal 80’s film Weird Science is a philistine.

In recent weeks however I have allowed another inalienable truth to drop anchor and establish permanent residency in the calmer waters of my mind. This is that the MAAP Base Jersey and Bib combo is one of THE great cycling kits.

In recent weeks however I have allowed another inalienable truth to drop anchor and establish permanent residency in the calmer waters of my mind. This is that the MAAP Base Jersey and Bib combo is one of THE great cycling kits.

Purchased from the exponentially excellent Sigma Sport in Hampton Wick, the MAAP Base jersey and bib shorts were acquired in time for the Prudential Ride London 100 mile event in July. Having already chosen my riding combination for that event some time prior, I had a last-minute change of heart and decided I needed something fresh.

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After working my way through the impressive Black Sheep, Sportful, POC and David Millar’s CHPT.III offerings, all of which have their own sirenic pull, I arrived at the MAAP rails.

There were a number of possibilities if I’m being honest. The Divide, Field and Rise patters were very tempting, but something kept drawing me back to the Base. In both the dark navy and black variants it was the simple elegance of the silhouette that drew my attention.

In both the dark navy and black variants it was the simple elegance of the silhouette that drew my attention.

Rarely do I try things on; I’m usually pretty steadfastly a Medium – But having steeled myself to drop some serious tags/coin/cash I wanted to be sure it fitted like the proverbial glove.

I tested both the medium and large sizes. At 6ft and 11.6st I just about straddled the two sizings. As it was I ended up taking the large.

The jersey was great in both sizes, a tiny bit more wiggle room in the large but still an aero fit. But the bib shorts were more obviously comfortable in large. Predominantly in the strap area where there was the faintest pull from the medium. Which whilst not uncomfortable, would have niggled after hours on the perch.

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I have ridden in the Base combination more times than I care remember over the last two months, I’ve worn it so frequently since it came into my life that it and the washing machine have started to get close. I half expect to come home one evening and find them slurping either end of a spaghetti strand over a candlelit meal for two.

MAAP’s material choice and quality of pattern cutting is just exemplary. Rarely have I felt so much (if ever) like Julia Roberts in THAT red dress in Pretty Woman. You know… when something just works.

The jersey itself has a brushed fabric interior that retains warmth and is incredibly comfortable. It should see you wearing it throughout the year when layered appropriately. The fabric is also extremely breathable, effectively wicks moisture and provides more than adequate wind protection along with an SPF 50+ sun protection rating.

MAAP has designed generous pockets with chunky elastic openings that keep items secure without sagging. The body hem of the jersey also features a half elastic construction with internal silicone dots to ensure it doesn’t ride up.

Rarely have I felt so much (if ever) like Julia Roberts in THAT red dress in Pretty Woman. You know… when something just works.

The MAAP Base bib shorts feature the now ubiquitous ‘Cold Black’ technology on the leg panelling to reduce excess heat absorption while also providing protection from UV rays. The extra high-density chamois, which has been developed exclusively for MAAP, is easily one of the most comfortable I have ever used. The Prudential passed without a second thought in that regard, so you can be sure that you’ll be comfortable on long rides.

Taking the MAAP kit from the hanging rail feels like you are about to don a test pilot’s flight suit or something. It just feels special.

It looks great and fits perfectly – but there is also something wonderfully, intangibly brilliant about the MAAP Base combination. Cycling in its purest form should be all about feelings and emotion: from the sights and sounds of those perfect summer rides to the tactile pleasure you derive from a supremely form fitting piece of kit. Taking the MAAP kit from the hanging rail feels like you are about to don a test pilot’s flight suit or something. It just feels special.

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But, but, but…it’s, you know, BLACK! I hear you say. We all know that only lunatics with scant regard for their own personal safety wear black, you bark. What you should be donning is apparel crafted in one of those colours statistically proven to be less prevalent in accident reports.

Well, you know what? I accept some risk.

Lets face it, there is a theoretical and therefore minute statistical possibility that I could one day be sucked clean off the earth into a giant space-orbiting elephant’s backside.

To stack chips in favour of the MAAP Base jerseys safety credentials, the reflective elements on the arms are supremely effective – enough to draw remarks from fellow cyclists when passing through one of the darker tunnels early on the Prudential RideLondon course.

I think I’ve made it abundantly clear that I love this kit. There isn’t a single occasion over the last two months where when deciding what to wear that my hands haven’t zeroed in with laser precision on the MAAP hanger.

I’m always aware however that, for those extra special adventures, the MAAP Base is ready, poised, waiting…

We all know you can’t always wear what’s ‘for best’. So for the sake of fairness I am studiously making an effort to allow other kit back into my life and to share the riding duties.

I’m always aware however that, for those extra special adventures, the MAAP Base is ready, poised, waiting…

The MAAP Base Jersey and Bib Short combination is available at Sigma Sport. The jersey is priced at £110 and the bib shorts are priced at £160.

Cycling AccessoriesNews

Airlok from Hiplok heads to production as it breaks through Kickstarter funding goal

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British bike security brand Hiplok has confirmed its latest innovation, Airlok, is to enter a production phase following a successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.

Over 300 cycle owners from around the world backed the project, enabling the company to exceed its £70,000 funding goal. The achievement ensures that Hiplok can commence final development and tooling in order to deliver the first Airlok bicycle storage locks to Kickstarter customers in early 2017 with sales to bike stores worldwide following in the spring.

As previously reported, Airlok has been designed to the maximum Sold Secure Gold rated security level. It features secure wall fixings, hardened steel framework and a secure lockable bolt combine to keep your bike safe while displayed on your wall. The addition of an impact resistant outer casing further prevents access to the framework and fixings.

The system’s unique triangular shape provides stable storage for multiple styles and sizes of bicycle while the fully rubberised mouth prevents frame scratch and further adds to stability.

Cycling enthusiasts will be able to get a first look at the future of secure bicycle storage as Airlok announcement is being celebrated with a display at The Cycle Show this weekend.

Hiplok co-founder, Ben Smith, commented: “We have been overwhelmed by the reaction from the hundreds of Kickstarter backers who have supported us in putting Hiplok’s first secure bike storage in to production. It’s fitting that the final day of our Kickstarter campaign coincides with the start of one of the UK’s biggest cycling events and we’re thrilled to have Airlok on display at the Cycle Show at the NEC this weekend.”

Hiplok co-founder, John Abrahams, added: “The reaction has proven the need for secure yet elegant bike storage. We have lots of ideas for developing the sector further but for now, we’re concentrating on getting the first Airloks to the very first customers.”

Airlok will be on display at The Cycle Show on Zyro-Fisher Stand #H45.

For more information on Airlok visit the Kickstarter campaign page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/airlok/airlok-high-security-bike-storage-hanger-store-loc

 

 

FeaturedNews

Islabikes launches the Imagine Project: A sustainable manufacturing initiative

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With its newly launched Imagine Project, Islabikes is developing a small range of sustainably produced cycles that will be manufactured in the UK.

These will be utility ‘riding to school’ bikes that will sit alongside the current Islabikes models and will be available to customers to use on a rental basis.

The Imagine Project will initially begin on a small scale with availability of the new bikes being very limited in the early stages.

Islabikes is looking for a modest number of early-adopters to play a crucial role in helping them develop the product, manufacturing methods and service.

The Imagine Project will be open-source and Islabikes will be inviting contributions and sharing their discoveries as the project grows and develops.

For more information about the Imagine Project and how to get involved, visit: www.Islabikes.co.uk/imagineproject

The founder of Islabikes, Isla Rowntree will be available for comment on the Imagine Project on the Islabikes stand (A80) at the Cycle Show at the NEC in Birmingham on Thursday 22nd and Saturday 24th September.

FeaturedNews

Zwift mobilises massive community support for the Africa Kit Appeal

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The Africa Kit Appeal, the charity founded by Team Dimension Data rider Matt Brammeier, has today unveiled Zwift as its new title sponsor.

The charity encourages cyclists from around the world to donate their unwanted cycling gear to help young aspiring African cyclists.

As title sponsor, Zwift will cover all import duties associated with sending kit to Africa, as well as encouraging its global community of riders to send cycling kit to communities in need.

“We’re super excited about teaming up with Matt and the Africa Kit Appeal. This exciting grassroots project is a great fit for the Zwift community and we have no doubt that Zwifters all around the world will want to get involved”, said Zwift CEO and co-founder Eric Min.

“There’s too much good cycling kit lying unused in people’s homes. Let’s give it a new home, a new purpose in life and help inspire young cyclists to fulfil their potential,” Min added.

“Everyone at the Africa Kit Appeal is thrilled to welcome Zwift as our new title sponsor. Helping covering our import duties is great but the potential from Zwift engaging their community is even greater. We’re looking forward to the massive potential this new partnership can offer us, and we are all truly grateful for their assistance and support,” said Matt Brammeier.

The 2017 Africa Kit Appeal begins on 1st October. The partnership is asking that no kit above a size medium be donated, as it proves difficult to repurpose.

To find out where a nearest drop off location is and how you can donate, visit www.africakitappeal.com.

 

 

Children's CyclingFeaturedNews

The Bike Club aims to increase cycling accessibility for children with new pay monthly bike scheme

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In a scheme designed to increase accessibility to high-quality bikes for children nationally, UK start-up, The Bike Club, has launched its pay monthly kids bike scheme.

The scheme allows parents to pay monthly for a new bike and exchange as their child grows.

The aim is to get more children cycling high-quality, well-fitted bikes by making cycling more accessible for families.

After a successful test phase in April, The Bike Club is now ready to rollout the scheme nationwide.

Prices begin at £5 and rental payments are capped, so if a child is a slow grower, parents have the opportunity to buy the bike after 18-24 months. Parents can cancel at any point after the first three months, simply by sending the bike back.

For larger families they also offer a sibling discount of 10% for any subsequent bikes within the household.

“The bikes are made by Cuda Performance and the balance bike from Bobbin. The fleet colours are a little uniform, however we don’t really believe in gender stereotyping the bikes and they’re still pretty cool, coming in either a yellow and green or a red and blue finish,” said The Bike Club Founders Alexandra and James.

“The bikes are fully serviced and most of the fleet is still brand new. It’s a bit like renting a car for a longer period, only no one complains about scratches after you use it – the bikes are fully covered for general wear and tear,” they added.

The Bike Club aim to get as many children cycling as possible. By moving towards a hire exchange model and away from full ownership, they believe that more families can have the right bikes for their children.

“Kids bikes are expensive, well they should be if you buy the right ones. Cheap ones are often oversized, heavy and make your children equate cycling to other not fun activities including cross-country, room tidying and playing scrabble with the babysitter. However with the Bike Club families can get the right sized, lightweight bike which should make cycling more fun, said the couple.

For more information on The Bike Club email: info@thebikeclub.co or call on 07774 734 581,

The company is also available on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

 

 

 

 

FeaturedNews

Sigma Sport launches pop-up cycling clearance store in Kingston

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Leading triathlon & pro-cycling retailer, Sigma Sport, has opened a two-week pop-up clearance store in Kingston-upon-Thames, which opened its doors last Friday.

New clearance stock will be added daily to ensure discounts across the biggest brands in cycling and triathlon, including vastly reduced prices on bikes & frames, components, accessories and clothing.

Cyclists looking for their next performance gain at an attractive price should be sure not to miss this exclusive two-week event taking place less than a 30-minute journey from Waterloo Train Station.

Previous clearance events held by Sigma Sport have proven to be hugely popular with shoppers, with interest from new-comers to the sport and cycling professionals alike.

More details about the Sigma Sport Clearance Store can be found on the Sigma Sport website or by telephone on +44 020 8549 5888.

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Discounts on clothing from brands such as GORE, Castelli and Assos will ensure that going into the winter months cyclists will be well protected from the elements.
Sigma Sport stock key leading brands including Specialized, Cannondale, Cervelo & Trek.
Sigma Sport stock key leading brands including Specialized, Cannondale, Cervelo & Trek.
FeaturedNews

Zwift adds iPad & iPhone dedicated apps to its turbo training arsenal

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Zwift, the online training and gaming platform for cyclists, has announced it will release iPad and iPhone versions of its app, beginning with the imminent launch of an iOS Beta program.

‘Zwifting’ on iOS will open up the service to cyclists unable to ride Zwift because they don’t currently own a dedicated Mac or PC.

“We’re committed to making Zwift more accessible, easier to set-up and stress-free to ride. Zwifting on iPad and iPhone achieves all of this without compromising on a quality experience for our users,” said Zwift CEO and Founder Eric Min.

“Twelve months ago, Zwift was a product associated with high spec computers, ANT+ dongles, and permanent home set-ups with large screen TVs. Very soon, this same product will be available at the tap of a finger from the App Store, entirely portable and easy to connect via Bluetooth. This is great news for cyclists across the world who live in city apartments and shared homes, where space is a premium.”

Zwift’s support of iOS is expected to receive a warm welcome from industry partners at Eurobike 2016.

“There’s no doubt about the Zwift Effect. Training in the home is becoming a year round trend and Zwift is a big part of that,” offered Tacx CEO, Koos Tacx.

“A lot of attention at Eurobike will be focused on the innovations in the home trainer market and Zwift in iOS will continue to drive that growth.”

Zwift’s iOS Beta program will begin in September, with invites being sent to the Zwift community. Pricing on iOS will be equivalent to Mac and PC at £8 per month, offered as no-obligation monthly subscription. A full subscription launch is planned for winter 2016.

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Zwift’s iOS Beta program will begin in September, with invites being sent to the Zwift community.

 

60 SecondsFeatured

Interview with the Vamper: 60 Seconds with Yorkshire Velo Tours

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In this week’s edition of our 60 Second Interview series, we put our questions to Charles Oxtoby, the Owner and Founder of Yorkshire Velo Tours.

Yorkshire Velo Tours rides are designed for keen cyclists of all abilities who want to challenge themselves on some of the best roads and climbs in Europe as well as enjoying the beautiful Yorkshire scenery. We were kindly hosted by Charles earlier in the year for one of Yorkshire Velo Tours’ Saturday rides in wonderful Yorkshire countryside – you can find the full review here.

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Charles, what originally sparked your interest in cycling?

A walk by Ullswater in the Lake District with a friend of mine who said if you have a mountain bike, you can ride over these hills. I got one a week later and it was a revelation. After mtbing for a few years, I took to the road when the foot and mouth ban came in and have stayed on tarmac ever since.

What is your favourite route at the moment? What do you particularly like about it?

All of my favourite routes blend the elements of amazing scenery, challenging and rewarding climbs, a great cafe stop and good mates! I particularly love a 2-hour or so circular route from Ilkley. It heads up the Wharfe Valley, nearly to Appletreewick, before taking in the awesome climb up Skyeholme heading to Pateley Bridge: the view to your right is just awesome! You are then treated to a 4-mile high-speed descent, usually with a tailwind to Blubberhouses, before the last pull up Askwith Moor for the plummet back to Ilkley and a coffee and panettone at the wonderful Stazione cafe.

Route details are available here:

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If you could go for a bike ride with anyone at all, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

I think Brian Robinson (English road bicycle racer of the 1950s and early 1960s.) He was the first Briton to finish the Tour de France and the first to win a Tour stage in his heyday. I did have a chat with him earlier this year about riding the hills in Yorkshire and it would have been awesome to actually go out with him and see how it was done!

What is the best thing about being involved in the cycling industry in 2016?

I’m pretty new to the industry, but it seems to be developing fast all the time. The thing I have loved most is making connections and meeting new people who are involved in cycling at all different levels, from bloggers to new businesses trying new ideas, through to enthusiasts arranging charity events.

How has cycling in Yorkshire changed from when you were a lad, to post-le Tour and how the county has consolidated on that success?

An incredible change! When I first stared cycling 20 years ago, I seemed to know just about everyone I passed out on the road. Cycling was a minority pastime. Nowadays, there are so many cyclists, it feels like I hardly know anyone! I still can hardly believe that the Tour de France came to Yorkshire and travelled some of the same roads we ride day in day out. I did expect that after the hiatus of the Tour in 2014 interest would subside, but it seems to be quite the reverse – the roads at the weekend heading up Wharfedale are packed with cyclists. Cycling clubs have flourished in recent years – for example, the Ilkley Cycle Club started in 2011 and now has 1,200 members, almost 10% of the town’s population. Cycling is well and truly here to stay!

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What do you enjoy most about running Yorkshire Velo Tours?

The best thing is definitely meeting new people and taking them out cycling. The reaction from those who have never cycled in Yorkshire is always a treat to behold, people love it! I love hearing about people’s own experience with cycling, some of the stories you hear are amazing. Cycling means so many different things to different people, yet creates a common bond.

Have you had any particularly memorable moments with visitors cycling in Yorkshire for the first time?

Many! On our cobbled ride back in May, the riders were more than a little intimidated by the sight of the infamous Shibden Wall in the distance .. ‘how on earth can you cycle up that?!!’ Every single rider managed to make it up without stopping, the sense of achievement at the top was amazing!

I also had a reporter from the Evening Standard visit, he couldn’t believe how beautiful the Wharfe Valley looked on a chilly February day.

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What has been your cycling highlight of 2016 so far?

Drinking cherry vodka on top of Greenhow Hill at zero degrees temperature and horizontal snow falling, waiting for the Tour de Yorkshire riders to cruise past!

And finally: what’s in store for Yorkshire Velo Tours? What can we expect to see from you in the coming year?

We are really excited for 2017 and are planning lots of new things including point to point tours, new challenge rides, a ‘route store’ and corporate cycle days. We are also going to offer more options for those fairly new to cycling or who may feel intimidated by some of the terrain … cycling in Yorkshire is for all to enjoy!

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FeaturedNews

Hiplok launches Airlok: A high security bike hanger funding campaign on Kickstarter

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British bike security brand, Hiplok has announced the launch of a Kickstarter campaign to develop a high security bicycle storage hanger dubbed the Airlok.

Airlok has been designed to the maximum Sold Secure Gold rated security level. It features secure wall fixings, hardened steel framework and a secure lockable bolt combine to keep your bike safe while displayed on your wall. The addition of an impact resistant outer casing further prevents access to the framework and fixings.

The systems unique triangular shape provides stable storage for multiple styles and sizes of bicycle while the fully rubberised mouth prevents frame scratch and further adds to stability.

Hiplok Co-Founder Ben Smith commented: “When we started Hiplok, we set out to solve real world problems encountered by cyclists. To date there hasn’t been a stylish yet secure means of storing your bike – the choice has been unsightly ground anchors or beautiful wall hangers with no security. Airlok solves this problem combining top level security with elegant, functional design.”

For more information and to support the Kickstarter funding campaign visit: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1560850697/346282697?token=89306082

60 SecondsFeaturedWomen's Cycling

Interview with The Vamper: VeloVixen answer our 60 seconds of questions

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In the first of our 60 Second Interview series we pose our questions to the husband-and-wife co-founders of women’s cycle-wear retailer VeloVixen: Managing Director Phil Bingham and Strategic Director Liz Bingham.

1. Who or what inspired you to ride?

Liz – I actually went ages without riding a bike – I used to get around Cambridge on two wheels at uni, but then went 15 years without cycling until I ran into Phil. He was planning a bit of an adventure on bikes (well, a year and a couple of continents, actually) so I threw caution to the wind and never looked back.

Phil – My 1980s Raleigh Grifter was formative, of course. Years later, a work mate and fellow commuter callously tricked me into signing up for the 1998 London Triathlon – at a time when you still racked your bike amongst pre-Excel Docklands tumbleweed. I soon worked out cycling was the best bit of triathlon and have loved it ever since. Annoyingly, Lance Armstrong was my biggest inspiration for years. Less said about that the better.

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

Liz – My rides are restricted to what I can fit in between the demands of two young daughters and VeloVixen, but Oxford’s one of the great cities for cycling. There are plenty of child friendly tow paths and tracks and we love the Isis Farmhouse for a pitstop.

Phil – Locally, I’m a big fan of the Chilterns – on the odd occasion that juggling a business and family allows me to escape! The roads around Hambleden are a great combination of sharp climbs, quiet roads and quintessentially English views. And they do a mean flapjack in the Hambleden shop.

Liz – Looking further afield, I think we’re agreed that the most extraordinary parts of our ride through the Americas in 2010 included the high Bolivian Andes, the San Juan Islands off Seattle, the Californian cycle paths, and so much of Argentina.

Phil – Our best descent was almost 3 miles vertically down to Arica in the North of Chile. We freewheeled for nearly 30 miles. And anywhere with a tailwind.

3. What is your favourite piece of cycling kit, and why?

Liz – I can’t get enough of the new Anna’s Legs padded cycling leggings at the moment. We finally lured Anna Glowinski back into designing kit. She’s got this amazing knack of designing gear that works brilliantly on the bike but that you can use for normal life too.

Phil – I’d find it hard to look beyond any decent quality merino jersey for this – it’s my dream material, so clever at not letting you get too hot or cold, and perfect for longer rides because it never gets whiffy!

4. In 2016, who do you think gets a better choice of cycling kit: men or women?

Liz – Just a couple of years ago, I’d have said it wasn’t even a debate. But women’s kit is catching up so fast that you can almost feel the playing field levelling. We often hear from our suppliers that within just a couple of years they’ve shifted the balance of their ranges from 90:10 in favour of men to more like 70:30 or even 60:40.

Phil – … And hardly a week ever goes by without another supplier approaching us to stock them. It’s very flattering and it makes our job of picking the best pretty challenging – but really fun! What’s so refreshing is the number of seriously talented female-led, UK-based teams producing top quality gear.

Liz – … but to sound a note of realism, many parts of the cycling world remain pretty… how would you say?… traditional! We’re not there yet, but progress is good.

 

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The VeloVixen Co-Founders making friends with the Bolivian drugs police in 2010.

5. How far into the women’s cycling boom do you think we are?

Phil – In many ways, we’ve only skimmed the surface. Yes, there’s been a huge take-up in the last few years amongst women, but many are still put off by the perceived obstacles that – we think and hope – are now receding.

Liz – Ultimately it’s all about ‘normalisation’ – when riding a bike becomes just part of life for most people, we’ll have proper foundations in place. That takes a generation of infrastructure and attitude change across cities, but as it happens more and more people will become passionate about cycling. The Olympics help too! Another thing that will extend the boom is breaking down stigmas – both the male vs. female issues within cycling and the ‘cyclists’ vs. non-cyclists thing more broadly. We’re definitely getting there, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Now’s the time to get on board!

6. What cycling trends do you think will be big in the next 12 months?

Liz – Loads of clubs are opening up to the idea of mixed groups without the snobbery or female groups for women who feel more comfortable in that atmosphere. At last clubs are cottoning on to the idea that women can add something, which is fab.

Phil – We also keep hearing how ‘bike packing’ is the new backpacking. Speaking from experience, there’s nothing that beats the joy of spending a few days, weeks or months living with your world on your bike, so we’re excited about the trend.

Liz – We’re also sensing more and more people moving away from the mainstream firms for their kit – the quality of smaller designers is now so good, and people increasingly like to wear things that give them a real sense of identity.

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Phil and Liz waving the VeloVixen flag at the start of the 2014 Tour de France at Harewood House

7. What has been your cycling highlight of 2016 so far?

Phil – I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was our our first outside investment coming to fruition, back in the Spring. That’s let us make plans for the years to come and was a real feather in the cap of women’s cycling generally – that an established investment firm thought it’s a sector worth committing to. I also loved seeing Chris Froome running up Mont Ventoux – you just knew as you watched that this was an iconic moment in the making.

Liz – I’m torn – September’s VeloVixen Women’s Cycling Hub at the Cycle Show is shaping up to be a pretty big breakthrough for women’s cycling at a mainstream event – it’s a massive chance to really put women’s cycling on the map! That record prize pot for the Ride London girls was also a really hefty moment for women’s cycling. And it was validated by some fantastic racing to earn it.

8. And finally: what three tracks are guaranteed to get you fired up for a ride, no matter what time you went to bed?

Phil – My best moment on a bike came on Mont Ventoux in 2013 – and that was at least 50% down to one Mr Deadmau5, whom I can’t thank enough.

Liz – Oddly, you’re not mentioning how you much faster you went when you borrowed my iPod and listened to the soundtrack of Wicked for an afternoon in Patagonia in 2010.

Phil – Ah. Thought I could keep that one quiet.

Liz – But we’re both agreed on Eddie Izzard – not music, but we synced our iPods to listen to the great man on some of the biggest climbs in the Andes and laughed in unison even when the air got thin.

Reviews

Huez Champ 1 Jersey Review: Solving those race-day dilemmas

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With the UCI Tour of Cambridge Grand Fondo fast approaching I had one over-arching question still hanging over me. What the hell was I going to wear?

To be fair, this is a question I’ve asked myself more than I ever thought possible since Victoria and I launched Vamper.cc, but for this ride in particular I had a very specific list of requirements.

The forecast for the TOC was looking fine, verging on very warm, so keeping cool was my first consideration.

I needed something seriously race-fit if I was going to try and keep up a respectable average speed over what turned out to be 84.4 miles.

And – some might say most importantly – I needed the jersey (and the rest of the kit) to look great. (Hey, you never know who you’re going to bump into at a cycling event.)

Having met the very affable Lorenzo Curci (Co-Founder of cyclewear brand Huez) a few weeks earlier at the SPIN16 event in London, my thoughts turned to the Huez Champ 1 Jersey that Lorenzo had asked me to put through its paces. This seemed like the perfect opportunity.

The Huez Champ 1 is a super-lightweight race jersey that incorporates impressive technicality and a full list of features that has seen it become my go-to piece of kit when it comes to event riding.

It features a four-way stretch fabric that provides compression yet remains comfortable. Its flat-seam panels have been ultrasonically welded together to provide comfort and unrestricted movement in the saddle.

It boasts five rear pockets for all race-day essentials and has silicone pellets at the cuff and waistband to keep everything in place. The waterproof valuables pocket is abundantly large and will house even the largest of smartphones.

The Huez Champ 1 also features Coldblack technology, once the sole preserve of the pro-peloton, to keep everything cool. What with this and the vented side panels I can attest to its ability to regulate body temperate, even in 24-degree heat. The Huez Champ1 also has you covered when it comes to UV protection.

It is probably no surprise that since I took ownership of my latest stealth black bike the jersey has barely been off my shoulders.

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The Huez Champ 1 is a race-fit jersey: its polyester and elastane mix provides a good close fit for those who like an aero silhouette. I’m 183cm and weigh around 75kg with a 38-40 inch chest, putting me squarely in Medium on the Huez size chart. The fit of the Champ 1 Jersey is perfect for me.

I was in the saddle for a little over four hours on the day of the TOC Gran Fondo (thanks in no small part to an impressive bout of cramp at 65 miles). My cramping legs may have been in agony but my torso was comfortable throughout. With the temperature creeping up to the high 20s as the day went on, the breathability of the Champ 1 Jersey came into its own.

The silicone grips on the arms and waistband are great with no creeping up during riding.

The stealthy black-and-grey colourway of the Huez Champ 1 speaks to my sensibilities, too – it is probably no surprise that since I took ownership of my latest stealth black bike the jersey has barely been off my shoulders.

The Huez Champ 1 is a super-lightweight race jersey that incorporates impressive technicality and a full list of features that has seen it become my go-to piece of kit when it comes to event riding.

The Huez Champ 1 jersey retails at £110, placing it in the performance/technical category. Convincing a lot of cyclists to part with north of £100 for a jersey can be a difficult proposition but I will happily hold my hand up and champion the merits of the Champ 1.

During these warmer summer months (or weeks…) there are few better jerseys to keep you cool, comfortable and aero. It is expertly crafted, well cut and keeps you looking sharp.

The Champ 1 jersey and I have a lot of miles to do together this summer. I think we will carry on our love affair at the Prudential 100.

The Huez Champ 1 Jersey is available from Huez.co.uk and retails at £110.

FeaturedNews

Qhubeka and Team Dimension Data join forces with Zwift in charity initiative

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Zwift users donating to Qhubeka will unlock limited-edition in-game equipment & fund efforts to send 5,000 Buffalo Bikes to villages in need.

Zwift’s association with Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and Qhubeka has developed further in 2016, starting with an innovative fundraising campaign inside Zwift’s 3D cycling environment.

Starting Tuesday 19th July, Zwift users can unlock Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka training kit and special edition bikes for their in-game avatars by donating to Qhubeka and supporting the team’s mission of mobilizing the rural communities of South Africa through the bicycle.”

“Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and our partners are united in promoting Qhubeka’s mission. In this respect, Zwift provides a perfect focal point for us. Unlocking a bike in Zwift to donate a bike for someone in Africa is a super cool idea!” says Doug Ryder, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s Team Principal.

“On a year round basis we will use the Zwift platform to engage with cyclists around the world, to educate about Qhubeka’s work and to inspire charitable fundraising. Our riders like Zwift, it’s great fun and a good training tool, but crucially it’s an accessible way to help us build the biggest fan base in cycling.”

The Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka training kit and Qhubeka branded Cervelo S5 bikes will cost US$25 and US$183, respectively, to activate. The $183 for the Cervelo bike represents the cost required to assemble and deliver a Qhubeka Buffalo Bike to communities in need.

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“Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and Qhubeka bring a fantastic feel good factor to Zwift. Their mission will inspire our users, so utilising the Zwift platform to support Qhubeka is a perfect fit for all parties. And it’s an authentic story, when you have guys like Edvald Boassen Hagen regularly riding our platform,” says Eric Min, Zwift CEO and co-founder.

“Qhubeka, alongside their parent organization, World Bicycle Relief, will be our charity partners from 2016. Their work is in tune with our user base and it will be the cornerstone of the social responsibility work Zwift wants to advocate.”

“We’re thrilled to have Zwift on board the Qhubeka project. Their technology platform provides the perfect intersection for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, their partners and fans. Zwift will amplify this connectivity and can only be good news for inspiring people to become part of Qhubeka’s mission,” said Anthony Fitzhenry, Qhubeka Founder.

Team Dimension for Qhubeka riders were amongst the first World Tour riders to adopt Zwift, with Edvald Boasson Hagen being their most high profile ‘Zwifter.’

“It’s great fun and a super training tool. I’ve clocked up over 2,000kms on Zwift which equates to 2 days and 10 hours on the trainer. I love the community angle, the time flies by, it keeps me coming back and I get a great workout. Right now I’ve reached Level 15 in Zwift which I’m quite happy about!”

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s partnership with Zwift was announced on a live Zwift group ride led by Doug Ryder during the second rest day of the Tour de France.

To give to Qhubeka and unlock virtual goods to use in Zwift, donors should go to https://www.givengain.com/cc/zwift5000/

Cycling AccessoriesFeatured

BONX aiming for global expansion with cycling communications crowd-funding campaign

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BONX_logo_hHaving already delivered huge success in their native Japan, the team at BONX is aiming to deliver innovative communications options to cyclists and sports enthusiasts across the rest of the world.

Originally launched late last year, the outdoor group-talk technology brand ran a crowd-funding campaign in Japan, surpassing their initial funding target and going on to become the most well-funded campaign ever in Japan.

BONX is now ready the rest of the world, beginning with their Indiegogo campaign. Having already shipped product to early backers in Japan, Bonx expects to be shipping to American backers in Q4 2016.

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BONX Bluetooth Earpiece

Bonx Grip, a Bluetooth connected earpiece driven by a custom smart phone app, comes in four colors and sells for a suggested retail price of US$139. Consumers can now pre-order Bonx via the company’s Indiegogo campaign.

Takahiro Miyasaka, CEO of BONX became frustrated with the current status of communication while snowboarding with his friends, “I thought, wouldn’t it be nice if we could have real—time communication for outdoor activities.”

A Bluetooth earpiece, BONX Grip connects to an original smartphone app to facilitate unique group conversation, which only transmits voice when a user speaks and is optimized for outdoor environment with unstable cellular reception.

Dual microphones with multilayer wind and noise reduction technology ensure crystal-clear speech, and there is no distance limit, thanks to data transmission over standard cellular networks. BONX Grip is water and shock-resistant.

It’s designed to stay put during rigorous outdoor activities, and maintains maximum comfort with a choice of three different sized earbuds.

The BONX Grip comes in 4 colorways – black, white, pink, and matcha green.

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