Victoria Bowskill

Victoria Bowskill

Cycling AccessoriesNews

Victory Chimp launches Reflective City Socks with cycling technology company See.Sense


Victory Chimp has launched Reflective City Socks in collaboration with cycling technology company See.Sense.

Victory Chimp Reflective City Sock

Retaining the much-loved fit and performance features of Victory Chimp’s core sock range (which we reviewed last year), the brand has added an innovative, highly reflective yarn, woven seamlessly into the city stripes design. 

The subtle design is paired with super soft, breathable fabric for all-day comfort on the bike, or wearing about the office before the ride home.

Victory Chimp Reflective City Socks


The socks are available in navy or charcoal grey and are designed to help keep you safe and visible on commutes, training spins or longer rides without looking garish or out of place with your work trews.

Victory Chimp Reflective City Sock

Featuring a 6″ cuff, the Reflective City Socks are designed in Northern Ireland and manufactured in Italy. Made from Meryl Skinlife® high performance yarn
 – a super soft, high-wicking fabric 
- the socks are antibacterial & odour eliminating with a breathable mesh upper. They have a padded footbed for comfort, a reinforced heel and toe for durability 
and a strong upper cuff to make sure they stay in position. Nobody wants a sock which slides down their ankle, wrinkling at the foot… The elasticated arch adds support 
and the flat seam toe ensures comfort.

The socks cost £13 from Victory Chimp.

Victory Chimp creates cycling-inspired art and apparel, dreamed up on the roadside and worked out in the studio. It’s also the alter-ego of Ryan O’Reilly, a Northern Irish bike-riding designer and illustrator.

Cycle ClothingNews

What does an Olympic champion cyclist wear? Fabian Cancellara shares his favourite GORE Bike Wear kit

GORE BIKE WEAR_Fabian Cancellara_3

“For time trials, everything has to be right: the wind, the weather, the timing, your state of mind on the day and the right material for the different requirements on the route. When a lot is right, a lot has already been won.”

GORE Bikewear Fabian Cancellara

Over his 16 year career, the Swiss former professional cyclist, multiple world champion and two-time Olympic champion Fabian Cancellara has been regarded as the undisputed specialist in individual time trials and difficult one-day races, in particular the prestigious Spring Classics.

“I am an absolute perfectionist. As well as optimum preparation, the material also always plays a large part in difficult races. Even in my professional career, I was always the first person wanting to test new prototypes in order to develop products further and to get the most out of them.”

As a global brand ambassador for GORE Bike Wear, Fabian will bring his experience to the product development of highly functional bike wear. As with time trials, the details in product development are the key to functionality, innovation and perfect features.

GORE Bikewear Fabian Cancellara

Fabian has shared his favourite items from the current GORE Bike Wear collection, starting with The ONE Gore-Tex Active Bike jacket (pictured below). Weighing just 107 grams (in size L), the wind and waterproof road cycling jacket is extremely lightweight and more breathable than ever. The revolutionary Shakedry product technology repels water and keeps you comfortably dry under maximum strain and in every weather. We’ll be bringing you an in depth review of the Shakedry bike jackets soon.

GORE Bike Wear Fabian Cancellara

Fabian has been enthusiastic about the jacket: “The fit is perfect. The ergonomically designed stand-up collar adapts to every cycling position and is so light that you can hardly feel it. It fits in every jersey pocket.”

Fabian has a clear idea of what he needs when he’s choosing an outfit. In temperatures of 20°C and above, he cycles in the Oxygen 2.0 Bibtights short which is made with performance-oriented cyclists in mind. It has a supporting structure, flat hems which will not dig in, and a seat insert to ensure comfort and wind protection on long rides. He also wears a short sleeve jersey with high breathability. His current favourite garment is the Power Windstopper SO jersey.

GORE Bike Wear Fabian Cancellara

“The details are well thought out. The 3-compartment back pocket is slightly tapered on the side for easy access. It works perfectly. You also have no friction thanks to the minimised seams.”

GORE Bike Wear products drawing on Fabian’s expertise and experience in multiple cycling disciplines will be coming soon, so watch this space… You can see more of his favourite products here.

We’ll also be reviewing the GORE Bike Wear Shakedry jackets very soon, so keep your eyes on and our Instagram feed for all the details.

You can read Matt’s review of the GORE Power Windstopper Soft Shell Short Sleeve Jersey here.

Gore Bike Wear Shakedry jacket
Victoria will be reviewing the GORE Bike Wear Women’s Shakedry bike jacket
Cycle ClothingCycling AccessoriesWomen's Cycling

I R I S and Voxwomen launch limited edition cycling accessories collection

BeFunky Collage

Cycling fans will now be able to indulge in some #sockdoping with exclusive limited edition Voxwomen socks designed by I R I S, the new cycling clothing brand which owned by ex-pro rider Iris Slappendel.

IRIS Voxwomen socks

If #sockdoping isn’t enough, you can up your cap game too with the Voxwomen x I R I S cycling cap. We love how the Voxwomen colours have been set off with a flash of vibrant mint green.

IRIS Voxwomen cap

The new mint green, grey, red and white socks have been manufactured in Italy and have been created with a high quality yarn blend with a breathable open-mesh foot bed. The socks have a cuff of 15cm in length for optimum #sockdoping.

The limited edition socks cost €16.00. A cap and sock bundle offer is also available, with the two items available for a combined price of €30.00. You can purchase the limited edition accessories here.

Slappendel is a highly respected Dutch ex-pro who has a number of high profile wins to her name including the Dutch National Championship Road title in 2014 along with five UCI ranked races.

IRIS Voxwomen

Slappendel said: “I decided to work with Voxwomen to help them to generate more interest about their brand and women’s cycling. You will recognise the logo and Voxwomen colors in the products that I design as part of this collaboration, but I also added a bright mint green, which has a beautiful contrast with the grey. The I R I S brand style has a graphic and colourful base – which is certainly highlighted in all of the Voxwomen designs.”

IRIS Voxwomen

Voxwomen has been at the forefront in providing women’s cycling coverage on an international stage. It was founded two years ago by a group of women’s cycling enthusiasts who that decided to give the sport the coverage that it deserves. Since then Voxwomen has gone from strength to strength and now produces a monthly TV show that is shown on eight channels across the globe. Voxwomen brings women’s cycling fans inside the peloton and gives behind the scenes footage like no other media outlet.

Anthony McCrossan, owner and women’s cycling commentator, added: “Working with Iris is a honour, she’s got so much knowledge about women’s cycling – but also has experience in what makes great cycling clothing after racing for so many years. I’m sure that cycling fans will enjoy getting out on their bikes and feeling comfortable and stylish in the new Voxwomen I R I S clothing collaboration.”




Zwift Academy opens its doors to male riders with a Team Dimension Data professional contract up for grabs


Zwift, the global online training platform, has announced an expansion of Zwift Academy into men’s cycling with a Team Dimension Data professional contract offered to the overall winner.

Enrolment for the Team Dimension Data Zwift Academy is now officially open here.

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

Team Dimension Data Zwift Academy

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

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

Team Dimension Data Zwift Academy

Qhubeka uses their specially designed bikes to help empower these rural communities and provide that crucial mobilization opportunity. For every ten successful male graduates of Zwift Academy’s first phase, Zwift will donate a Qhubeka Bike to a community in need. Zwift has committed to funding 500 Qhubeka Bikes with hopes to provide many more.

Zwift has proven itself to not only be a rigorous data and training platform, but also a place where cyclists around the world can come together, engage, and become better riders

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

Steve Cummings, Team Dimension Data rider and Level 18 Zwifter is already a fan. “The team are super supportive about joining forces with Zwift. Many of our staff and riders are keen Zwifters, so it’s a great fit. Zwift isn’t only a credible training platform, but a cool way to engage with our fans and support the Qhubeka mission”

Previously, the Zwift Academy was a women-only training and talent identification program. Following the successful award of a pro UCI World Tour cycling contract on the Canyon//SRAM Racing Team to newcomer Leah Thorvilson in 2016, plans began in earnest to expand the programme to include men, with a similar contract award to a professional men’s cycling team.

Cycling TipsFeaturedSportives

How to enjoy Prudential RideLondon: tips and advice from


The Prudential RideLondon event is almost upon us. If this will be your first time, you’re probably feeling a little bit apprehensive about a whole host of things. I’m going to share some of the worries I had before I took part for the first time, and hopefully provide some reassurance…


My RideLondon cycling buddy is starting in a different zone at a different time from me. What if we can’t find each other and I have to ride 100 miles alone?

What if I get a puncture and, even though I know how to deal with it, in reality the levers of my wheel skewers are stiff and I might not be able to fix it? Plus, I’ll just be really lonely, riding 100 miles without someone to talk to…

Don’t panic. Yes, if you’ve signed up with a friend or your partner, there is a very good chance that you will have been allocated different start times in different zones. But all is not lost: there are plenty of places to meet up only a short distance in to the ride. Our first year, we identified St Paul’s Church in Shadwell as being an easy landmark, and as Matt was the first to start, he pulled into the next side street to wait for me. No problem at all (unless the person you’re meeting is determined to get a good finishing time and doesn’t want to wait around. In which case… I don’t have any advice, I’m afraid. Except, tell them to chill out.)

Scope the area out on the Saturday if you can, and pick a spot where you think you’ll be able to find each other easily.

Prudential RideLondon 2016
Taking part in the Prudential RideLondon event is exciting, but a little nerve wracking – particularly if you are taking part for the first time.


I’m really not sure how to fuel myself over that distance. What should I eat on the Prudential 100 to keep my energy levels up for that amount of exertion? What can I easily carry in my pockets?

I’m no sports nutritionist, but I’ve learned a few things about fuelling long rides. The first is this: do not go mad with the gels and powders.

Last year and the year before, the Prudential RideLondon event was hot. The first time we took part, we refilled our water bottles at every hub and, naively, merrily added the free powders at the drinks stations each time. We had a few gels over the course of the day, too. Terrible idea – we woke up the next morning with upset stomachs, which lasted for the next two days. Go easy on that stuff and ration it. Start the ride with orange squash in your water bottles and save the powders for the later in the day.

Secondly: energy bars and flapjacks are all very well, but we really envied the guy we saw at Hampton Court whose friend had met him with a box of pasta. If you can tuck a tasty wrap into your jersey pocket, it will make a welcome change from a Clif Bar.

Incidentally, we recently sampled natural energy bars from Veloforte and Lucho Dillitos which are both tasty alternatives to more synthetic sports nutrition bars.


Prudential RideLondon 2016


Veloforte bars are based on an old Italian recipe and contain fruits, almonds and spices to provide the carbohydrates, proteins and fibre you need to fuel your body on a ride. We’re rather keen on the Ciocco flavour. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, GM-free and, above all, it’s easy to digest.


Prudential RideLondon 2016


Lucho Dillitos bocadillo are another tasty natural alternative. From Colombia, bocadillos are something of a gel/energy bar hybrid. They are solid blocks of guava paste which looks really dry, but melt in your mouth (M&M style). They only involve two ingredients, and they’re wrapped in a natural, dried leaf.

Finally, if you’re wondering whether you’ll be able to face breakfast at 5am – how about a bowl of porridge or Bircher muesli before bed, and a smoothie when you wake up? (If you’re staying in a hotel, try a Moma porridge pot which just requires you to add boiling water.) You might find it easier than forcing down solids hours earlier than usual. But maybe take a banana to eat in your zone before you set off – you’ll be waiting around for a while.


I’m worried about climbing hills on the Prudential 100. I’m particularly worried about climbing hills in a group in case I’m slower than everyone else.

And that I might have to get off and push, and then I’ll be ashamed of myself…

There are a few climbs in RideLondon, sure. And hopefully you will have done at least a bit of hill training beforehand, otherwise, it’s going to be a shock to the system. But try not to worry.

Like a fool, I blithely trusted Matt when he told me that Box Hill was the worst thing I had to worry about on RideLondon. I’d ridden Box Hill several times – no problem at all, I thought! If that’s the biggest hill I have to deal with, I’ll be fine! He failed to mention that Newlands Corner and Leith Hill are both more challenging climbs.

Newlands Corner sort of comes out of nowhere, and it’s a steep pull. But there’s a hub at the top where you can regroup and catch your breath, followed by a marvellous downhill.


Prudential RideLondon 2016
Remember that uphill slogs are rewarded by joyous downhills. Keep going – it doesn’t matter how slow you go, just keep those wheels turning!


I can’t speak with any authority on Leith Hill – both years, right before we hit it the ride was diverted after someone very sadly suffered a heart attack and an air ambulance was summoned. However, from the amount of climbing I’ve done since, there are a few things I’ve learned.


crown_30Firstly, don’t pay any attention to the riders who are going faster than you. It doesn’t matter what speed they’re doing, and if they have the energy to judge you on the climb, they’re clearly not trying hard enough. Keep your eyes down (don’t focus on what lies ahead) and pace yourself.

crown_30Secondly, keep calm and steady. Don’t get flustered. What’s important is getting up there – you don’t have to get up there fast.

crown_30Don’t be shy about going into that granny gear if you need to. Don’t leave it too long to drop down a gear, either – if you’re feeling good on a climb you can always go up a couple, but if you’ve burned yourself out too early on, it’s much harder to recover.

crown_30Finally, if you really are struggling, keep to the left so that other riders can easily pass you. On one of the climbs last year there were hoards of slower cyclists strewn across the road, which made it really difficult for anyone else to get past. And if you veer across the road, you might cause an accident.

And a note for the final few miles: Wimbledon Hill isn’t particularly large, but 90 miles in to a ride and when you’re homeward bound, it can take you by surprise. Keep something in reserve so you have the energy to tackle it!


I’m not very experienced when it comes to riding in groups…

For the most part, you actually won’t be riding in very close proximity to other riders on RideLondon. There are certain pinch points, though, where you do need to take care and bear a few things in mind.


Prudential RideLondon 2016
You won’t be consistently riding in a group, but there are pinch points where you need to be aware of other riders. Ride consistently, don’t brake suddenly, and maintain a steady course.


You’ll be bunched up when you set off from the starting pen, so take care at the starting line. Don’t ride like an idiot. Be consistent, and don’t slam your brakes on without warning. Keep a steady course and don’t veer across the path of other riders. This is really important on the hills, too.

On the ride, be sure to signal your intent and remember that a helpful call of “On your right” when overtaking other riders lets them know that you’re there and not to pull out on you. You will hear it a lot, and if your ride is going well, you might find yourself using it a lot!

It’s worth learning a couple of basic hand signals, particularly to warn riders that the group is slowing: make a patting gesture with your right hand, as if you are patting a dog’s head. (You can find more helpful guidelines for riding in a group at British Cycling if you are still worried.)


How much am I going to hurt after RideLondon? I don’t think my saddle is going to be very comfortable…

If you’re in this boat, you have my sympathies.

This time last year I had been desperately trying to find a saddle which would be comfortable, and failing miserably. I’d been crippled by the Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow – some people rave about it, but for me, it was a torture device that left me with serious saddle pain and small lesions in my soft tissue. Not really knowing what else to try, I’d gone for a Fabric Scoop in the hope that a completely different shape would help. No. It did not. That, too, left me incredibly sore.

It was only after the Prudential 100 that I went to Cycle Fit for a saddle mapping session and learned about my sit bones and what makes them tick. I’d imagine you’re too late to get a saddle mapping session at this late stage, but going to a good bike shop where they can measure your sit bones and get you on the correct width of saddle is still an option.


Prudential RideLondon 2016
A saddle mapping session at Cycle Fit helped me to find a saddle which would put the pressure on my sit bones, not on delicate soft tissue.


After almost a year on the Bontrager Ajna, I’ve just switched to the Specialized Power Expert which was comfortable on my longest training ride of 80 miles.

You’re never going to be without any pain after cycling 100 miles. I honestly don’t think it’s possible to spend that much time sitting on any saddle without experiencing a little discomfort. But you shouldn’t be crippled by saddle pain 50 miles in. If you think you will be, you still have time to do something about it.

I read a lot about chamois cream. This time last year I would have told you it’s not tremendously helpful, but over the past year I’ve been converted by Rapha and Assos, both of which make excellent chamois creams that really help ease your day in the saddle.

Finally, make sure you’re wearing a good pair of shorts. Matt and I are big fans of Rivelo bib shorts which have an excellent chamois pad. We’re also very impressed by the RedWhite Bib Shorts, which are available from Always Riding. They’re listed under men’s, but don’t let that deter you – they’re very good. Morvelo make good chamois pads, too.

Are you worried about anything else? By all means, Tweet us with the hashtag #RideLondonWorries and we’ll try to calm your nerves. But do try not to worry – it’s a fantastic event with loads of support, and your nerves will settle in no time. Just relax and soak up the atmosphere – it will be a day to remember!


Prudential RideLondon 2016


132,000 cyclists join Rapha Rising Strava challenge to climb 4,600m in 3 weeks


Thousands of cyclists across the world have taken up Rapha’s challenge to Ride Up and climb 4,600m through July, with more than 132,000 participants signing up for Rapha Rising on Strava with 10 days left to run.

Rapha Rising Strava ChallengeTogether they have climbed 429,133km, further than the distance from the Earth to the Moon (384,400km).

“We’re inspired to see so many riders setting themselves the challenge to ride the elevation of one of the toughest stages in cycle racing,” said James Fairbank, Head of Brand at Rapha. “It’s fantastic to see so many people pushing themselves out on the roads while one of the greatest cycle races in the world is taking place.”

Participants of the Etape du Tour, which takes place this weekend, will get the chance to cross off 3,529m of climbing in a single day. Rapha is official clothing partner of the Etape, which takes place on Sunday 16th July and runs over 181km between Briançon and the Col d’Izoard, the route of stage 18 of the 2017 Tour de France.

Rapha Rising Strava Challenge

Rapha launched its Strava challenge as part of the Rapha Rising campaign, a celebration of cycling’s love affair with the mountains which runs between 1st and 23rd July.

For more information visit

Join the Strava group here.

Rapha Rising Strava Challenge

Cycle ClothingReviewsWomen's Cycling

Blooming lovely: Figata Ciclismo Women’s Cycling Kit Review


It’s several months since I received my Figata Ciclismo women’s cycling kit, but a cold winter bit so early that I had no chance to wear it until recently. Call me a wuss, but from November to April it’s full length thermal bib tights all the way…

Now that we finally have some good weather, it’s been great to get out and put this Danish kit through its paces.

Figata Ciclismo is a Danish brand founded by ex-pro cyclist Anders Berendt, who we interviewed last year. The kit is designed in Denmark but manufactured in Italy.

Figata Ciclismo Women's Cycling Kit


Figata Ciclismo Women’s Bib Shorts

First off, the chamois pad is excellent. I haven’t been riding a huge amount recently and so my sit bones have been feeling it when I have been out. After a lengthy mid-week ride in Rapha which left my sit bones a bit sore, I was apprehensive about another lengthy Saturday ride – but I was remarkably comfortable which really says something about the quality of the chamois.

For bib shorts retailing at around the £80 mark, that’s a real plus. In terms of comfort they’re up there with Rivelo, while in terms of styling they really stand out from the crowd with a charcoal floral motif and bright pink Figata Ciclismo branding to match the pink flowers on the jersey.

I generally wear size 12/Medium, and the medium in Figata Ciclismo fits just fine. The bib shorts are quite long in the leg – no problem for me, as I’m taller than average and I’m long from hip to knee, but for shorter women they might be a bit too long. They’re constructed from a really high density, compressive Lycra which is supportive and comfortable. I have zero complaints about these bib shorts – they really are excellent.

Figata Ciclismo Women’s Jersey

Again, I love the look of this jersey. The Figata Ciclismo branding is cool – I love the typeface – and the floral pattern is bold without being overly girly or twee. I am also wearing size medium, which is roomy enough for my size 12/14 top.

The sleeves are a little on the baggy side. I would prefer a sleeker, slightly shorter sleeve. Otherwise, it’s a nicely fitting jersey with the obligatory three pockets. It’s a much nicer fit than the product photograph suggests.

Figata Ciclismo Women's Cycling Kit

Figata Ciclismo Women’s Cycling Kit – Overall verdict

Anyone who follows on Instagram will know I love a good pink kit and a floral design, so this is immediately up my street.

I really do love this kit. If I could change one thing, it would be the sleeves which could be sleeker, but that’s a pretty minor gripe. The kit is currently on offer from Figata Ciclismo for just £99.81 (the bib shorts are reduced to £58.71 and the jersey is on offer for £41.10, down from £82.19 and £46.97 respectively). It’s a great looking women’s kit with brilliant bib shorts for a good price. Two thumbs up!

Figata Ciclismo Women's Cycling Kit



Cycling AccessoriesReviews

Cycle commuter bags: Vamper reviews the new Knomo Harpsden and Cromwell backpacks


Knomo Cromwell 15″ Roll Top Backpack, £89 (reviewed by Matt)

We both love the look of the Knomo Cromwell Roll Top Backpack – the styling is great. It’s certainly roomy – if anything, rather too big for a commuter bag. We both felt a bit like snails wearing it. If you have to carry a lot of gear then it’s a great choice, but for a change of clothes and your day-to-day items, it’s a whole lotta bag. However, we’ve been fighting over it for weekends away – it holds everything you need for a weekend break.

Knomo Cromwell

What did I carry?

I carried a 13″ Macbook Pro, a pair of brogues (size 9, since you’re asking), jeans, pants, teeshirt and water bottle.


The straps are very wide. I’m no weed (at a 40″ chest, last time I looked) but these straps are too wide for me. However, they are nicely padded and there is a chest strap and hip belt to keep everything in place. The whole rucksack is gigantic and I found that the roll top blocked my hearing: when Victoria rides behind I like to be able to hear what she’s saying and to know how close she is, but I couldn’t hear anything wearing this. (For some that might be a selling point, I can appreciate).


The Knomo Cromwell is a great backpack for weekends away – I can comfortably fit a weekend’s clothes plus Macbook, charger and washbag inside. Victoria and I fight over it for weekend breaks. But as a commuter bag, it’s quite cumbersome – do people carry that much to and from work each day? It’s a good looking bag though, and keeps belongings dry in the rain which is a big plus. I also like the slots for cards and pens and so on – it’s a good bag for keeping things organised.

Knomo Cromwell – technical details:

Dimensions: H62 x W33 x D15.5cm
Laptop Pocket: H27 x W29cm
Fits (up to) 15″ Laptop
Weight: 1 kg
Capacity: 27.5L

Knomo Cromwell – features:

  • High-Frequency welded Nylon, backed with ultra water-resistant polyurethane. I used the Cromwell in the rain and my belongings stayed dry, which is always good. Nobody wants a waterlogged Macbook.
  • Main compartment: padded section for laptops; additional pockets for cards, pens and other small items; main compartment to carry clothes, shoes, and more.
  • Padded laptop section: fits up to 15-inch laptop.
  • Water-resistant: backed with ultra water-resistant polyurethane for protection from the elements;
  • Roll-Top closure: with secure plastic clips; for near air-tight security and protection inside;
  • Cushioned mesh back;
  • KNOMO ID: you can register your bag and if it is lost, the finder can return it to you through the Knomo portal which is a nice idea.

Knomo Cromwell Roll Top Backpack

Knomo Harpsden 14″ Laptop Bag, £89 (reviewed by Victoria)

I had been planning to test the Cromwell, but when the bags arrived I realised it was really too big for my frame so I opted for the Harpsden instead. The Knomo Harpsden is still a generous size, with more than enough room for what I carry to work: a change of clothes, a Macbook Air, a makeup bag and slip on shoes.

Knomo Thames Harpsden

It’s a smart bag with good functionality: it’s definitely waterproof and it can carry a lot of stuff. Its city styling means that it can double as a work bag once your commute has ended – it doesn’t look out of place with a working wardrobe. The Harpsden also features a chest strap but for me that’s a complete no – chest straps and boobs just don’t mix!

It’s a shame the style of this bag means it crumples when you’re wearing it (as you can see in the photograph above.) A bag this smart really needs to look sharp and upright. In terms of styling it isn’t as cool as the Cromwell roll-top, but it is slightly more compact.

Knomo Harpsden Backpack

Knomo Harpsden – technical details:

• Dimensions: H48 x W33 x D14.5cm
• Laptop Pocket: H25 x W2cm
• Fits (up to) 14″ Laptop
• Weight: 0.9kg
• Capacity: 20.3L

Knomo Harpsden – features:

  • High-Frequency welded Nylon, backed with ultra water-resistant polyurethane. Like Matt, I used the bag in the rain and my belongings stayed dry.
  • Main compartment: padded section for laptops up to 14″ – more than enough for my small Macbook Air, plus pockets for cards, pens and small items; main compartment to carry clothes, shoes, chargers and so on.
  • Cushioned mesh back;

Knomo Thames Cromwell & Harpsden Backpacks: our overall verdict

In terms of styling, the Thames range is great for city types who want a smart urban look. For comfort, we both prefer the functionality of our Lowe Alpine rucksacks which stand away from the back, allowing air flow on our 13-mile commute. However, if you are more of an urban cyclist and want a bag which takes you smartly from your morning commute to meetings, then this is a highly functional and stylish range.

View the full Knomo Thames collection here.

SportivesWomen's Cycling

Hundreds of women sign up for the second Yorkshire Lass charity cycling sportive


With over 380 female cyclists already signed up for Yorkshire Lass Cycling Club’s second annual sportive on Sunday 20th August, the club is urging any other women who want to take part to sign up before the closing date of the 1st August.

The sportive, which is once again being sponsored by All Terrain Cycles, follows the success of last year’s inaugural ladies-only event which saw 300 cyclists taking part and succeeded in raising over £14,500 for women’s cancer charities. The sportive will follow the same format as 2016, starting from Carlton Lodge Activity centre in Thirsk and offering three routes to suit different abilities.

The event is again being held in aid of Women v Cancer which comprises Breast Cancer Care, Jo’s Cervical Cancer and Ovarian Cancer Action, and will also raise funds for Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Carlton Lodge Activity Centre Bursary Fund which hosts the event. It is being organised through British Cycling and offers three levels of difficulty with a 30 mile ‘Cuppa tea an a piece a cake’ ride; a 60 mile ‘Reet Gud Ride’; and a 103 mile ‘By Eck Tha War Ard Ride’ route – all riders will be again be rewarded for their efforts with a medal, a piece of cake and that all-important cup of Yorkshire tea!

Some of the cyclists from the 2016 Yorkshire Lass Cycling Club sportive celebrating at the finishing line

The Wetherby-based cycling club was launched in March 2015 by Kate Horsfall of Wetherby and Judith Worrall of Thirsk with support from All Terrain Cycles, which has superstores in Wetherby and Saltaire. It is one of the few women’s cycling clubs in the region and has proved hugely popular over the last two years, growing to more than 100 members. All Terrain will again be helping out with equipment and mobile mechanical support as well as supplying energy gels to help power the ladies up the hills.

There are three routes on offer: a 30 mile ‘Cuppa tea an a piece a cake’ ride; a 60 mile ‘Reet Gud Ride’; and a 103 mile ‘By Eck Tha War Ard Ride’ route

“Last year’s event surpassed our expectations with a fantastic turnout of female cyclists in Yorkshire as well as many travelling from all over the country, plus a staggering amount raised for charities which are close to our heart,” explains Kate and Jude . “Our fun and friendly members will once again be making the day special with lots of help and encouragement for those taking part as well as providing plenty of refreshments along the routes plus that well-earned cake after the finish line.”

Jude adds: “We really appreciate the continued support of all our sponsors including All Terrain Cycles who supplies our popular club kit and sponsorship as well as welcoming us as we set out on our Sunday morning rides from their Wetherby store. We’re looking forward to another successful event and hope that the sun shines on us again this year and that we raise lots of funds for these fantastic charities.”

The founders of the Yorkshire Lass Cycling Club Kate Horsfall (left) of Wetherby and Judith Worrall of Thirsk at last year’s sportive

Tony Booth, managing director of All Terrain Cycles, says: “As one of the first women’s only cycling clubs, YLCC has done an amazing job of encouraging more women to take up the sport and has established a loyal following. We wish them every success with this year’s event.”

The lunch stop will be at the famous Mousey Thompson shop and café for the participants doing the 60 mile and 100 mile routes. The ride will be well signposted with marshalls at points along the route, mechanical assistance will be provided by All Terrain Cycles and there will be well stocked feed stations.

The event is being supported by a number of local businesses including Carlton Lodge, where Judith works. David Sharpe, chief executive of the activity centre agreed to stage the sportive which has also attracted sponsors including Yorkshire Tea, Office Solutions, Paynes Dairies, Masham Sausages and Chia Bars which are donating cakes, tea, sausages, energy bars, milk and office supplies.

Yorkshire Lass Cycling Club meets most Sundays at 10am at All Terrain Cycles on Audby Lane, Wetherby. Anyone interested in joining the club should visit To enter the charity sportive, visit British Cycling.

For any questions about the sportive or accommodation for the sportive, please contact


Blue Marine Foundation partners with Rapha Travel for 2017 London to Monaco cycling event


In September, Blue Marine Foundation will be cycling from London to Monaco to raise money to help save the oceans.

60 cyclists will depart from Somerset House with a celebrity send-off and will be welcomed ten days later by Prince Albert II of Monaco at his palace. The route will take in 20,000m of elevation over 1400km, through three countries. The average daily distance is 150km.

London to Monaco bike ride

Blue Marine Foundation has partnered with Rapha Travel to deliver the event. Last year’s event drove donations of £280,000 for marine conservation.

Rapha Travel have created a challenging new route (full details of which can be found here.) The event costs £3,250 per person based on double occupancy.

The event is now seeking riders and sponsors for the 2017 event, taking place from the 17th to 26th September.

The full 10-day itinerary is open to a maximum of 30 riders, with the opportunity for a further 30 to join the 6-day journey from Lyon to Monaco.

Both the opening and final day rides are also available for up to 100 additional riders.

The event offers excellent networking opportunities across luxury industry sectors, including the superyacht industry. For sponsors the event provides exposure in the heart of Monaco over Monaco Yacht Show, and impressive PR.

FeaturedWomen's Cycling

pedElle 2017: 43 cyclists ride from Porto to Lisbon for children’s charity Coram


On the road, day 1: pedElle 2017 sets off from Porto

Day 1 of the Legal & General Real Assets pedElle began with beautiful blue skies over Porto. Forty-three women from the property industry gathered outside the hotel for the fifth edition of pedElle and rolled out through the narrow cobbled streets into the sunshine. The riders headed down to the river, out of the city and up into the Douro valley where the scenery was lush and verdant, with a wide river below, and vineyards and terraces on either side of the valley. The two rows of plum-coloured jerseys moved as one peloton through the countryside, like they’d been riding together for months rather than hours.

pedElle 2017

After a stop for coffee and a great selection of Portuguese cakes in a shady cafe garden, the next stage began with a long, winding and sweeping descent; the first of the ride and possibly the first ever for some riders, down through the valley and over a dam. Almost immediately, the main climb of the day was upon them. The surroundings and the views provided the perfect backdrop for the climb, with huge wide open vistas, occasionally interspersed with cobbled old towns – a very uncomfortable riding experience for any length of time.

Lunch, at Tendais, was in a cafe with views of more mountainous peaks, topped by wind farms. It was a chance to reflect on the morning’s cycling, to get treatment from the sports injury therapists if needed and, most importantly, to refuel.

pedElle 2017

The third stage was the longest and toughest of the day at 66km and 1,100m of climbing. The group climbed for another 10km and at the top, enjoyed a brief stop to take in the view before donning layers to tackle the long, winding descent.

The stage continued to roll through a variety of terrains and landscapes, from the mountainous to the rural, from small villages to pine forests, passing bemused locals as they went. Towards the end of the day, everyone regrouped for the final few kilometres into Viseu and arrived into the hotel tired but elated. It was one of the most challenging days of any Club Peloton ride to date, but everyone was in good spirits, buoyed by their achievements. After a warm down stretch, they were treated to drinks and a live pianist in the hotel’s beautiful lobby, before dinner and a well-earned rest in readiness for day 2.

On the road, day 2: pedElle pedals its way through Portugal

Day 2 of the Legal & General Real Assets pedElle 2017 begas, like Day 1, with clear blue sunny skies. But it was a chilly start as the group rolled out of the hotel after a big breakfast, and there were a few nerves at the scale of the challenge still to come despite the previous day’s achievements.

However, Portugal’s scenery did not let anyone down and the morning’s first stage was another stunner. The terrain became more rugged as the riders made their way south-west from Viseu, with vineyards giving way to olive groves. Winding roads over dams and reservoirs distracted anxious minds and helped settle nervous legs into a steady rhythm. The pace was faster and smoother and the previous day’s first-day jitters were all but forgotten as the riders concentrated once more on the task in hand.

pedElle 2017

The morning’s coffee stop was on a peaceful terrace overlooking a reservoir and it was with reluctance that everyone moved off to take their place on the road again. However, the next stage delivered yet more stunning scenery and as the peloton wound its way through a valley bottom dotted with white houses, the riders begin to practice through and off, rotating through the group smoothly and evenly. Through and off allows everyone a turn on the front but also assures a chance to recover on the way back, as well as allowing riders to mix and chat as they move through the group.

Cycling is hot and tiring work and as the temperature began to climb the morning’s combined stages of 106km began to take their toll. After winding its way through a forested gorge, the peloton arrived at Condeixa a Nova for lunch on the restaurant’s terrace in the blazing sunshine surrounded by orange trees.

pedElle 2017

After lunch the terrain changed again; limestone gave way to red sandstone and became more arid and dry. Practising through and off again, the group makes its way through flatter and more gently rolling hills, consisting of agricultural and industrial landscapes, covering another 41km with ease in the mid afternoon sun.

The final stage of the day was a short, sharp 30km, a welcome distance after 146km already spent in the saddle. After negotiating the busy, post-rush hour run into Leiria, the 43 cyclists were treated to a well-deserved al fresco dinner in a beautiful square overlooked by the castle in the old town. Two days and 328km done, the peloton was ready for an early night in preparation for the third and final day of pedElle 2017.

On the road, day 3: pedElle arrives in Lisbon


Day 3 of the Legal & General Real Assets pedElle 2017 began with breakfast eight floors up, overlooking Leiria’s hilltop castle in the early morning sunshine. Despite tired legs, many of the riders marvelled at their cycling achievements on pedElle so far: the longest distance they’d ever cycled, the most metres they’d ever climbed. Most were looking forward to the day ahead: having come further physically and emotionally than they ever thought possible, the end was now, almost unbelievably, in sight.

pedElle 2017

However, Portugal still wasn’t finished with the women of pedElle and the day was shaping up to be a hot one. The cyclists headed out of Leiria for a 30km run to the Parque Natural das Serras de Aire e Candeeiros where the climb of the stage awaited. It rolled onwards and upwards for 5km, every now and then throwing in a short, sharp gradient to test everyone’s legs. The views from the top made it all worthwhile though, with the national park, in all its arid beauty, laid out below the riders. From the top there was a sweeping descent to the morning coffee stop, where excellent coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice and pastel de nata were consumed with relish.

pedElle 2017

The second stage of the day was, by comparison, much shorter and less steep than the first, but it it did not feel any easier as the temperature rose to 30 degrees. After a couple of short climbs, the stage settled into rolling climbs and descents through more arid terrain, with incredible views on either side. But the heat was really starting to take its toll on the riders and lunch at Cartaxo was a welcome break from the blazing sun.

Any lingering thoughts for anyone at home that cycling in Portugal is a jolly holiday should by now be firmly dispelled. The third and final stage of the day was long – 74km – and relentless in the blazing sun and 32 degree heat. It featured an incredibly tough climb, where in places the gradient reached 14% – in the heat it was a truly brutal experience. At the top everyone did their best to cool down and take on more food and water before the descent. The huge wide open vista down over the Tejo estuary nature reserve showed the riders where they were heading, but the final 35km into Lisbon was a tough run and seemed to go on forever through multiple roundabouts, industrial districts and the urban sprawl of outer Lisbon.

pedElle 2017

But finally – after 500km and 7,800m of climbing – the end was in sight as the peloton rolled its way into busy Saturday evening Lisbon. Joy, jubilation, tears, laughter and relief came in equal measures as riders celebrated their achievements on the sea front with a glass of bubbly courtesy of Helix.

Dinner that evening was a chance to reflect and to thank those involved. Now in its fifth year, pedElle has gone from strength to strength since it was founded by Jennifer Ross of Tibbalds and Claire Treanor of Treanor Consulting, bringing more and more women in property into cycling. It has also, over the years, raised incredible amounts for Coram. This year’s total currently stands at £34,000 and the money raised will be used to help vulnerable children find permanent new loving homes through Coram’s adoption programme.

Last year became known as ‘the snowy one.’ It is quite likely that this will one will become known as ‘the hot one.’ It has, as Jennifer Ross points out, been “the hardest pedElle ever,” but without a doubt every rider pushed themselves further than they ever thought possible. Everyone who took part should be proud of what they have achieved.

pedElle 2017

Cycle ClothingWomen's Cycling

British cycling brand Stolen Goat launch limited edition collectors’ pieces


This year cycling brand Stolen Goat have taken a slightly different approach to the cycle clothing business model. The kit is made in Europe, so the brand has been hit hard by recent currency trends. ‘Chief Herder’ Tim (who you may remember from this guest blog) made the decision that, rather than simply increasing prices, they would revisit the entire concept-to-market process – from sketching out designs, to products ready to go in packaging and every step in between.

The Core Collection from Stolen Goat

The new Stolen Goat core range doesn’t compromise on fit or design features, but takes a ‘design once’ approach. The brand’s jerseys, bib shorts and gilets are designed once, photographed once and sold year round. This strips out design and marketing costs over the long term and allows riders to get the best possible kit without any price hikes due to currency trends.

The core range comes in multiple colourways and features plenty of options for both men & women.

Stolen Goat Limited Edition Collectors’ Pieces

The limited edition range is designed for riders looking for something that feels more bespoke. Each design has a maximum cap on the total number ever to be manufactured and sold – across all channels. The designs are each made in smaller waves until the maximum number is reached.

The Stolen Goat Limited Edition Queen Bee Women’s Cycling Jersey is available for £75

Stolen Goat’s ethos is to inspire others to adventure more whenever possible. No-one wants to wear boring kit that everyone else has at the cafe stop, so the team at Stolen Goat design garments that express personality, flair and individuality. With built-in premium features such as raw cut sleeves, YKK hidden zippers with neck guards, an extra water resistant stash pocket and much more, the Stolen Goat Limited Edition Collectors’ Pieces are intended to liven up any ride. There is a range of options for both men and women, and the kits can be mixed and matched with the core range as well as the brand’s new Coolmax socks.

Stolen Goat has launched an updated version of its Hypervelocity jersey (above), which I reviewed last year.

The Stolen Goat Sundown Limited Edition Men’s Cycling Jersey is priced at £75

(And, as a note to retailers – the limited numbers of each design also means that any Stolen Goat retail partners have the ability to effectively take exclusivity over the individual design.)

Cycle ClothingWomen's Cycling

Rapha launches Spring/Summer 2017 women’s cycling range

Rapha Womens H1-17 Malaga

Rapha has continued to improve and expand its women’s cycling range this season with new products for racing, training and long-distance riding. To highlight the range, the brand sent three riders on a training camp in Malaga to build their mountain legs and give the new products an outing in the warm Spanish weather.

Rapha has added hot-weather products to provide female riders with kit for all conditions and temperature ranges. With its focus on fabrics, finish and seam placement, the Souplesse range has been developed for improved on-bike fit with fabrics more closely matched to Rapha’s Pro Team collection, which has been extensively researched and developed with input from leading men’s and women’s WorldTour teams including CANYON//SRAM. Insights from the CANYON//SRAM team have led the development of the new season range.

Rapha Women's Cycling

The women’s Brevet range, designed for long-distance and multi-day riding, has been boosted by the addition of bib shorts with a perforated chamois and fabrics that can be washed and dried overnight. In the Classic range, the Women’s Classic Wind Jacket II and Women’s Classic Gilet II have been overhauled with a fabric update and increased reflectivity built into the seams. A new addition for SS17 is the Women’s Flyweight Jersey, designed for hot weather riding. The Flyweight is Rapha’s lightest jersey yet, and has been designed for wearing in hot and humid conditions.

Rapha women's cycling

The new additions to the range are the culmination of years of research and we have worked obsessively to perfect every detail

Maria Olsson, Rapha’s Pro Team and Souplesse designer, said: “We worked a lot on pressure points and how to minimise pressure across the body whilst still keeping you supported and comfortable. The new additions to the range are the culmination of years of research and we have worked obsessively to perfect every detail.”

Rapha Women's Cycling

Rapha’s commitment to the advancement of women’s cycling doesn’t stop with apparel: the Rapha Women’s 100 returns again this year on the 23rd July. The day will see thousands of women ride at least 100km, wherever they are in the world.

The Rapha Women’s 2017 Range

Rapha Women’s Souplesse Aero Jersey









As worn by CANYON//SRAM women’s World Tour racing team and previously only available in team colours (reviewed by me here), the jersey has been updated for 2017. Inspired by our pro riders and tested in the wind tunnel, the fabrics are engineered to perfection and it is cut for an aerodynamic fit. The collar is cut to sit flat for aerodynamics and the fit is slim for maximum air flow over the body. With longer sleeves, aero fabric and minimal technical finishes, this jersey is the result of years or research.

The Rapha Women’s Souplesse Aero Jersey comes in sizes XXS-XL and retails at £130.


Rapha Women’s Souplesse Lightweight Jersey II









The lightest jersey in the Souplesse range, the main body fabric is 110gsm which has excellent wicking and stretch for hot days in the saddle. Details and stitching have been made as light as possible, to make the jersey feel barely-there, with laser-cut ventilation holes for additional breathability. The pockets have a new construction with an internal wall, providing extra storage even in the smallest sizes without adding any bulk to the jersey. The backs of the pockets are mesh-lined for air flow next to the skin.

The Rapha Women’s Souplesse Lightweight Jersey comes in sizes XXS-XL and retails at £120


Rapha Women’s Souplesse Bib Shorts II











Performance bib shorts for racing and high-intensity training, updated for 2017. With fabric based on the award-winning Pro Team Bib Shorts, these bibs are supportive, opaque and breathable. The mesh upper is constructed from a high stretch, high-wicking fabric and have been crafted to minimise pressure points across the shoulders. The shorts have a new low profile gripper that is raw cut with a wider impact area to minimise pressure points on the leg whilst staying in place.

The Rapha Women’s Souplesse Bib Shorts II come in sizes XXS-XL and retail at £175


Rapha Women’s Brevet Bib Shorts











Designed and developed for long days in the saddle. The straps have a lined mesh fabric for comfort whilst reflective stripes on the legs provide visibility in low light and poor conditions. With a higher front rise, the upper portion is designed to work like a base layer to provide warmth on descents or in cooler temperatures while helping with ventilation on climbs or in warmer conditions. The Brevet Bib Short fabrics and chamois are quick-drying and designed to be washed and dried overnight, ready for the next day’s riding. Cut in a Classic fit for comfort and breathability.

The Rapha Women’s Brevet Bib Shorts II come in sizes XXS-XL and retail at £180


Rapha Women’s Flyweight Jersey


Cut in a more relaxed fit than the Souplesse collection, the Women’s Flyweight Jersey is for riding in extremely hot and humid conditions. Lightweight and highly breathable, made from a high-wicking and fast-drying fabric, the fit of the jersey is designed to sit slightly away from the skin to allow air flow around the body. The collar sits low for improved breathability, unnecessary seams have been removed to improve moisture transfer, and a mesh yoke and lining inside the back pockets increase ventilation in areas of high perspiration.

The Rapha Women’s Flyweight Jersey comes in sizes XXS-XL and retails at £95.

View the full Rapha women’s cycling range here.

Women's Cycling

Legal & General Real Assets pedElle 2017 prepares for its biggest ride yet

2016-05-24-Day 2-1241-2

Business networking and fundraising charity Club Peloton’s charity cycle challenge for women in property, the Legal & General Real Assets pedElle 2017, is almost ready for its grand depart. Bringing together women in the property industry to network, ride and fundraise, the fifth edition of the event will depart Porto for Lisbon this Thursday, 18th May.

It will be the largest pedElle ever, with a record 43 women from architecture, planning, investment and property management coming together to ride and fundraise for a number of charities, including Coram, the UK’s first and oldest children’s charity.

The cyclists will ride 500km and climb almost 8,000m in three days, completing the challenge as one peloton. After leaving Porto on Thursday they will arrive in Lisbon on Saturday 20th May. The route will take them inland, with stopovers at the cities of Viseu and Leiria, and through the beautiful Douro valley. Along the way, they will benefit from a pro rider experience, with full crew support in the form of lead car, mechanics, paramedics and sports injury therapists and a luggage van.

The cyclists will collectively be aiming to raise £40,000, two-thirds of which will go towards Coram Adoption, which finds safe and loving homes for some of the UK’s most vulnerable children, including those who have suffered from abuse and neglect since birth. In addition to fundraising, the ride provides a perfect opportunity for networking, as the challenging and gruelling three days of cycling will engender a sense of support and camaraderie, for which Club Peloton’s events are well known.

Last year’s event raised a whopping £25,000 – you can read more about it here.