Upgrade is the new N+1

Upgrade is the new N+1

My bike is, as I’m writing this, eight years old, and has carried me over many thousands of miles. As you’d expect, it took a battering over that time, including a few crashes. Most cyclists know the supposed formula of N+1 to determine the ideal number of bikes to own. In that formula, N equals … Read more

Top Camping tips

If you’re new to camping, the tips on this page are sure to make your camping trip far better! What to take There are many different styles of camping, and some of them are extremely minimalist. My focus is heavily flavoured by cycle touring, and hiking. These are activities where you transport all your camping … Read more

The Beginner’s Guide to Designing a Cycle Route

Tired of cycling the same old routes, and ready to broaden your horizons? Then this post if for you! This is a long and detailed guide, so set some time aside to read all of it. What makes a good cycle route? Ask 100 cyclists that, and you’ll get 100 different answers. However, there will … Read more

Planning that cycle touring route

How  much  cycle  touring  route  detail  is  enough? Some people love to have total freedom when cycle touring, including the route. I know of at least one person – who does very long tours – that regularly decides the day’s route just before setting off that morning. On the other hand, some people want every … Read more

Back to basics – how to wild camp in the UK

Wild camping in the rain

Camping  in  the  wild,  or  wild  camping? What exactly IS wild camping? As a South African, I was baffled when I first encountered the term “wild camping”. I soon discovered that, to most Brits, if you say “I’m going camping”, what they understand you to mean is that you’ll be camping on a formal camp … Read more

Cycle commuting for beginners

Cycle commuting in London

Thinking  of  starting  to  cycle  commute? Well, warmer weather is starting, and the bikes are coming out of sheds and being dusted off. Those two points are valid reasons enough for starting to cycle commute, but when you throw the massively increases in fuel prices into the mix, it’s clear that cycle commuting is a … Read more

Cycle Touring – A Guide For Beginners

A picture of a person on a laden touring bike, while cycle touring

A beginner’s guide to cycle touring? I have a lot of posts about cycle touring, but thought it’d be helpful to have a Beginner’s Guide To Cycle Touring. Specifically, a sensible guide, that ordinary people (like me) can follow to help them start bicycle touring. Bike touring is for everyone, and I’d be delighted if my guide … Read more

To overcome the monster…

Hills – love them, or hate them, you cannot alter the reality that they exist. You can try and avoid them – move to the Somerset Levels, or the Cambridge Fens, or most of Lincolnshire, for that matter, but sooner or later you will have to cycle up some hills. Some refer to monster hills, but … Read more

Back to basics – winter cycling

Every year a bunch of people start cycling in the spring or the summer, and are determined to carry on cycling through winter. Every winter there are loads of cyclists who give up cycling. Let’s have a look at what you can do to keep you riding through winter. Wet Let’s deal with the elephant in … Read more

Back to Basics – Cycle Helmets

Cycle helmets are often a highly divisive topic, surrounded by a wealth of myths and misunderstandings. This post is NOT going to tell you whether or not you should wear a helmet. Instead, I will try to give you some clarity about cycle helmets. Back in 2014, I had a crash, and I still distinctly … Read more

Back to basics – Saddles

A very common complaint about cycling is about pain or discomfort caused by the saddle. Let’s get the obvious point out in the open right away: we are all different, and our bodies are different. What this means in practice is that a saddle that’s extremely comfortable to you might be excruciating for me to … Read more

When the Puncture Fairy visits…

A surprising number of cyclists are quite superstitious in at least one aspect: they’re so terrified of punctures that they won’t even say the word, and I find that extremely amusing. I’m not superstitious at all, and have no misgivings about using the word puncture, nor referring to the Puncture Fairy. For the uninitiated, a … Read more

Back to basics: Navigation

“The  sun  never  sets  on  the  British  Empire” To a degree, the story of navigation is the story of the British Empire. Don’t believe me? Well, read on! Today, maps from around the world use a system of longitudes and latitudes. These are imaginary lines all over the earth, with longitudes running from the north … Read more

Camping gear

“Oh no! You can’t go camping with that! You need to buy reliable kit, with a tent costing at least…” Ever heard someone go off like that? I have. Here’s the thing: you need an £800, expedition-grade 1-person tent only if you’re going on an expedition where your life could depend on your tent not failing. … Read more

Back to basics – bicycle pedals

  Bicycle pedals are ridiculously important, and not important at all, all at the same time. The pedals are the interface through which your feet apply the power needed to propel the bike forward. They’re important, because without pedals, you won’t be going anywhere, and they’re not important, because when done right, you will hardly … Read more

Back to basics: Map reading

But  which  map  is  best? Get together a random group of cyclists, then ask them which is best – paper maps, or digital maps – then sit back and watch the at times surprisingly heated discussion that follows. Cyclists are often reliant on mapping, or some form of navigation, and it seems everyone has their … Read more

Back To Basics – How to pack your panniers

No, this post is not an insult to your intelligence, and I won’t follow it up with “How to pack your suitcase” or “How to pack your groceries into a carrier bag”. As you’ll soon learn, packing panniers is different, for a number of reasons, starting with weight distribution. If riding with just two panniers, … Read more

Back To Basics – How to carry luggage on a bike

There are different reasons for carrying luggage on the bike, ranging from commuting, to shopping and touring. Obviously, cargo bikes are an option, as are trailers, but in this post I want to focus on luggage being carried on a “normal” bike. When I first started cycle commuting, I simply carried a backpack, and indeed, … Read more