Exploring – One of the best reasons to own a bike

www.overthebarblog.com 113Ever wondered what’s over the hill, round that bend or whether the road or trail in front of you actually goes anywhere? I do, a lot. Sometimes that curiosity gets the better of me and an exploration will occur. One thing a bike gives you is that freedom and ability to explore, and efficiently too. It doesn’t take long to cover a significant distance or backtrack when you have gone terribly wrong. If you have yet to use your bike to aimlessly explore (or even with a target of finding something or working out a route to somewhere) then I urge you to give it a go. After all what’s the worst that can happen? Any adversity experienced only adds to the adventure. Now that winter is upon us, that motivation can die away however if you can find that little bit of get up and go, you will be highly rewarded. Click more to see some of my last exploration trip. Continue reading

Running the gauntlet: Specialized Grail Mitts.

Getting to try out new kit is definitely a perk when your interested in the kit, new tyres to try? Yes please! New fancy Carbon handlebars? Sure why not! Here, try these new Cycling Mitts……..errr yeeeaah ok, I dont normally wear gloves, what use to me is a mitt? Well thats what I thought when I was handed a pair of these new gloves from the big S. Now, I don’t normally like to wear gloves, I like to feel my grips and this makes me feel connected to my bike. I’m not sure when this all started, but I feel it comes from growing up out of my late teens riding bmx, and the convenience of just jumping on your bike and going. Anyway, in short, I’m not a glove person, so maybe the best person to try and get a response out of other than “nope, I still hate wearing gloves”.


Heading to Eastbourne

So after a couple of local rides in Stanmer I felt the gloves needed a better test, a longer ride on familiar ground to see if a difference can be made from a glove with some new technology sewn into it. The ripple of the South Downs between Brighton and Eastbourne is where I cut my teeth as a teenager on a mountain bike, and as good a place as any for testing the comfort of a new product. So with my faithful boneshaker set off to see what the gloves could possibly offer.

Specialized Grail Glove

This is what big S have to say about the glove, “Featuring a unique pad system designed by Dr. Kyle Bickel M.D., Body Geometry gloves are ergonomically designed, scientifically tested to help reduce hand numbness by improving circulation, and equalising pressure in the soft tissues of the hand.”

Specialized Grail Glove

It certainly takes a little while to get used to the gel pad in the palm of your hand, this made me realise that this area rarely has much pressure applied to it by your grips, and that the pad in the glove is there to fill the ‘cup’ in your palm. Nicely for glove hating people like me, the rest of the glove is super thin, light mesh on top with a good snot wipe, and thin palm material to retain the feel of the bike, certainly with these on in the hot evening sun, they were stopping my hands from slipping about, but not feeling bulky and cumbersome like my previous thoughts.

So 25 miles later and after a glorious hill bomb down to the station for the ride (train) home, two milkshakes and an Ice cream later (why isn’t there a good fish and chip shop near the station!). I realise that I haven’t had to shake my hands out once, or shift my hands about on the dragging climbs to make them feel better, or wiggle my fingers after a chalky decent to get a bit of feeling back. Hmm I actually liked the grip the provided in the sweaty heat, and having shorter fingered mitts rather than full fingers gave me just a bit of grip feel on my fingertips to keep my connected sensations happy. So in a word, i’m impressed. Actually more like amazed! I’d equate it to the time I put on a top end pair of bib shorts for the first time and went “oh, right now get it”. My hands felt fresh after 25miles on a rigid single-speed along the Southdowns way. For some these gloves will indeed be the Grail of the glove world, and as an avid no glove wearer, these will be on my hand a lot more. Maybe not on short quick blasts in the woods, but longer miles and rougher rides, these gloves and maybe their longer fingered version will be in the bag for the trip.

Cool Bikes – My Felt Breed Single Speed Cyclocross (SSCX)

Felt Breed SSCX

Words and Pictures by Gareth Taylor

Single speed Cyclocross bikes are a strange combination, grinding up muddy hills and blasting singletrack on a bike that isn’t really suited for the job is also a little perverse. However mine is probably the best bike I own. Not value wise or exclusivity etc., more that it’s the most fun to ride and that’s the most important factor isn’t it?

More pictures and details of this bike after the break.

Continue reading

Bike Parts | absoluteBLACK 18T Single Speed Narrow-Wide Cog

Absolute Black 18T Cog

Absolute Black 18T Cog

I’ve been after a decent new cog for my single speed MTB for a while now. Fortunately absoluteBLACK came up with the goods in this British designed, made overseas narrow-wide CNC machined 7075 Txxx Aluminium cog.

It has a nice and wide 7mm base, costs £29 and looks sweet. The South Downs aren’t particularly abrasive on bikes so let’s see how long it lasts and hopefully their steel versions will be out in time for winter. They come in little wheeled 16t, big wheeled 18t and 24 hour solo 20t size.