I am lucky to have ebiketips next door and I was really impressed with an electric bike they were testing. Turned out it was a bike they built using a motor and battery available as a kit to convert your own bike to electric. So impressed that I got one for the shop.
The motor is £400, now on summer sale at £350, and simply replaces your existing cranks. A motor at the cranks places the weight low down and has far less effect on bike handling than a wheel motor. Plus the crank motor works better on hills than a wheel motor.
The battery costs from £200 – £500 depending on how much capacity you need, but the £200 battery on this bike should take you 20 hilly miles. Its neatly bolted to the bottle cage bolts.
The bike used is a Saracen Studio 74 with disc brakes, I’d really recommend this bike but of course we can convert your own.
Ebiketips did a little write up of installing the Panda M-Drive motor, worth a read if you want to know more about the technical side of installing it. We can supply a motor or supply and fit the motor for an extra £90 labour.
Have just had the first electric bike delivered to the shop, what an amazing machine to ride! So effortless yet you still have to put a little pedaling input in to make it go which means you’ll still get the fitness benefits from an electric bike – so its certainly not a moped!
The bike is an Adventure Road Sport from Madison the biggest bike company in the UK (‘ladies’ they call it but lets say its Unisex as the step through frame makes it easy to get on and off for all ages and genders!!)
Its got a motor in the middle of the bike frame, not in the wheels, which means you get better power delivery and it’ll haul you smoothly uphill – wheel motors tend to struggle on hills. The battery is also neatly tucked into the frame, not taking up space on a rear rack or adding to weight at the rear which means handling is better as the weight is more central.
The middle of the frame motor also means all the important bits are in a self contained unit – unlike wheel motors with wires all over the bike. So much much less to go wrong. And the motor on the bike is a Shimano STEPS motor backed up by the UK distributor Madison’s 48hr EXPRESS WARRANTY should anything go wrong.
Powerful hydraulic brakes that never need to be adjusted, much like a motor vehicles only when in for a yearly service. Plus kickstand to make it easy to park anywhere.
Bike computer tells you how far you have to cycle on the current battery power you have. Very small switch to power up or down doesn’t get in the way of you hand, and the bars have nice gel grips for comfot, as well as a Selle Royale gel saddle which is very comfy!
Neat cabling goes into the frame and is kept out of your way, also nice stealthy black mudguards look cool. A rack can be mounted on the fixing points on the frame should you need one.
For sale at the end of August are 2 ex hire GT Grade’s. I have a 105 2016 model in size 55cm (medium/large), for £500 and a size Sora 2017 model in size 53 (medium/small), for £400. Hardly used just a handful of weekend hires so like new!
I’ve been talking to and hearing of a few customers who’ve struggled on various rides, be it a leisure ride, sportive or race. By struggled I mean they have noticed that their ‘usual’ speed over distance is not as good as it could be or they feel pretty awful and lack any drive. Quite frequently when I ask how much they’ve eaten they answer invariably ‘one bar / gel in the hour or nothing at all!’ Maybe the excitement of the event makes them forget to fuel properly, or perhaps they forgot to prepare well beforehand. Anyway it seems to me that a lot of people are seriously under eating (or fuelling) on rides.
I came across Secret Training’s ‘Stealth’ range of nutrition products at the Madison trade show year before last. The founder Tim Lawson founded Science in Sport years before, had a short break and then wanted to produce nutrition products with a bit more of an edge. He was at the show in person and convinced me of many benefits of his new Stealth nutrition range.
I’ve been using them for over 18 months and have found using them really great. The gels taste really natural and not overly sweet, probably because they use rice starch and natural flavours which are a little less sweet than artificial ones, the rice starch is slightly slower to release energy as well so the energy effect can last longer. One favourite of mine is the Berry Caffeine energy gel, it has natural elderberry in it that apparently increases bloodflow to muscles, the caffeine also really dulls any pain. I’ve set some personal best records on hills near the end of long rides by downing one of these a couple of minutes before the climb!
The hydration powder is in a sachet (and makes it easy to take spares on a ride) and as Tim explained this means they don’t have any nasty fizzing or binding agents. The taste of all the powders is quite slight, not overly strong, which is much better as it makes you sip rather than gulp. Also the powder contains a small quantity of carbohydrate which is said to help the absorption of liquid into your body.
Here’s the offer
So as a ‘sweetner’ to encourage all riders to fuel properly:
boxes of 14 energy gels for 15.00 (RRP 17.50) Isotonic varieties (1.07 each)
19.99 (RRP 24.50) for the Caffine and ‘Real Fruit’ varieties (1.43 each)
14.00 (RRP 16.00) for a box of 20 sachets of the super hydration powder. (0.70p each)
That’s a good saving on the RRP, no excuse not to fuel or hydrate properly!
A couple of new mountain bikes have arrived, great for riding our local trails with their ever so slightly aggressive geometry which gives you stability downhill. Have a good look at the Saracen Mantra Trail and Mantra, if you’re tempted why not come in to give one a spin.
Beffy dropouts mean the Mantra Trail can take a hammering downhill, the clutch mech will stop the chain slapping and clanging against the frame. A complete Shimano groupset means the bike’s even better value.
The short stem longish top tube is thoroughly modern, the steepish 67 degree headangle makes it confident downhill, 120mm travel fork is plenty enough for UK trail riding.
Crudcatcher mounts on the downtube and a hole in the seattube above the bottom bracket means a dropper post can be installed with the cabling tidily running inside the frame!
The Mantra gets consistently good reviews, for example this one is great
I wanted a change for the range of lights that I currently stock and although I liked the Lezyne range there were other brands doing some really cool stuff, like Ravemen lights.
The key feature of the new Ravemen lights, which really caught my eye(!), is the specially shaped bevelled lens. This is a solution to the blinding effect all LED bike lights currently suffer from. As you can see in the picture above it has a dual lens (or Dualens as they call it), one lens is the dipped normal beam you use all the time, the other is the headlight or full beam.
The beam from the Ravemen lights lenses is essentailly flattened off at the top and the light is directed where you want it, at the road, not into the eyes of other road users.
The three other really great features are the remote button, USB charging and the runtime indicator display. With the remote you can change modes of course, but you can also switch to full blast beam for as long as you hold the button, a bit like flashing your car headlamp. The runtime display tells you how long your battery will last in each mode, very useful and more accurate than anything else available. The light can be used as a battery pack to charge other devices, which is really cool.
I’ve been testing them on long rides into the dusk and dark and the beam pattern is very good with very good visibility, but most of all happy that I am not blinding or distracting other road users.
Having failed 5 years ago to ride 1000 miles in April, I reset the challenge.
So, as of the 31st April I’ve cycled 918.7 miles, so I almost made the 1000 mile mark. At least I got way closer than 5 years ago where I only manged just over 500.
The last 80 miles was supposed to be completed yesterday, but I had to be in work till 5PM then there was some pretty awful weather, cycling’s supposed to be fun, for me anyway, so I din’t go out!
Maybe I’ll ride that extra 80 some day this week and pretend it was the last day of April.
Here are the rides, feel free to try them out, each one has a link to the route on my Strava profile. I’ve tried to vary them to make things interesting for myself. One was even a time trial! As you can’t see I don’t ride every day as sometimes my legs just feel too tired, especially after a time trial!
29th April – Unplanned route well I had planned a route to the Cerne Abbas giant, but it was late, and I hadn’t done the route before so thought it would take a lot longer than I reasonably had that evening so changed my route plan very soon into the ride. So I did a nice route down to the southern foothills of the Mendips and Leigh on Mendip, skirted round Frome and then back to Bath via BoA.
28th April – Quick ride to Wales – this is a really flat ride to the Severn Bridge, you cycle on the Bristol to Bath cycle path over 12 miles and then on a cycle path link towards Yate. You then take lanes to Frampton Cotterell and then onto the bridge. Its a nice ride as there is minimal traffic, and the views of the bridge and from it are a bit different to anything else.
26th April – To Westbury White Horse, this ride starts and end using the longish flat two tunnels route, so really nice to ride. Some steep hills to tackle at Limpley Stoke and Freshford, and then onto Bradford On Avon. Here is the only point in month a driver abused me. Waiting to turn right at the traffic lights just on the outskirts of BoA a driver came up behind me beeping and wound down their window and said, ‘you going left, right or straight on?’ As I was to the right before the lights I thought this was self evident, and briefly signaled, but they still mouthed off ‘dick head’ as the lights turned green. Anyway its a nice ride up to the White Horse, the climb up out of Bratton is OK, get a bit harder at the top but worth it for the views. The it was back to Bath on nice twisty lanes and the main road through Hinton Charterhouse.
24th April – Round to Rough Street (in Corsham and its actually not that rough!) This ride starts by using a good 10 miles of the flat Bristol to Bath cycle path which is nice. Then you leave the path at Goose Green and cycle on gently undulating high hedge lined lanes that are generally quiet to Pucklechurch. The only significant hill is the sunken lane at Hinton hill, with spectacular views of a large wind turbine looking out over the Severn Plain. The its a flat ride to Corsham via Upper Castle Coombe. Rough street is a nice little uphill that is fun to push up. This leads onto Wadswick lane which is very quiet, twisty and fun to ride on, eventually leading onto the main Bradford Road and back to Bath via Kingsdown.
23rd April – Raceriders, a ride with the speedy bunch of skinny roadies from VeloClubWalcot. Very hard keeping up with them on Burrington Combe and Old Bristol Road (the ascent from Wells). But I got personal records on both so there’s more motivation to push yourself when out with better riders. A nice cafe stop in Wells next to the Cathedral at Cafe No21. Etiquette was observed and they waited when I dropped my chain, and to regroup at the top of each hill, they also observed the race the last 10 miles home and wait for no one rule!! 68.7 miles
22nd April – a must do ride, with some really fun long descents. Starting out from Bath on tiny, hilly lanes to Englishcombe, then onto the main Timsbury road. The descent from Tunley to just short of Timsbury is very fast. The you join a very bumpy lane down to Radford dip, where I once crashed on a club ride and had to go to hospital! Its bumpy, beware. The climb up from Radford to Radstock is hellish. Then in Radstock there is an Alpine (well 5km) climb up to Terry Hill. The fun starts as you descend at least 5 miles to Buckland Dinham on an excellent road. In Frome I headed to Nunney then onto Gare Hill, a significant climb. A church halfway on the steepest part is quite a landmark. Then the second really fast long descent begins really for 10 miles probably all the way to Maiden Bradley and then onto Frome (the last being just ever so slightly downhill! 48.7 miles
20th April, Short winter loop, this is a lovely ride up the Bristol cycle path and then onto lanes up the river valley to Compton Dando. There’s a very steep ramp called Hamburger Hill to climb that is a challenge, then the route goes onto Timsbury and back on the Timsbury road to Bath. The Timsbury to Bath section of road is fast as its slightly downhill, with a few short uphills that can be attempted at speed, in my case legs were too fatigued to try! This is a winter loop a group of us from VCW used to do. 20.1 miles
19th April, Almost to the seaside, felt a great deal better and headed towards Clevedon via Chew Valley lake. On the main A386 out of Bath to the lakes made for a fast ride, but at time busy with traffic. Just before the famous Burrington Combe you turn right to go to Wrington, a very picturesque village with lots of old stone houses. Heading onto Yatton just before reaching Clevedon there is a turn onto a lane that skirts some low lying fields which remind me of the levels. This eventually leads you up to Brockley Combe, a lovely gentle Combe to cycle up. Just before the Combe I stopped to take a photo, and I fell to the ground as I stopped! Never bothered with the photo! 53.9 miles
18th April – Tired short local loop, felt quite awful after riding so much, rode to Bradford On Avon, then up through Freshford and back via the Two Tunnels. Things improved half way so the severe hill in Freshford didn’t seem too bad. 22.9 miles
16th April – To Nailsworth, this is a ride I copied from another club member David Acklam. I have never been this way before, great to explore, but I was stopping a lot to check route directions, and there was a strong headwind, and my legs were tired, nevermind! The best bit is the very gradual climb to Ozleworth Park, really stunning. I also climbed Bowden Hill at Lacock, I had forgotton how nice the common looks, with its church and wildness. 88.3 miles
15th April – Lake Lap this is a lap round the whole of Chew Valley lake, its the route of the 10 mile Bristol South Time Trial course, but I was just doing it for fun, really nice smooth roads, and great views of the lake. 34.2 miles
13th April – The TT (time trial). Its 9.1 miles not quite 10, very nice through Badminton with quite a few tight turns for a TT and a marshall to wave you onto the A46 which is reassurring. I rode there and back to Bath, so total was 41.9 miles.
11th April – They lit their fires in Radstock! After a 20 degree day cycling through Radstock there was a fair amount of coal smoke around! This is a great route out along the cycle path, then through the very picturesque river valley up to Compton Dando, then I took the main A39 to Radstock, but its a descent much of the way so traffic is not a bother. With a tailwind on the high slightly downhill road from Terry Hill to Norton St Philip you fly along! 36.3 miles
9th April – A chilly ride on the warmest day of the year so far! I left it till 5 and paid the price! A quite challenging route which takes you up Bathfords steep high street to Kingsdown, then a classic climb to Ditteridge and up to Bannerdown. The I cycled up Charlcombe lane which is a quiet hidden gem in Bath itself. The decent into Weston from Landsdown is fast, bumpy and not altogether a pleasant experience. 23.4 miles
8th April – Flat north – this route goes out to Sherston which is north of Bath. There’s only one hill at Hinton, the roads are fast and slightly rolling, with the rapeseed out at this time of year it feels like riding through France in the summer past sunflowers! 45 miles.
6th April – Out towards the sea this is a great ride with Chew Magna knitting the route together as you cross it twice, making a nice figure of 8 shape with the route on the map. The route heads west towards the coast, the nearest you get is Nailsea, there is a nice descent down Brockley Combe and the lanes to Nailsea are part of the Avon Cycle Way and very scenic. Dundry hill is a challenge, but super views across Bristol which at the right time of day is lit up by the evening sun. The lane through North Hawkfield on route 3 is very secluded with good views of the lakes. 47.8 miles
5th April – Southside Mendips a stunning route out through a tiny steep lane via Englishcombe, then the roads get better heading to Paulton and Chilcompton where you climb a ‘mini’ Bowden hill with a kind of switchback! A fast descent from Holcombe takes you to Stoke St Michael, and this is where the fun begins as its at least 7 or 8 miles descent all the way to Frome. 38.5 miles
4th April – Through Marshfield similar ride as the 1st of April, just doesn’t go as far east as that ride, some very pleasant lanes, especially the lane from Marshfield to Bannerdown. 30.8 miles
2nd April – my cycle computer refuses to upload this long 102 mile route, will try again soon to reupload it so its on here. Its a loop to Cheddar and Wedmore on the levels, back via Wells and Frome. Quite a hard ride. 102 miles
1st April – Easy flatish ride north this ride goes out along the Bristol Bath cycle path then loops north and back east with only one real hill at Hinton, fairly easy. 34.6 milers
When you buy a pair of DT Swiss road wheels, get a free upgrade of 2 tubeless Schwalbe tyres of your choice, valves and sealant – worth £160.00 RRP including labour to fit the rim tape, sealant and tyres for you.