Gravel bikes for the UK: Just get a hardtail

If you’re interested in off road cycling you may well have ‘gravel bikes’ being marketed at you. They can supposedly ‘do it all,’ because all it takes to tame the UK’s off road terrain is some wide knobbly tyres, flared bars and some hydraulic disc brakes. I was persuaded by this and persevered with trying to make a Surly Midnight Special a ‘do it all’ bike for more than a year, and learned the hard way that life is too short to try hammering square pegs through round holes. This is a short article about how I ended up trading it in for a cheap 2nd hand hardtail and why I think you’d likely be best served by opting for the same.

Fixed wheel audaxing might be just the thing for you

When I first started audaxing in 2018, and I got my first brevet card at the registration line, I saw that there were four special categories of riders: Fixed Wheel, Tandem, Recumbent and Tricycle. More on the other three for some other time, but for a lot of people, and certainly, to begin with, me, it will seem like an act of pure masochism to ride big distances fixed. Two years later, I just finished my first fixed wheel 200 audax. What made me change my mind? Well, this is my go at trying to set out why I think fixed riding might be the next big thing for you.

3 reasons why you hate tubeless and how to fix it

Introduction I’ve been getting to grips with tubeless riding for approximately a year now. I have come to like it but the learning process hasn’t been without frustrations and pains in setting up and operating a tubeless system for randonneuring/audaxing and gravel riding. After about a year of coming across problems with the approach, andContinue reading “3 reasons why you hate tubeless and how to fix it”

2020 Dreams

This is a quick one – when I’ve written stuff up previously, it’s been off the back of either a specific event or a topic. This one’s a bit more general – it’s about how I’m hoping my 2020 on bikes will shape up. In short I want to sharpen up how I push myself.Continue reading “2020 Dreams”

The daft story of my hardest ride

I was equal parts teeth-chatteringly cold and blinking in and out of sleep. It was 0500. Water was rationed, and food was dwindling. I’m in real trouble now… But there’s nothing else to do save grind on and count what’s going right. Courage!
This post is about my (so far) hardest ride, my first 400 km brevet in Belgium and France. I hope it will give you a laugh but also function as a cautionary tale lest you approach a low-countries audax as somehow an ‘easy option!’

Book review: ‘Where There’s A Will: Hope, Grief and Endurance in a Cycle Race Across a Continent’ by Emily Chappell

I was probably a third into the Upper Thames Audax when I bumped into audaxer Jane Dennyson (‘as in, Tarzan’, she said to me, to make sure the name stuck). Since the weather was a bit poor and neither of us were in a hurry it was nice to be with someone for a while.Continue reading “Book review: ‘Where There’s A Will: Hope, Grief and Endurance in a Cycle Race Across a Continent’ by Emily Chappell”

Why learning to sew can save your bike trip

Cycling, particularly cycle touring and bikepacking, requires learning how to use a diverse skill set, from navigation and bike maintenance to communications skills and financial planning. One skill I’ve found to have paid particularly big dividends that may not seem like an obvious top pick has been using a humble sewing kit. It’s pretty crazy to think that humans have been sewing stuff for millions of years, and the technique is really very little changed from when our ancestors were making their rudimentary mammoth cardigans. I’ve written this short article not as a technical ‘how to’, rather an insight into how sewing has helped me out and why I think it’s worth learning to do.

HOW FAR? Riding the Upper Thames audax

As a big ride approaches, there is always a bit of nerves about how to maximise your chances of a rewarding day out. This time of year’s changeable weather and faster-approaching dark make it easier for type one and two fun to turn into type three. Because of this, I took a bit more care than usual about how to approach my first ride of the new Audax season, the 209 km Upper Thames Audax.

Cycle delivery in London: Is it for you?

This article was first published on my LinkedIn account with some small edits. Returning to full-time study was hugely rewarding in many senses, but not in the personally financial. When planning my part time employment options, I decided to give the life of a delivery cyclist a crack. My own dad had worked as aContinue reading “Cycle delivery in London: Is it for you?”

Audax and A dream combo

This article was drafted in September 2018, just after the adventure. To find out more about the Evesham Wheelers audaxes, see I found out about Neil Robinson’s new ‘Tramping the Two Loop’ event while researching for my plan to crack Randonneur 1000. A new event, but from the mind of a very experienced routesmithContinue reading “Audax and A dream combo”