Are you thinking about transforming yourself in 2018? Perhaps you are considering joining a gym, eating less, drinking less or some other resolution that will fizzle out in the first week of February.
Our advice is simple, make small changes that you can build on and find something you love doing. Find something that takes you outdoors, involves an adventure, brings you together with like minded souls, takes you to new places, challenges you, makes you sweat, gets you dirty, finishes with coffee & cake or gets rid of the stresses of modern life. Most important of all it needs to put a big smile on your face...
If you are really stuck and want some advice we would love to help. Our details are on our 'Contact Us' page.
Good luck all and have a cracking 2018.
As triathletes our very nature makes us difficult beasts to buy any kind of gift. Most of us are touched with a little ‘OCD’ further compounded by a sport which demands us to plan, organise and execute with meticulous/irritating detail.
We will also have researched and planned kit purchases with the efficiency of a commercial procurement team making your task even trickier. For this reason we have weighted our recommendations towards highly desirable stocking fillers and what we think is the ultimate triathlon bag to minimise any 'straight to ebay' Christmas gifts!
Orca Transition Bag - RRP £99
This triathlon bag was definitely the brainchild of a triathlete, loaded with clever organisational pockets and sleeves, comfortable to carry ensuring you have the ultimate mobile transition area wherever you are. We loved it so much we had to limit ourselves to 5 areas we particularly appreciated:
Zone 3 Elastic Laces - RRP £7
Controversial for some but they are relatively inexpensive and worth trying. We were sceptical about the benefits until we spent a bit of time (15 minutes max!) setting them up. In our experience, once set up correctly they provide a comfortable and secure fit. They are less bulky than laces and definitely make it easier to get you feet in/out of trainers. Unlike laces, once the trainer is on it very rarely needs any adjustment. A great stocking filler option and definitely worth experimentation.
Body Glide Anti-Chafing Stick - RRP £7-12 (Dependent on stick size)
This is a bit of a no brainer for us, skin lubricant alleviates chafing around your neck in wetsuit swims and in various spots during the run. It is also helpful for a swift T1 transition enabling your wetsuit to slip off your wrists and angles with greater ease. We have used bodyglide happily for years and haven’t felt the need to try anything else.
Zoggs Antifog Lens Cleanser - RRP £7
Foggy goggles can be the bane of a swimmers life and for some reason most of the swimmers we know don’t seem to do anything about it?? Anti-fog products are great and hold the fog at bay for 2-3 sessions. Much more important for open water swimmers as there is nothing more irritating than having a swim constantly interrupted by foggy goggles in deep water.
Bottle Cage Tool Holder - RRP £7-12
This is a bit of a no brainer as it can be used across different bikes and is a convenient way to keep your bike tools together. You can happily fit a couple of tubes, patches, small pump, CO2 pump, levers and multitool in this compact and well protected case. It's also less fiddly than some of the other tri-specific took kits on the market. KISS - Keep it simple stupid!
Finis Hand Paddles - RRP £15
This product is definitely one for triathletes without a swimming background. We trialled these paddles last summer in the pool and give them a big thumbs up. It's well worth chatting with a swimmer or coach about the use of swim training aides to ensure you use them correctly (and don't look like an idiot in the pool!). Just the fact that we had them during pool sessions was enough motivation to incorporate regular technique sessions into our programme.
We love a cycling product that does the job (really well), provides good value, takes a beating and makes riding a more pleasurable experience. The following 6 products have ticked every box and become riding essentials for us. If you are looking for a present for a mountain biker we're pretty sure they would be pleased with any of the below:
Specialized Tactic II Helmet - RRP £65
The Tactic is lightweight, comfortable with plenty of venting to keep you cool. The helmets height and micro adjustment features ensure a comfy secure fit. The webbing strap and clips are lightweight, easily adjustable and again provide a secure comfy fit. For a lightweight helmet it also provides good coverage at the rear of the helmet. The helmet has a sleek, low profile look which provides the final tick in the box for us. The lightweight, comfortable and well vented features of this helmet make it perfect for long, multi-day rides in the heat.
Crank Brothers M19 Multitool - RRP £29.99
We've been using the M19 for years and its still as good as the day it was bought. This is a bombproof work tool capable of dealing with most trailside adjustment and repairs. The hex and torx tools will support the majority of bolts you will find on any modern bike. The chain breaker is quick and easy to use as are the additional open wrench, spoke wrench and screwdriver functions. This is a tool that will not let you down and become a dependable riding companion for years to come. You can normally pick one up for about £21-23.
Osprey Raptor 14 Pack - RRP £125
We decided to test this pack after we converted from Camelbak to Osprey water reservoirs. We were looking for a pack that could carry 3 litres of water, enough warm clothing, food and tools to support long winter rides. The Raptor matched these criteria with ease and is rich in well laid out pouches and pockets. We especially like the separate tool roll, hip pockets and helmet retention clip. The pack has a secure and comfortable fit. Its narrow profile and mesh backing reduce overheating and a sweaty back. Definitely worth a visit to a local stockist to test for yourself before investing a hefty chunk of cash. We managed to pick this up in a sale for £79 with Wiggle which we think is about the right price so well worth shopping around for a good deal.
Topeak Mountain Morph Pump - RRP £31.99
With the increasing popularity of plus tyre mountain bikes its important to ensure that you have a large volume pump to match. The mountain morph dual action pump and semi-track pump style make short work of pumping up a 29 x 3.00 inch tyre. Its quite a long pump but its simple compact profile happily fits in your pack. People are constantly surprised how quickly this pumps up tyres from flat making short work of a flat tyre repair in cold, wet conditions. The Turbo and Mountain Morph pumps have provided us with years of reliable service. We managed to pick this up online in the low £20s. If you are riding in remote, mountainous country this is a safety tool that will keep you out of trouble.
Topeak Omni Ride Case - RRP £29.99
It has taken us a while to find a phone mount that works for a wide range of cycling. We like using Lifeproof iPhone Cases but couldn't found a phone mount with good reviews for mountain biking until we saw this one at the NEC Bike Show. This simple and robust mount remains secure on your handlebars whilst cradling your precious phone down rough, rocky descents. The chunky strap allows you to ratchet up the tension for a secure fit on your handlebars whilst the rubber rand hold your phone securely in place. The stem adjusts with a click allowing you to view your phone in portrait or landscape. The simple strap mount takes seconds to install/remove allowing you to switch it between bikes or remove for security. Simple, robust and functional!
Time ATAC MX2 - RRP £39.99
Time ATAC clip in pedals have plenty of float (good for your knees), engage in the muddiest conditions are lightweight and good value. Although some ATAC spds have copped some flack for reliability the MX series pedals have performed well for us. We found that the pedals platform provided good support for your foot allowing for happy feet on long days in the saddle. Although the MX2 is the base model in the MX range we are extremely happy with them.
Good news... this is a great time of year to ask for a discount at your local bike shop or make the most of online discounts to take the sting out of Christmas. Happy shopping!