This month we were in the mood for a bit of adventure at Cycling Plus,BikeRadar's Lycra-clad print sibling.In need of bikes up to the job we, pitted six so-called ‘adventure’ bikes against each other, each with different ideas of what the word means but each equipped with the necessary fat tyres that make veering off tarmac possible.
But if the road is where your heart lies, you will find something more your tempo over in our other big bike test, where we stick the anagrammatically challenging Madone, Domane and Emonda from Trek’s stable up against one another in the snowy Brecon Beacons. Elsewhere we have first rides aboard the Bianchi Infinito CV Disc, Mekk Poggio 2.0 DS and Vitus Energie GR, and a shoot-out between two reasonably priced wind-cheating bikes, the Merida Reacto 4000 and Fuji Transonic 2.5.
In New Kit we review the Brooks Cambium C13 carbon – yes, carbon! – racing saddle, the insanely light Time Xpresso 15 pedals, a grouptest of six saddle bags and Lake’s CX175 shoes. Our big two product grouptests involve sports drinks and tubeless technology.
Our features are a diverse lot this month, from the usefulness of fat and how you use it in your training, to the rise of bike cameras in all their uses, from cycling ‘vigilantes’ to bike races and coaching. There’s also a report from production editor Simon as he attempts to ride from London to Paris – lets hope he didn’t end up down and out – and meet the Class of 2016 members of Team Cycling Plus. We also brave the storm-ravaged Lake District for a ride in Threlkeld and preview the exciting Isle of Man Cyclefest, a festival involving both a pro race and gran fondo.
Interviewed this month is Jeremy Vine, wading into the helmet debate with comments that would be right at home on his Radio 2 show, and Yair Shahar, who overcame heart surgery to fulfil his ambition of riding from London to Paris. The final word comes, as ever, from columnist Ned Boulting, who is talking about the absurdity and complexity of robing up for the winter ride.
Oh, and if all that wasn’t enough, our freebie 34-page supplement this month is devoted to sportives; previews of the biggest and best events, at home and abroad, in 2016 and reports from two of our favourites from last year, the Etape du Tour and Dragon Ride.