Where did 2021 go? It’s been another year of highs and lows. Overall though, it’s been positive with some fantastic adventures on my bike, excellent racing to watch and plenty of new bikes and tech to lust after.
I hope you’re seeing in the new year in style (Covid restrictions permitting), and here’s a quick look at the top stories on our site this week.
Did the kids get bikes for Christmas? Well, if so, we’ve got the lowdown on how to teach children to ride so they can get hooked on a passion that will hopefully last a lifetime. And don’t miss out on our article explaining how to give your bike a thorough safety check to make sure it’s working correctly and ready for adventure.
We highlight our best rides of 2021 and offer advice for how to ride your first century, double century or longer in 2022. Plus, with New Year’s resolutions on the horizon, we discuss the science of healthy habits and how to help form them for your training going forward.
And, if you haven’t scoffed the Christmas leftovers yet, we’ve got plenty of ideas for how to turn them into delicious meals.
Gore winter gear
Our video editor Felix had a pile of Gore winter gear arrive, which should help him start 2022 with a bang. Plus, he’ll have no excuses for not sticking to any New Year’s resolutions.
First up is the Gore Endure jacket. This lightweight waterproof is aimed at all-road riders. Using Gore-Tex PacLite, it’s ready to be stashed and carried on mixed-weather rides and pulled out when needed. The hood fits over a helmet, and its regular cut keeps it functional but cool for café stops. Plus, there are a few more neat features.
Overshoes are a winter essential. These Gore Shield Thermo covers use Gore-Tex Infinium to keep them windproof, breathable and water-resistant. There’s also a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating to shrug off splashes and a fleece lining to boost warmth.
The tight fit makes them streamlined, and the stretch material should help you fit and remove them more easily.
Keeping your hands cosy is a necessity for bike control. The Thermo Split gloves use Gore-Tex Infinium to protect your digits from winter weather. They slip the index finger to give you complete control of brakes, gears and riding tech but snuggle the other three fingers together to share warmth.
When it’s raining, you’ll need something more waterproof. The Gore C5 gloves use full-fat Gore-Tex to keep rain and wind at bay. In addition, they feature a silicone index finger, so you can still use touchscreens without the need to take them off.
- Gore Endure jacket £229.99
- Gore Shield Thermo overshoes £69.99
- Gore Gore-Tex Infinium Thermo Split gloves £69.99
- Gore C5 Gore-Tex gloves £69.99
Alex has received the Laylo Mount for Bosch’s Purion electric bike display and controller, an elegant solution to the ever-increasing problem of handlebar clutter.
Thanks to advances in technology, we’re seeing our bikes become even more technologically integrated. So much so, it’s not unusual to see someone riding an electric mountain bike with its own dedicated display and a GPS cycle computer strapped to the bars. Then you need lights (if you ride at night), plus a dropper-post lever, gear shifter, and anything else you wish to mount to the bars.
Laylo’s Mount serves two purposes. One is reducing bar clutter to free up space; the other is to place the Mount out of harm’s way when the bike is turned upside down, or in the event of an accident or crash.
The Mount is the same diameter as a 1in 1/8 steerer tube and is 5mm thick. It acts as a headset spacer and can sit above or below your stem, staying in place with the clamping force given by the top cap. But it doesn’t clamp so tight that it can’t rotate if it’s contacted by your knee or a tree in a crash.
The Mount can be reversed front to back or upside down, but make sure there is enough space so that it doesn’t contact the frame when the bars are turned.
The mount weighs 25g, and the headset spacer section is manufactured from CNC machined aluminium, while the tubular mounting portion is made from nylon.
Because the tubed section replicates the 22.2mm handlebar section, the Laylo Mount can be used for other bar-mounted accessories too.
Effetto Mariposa cleaning products and wax lube
If you’re environmentally conscious, Effetto Mariposa’s new range of plant-based and biodegradable cleaners and oils may be just what you’re after.
Its Allpine Light is a biodegradable cleaner that adds a water-repellent polish. When your pride and joy needs a deep clean, this silicone-free solution can be used as a regular bike wash. Spray the bike with Allpine Light, wait a few minutes, then rinse with the sponge or brush for the best results and dry with a cloth.
If you need any touch-ups, or if your bike just needs a quick refresh, you can use this as a waterless cleaner too. Simply spray on a cloth and wipe over your bike to give it a shine.
Allpine Extra is a biodegradable chain and disc brake degreaser. It uses pine oil, a natural solvent, and is said to cause no harm to the environment (even if your chain lube does). In addition, it’s claimed to be safe on metals, chromes, painted surfaces and carbon.
Simply immerse your chain, use a chain cleaner or brush, apply and agitate. Wait a few minutes, then rinse well with water.
When you need to re-lube the chain after a clean, Effetto Mariposa has Flowerpower Wax. This water-based wax emulsion lube uses sunflower seed wax, among other natural ingredients. It is claimed to have excellent properties for cycling, adhering well to metal and being naturally water-resistant. There’s no addition of fluorinated compounds, graphene, sulphides or alcohol. This is a vegan product.
It benefits from a higher 50/50 wax-to-water ratio than other brands’ more common 30/70 ratio. That should leave a thicker wax layer for the same amount of lube, improving durability and efficiency.
Effetto Mariposa says you can achieve 300 kilometres with a single application on the road without heavy rain. A 100ml bottle should give you 25 applications. Mountain biking may need more applications.
- Effetto Mariposa Allpine Light Eco bike cleaner £14 / $18.99USD / €16,99EUR per 1000 ml
- Effetto Mariposa Allpine Extra Eco degreaser £16 / $21.99USD / €18.99EUR per 500 ml
- Effetto Mariposa Flowerpower Wax chain lube £12 / $15.99USD / €13.99EUR per 100 ml