An e-MTB, a metal road bike and a pasta dish moved the needle this year
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The Lauf Anywhere is a versatile gravel bike with a conventional fork.Matthew Loveridge / Immediate Media
The Anywhere is the rigid-fork version of the True Grit, and while it’s a pretty understated thing it made a real impression on me thanks to its excellent ride quality and smart geometry.
Unlike some gravel bike makers, Lauf hasn’t just supersized the clearances on a road bike. The Anywhere follows mountain bike trends, with a long top tube and short stem.
A medium frame has 399mm of reach, which sounds like a lot, but it works really well in practice. It’s a long bike and as such it’s really confidence-inspiring off-road, while still working brilliantly as a general-purpose road bike.
It finally clicked that, for a relatively casual mountain biker like me with limited time to ride but easy access to trails, an e-bike makes a great deal of sense.
With electric assistance, riding to the trails is quick and painless and once I’m there, I can do more of the fun stuff without burning a lot of energy on the climbs.
An e-MTB is a brilliant tool for working on one’s skills and I’m utterly untroubled by any notions of purism. Is it a real bike? I don’t care! I’m having fun.
Bon Appetit pasta pomodoro
This pasta recipe has changed my life.Matthew Loveridge
They say an army marches on its stomach, and I’d argue that food is just as important to cyclists.
We’re big fans of Bon Appétit here at BikeRadar (its YouTube channel is phenomenal) and the site’s Basically series of recipes is a great source of meal inspiration for time-pressed, hungry cyclists.
I fancied myself a tomato pasta connoisseur, but BA’s ultra-simple recipe has completely changed my approach to making it, using the bare minimum of ingredients but focusing on technique.
A couple of notes: I don’t bother fully straining the tomatoes, I just lift them out of the can with a fork because I’m lazy and it’s a lot less messy. Also, I use less salt, around 1 to 1.5 tablespoons in the pasta water is about right for me (but it does depend how much water you’re using).
The reason this is so delicious is thanks to the way you cook down the tomatoes thoroughly (rather than boiling them in a sauce) and finish the pasta in the sauce instead of combining the two at the end.
A good knob of butter and a healthy handful of hard Italian cheese create pure eating pleasure, and a few capers take it up another level if that’s your jam.
I can’t think of anything I’d rather eat after a cold winter ride.
Matthew Loveridge (formerly Allen) is an experienced mechanic and an expert on bike tech who appreciates practical, beautifully-engineered things. Originally a roadie, he likes bikes and kit of every stripe, and he's tested a huge variety of both over the years for BikeRadar, Cycling Plus and others. For a long time Matthew's heart belonged to the Scott Addict, but he's currently enjoying Specialized's sublime Roubaix Expert and having a torrid affair with a Giant Trance e-MTB. At 174cm tall and 53kg, he looks like he should be better at cycling than he actually is, and he's ok with that.