Extras Featured Reviews

Blaze Laserlight

Blaze Laserlight ReviewThe Blaze Laserlight is a solid reminder that crowd-funding, in this instance via kickstarter, continues to incubate a good number of products that are both innovative and beautifully executed. The Blaze Laserlight is, at heart, a powerful front cycle light that adds significantly to the safety factor by incorporating a laser projection up to 6metres ahead of the rider.


As a standard light the Blaze Laserlight, with its sleek machined aluminium casing, is capable of delivering a combination of 100lumen flashing, 100lumen solid or 300lumen solid – all of which can be used either with our without the laser projection (of a bicycle of course) in solid or flash mode.


Technical spec


The aluminium casing of the Blaze Laserlight, with its discreet silver nickel control panel, contains a full aluminium internal chassis designed to aid both cooling and overall robustness. Weighing in at 182g it’s recharged via supplied USB cable to provide anything from 2hours use (high beam and constant laser) to 29hours (low beam, flashing and no laser.) The whole unit is fully waterproof – rather than merely resistant – and attaches to handlebars from 24–32 mm in diameters via a quick-release clip.


Blaze Laserlight ReviewThe Blaze Laserlight on test


Attaching the bike mount section of the quick release clip to the handlebars is relatively easy using the supplied 4mm allen key and appropriate rubber insert for the tube size. Fine-tuning the laser to project at the desired ahead takes a few additional minutes (and really needs to be done in low-light conditions) and you’re good to go.


Operating either the standard lamp or independent laser takes the briefest of touches to the panel to cycle through the options and there’s no denying that 300lumen is a dazzlingly effective way of lighting up even the darkest of country lanes. Better yet, if you’re an enormous attention seeker, it’s impossible to ride anywhere with the Blaze Laserlight and not encounter people willing to coo over it and tell you how cool the projection looks. (Okay, so that’s not going to appeal to every ego out there.)


A thing of beauty


The Blaze Laserlight has, without question, been designed to appeal to those who think contemporary aesthetics begin and end with all-things Apple. In fact the light is made in partnership with PCH International, a manufacturing company that also makes products for Apple – if you don’t like sleek, tactile and brushed metal, this isn’t the light for you. Actually everything from the typeface to the packaging and slender lines of the light itself have been beautifully thought through to balance form and function in one neat package.


Blaze Laserlight ReviewDownsides of the Blaze Laserlight


Yes, it looks gorgeous, yes, it’s crazy-bright and yes the laser projection in both very cool and integral to added safety; but…


As much as we love this light there are still flaws and drawbacks. Starting with the USB charger, which uses the kind of magnetic clip that Macbook users get all worked up about. Whilst the Mac version is robust, the Blaze Laserlight version has an utterly annoying tendency to be knocked off with the slightest of efforts. Several times Cyclo has gone to pick up what we were hoping would be a good-to-go, fully charged light, only to find it untethered and lifeless.


The quick release clip also proved frustrating longer-term, slowly unthreading itself (in days, not weeks) to leave the light swinging wildly from wide to side. Even when tightened to the max there’s far too much lateral movement. More disturbingly – arguably this is a fault in the unit we had on test – was the tendency for the light and laser to both go off unexpectedly when we hit a bump in the road…


Blaze Laserlight ReviewYou make your choices…


There is much to love about the Blaze Laserlight. Personally we really appreciate the aesthetics and attention to detail and there’s no denying that the projected bike image is going to add significantly to safety (apparently ‘79% of cycling incidents happen when drivers manoeuvre into the rider’s path.’) The main beam is bright and crisp – even if 2-3hours on full is nowhere near long enough – and there’s something of the Star Wars generation in us that loves the idea of attaching a laser to the bike.


The Blaze Laserlight is also, predictably, on the costly side at £125. Of course it’s unique selling point is the laser itself, but of you just want a really bright light then something like the Lezyne Macro Drive 600XL is going to offer up twice the lumens for half the price or the Exposure Sirius Mk4/TraceR Light Set gives you front and rear (500 and 110lumen respectively) for a comparable £129.95. Both the Lezyne and Exposure Sirius lights are available on


Full details on online purchase of the Blaze Laserlight at

Featured Nutrition Reviews

Primal Pantry Bars

Primal Panty BarsPrimal Pantry produce a range of five bars designed to compliment a paleo diet, but before you go screaming from the room shouting ‘fad’, hang fire. Whilst we’re not about to get embroiled (at least here and now) about the benefits or otherwise of paleo what you should know is this: whether you love or loath the idea of paleo Primal Pantry Bars are still perfectly placed to fuel your ride. In fact they do so brilliantly.


So, Paleo 101: No grains, refined sugars, dairy, processed foods or oils of legumes such as soya. All of which means the Primal Pantry Bars are grain-free, don’t use sulphates in their dried fruits, contain only ‘real food’ and are suitable for both vegetarians and vegans. In fact – and this is really refreshing to know – the ingredients are pretty much spelled out in the flavour name of each bar, the Apple and Pecan Primal Pantry Bars, for example, contain dates, almonds, organic apple, pecans, cinnamon and almond oil. That’s it, no nasty surprises here.


Primal Panty BarsAside from the Apple and Pecan option the Primal Panty range of flavours are Brazil Nut and Cherry, Hazelnut and Cocoa, Almond and Cashew, and Coconut and Macadamia – the latter our favourite although we’re hard pushed to pick. The bars are handmade and cold-pressed with a rich texture and flavours that don’t overpower, yet are distinctive and readily identifiable (just like real food should be.)


Nutritional values vary slightly across the range but again taking Apple and Pecan as being fairly representative they will serve up 199kcal, 4.2g protein, 19.4g carbs (16.9g of which are sugars), 11g fat (0.9g saturates), and 3g fibre per 45g bar.


Let’s compare Primal Panty to a more ‘traditional’ bar: The much heavier (65g) Zipvit ZV8 Uncoated Orange bar offers 244kcal – so actually a much lower, adjusted for weight 169kcal – 4.7g protein (3.2g adjusted), 34.9g carbohydrates (24g adjusted), 7.2g fat (4.9g adjusted) and 10.3g fibre (7.1g adjusted). A little more bang-for-your-buck on carbs but if you don’t fancy emulsifiers, wheat gluten, wheat malt, glucose syrup, invert sugar syrup and maltodextrin then Primal Pantry Bars look like an obvious choice.


Actually to be clear – and fair – the composition of the ZV8 bars is fairly typical of energy bars across the board and they have their place and use (we’ve fuelled plenty of miles on them) but Primal Pantry clearly offers something both new and radically different.


Primal Pantry Bars retail at £27 for a box of 18 – £1.50 per-bar, not only spot on for a comparative price point but actually something of a bargain when you consider the quality of ingredients and homemade credentials. Boxes are available either in single flavour or as a mixed box with three of each flavour plus three extra, which Primal Pantry call their ‘random surprise.’


Further details and online purchase of Primal Panty Bars at

Extras Featured Reviews

Oakley Jawbreaker

Oakley JawbreakerThe Oakley Jawbreaker is a collaboration between one of the world’s biggest names in eye-wear and Mark Cavendish, one of the biggest names in cycling, but the results are likely to leave people as polarised as the company’s legendary lenses…


‘Aggressive’ is the adjective most often used to describe the aesthetics of Oakley’s output – there are a few exceptions such as the sleeker RadarLock range – but for the most part there’s a somewhat bolshie angularity to their glasses and the Jawbreaker is no exception. The first thing you’ll notice about the Jawbreaker is the size – these are true XL glasses that provide an exception field of vision; they appear disproportionate without a helmet, but once suited up it all falls into place (guess Cav and Oakley really do know what they’re doing…)


Comfort levels are exceptional here with weight coming in just under 35g – the lower frame is perfectly curved to sit snuggly against the cheeks and the arms are hinge-locked to provide a range of lengths to fit perfectly under any helmet. The downside here, particularly if you are reckless enough to try and adjust them on the fly, is that it’s possible for the entire arm to disconnect with catastrophic results.


Oakley JawbreakerThe Jawbreaker has a hinged lower frame that gives them their somewhat aggressive (there’s that word again) name for fairly quick lens switching, which is only fiddly on the first couple of tries. Ruggedness has been upped by the addition of a tiny metal cam, which sits behind the rubberised nose bridge, and replaces the more traditional weakest link plastic affair on other Oakleys.


As you would expect from Oakley, when it comes to the lenses they are outstanding with a range of tints and polarized options for every conceivable condition (conceivable, so long as you have the budget of course with additional lenses starting at around the £70 mark.) On the subject of price – the Jawbreaker starts at £170 – we still feel slightly short-changed that Oakley only adds hydrophobic coating to the outside of the lens but will happily sell you, for £17, the Nanoclear treatment for inside application. Also the specific Oakley Jawbreaker Cavendish Edition – with the dinky CVNDSH logo on the lens – is at a premium of an additional £20…


Oakley JawbreakerThe Oakley Jawbreaker clearly brings plenty to the table, not least a slightly old-school aesthetic, and if you want the added kudos of wearing glasses that have had input from Cavendish then these are the sunnies for you. Venting is excellent, optics uncompromising, and comfort superb – if you can live with ‘aggressive’ and are willing to spend upwards of £170 these won’t let you down.


Further details of Oakley Jawbreaker at – available online for purchase from, amongst other places,

Books Featured Reviews


VentouxBert Wagendorp’s Ventoux, recently translated by Paul Vincent, is a coming of age novel that opens with an old photograph of six friends on a cycling holiday in1982 and develops slowly into an odd, but enjoyable, brew of mystery, sport and social history genres. The novel, which at first glance seems a speed-read holiday book, has more depth than that and takes in the nature of friendship, musings on the nature of time, the small choices we make that can change our lives and a floating brothel.


Wagendorp is shameless in employing the well worn trope of childhood friends who share a dark secret and reunite later in life to reconcile with their past. If that sounds like a cycling version of ‘lets get the band back together’ then here is the line up:


Our hero and narrator, Bart – crime journalist, cyclist, divorced and nearly fifty

Andre – gone off the rails, drug dealer, getting his life back in shape after prison

Joost – maths genius turned rockstar scientist, but heading for a fall

David – the ‘stay at home’ owner of his father’s travel agency in their hometown of Zutphen

Peter – ethereal, gifted poet and published by the time he’s 18


The Yoko of this story is siren and muse, Laura. Her sudden appearance among the teenage friends triggers the competition and jealousy that ultimately leads to the tragic event that forms the hub of the story.


The re-emergence of Laura in 2012 and the renewed connections between the characters develop in a fractured timeline that suits the slow reveal of the ‘event’. The conclusion of these renewed relationships drives them all to make a return journey to mark the 30th anniversary.


Despite the non-linear structure and the rich references this is a page-turner that is very funny, and often very touching. The Epilogue, which feels a little of an after-thought, is pure Edam but we can forgive that as the rest of the book is such a fun ride.


The book is heavy with musical, literary and artistic allusions and connections – from Proust and the Col de Madeleine to Petrarch’s ‘The Accent of Mount Ventoux’ to the film The Night Porter and Italian Cinema in general. That’s all before we get to the liberal references to the history of cycling, the poems of Jan Kal, The Rider by Tim Krabbe and, of course, Tommy Simpson.


As co-founder and editor of the cycling magazine The Wall, Bert Wagendorp obviously knows his cycling. The book was a bestseller in Wagendorp’s native Netherlands as well as Germany, France, Denmark and Norway. A Dutch version of Ventoux was filmed in 2015.


Ventoux by Bert Wagendorp / Paul Vincent is published by World Editions International, currently available from, amongst other places, Amazon at £10.68 hardback and £ £6.53 on Kindle.



Featured Recovery Reviews

Rock Rub

Rock RubRock Rub is a rather odd thing, but like many odd things we’ve sort of fallen in love with it.


The basics: Rock Rub is either a massage wax or a callus-busting moisturiser for your hands or possibly both. If you looked at the strap-line on the jar – ‘Go stronger, for longer’ – you might get a third, more Fifty Shades, impression. The confusion comes in depending on whether you check out the wax on the US website or its UK counterpart; in the US, Rock Rub is predominantly sold on the basis on its hand-moisturising strengths whereas in the UK it would appear we’re not quite ready to admit that rough hands are something that need dealing with. Weird, but there you go and in fact Rock Rub is pretty damn good all round.


The reason why Rock Rub works well as both a moisturiser and a massage aid is down to the ingredients of course. Beeswax (Australian beeswax to be specific, although we don’t know if that’s significant) forms the base along with canola oil, to which is added vitamin E, patchouli, lavender and the mysterious sounding ylang-ylang. It’s really the latter – along with the vitamin E benefits – that make Rock Rub so good for the skin, whilst the beeswax, with it’s slightly ‘tacky’ qualities that make it so well balanced for massage, particularly myofascial release.


Whilst we had feared that patchouli and lavender would be an overpowering combination, the smell is actually subtle and, most importantly for massage, the consistency remains constant during treatment and a little goes a surprisingly long way.


So whether you’re looking to soften those cycling hands or just get some much-needed massage in before that next long ride, Rock Rub pretty much hits the spot. We’re glad to have cleared up any confusion…


Rock Rub is available in 50g pots at £6.72 or 400g pots at a really reasonable £14.99. Further details at

Extras Featured Reviews

Boot Bananas

Boot BananasBoot Bananas are a novel and effective way to take care of those stinky cycling shoes.


In essence Boot Bananas are full size banana replicas that deodorise and absorb moisture from post-ride shoes using a range of natural active ingredients including bamboo charcoal, sodium bicarbonate and zeolite. The latter is a mineral that was used to absorb radioactive caesium following the Fukushima disaster, so it’s fair to say it will cope with your bike shoes.


Instructions for use almost go without saying: remove your feet from the shoes (if you need to be told this you probably shouldn’t be tackling shoes alone), stuff in the Boot Bananas and leave them to work their magic hanging from the integrated carabiner. From time to time they need to be refreshed by simply setting to dry in the sun or near a radiator; eventually they will give up the ghost entirely – the makers claim a good six months depending on use and, helpfully, they slowly change colour (or ripen) as an indicator.


Boot BananasThe natural fragrances used are lavender, lemon, patchouli and tea-tree oils and whilst the we had feared that lavender would leave our shoes smelling like a Sunday afternoon at nan’s, the scents are actually very well judged and not in the least overpowering.


Boot Bananas are a truly useful – and fun – addition to any cyclist’s bag of tricks.


£13.99 a pair Boot Bananas can be purchased online at or from a range of stockists.

Extras Featured Recovery Reviews

Hot Ginger Muscle Soak

Hot Ginger Muscle SoakHaving launched with Hot Ginger Muscle Rub and Cool Peppermint Muscle Spritz, both very good, Natural Hero added Hot Ginger Muscle Soak to their offering. Never wanting to pass up a hot bath in the name of work, Cyclo took the plunge.


Whilst both the Hot Ginger Muscle Rub and Cool Peppermint Muscle Spritz boast 98% and 99% natural ingredients respectively the Natural Hero Hot Ginger Muscle Soak goes the full distance with 100% credentials. This means there are no parabens or added sodium laureth sulphate (both cosmetic and toiletry staples) to worry about. What the soak does contain is a blend of premium grade ginger root, rosemary, and sweet fennel essential oils that soak tired muscles; the ginger also adds a glowing warmth to proceedings. A dash of sweet almond and starflower essential oils, both of which nourish and condition the skin, are excellent addition when you consider the damage that the elements do to the exposed expanses of the average cyclist.


Look, we’re not necessarily suggesting you light some candles and put on a little Katie Melua, but a recuperative soak after a tough race or training session makes good sense as part of the recovery process and Natural Hero’s Hot Ginger Muscle Soak ticks plenty of boxes.


Hot Ginger Muscle Soak comes in packs of six 18ml bottles, each good for one soaking. Available online from, amongst others,

Apparel Featured Reviews

Quoc Pham Hardcourt Mid

Quoc Pham Hardcourt MidCyclo have long been fans of Quoc Pham, purveyors of ‘classically-inspired, hand-lasted cycling shoes’, but despite trying a few varieties, we’ve never tested a pair of the Bike Polo inspired ‘Hardcourt’. We decided to put that right…


Known for SPD compatible classic leather shoes the Hardcourt is the company’s only departure into Nylon. The Hardcourt comes in ‘Low’ and ‘Mid’ models, with the Mid offering a higher, desert boot-like, shape and the Low more easily passing for a rather smart pair of minimalist trainers. We road tested the Quoc Pham Hardcourt Mid for a week using various SPD equipped bikes.


Quoc Pham Hardcourt MidThe company claims that it provides ‘style, comfort and functionality in ways that allow cyclists to seamlessly transition from cycle to sidewalk to office.’ In the case of the Hardcourt that holds true; the black on black styling will go with pretty much anything you’re wearing. Off the bike the heavily recessed soles mean you soon forget you are wearing anything but a normal, very comfortable, pair of boots.


Fitting the SPD clips on the sole was effortless with everything you need supplied in nice orange cloth ‘after care’ bag. The reflective strips on the heel are a nice touch, although they came a little scuffed out of the box.


However, it’s on the bike that they really shine. That’s down to two factors – the fit and the sole. The Mid offers seven lace eyelets so that you can pull the body of the shoe as tight as you like and it stays that way; the padding on the upper panels add to the comfort levels. The hardened mid-sole showed zero flex, and gave a secure and effortless pedal action.


Quoc Pham Hardcourt MidThe shoe softened and ‘broke in’ after just a few days constant wear, stayed snug, was wind resistant but stayed cool even with prolonged use. However, bear in mind that this boot is water ‘resistant’ not waterproof. In heavy rain water will seep through the tight weave and soak your feet.


The price of £159 is a little higher than competitors such as Chrome and DZR although neither produces an SPD shoe that directly compares.


So, if you are looking for a casual, low maintenance, boot for sports or urban hops the Quoc Pham Hardcourt Mid does the job in a comfortable, functional way. Rumour has it that each pair takes a day to make. Judging by the quality of materials and attention to detail that wouldn’t surprise us.


Further detail and online purchase of the Hardcourt and the full range of Quoc Pham shoes can be had at