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 News

Adistar Belgements Collection Launched

Adistar Belgements CollectionWith the winter months edge closer, adidas launches its FW15 adistar belgements collection of apparel, built to perform in the worst conditions whilst embodying all that adistar is renowned for: aerodynamic race fit, industry-leading innovation, and sleek designs.


Designed to stand up to all-day rides in cold weather, the adistar belgements FW15 range includes a unique fabric composition for tough winter conditions. There are also a host of technical modernisations including Primaloft insulation to the jackets and DWR coating and finishes to all jackets and jerseys, which protect from water spray and snow, and ensure the outer surfaces are quick drying and easily packable.


The FW15 range includes the adistar belgements jacket (male £140, female £135), jerseys – which are ‘jet fighter wing inspired’ – at £95, bibtights at £150 and adidas netz.werk base layers priced at £35. All are available now at


Take a look at the new apparel as it was put through its paces by the Berlin based team, 8 Bar, below:

With the winter months edge closer, adidas launches its FW15 adistar belgements collection of apparel...

With the winter months edge closer, adidas launches its FW15 adistar belgements collection of apparel...

With the winter months edge closer, adidas launches its FW15 adistar belgements collection of apparel...

With the winter months edge closer, adidas launches its FW15 adistar belgements collection of apparel...

Featured News

Near Miss Project

Near Miss ProjectThe Near Miss Project – a pioneering study researching cycling incidents that don’t result in injuries: ‘near misses’ – is returning for a second year and is calling on cyclists from across the United Kingdom to be involved.


Registration for the study, which takes place between Monday October 19 and Sunday November 1 is open now. Participants will be asked to complete an online diary for one day over a two-week period, sharing experiences from their cycle trips on that day and whether they have had any near miss experiences. Cyclists wishing to sign up to take part in the Near Miss Project’s second study can find out more information and register interest on


Study lead and Senior Lecturer in Transport at the University of Westminster, Dr Rachel Aldred, commented ‘The Near Miss Project was the first to generate per-mile near miss rates for cyclists in the UK. The second year will take this forward, asking whether things have changed, and gathering more data that will allow us to drill down into different incident types and how they affect people. Increasingly organisations such as TfL are seeing near misses as very important both for improving cycling experience, and for helping to reduce injury risk.’


A new addition to this year’s Near Miss research is the inclusion of a question exploring participants’ cycling experience – and whether they are new or returning cyclists, or have been cycling for a year or more. This addition is in response to suggestions that this might make a difference to near miss rates.


Organising partner, Blaze, creators of the Laserlight, an innovation that helps increase cyclists visibility by projecting a bike symbol ahead of them, was instrumental in the facilitation of this study. Blaze Founder & CEO, Emily Brooke said: ‘We are so pleased that the Near Miss Project is back for a second year. Data collection from cyclists is imperative to helping people better understand how to make cycling safer, for everyone. The 2014 study attracted 1,500 people and this year we want to get at least 2,000 signed up from all over the United Kingdom. We urge everyone to get involved and help achieve our overall aim of helping to making the roads safer for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.’


Further details of the Near Miss Project at


Featured Features

Le Tour One Day Ahead – Part 2

Helen RussellLe Tour One Day Ahead, which aimed to raise £1m for Cure Leukaemia, was an epic charity ride that took place over the summer covering the full 3,344km Tour de France 2015 route. Former-GB triathlete Helen Russell (Gold medallist – 2011 ITU World Sprint Duathlon) was amongst the plucky few who took part and here, in the second of a three-part series, she shares her experience with Cyclo…


At breakfast the team were introduced to our guest cyclist for the next two days – Lance Armstrong. Most of us, including myself, had met him before at our training camp in Aspen and it was good to see him again. As we arrived at the stage start we were met by a melee of press and fans.


I was worried about what speed Lance would set but he was very kind and set a reasonable pace out of Muret to our lunch stop where once again we were met with the world’s media. I found the afternoon harder as there were three categorised climbs and as we eventually rode into the town of Rodez, where there was a final kick of a 400meter rise at a 9.6% gradient.


The following day started again with a press entourage for company and an immediate Category 4 climb of the Cote de Ponte de Salars and the Col de Vernhette. We were joined by the women’s team Donnons des Elle who are also cycling the whole of the TdF route to raise the profile of women’s cycling and advocate for a women’s Tour de France.


Helen RussellThis was one of my favourite moments of the Le Tour One Day Ahead so far as it was a real honour to cycle with them and share experiences of, and visions for, women’s cycling. Another highlight of the day was in the afternoon where a young boy in an Astana team jersey joined our peloton and was welcomed at the front by Lance where he gave his all to stay with our group. Lance pretended to be really blowing hard and struggling to stay with the boy and it was such a cute moment.


It seems that most stages this year have a nasty end and this day’s finish was up a 3kilometre lung-busting climb at an average of 10%! After battling through the press to get onto the team bus we said our goodbyes to Lance who gave a moving farewell speech and wished us luck for the rest of the challenge…


Of course Lance is a controversial figure but his presence on Le Tour One Day Ahead undoubtedly raised the profile of our challenge with media reports being broadcast worldwide. This attention has translated into more money for the charity Cure Leukaemia, which is what is important. At the end of the day this challenge isn’t about cycling it’s about raising money to fund research nurses and clinical trials. Some of the patients we met at the Centre for Clinical Excellence knew very little about Lance Armstrong, but what they did know was that more money was needed to fund the pioneering work of the Centre. I was actually surprised at the positive response Lance received along the route with the vast majority of people cheering and applauding him as we passed.


Le Tour One Day AheadAfter the excitement of the last two days, stages 15 and 16 were more peaceful and almost mirror-images of each other in terms of their profile. Stage 15 through the Rhone Valley had two large descents whilst stage 16 was a day of long and steady climbing into Gap, the gateway into the Alps. The final descent of the day was down the Col de Mense, where in 2003 Lance Armstrong had to cut across a field after Joseba Beloki came off and Armstrong was forced off the road! Luckily I managed to stay upright all the way down the descent into Gap and am enjoying my rest day, before tackling four brutal days of climbing in the Alps.


Part Three of Helen’s Le Tour One Day Ahead feature will be published on Cyclo soon – follow us on Twitter for all the latest news, plus feature and review alerts. You can read Part One of her report here. Helen’s efforts in Le Tour One Day were supported by SportsCover Direct.


Further details of Le Tour One Day Ahead at and, most importantly, you can help add to Helen’s incredible fundraising total for Cure Leukaemia by donating at JustGiving.

Photo Credits: David Walsh and Joolze Dymond



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,

Featured Features

Le Tour One Day Ahead – Part 1

Helen RussellLe Tour One Day Ahead, an ambitious charity ride covering the full 3,344km 2015 Tour de France route with ambitions to raise £1m for Cure Leukaemia, captured the public imagination this summer. Amongst those taking part was ex-British triathlete Helen Russell (Gold medallist – 2011 ITU World Sprint Duathlon) and here, in the first of a three-part series, she shares her experience with Cyclo.


After cycling just over 2,000miles, including 40,000meters of ascent and burning an estimated 95,000calories I am back home in the UK having completed the Le Tour-One Day Ahead challenge for Cure Leukaemia. It was without doubt the hardest thing I have ever done and was a struggle both physically and mentally – not helped by the fact that I needed ten stitches on only the second stage! The first week of this year’s Tour de France was touted as being one of the hardest for years-and I can vouch for that…


The Tour started in the Dutch town of Utrecht with a leisurely team ride around the 13.8km opening prologue. If only each stage could be so easy! On paper the next day looked like it would be an easy first long stage, with a typical Dutch flat profile, but things don’t always turn out as anticipated. Unfortunately at about 100km into the stage one of my team members got their wheel caught in a bridge extension track near the town of Hellevoetsluis and came down bringing another rider and myself down. I landed on the second rider’s disk brake, which sliced open my thigh.


Helen RussellI looked down and could see that the injury was serious and thought that my One Day Ahead ride was over before it had even started. However, the team medic reassured me that he could get me riding again and gave me ten stiches in the mechanics van at the side of the road. I don’t think he quite expected me to be riding again quite so soon, as I insisted that I get immediately back on the bike to finish the stage. I just thought of all the people that had sponsored me and didn’t want to let them down. I was allowed to get back in the saddle, but only on the proviso that if I felt any tugging on the stiches – or if the wound started to bleed – that I would have to dismount.


I think I rode the rest of the stage on pure adrenaline; there was no way that I was not going to finish the first long day. I was, however, dreading the next morning when the adrenaline would have worn off and a decision would be made as to whether I could continue. I was relieved to have good travel insurance with SportsCover Direct, as I knew that if there were any complications or if I needed to seek extra medical treatment or even be sent home I was covered…


Due to the excellent work of the medic I was given the go ahead to start the following day and thanks to the rest of the team, who looked after me and kept to a slower pace, I was able to finish the stage up the infamous Mur de Huy or ‘Huy Wall’ – a 1.3km climb with a peak gradient of 25%.


Stage four was a stage that I had been very nervous about for weeks as, at 223.5km, it was the longest leg – but not only that-there was also the small matter of seven cobbled sections!


Not surprisingly the organisers were concerned about me riding the cobbles as a fall would almost certainly result in me going home. However, for me this was such an iconic stage that I really wanted to conquer it so it was agreed that I could attempt the first cobbled section and, if I handled it well and felt comfortable, then I could tackle the other sections. I had been told that the best way to ride cobbles is to attack them, ride quickly and don’t hold on too tight. I was already feeling angry about my injury and therefore channelled it into riding aggressively and much to my surprise I enjoyed the cobbles and felt confident, which meant that I could continue to the stage finish. I was grateful to have been given in advance the advice of wearing two pairs of mitts over the cobbles, as the constant friction had caused many in the team to get blisters.


After the cobbles my body was feeling very tired going into stage five (Arras to Amiens.) That evening my partner arrived for two nights and it was so good to receive a big hug and some TLC! It was just the lift I needed after a tough few days.


Abbeville to Le Havre saw the first rain of the Tour and the coastal route meant that there was a very strong crosswind, resulting in a tough stage.


Stage seven was relatively flat; starting from the cheese producing town of Livarot and going through rural villages and over rolling hills to Fougeres. Stage eight from Rennes to Mur-de-Bretagne was another rolling stage, with only two category climbs. However, one of them was at the end of the stage and after 180km in 35degree heat the 1.3km at an average of 8.4% was a real challenge. Still, the short 28km time trial from Vannes to Plumelec the next day offered welcome respite from the long stages and the team used it as an opportunity to recover. We headed out early as we had a long coach transfer to the Pyrenees, which was actually harder than the day’s ride!


Helen RussellI was looking forward to my first day in the Pyrenees, as I usually love mountain climbing. However, I got a shock when we reached the first mountain stage finish at the Hors Category Col du Soudet, making its debut appearance in the Tour de France. I didn’t have as many gears as I usually use in the mountains and felt like I was grinding all the way up the 15km climb. I just couldn’t get into my normal rhythm and contemplated getting off the bike a few times. However that morning we had seen a video message from Leukaemia patients at the Clinical Centre for Excellence at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and I knew that the pain they had been through and in many cases are still going through, was much worse than what I was feeling and so kept on grinding to the summit, where my frustration took over and I broke down in tears. That evening the team’s mechanics realised that if I were to survive the rest of the Pyrenees then I would need some extra gears and so, much to my relief, changed the gearing.


The next morning there was a sense of trepidation on the team bus as we would be climbing the infamous cols of the Aspin and the Tourmalet. After my struggle up the Soudet I was really hoping that the extra gears would make a difference.


We reached the Category 1 Col d’Aspin in the afternoon and much to my relief the new gearing meant that I was able to comfortably reach the summit. The second major climb of the day was the Hors Category Tourmalet – at 17.1km at a gradient of 7.3% it is a legendry mountain of the Tour de France. Lots of the cols have kilometre markers that count down how far you have left until the summit. I focussed on reaching the various landmarks of the climb, including snow protection tunnels, hotels and shops whilst counting down those markers… As we rode into the finish at Cauterets we had conquered six categorised climbs!


On the final day in the Pyrenees we were due to climb three cols and tackle our second mountain summit finish. However, after climbing the Porte d’Aspet and the Col de la Core we were informed that the Port de Lers was closed due to someone sprinkling tacks on the descent and therefore we wouldn’t be able to do the climb. I was absolutely shattered at this stage and when given the option of going up an alternative col or heading straight to the final col I took the latter option and joined the others in the team who had ridden the alternative col at the foot of the Plateau de Beille.


This was without doubt my favourite climb so far on the One Day Ahead challenge. Almost the entire route of the 15.8km climb was lined with spectators from all over the world encouraging us to keep going and many recognised us as being part of the ‘Geoff Thomas Challenge.’ There was an incredible party atmosphere with music and pop-up bars along the climb. I reached the top just after 8pm – it had been an incredibly long day but we were all excited and slightly anxious about what the following day and what our guest arrival would bring…


Part Two of Helen’s Le Tour One Day Ahead feature will be published on Cyclo soon – follow us on Twitter for all the latest news, plus feature and review alerts.


Further details of Le Tour One Day Ahead at and, most importantly, you can help add to Helen’s incredible fundraising total for Cure Leukaemia by donating at JustGiving.


Photo Credits: David Walsh and Joolze Dymond



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.