Aftershokz Trekz Air Bone Conduction Headphones Review: Safest Headphones For Cycling?

Aftershokz Trekz Air review

I am one of those terrible people that wears headphones whilst I’m cycling along.

Before you throw me on the heap as a negligent husband and father, and a liability on the road, hear me out.

I have a pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones. I ride with only one earpiece in, so I’m aware of my surroundings and can hear traffic approaching over my right shoulder.

It’s not an ideal solution though. Whilst I attempt to keep the wires in place by wendling them through the straps on my helmet, the dangling earpiece has a habit of gradually slipping down and pulling the wire tight around my neck.

And one ear of sound is not ideal, whether listening to the podcast (I tend to listen to people talking rather than singing) or listening out for other road users.

The solution, a set of headphones that don’t go in your ears, leaving your lugholes free to sense the white van rapidly approaching your rear end.

Enter the Aftershokz Trekz Air wireless bone conduction headphones (so many ‘kz’, so few ‘c’s).

I’ve been meaning to get a set of Aftershokz for ages. But like most things that involve spending some money, I conveniently forgot to take any action. Finally I thought I’d buy a pair and review them for this ‘ere blog(kz).

Read moreAftershokz Trekz Air Bone Conduction Headphones Review: Safest Headphones For Cycling?

Campagnolo Zonda C17 Wheelset Review: My Quest For A New Pair Of Road Bike Wheels

Trek Domane with Campagnolo Zonda C17 wheelset

I have a habit of using things until well after they’ve stopped working properly.

Partly this is my profound Yorkshireness (deep pockets/short arms), partly inertia. Unless something gets really annoying, I’m unlikely to do anything about it.

Early in 2018 (yes, this is a long term review!) my rear wheel got so annoying I finally decided to do something about it.

I needed to buy myself some new road bike wheels.

Cue the intro music.

Read moreCampagnolo Zonda C17 Wheelset Review: My Quest For A New Pair Of Road Bike Wheels

Hybrid vs Road Bike: What Is The Difference? (And Can I Use A Hybrid For A Sportive?!)

hybrid vs road bike

Some experienced cyclists might scoff at this question (though surely not you, noble reader of Sportive Cyclist). I think it’s a perfectly valid one.

I haven’t done a survey (perhaps I should), but I can’t imagine many prospective sportive cyclists wake up one day, having not ridden a bike in 20+ years, and think, ‘I must sign up for a sportive,’ and, while they’re at it, ‘I must buy a shiny, narrow-tired road steed‘.

Many people may own a bike already, perhaps for commuting or for family cycling activities, and there’s a fair chance that this is a hybrid (or perhaps a ‘roadified’ mountain bike – fitted with less knobbly tires etc).

For those that do awaken having undergone a cycling epiphany, they’ll generally seek to buy one bike to satisfy their new-found pedal-powered needs (bit of commuting, bit of child-seat lugging, bit of fitness riding). A hybrid-for-all-seasons might prove a tempting prospect.

(Of course, then they buy it and immediately the Pandora’s box is opened and they become subject to the one bike ownership formula to rule them all.)

I knew a girl at school called Pandora. Never got to see her box though – Spike, Notting Hill

Read moreHybrid vs Road Bike: What Is The Difference? (And Can I Use A Hybrid For A Sportive?!)

How To Measure Power On An Indoor Trainer

Elite Crono Fluid trainer on patio

Everyone seems obsessed about power these days.

Chris Froome spends all his time looking down at the power figure on his bike computer (on his stem) so that he can measure out his effort over a ludicrous long distance time trial that results in him winning the Giro d’Italia.

Sticking with Team Sky, power meters are accused of being the main tool by which the Sky Train supposedly sucks the excitement out of life on every Alpine Tour climb*.

(* No I don’t believe that is the case).

Back in the (very much) amateur cycling world, I succumbed to the promise that having a power meter (I’ve got a ‘left only’ Stages crank-mounted one) would instantly transform my training approach and fire my fitness levels into the stratosphere (spoiler alert: it turns out you still have to do the work…).

The good thing about training indoors, if you’re interested in measuring power, is that there are many more options versus measuring power on an outdoors ride. And not all of them involve departing with vast amounts of moolah.

Let’s get into them.

Read moreHow To Measure Power On An Indoor Trainer

The (Bike) Tools That I Use Most: 6 ‘Must Have’ Implements

6-bike-tools-for-road-cycling

Gweetings. In this post I’m going to talk about the bike tools I use the most on my magical cycling adventures. Or ‘bike maintenance’, as normal people might call it.

No particular science was applied (plus ça change). I took a mental canter through my memory banks and tried to think about the implements I’d had most cause to use in recent years.

Then I wrote them down. Hopefully this will prove useful if you’re starting your own cycling tool collection, or wondering what all the cool grease gurus are tinkering with.

Or something. On with the show!

Read moreThe (Bike) Tools That I Use Most: 6 ‘Must Have’ Implements

Into The Light: CatEye Volt 800 and Lezyne KTV Pro Drive Rear 75 Review

Road bike with front and rear lights

The biggest (first world) problem in my life is finding time to do the things I say I want to do.

I’m not unusual – we’ve all got demands on our time. Work stuff. Partner stuff. Kids stuff. Houses stuff.

All that stuff tends to crowd out my time to get out on the bike.

No more is this felt than during the winter months.

Work always seems to be busier. The hours available to ride are fewer and there’s more likelihood that the hours that are available are marred by inclement (at best) or thoroughly miserable weather.

Read moreInto The Light: CatEye Volt 800 and Lezyne KTV Pro Drive Rear 75 Review

New Bike Lights: Mont Discovers How To Cycle In The Dark…

Cycling in the twilight

I’ve written quite a bit about removing the barriers to bike riding.

Not the big barriers – the lack of a bike, say, or an injury – but the little ones. The ones that, when aggregated, and mixed in with rain pelting sideways at your window, conspire to prevent you cycling, even when you want to.

The fact that you’ve packed your (treasured) lycra battlewear in the back of your wardrobe. That your water bottle is at one end of the house, your bike computer (out of charge) is at the other. That the screws attaching cleat to shoe are starting to come loose.

Read moreNew Bike Lights: Mont Discovers How To Cycle In The Dark…

Garmin Edge 820 vs Edge 520: Battle Royale (No Holds Barred)

Garmin Edge 820 vs Edge 520

When I first wrote this post, my brother-in-law’s Garmin Edge 500 had finally given up the ghost and he was in the market for a new bike computer.

I took the opportunity to research the Edge 520 and Edge 820 in detail and consider which would be the best replacement bike computer. I then used this research to write this post, which you can use to help make your buying decision if you’re in the same boat (or on the same bike).

I could keep you in suspenders as to which one he went for (in fact, which one the family clubbed together to buy him for his birthday) until the end of this post…. but it’s really not that exciting (whisper: we went for the Edge 520).

If you want to want to find out which is best for you (and if I’ll buy you one for *your* birthday), read on (MacDuff).

Bike Computers Mentioned In This Post…

… in case you didn’t read the introduction, today I’m comparing the:

(BTW, these are affiliate links – if you click one and buy something, I get a small commission and you get the warm glow of supporting the Sportive Cyclist website – whilst paying no more than normal.)

Incidentally, both devices are great. I’m sure you’d be happy with either. But if you want to know how they differ (and which would win in a fight), it’s probably time to read on…

Read moreGarmin Edge 820 vs Edge 520: Battle Royale (No Holds Barred)

Shimano Dura-Ace vs Ultegra: Clash Of The Groupset Titans

In this post I compare the key differences and, more importantly, the similarities between Shimano’s Dura-Ace and Ultegra groupsets.

Judging by the popularity of my other posts comparing different rungs on the Shimano road gears product ladder, I thought it high time that I looked at the tippity top of the company’s groupset range (Dura-Ace) and how it compares to the next rung down (Ultegra).

So, behold, here are my considered musings (alright, ill-considered musings).

Read moreShimano Dura-Ace vs Ultegra: Clash Of The Groupset Titans

The Ultimate Guide To Pedals For Sportive Cyclists 2019

In this post I’m going to help you pick the best road bike pedals for you. This might come down to price, weight, how they look or the amount of float*.

(* Huh? Read on to find out what float is) 

Fitting the right set of pedals to my road bike has improved my enjoyment of cycling immeasurably. Pedals maketh the man bike.

For too long it seems I used the wrong pedals. In the end I developed chronic pain in my knee, I couldn’t ride for more than an hour, the muscles in my right thigh shrank (fact!).

Now this wasn’t all down to pedals (flat feet and weak stabilising muscles played a part), but when I got the right ones (ooh, you’re itching to know which ones…), the pain went almost overnight.

So strap clip in folks, and lets go for a ride (with words…).

(Also I’ll tell you which pedals sorted out my knee pain). Onward!

Read moreThe Ultimate Guide To Pedals For Sportive Cyclists 2019