Thursday, 28 July 2011

Review of the Gelert Solo Tent I Used for Paris to Venice

You can, if necessary, get everything you need for a two-week expedition without spending a fortune. 

For a start, you probably have quite a few items you can adapt or make do with. In my case, for example, I used a £10 Millets backpack as a perfectly serviceable top bag (it contained my bargain priced Millets sleeping bag), but a lightweight tent is vital for cycle touring and I didn't have one of those.

After some research I took a chance on one of the cheapest tents I could find, the Gelert Solo One Man Tent, weighing in at just 1.5kg:
I was a bit concerned about the low waterproof rating (1500mm head) and the small dimensions, but other users had stayed dry through rainy nights and at least one person taller than me had used it successfully. As it was only £25 on Amazon it would be a bargain, even if it fell apart after a fortnight.

It is small - you might say cramped - but I was comfortable enough lying down, and the Gelert Solo kept me dry and warm on some cold and rainy nights. Being low, it's very good on windy nights, too, AND it was still as good as new at the end of the trip.

The full length opening is essential for climbing in and out, but as long as you're reasonably agile, not too tall (no taller than about 181cm or 6ft) and only plan to sleep in, you will find it perfectly adequate, too.

The Solo is obviously a popular buy and the price has risen since last year, but it's still available via Amazon for under £32, including free delivery. You can buy it here:

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Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Not Only That, But Also...

As well as squeezing in some short training rides and runs, and dropping half a stone, and trying to do businessy stuff as well, I've finally updated the John Smith Cycling blog.

It's still a very basic blog, like this one, but it serves the purpose, namely to tell all you keen UK-based cyclists about the latest great offers from Evans Cycles, Wiggle and others that are helping me to fund my charity rides.

(It's not cheap getting to and from France, for example, so all contributions are welcome, including donations for travel! At the moment, my participation in London to Paris in September is hanging in the balance.)

You can also get to Evans' and Wiggle's sites from the links on this blog, but I'll be detailing offers, promotion codes and so on on John Smith Cycling from now on. This week, for example, there's 20% off all cycle computers at Evans Cycles when you use the Promotion Code you'll find in Monday's post.

I've also set up a Facebook Page for John Smith Cycles, so please visit the Page and Like it! Naturally, the offers, etc, will be on there as well. Just click the banner ads (after you've Liked the Page).


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Pedalling as Fast as I Can!

Well, it's been a while since I found time to post on here, but I have at least found some time to get out and pedal. (And peddle, as I'll reveal later.)

Being somewhat short of free time, but still wanting to get fitter, stronger and a bit lighter if possible, I've been concentrating on shorter, more intensive rides, mixed in with some running as well. After not running for a while, the first couple of times I went out on foot seemed quite odd. My occasional dash to the shops didn't prepare me for the way my legs felt after running a mile or two, and I felt a long way away from the half-marathon runner I used to be!

Proof that running and cycling use different muscles and that our limbs modify themselves very effectively for specific needs.

So, I was pleased when my running legs seemed to return last week, but now I worried: would that hamper my cycling?

Well, possibly. Now I can time my rides accurately I know I did my fastest 15 mile ride of the year the week before I felt my running improve, and since then I've actually become measurably slower. Today I was one mph slower than on that fastest ride.

However, it's probably also significant that my fastest ride happened on the second of two consecutive riding days - the first time I'd ridden two days in a row since Paris to Venice.

So maybe I just proved what I've been saying all along: that I will be Stronger Tomorrow!


PS. I've also lost just over half a stone in weight in the last month, so I must be doing something right :-)

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