Scarpa R-Evolution Pro GTX Walking Boots

Scarpa R-Evolution Pro GTX Walking Boots

On our trip around North Wales last weekend I finally managed to pick up some new walking boots. I’ve been looking for some for so long now, I’m just glad I’ve found some!

I’ve had some Salomon boots for a few years now, and they’ve been good enough for the walks I was doing. They’re just starting to show their age a bit now. Letting water in and a well used sole having been battered by plenty of dog walking miles with Jenson.

Looking for a new pair of boots, I knew I’d need to spend a little bit more this time. (Well my Dad actually bought my last pair but that’s another story!) If I want the boots to last and look after my feet, cheap boots just wouldn’t make the cut. I also want to be a little more adventurous this year with the routes I’m keen to try, so it’s important I have the right kit.

Scarpa R-Evolution Pro GTX Walking Boots

I did actually buy some Mammut boots last year from Go Outdoors, but they only lasted two weeks before one of the eyelets came off.

To avoid disappointment with another pair of boots, I went to where the knowledge of walking kit would be…Betws Y Coed. I spent so much time there as a kid, I always love going back there.

Scarpa R-Evolution Pro GTX Walking Boots

Me and my Dad went round a few shops, but it was only in Cunningham’s where the staff filled me with confidence in what they were saying. Grant, one of the staff, was extremely helpful and wasn’t just about selling me the most expensive boots.

Scarpa R-Evolution Pro GTX Walking BootsScarpa R-Evolution Pro GTX Walking Boots

I tried on a few pairs just see what different styles felt like, but took a liking to these Scarpa boots fairly quickly. A firm sole and they really hugged my feet. I’ve not been able to wear Scarpa in the past due to having wide feet, but I’m getting on with these really well.

What do you get from the boot?

– When I get a little more adventurous next Winter, I can fit crampons to them to go exploring in the snow!

– Anti-Abrasion rubber in high wear areas of the boot

– Memory foam padding for a better fit

– Gore-Tex for a breathable but waterproof boot

– Stiff sole for stability on more rugged terrain

I’ve done this post as a little first look I guess. I’ve not tried them in the vast Welsh mountains yet, just Bulkeley Hill Woods in Cheshire. But the 6 mile loop we did was enough to break them in!

Review: Ryder Alumia 1600 Front Light

Cycling Light Review - Ryder Alumia 1600A good front light is a necessity for winter riding. Not only is it good to have something for when you run out of light at the end of a ride, having a daytime light will help you be seen by other road users, especially when the sun is low.

Choosing a light can be as hard as choosing a bike. With lots of options and price points, it can be a complete minefield.

So when the guys at Cycle Republic gave us the chance to test out their new Ryder Alumia 1600, I jumped at the chance to see what this brand was all about.

Cycling Light Review - Ryder Alumia 1600Due to an injury and weather conditions that always seem to be against me, I haven’t been able to get out with the light. However, Ryan is already deep into his training for another season of time trialling and road races. So he took it out and this is how he got on.

The light arrived with minimalistic packaging, with a simple handlebar mount and a USB charging cable (which is conveniently the same as a Garmin cable). The mounting bracket took seconds to fit and after a quick charge it was time to ride.

My testing ground was the Lincolnshire Fens, these often exposed long straight lanes with little light pollution, offered a great place to really see what the light was capable of.

As the name suggests the Alumia 1600 is a 1600 lumen light. In other words, it’s really bright! Starting off in daylight I put the light into daytime mode, which is a slow flash.

As the sun started to set it was easy enough to turn up the brightness, just a simple press of the big button on the top of the unit. The button also doubles up as the battery indicator, with a simple traffic light system telling you how much battery is left.

The first test for the light was to see how sturdy the bracket was, I purposely picked out a truly horrible piece of road that was all broken up and full of potholes. I hit it hard and chose an unforgiving line and even bunny hopped a few holes. And while the light rattled around a little, it stayed put, and not once did it move so much as to stop me seeing the road ahead.

Cycling Light Review - Ryder Alumia 1600

While having a bright light is good, what a lot of lights lack is a large beam width. It’s all well and good seeing directly in front of you. But being able to see the whole road is a major benefit.

Cycling Light Review - Ryder Alumia 1600The Ryder has a particularly wide beam width, even with the light mounted to the left of my stem, I could easily see the right hand edge of the road. What was even more impressive is that somehow, the light managed to light up my front wheel. Something I’ve never seen from a light before. While zipping along at 20mph I had no trouble seeing what was ahead and mostly rode without the light on maximum brightness (to save power and not dazzle oncoming drivers).

Cycling Light Review - Ryder Alumia 1600Another neat little feature is the the Alumia has a USB port and can act as a power bank for your Garmin/phone/etc.

Cycling Light Review - Ryder Alumia 1600At a RRP of £100 (currently on sale for £80) the Alumia 1600 is a good value for money light perfect for night riding on the road. We’ll be getting out over the next few weeks and possibly see how it manages on the trails!

Cycling Light Review - Ryder Alumia 1600

Review: Speedo Tri-Suit


Speedo Tri-Suit Review, courtesy of Simply Swim

Going into my first Triathlon was a bit like going into the unknown. I had no clue how my body would react to it or if there was any special kit I needed. It was a sprint distance Tri in a swimming pool, so thankfully I didn’t need to splurge out on a wetsuit! However, I did need a Tri-Suit.

I was looking around on the Internet and trying to figure out what size and brand I should go for, then the opportunity arose to review one for swim shop, Simply Swim. Looking through their website it felt like I’d struck gold. A reasonably priced Tri-Suit by Speedo. It looked great online and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t drawn to the pink stripes on it! I knew I wanted a predominantly black suit, but I like to keep things a bit colourful too!

When it arrived I was surprised how well it fitted my athletic body shape. I’m forever struggling with sizing due to my broad shoulders and chunky cyclist quads. The only query I did have was how I would deal with the thin padding on the bike. The padding can’t obviously be as bulky as normal cycling shorts, or it would just fill with water!

On the morning of the Tri, I was eager to get into my Tri-Suit and race. Luckily I was one of the first off so I was soon in the pool. I’d only trained in the pool in a normal swimming costume, so I was surprised how comfy and non-restricting swimming in the Tri-Suit was. Due to the wide panel that goes between the shoulders, I thought this may restrict my shoulders. However, the more you look at it, the outer parts of that panel are mesh, meaning the main section sit right in between my shoulder. Hence, little restriction whilst swimming.

There is also another mesh section a bit further down the back and in the centre. I felt this also aided the swim, allowed me to get into my normal position on the bike, as well as accommodating the slight twisting of the upper body on the run.

Riding through the Glyn Ceiriog Valley and out on the run, I was expecting the legs of the Tri-Suit to rise a fair bit. I have this dilemma with my cycling shorts quite a bit! But I can genuinely say I had no issues with the Tri-Suit legs rising up, which is most likely thanks to the grips on the inside of the legs. With some women complaining about discomfort in their suits, I’d obviously chosen my Tri-Suit well!

All of the seaming is overlocked meant I had no issue with discomfort from the suit rubbing on my skin as I put all my effort into getting round. The thin padding I mentioned previously did its job particularly well too. Granted it was only around 14 miles on the bike, but the majority of that was sitting down.

For the £80 it was being sold for, you are definitely getting a lot for your money. It’s clearly designed around the task in hand as well as comfort for the athlete using it. I’m even considering getting a swim suit to train in, as I was much more comfortable swimming in my Tri-Suit than my normal swim suit.

For a newbie to Sprint Triathlon’s like me, this suit was perfect to get me round my first Triathlon, and most importantly make me want to do another one!

Find out how I got on during the Triathlon through the link below, as well as my first thoughts on the Tri-Suit when it arrived and its detailing…

Chirk Tri

First Thoughts on a Speedo Tri-Suit

Speedo Tri Suit : First Look


If you’re not familiar with my blog, it involves a lot of talking (well writing I guess!) about bikes and other things going on in my life…one of those things being training for my first Triathlon. And my hunt for a Tri Suit was made surprisingly easier thanks to Simply Swim!

I’ll be letting my lovely readers know how I get on with it after using it for my Tri in April, but I wanted to write a few first thoughts down first.

On the initial try on of the suit I’m not going to lie…I wasn’t sure where to start! The built in sports bra that zips up the front under the main body of the tri-suit meant there was an ‘order’ that made it much easier to get on than any other way! There was a lot of squeezing and twisting involved…but eventually I was in and it fits surprisingly well! I’m always a bit hesitant to get clothing/kit off the internet because I’m always worried it won’t fit. But the Speedo Tri Suit didn’t disappoint.

Despite it being mainly black I love the pink and high-vis detailing. There’s a bit of colour, but not over the top and maybe the high-vis detailing will make me more visible when out on the ride and run. It even has two handy pockets on the rear to hold gels!

When it comes to leg width of lycra shorts I often have issues, but I was happy to find out this Tri-Suit could accommodate my cyclist quads…despite being a Small! They even have a men’s equivalent with green detailing…have a look at it here.

For £80, to me it seems the perfect suit for someone wanting to have a go at a Triathlon. From experience, I know it’s easy to get carried away looking at all of the kit you think you need, but for your first Tri? Does it really need to be more complicated than it needs to be?

Looking through Simply Swim’s vibrant range of products for all ages, I might even pop an order in myself to get some brighter swim suits to use in the Summer!