Archive for the ‘Video’ Category

Spatz Roadman overshoes review

Sunday, September 15th, 2019 | Reviews, Video

In this video, I will review the Spatz Roadman overshoes.

I dislike cycling in winter because my feet get wet. And when my feet get wet, I become miserable. There is a solution: overshoes. Waterproof covers that go over your cycling shoes to keep your feet warm and dry.

Unfortunately, most overshoes fail to do this. They have two problems. The first is that they are not made tough enough to survive going outside in them and thus get holes in the bottom. The second is that your socks and leggings get wet and the water soaks down to your feet.

Spatz tries to solve this by making them knee-high. This completely covers your socks. The Roadman has the additional benefit of 4.5mm neoprene to keep your feet warm and reflective strips so that cars can see you when commuting in the dark.

I do not commute every day but I do get some long rides in over the winter weekends. Results are mostly good. They keep my feet warmer than regular overshoes. Below 5 degrees Celcius my feet still get cold after two hours but it beats what I was getting before. They also keep me dry. After half a dozen rides, they have developed holes in the bottom of the toe box, though.

To put them on, you need to put them on before your shoes, then put your shoes on and pull the overshoes down. I demonstrate that in the video. Spatz says you can wear them over or under your leggings. I recommend putting them under your leggings as that stops the water soaking down.

Tacx ANT+ antenna review

Saturday, September 14th, 2019 | Reviews, Video

The Tacx ANT+ antenna is an ANT+ dongle that connects to your computer via USB. It is designed to allow you to connect your ANT+ sensors such as speed, cadence, heart rate, etc, to your PC or laptop so that you can run Zwift or any other computer-based bike training software.

The problem with most dongles is the drop-outs. This is a disaster for Zwift as it can ruin your intervals or worse when in a group ride, get dropped by the peloton, at which point you have no chance of getting back on again.

The Tacx unit tries to overcome this by providing a long cable so that you can plug it in and move it closer to your bike or smart trainer. It’s a heavy unit with a sturdy base so it will not get knocked around. The unit feels solid and high-quality.

That said, I was still getting drop-outs. If anything, they were worse than when I was connecting my gear with Bluetooth. The Garmin head unit on my bike receives the signal the whole time, so it only seems to be the computer connectivity that is the problem.

Hoka Clifton 6 review

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019 | Reviews, Video

Hoka Clifton 6 review

In this video, I’ll review the Hoka One One Clifton 6 running shoe.

Hoka One One is known for the maximalist shoes that have a huge amount of cushioning but relatively little drop. The Clifton 6 is a road shoe with neutral stability.

They fit fairly narrow: as soon as I put it on I knew I had to go for the wide version, something I have not had to do in other brands of shoes.

The cushioning is noticeable. It does not feel mushy, but it does not have the same responsiveness as a race shoe, either. You really notice it after you have worn them for a few hours and then take them off. “Oh yeah, this is what the ground feels like!”

The toe box is almost as good as Nike and has enough space for my massive big toe. A lot has been made of the mid-foot rocker but I do not think it is a big deal. I do not notice it all that much and Brooks have a similar thing in their shoes.

when I first started wearing them the medial arch was digging a little. However, this disappeared after the first 20-30km. The drop is only 5mm, so coming from a 10mm drop, I could feel a tugging on my calf when I first put them on. This has not been a problem while running, though.

The cushioned sole means I would not want to make any quick cuts in these. They would be no use on the basketball court. But they are running trainers, and for running, they are fine.

One thing that does annoy me is that I regularly scrape the fall of my foot on the ground. You could argue I just need to pick my feet up further. However, this is not a problem I run into in other shoes.

Overall, I like these shoes. They will not be replacing my race shoes, but they will be forming part of my regular rotation for those easy-paced runs where speed is not an issue.

Ohmme Vajra II yoga top review

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019 | Reviews, Video

In this video, I’ll review the Ohmme Vajra II vest.

I started off by doing yoga in a normal t-shirt. This works fine for getting into yoga but I quickly ran into a problem: whenever I did a downward-facing dog, my t-shirt would slide down, showing off my less-than-toned stomach and the neck would cover my mouth and get in the way of my breathing.

Enter the Vajra II yoga vest from Ohmme. It feels lovely to touch and is clingy, so you can happily hang upside down in down dog without it sliding down your midriff.

Being a vest, it gives me more spacing for breathing, too. It is not perfect, my bottom lip can still catch on the beck of the best in down dog, but it is a definite improvement on a regular t-shirt.

The Ohmme website suggests that the vest fits small and that you should order one size bigger than you usually would. I found this not to be the case. I typically buy a medium. I tried the medium and the large and the medium was plenty big enough.

Roka R1 goggles review

Monday, September 9th, 2019 | Reviews, Video

Roka R1 goggles

In this video, I’ll review the Roka R1 swimming goggles.

The Roka R1 goggles are Roka’s top-of-the-range offering designed for open water swimming. As with everything Roka to, the packaging is designed with care. But what about the product itself?

My initial thoughts were that the lenses were a little small and stuck into my eye sockets too much. Equally, the strap seemed rather small and tough. Having tested it, there is no discomfort when swimming, so neither of these concerns is a problem. That said, the strap is a little fiddly to keep together.

There are no frames around the lenses. In theory, this adds extra visibility as you can see out of the top or down the bottom. This seems to add some additional field of view when I am at home, but, to be honest, I did not notice a real difference while swimming.

The goggles come with a white cloth bag which is high-quality, but I am not sure if I should be getting it wet or not. It also looks a lot like tissue and I almost blew my nose on it several times!

This pair has the mirror coating. This is a little too dark for my taste when using in the pool. However, in the lake, they are perfect when the sun is out as you can swim towards the sun without being blinded.

So far they have been for free. However, I have only done three swims with them so far, and typically the anti-fog coating wears off after half a dozen swims, so we will have to wait and see how long this remains the case.

I like these goggles. I think they will be replacing my Zoggs Predator as my go-to goggles for triathlon races when the sun is shining. However, I’ll be using different goggles in the pool or may even the lake when it is overcast.

Zoggs Predator Flex goggles review

Sunday, September 8th, 2019 | Reviews, Video

In this video, I’ll review the Zoggs Predator Flex swimming goggles.

If you have ever done a triathlon, you will probably have seen someone wearing the Zoggs Predator Flex goggles. In fact, you may well have seen a lot of people as the goggles are ubiquitous. In some races, I am sure half the athletes were wearing them!

There is a lot to like about them. The ridges on the strap hold it in place so there is no slippage. The strap is comfortable and the seal is excellent, so no leakage, even when kicking off from the side of the pool.

The orange tint works okay in the pool. It is most at home in overcast days in the lake, and maybe a little out of its depth when the sun in shining directly down.

Unfortunately, after many uses, the anti-fog coating is long gone and they fog up a lot.

They come with a mesh case to keep them safe.

Overall, these are my go-to goggles for open water swimming. I prefer my Speedo mirror goggles in the pool, although they leak more than the Predators, so that will probably change. Their reputation as a great triathlon goggle is well deserved.

Brooks Asteria review

Saturday, August 31st, 2019 | Reviews, Video

The Brooks Asteria is a running shoe that is lightweight and designed for racing. It is similar to the Ravenna in that it offers stability but it lighter: 287g compared with 320g for the Ravenna. It has less padding so you are going to hit the surface harder and feel the ground more.

It comes with the Brooks GuideRails to provide support when needed and offers at 8mm drop (I know I said 10mm in the video!). Also, it’s red, so it goes faster than other shoes. The sole has a speckled effect that looks like dirt at first glance but I am pretty sure is part of the design.

It maintains the luxurious Brooks feel inside but has less space in the toe box than the Ravenna, so it tighter on my big toe. The laces have an elastic springy feel. I ran pretty fast in these shoes but it is difficult to know how much of that is a placebo effect. I think they are useful for runs of up to 10km, but beyond that, I would be looking for more padding.

It also has the same downfall as the Ravenna (and possibly all Brooks shoes; I haven’t tried them all) in that the sole simply does not grip in the wet. So, as soon as it rains, which it does a lot in England, or even if the surface is just damp, you start sliding around. It is a big downside.

Other possible alternatives: I’ve spent most of this review comparing it to the Brooks Ravenna, which I prefer to the Asteria, and you may also want to consider the Nike Zoom Span, which is my favourite mild stability shoe.

Brooks Ravenna 10 review

Friday, August 30th, 2019 | Reviews, Video

The Brooks Ravenna 10 is a running shoe that offers a resolve sole, 10mm drop and mild support. It uses the Brooks GuideRails system to provide said support when needed. In this review, I’ll look at the men’s edition, but there is a woman’s edition, too.

It has some cushioning, but not too much, and even more generous cushioning on the tongue. The inside feels silky smooth: I can happily go around in these without socks. It weighs in at 280g, just slightly above what the Brooks website promises. There is plenty of space in the toe box for my big toe.

After a month of running the shoe still looks in great condition, except for the inside of the heal, which has started to bobble. No splits yet and hopefully, it will stay that way.

Unfortunately, the Ravenna has one major drawback: it loses a lot of grip in the wet. If you are running in the rain, or even if the ground is damp, you tend to slip and slide all over the pace. Friends who run in Brooks report the same problem to me. This is super frustrating because it rains a lot in England and having to check the weather forecast every time I am going out in them is a chore.

In short, this is almost an amazing running shoe. I love it in the dry. However, losing so much grip in the wet means that this shoe ultimately gets the thumbs down from me I’m afraid.

Looking for running shoes with mild support? Consider the Brooks Asteria if you want a racing shoe with less cushioning, or the excellent Nike Zoom Span.

Parkrun Day: The Film

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019 | Sport, Video

Last week, when Hyde Park Harriers took on Leeds parkruns, I took my GoPro along to document the trip. Here is the film I made.

Getting started with clip-on aero bars

Sunday, August 18th, 2019 | Video

If you are an age-group triathlete or amateur time-trialist, nothing will give you free speed like aero bars. In this video, I will discuss the pros and cons, show you how to get some onto your bike and give you some tips on how to get started with them.

Aero bars, also known as tri bars, allow you to get into a much lower, aerodynamic position. The downside is that your hands are miles away from my brakes, and closer together, so it can be a little intimidating to lose some control. They also take up a lot of space on your handlebars.

Comfort is a mixed bag. Most people struggle to cycle in the aero position. However, I found it about as comfortable as sitting up. If anything, it was slightly easier on my back.

Performance gains

The speed gain is substantial. Between Alltherorpe Classic standard distance triathlon in 2018 and 2019, I improved my bike split by 11:28. Of course, it could be that I was fitter. But comparing Allerthorpe sprint triathlon a month earlier, my power was 20 Watts lower, and yet my average speed was up 5%. So, more speed for less power.

Getting them on your road bike

You can buy clip-on aero bars for around £30. These bolt onto your handlebars so you can turn a standard road bike into a time trial bike. It is best to use a torque wrench if you can, as clamping them on to the recommended 8-10 Nm can be scary without one. It also helps to wrap some electrical tape around your handlebars to protect them.

Depending on your bars, they will be adjustable in different ways. Typically, you can adjust them by changing the angle and gap between them on the handlebars, by moving the bars themselves backwards and forwards and by changing the rotation of the armrests.

When you are getting started, you want to keep them fairly flat, as having them diagonally upwards in the praying mantis position will make you slightly more aero but will also make it more difficult to control the bike.

Riding on aero bars for the first time

When riding, there are several things you can do to get comfortable cycling with them. One option is to keep one hand on the hoods and put the other on the bars, then gradually lift the hand off the hoods. I am not a big fan of this because it is harder to control with only one point of contact than it is when you have both hands on the bars.

Another option is to find a small hill, say a 1-2% gradient, and go up it. This will allow you to put a lot of power through the bike while still going at a relatively slow speed.

You can also spend some time moving your hands between the hoods and the bars to get used to getting in and out of the aero position. As you get used to them, you will get used to having a little less control: this means sacrificing some of the small adjustments you would normally make in favour of a wider berth and leaning the bike a little more.

Ultimately, though, once I got comfortable, it just clicked. Like learning to ride a bike in the first place, once you “get it”, you should be away. Good luck!