Robyn Davidson

18 Nov 2022

This week’s new cycling gear plus a love of paintings

Happy Friday! Yes, it’s that wonderful time of the week where we round-up the new gear for you to feast your eyes upon.

But first, let’s recap what we’ve all been up to.

We said a big hello to new tech writer Charlotte Head – pausing for you to say hello as well – who immediately made her debut writing about the new Tacx Neo Bike Plus and the evergreen disc brakes vs. rim brakes debate.

As part of the environmental series put together during COP27, Emma looked at the environmental impact of cycling kit and how greenwashing impacts cycling.

I interviewed Ian Boswell for my mental health series, in which we discussed the importance of ‘grounding’ mechanisms to navigate stress. Something I also talk about at the end of this article. Speaking of, let’s get into it.

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Styrkr Bar50 Energy Bars

BAR50 is the new release from nutrition company Styrkr.

The endurance energy bar is like a rice cake but delivers 50g of quick-release carbs and is both gluten-free and vegan friendly. I found them hearty yet not stodgy or difficult to digest, so I can see why riders like Chris Hall enjoy them.

The bars come in three different flavours including dark chocolate chip and date, almond and sea salt, but my favourite so far is the apple, cinnamon, caramel, and sultana.

It just feels fitting for this time of year – that’s coming from someone who usually avoids sultanas – and why they’re at the top of the pyramid above, like the favourite child in Dance Moms.

Too niche a reference? 

The Complete Guide to Cycling Psychology by Dr Jim Taylor and Mark Beaumont

I love psychology so much that I spent four years and thousands of pounds on a degree in the subject, only to head full-time into cycling journalism. (I do still find it really interesting.)

The Complete Guide to Cycling Psychology is a new book from Dr Jim Taylor and Mark Beaumont, published by GCN.

Despite Beaumont holding the around the world record, the book is still for cyclists of all abilities. It’s structured race-style, with sections named ‘Start Line’, ‘Stage I: Attitudes, Stage IV: Quality Training’ etc. and finally ‘Finish Line.’

In each section is a chapter that helps lay the building blocks and ensuing steps to reach your goal in the area.

Dr Taylor introduces a broad subject like balance, expands on this by discussing areas such as the physical/emotional/social aspects of balance, and Beaumont adds colour through his own experiences and identifies potential risks.

It’s very well put-together and I love learning – so this has been a nice read. It’s given me a break from all the rider autobiographies I seem to be reading recently.

Precision Fuel & Hydration Cramper Hamper

Just in time for Christmas. Will you be on the turbo or even out on the roads this winter?

The Cramper Hamper from Precision Fuel & Hydration contains a 500ml bottle for the mulled wi- we mean, electrolytes – an energy gel, energy chews that look like they wouldn’t be out of place in a Celebrations box, and a tube of PH 1500 electrolyte tabs for recovery.

Oh, there’s also a funky bobble hat too. How kind! It keeps this big head warm.

What we’re into this week: Painting

I really enjoyed my chat with Ian Boswell this week. In the interview, he notes how a way to navigate stress has been finding activities with a distinct start and end, like mowing the lawn.

But the annoying thing about being a perfectionist is that when I’m trying to do a relaxing or reflective activity such as art, I get frustrated when I’m not suddenly the next Picasso or Michelangelo.

That all changed when I discovered textured paintings. After applying plaster onto a canvas, you can carve or create shapes to bring the square to life.

Yet that’s not all. If you’re not happy with the design, you can just… smooth over the plaster and start again. It’s been revolutionary, I tell you.

With the extra hour of darkness now the clocks have turned back, I have been feeling a bit gloomy lately. I find my brain manages to shut off while painting. I focus on nothing but the canvas in front of me. So go on, pop down to Hobbycraft and give it a try.

Christmas coming at you like a freight train? Don’t miss our guide to the best gifts for cyclists

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