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Author Archives: ruben

What’s in your bag?

  • Posted by ruben
  • 26 April 2011

I'm not sure what it says about me, but I love packing my bag for a trip - making sure everything is neatly stowed away and easy to get at when it's needed.

Today I thought I'd go ultra light, and commute with my smallest bag.

I managed to fit in: half a liter of water, a cereal bar, a pair of jeans, socks & spare pants, a t-shirt, my phone, wallet and keys, a small torch, an emergency whistle & a stripped down first aid kit (because you never know).

Lost in transition from my usual bigger bag were: an A5 moleskine, iPad, 6 pens, a highlighter, 2 pairs of headphones, some loose change, a handful of old receipts, another torch and a few cables for assorted stuff.

I never usually need those things. I may as well have been carrying half a brick most days.
And it was great to feel light on the way in.

What do you carry with you every day, and what bag do you use?

Welcome Matt Page

  • Posted by ruben
  • 26 April 2011

I'm very happy to welcome Matt to team howies.
We share the same back yard, and ride the same trails.
We will be helping him out with off the bike stuff.

Many of you will already know who Matt is and like me, you may have been lapped by him at more than a couple of races out there - but for those of you who don't know, here's an introduction in his own words -

For some people cycling is just a hobby, but for me I am extremely fortunate to be able to say that it is my job. It hasn't been easy to get where I am now and it has taken many years of hard work and dedication.

I won't bore everyone with my life history, but let's just say that I have always been active and enjoyed the outdoors. Cycling, running, walking, climbing and camping were all hobbies and the love of the outdoors is something that has stuck with me. Racing a bike didn't really get going until I was in my early 20's and I started entering the relatively new Marathon/Enduro events that were springing up. I seemed to go far better in the longer races than in the shorter XC races.

If I were to pick one thing that made me into the cyclist that I am now it would be getting a job as a cycle courier in Cardiff. I went from riding a few times a week to riding 80-100 miles a day 5 days a week, then racing the Mountain Bike on the weekend. It was tough going at times, but it gave me a great base fitness and I the results started to improve pretty quickly. In 2007 I won a 12hr solo race and then a 24hr race in 2008 and each year since along with other results along the way. The job as a courier lasted for 2 years until I decided to return back to Llandovery where I was raised in order to train with more control and structure. Another 2 years of tough training whilst working full time as a postman paid dividends and I won the inaugural UK 24hr solo championship in May 2010 and had the chance of a lifetime to travel to Australia to compete in the World Championships where I finished 6th despite what I consider to be a bad race.

Fast forward to 2011 and the chance to become a full time athlete presented itself, which is what I have been working towards for so many years. It wasn't an easy decision to make, but I am already feeling the difference as the consistency of my training has improved and also the amount of rest and recovery time.

One big reason why I love the outdoors and cycling so much is the beautiful Welsh countryside that I live in. Living near the town of Llandovery in Carmarthenshire just 40 miles from howies base in Cardigan is to me the perfect cycling area. Quiet country roads, big road climbs and amazing scenery give me endless choices and motivation to “get out and ride”. The off-road riding is pretty special as well, with the Cwm Rhaeadr trail just 2 miles up the road and Brechfa about 20 miles away I have to keep reminding myself how lucky I am and grant it for granted far too often.

This year is already well underway and my racing and training has been going well. I have moved up to Elite in XC racing, a dramatic departure from 24hr solo racing but something that I feel benefits my training. My first major event of the year is less than 2 weeks away, the UK 24hr solo championships where I hope to defend my title. Later this year I am going to tackle some big races including the Mega Avalanche and Etape d'Tour on consecutive days and a big stage race called Iron Bike, which is an 8-day race in the Italian Alps with an average of over 3000m climbing and 100km distance per day!

2011 is going to be a really exciting year and I am extremely happy to have the support of howies, especially as they are such a local company to me. I'll be keeping everyone updated of my racing and training progress as the year unfolds.

Ueli Steck speed solo Eiger record

  • Posted by ruben
  • 26 April 2011

Happy Tuesday everyone, I hope you're all recovering well from the traditional 'eat a lot of chocolate' weekend?

Here's a video featuring some gratuitous physical activity that may inspire you to shift some Easter pounds.

This guy is some kind of fiend. Climbing a 13,000 foot mountain in less time than most of us could run a marathon.

UPDATE: Simon has just informed me that this record was beaten last week by Dani Arnold who made the ascent in 2 hours 28 minutes. These guys are machines.

Join our conversations

  • Posted by ruben
  • 21 April 2011

We've had some great debates happening on our Facebook and Twitter pages this week.

The conversations span topics from the buttons on a new cardigan that's coming out this autumn to what the AV vote means to UK politics or what you should eat to keep yourself going on a long ride or run.

There are a lot of interesting people out there, and we love hearing from you. Ask us a question or just say hello.

Join us on Facebook here or Twitter here.

Speak soon

By the way, Facebook and Twitter are also great places to find out about new products and the offers we run.

20% off tops, polos and jumpers

  • Posted by ruben
  • 21 April 2011

The 'Better than a chocolate egg' offer

It's a bank holiday folks.
No work for four days (hopefully)
The weather forecast is looking good too.
Time to head to the beach, go ride,
make a campfire, enjoy good company.
And do all the things that your job stops you doing.

So here's a top offer to top off the bank holiday:
Every top, every polo and every jumper has 20% OFF.
That goes for men's and women's stuff.
We're even throwing in free postage too (just use the code below).

Happy Easter from howies®

Use the code HWBH84 at the checkout or over the phone to get free postage.
You can get this discount in store too, just mention the code to get the discount.

Offer ends at 6pm on Tuesday 26th April 2011.

No freepost returns on sale items. Always read the smallprint.

Men's tops - http://howi.es/mt20
Men's jumpers - http://howi.es/mj20
Women's tops - http://howi.es/wt20
Women's jumpers - http://howi.es/wj20

Water Changes Everything

  • Posted by ruben
  • 20 April 2011

Found this nicely made, thought provoking little video by Charity: Water about the state of the world's water crisis, via. @jonheslop

New T-shirts

  • Posted by ruben
  • 14 April 2011

The perfect t-shirt needs:

Two sleeves.

A hole to put your body, arms and head through.

A good print on it (something funny or thought provoking works best).

And then all you need is a little sunshine.

Every t-shirt needs some of that.

Click here to see our new Men's T-shirts
Click here to see our new Women's T-shirts

Rouleur 23. A good read.

  • Posted by ruben
  • 14 April 2011

Running and cycling take up a really big chunk of my time. If I'm not working or sleeping, I'm probably running or riding. Or reading, talking or writing about running and riding. I don't claim to be a master of either, but I do my best to be as good as I can while juggling work and life.

It's the things I read and the people I meet that keep the fire burning in me to be better and go further. To spend longer in the saddle, to push past the point where I want to stop and find out what happens next...

One of my favourite reads in the cycling department that fuels this fire very well is Rouleur.

Although I'm more of the off road persuasion, the photography and the stories in these pages will stir any rider.

It's in stock here for £10.

Back to my emails.


  • Posted by ruben
  • 3 April 2011

After a busy week, I usually like to relax and slow down a bit. Not this weekend, though.

This weekend Kim and I kept getting up at the crack of dawn to trek across the county to the Sealyham activity center where we spent two pretty long days learning ABCDEFG incident protocol and what to do when Things Go Wrong and People Break.

The REC Level 2 course run by Adam from Real First Aid was great. I highly recommend it (or any of Adam's courses) for anyone who spends a lot of time out in the wilds in small groups (or even alone).

For anyone who has already done a First Aid at Work course, this is a great next step and really cements a lot of the basics while increasing your confidence as a first aider.

I just hope it was a waste of time and I never need the knowledge.

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