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They're not TOMS they're mine

  • Posted by alex
  • 8 June 2011


TOMS Espadrilles

If you ride anywhere, you'll know how precious the space is in your backpack. If you want something to wear off the bike, shorts and flip flops can be a great fix in a squeeze.

In a discussion on backpack real estate, I mentioned my recent discovery of TOMS and how I love my espadrilles. The minimalist canvas shoes are light, airy, quirky and great to flatten down into a small backpack when I'm out on my bike... oh and for every pair purchased, a pair is given to a child in need of shoes.

There's a bit more on their 'One for One' programme here.

What's your backpack commute shoe?

Wethepeople Anytime Now DVD

  • Posted by will
  • 1 June 2011

We have a copy of the new Wethepeople DVD to give away.

This video has been a long time in the making (as the title suggests!) and features a snap shot of the Wethepeople team.

Wethepeople have always had an eclectic mix of people on a team that spans several continents and this video (to use an archaic term) features some of the big names on the team and some of the smaller names as well.

There is a bunch of bonus stuff on here too so it’s well worth a watch.

All you have to do to win a copy is to send in a picture that you think encapsulates the idea of 'wethepeople'.

It need not be anything to do with the bike company, with BMX or even bike related.

It is a very old phrase that gets overused and we would like to see what it means to people in the here and now.

Send your picture to [email protected] by next Friday 10th June and we’ll pick a winner, send the DVD out to you and post the picture on the blog here.

Rob Penn ride out

  • Posted by ade
  • 27 May 2011

Next Tuesday Rob is coming to Cardigan to start his ride from the coast to the Hay Festival. He's getting the train over to Carmarthen and then once he gets to Cardigan this is his very loose plan for his ride to Hay.

"Tuesday 31 May - 'Le Petit Depart':

Let's meet in Cardigan from midday, for a 2pm departure. We'll meet at fforest cafe, alongside Castle Street, on the banks of the Teifi River, beneath the howies shop.

Cardigan ain't easy to get to: the nearest train stations are Fishguard Harbour (about 20 miles away - and served by only two trains a day) and Carmarthen (about 30 miles - but 1 or 2 trains an hour). On trains beyond Swansea, the official bike policy is restricted to two bikes only: in practice, it's more flexible. Give me a shout with questions about bikes on trains. Carmarthen is obviously the easiest route in. It's quite a hilly ride if you want to pedal from Carmarthen to Cardigan.

If you'd like to arrive in Cardigan the night before, there are several great places to stay: try Llety Teifi (www.llety.co.uk) and speak to Clare, or fforest (www.coldatnight.co.uk).

Setting off from Cardigan, we'll ride 25 miles to just beyond Llandysul, following the Teifi River for the most part. There are a few steep hills, so be ready!

Sleep @ Nantgwynfaen Organic Farm (http://www.organicfarmwales.co.uk/): this is booked for us as a group. Accommodation here takes various forms - bedrooms, the 'Glamour Van' and tents if need be. We'll play spoof to see who gets what. There's a pub down the road for dinner, although Amanda has offered to throw a bbq. We'll plan food nearer to the time when I know numbers.

Wednesday 1st June

35-40 miles, mainly following the Teifi Valley, much of it on Sustrans route Lon Teifi. We'll have a picnic somewhere on the river, an ice cream at Conti's Cafe in Lampeter, a pint in the old drovers pub, Talbot Arms in Tregaron and stop for a bit of bird watching on Cors Carron. For those with juice left in the legs, there's a lovely ruined medieval Cistercian abbey at Strata Florida, a couple of miles beyond our destination.

Sleep & eat @ The Black Lion Hotel (www.blacklionhotel.co.uk), Pontrhydfendigaid (small prize for the first correct pronunciation): PLEASE BOOK ROOMS DIRECTLY with Dominic: 01974 831624

I've reserved four rooms in my name: Dominic will release them on a first come, first served basis. Please get on and book this.

Thursday 2nd June

30 miles, over the top of the Cambrian Mountains to Rhayader: this is a stunning day's riding. There's a long pull on to the tops of the hills, but it's worth it. The landscapes and views are wonderful and the descent through the Elan Valley is breathtaking.

Sleep (and maybe eat) @ The Elan Valley Hotel (www.elanvalleyhotel.co.uk). Speak to Cari - 01597 810448. Again PLEASE BOOK THIS DIRECTLY. There are other a few other options in Rhayader if you don't want to stay here.

Friday 3rd June

An early start for the 35 miles, following the Wye Valley, gently down to Hay. There are a few hills, but it's another lovely ride. I have to be there at 2.30, to give a talk at the Literary Festival. That's really where it ends... Accommodation during the festival is hard to come by.

We'll be pedalling light. Bring tools etc. Do, please, bring a spare tube or two that fits your own wheels. There are bike shops in Carmarthen, Cardigan and Rhayader. Bring some cash: we'll run a kitty for picnics etc.

Look forward to hearing from you and really look forward to riding with you. I leave you with this lovely quote from American poet and author, Diane Ackerman: 'When I'm on my bicycle, the world is breaking someone else's heart.'

If you fancy doing a bit, it's going to be a slow ride to Hay. We have our quiver at the ready.

Just got this video through from Mr. Matt Page.

It's a great insight into what goes on at a 24 hour solo MTB race.

Inspiring stuff.

Dalby Dare

  • Posted by ruben
  • 11 May 2011

In what other sport can you experience the same challenge as the World’s leading athletes?

Whether you’re spectating at the bottom of Medusa’s Drop, or actually riding the very same descent, the Dalby Dare is an object lesson in just how deceptively easy the top riders make it look when they tackle the same obstacles the following day.

If you’re one of the lucky entrants who secured a place in this year’s Dalby Dare, you probably don’t need reminding of the tough task that lies ahead of you! For everyone else, here’s a little more about the Dalby Dare and why it has become a “must-do” for so many mountain bikers

The Dalby World Cup course is open to the public all year round. But it’s one thing to ride it on a quiet weekend with your mates. It’s an entirely different experience to tackle it with hundreds of other riders, spectators looking on and with all the World Cup branding in place. The tension ramps up as you wait to start beneath the World Cup arch and the adrenaline just keeps on coming as you roll out onto the course. Every rider is equipped with a timing chip, which means you can compare your time with that of the pros.

But there’s more to the Dalby Dare than just a lap of the World Cup course: after riders cross the finish line at the end of the World Cup loop, they head off into the forest once again, this time for a tour of some 20km of Dalby’s outstanding trails. The forest is home to some of the best Black and Red graded riding in the country and the Dalby Dare loop is a fine extension to the rip-snorting World Cup course.

The Dalby Dare goody bag is worth the price of entry alone, containing a howies organic cotton T-Shirt topping the list of free goodies assembled by the people at Purple Mountain in Dalby Forest.

To find out more about the event and get your last minute entry, head to mtbworldcup.co.uk

The mini welsh adventure

  • Posted by dan
  • 11 May 2011

It's a slight change from the wintery pictures you have been seeing of late but here is my April blog.

Me and beatrice set off on an adventure to explore some of wales on my parent's bikes with plenty of luggage including camping gear, in total nearly 20kg on each bike.

We saw some amazing views, riding from Haverfordwest all along the coast line until Cardigan and stopped there for 3 days on the howies photoshoot then continued on....

Tenby has the best food spots.

Aberaeron has the best fresh fish.

Aberystwyth the most students in drag on friday night.

Elan valley, just lots of ruins and never-ending windy hills on which the time passes faster by wheeleing the bike, looking at rivers and playing games like guessing the number of ruins or trying not to say 'nice' for the duration of the day.

The road before elan valley has the most random post box next to some woods in the middle of nowhere.

Devils bridge, some lovely waterfalls.

Rhaeder has the best quiche lunch!

And home is home :)

We had pretty sore legs and some well tested merino from howies at the end of the last day after riding 50miles on mountainbikes and luggage over the elan valley hills and back home but it was well worth it.

Here are just a few of the pictures we took. hope you enjoy them



SSEC 2011

I've just returned to the green isle from a whistle stop tour of Europe, including: Denmark, Germany and Belgium. Several thousand road miles then, and many petrol station snacks (best in Germany), an array of strong beers (I recommend 'Maredsous Abbaye') and a plethora of hipsters (Copenhagen is rather trendy). I was on a search for the soul of mountain biking that I suspected lay somewhere in a sunny field within Europe, and also to race in the highly prestigious, incredibly un-serious Single Speed European Championship..

Single Speed mountain bikes are exactly as the title suggests – mountain bikes (MTB's) with one gear only. Why, you may ask, would a MTB be devolved into something far less functional than the multi-geared workhorse that the last two decades has crafted it into? The answer, I'm afraid, is not a simple one.

People’s reasons for riding and racing Single Speeds vary from a desire for simplicity, through to a lust for something entirely impractical – sense of humour needed. Pitch up at a Single Speed European Champs (SSEC's) and you will absolutely not find racing snakes warming up on exercise bikes.. OH no, at an SSEC outing you are far more likely to find a man wearing nothing more than a nappy, a 6ft lady sporting stripes and affro, or even a team of Morphs, than you are to come across an obsessive racer.

Possibly, no, definitely, the most fun I've had racing my bike for quite some time, I'll remember this one and its fabulous location for many years to come. As for the after party, well, I'm doing my best to erase those memories! Only kidding - what a great bunch of people having some good old fashioned fun.

The soul of my sport does survive and prosper then.

The Single Speed European Champions 2011 are: Gemma Frier from Scotland and Julien Conan from France – well done to ‘em.

In 2012 the event will be hosted by the aforementioned Morphs in the south of France – and you can certainly count me in!

Oh, and there's still time to enter the World Champs in Ireland this August – http://www.sswc2011.ie/

Thank you to Bruno for organising such a great weekend’s racing, to Kingdom Bike (Chris and Nick) for forcing me out of my downhill habit, and to Riders Refuge, Bike Dirty and howies, of course.. Cheers!

It’s All About the Bike

  • Posted by ruben
  • 10 May 2011

For those who missed it last week, this month’s T-shirt of the Month is called ‘All About The Bike’.

To mark the release of his book 'It's All About the Bike' in paperback, author and bikenut Robert Penn has teamed up with howies to produce this one-off  t-shirt print.

Designed by howies, it celebrates the joy and freedom of the bicycle... In other words:

It's all about the bike.

And we also have the book available to buy online here:

The other weekend, we ran a little photo comp called 'Wish You Were There'

We were really happy to see so many of you getting involved and posting photos of what you got up to on the weekend.

It's been pretty hard to pick out just 30 winners - but as promised below are the lucky 30 shots which have won a free t-shirt each. They feature fun, bikes, surf, hills, family, food, sun, adventure, relaxation & freedom.

Huge thanks to everyone who took part - We're hoping to do more stuff like this before too long.

Oh, and you can always check out loads of other great entries on our facebook wall here if you're looking for a little inspiration for your next weekend of adventure.

In no order, here are our winners:

From @MrPowellish

From @jonfresh

From @FastFarrell

From Denise

From Mark

From Brian

From David

From James

From Simon

From Emma K

From Emma P

From Helen

From Nadia

From James

From Mark

From Stephane

From Paul

From Chris

From Huw

From Stuart

From Nerys

From Phil

From Chris

From Jane

From Nick

From @petestuart

From Christine

From @mudandgears

From Beth

From @grafichouse

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