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I've just had an email through from Phil about Bespoked Bristol - the UK’s first handmade & boutique bicycle show, which is coming up in a few weeks time.

The event will showcase the talents of independent makers and designers of bicycles, small-scale makers of premium products, components, clothing, bicycle accessories and media, so well worth a visit!

Entry tickets are available on the door at £5 per person (children under 14 free) but if you get in there quick and order online before 31st May then you can have 2for1 entry - check out the web link for more info on that.

Bespoked have also just launched the Handmade Bicycle directory - a great resource listing handmade bicycle and component makers in the UK and beyond. the UK edition will form part of the Bespoked show catalogue...so that's another reason to head on down there.

In other bike-related news.....I bought my first bike last weekend! well, the first bike i've owned since i was about 11 years old... she needs a bit of a cleaning up and pimping out, but i can safely say I'm in love already.

Free Bikes

  • Posted by ruben
  • 6 May 2011

If anyone would like a free bike, I have a tip for you - check at the bottom of Frederiksholm's Canal in Copenhagen. There are loads of them down there.

From Copenhagenize.com

Alastair’s Microadventures

  • Posted by ruben
  • 26 April 2011

Back in January I was lucky enough to ride the Strathpuffer 24 hour race with Mr. Al Humphreys.

Al is an adventurer through and through. If you broke him in half like a stick of rock he would have it written in his bones. But please don't do that.

This year, he is keeping his itchy feet mainly inside the UK and attempting to keep his hunger for adventure fed with a series of 'Microadventures'

The video below and his own words explain it better than I can - follow him on twitter and his blog for plenty more tales of micro adventure.

Microadventure 2: Use Your Weekend

My aim for the year is to showcase small, cheap, simple, close-to-home microadventures.

Microadventures serve to scratch the itch for adventurous souls trapped by the bludgeoning of fate in sensible office jobs. They act as stepping stones for people who dream of a major expedition but feel that at the moment they are not quite ready. And they are a kick up the backside to anyone whinging and whining with excuses about how they don’t have the time or the money or the skills to get out there and challenge themselves. I have started deliberately small, with ideas that absolutely anyone can manage. In January I entered a race. And in February I went for a weekend away. These are micro microadventures. But they are brilliant.

If you add up all the weekends, statutory leave and Bank Holidays you’ll discover that you have at least 132 free days every year. 132 days is a long time. You could row across the Indian Ocean in 132 days. The difficulty of course is the fragmented nature of these 132 days. You have to be determined to use your weekends rather than frittering them with IKEA and the X-Factor.

So my microadventure for this month is a challenge to Use Your Weekend. Annoyingly I live about as far from wilderness as is possible. And yet by late morning on Saturday I was still high on a Welsh hillside, breathing in fresh air, looking down over the sunlit Bristol Channel, and about to scare myself silly on a downhill mountain bike trail.

Go somewhere you have never been before. Ride hard. Get wet, cold and muddy. Laugh with your mates. Then relax, aching and exhausted, having earned your beer. Use Your Weekend.

Do you have any examples of inspiring, invigorating weekend microadventures?

And do you have any recommendations of microadventures I can try this year?
Have your say in the comments or let me know on Twitter @al_humphreys

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.

best weather bike

  • Posted by ade
  • 19 April 2011

The weather over here has been bone dry for weeks with about 2 days of showers.

Once the clocks changed the winter bike got a wash and a rest. It's been a stalwart this winter, but in some ways it rides like winter. Hard, head down just getting on with it.

Out came the sun, out came the best bike. It was like riding spring.

Fresh, snappy and fast. It put the 'ING back in cycling to work.

I took it down the print shop at lunch, gave it a wash. The chain got some summery green oils white dry lube and then 120psi in the rear tyre and 110 in the front for a little grip and vibration reduction.

I bought a water bottle cage and some Nunn hydration stuff.

Tonight it's a long way home ride.

Tandem Wanted

  • Posted by aron
  • 19 April 2011

Hello folks. That time has come again when we need your help.

We would like to borrow a tandem bike for the next howies photoshoot.

We need it it soon though as the shoot is just around the corner.

If you can help us out then email a photo of your tandem bike to Millie at photoshoot@howies.co.uk

The more local you are the better. We can pick it up or arrange a collection.

Thanks.

dress up and ride

  • Posted by ade
  • 15 April 2011

if you are riding the dyfi enduro this year, as it's the 10th anniversary, you may want to embellish yourself in something more than lycra.

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.

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