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Tag Archives: cycle

If I can bicycle, I bicycle

  • Posted by alex
  • 4 April 2013
  • howies Leadout Bibshorts

We bike to work and home again, evening rides and weekend jollies.
Getting covered in crap, cuts and grazes and aches and pains.
We love it. That's why we do it everyday.

Funny thing is, we've never really got around to making any serious kit for it...
Until now.

Our new Slipstream cycle jerseys (available in long sleeve and short sleeve) and our Leadout Bibshorts are made using seamless circular knit technology, meaning that they are precision built to fit your body, just like your own skin. They provide a snug fit that will go virtually unnoticed as you wear it.

The specialist machines are capable of knitting yarn into a single continuous tube shape. This means we make body panels in one piece, minimizing the need for seams - seams that could potentially cause irritating friction or chaffing on longer rides.

The circular knitting machines are also capable of varying patterns in the fabric as they knit too. This means that we can have different weaves on the same panel and precisely tailor them to match specific parts of the body. For instance, we have integrated lighter breathable panels in sweatier areas like the underarms and back, and woven more compression in around hems and places where you need a tighter fit. All this without the need for separate panels, seams and stitching.

This makes a truly comfortable, form-fitting garment with a minimalist design. Just like us humans.

howies cycling details

howies cycle range

howies cycle range

Easter Breakout

  • Posted by alex
  • 28 March 2013

howies Easter Breakout

We're taking the next few days off and heading out on some Easter Breakouts.

Chris is running the mountain ridges and forests of the Nantlle valley from Waunfawr to Beddgelert in north Wales.

Hazel is heading down Whitesands with a her parent and surfboards to brave the cold and score some waves.

Naomi is hoping for surf too - dipping in at Freshwater West for a deserted early morning surf in the West corner. Out for a hot brew and lunch. Back in early evening after a blood warming, coastal walk. And then a night around the woodstove, recounting the day’s adventures and laughs.

Emma is off with family to follow in the footsteps of pilgrims and walking some of the North Downs Way.

Ade will be running his favourite local trail; a 10 mile loop up and down small valleys with river crossings, pine forest and twisting single track.

Alex is conquering the Preseili's on the road bike (and hoping not to need a rain jacket).

Jules will be strolling along the beach at Llangrannog with her dog "Juno" and chatting to people from different walks of life.

While Tom will be fixing freezing and burst pipes on his Caddy in hopes to get out further afield.

Let us know what you're getting up to on your Easter Breakouts.

MMXXII Missile

  • Posted by alex
  • 27 July 2012

The Sideburns of Glory t-shirt was a big hit. Poor Mike has been keeping the printshop lights burning long into the night trying to catch up.

It's all been for a good cause though, with £5 from every tee going to the Dave Rayner fund (more on that here).

This weekend it's The Marquis of Cavendish's turn to put us all on the edge of our seats as he faces 9 trips to the top of Box Hill before the final dash for the line in the Olympic road race.

We'd already drawn this up and thought it'd be nice to share it for the weekend. We weren't planning to put this design on a t-shirt but if you tweet @howies with #MMXIImissile or like the design on Facebook over the weekend, we might ask Mike to print a few.

The Outsider

  • Posted by alex
  • 6 July 2012

Outsider T-Shirt of the Month

Do you ever experience feelings of discomfort and dread when in large crowds?
Do you ever have an unquenchable desire to get away from it all?
Do you sometimes feel like you just need to escape?

Are you prone to bouts of uncontrollable happiness whenever you do your sports?
And do you ever experience cravings for high speed and peril?

These are all symptoms of an Outsider.

There is no cure.

But then again, who would want one?

The Outsider, Men's T-shirt of the Month and Women's T-shirt of the Month.

Getting out the door

  • Posted by howies
  • 12 April 2012

Exercise makes me happy. If I run a couple of times a week I think clearer, I sleep sounder, I eat better, I work more productively. I am happier. And yet, I can go for months without going for a single run. What's with that?

It took a chance meeting with Olympic athlete Steve Cram to tell me what the problem is. It's the front door. It's there, and its shut. He told me, "it doesn't matter if you're a professional athlete or training for your first fun run, the hardest part is motivating yourself to get going. If you can pull your trainers on and get out the door, everything else is easy."

The good news is he also told me how to open the door. Its a 2 step process:

1. Set yourself a goal.
Enter a run / bike ride / triathlon / adventure race / bog snorkel.
Nothing too hard, just something you couldn't do today.

2. Tell EVERYONE.
Parents, children, postman, neighbours, doctor, God, Twitter followers,
ticket collectors etc. There's no turning back now.

It works. For example, I haven't been swimming for 5 years. Then yesterday I entered a 1.5 mile swim to the Isle of Wight. I now have exactly 94 days until I walk down the shingle beach and into the waters of the Solent. So today I found my old trunks at the back of my drawer and tomorrow morning I'll be in the local swimming pool.

David came to howies to show us a website he built with a couple of friends to help people with the difficult Step 1.

You can guess what it does. It gets you out the door.

Words: David Wearn

www.findarace.com

Challenge yourself to something new and when you've found a race, let us know where you're racing on facebook, or tweet us with the hashtag #foundarace. You might even find a friend or two to get out the door with you.

Rest Less Success

  • Posted by alex
  • 27 March 2012

Last weekend the Rest Less Ride took riders across the whole of Wales from beach to border overnight. The roads were riddled with pot-holes, sheets of gravel and barrier-less hairpin bends, dropped into deep dark valleys, through forests and over 25% climbs in a race against the sun on the night the clocks went forwards.

The ride was born out of a story that writer - and friend of howies - Rob Penn, shared from a chance meeting on the road with a passing cyclist, reminiscing over night-long club rides in the late 1950's; the quieter roads, the lack of traffic, and the peloton pushing one another on through dawn.

The roads back in the 50’s aren’t too dissimilar to the country lanes in Wales, so only one question remained; "When shall we do it?"

On Saturday, 16 riders set off from howies HQ to Abergavenny, all that led the way were small road markings, the faith in the peloton and the promise that no-one would get left behind in the wilderness.

The pack was made up some of Rob's and our riding friends, who had come from across Britain, to take on this incredible adventure. A last supper gave time to go over the route, fettle bikes and exchange names with the riders who would help carry one another across the entire country in the dark.

Barely 10 minutes into the ride, a disturbed badger darted into the pack, causing a tumble. The sound of bikes hitting the ground and cries in the night halted riders in front. Once turned upright, we re-grouped and pressed on. What other dangers waited for us in the dark?

Winding out of the Teifi valley, the stronger legs set a steady pace along the undulating road to Lampeter. The hills began to get steeper, breathing deepened and gears simultaneously jumped in the dark to bigger cogs.

The descents made up for the climbs and soon everyone seemed settled, taking to the 40mph bends, down over humpback bridges, free wheeling to allow the legs to rest for the next inevitable climb.

At Lampeter we left the safety of the A roads and towns, heading into the wilderness. The quiet back roads were brown and green down the middle, with fractures to test skinny tyres and fords to test nerves; a surface barely ideal in daylight, let alone in the dark.

These country lanes were bound for the lake at Llyn Briane, up winding valley passes and through pitch-black, potholed hairpins. Chatter in the pack slowed as concentration increased to keep wheels in line over the rough surfaces and spotting markers to keep on course - we had not seen a house or car for miles and rumbling over cattle grids. There would be nowhere to go if you gave up here.

News of the coming halfway stop for hot soup refreshed tired minds. Eager stomachs wound up the pace and soon everyone was huddled around a 2-ring gas burner awaiting some real food. Passing round bread and stretching, we noticed the time, 3am. With darkness all around, we were halfway from nowhere and nowhere near somewhere with an handful of hours 'til dawn. The race against the sun had begun.

The climb past the lake, invisible in the dark, led to fantastically smooth tarmac lining the valley as it wound through the hills and over barrier-less summits with steep drops into the dark.

Approaching the pine forest, a broken chain tore apart Alex's derailleur, demanding some roadside repairs. Stopped in the silence, it was obvious the damage was irreparable. Cut down to a single speed, the best attempt to limp on, wasn't going to get the bike over the 25% climb of the Devil's Staircase and certainly not onto Abergavenny. It was game over for Alex.

The Devil's Staircase is famed for it's 25% walls levelling out briefly before the next step upwards. The set of short, sharp climbs marked the midway point through the wilderness. A series of sketchy but exhilarating hairpin descents to the valley floor followed. Mist collected between the hills as the road bounced along, mimicking the bed of the river until finally a junction and another short rest.

Signposts pointed through a dark forest to Builth, where the pack regrouped. The dawn chorus had begun, and the promise of daylight was in the air. The quiet A-roads were smooth and wide, with street lighting easing the dependence of lights which would surely be near the end of their battery life. These roads gave the pack their best chance yet to work together, forming a train of tired legs each taking turns out front to break the cold air.

Crossing the river, heading for Hay-on-Wye, the B-roads were foggy and felt chilly without the climbs to keep the body warm. Staying together for company and warmth, the pack pressed on in the mist.

Leaving Hay behind, daylight finally broke over the hills of the Black Mountains where the final - and hardest - climb of the ride came into view.

Every rider stopped to shed weight, jettisoning surplus layers and water bottles. Feeling sore and empty, the beauty of the scenery laid out in the early morning sun was enough to make the riders forget their tired legs. The end would soon be in sight, with a 15 mile whooping descent though the Llanthony Valley to breakfast. And it would be the best breakfast ever, in soft chairs with hot food.

The ride forged friendship through adversity; sharing the experience of digging deep when you’ve got nothing left, feeling sick, delirious and weary but pushing yourself and fellow riders further than you could possible ride on your own.

Despite the grueling climbs and rapid descents over tarmac laced with gravel and pot holes, 14 of the 16 riders completed the challenge - 124 miles, over 3000 meters of ascent with only one final question remaining; "When shall we do it again?"

A short video of the ride is here.

Friendship through adversity

  • Posted by howies
  • 7 March 2012
Twenty-five years ago, Bill and I rode rigid steel mountain bikes from Kashgar in China to Chitral in Pakistan. It was hard yakka all the way. Our friendship was young as we set off: we’d come together for the adventure.

I ride a bicycle for many reasons. Perhaps the most powerful reason at this stage of my life is to share the physical and emotional fellowship of riding with friends. Happily, all my best friends ride. I’m not saying that we can’t be friends if you don’t ride – that would be absurd – nor am I suggesting that I’m friends with everyone I’ve ever ridden with. It’s just that all my best friends do ride. That’s the way things have turned out.

When I reflect upon the friends I have now, though, I realise the link between cycling and friendship is more profound than I’d previously thought. I see there is a direct correlation between how close my friends and I are, and how many miles we’ve put in together. I’m not talking about commuting miles or Sunday morning miles. I’m talking about the hard miles, the miles where you’re hanging and sore and need help, the miles where you’re far from home, shit’s gone wrong and your mettle is being tested. These are the miles that really count. Adversity puts friendship on the line. When things go awry, we subconsciously confide in each other. This leaves a lasting bond.

Twenty-five years ago, Bill and I rode rigid steel mountain bikes from Kashgar in China to Chitral in Pakistan. It was hard yakka all the way. Our friendship was young as we set off: we’d come together for the adventure. When my cheap aluminium luggage rack fell apart deep in the Hindu Kush, Bill offered to strap one of my panniers to his back. I knew then our friendship had distance. When I got married a decade later, he was my best man.

I have as many examples of hard miles with folk I’ve subsequently come to trust as I have good friends, so when my Dad died suddenly last autumn, old riding buddies were the first people I called.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: ‘A man’s growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends.’ I believe in this. It’s why I’m still riding the hard miles, and why I’m still making new friends. It’s why I’ve hooked up with Ade and Alex and the howies team to organise a ride across Wales at night, in March. When I’m lost in a dark forest with a broken chain somewhere between Cardigan and Abergavenny, when the night seems dead, when hope is fading and the right road is gone, then new friendships will be forged.

Rob Penn
www.bikecation.co.uk

Revolution Round 3 this weekend

  • Posted by alex
  • 6 January 2012

We've not even been back a full week in the office and Team howies are off to a racing start this weekend up in Manchester.

This Saturday, Russ Downing is heading up the team at Revolution, and we're looking forward to some big leg action in front of another sell-out crowd.

Still buzzing from Round 2 and Cav riding for Team howies?  Well, you can get your hands on a limited edition howies rainbow replica jersey.

We've got x2 to give away, both are a size Medium.

To be in with a chance to win, simply share your photos from Revolution this weekend with us.

Upload your photo to our facebook wall, or tweet your photo @howies with the hashtag #goteamhowies.

We'll announce the winners next week along with a link to the ITV4 highlights.

PS. If you're not Social Media savvy, you can always drop us an email with your photo to info@howies.co.uk.

Team howies: Jon Mould

  • Posted by alex
  • 5 January 2012

Jon's role in Team howies seems to be being stoked on riding as we haven't seen him on the bike without a smile.

Paired with Leif Lampeter, he won the 1km Madison TT at Revolution round 1, and along with Andy Fenn, Jon led Mark Cavendish to victory in the 15km Scratch at the last meet.

Originally from Wales, Jon has been in the team from the start (aided obviously by a strong list of accomplishments & a great riding attitude). He spends the winter focused on the track and concentrates on a Road race programme through the summer, taking part in events all around Europe.

When Jon isn't racing for howies, he's based up in Manchester together with fellow British Academy riders. These guys all live and train together with a love of biking and a sole purpose to race bikes.

1. How did you get started in cycling?
I started when I was 14 at the Newport Velodrome, my Mum and Dad took me down one day for taster session and just progressed from there.

2. Where do you ride when you just want to ride for fun?
I think I'd ride a mountain bike up at Cwmcarn Trail with my brother, I don't do it much, but it's always good when I get the chance to.

3. If you could ride in any event in the world, what would it be?
I'd want to finish the Tour de France, it's the most famous race there is. Ask anyone and the first race that comes to their mind is the Tour.

4. What do you do to relax before a race?
I just listen to music, but it's not always 'relaxing' music I'd listen to. But before any road race I always try and find a cafe and get a quick coffee, especially in Italy.

5. What do you like to do off the bike?
I'm a big Ice Hockey fan so whenever I'm home I always try and watch the Cardiff Devils. And I'm into my dance music so I like to think I'm a DJ not a very good one but spend a lot of time 'trying' to mix songs.

It's Round 3 of Revolution this weekend with highlights on ITV4 on Monday. You can follow the action on our twitter. Let us know you're support using the hashtag #goteamhowies.

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