NEUROPHYSICS THERAPY - TOTAL BODY ENHANCEMENT

24/02/2018

"The most advanced form of training and rehabilitation in the world..."

What if I told you you’d never have to stretch or foam roll again and you’d be injury free and nimbler than ever before?

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If someone had explained this concept to me just 18 months ago, I would have laughed.  If they’d then insisted that they were speaking the truth, I’d have whisked them away into a dark corner at gun point (I don’t actually own a gun…) and demanded that they hand over one of the ‘magic pills’ that they spoke of.

If you’re anything like me, then you hate stretching.  There’s nothing worse than coming home from a ride, spending the day at work, returning home for dinner and then realising that you need to stretch before you really feel as though you’re ready to jump into bed (guilt free…) Perhaps you’re not as obsessive about your stretching as I once was?

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An overuse injury in my early day’s as a cyclist had me feet up, unable to turn the pedals for close to six months.  I was diagnosed with the dreaded ‘ITB Syndrome,’ a common injury for cyclists in which the Iliotibial Band that run’s down the exterior of the quad, becomes so tight, that it results in the bursa (small, fluid filled sacks that lubricate the joint beneath) becoming inflamed and causing chronic pain.  I spent hours at the physio and hours researching exactly what was causing the grief I was experiencing.  Everything I read explained that I should be foam rolling the band itself, loosening the attachment points at either end and strengthening my glutes.  Eager to jump back on the bike as soon as possible, I turned into an ‘obsessive stretcher,’ stretching for upwards of two hours each and every day, in the hope that this would fast track my recovery.

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Upon slowly emerging from the injury, I soon realized that I had become dependant on stretching.  Any minor niggle (which was becoming more and more common) had me stretching and yet even though I was completing a monstrous amount of stretching each and every day, I still felt tight.  How could this be?

This routine lasted for four years.  Four long years of stretching 1-2 hours each and every day.  If I look back and calculate the time I spent stretching in the four years prior to my introduction to Neuro Physics Therapy, I’d have accumulated approximately 2,200 hours of ‘stretch’…the equivalent to three whole months of stretching 24/7. Ridiculous…

Late in 2016 I was introduced to Kam Wilkinson and Teneal Attard (T) from ‘Chaotic Energy’ in Highgate, Western Australia and this is when my stretching regime stopped abruptly.

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Kam & T are experts in the field of Neuro Physics Therapy (NPT.)  In a nutshell, NPT is a unique exercise-based program, which activates the nervous system in such a way that stimulates the body to re-organize itself and return to optimal function, through very light and controlled resistance training – Often within incredible timeframes.

Developed by Ken Ware over the past 30 years, NPT has been shown to consistently benefit clients through its ‘whole body approach,’ rather than isolating trouble spots that require ‘fixing.’  This unique form of therapy enables the body to facilitate all of the healing work required to return the body to peak physical and mental form, without the use of medicine, surgery or physical manipulation.

It’s a difficult phenomenon to describe and so what I’ve done, is put forward a series of questions to my therapist Kam, so that he can provide more clarity on the concept behind NPT and how it will benefit you. But first, I want to describe my experience and the outcomes that I’ve achieved through NPT in such a short space of time.

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As outlined earlier, prior to NPT I always felt tight.  No exceptions. I struggled to reach my toes bending forward, my quads felt as though they were heavy and solid and I always had some form of niggle, be it in my knees, hips, calves or back.  I felt like an old man and yet I was in my mid-twenties, ‘prime time’ as some would argue.

Another thing to note is that in order to feel comfortable on the bike I was required to adopt a ‘duck foot’ position where my heels were in and my toes were out.  My feet were so splayed on the pedals that my heels would rub on my cranks and rear stays with every pedal stroke.  To solve this problem, I purchased pedals with longer spindles but this just led to additional issues. The longer spindles had me feeling as though I was riding a horse.  My stance was so wide and I felt so awkward on the bike that some days I would jump aboard my steed and really question what enjoyment I was getting.  It became a mental battle to overcome how uncomfortable I was.

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The above is no doubt news to most, but this was a struggle that I put up with for years and to this day, I sometime question why and how I kept on riding.

Back to NPT…Initially, I completed an intensive four-day program under the guidance of Kam. At the completion of each day, I was not only physically wrecked, but mentally exhausted too, as my body was going through a series of exercises in which I was able to see what was occurring in my system and then set about changing them.  

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Exercises ranged from leg press to lat pull down and everything in between with a clear focus of symmetry and alignment.  A few key concepts that were mentioned included being centred, calming arousal down and keeping everything innocent.  All of the exercises were completed without weight and yet the levels of fatigue I experienced were like no other I had ever come across in the gym. All exercises are completed at a very slow pace which enables significant refinement to take place physically and emotionally, I really was experiencing how my body was riding my bike.

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To give you an idea of how quickly I noticed results, following the four days of therapy, I had to make drastic changes to the positioning of the cleats on my shoes so that my feet faced squarely forward and in addition to this, I felt improved clarity and had the ability to remain composed when riding at my absolute limits. It was at this point that I realised that Kam, T and the whole of the NPT following worldwide, were onto something...That everyone can fix themselves and learn to be in control through this therapy.

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So how do I go about completing my therapy when away in a remote location on one of my Adventures without access to a gym?  Simple…by completing just four ‘super slow’ squat repetitions at the completion of each day, I can now realign my body back to optimal function.  I complete this prior to bed and voila, the following morning I jump on the bike and feel like new again. It truly is incredible.

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It may appear as though I'm trying to sell you a concept that is too good to be true, but I can honestly say that NPT has changed me.  It’s not only changed me from a physical sense in that I am now more flexible than ever and able to bend forward and put my whole palm flat on the floor in front, but from a mental/emotional sense too.  I am far calmer than I ever have been.  If a problem arises, be it on the bike or in daily life, I can deal with it in a calm and collected manner.  In addition to this, despite the long kilometres I complete on the bike each and every day, I remain niggle free.  If you look to the other athletes that are now using NPT within Australia alone, it highlights how effective this form of therapy is, in allowing these athletes to reach their optimal performance levels in their chosen sport:

Mark Matthews – Professional Big Wave Surfer

Karla Gilbert - Ironman

Jana Pitman – Two time Wold Athletics Gold Medallist

Jonathon Brown – Ex -AFL Player

Reni Maitua – Ex -NRL Player

Nick Kenny – Ex -NRL Player

Simon Dywer – Ex- NRL Player

Pete Jacobs – Professional Triathlete

Matt Spooner – UFC Athlete/Coach

John Maclean – Professional Triathlete / Rower

If the above list and explanation aren’t enough to convince you that NPT is the way forward, then have a good read of my Q&A with Kam below and book into your nearest NPT clinic for a consultation.

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Additionally, if you are seeking the validity and creditability of NeuroPhysics Therapy, check out www.neurophysicstherapy.global and view the research tab.  If you’re anything like me, you won’t look back.  Life changing.

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Q. Can you provide me with a simplistic outline as to who NPT is for, and how it works?

A. NPT is for everyone that wants to improve physical and emotional wellbeing. Whether they want to increase sporting performance, better deal with stress, anxiety or general rehabilitation and also for people who have chronic pain/complex disorders.

NPT is about treating the person and not the condition or symptoms. By teaching you to be back in control of your system and equipping you with the necessary skills, you are actually able to fix the system.

NPT works by understanding what we are. We are living systems that perceive and respond to the environment around us. As a living system, we can only be in one of two states, a state of growth or a state of protection. A state of protection is where the stress builds up in our system (physical/emotional tension.) It’s the isolation of stress that creates disease and disorder. NPT enables clients to move into a state of growth, where the communication lines are open, allowing optimal flow of information and optimal nervous system function. As a result, we are able to control our emotions, our sleep patterns and our energy levels.

Using light weights and moving super slow, we are able to see how the client’s system is dealing with stress day-day, whether in their chosen sport, at home/work or in social environments. Your system will indicate to us exactly how it is behaving and interacting in these environments. In understanding the client’s physical and emotional responses to the environment (in the exercises) we can correct the imbalances in the client’s system and this enables reference points to be created which help you deal in the bigger, stronger, faster world!

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Q. What does a typical session look like?

A. Each client goes through an initial assessment in which we assess how their system is interacting day-day with their environments. They will then start on a Platinum 2 Day Program or complete the 4 Day NPT Intensive therapy.  Following these initial sessions, the client goes onto begin the NPT program. Each session is about continually enhancing and upgrading their system function, so they become better equipped at dealing with their environment.

Q. Does NPT have the ability to fix chronic disease?  Do you have examples?

A. Yes definitely, as mentioned above, NPT is about treating the person. Ken Ware the founder has helped thousands of people for over 30 years in remarkably short time frames. Please see these links for client testimonials:

https://www.neurophysicstherapy.global/research/

https://www.facebook.com/KamWilkinsonNeuroPhysics/

Q. How often will I need to complete NPT each week?

A. Ideally 3 sessions a week, this enables clients to significantly escape the patterns of behaviour that were contributing to their presenting concerns. By continuing the program, you are able to continually enhance and upgrade your system, better deal with stress whilst maintaining composure in all areas of life.

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Q. In my written piece above, I explained to readers that stretching and foam rolling are now an obsolete part of my daily training regime.  Can you explain why stretching and foam rolling are no longer relevant with the introduction of NPT into one’s regime?

A. When we stretch any part of our system, we are releasing energy and information from the system and losing physical and emotional integrity along with the events/experiences from that training session. Why would we want to lose that information?? The initial release or experience you feel from stretching is because you have lost the information from that session and your system. Your ligaments, tendons and muscles all store energy at different ratios so once you stretch them, they pull back even tighter. Picture stretching a rubber band or pinching a balloon, you are losing integrity from the system. Our systems are far more complex then these examples and as such, stretching has a far greater impact to our physical and emotional states. Everything in the system is affected.

Why do we stretch?? To acquire temporary relief. We need to address what is actually causing the pain and discomfort, rather than isolating the stress in the system to start with. The isolation of stress is what causes disease and disorder in the system.

This is where NPT comes in. By changing the perception and behaviours that are giving rise to the pain in your system, you are addressing the root cause. So rather than a quick fix you are actually solving the entire puzzle.

Q. We watched the video of you completing the super slow squats with 200kg and then go on to chest press 14 plates, calm, composed and with the ability to speak to the camera at the same time.  Incredible. Can you talk us through how this is possible?

A. It’s all about practicing with composure and starting exactly the same way that you start with the super slows. Getting everything physically and emotionally stable, being in control of your arousal, regardless of where the stress is coming from. This is the key benefit of doing NPT as the stress of the machines resemble stress from life. It’s not something to be fearful of and if it does make you feel that way, this perception needs to change as this is a reflection of how the system is interacting day-day. As you practice with varying levels of stress, gaining greater levels of physical and emotional composure, you become very robust to world noise. Obviously, this is something that has to be practiced and the ability to lift this type of weight and remain calm, collected and emotionally sound takes time. Think of a cycling great, Peter Sagan for example.  Sagan didn’t turn into a superstar overnight.  It takes hours and hours of training to perform optimally on the big stage.

If you are interested in learning more about the treatment itself or studying NeuroPhysics Therapy, please follow the link below or contact Kam.

https://www.neurophysicstherapy.global/careers-education/

The choice is yours, you now know all about the magic pill...but will you take it...?

 

 

 

 

WEEKEND ADVENTURE - COLLIE

31/01/2018

“CLEAN HIS CHAMOIS FROM THE INVOLUNTARY DEPOSITS LEFT AS A RESULT OF THE EMU SCARE...”

DAY ONE - 27th January 2018
121km / 1,331m Elevation

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What happens when you gather five avid adventurers, load all of their bikes onto the trailer, throw them in the back of your VW Multivan and set off for a weekend of exploration two hours South East of Perth?  You have a bloody good time…

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The destination for this month’s ‘Weekend Adventure’ was Collie and its picturesque surrounds.

A little different to last month’s Toodyay Adventure, this month the start point for Day 1 was 200km south of Perth in the seaside town of Bunbury. Having just picked up my custom 8 bike trailer, (which will be for hire throughout Perth shortly,) I was keen to put it to good use and so the Collie Adventure presented the perfect opportunity.

Departing from one of Perth’s Cycling Hot Spots ‘The Raffles Hotel…’, (For those who don’t know, The Raffles have a lycra ban…so no…we didn’t have coffee there!) we hit the road early Saturday morning.  A quick stop for coffee and cake at ‘The Crooked Carrot’ part way into the drive had us arriving in Bunbury soon after.

A quick transformation into Lycra and we were ready to hit the road.  Bunbury didn’t provide us with the warmest of welcomes…we had a number of ‘registration paying citizens’ advising us that we should also be ‘paying registration’ and should be riding in single file.  Here’s hoping they will one day learn the road rules.

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Before long and we were in the country, enjoying the spectacular South West as we rolled turns towards our lunch stop in Harvey.  Like any good ride, we filled up on Bakery tucker before tackling the infamous Harvey Dam Climb.  A long and steady climb winding in and amongst the trees and around the dam itself provided the perfect backdrop for the following hours of riding.

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The tarmac soon turned to gravel, and for the next 40km we found ourselves tapping along on incredibly quiet, but well-kept gravel roads.  Hat’s off to Frank, who was an absolute demon on the gravel.  Frank’s experience on the mountain bike had him descending like a man possessed!

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All was running smoothly until Zac punctured, and then punctured again and then just for good luck, punctured a third time!  Having followed the pack list closely, Zac was sorted and used three of his four tubes.  No one was game to say out aloud (in fear of jinxing one another) but I know for sure that I was thinking that puncture four could only have been minutes away. Fortunately, I was wrong.

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After a hot afternoon on the pedals and a decent stint of gravel, our talk of Powerade and Coke turned to talk of ice cold beers.  Luckily the Federal Hotel in Collie, (our accommodation for the night) did not disappoint and the first sip provided that welcome refreshment that the lads had been craving all afternoon.

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Beers turned into dinner but not without humour.  Paul, a great bloke, Indian Pacific Wheel Race Starter for 2018 and all round funny bastard, won the prize for the ‘most interesting footwear.’  A pair of gold and ‘salmon’ coloured loafers matched Paul’s outfit for the night fantastically.  Paul let on to me later in the night that these were the shoes he had worn to his wedding, so I’m certainly eager to see the wedding photos and the ‘matching suit,’ if such a beast exists.

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Ready for bed but still yearning for food, the boys decided a quick trip to McDonalds was in order.  John, aka ‘Terminator,’ was eager for a burger but admittedly had a violent case of ‘the guilt’s’ post meal.  It’s lucky that our second day of riding had more than its fair share of difficult elevation and so luckily for John, in this instance, he was safe ;)

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DAY TWO – 28th January 2018
95km / 908m Elevation

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We woke on Day 2 to beautiful blue skies and rumbling bellies.  Nothing a trip to the Bakery for a fresh pie and coffee can’t fix.

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A minor detour had us exploring the famous ‘Black Diamond Lake,’ an old Coal Mine that has since been filled with water and now acts as a tourist destination luring visitors from far and wide.  Upon arriving, the sapphire blue water highlighted just why.  With a limestone base, the water appears iridescent blue and juxtaposed against white limestone, creates the perfect backdrop for a weekend away relaxing at the lake.

With kilometres to ride and climbs to tackle, we had a quick look around the lake before setting off South in search of gravel and the infamous ‘River Road Climb.’

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15km out of town we were back on the orange gold (gravel.) The vegetation of Day Two differed greatly from Day One and we found ourselves deep within a pine plantation that reminded us of being deep within the Canadian wilderness.  The terrain was fantastic and the pine provided brilliant cover from the sun.

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Frank had a close call with an emu on one of the longer descents and then missed our next turnoff.  My guess is that he kept travelling up the road and away from the other lads so that he could clean his chamois from the involuntary deposits left as a result of the ‘Emu Scare!’

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The Wellington Dam Kiosk provided a great refuel point prior to our descent along the Wellington Dam river banks towards ‘River Road.’

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River Road is a prick of a climb even when the legs are feeling good.  After a few too many shandies the night before, I’m the first to put my hand up and say that I was struggling just a little. With the Nullabor km still in my legs, and not quite enough recovery, I was happy to let the boys dance off up the hills and drag my sorry ass to the top of the climb alone.

At the top of the River Road and with a tough 3km climb in the legs, we were all eager to descend into the Ferguson valley and back towards Bunbury for Lunch.

The final kilometres were some of the most spectacular as we wound our way through the multiple Ferguson Valley farm stays and back to the Collie foothills.  A final gravel sector had us arriving back in Bunbury in time for a hearty kebab and good post ride banter.

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The drive home was far quieter than the drive down with, all but two of the boys nodding off for a nap.  Funny man Paul, who I’ve decided to nickname ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ provided entertainment even whilst asleep. 

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As I dropped the boys home, on our way back through Perth, I recall thinking to myself how lucky I am to be able to take riders off on Adventures and call this work.

Life is good, and this weekend just highlighted what cycling is all about.  Good times with good mates, both new and old.

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DYNAMO HUB'S - EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

31/12/2017

“I CAN POWER MY GARMIN, CHARGE MY PHONE, CHARGE MY CAMERA AND RUN MY LIGHTS 24/7, ALL WITHOUT HAVING TO STOP...”

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BACKGROUND

Dynamo Lights…The culprit in one of the most common questions I get when it comes to my set-up on multi day trips.  How do I power my devices while on the run?  I can power my garmin, charge my phone, charge my camera and run my lights 24/7, all without having to stop. 

But how…?

The answer relates to my ‘golf ball’ sized hub, otherwise known as a ‘Dynamo.’  Dynamo hubs are clever pieces of equipment and incredibly simple devices to use.  For some reason, Dynamos are a source of confusion with those new to adventure cycling. 

Could the confusion stem from the name and the fact that people relate this with the magician ‘Dynamo’ and fancy magic tricks?  Possibly, but I think the main reason is that dynamos just aren’t widely used within the community and as such, bike shops aren’t required to know a whole lot about them.  In addition to this, it makes more sense for a bike shop to sell a customer an ‘off the shelf light’ and make a quick sale, then it does for them to try and sell a custom wheel.  It could also be the fact that ‘charge and go’ style lights now have a relatively impressive battery life and most would argue that a dynamo isn’t necessary. 

Outlined below, I’ve attempted to cover everything you need to know about Dynamo’s.  I’ve also provided my own tips and recommendation with respect to setup and equipment choices based on my own ‘real world’ experience.

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Essentially a dynamo hub, is a hub that is built into the front wheel of your bike, that generates electricity, enabling you to power your electronic devices.  The original dynamo hub’s were bottle shaped, attached to the fork and driven by the circulation of your tyre.  As the wheel rotated, the dynamo would rub against the tyre and generate friction which could then be utilised as electrical power.  These original dynamo’s were inefficient and caused early wear of the tyre.  In addition to this, they zapped watt’s from the rider, slipped against the tyre in wet conditions, created an audible humming noise and had to be carefully positioned in order to engage with the tyre at the right angle.

Fast forward to the present, and Dynamo hub’s are now almost as small as a standard hub.  They come in a range of colours, spoke configurations and axle standards in order to meet the demands of the most discerning cyclist.

 As you can see, there is very little difference in size between the DT 350 front hub (Left) and the SP Dynamo front hub (Right.)

As you can see, there is very little difference in size between the DT 350 front hub (Left) and the SP Dynamo front hub (Right.)

A common misconception that a lot of riders have, is that dynamo hub’s create an unwanted amount of resistance.  Truth be told, modern day dynamo’s cost approximately 2-3 watts from your pedal stroke and as such, the disadvantage is minimal.  So much so, that most ultra-riders won’t turn their lighting off during the day, as the benefit to safety far outweighs the penalty imposed as a result of the dynamo ‘drag.’ I’m guessing that the energy bar that’s stuffed away in your rear pocket and the sunglasses that are perched in the vents of your helmet are costing you more energy as a result of aerodynamic drag!

EQUIPMENT CHOICE

My Dynamo hub of choice and the hub that I’ve been using for close to two years now, without fault, is the Shutter Precision unit from sp-dynamo.com.  Not only are these units reliable, they come in a range of different spoke/hub standard configurations and importantly, retail at a fraction of the price of other Hub systems such as the ‘SON’ unit from Germany.

In addition to the hub itself, what else do you need?

I’m currently using a light/usb charging apparatus that I purchased through Kerry at klite.com.au. The K-lite equipment is all handmade in Australia and represents incredible quality and value for money. The reason I purchase all of my equipment through K-lite, is that it’s all compatible and amazingly simple to setup.

 Complete dynamo 'apparatus,' made up of the following equipment...Simple Bar Switch (Left.) Bikepacker Pro 1300 lumen standlite (Top Right.) Sinewave Revolution USB Charger (Bottom Right)

Complete dynamo 'apparatus,' made up of the following equipment...Simple Bar Switch (Left.) Bikepacker Pro 1300 lumen standlite (Top Right.) Sinewave Revolution USB Charger (Bottom Right)

My current setup includes the following:

-       Bikepacker Pro 1300 lumen Standlite - The light itself also includes a capacitor which acts as a small battery pack. The capacitor is a ‘must have’ in my opinion and is helpful for when you stop and light is required, traffic lights for instance.

-       Simple Bar Switch - Think of this as the wire that runs from the hub itself up towards your cockpit.  There are two connections on the ‘non-hub’ side that allow you to connect your ‘Bikepacker Pro Standlite’ and your ‘USB Charger.’

 The bar switch connects to the tab on the outer of the dynamo hub and runs up the inside of the fork to the handlebars.  I personally tape the wire to the fork to ensure it does not get tangled in the spokes.

The bar switch connects to the tab on the outer of the dynamo hub and runs up the inside of the fork to the handlebars.  I personally tape the wire to the fork to ensure it does not get tangled in the spokes.

-       Sinewave Revolution USB Charger - The USB charger connects into the second port of the Bar Switch and converts the energy generated from the dynamo, into a format that allows you to charge from a USB plug. Garmin, phone etc.

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Another piece of information that’s worth adding, is that the Dynamo hub will not generate enough electricity for you to run your light and charge a device at the same time. Generating light and charging your devices is a bit of a juggling act and with time, you will develop a regime whereby you will charge equipment during the day, and then run your light during the night.

 This image highlights the Simple Bar switch (Left) with the 1300 Lumen light (Top Right) and the Sinewave Revolution USB Charger (Bottom Right) connected.  The silver switch allows you to toggle between what system you are using, either the light or the USB device.

This image highlights the Simple Bar switch (Left) with the 1300 Lumen light (Top Right) and the Sinewave Revolution USB Charger (Bottom Right) connected.  The silver switch allows you to toggle between what system you are using, either the light or the USB device.

I personally don’t run my rear light through the Dynamo apparatus, however there are systems available that do have these capabilities.  My rear light of choice is the Exposure Blaze, which provides 80 lumens of flashing light, for 48 hours at a time.  I generally run my rear light 24/7. This is mainly for visibility whilst out on the road.  Once a day I will remove the light and charge it via the USB plug to ensure that I’ve got enough juice to see me safely through the night.

Note:  I am in no way endorsed by klite.com.au or sp-dynamo.com and so the above facts and figures represent factual information and knowledge that I have picked up over the years.

WHEEL CONSTRUCTION

The important thing when looking at building a dynamo wheel relates to the construction of the wheel itself and ensuring that other factors such as spoke count and rim choice are well considered.  I recently caught up with Adrian Emilsen from Melody Wheels in Perth, a Dynamo Wheel specialist, who provided the following insight with respect to wheel construction with a particular emphasis on dynamo hub’s:

"Building a dynamo wheel is no different to any other wheel in terms of how it’s built. The main difference is that dynamo wheels tend to be used in conditions where absolute performance is less of a concern than reliability. The key components of the dynamo wheel are as follows:

Dynamo Hubs

Shutter Precision (SP) and Schmidts Original Nabendynamo (SON) are two of the leading brands that we’ve used to build many dynamo wheels. There are subtle differences between SP and SON hubs in terms of the hub geometries and hubshell design, however both provide a solid platform for an excellent dynamo wheel. The expected bearing life of a hub is an important consideration although extremely context specific. SON, who use SKF bearings, have a 5 year warranty on their hubs with an expected on-the-road life of at least 50’000km. SP offer a 2 year warranty on their hubs and will replace hub bearings at no charge if there are any bearing wear issues within this time. It’s worth noting that neither SON nor SP dynamo hubs can be serviced by your local bike shop. Both hubs are required to be sent back to the factory (in Taiwan (SP) + Germany(SON)) for bearing replacement. So far we’ve had no reports of bearing failure from either manufacturer.

Rims

Its possible to reuse the rim on your existing front wheel and build a dynamo hub into it. However, if you are considering a whole new wheel you’d be best to speak with an experienced wheel builder to discuss what rim option will best suit your needs. In addition to a broad range of rim design and quality considerations, one of the most important considerations is rim weight. This is because rim weight is a strong proxy for the strength of a wheel and its ability to withstand a number of dynamic loads. Generally speaking we would not recommend a rim of less that 440g for a reliable dynamo wheel (in the 700c/29er rim size).

Spokes

Most dynamo hubs are designed with a higher-spoke count of 28 or more spokes.

The choice of spokes is again contextual, but we only use stainless steel spokes from leading spoke manufacturers (Sapim + DT Swiss). Double butted spokes have improved weight savings and fatigue life over straight gauge spokes. To keep the weight down, we find that the 1.65mm double butted Sapim D-Light is our most popular spoke for many dynamo wheels. In cases where the wheel is heavily loaded, the triple butted (2.2/1.8/2.0mm) Sapim Force is our preferred spoke.  Ultra-light bladed spokes (Sapim CX Ray or DT Swiss Aerolite) are also an option, however they can be more susceptible to damage if something impacts them directly. They are also less suited to roadside wheel repairs (requiring additional tools) to stop the spokes from twisting. For these reasons we recommend mostly round double butted and tripled butted spokes for dynamo wheels.

Nipples

We build most dynamo wheels with brass nipples because ultimate weight savings are not such a priority. Brass is a non-reactive alloy of Copper and Zinc that has a high resistance to corrosion for long-term durability and serviceability. Aluminium nipples are one-third the weight of brass nipples, however they can be affected by galvanic corrosion when they come into contact with other metals, electrically conductive materials such as carbon fibre rims, and more corrosive environments. Despite many negative opinions, we still recommend Alu nipples in a range of wheel builds. Quality aluminium nipples are forged from 7075 ‘aircraft grade’ aluminium for improved strength and hardness. The process of anodising the nipples (when done well) provides a good electrical insulator against galvanic corrosion."

 The 1300 lumen front light can be attached in a range of different locations.  I personally attach mine to either the handlebars or the aero bars depending on the duration of the adventure.  The attachment pieces are all included with the K-Lite system.

The 1300 lumen front light can be attached in a range of different locations.  I personally attach mine to either the handlebars or the aero bars depending on the duration of the adventure.  The attachment pieces are all included with the K-Lite system.

RECOMMENDATION

I trust that the above information has provided you with a clearer insight into how a dynamo hub works and the ancillary equipment that is needed in order to convert your wheel generated energy, into a source that can provide light and power.

When it comes to purchasing dynamo hub’s there are a number of things to consider:

-       What will you use it for?

-       What brand will you buy?

-       What environment will you use it?

-       What ancillary equipment will you need and will this equipment ‘plug and play’ directly with the hub that you’ve chosen?

-       Do I require both the front and rear light to be dynamo powered?

What makes purchasing a dynamo setup difficult is the range of equipment that is available and the compatibility unknowns between differing brands. I recommend contacting a sole supplier/distributor directly and talking with them about your specific requirements.  Kerry from k-lite is a fantastic resource when it comes to the ‘ancillary equipment’ and his knowledge of all things ‘dynamo’ is incredibly vast. For all ancillary equipment, contact Kerry.  With respect to the Wheel Build and the incorporation of the dynamo itself, Adrian from Melody Wheels is an expert in this field and should be your first port of call.

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Note: K-lite does not sell hub’s directly (for this you will need to visit sp-dynamo.com or another hub supplier), however when purchasing from the K-lite website, you are given the option of selecting which hub you will be using and this in turn enables Kerry to send you the specific equipment which in turn, allows you to ‘plug and play.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WEEKEND ADVENTURE - TOODYAY

23/12/2017

“A HEALTHY MIX OF TARMAC AND GRAVEL, SWELTERING TEMPERATURES IN EXCESS OF 38'C AND FAST FLOWING DESCENTS...”

DAY ONE - 16th December 2017
158.9km / 1,554m Elevation

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Early on Saturday Morning, seven eager Adventurer’s met in the heart of the Perth CBD for the first of the ‘Jackcyclesfar Weekend Adventures.’  A quick shot of caffeine and a short briefing later, we hit the road, en route for Toodyay and a weekend full of exploration.

Day one, a tough day on the pedals, saw us cover 158.9km (just short of an Imperial Century.) A few of the riders (myself included) were spotted completing ‘bog laps,’ around town, in order to hit the magic 160km at day’s end.

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The famous ‘Bakers Hill Pie Shop’ played host to the Day One, lunch stop.  A top shelf bakery in the midst of the Perth hinterland that did not disappoint.  The riders left with bloated bellies having consumed excess calories required for the remote afternoon ahead.

A healthy mix of tarmac and gravel, sweltering temperatures in excess of 38’C and fast flowing descents through the Avon National Park, the riders experienced it all and reached Toodyay with smiles on their faces and in desperate need of an ice-cold recovery beer.

Note: One of the riders (I won’t mention names) opted for a shandy in lieu of a beer…this rider just may have been me…

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Upon arrival and prior to cold beverages and showers at our pit stop for the night, ‘The Freemasons Hotel,’ we made a quick stop at the local Toodyay IGA.  Food and drink choices ranged from fruit salad, to sushi, with a mix of everything in between.  A special mention must go to Brian Saunders who opted for ‘Almond Milk’ as a protein source.  Upon closer inspection of the packaging, we found that Almond Milk contained no protein.  Better luck next time Brian!

The afternoon rolled into the night and the riders spent the last few hours of sunlight with their feet up at the bar, watching the closing stages of the Cricket over well earnt refreshments.

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There were various dinner choices, however all but two riders opted for the Rump Steak with Chips and Salad.  The bar maid kindly asked how we’d like our steaks cooked…why, I will never know, as they all left the kitchen ‘well done.’  It reminded me of steak from a  ‘Sizzler Franchise,’ no matter what you ask for, you’re always presented with a ‘char grilled’ slab of meat.  That being said, the steak was delicious and certainly hit the spot. 

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Dinner was followed by dessert.  I’m personally not a big fan of desert, but when I’m on the road, I always make a concerted effort to consume the extra calories.  Toodyay was no exception.  The Apple Crumble was served with ice cream (or so the menu suggested…) When the plates came out ‘ice cream less’ Claire pointed out to the waiter that we required the extra calories (bravo Claire!)  A few minutes later we received our bowls of ice-cream.  Perfection.

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DAY TWO – 17th December 2018
110km / 854m Elevation

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We woke to rain and wild wind on Day 2.  We’d been watching the forecast the night before and were hopeful that the weatherman would be wrong.  Rain in WA in mid-December is almost unheard of!  The riders were well prepared and had wet weather gear stowed away in their bags. It rained on and off until we reached Chittering Valley and was a welcome change from the heat of Day One.

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At Chittering, we stopped in at a local Orchard for some freshly squeezed orange juice.  The orange juice hit the spot and was the perfect energy source just prior to our climb out of the valley and back down towards Bullsbrook and the foothills of Perth.  A strong ride by Jaimie Kirkwood and Tom Barrett had us flying along the Great Northern Highway towards Guildford and before we knew it, we were at the Guildford bakery enjoying lunch. 

The final push down the bike path was incredibly enjoyable as we reminisced on the weekend that had been.  We were gone for less than 48hrs but felt as though we’d been gone for a week.  Memories that will last a lifetime.

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A seriously fun weekend away with a great bunch of local riders.  The next of the Weekend Adventures is scheduled to take place in Collie, on the weekend of the 27th and 28th January 2018.  There are limited spots remaining so if you are yearning for adventure and a good weekend away with a bunch of like-minded individuals, then sign up now and secure your spot.

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HONARARY MENTIONS

Tom Barrett – Master photographer and all round strong man.

Jaimie Kirkwood – The gentleman of the road.

Peter Pang – Owner to one of the most chiselled sets of calf muscles within the Perth cycling scene.

Clark Brannin – Conqueror of the gravel.

Claire Tyrell – Gravel descent extraordinaire.

Brian Saunders – The puncture specialist and chief of kit coordination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE 30CM EXPERIMENT

12/12/2017

“THERE ARE TINY RIDERS AND THERE ARE ENORMOUS RIDERS AND YET ALMOST ALL RIDERS USE EQUIPMENT THAT VARIES BY JUST TINY INCREMENTS...”

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When it comes to the cycling industry, ‘conventional’ is a word that applies to almost everything that we do. 

The bikes we ride are all built to meet stringent standards and regulations.  Frame sizing is based on generic top tube/seat tube lengths. The cranks we ride, range in length by about 10mm and stem lengths vary by about 4cm. The list goes on.

Is it just me, or does this baffle you too? Human beings differ greatly in size. There are tiny riders and there are enormous riders and yet almost all riders use equipment that varies by just tiny increments. Why??

‘Conventional’ is a term best described as, ‘being based on, or in accordance with what is generally done or believed.’

A rider who is 6’6 is some 46cm taller than a rider who is 5’0 foot and yet they use cranks that are almost identical in size. It doesn’t add up.

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I spend long hours on the bike, day after day and I am obsessive about comfort and mechanical efficiencies. If you look to the pro peloton, riders will make drastic changes to their position to save just hundredths of a second over a four-hour stage.  Why then, do riders who are partaking in ultra-events that last upwards of three weeks, not look to make changes to their position that will also increase efficiencies?

We all have our favourite position on the bars. For some it’s the hoods, others the drops and for others it’s the flats.  There’s no right or wrong position.  I personally spend a lot of time in the drops and in the hoods, if I’m riding at a more relaxed pace.  What I started to notice when riding for long periods of time is that I was longing for a ‘narrower’ position on the bars.  A position that would allow my upper body weight (the portion that tilts forward and grasps the bars) to be channelled directly in front of me as opposed to ‘at angles’ to my body.

For the last four years, I have been riding handlebars that are either 42cm or 44cm in width (Centre to Centre C-C at the hoods).  The width has generally been dictated by the bars that came on the bike when new, and I’ve never thought to alter this.  42cm seems like a reasonably ‘conventional,’ middle of the line width bar, so why would I want anything different? 

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About 6 months ago I switched to 36cm bars, and immediately felt a sense of relief.  Relief, not because I was ever in pain, but because I never quite felt compact and secure.  The switch to 36cm bars was a lightbulb moment in my cycling career. My comfort on the bike increased, I could spend longer periods of time in the drops, in an aggressive position and my power also increased as I now adopted a more streamlined position on the bike.  I felt great.

It’s common knowledge to most, that I suffer from an obsessive personality.  The 36cm bars felt so good, that I began to fanaticise with the idea of even narrower bars…

Whilst up in Japan completing my North to South crossing in October this year, I became adamant that I would find 34cm bars in one of the local stores. The Japanese / Asian population is generally smaller in stature to European’s and so If I was going to find ‘narrow’ bars, this would be the place. I searched long and hard, but had no luck? The narrowest bar that I could find was 36cm. How could this be? At 6’2 and relatively broad across the chest I was already using the narrowest bar available, how was this possible? 

This started my search.  I spent hours researching online, looking for bars designed for children and small women, but I could find nothing.  I came across a children’s bike manufacturer in the UK who produced 34cm bars, but they would only sell them as part of a complete bike.  I certainly wasn’t going to spend 750 pounds on a children’s bike just so that I could test the 34cm alloy bars…

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I tracked down a set of cracked carbon bars online (42cm 3T Ergonova) and took them into John Ilett, a carbon specialist with a small workshop just South of Perth. We decided to experiment and chop out a 12cm length of the bar to create a 30cm wide handlebar (C-C at the hoods.)  In order to create enough structural integrity, John used a portion of the carbon that he had cut from the bar to create an internal ‘rib.’  You can see from the images where the rib is inserted and although this doesn’t match the original aesthetics of the UD Carbon, it is hidden below bar tape, away from the eye.

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I’ve been riding the 30cm bars for two weeks now and can confirm it’s been another ‘lightbulb moment.’  My connection with the bars feels so compact and so powerful, that I can’t fathom how I ever rode anything wider.  When I switch across to my second bike and the 36cm bars that provide the steering, I feel as though I’m riding bullhorns. Furthermore, when I swap across to a mates bike, typically with ‘conventional’ 42cm bar and allow them to ‘joy ride’ on my setup, I feel as though I’m operating a parachute! The wind captured by my chest proving to be an obvious disadvantage.

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Track riders have been using narrow bars for some time now, the likes of Chirs Hoy riding bars as narrow as 22cm in instances. Some will argue that the ‘closed off’ chest position has the ability to reduce  oxygen intake into the lungs and decrease performance.  I haven’t noticed any disadvantages to date.  One thing worth noting is that when I first started riding more challenging terrain (gravel/sand) on the narrow bars, it required more concentration. The bars are certainly a little more ‘fidgety.’  I’ve had to increase the length of my stem by 20mm to a 150mm stem so as to achieve the same reach, but aside from this, I am now fully adjusted to my new position and won't be making the change back.  

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What’s the story behind this little experiment?  Don’t settle for what is ‘conventional.’ Just because components such as handlebars, cranks and stems only come in ‘normal’ sizes, doesn’t necessarily mean that ‘normal’ is right for you.  Look outside of the box when it comes to your bike fit and perhaps you will stumble across a lightbulb moment too.

Note: The problem with my obsessive disorder and always having to optimise things is that I’m now toying with the idea of even narrower bars…who knows where this will end up!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARRESTED IN CENTRAL CHINA

1/12/2017

“THE BOXES WERE FULL OF ILLEGAL DRUGS AND I WAS GOING TO BE STAGED AS A DRUG TRAFFICKER...”

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Knowing I had a long day ahead, not kilometre wise, but in terms of elevation, some 6,200m, I decided to set off early.  I had been told by locals that my target destination, an Ancient City in the middle of remote central China had fantastic night markets and I was adamant that I wanted to explore upon arrival.

A longish day on the bike, some 10.5hrs later I arrived at around 4pm.  I hunted long and hard for a hotel and eventually found a beauty at the top end of town, close to the markets and the bustling nightlife I had been promised.

Upon arrival at the Lobby, I was instructed that I must check in at the Police Station so that the Chinese Authorities knew of my whereabouts.  One thing that became more apparent as I explored further south and deeper into the remote Chinese Mountains, was that my ‘whereabouts,’ from a local authority perspective, was of more importance.  Looking back, this is fantastic, and in terms of my safety, useful information given the significant number of earthquakes in the area just days before my arrival.  At the time however, I remember being nervous that I was at risk of being extradited from the Country.

I boarded the pillion seat of a local scooter en route to the police station, weaving in and around the small roads with my passport, visa and divers license clasped tightly between my palms.  I hadn’t yet eaten since finishing for the day and so was concerned about my recovery and the following day’s ride.  I should have been focused on the task at hand and presenting well to the police, but I was more concerned about where I was going to find a Bubble Tea (my go to Asian recovery drink.)

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On arriving at the Police Headquarters, I was whisked away by a handful of policemen.  I wasn’t sure what to expect looking back at it, but I recall thinking that it was far more serious than it should have been.  I hadn’t broken any laws (to my knowledge) and I had a visa allowing me to travel around China.  Why did things suddenly feel so grave?

I was taken into a small concrete room, one dim yellow bulb hanging in the centre of the ceiling providing light.  It was just like what you’d expect to see in an interrogation cell.  A man walked in casually dressed, a suit jacket, jeans and loafers.  It turns out that this was the Police Chief. The Chief started speaking in Chinese…speaking no Chinese myself, It was difficult to communicate.  A quick phone call to the Chief’s wife (who happened to be an English teacher in a nearby city) and we were in business.

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As it turns out, I wasn’t in trouble at all, the Chinese were going through their due-diligence and registering that I had arrived in town.  They wanted to know my previous location and my plans for the coming day. In the event of an emergency, I could then be quickly located by the Australian embassy.  On a slightly more serious note, given I was close to the Tibetan border (forbidden land) there was some concern that I may be a spy looking to venture across into Tibet.  The penalties for this can be huge…

Feeling cheeky, and still eager for bubble tea, I typed into my translation app, ‘Where can I get bubble tea?’ I showed the Chief.  The Chief laughed out loud and typed back into his phone, ‘do you want to have dinner with me?’  This was the last thing I was expecting and it caught me a little of guard.  One thing I’ve learnt about my adventures is to go with the flow, and as such I responded ‘Of course.’

What came next, signalled the internal alarm bells.  As we exited the dark cell, a new officer appeared from another room along the passage way.  The officer was carrying two small boxes (picture 2 tissue boxes taped together and that’s the approximate size of each box.)  The boxes were stacked on top of one another, each encased in brown cardboard and taped heavily with brown tape.  My immediate thought was that the boxes were full of illegal drugs and that I was going to be staged as a drug trafficker.  My heart rate increased and my palms became sweaty.  What made matters worse is that I couldn’t simply ask what the boxes contained.  In any other circumstance, I would have jokingly made a remark about the boxes in order to obtain a feel for what was inside. In this instance, I was out of luck.

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Before I could type a question into my translation app, an SUV appeared at the front of the Police Station, the Chief signalled that I get into the rear of the car. He jumped into the front seat and ‘the boxes’ were placed carefully into the back of the car, right next to me... I was now in the back seat of a heavily tinted SUV with the Police Chief of an ancient Chinese City and what appeared to be a substantial quantity of illegal drugs. I did not like where this was headed.   

We weaved in and around the busy streets for about 15 minutes and eventually ended up down a small alley at a bright red door.  I figured that my fate was about to be decided and so took a deep breath.  The Chief hopped out of the car, went straight to the rear of the vehicle and signalled for me to collect the boxes.  Still convinced that the boxes contained illegal drugs, I made the decision not to touch them.  The last thing I wanted was for my finger prints to be on the box. I jumped out of the car, pretending I hadn’t noticed the Chief's gestures and walked up towards the red door. I opened the red door and we walked up a long, tight, flight of stairs.  The carpet was old and smelt rotten, I can remember it vividly.  At this point in time I recall questioning why I hadn’t checked into another hotel…None of this would have happened.

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At the top of the stairs I was surprised to see another glass door, behind, which was a table of local Chinese, in what appeared to be a fancy restaurant.  Confusion struck.  We entered and were greeted by the locals at the table. 

What I remember next, was the sound of the Chief ripping the brown tape off the boxes to reveal what was inside.  Time slowed, the Chief looked at me and smiled as he tore away the tape and cardboard encasing the package.  Deep down, I was convinced that a cloud of white dust was about to be revealed.  But I was wrong…there was no white powder.  What came next was a complete shock.  Out from within the boxes came six packs of Belgian Beers, Chimay believe it or not!?  My heart almost stopped…

The Chief reached into his pocket and grabbed his phone, he typed into his app, ‘I import the Belgian beers because I prefer the taste.’  My worry immediately turned to joy.  I hadn’t had a beer in a few weeks, let alone an authentic Belgian beer and I was no longer at risk of being locked up as a drug mule.  Success!

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The night proceeded to turn into an absolute laugh. One beer turned into about seven beers and we drank late into the night.  I didn’t speak any Chinese and my dinner compatriots spoke no English, yet we drank and ate dinner together like we were old friends.  Admittedly things got out of hand and we began sculling the beers out of the restaurant dinner bowls, chanting encouragement to see who could finish their drink first.  Having ridden for 10+ hours earlier that day, I was affected heavily by the beers and soon found that I was incredibly pissed. 

Following dinner, the Chief and his mates gave me a short tour of the Ancient City and we capped things off with a few rounds of Karaoke. Unfortunately, the only English tune on offer was ‘Diamonds’ by Rihanna, so I gave the Chinese a fantastic rendition…or so they thought!

What did I take from all of this?  When you’re in China and the Police Chief in an ancient city offers to take you out for dinner with his mates.  Say YES!

 

 

 

 

 

SCOTT ROAD RC LACE SHOE - REVIEW

27/11/2017

“ULTRA-LIGHTWEIGHT DANCING SHOE BUILT TO WITHSTAND HOURS UPON HOURS ON THE PEDALS”

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As an ultra-distance rider with a wider than normal foot, finding a shoe that accommodates my orthotic, conforms to my foot and doesn’t put pressure around the widened metatarsal of my small toe (bunionette caused from wearing shoes that are too tight) is incredibly difficult.  In the past I’ve purchased shoes that are a designated wide fit and up to two sizes too big, just to accommodate the greater volume of my feet during hot days on the bike when they swell.  Not only does this look ridiculous (clown feet,) the shoes haven’t supported my feet as they should (surely this explains my lack of watts…?)

That is until now.  I won’t mention what shoes I’ve come from, but what I will say is that they’re a top tier racing shoe and although as stiff as anything, which provided fantastic power transfer, they ‘accommodated’ my feet, they did not ‘fit.’

As such, my quest for the past few years  has been to find the perfect shoe.  Luckily, just one week prior to my departure for Japan and another few thousand kilometres on two wheels, I found what, in my eyes, is close to the PERFECT shoe.

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Low and behold, the Scott Road RC Lace.  At 245g (US8.5) the RC lace is up there with some of the lightest shoes currently on the market.  The HMX Carbon Sole is awarded a Stiffness Index of 9, while their top tier, RC SL Shoe is awarded a 10.  In my eyes, unless you're one of the worlds sprinting greats, guys like Sagan, Kittel or Cavendish, I’m confident that the RC Lace is going to be plenty stiff enough for you.

The 3 bolt cleat holes allow for plenty of adjustment and the sole markings make it incredibly simple to set up your cleats.  I am anal when it comes to cleat setup, but since setting my cleat’s on the RC Lace, haven’t touched/adjusted them once.  For those that know me, this is unheard of…

Given the nature of riding I partake in, at the end of a two week adventure, my hands are as dexterous as a pair of boxing gloves.  As such, I’ve always been wary of laces.  Another worry with laces has been the inability to adjust the tightness of my shoes on the fly.  I’ve been wearing the RC Lace for two months now and have logged close to 9,000km on the pedals.  I’m pleased to report that it took just one ride to sort out how tight I needed the laces.  Like walking and running shoes, once you find that sweet spot, it’s easy to replicate day after day.

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At my local Scott dealership I also tried Scott’s Road RC Shoe, a very similar shoe that utilises a double boa closure system.  As mentioned above, a little sceptical of the laces, I was keen for the Boa version to fit, however was pleasantly surprised that the Lace up version had a slightly more supple upper and as such, conformed to the shape of my foot much better. If you are blessed with a set of ‘normal’ feet, then I’m confident that either shoe will fit well.

Out on the road, the RC Lace is an absolute work horse.  To be honest, for a shoe to prove itself, I almost have to forget that I’m wearing it.  The RC Lace ticks this box.  At no point have I found myself with hot spots or pressure points.  Whether I’m out beating myself up over 10min efforts or in the hills dancing up the climbs (at 80kg I don’t dance up climbs, but heck, in these shoes it feels as though I am) I really do forget that I’m wearing shoes at all.  Power transfer is brilliant and like ‘new bike syndrome’ I honestly do feel as though I’ve bought myself a few extra watts.

Scott currently offer the Road RC Lace in a matt/gloss black with fluoro yellow laces and sizes range from 38US to 48US (no half sizes.) The fluoro laces weren’t for me so I’ve swapped them out with the spare black laces that were supplied in the box.  I can’t comment on the innersoles as I am a big advocate for orthotics, but in terms of appearance and structure, they are up there with the best.  Scott also provides adjustable arch support inserts and so for those that don’t currently use orthotics, the arch support as provided in the box may provide the additional support that is required.

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The RC Lace retails for $289 (AUD), and at this price point offers incredible value.  In my experience, shoes of this quality often retail for close to twice the price.

My one tiny niggle with this shoe is the lack of colour options.  Black is fantastic in winter, and I do actually like the contrast of black shoes against white socks, but I would love to see the RC Lace offered in white.  When it comes to summer, nothing quite beats a fresh pair of white slippers and matching white socks. 

VERDICT

I have longed for the perfect road shoe for close to two years.  I can confidently say that I think I have found it in the Scott RC Lace. A serious set of road slippers that function flawlessly, look good and won’t break the bank.

9.5/10