Category Archives: Kit

SKINS RY400 compression review

With any degree of training hard, comes the need to recover and repair; after all, what’s the point of training hard if you don’t look after your body well enough to benefit from it?

When SKINS got in touch with me in the autumn to see if I wanted to try out some of their compression wear, I jumped at the chance, given the winter training I had planned. The jury’s still out in terms of the science of it, but if there’s something relatively affordable that might help my muscles recover well, I’m down with that. Plus triathlon types love obscenely tight Lycra, right?SKINS RY400 compression

Since then, I’ve been wearing a pair of SKINS RY400 compression recovery tights after most of my sessions, and the matching long sleeved top as a layer when I’m desperately trying to get warm after chilly winter sessions. They’re panelled tights designed to support and compress key muscles like the quads, which has been proving pretty handy during some big cycling miles and hard turbo sessions- they feel like a cosy hug for my legs when they’re tired and sore.

SKINS RY400 compression

They’re lightweight, thin tights that are really comfortable, and easy to layer up under sweatpants when it’s really chilly, or equally to wear as PJ bottoms if the training has really been heavy that day. The thinking is that the gradient compression helps your muscles to recover by delivering more oxygen to them and helping reduce waste products like lactic acid that sit in your muscles, making them sore. Whether or not this is grounded in hard fact, I struggle to comment on, but what I do know is that alongside other recovery focused ideas like eating properly and doing mobility work, my legs are standing up well to a pretty big training volume at the moment.

As you might expect, given I’ve been wearing them a LOT since I got them, I’ve been washing them a lot too, and my only slight flaw I’ve found is that the fabric they’re made of develops small bobbles over time, particularly on areas like the knees and inner thighs. They’re also not the most opaque of tights- but then no compression tights on the market are, and it is what it is- for me the benefits of them far outweigh that minor downside.

Fresher legs for big training sessions just by lounging about? Cheers to that!

SKINS RY400 compression

If you fancy recovering in your own SKINS gear, they’ve given me a code for you all to get 20% off their new collection for two weeks- enter GOLDRUN20 at the till!

I was sent a set of the SKINS RY400 compression garments in the autumn to try out, and these are my opinions after a decent period of heavy usage.

Running through winter

I’m not going to lie, winter is when I’m at my best as a runner. I work better in chilly temperatures on the run, and it’s no coincidence all of my PBs have been set in the autumn or winter.

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Doesn’t mean it’s when I enjoy it the most though. Don’t get me wrong, on a day like the one in these photos, gadding about in crisp, chilly snow or frost, with gorgeous scenery is no hardship, but these days are in the minority.

Grey. Cloudy. Drizzly. Windy. Dark. Always dark.

I could go on. There’s a lot of things that can make it harder for even the most seasoned runner to keep going through winter, and I’m no stranger to sofa inertia in winter myself. Cosy blankets, lots of tea and winter TV are infinitely more appealing sometimes, I won’t lie. Runners like Cat Simpson and Susie Chan inspire me hugely to get my head down and get on with it, but the other thing that helps me hugely?

The right kit. Keeping myself warm enough, seen by other road users and able to carry essentials like keys, my phone and snacks if I’m going a little longer are all vital to me enjoying winter training as much as possible in the perpetual gloom of British winter.

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One of my favourite bits of kit I’ve acquired this winter is these tights from Tribesports, as part of their new Elite collection. I’ve been running in them for a few months now and can honestly say I love them. They’re a true, deep opaque black, with really distinctive silver stripes around the lower legs, that are reflective. They have everything I look for- a big zip pocket, a deep, comfy waistband and even a one-piece drawcord- such a simple touch but one I really like from other kit I have with it. A firm thumbs up from me! They’ve also been through the wash umpteen times now with no mishaps, and run bang on true to size.

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The other piece of kit I’ve been testing for the past few months is the Hipster from running brand Nathan. It’s a soft, wide, slip-on waistband, with zip-free pockets for all your valuables and bits you’d like to take out running. When Nathan offered me one to try, I was deeply sceptical, but if it’d leave me somewhere to keep gels, keys and my phone for opportunistic selfies and podcasts, I was game.

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Happily, I was surprised. I’ve regularly loaded  up the belt, and for the first time ever, I haven’t had annoying jiggling or jangling of keys. The belt is tight enough to hold items still and secure despite the lack of zips, but because it’s stretchy, it can fit absolutely loads in. With it being slip on it has no scratchy Velcro, so it’s super comfy- just like another waistband on your tights or shorts. It’s definitely a good option if you see some tights you HAVE to get, but they don’t have pockets. It can take a few miles to find where the Hipster naturally sits on your, well, hips or waist, but once it settles it stays pretty still. Just like the tights, this has been washed at least once a week through the winter, and is as good as new!

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This winter, I’ve also got into running with headphones in for the first time. Unless I’m doing a hard session and the power playlist of chart pop cheese, jangly indie and some angry rock needs to come out, I’m really loving podcasts this winter, as a way to keep myself amused on long runs, either laugh a lot (looking at you, My Dad Wrote a Porno), learning about ironman training (The OxygenAddict Tri podcast) or chuckling at Laura Fountain’s funny running podcast

Do you run with music or podcasts regularly? I’m new to the podcast world, so if you have any good suggestions, leave me a comment!

The Tribesports tights and Nathan Hipster were both sent to me in the autumn to test out, and these are my honest opinions after a few months of heavy usage.

Photos courtesy of James at Pedals and Pain for the price of a lot of moaning about the cold and a coffee to say thankyou. Taken at Malham Tarn in the Yorkshire Dales.

Funkita Fit review

There are two truths universally acknowledged when it comes to me and activewear: the first being that if a brand who doesn’t usually make activewear starts, I’m like OH HELL NO THIS WILL BE TERRIBLE (looking at you, Elle Sport). The second, is that if I like a piece of kit, I will literally wear it until it could get to the washer by itself.

So, when Funkita, makers of the really nice swimming costumes, got in touch to say that they were launching a range of activewear (Funkita Fit) I was, naturally, deeply sceptical. I plumped for trying the Bondage Crop Top and the Electric Runner 7/8 tights from the Funkita Fit range.

And you know what? I’m more than pleasantly surprised.

Funkita Fit

The crop top is a super comfy, medium support bra, I’d say, that I’ve been wearing for yoga, cycling and y’know, under scrubs on night shifts where comfort is the order of the day. It’s got a beautifully detailed back, and what can I say? I’ve hardly taken it off. Soft, comfy straps and no irritating seams or chafing. Not a bra to run in for me, but a firm favourite for everything else.

Funkita Fit

 

 

The tights, despite my reservations they wouldn’t be great for running in, are great. I’ve been wearing them for short runs, yoga and just about all of my chilling time around the house- they’re a handy 7/8 length, with a drop-in key pocket in a wide, soft waistband, and the fabric could not actually be softer.

Big thumbs up, Funkita!

Funkita kindly sent me the kit to try out, and these are my unbiased opinions after a period of extensive testing.

Race recap: Sundowner Middle triathlon 2016

It’s apparently widely acknowledged in life that the two things you should try out before your race are your kit and nutrition. I inadvertently broke both of those rules for my longest tri to date, the Sundowner Middle distance on Saturday, and not only did I surprisingly survive, but this happened!IMG_4158

Swim
Owing to being a bit chubby hench for my beloved wetsuit, it sadly sustained a big rip to the shoulder. Wetsuits are bloody expensive, so I was over the moon when blogger babe Sophie pretty much saved the day by sending me her wetsuit that she no longer uses. I didn’t end up with time to swim in it before the race, but I tried to stay chilled and not worry too much about it.

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Extra lolz for when the lake mud gives you a beard.

By some bizarre happening, I got put in the fastest wave of the day for the 4 lap swim course in Allerthorpe’s dinky little lake, so the swim leg kind of felt like being beaten up in a washing machine, with one bloke deciding to pick me up by the shoulders and throw me out of the way. I tried to stay relaxed through it though, and put into practice the work I’ve done on my swim lately, and despite feeling like it was going EXTREMELY badly surrounded by speedsters, I overtook two blokes on the finishing straight and came out quicker than I did for last year’s Olympic swim leg at Castle Howard. Progress!

46:01 (although 43 minutes on my Garmin!)

T1
Putting on arm warmers, it has to be said, is not easy when you’re soaked, they’re soaked from the heavy rain, and your hands aren’t working particularly well. Neither is posting your Stoats bars for on the bike into the pockets of your trisuit. Otherwise, without incident, I was safely out onto the bike leg!

2:17

Bike
I set off really optimistic on the bike, feeling great. The course is a super flat, 2 loop course, which was well marshalled. I soon realised a few things, however:

  1. The week before your race, however nice they feel on a quick spin, is not the time for TT bars you’ve barely ridden on or a new saddle that alters the fit of your bike.
  2. A flat course in a headwind and heavy rain is one of the most miserable cycling experiences known to human kind.
  3. Stoats bars may be delicious but they are bloody hard to open when your hands are no longer working.
  4. A driver offering you a can of Coke is a kind gesture, unless he tries to pass it out of the passenger side window and nearly kills you.
  5. Blokes will take almost any excuse to draft and cheat when people aren’t there to see them.

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After a freezing, miserable grind of a ride in which I saw my vague bike target go out of the window, my shoulders seize up completely and my feet go completely numb, it was finally time to get off the bike. AT LAST.

3:19:36

T2
If I thought putting arm warmers on whilst cold and wet was difficult, I clearly hadn’t contemplated the practicalities of removing my helmet and putting on my running shoes. Much to James’s amusement, I had to get a marshall to do them for me. NOT my finest hour.

4:24

Run
Wow, I thought I’d run through wobbly legs before, but nothing quite prepared me for how they’d feel on the run leg. I staggered out of T2 and despite feeling pretty terrible, set a reasonably good pace and rhythm for the first two laps, picking off runners in front of me, and hitting my pace target.

The 3rd lap was somewhat different.

Now, I’m loathed to criticise the organisers for doing a largely brilliant job in difficult weather, BUT, on a 3 lap run course for the half marathon, with a mostly out and back route, by the 3rd lap as a slower racer of the final wave, I ended up pretty much alone, with only a handful of other runners out on the course.

Every time I passed a marshal, they were radio’ing about how the ‘last competitor had gone through’ or ‘slowest woman (!) was on the way’. How utterly demoralising. Between that and the route signs being taken down around me, it was really tough to find any motivation to keep going, and I’m ashamed to say, I pretty much gave up. The walks through the water stations got longer, the bounce went from my step and it was a death shuffle to the finish, despite the fact I was still on to break 6 hours 20.

2:05:19
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I crossed the line with mixed emotions. I’d tried so, so hard for most of the race, but missed the 6 hour target I’d secretly had in mind. That was mixed with pride at having completed my longest race to date, a strong swim and a run where I had wanted to sack it off a few times.

The best bit?
Upon crossing the line, and receiving a gorgeous medal, I printed out my results to learn that I’d come top (out of 3) in the 20-24 age group and won a trophy! Which nearly made up for the fact that despite ordering a small on entry, all the small race shirts had been taken and I was gruffly handed a medium with a shrug. Us women can dream, eh?

All in all, after seeing the saga of the Rubicon Middle unfold the following day in Yorkshire, I had a good time at the Sundowner Middle, which was well-organised, and aside from the few small niggles about morale on the last lap (don’t diss someone that’s actually busy winning a trophy guys!) and the shirt, I couldn’t be happier to have a solid 70.3 in the bank, a raft of lessons learned and things to work on over winter, and a big ol’ confidence boost ahead of the Lakesman!

The one bit of kit I was really glad I wore was my new Threo trisuit– again, not tested before the race but it was perfect (and I paid for it!). It was comfortable, and solved so many trisuit problems I’ve had before- no sausage leg, pockets for snacks, and a well-designed race belt that doesn’t constantly jiggle around. Full marks!

 

 

 

Running legs & Iffley Road shorts

I’ve written about it before here, but I don’t think marathon recovery is something to be rushed; I think the impact on both your legs and body can’t be overestimated, and recovery looks different to everybody. Before The Lakesman relay, I received some Iffley Road shorts to test, and it took great patience not to run a marathon in them despite some promising test runs, and then not to rush my recovery just so I could run in them!Iffley Road Shorts

Once my running legs came back to me, I’ve carried on testing the Holly shorts from Iffley Road in Gravel Black, and despite them being pretty far from what I normally choose in shorts, I actually kinda like them! My norm is tight-fitting, stretchy, slightly longer cycling-style shorts, so these short, looser-fit shorts are a little bit different. Designed in Britain, they’re made from technical fabric in a flat-fronted, quite minimalist style- quite traditional in design. Iffley Road Shorts

I tested a size small, and found them to be really comfortable for my shorter runs, though those prone to the chub rub may want to give them a miss, as the looser fit and short length could make these a chafe-prone short. They stayed lovely and cool to run in though, even in the warmer weather, and I barely noticed them, apart from a quiet ‘swish’ to the fabric which even James noticed! The design is subtle but classy, and compared to the more garish Lycra in my wardrobe, I really like them for a more subtle piece of kit.Iffley Road shorts

So what’s next for these running legs now I’m all recovered from the Lakesman and I have new kit to play in? I spent a very interesting session with Tom at Trimechanics this week, where after getting over the horror of watching myself run in slow motion, I learned a few things about the way I run and why I get tired when I do, and get the niggles I do, and most importantly, picked up some homework for before my runs. This mainly revolves around’switching on’ the right muscles before my runs, and harnessing good natural posture to run in the most efficient way possible- got to be pretty handy with an ironman coming up!

Disclaimer: Iffley Road sent me the Holly shorts to run in and try out in exchange for my honest opinions about them after a decent period of testing. 

Christmas Gift Guide: Sporty Types

Realised that it’s the middle of December and you’ve still not thought of Christmas gifts for your sporty loved ones? Oh good, glad it’s not just me… Still, fear no more, for my list is here with some cool suggestions to suit all budgets, whether they’re a swimmer, cyclist, runner or triathlete.

Cyclists

Budget: £50-100
If you’re looking in this price bracket for your loved one, whether they’re male or female, you could do a lot worse than some HOY Vulpine kit. Rather than dropping that money on a tiny square of some naff Team Sky kit that’s eye-wateringly overpriced, why not spend instead on some beautifully made, cosy winter kit?

I’ve written about Chris Hoy’s range for Vulpine here before, and it’s no secret I’m a fan, but their range has some gorgeously cosy winter pieces. My pick? This cosy Roubaix (thermal) long-sleeved winter jersey, available in both men’s and women’s cuts. Both James and I have them and ours are hardly ever off either our bodies or our laundry airer.

HOY Vulpine Long Sleeve Roubaix Jersey, £79.99

Budget: £20-50

Whether you have a hill-climbing King or Queen of the Mountains, a wannabe sprinter or maybe they fancy themselves as the yellow jersey wearer, these Look Mum No Hands! pants would make a great present for a cyclist. Recently launched in female as well as male sets, they’re comfy, nicely made and packaged pants, and props to LMNH for their female campaign using kickass real cyclists to model them!

Look Mum No Hands! Podium Pants, £25 for a 3-pack (available in men’s and women’s)

Budget: Under £20

For under £20 for a cyclist, you cannot go wrong with something to keep their extremities warm on winter rides- they will LOVE you if your gift means they can feel their hands or feet at the end of a ride, and don’t arrive at their cafe stop miserable! Neoprene overshoes are a great bet, because they work like a wetsuit, holding in warmth even when they’re wet. I suffer from Raynaud’s and with good socks and neoprene overshoes, I never suffer dead toes any more! DHB kit from Wiggle is dependable and great value for money, and with speedy delivery too 😉

DHB Neoprene Overshoes, £19, available from Wiggle (unisex)

Runners

Budget: £50-100

If your beloved is out logging miles through winter, maybe training for a spring marathon, chances are they’d value some warm, well-fitting kit, with plenty of pockets for gels, keys and a phone- I know they’re the criteria I look for! For women, look no further than Lululemon’s Speed Tight IV: they’re absolutely perfect. Truly thick and opaque, available in a boat load of colourways, and beautifully fitting, with an abundance of pockets. They’re a joy to run in!

Lululemon Speed Tight IV, £98

For the male runner in your life? If he’s a tights man looking for cosiness this winter, these Lululemon Surge Tights look great!

Lululemon Surge Tight, £88

Budget: £20-50

If they’ve been logging the miles, chances are, I bet your runner has been forgetting to stretch out their hard working muscles. If they’re not a seasoned yogi, Jasyoga videos could be just the key to get them into taking care of their stretching, and if they are, I bet they’ll love Erin’s quick and simple videos, that are easy to slot in around busy days with a minimum of equipment. Hit up this link, and you can pay for a subscription for your loved one for as many months as you fancy-  it’s just $4.99 a month, so for under a fiver, they can have unlimited yoga classes in the comfort of their own home. Score!

Jasyoga Subscription, $4.99/month

Budget: Under £20

For under £20, there’s no gift I love to give to runner friends more than a Believe Training Journal, and there’s even two new colourways out this year. They’re from the US, but available on Amazon with free UK shipping, and they’re a beautiful training journal; more than just a space to write down training, but a book that, with the help of pro Lauren Fleshman, guides you through the process of reflecting on your training, and is filled with gorgeous photos, tips and motivational quotes. I’m on my second! They’re also not dated, so they can be started at any time of year.

Believe Training Journal, £13.99 via Amazon

Triathletes

Budget: £50-100

In my role as an Amphibia Sports ambassador* this season, I’ve been lucky enough to test their gear, from their X2 transition bag, through to accessories like their ring protectors and waterproof phone cases, and they’ve all been SO useful. So, how good is it that for Christmas they’re doing a bundle of ALL these things, in the brilliant X2 bag (reviewed here), 30% off? A great gift!

Amphibia Sport Race Pack, £79.50

Budget: £20-50

In this price range, I think one of the best gifts you can buy a triathlete is a really good-quality foam roller like this Trigger Point one. I’ve had mine for 3 years now, and have used it religiously, with no signs of wear and tear, and it’s even easy to take with you because it’s hollow, so you can fill it with stuff inside a suitcase. Whether it’s sore legs from all that riding and running, or an achy back from too many swim sessions, a good foam roller is a great gift for any triathlete- even if they don’t thank you when they’re actually using it!

Trigger Point The Grid Foam Roller, £27.95 via Wiggle

Budget: Under £20

Again, I know I’m probably biased because I now test products for Science in Sport*, but I’ve used them for a long time and they taste great, are easy on the stomach and not too expensive. If your loved one has yet to try them out, why not give one of their Christmas gift boxes? Available in either running or cycling specific boxes for £14.99, they’re a great way to try out a selection!

Science in Sport Cycling/Running Nutrition Kits, £14.99 each

*Apart from where clearly stated, I have included products here that I have bought myself, tested rigorously and really really loved. I receive Amphibia and Science in Sport products to test in my role as an ambassador for them, but I was not paid to include them here, and my opinions come after a full season of testing their products. 

 

Winter is coming: Trespass Abelia jacket review

As someone who spends so much time outdoors, it always amazes me how ill-equipped I am for anything other than running or cycling; the moment James and I go walking somewhere, I’m usually the one sliding around in trail shoes, skinny jeans and a hoodie under a running jacket whilst he’s toasty warm in proper hiking trousers and a good jacket, sure-footed in hiking boots. I’ve been angling after a good softshell jacket for ages now, but one that I’d be just as willing to chuck on with jeans for a stroll to the pub as I would proper kit for a hike. Enter the Trespass Abelia jacket that the lovely folks at Trespass sent me to try out!

Trespass Abelia jacket

Trespass Abelia jacket

I like this jacket because it’s:

  • lightweight and breathable- no feeling like I’m boiling in the bag the moment I get warm wearing it!
  • water resistant and windproof- I’ve not tried it in full downpours yet, but it kept me dry and toasty in several showers
  • adjustable in the cuffs so draughts don’t get in- a personal bugbear of mine
  • got two decent sized pockets and a properly sized hood, which make it a practical choice

When I was a teenager, I always used to resist having a ‘proper’ outdoors jacket, and even my parents were stunned when they saw me wearing this, but I really do like it- it’s nicely enough designed that it doesn’t look out of place with jeans for everyday wear. It fits fairly true to size too- I’m an 8-10 usually, and the small fits perfectly with room for baselayers or a hoodie underneath. It’s also reasonably priced (currently VERY reasonably priced as there’s a sale on!).

The only two minor gripes I have are with the lining. Considering it’s the kind of jacket I’d like to live and die in through the colder months, a white lining is perhaps not the most practical colour choice- I think it’ll start to look grubby inside pretty quickly, and I’m reluctant to keep washing it because of the weather protection. The lining also isn’t as plush and cosy as some of the softshells I’ve tried before- but then the price tag isn’t as plush either!

All in all, I think this is a great jacket for getting outdoors in this winter, and one I’ll certainly be wearing a lot- if I can get James to stop stealing it!

Trespass sent me the Abelia jacket for free to review, which I have done so after over a month of testing it. None of the links are affiliate and the photos were taken by James.

 

HOY Vulpine kit review

When sports kit is designed by someone who actually does the sport, it’s usually good, I find- the attention to detail, the practicalities and comfort, and even the looks. So, when Vulpine announced a collection designed by Chris Hoy a while back, I knew it was likely to be a winner.

I bought some of the El Toro bib shorts, a Valldemossa race jersey and the Sprint socks a while back, and have lived and died in them since, especially the bib shorts. Whilst comfort on a bike as a woman is a very personal thing, these shorts really do get it right in my eyes- a plush but not too huge chamois, a flattering fit with sensibly proportioned grippers (printed in small circles to avoid ‘sausage leg’) and a design of the top half that I’ve not seen before- like a well ventilated tri suit!

HOY Vulpine kit review

Like items I’ve had from Vulpine before, the over-arching impression the kit gives is that the person who designed it cares- it features practical little details, and the design and branding is stylish rather than garish- it’s kit I don’t actually mind popping to the shops in post ride!

Since I bought the kit, I’ve ridden in it week in, week out, so it’s had plenty of abuse, from a fast and furious chaingang, to leisurely cafe rides and a tough, hilly ride at the HOY100 Sportive in the Yorkshire Dales- and it’s washed and worn like a dream. For the price point it sits at, I’m genuinely impressed by the quality and design that’s gone into it!

HOY Vulpine kit review

At the HOY100 Sportive over the weekend, I had a sneak peak at the new Autumn/Winter kit collection which launches next week, and it’s a cracker- from speaking to the designer himself (see above photo!), it’s good to see feedback from the first range has gone into the new, expanded range that’ll be keeping me toasty this winter now I’ve started getting a salary at last 😉

I paid for and have ridden many miles in the kit I’ve reviewed here, before being invited to ride the sportive at the weekend and gifted some of the new kit. This has not influenced my opinions & this is not a sponsored post. Both of the photos used are courtesy of James.

Getting organised- the Amphibia Sport X2 bag

Perhaps the single most difficult thing about the switch from running to triathlon is the sheer amount of kit that it takes. Running races are pretty simple; turn up dressed and with your running shoes on, and you’re pretty much ready to go. Triathlon is a whole different ball game, with kit for 3 different sports to juggle. Transporting and organising all of that, plus a bike, from your car to the transition area for racking can be a slog and a half, especially if you don’t have a handy boyfriend/bag carrier/slave that you’ve dragged along for the day (cheers James!).

Over some open water swims, weekends away and my first Olympic distance tri this season, I’ve been testing out Amphibia Sport’s triathlon kit, in particular their X2 transition bag, which is one of the answers proposed to the endless kit and how to lug it conundrum.

Amphibia Sport X2 bag

Photo courtesy of James on our trip to swim in Gadding’s Dam

I’m not one to fawn over products, but the Amphibia Sport X2 bag is genuinely brilliant for multi-sporting. It comfortably fits everything needed for a triathlon bar the bike in, and is really well thought-out, with features like big pockets on the inside for keeping things like your purse to hand, as well as a completely waterproof pocket inside that detaches, perfect for keeping wet swimming kit in whilst the rest of your stuff stays dry- it easily fits a wetsuit in. It also has a non-slip dry mat attached to the pouch, which is perfect for putting next to your shoes in transition and keeping your socks on so they stay dry! Other cool little features include a zip pocket suitable for money/your phone in the strap so things are to hand, a waist strap for added comfort and security when carrying it, a loop to attach your helmet on one side and a deep mesh pocket on the other, perfect for bottles and nutrition. They’ve even designed it to be the right size for airline carry-on so that your precious race kit can stay with you if you’re travelling to a race- can’t say fairer than that!

It’s clear from using and testing Amphibia kit that it’s designed by somebody passionate about multi-sport, who actually uses his products and refines the design based on feedback from his experience and that of customers. He must be doing something right, as Gwen Jorgensen uses his kit! I’ve also been testing the accessories, including ring protectors, waterproof mobile phone cases (an utter godsend for cyclists!) and race belts and am really, genuinely impressed.

I have been testing Amphibia Sport kit this season in my role as a brand ambassador for them, which entailed being given the X2 bag and the other kit mentioned for the range for free, in return for using and testing them, giving my honest feedback on the designs and getting them out and about. I have not been paid for this & all opinions are my genuine thoughts after 6 months of testing.

Kit review: Chapeau! Classic Bib Shorts

When I try out new kit, I find it almost impossible to formulate an immediate opinion. Sure, I can say whether kit initially feels good or terrible, but for me the real proof that kit is a winner is how often it’s on my laundry rack and how desperate I am to wear it again. The moment I realised these Chapeau! Classic Bib Shorts are a winner was when I found myself tying them securely to my window latch in lieu of a washing line, so they could dry in the afternoon sunshine for a ride that evening. I have other bibs, but I just wanted to wear these: they’re a winner.

Chapeau! Classic Bib Shorts

 

Chapeau! describe these as their entry level bibshort, retailing at £69.99, but I really do think they’re doing themselves a disservice here. For that price point for ladies bibshorts, you’d normally be in uncomfortable, sausage leg territory, but there’s none of that here.

Reasons to love these bibs:

  1. The chamois
    As a woman, there is one area and one area alone that makes a big difference to enjoying your ride, as anyone who’s ridden on the wrong saddle will tell you. These are marketed as entry level bibshorts, and as such, I wouldn’t expect a brilliant chamois, but I’ve ridden for over 3 hours in these without feeling like I need a gynaecologist afterwards. Win.
  2. The leg grippers
    As a woman of reasonably proportioned thighs, the area many shorts let themselves down on is the leg grippers; they’re made tight enough that shorts don’t ride up, but end up being too tight, digging in and making unsightly thigh bulges affectionately known as ‘sausage leg’. Chapeau! have clearly listened to the wants of female cyclists and made their cuffs wide and silicone printed, so they are comfortable, don’t dig in AND the shorts don’t ride up.
    Chapeau! classic bib shorts
  3. The straps
    Bib shorts as a woman can be tricky. Either you end up with tight straps digging into your boobs and looking terrible under a jersey, or you have weird, uncomfortable front straps cut like a racer back, which sit between your boobs. Chapeau! have gone for the normal straight straps, but made them plenty long enough, and they are wide, soft and well hemmed, so no digging in or discomfort BUT your shorts don’t fall down either.
  4. The design
    As anyone who knows me will attest to, I am not a terribly girly girl, and you can probably count the pink items of sports kit that I own on one hand. That doesn’t mean I don’t like more subtle feminine detailing, so I love the mint green detailing on these bibs: subtle but stylish, and for me, a lot better than some of the ‘shrink it and pink it’ mentality you see from kit designers.
    Chapeau! Classic Bib Shorts
  5. The price
    Before I got these shorts, I’d kinda resigned myself to not finding a comfy pair of shorts without splashing out £100+ on some Castelli or Rapha, so I am amazed at the comfort and fit of these shorts, as well as the thought that’s gone into them, for the price point they sit at- I think they perform a lot better than the price would suggest, and I’ve been heartily recommending them to everybody who has been admiring the polka dots on club rides.

So in summary, I’m really impressed by these shorts; they’re comfortable, flattering and I think, perform well beyond what their price tag would suggest. As my first item of Chapeau! kit, I am very impressed, and am eagerly awaiting the matching jersey to these bibs coming out- and their winter collection, which might be what empties my first paycheck out of my bank…

Chapeau! Classic Bib Shorts

Comfy, happy, too whizzy for a photo. Perfect bib shorts!

Chapeau! kindly sent me these bib shorts for free to try out. I have since ridden over 300 miles in them, and these are my unbiased opinions after cycling, sweating and scrambling to launder them to wear again.