I have the honour of curating the first In the Drops weekly round-up on our all-singing, all-dancing new website. What do you think? It has been a long time coming and the stress of its development has undoubtedly prematurely aged Cyclist web editor Matthew Loveridge, so we hope you are as happy with it as we are.
You can even let us know now, thanks to the addition of comment functionality at the bottom of each article. Feel free to get posting: our community getting involved with what we do will help assure Matthew the new site was worth the stress, if nothing else.
Ironing out the wrinkles that have arisen after the new site switch-on has truncated our content production this week, but it won’t be long before we’re back up to full steam once again. In the meantime, take a look at some of the latest gear to arrive with us at Cyclist.
Giro Aries Spherical helmet
The safety of high-performance helmets is not often much of a talking point these days. Protection standards are achieved as a given, so helmets are often marketed on their aerodynamic efficiency, light weight or cooling properties.
That makes Giro’s new range-topping helmet, the Aries Spherical, somewhat unusual, for it has a legitimate claim as being the safest helmet on the market.
The Aries has just been ranked top of the independent testing authority Virginia Tech’s safety list of 184 helmets. The competition it bettered makes that result even more notable. It beat out the Specialized Tactic 4, which is a deep-coverage XC mountain bike helmet, not a lightweight road one. Only one other road helmet sits in the top five of that list.
‘The Aries’ Spherical Technology is at the heart of that result,’ says Giro brand manager Peter Nicholson. Spherical Technology is a type of Mips, but instead of the system being installed as an additive liner, it is integrated into the helmet itself. That creates a shell within a shell structure, whose interface is perfectly hemispherical. The sub-shell can move independent of the outer shell in order to attenuate rotational forces in the event of a crash.
According to Nicholson, the Aries’ Aura II polycarbonate reinforcing arch helps hold everything together.
‘Consequently, we were able to make wider and deeper vents to make Aries the coolest helmet we’ve ever tested and keep the weight low too, at 278g in a medium,’ says Nicholson.
The Aries takes the place of the Aether as Giro’s premier all-rounder.
‘While the Aether was light, cool, relatively aero and our first cycling helmet to include Spherical Technology, we knew we could improve upon it,’ says Nicholson.
‘The Aries is 7% smaller side-to-side. It improves looks, but that smaller frontal area helps make the Aries 4% more aerodynamic than the Aether too. The Aries is also our first helmet to include our ‘DryCore’ sweat management system, which uses a brow pad with an internal silicon bead to channel sweat away from riders’ eyes.’
Buy the Giro Aeries Spherical helmet from wiggle.co.uk (From £260.99)
Elite Fly and Jet Green bottles
Elite’s bottles are a popular choice from grassroots level through to the WorldTour, and a couple of its more popular designs have just been overhauled.
I was first introduced to the new features at Eurobike last year, and Elite is now ready to put the bottles on the market.
First is a subtle update to Elite’s Fly bottle. The Fly is known for its notable light weight – these 550ml size bottles weigh just 54g each. Switching to two Fly bottles from a pair of more conventional bottles can save up to 100g – you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better weight-to-cost upgrade.
A criticism of the original Fly design was that they scuffed easily and were somewhat slick to hold, so Elite now makes them with a textured finish. The low-profile vertical ribbing claims to improve grip in the hand and the cage and the bottles should also prove more robust to scratching now too (or the scratching will at least be less noticable).
Second is the new Jet Green bottle. Elite says it is aiming to become carbon neutral in future, so the Jet Green represents a step forward on that path.
The bottle is made from sugar cane-derived bio-plastic, which Elite says can offer the same properties as traditional plastics, such as flexibility and durability, but with reduced environmental impact in terms of emissions.
According to Elite, making 1000 Jet Green bottles produces roughly 160kg less CO2 than standard bottles, and thanks to sugar cane’s ability to grow more quickly in less space, it can be harvested using sustainable farming practises.
The design is biodegradable and recyclable too, so the Jet Green bottles seem like a win for the planet as well as your hydration levels.
Vulpine Domestique sweatshirt and trousers
Despite an eventful history, clothing brand Vulpine looks to be on the up and up once again. Following acquisition and reinvestment over the last few years, the brand now once again offers a wide range of apparel geared toward cyclists.
On the face of it Vulpine’s catalogue is casual, but almost every item can claim technical features that facilitate its use on the bike. For example, its Omnia jeans feature a ‘diamond gusset’ to ensure riders aren’t sitting on seams or wearing through the jeans prematurely; the Rain shorts look smart, but are stretchy and wind- and water-resistant; and the wondrous properties of merino wool are put to good use in Vulpine’s range of T-shirts and jerseys.
While they’d no doubt be comfort to ride in (if a little airy and un-aerodynamic), the Domestique sweatshirt and trousers are perhaps the only exceptions to Vulpine’s general ethos, for these items are designed primarily to be comfortable off the bike as opposed to on it.
They use a lightweight bamboo and cotton fabric in an attempt to be soft on skin and breathable and their cut seems sensibly pitched, being relaxed without getting baggy.
A lot of focus is given to the kit we use on the bike, but considering how important recovery is for performance, surely the garments we choose to relax in should be no less important.
What we’re into this week: Press-ups
Here’s to hoping I have better form than thisPixabay via Pexels.com
My dad has been doing press-ups every day, without fail, for almost two years. In a faultless demonstration of progressive overload (one of the key tenets fitness development depends on), he started relatively low – just a set of 10 per day – and added one every week.
He can now do almost a hundred in one go. Just rewards for a level of grit I regrettably seem not to have inherited, but nonetheless, following a recent conversation about it with him I’ve been inspired to try and replicate the feat. It has nothing to do with the fact that he now looks like he has the upper body of an athletic 20 year-old, nothing at all.
Cycling is a truly excellent form of exercise for both fitness and health yet its benefits are somewhat lop-sided towards cardiovascular performance. So, increasingly, I’m realising that it is important to build a more balanced profile of fitness by incorporating other forms of training into my routine.
I say routine – in reality the training I do is sporadic and unstructured, squeezed as it is into whatever time I can find in between a busy job and family life. Which is why press-ups are a good fit for me: there isn’t much that beats the humble exercise in terms of fitness bang-for-your-buck. It works a whole host of muscles and no equipment is required to do them either.
In an ideal world I’d incorporate some pull-ups to prevent any muscular imbalances – every ‘push’ exercise should ideally be paired with a ‘pull’ one, as they generally work opposing muscle groups – but considering I haven’t ever been able to do more than two or so of those in one go, I’m conscious of not biting off more than I can chew right now. An addition for the future, perhaps.
Tags: In the Drops