Monthly Archives: March 2017

  • Reza Pakravan - Kapp To Cape

    I’ve been very lucky, because over the last couple of years I’ve had my share of little adventures. In 2015 I rode from Lands End to John O’Groats, and in 2016 I cycled across France from Caen to Nice; and as much as I loved my cycling trips, I’m always happy to come home after my little adventures and know that two weeks is about as much as I like to do in one hit. So I leave the epic trips to the hardy adventurers, and love to read about their trips from the comfort of my sofa with a nice cup of tea.

    I frequently have the bike channel (Sky 464) on while I’m pottering about. Last year a documentary came on called “Kapp to Cape” and it followed Reza Pakravan as he set about cycling 11,000 miles from Nordkapp to Cape Town at the other end of the planet. Reza was accompanied by his friend Steve and their trip became a world record attempt to complete the ride, self-supported in 100 days. I enjoyed the programme immensely and was happy to find that Reza had also written a book about the trip which was published last month.

    Kapp to Cape

    Although I already knew the story as I’d seen the documentary, I found it an absolute page turner. Reza’a extraordinary way of telling his story was so beautifully honest, funny and thrilling. It took such guts to undertake such an epic adventure which was nearly over before it had begun and his revelation on London Bridge one morning brought a lump to my throat, as I had a very similar experience last year and walked away from my job in the NHS that was making me utterly miserable.

    There were so many moments in this book when I wish I could have reached through the pages and given Reza a huge hug, as the story is about so much more than a bike ride and world record attempt; it’s about a personal journey which all of us, as cyclists and human beings, will be able to identify with. I’m trying not to give too much away, as I don’t want to ruin the story for you.cape

    Although many people worry about the dangers of undertaking such a big adventure and all the what ifs, what will stay with me from this book is the kindness of strangers he met along the way, who had so little yet shared so much with Reza on his trip. Kindness is free, and I’m going to try and be a bit more generous…

    “This book is the intensely personal story of one man’s mission to create a more positive, purposeful life, and the compelling journey he took to get there.”



  • Sweet Success

    It’s funny how some moments in life change things forever.


    You can be going along quite contentedly, then suddenly something happens and you realise life will never be the same afterwards.

    One of these moments occurred for me when I was diagnosed as a diabetic.

    Up until that point, I’d never really thought about diabetes, it was just another disease, after all. As we know, diseases are things that ‘other people’ get. I think we all live in that state of denial about matters of health, it makes things easier, until it happens to us. I walked into the hospital a ‘healthy’ person with some bad test results and a permanently dry mouth. I walked out with a medical condition, some syringes of insulin, a blood glucose monitor and a seriously diminished sense of self-confidence.

    Chris 4In the time leading up to my diagnosis my cycling was at the best it had ever been. I was an increasingly lean (I’d lost around fives stones) riding machine. I’d found that my legs were giving me power that I’d never experienced before. I had reserves that seemed to belong to someone else. For about a month before I got the results, I felt a real sense of unity with me and my bike, I was in ‘the zone’.

    You can imagine my disappointment when I was told that I should avoid cycling until I’d become used to the new medication I was prescribed. As an insulin dependent diabetic, I run the risk of becoming hypoglycaemic – essentially when the glucose in my blood drops to a level that is problematic. When this happens I can become unsteady, disorientated, slurring in my speech and can even pass out. So you can see why my doctors advised I didn’t cycle in the short term. ‘Hypo’s, as they’re known, are treated with the consumption of sugar – I’m never without a bag of jelly babies these days. ‘The Bonk’, that cyclists experience after over-exerting themselves, is also hypoglycaemia – the difference being that for a diabetic cyclist (using insulin) the effects could happen at any moment.

    After some time, I got into a rhythm with my medication and became able to read the signs of an impending ‘hypo’. It did, however, take a long time to get back on my bike. I won’t hide it from you, I was scared.

    Cycling had been a liberation for me. It allowed me to go off where I wanted, when I wanted and just be at one with the road. Suddenly, with my diagnosis, I was in a position where I could become quite seriously ill on a ride, if I didn’t read the signs carefully. This really knocked my confidence. The last thing I wanted was to need the assistance of a passer-by, or worst still become disorientated and fall into the road.

    I was scared to get back on my bike, but I also knew that if I was to manage my diabetes effectively, cycling was going to be crucial. Diabetics are urged to exercise in order to maintain their health and manage their blood glucose levels. So that’s what I did. I got back on my bike and took a ride.

    How was it?

    I’ll not lie, it was frustrating. It took getting back on my bike to realise how much fitness I’d lost during my period of inactivity. My legs just weren’t providing me with the power they once did. I also had a few ‘wobbly’ moments, where I needed to top up my sugar intake. It all felt a bit weird.

    But then, feeling a bit weird is all part of being a cyclist, isn’t it?

    I’ve been back on my bike for some time now. It feels less weird every time I head out. My confidence is back, I know if I’m sensible and take precautions I should have a great ride, diabetes or no diabetes.

    Am I back to my previous self, in ‘the zone’? Not yet.

    Will I get there?

    Of course I will!Chris M 2


    Chris McGuire is a Westcountry-based writer, follow him on Twitter @McGuireski

    For information about diabetes, visit


  • It's Time To Show Off Your Cycling Clobber!

    Spring is here and it’s time to show off your cycling Clobber!

    We asked Lynn Bye, our Arty Farty Lass and Creative Director at FLAB to tell us about her inspiration for the Lasses Spring Summer collection. Here's what she had to say!

    I think cyclewear can be fashionable, as well as technical, so the women’s collection is very much influenced by what’s on the catwalks and the high street.

    This season I want customers to get much more out of their gear than it just being practical and doing a great job when they’re cycling. Feeling great on your bike is such an important part of the overall experience, so I want our customers to really enjoy their cycling clothes and to be inspired by some of the colours and pattern combinations we are suggesting.

    The women's collection is built around central colours which mix and match, so you can wear various different jerseys with the same jacket and shorts for example, to create different looks and keep your cycling wardrobe fun and interesting, just like your every day wardrobe.

    We have added a Rainbow padded short and windproof gilet to the collection for 2017, which is bang on trend and has the added advantage of going with absolutely everything in the collection.

    Colours are strong and vibrant for 2017 and we have introduced 2 new colours to our pixel jerseys, which are both key colours for this season.

    All jerseys_2


    These jerseys can be mix and matched with the rest of the collection for lots of variations and looks. For example all the long sleeve versions of these jerseys work with the new Geometric top (BELOW RIGHT) and the Beacon Neck Doo Dah, so you can pick and choose whichever colours you like best, knowing they all work together.

    Geo and long sleeve Sunshine rainbow shorts_2


    Florals have been gradually creeping onto the high street since Autumn 2016 and they are now a key theme throughout 2017 and into 2018.

    Our Nar Then Flower Jersey (BELOW RIGHT) comes in a short and windproof long sleeve and focuses on peach, which is another big colour for Spring Summer. Here it’s shown with the Blush jersey, Rainbow shorts and flower neck doo dah.

    Blush Flower and Rainbow Shorts_2


    Sticking with flowers, the new Floral jersey (BELOW LEFT) has a delicate multi coloured print and goes with a lot of pieces from the collection, including our best selling In The Pink jersey. Here we have teamed it with this seasons turquoise jersey (BELOW) and purple to show two different options, which work equally well.

    Floral with rainbow and kingfisher_2


    Purple is a really strong colour for 2017 and 2018, even making it onto a lot of the mens catwalks. For FLAB it’s inspiration for our new women’s Stealth collection – which is our unbranded range. As well as the short sleeve, we have added a women’s long sleeve windproof jersey – we call it the Jacksey (BELOW MIDDLE). This is the perfect item for the transitional weather through Spring, where it’s not freezing but you need protection from the chilly wind and even a bit of a drizzle.  It has the added advantage of matching perfectly with our Gaffer jacket, so it will give people options throughout the seasons.

    Floral with Purple shorts and long sleeve


    For more information about the Fat Lass At The Back women's range checkout our website.

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