A Fluro Bike Jacket That Fits - Pearl Izumi

I like riding and running in a fluorescent jacket.  I do not appreciate looking like a sack of spuds.

When I lived in the city and rode to work, a practical, large pull-over-everything commuter fluorescent jacket was perfect.

But riding for fun is different.  I want a waterproof jacket which breaths, keeps out water, fits snugly, packs small and looks good.

In this Pearl Izumi I think I've found it.  It's the Peal Izumi Elite WxB Waterproof Jacket in Screaming green which cost me £135.

The two-colour fluorescent panels of yellow and green looks good.  (Well, I think so).

It is cut to fit when on the bike, which also works for running.  That means it'll be a bit tight across the shoulders for everyday wear, but perfect when running and riding.

There are some reflective panels and pretty much nothing else. (cont)

Keep On Open Water Swimming

With snow on the mountain tops, ice on car windscreens and a chill in the air it's all too easy to stop open water swimming.

True the water is colder, but compared to the air temperature, it's relatively warm.  Here are a few tips.

1. Swim well away from the mouth of rivers or large streams.  Rivers, swollen by rain and snow-melt, are much colder than the sea.

Where they meet the sea, and within quite a few hundred meters, they put a layer of cold, fresh water on the surface.  As soon as you go in you can tell because the sea suddenly tastes a lot less salty than normal.

2.  Try not to swim in rain - it makes the water colder.  It's much nicer to swim on sunny days - see below.

3. Wear the right kit.  At the moment I swim in; Zone3 neoprene shorts; Zone 3 neoprene vest; Gul thermal rash vest; Orca Hydro booties; Zone 3 thermal booties on top; Lomo thermal swim gloves; Aquasphere balaclava; BlueSeventy neoprene cap; BlueSeventy Reaction wetsuit and goggles.  I always use ear plugs.

4. The shivers can start when once out of the water and the cold water is still trapped in the neoprene layers.

Keep the neoprene hat on until you can replace it with a warm woollen hat, then get something like the excellent DryRobe over everything.  With these and a warm drink to hand, we find we quickly recover.

5.  Keep swimming.  Even if it's just a short dip, the best way to tolerate cold water is to keep tolerating it.  It really does get better.

The Original, Original Mountain Marathon

Two weekends ago I was filming in Galloway at The Original Mountain Marathon for an episode of The Adventure Show to be shown early next year.

(The EXCELLENT Ben Nevis Braveheart Triathlon is on The Adventure Show this Sunday and on the iPlayer from Monday - video here).

It was exactly ten years since I last ran the same mountain marathon and wrote about it for TGO-The Great Outdoors Magazine.  Then it was the first OMM, having previously been called the KIMM (which I also ran).

I'll dig out the article and try to run it just before the OMM edition of The Adventure Show, probably in February.  In the meantime, here's a superb article about this year's OMM by the winner Shane Ohly and below isa quick history of this event which will be 50 next year.  Read the original TGO page (hopefully!) by clicking the photo of it below.

Your Oldest Bit Of Outdoor Kit Still In Use?

I was asked the question recently.  This photo shows the answer.

That red neck-gaiter was called a 'snood' when i bought it at the (long gone) Survival Aids shop in Morland Cumbria.

I don't know exactly when I bought it, but it went with me on my first Nepal trip in 1986.

Thirty years ago!  Can you beat that? What's your oldest piece of hill kit still in use?

Some of the elasticity is gone so it doesn't spring back into shape.  There are also a few places where it's damaged.  But then,  I could say exactly the same about myself.

Searching For Sunart's Floating Church

A small highland community relies the expertise of its people.  Our latest project is to preserve a unique piece of Scottish history which currently lies at the bottom of Loch Sunart.  Rather than write all about the Sunart Floating Church, I'll show you the video I made for the Crowdfunding site.  If you like it, perhaps you might contribute here.

Braveheart Ben Nevis Triathlon on TV

We had great fun shooting this for The Adventure Show.  I'm not sure how much fun our presenter had taking part!  I've since worked with Dougie and he says he enjoyed it.  I also raced with him in another triathlon after this one, so he wasn't discouraged.

Oh, and if you think it's sometimes a struggle to get out, just wait until you see the feature I shot with ultra athlete Chris Moon.  There's a clip of Chris in this preview.

The Adventure Show is screen on BBC2 Scotland on Sunday 13th Nov 2016 at 18:30.  If you have Freesat or Sky, you'll be able to find BBC2 Scotland somewhere on your system.  The day after broadcast it usually appears on the iPlayer for 30-days and you ought to be able to get to it from here.

Why is it So Hard To Buy a Bike?

As you can see, I've ended up with a Cervelo P2.  

The route to that choice began months ago and was much harder than it should be.

I'd originally been looking at bikes around the £5k price range.  I'm only going to buy one bike for triathlon, so may as well make it a good one, right?

You wouldn't dream of buying a (second hand) car for that price without driving it, yet most bike shops expect you to buy the bike without ever having seen it, let alone ridden it.

It's not just because I live in the wilds of Scotland.  I started looking while house-sitting in Richmond, Surrey back in September.

Buying a bike requires a lot of faith, and I'm a little short on that.  So I bought the Cervelo P2 for £2k which, if I like it enough, I can upgrade the wheels, chainset and other features.

At the moment I'm struggling to get the position right.  Or perhaps it is right, and my aged body is struggling to cope with it!