To be honest. My feelings about gravel bikes were mixed. Although I am proud that my picture decorates one of the walls at the Radius Brewery in Emporia, the start of the famous Dirty Kanza, mother of all gravel races, I never warmed up to the idea of owning another bike. Drop bars and off-road, this combination only offered limited attraction to me. For me the days of drop bars were gone, and while I sometimes wished for a bit more speed on my Ogre, so far I thought there was simply not enough to make a gravel bike stand out from my trusted rigid mountain bike round the world companion.
I knew that I was wrong shortly afterwards. I worked on a project for Glasgow City Council and it was the first time I seriously thought about the idea of skinnier tires and drop bars again. The interesting thing is that my thinking had nothing to do with bikes, but somehow a rigid mountain bike wasn’t really what I would have expected in pictures advertising city cycling routes. For some reason it felt wrong. Continue reading “Gravel joy.”
Bikepacking Scotland will help you to find the best gear for Scottish bikepacking expeditions, long or short. Let’s make a start with the Skins RY400 baselayers, which Markus has tested on a few bikepacking trips now, after using a pair of Skins long tights on his round the world trip (and various other trips before).
From minus eight to warm indoors conditions, both the long tights and the long sleeves did a great job helping the body to recover after a long (and mostly wet) days in the Scottish hills. If you have never worn them before, Skins are much tighter than your usual base layers, but once you have learnt to put them on, they are are great addition for spending a comfortable night in the sleeping bag on bikepacking trips. Both tights and long sleeves pack light and don’t take up much space either.
The great news is that they stimulate your muscles and help the body to recover much quicker. This is the crucial functionality for me, as I love very long days on the bike, but not waking up shattered and drained the next morning. The RY400 range was created with recovery in mind, helping to reduce muscle soreness. Stimulating my circulation after a long day makes me feel much better. I used them for a few overnighters, and after sleeping like a stone I woke up fresh and ready to go for the next day. Their bio-mechanically positioned panels and seams support and stabilise the muscles to reduce fatigue and risk of injury.
At £85 for the long sleeve and £90 they are not the cheapest, but a very worthwhile investment to help you recover while enjoying the starry nights in a bivvy bag or the comfort of a bothy or hostel. Get them at the Skins website.