Evans End of Season Sale - Save up to £600!

Evans end of season sale goes on and you can currently save up to £600 on selected bikes. There are hundreds of other savings too, and with free delivery in the UK it's probably the cheapest way to get what you really, really want!

Click the banner below to access the exclusive online discounts.


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John Smith Cycling on Amazon


Amazing Bargains at Evans Cycles

It might only be mid August but Evans Cycles have announced their 'end of season' sale!

Whether you're ready to acknowledge the end of the season or not, the bargains are still great news:

Just click on the banner above to access Evans Cycles' new website.

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Review of the Vango Trek Self-Inflating Sleeping Mat

After a tent that keeps you warm and dry, protecting you from the elements above, the next requirement for a comfortable night's sleep is something to insulate you from the hard ground below.

One thing you do want after a long day's cycling is a good night's sleep!

I had an adequate sleeping bag already, so a sleeping mat was my next concern. Never having used one before - I'd used full-size airbeds, a foam mat or nothing at all in the past - I spent some time looking around for a good value mat with decent reviews.

I also took note of weight and pack size, as I still had to work out how I was going to carry everything.

I settled in the end for a full-length Vango Trek, available from various suppliers through Amazon. Prices varied a little, but the best price for one in stock was around £18-£20. I guessed it would squeeze into my panniers or possibly in a top bag.

In the end it fitted into my pannier just fine alongside the tent, with a bit of space left over for heavier items like water bottles and food.

Inflation is easy. Just unroll and unfold the mat, undo the valve and leave it for a few minutes. Just add a couple of puffs and tighten the valve, and you have a thin but surprisingly comfortable mattress that stays that way through the night. Of course, a grassy pitch will be more comfortable than a rocky one, but I found the Vango Trek at least as good as I'd hoped.

You can easily pay £60 or more for a self-inflating mat, and you might get what you pay for, but I'd happily recommend the Vango Trek to other cycle campers and hikers, and it certainly beats a foam mat!

You can still buy the Vango Trek through Amazon, here:

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Cycle Touring on a Budget

Last year's big trip showed that you can, if necessary, get everything you need for a two-week expedition and keep within a very modest budget. 

It's likely that, like me, you already have a few bits and pieces you can adapt or make do with, but a lightweight tent is essential for cycle touring and I didn't have one of those.

After some online research and a poll of more experienced cycle campers, I took a chance on one of the cheapest tents I could find. In fact, it was between two choices in the end, both similar in weight but one with slightly better reviews and a smaller pack size (important on a bike with only two panniers) was the Gelert Solo One Man Tent, weighing in at 1.5kg:
I was a little worried by its small dimensions and the relatively low waterproof rating (1500mm), but reviews suggested it would cope with moderate rain and at least one person taller than me had managed to squeeze into it. At just £25 on Amazon (last year), it would be a bargain, even if it only lasted for the two weeks.

It is small and you certainly can't sit up in it, but the Gelert Solo kept me dry on rainy nights and warm on clear and chilly ones, was big enough to lie out full length in and, despite the laughs I got every time I rolled in and out, it did me absolutely fine and is still as good as new. The full length opening isn't so much useful as essential, but as long as you're reasonably agile, not taller than about 6 feet (181cm) and only want it to sleep in, you'll probably find it perfectly adequate, too.

You can now get it on Amazon for about £32, with free delivery: 

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Special Offers on Cycle Computers from Evans Cycles

20 percent off all computers. Use promotional code JAWCOMP

Evans Cycles are giving 20 percent off all cycle computers this week, when you click the image above and use the promotion code "JAWCOMP".

Remember, there's free delivery within the UK for all orders from Evans Cycles.

Hurry - the deal expires on 29 July!


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We Really Shouldn't Applaud, But...

Good job Bertie! on Twitpic
I can't help thinking Alberto Contador had good reason today.