Cycling Articles Archive

Cycling in France, general cycling, touring, holidays with kids and many more of my ramblings;-)

Here you'll find articles on cycling, touring, equipment, France and some slightly off-the-wall topics, sometimes funny, sometimes serious and frequently opinionated. It's an archive built up over the last 20 years so please bear in mind that when I do things like describing pulling a baby trailer, that was a very long time ago.


Read and enjoy and I am always very happy to add contributions from others in order to make the Archive as broad and as worthwhile as possible.

Stopping Power.

Brakes for cycle touring – a very personal viewpoint...

Breton Bikes cycling in france Facebook Page

It is easy for us to spend most of our time on worrying about how fast a bike will climb, what average speed we can manage or the rolling resistance of tyres. But in reality how quickly and easily we can stop a bike is more important. As cycletourists, often riding heavily loaded bikes on steep roads, this becomes an even higher priority. The one snag is that though brakes are now more effective than ever before also now come in a bewildering variety so hopefully this article will help you make a more educated choice for your own use.

Read more: Stopping Power.

The PowerPack Revolution

I'm going to tell you about the best bit of kit I've bought in the last 5 years;-)

Breton Bikes cycling in france Facebook Page

30 years ago when Kate and I started cycletouring in France we had no electrical equipment with us whatsoever, with the exception of a small torch. As we cycletoured in France in summer having to carry lights wasn't an issue.

As time went on the situation even got easier as LED headtorches alleviated the need even for spare batteries. Happy days...

Read more: The PowerPack Revolution

Le Foot - Village Football in France

Or how I nearly died in the name of sport...


This article was written 23 years ago and I've just found it again. It doesn't have anything to do with cycling, or with our holidays but I hope it'll make you smile and see one reason why we think this is such a special place...

Read more: Le Foot - Village Football in France

A quality touring bike on the Cheap – The VSF T50s

A bike to take on your first cycle tour...

This is the first in a short series of reviews of good value bikes that are capable of loaded cycletouring - this month the VSF 50s.

Read more: A quality touring bike on the Cheap – The VSF T50s

Steel tubing for Cycle-tourists, Reynolds 531, 520, 853, True Temper – confused?


An idiots guide to steel cycle-tubing and how not to get fixated on numbers.


Many years ago (20!) I wrote a short article in the very first on-line cycling magazine –– now long gone (but it still lives on our website here) about Reynolds 531. It came at an important time as it was then that 531 was finally being phased out in favour of more TIG-welding-friendly tubing (more on this later).

Since then the market has changed from one where perhaps 80% of all quality touring bikes (maybe 95%+ in the UK) were made in Reynolds 531, to one where where none are. So time for an overview to help all those confused by the plethora of tubing types now available.

Read more: Steel tubing for Cycle-tourists, Reynolds 531, 520, 853, True Temper – confused?

Ridgeback Expedition 26” Touring Bike 2016 Review


What can the Ridgeback Expedition offer? (Updated for 2017 - see below)


Sadly Ridgeback inform me that for 2017 the Expedition is to be updated with Hydraulic disc brakes. Though lovely to use these have no place on an expedition tourer - too easy to damage, impossible to get spares or 'bodge' on tour in Europe let alone outside...

Manufacturers Website


I have long been a champion of the 26” wheel – it's stiffer, stronger, lower weight, offers lower gearing and is a world standard (see my article on 26" vs 700c wheels) – so much so that all our BB Special hire bikes run with 26” wheels - i's what you need for loaded cycle-camping.

Read more: Ridgeback Expedition 26” Touring Bike 2016 Review

The importance of tread pattern on cycle tyres.

Why do tyres have a tread pattern?

If you go onto the website of any cycle tyre manufacturer you will see a bewildering range of tyres – all sizes, constructions and weight. But the most obvious difference between tyres is the tread pattern which seems to come in all shapes and sizes from massive tread blocks to completely slick, it's no wonder that cyclists looking at this get confused, so the purpose of this article is to try to uncover some of the mysteries of the subject and more importantly to expose some of the misconceptions.

Read more: The importance of tread pattern on cycle tyres.

The 2CV - The tin Snail

Hardly a cycling article, but after all the 2CV is the nearest a car get's to being a bike, and is probably the most French machine on the planet so why not???

The Tin Snail

Read more: The 2CV - The tin Snail