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On tour: Sierra Cabreras

One of our customers, Chris Kenyon, kindly sent us this holiday snap of Bikefood bottles on tour…

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“The photo was taken in the early morning in the Sierra Cabreras mountains above Mojacar in Spain. That point is at about 850m altitude. One of the white “blobs” in the distance is the place we were staying, “El Pueblito de Alfaix” which is about 80m Altitude. In summer it’s too hot there to ride after about 10am – I have no idea how they manage to get through those southern stages of the Vuelta…”

STRATHPUFFER – 24HR ENDURANCE MTB RACE

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Many thanks to Bikefood customer Chris Browell for the following words and photographs:

The Strathpuffer is a 24 hour bike race based in the north of Scotland, 30 minutes from Inverness, outside a town cunningly named Strathpeffer. The race takes place annually in mid-January. The combination of location and timing, result in a race frequently engrossed in rain, snow and ice, not to mention a significant lack of sun light. Continue Reading →

STRONGHOLD

 

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We’re almost into the season of goodwill, and also in the depths of the ‘off’ season for many cyclists.  Sadly this is also a time where there tends to be increases in thefts and security becomes more of an issue as your summer pride an joy is tucked away, hopefully safely, in that carpeted heated man cave that used to be a garage.

Bicycle security is a big subject, and one that for many of us is simply ignored through the fact that if the bike is out, its safe as it comes with rider and riders bottom perched on saddle.  When it is not being ridden, it is locked away in the safety of the aforementioned man cave, or better still, pride of place in the living room.

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This is often due to the fact that given the types of machines we like to ride, the thought of leaving them out in the cold, regardless of the quality of security used to attach it to an immovable object just does not match the reality of having components removed, damage endured and the inconvenience of returning to a stripped frame.  Just check out this earlier post from us, a common sight at any public bike parking spot.

But what if the man cave is not as secure as one has been left to believe?  The grim reality is that regardless of how well pampered and fettled your ride is, if you are victim of straight forward old fashioned burglary, the bike is likely to be gone.  How many of us lock the bike properly when it is in the safe boundaries of home?  Even if it is locked, have you been busy looping cables through the wheels and saddle rails to create a neatly secured bike package, that not being bolted to the floor can be lifted with ease with one hand directly into a transit van?  Possibly.

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Thankfully, this is not an every day occurrence for most people, but it clearly happens and if it does there will be a high level of ill feeling and soreness, all of which can be avoided by exercising some caution.  So without further a do, it was timely that we had been asked to review a Kryptonite ‘Stronghold’, state of the art locking point for Tesco Compare home insurance.  Now we must confess this is a product we have ‘missed’ from the must have list, but now we’ve been introduced, it seems a worthy addition to the wish list.

The Kryptonite ‘Stronghold’ locking point, is seriously heavy duty.  This is a weighty and rather basic security point, you bolt it directly into the floor, wall or vehicle to provide an immovable point that you can then lock your bike (or any other item) to.  Its a simple enough idea, but due to the looks of it, this also sends a strong visual deterrent to a would be thief, in that you are taking security seriously and it is certainly not going to be a simple smash and grab, so best to move on.

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Out the pack everything is self explanatory enough, also all you need is supplied, including two different size high quality masonry drill bits.  Now there is no getting around this – to get the best from this product, you need to install it correctly and with care.  Yes its simple enough, but if you go rushing in you will find that for many of us not so familiar with man tools, getting three perfectly vertical, correct depth holes in the right spot may take a little time.  So whilst the drill bits a provided, it would be prudent to take your best power drill, and a much smaller drill bit to make pilot holes that are as vertical as you can get them, and then run through the sizes until you end up with three perfect holes.  Then get the hoover out and have a clean up.

Once the floor has been drilled (we went for the floor as it is clearly the most obvious location for this device, and avoids party walls and fuel tanks…), bolting the point to the floor is straightforward.  Ball bearings are supplied in order to render the hex key fitting useless, make sure you use these!  Once everything is secured you are in business.  The point stands out and looks the part, very solid looking and although a potential trip hazard, one that is avoided if it is located out of main walkways, where you park your bike.  The fact it is versatile so could be added to a wall, mounted into roof beams or the inside of a van broadens its use to areas way outside of cycling.

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For us, the Kryptonite ‘Stronghold’ is not a sexy product to buy, but it does give peace of mind that at the very least if someone does decide to break into your garage, you have bought yourself a heap of time to ensure that whatever is attached to the locking point is still there by the time you have chased the thieves away!

Is the Stronghold a worthy addtion to the man-cave? Well given the flexiblility and multiple uses of this simple yet effective item, plus the fact it costs a mere fraction of any item you would be locking to it, we’d say it is a definite yes.  In fact you may find given the perfect number of bikes to own is x+1 (x being the number of bikes currently owned) you may find you need a few…

Find out more information about the Kryptonite ‘Stronghold’ Locking Point here on the official website

We were asked to review this product by for Tesco Compare home insurance, but all the words and views above are our own.

 

MONKEY BUSINESS

Next month sees The Sports Food Company Ltd and Bikefood® turn four. Quite an achievement given the challenges startup and small businesses face in the current economic climate. Even when business was booming (yes apparently it was once) the challenges faced if attempting to launch yet another sports nutrition brand of products into a saturated market was seen as an impossible task, never mind actually making regular sales.

But we saw no barriers, just a clear vision of what needed to be, especially with our own developed products as we knew they were so much better than even the best of the competition. So onwards we went, with no business training, accountancy skills and taking on board very little in terms of guidance we’ve flown literally by the seat of our bib shorts year after year. We’ve been making progress but also many frankly pretty poor business decisions. Its a mystery how we’ve done it, but its a new year and we are still here and still open for business, and in the present day that must count for something.

The Sports Food Company is self funded, family owned and totally independently controlled, we’ve held it together. But its been tough going which again is more to do with the path we have chosen – we’ve never provided a sound business plan, let alone action one but most importantly we are yet to turn a profit. On this last point we are not alone. Ocado, the partners to Waitrose, are famously yet to make a profit (although one suspects this is more part of a plan than mistake, as are the founders not accountants?) and in terms of not running a viable business, a quick ride down our local high street presents a bleak outlook for retail at least with many of the famous household names that most of us have grown up with, going to the wall. These are brands and businesses that have been the first port of call for saturday jobs and summer work as students – Waterstones, Blockbuster, Woolworths, Jessops, HMV the list goes on – if business is so easy, and such the process so simple, how do these high street giants with all their many staff of experts, planners and bean counters get into a rather large pickle and promptly hit the skids to the point of no return? Maybe the challenge is greater than we first thought… the art is making it look easy.

So now we are into 2013 proper, and as we come out of hibernation, there is a feeling of optimism, we are refreshed and focussed and looking forward to a season of supporting some of the most interesting and dedicated cyclists on the planet with the same great service and same exceptional products as we have done since 2009.

However feeling buoyant is one thing, we are also mindful that this year we have to prove ourselves with the number crunching, and ensure we are sustainable and viable in this gloomy time. On our side is the fact that we have the highly prized support of our Bikefood customers and the strength and quality of our products ensure that we are working with products that we truly believe in. Bikefood products are right up there with the best, and we still see untapped potential in our brand – it has all the elements to be the giant killer it aspires to be. We just need to keep in with the leading pack, which is where we are now, ensuring we ride out the tough times to keep Bikefood from being shelled out the back destined for the broom wagon.

If you want to see even more of our innovative approach, and help realise the potential we believe Bikefood® has to take on the world, please tell your friends about us and convince them to try our Bikefood intro bundle so they can see for themselves just how good Bikefood is.

Like Bikefood products and want to see us doing more? Here are three things you can do to help us on our way:

- Ride with your Bikefood bottles, and when asked tell people what you use.

- Tell your shop, trade contacts, club to stock our products, Cyclesurgery do, Wiggle have done. We have no sales people, maybe you could be the first? We had interest from outside the UK and could go truly global with ease (commission based only, if you are wondering why, please re-read the above blog entry again)

- You (or someone you know) are a business guru. Look at the opportunity here – superb well reviewed products matched to unique branding, and four years of development work. We’ve achieved a fraction of the potential of our Bikefood brand at a time where the odds are stacked against us. With your expertise and insight could you and your help be the crucial turning point? if so please get in touch!

As always your feedback, messages of praise or any genuine business advice to offer is gratefully received, please do contact us at enquiries@bikefood.com

 

 

 

LETTERS OF APPRECIATION

It’s always nice when we receive positive feedback from customers and sponsors. Bikefood (and in turn the Sports Food Company Ltd) is an independent and family owned business, so we find it especially encouraging when we read the emails that congratulate us on our fine products and the quality of our service. We do try!

A couple of letters arrived in the post in November that made us feel exceptionally warm and fuzzy. Both were thanking us for our contributions to charity events – firstly; the Carluccio’s Cycle Challenge, which (as big fans of the restaurant chain) was a great ego boost for us. Not only did we have our Bikefood brand rubbing shoulders with likes of Bianchi, Carluccio’s and Action Against Hunger, we had also helped the Carluccio’s team raise nearly £45,000 on their Glasgow to London ride.

The second letter to arrive was from The Metropolitan Police thanking us for our donation to the Fallen Heros Charity ride – in memory of Pc Fiona Bone and Pc Nicola Hughes following the horrific event that took place in September. We were honoured to even be asked, and we were more than happy to supply them with enough energy gel for cycling the 208 miles from London to Manchester.

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So there you have it. We’re glad to be here, and glad to help when and where we can. And we’re genuinely humbled by the efforts people make when raising money for charity. Keep it up, and keep in touch if you think we can help.

MATT MUIR ON SHOOTING CYCLISTS

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“Since I first started to take my photography more seriously and set myself up as a ‘proper’ photographer around 3 years ago I have been fortunate enough to be able cover cycling events across the country ranging from international level downhill mountain bike events in the Scottish highlands to local road cycling events. Continue Reading →

LEVEL 6: BREVET DES GRIMPEURS SERIES

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“Cycle Côte d’Azur offer fantastic day rides, weekend packages, training camps and self-guided tours that cater to every level of cyclist. Tour the beautiful Alpes Maritimes region, test your legs on Lance’s favourite climb, the col de la Madone, or simply go for a cafe ride looking out from the prom over the Med. The Cycle Côte d’Azur ladies will look after everything you need to have a fabulous cycling holiday in the sun”

Phil Liggett – Tour de France Commentator Continue Reading →