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Cool kids wear lids: the world’s first flat-folding helmet

5 Nov

Morpher Helmet

How many times have you wished you could stuff your helmet in your bag rather than carrying it around while your bike is locked up? Many times? Me too.

Which is why I was delighted to hear about the Morpher Helmet, a lightweight creation that folds flat to fit in your handbag or laptop bag.

As well as being convenient and functional, there’s an important safety message. The helmet was designed by British Inventor of the Year Jeff Woolfe OBE, whose helmet saved his life in a horrific cycling accident some years ago. Inspired to make cycling safer following this experience, Woolfe created the Morpher Helmet to encourage all cyclists to wear a helmet. Woolfe has some frightening stats: despite the fact that more than 90% of cycling fatalities happen to riders who aren’t wearing a helmet, 93% of cyclists on hire bikes and 26% of people on their own bike don’t wear one.

Despite being just a prototype, the Morpher Helmet has already won three innovation awards.  It’s patented worldwide, exceeds all relevant safety standards and  made from recyclable materials. The flat design will allow people to buy from vending machines near bicycle hire docks. Initially aimed at cyclists, it will later be made for other sports including skiers, skaters, snow boarders, hockey players and horse riders. See more in this video.

Impressed? The team are now inviting people to get involved, help fund the project and be one of the first to own a Morpher helmet, which they hope will go on sale early next year. You can find out more on their website and support from as little as £5.

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The joy of a new bike shed

21 Oct

Imagine my joy when, on returning from last week’s work conference, I came home to find this wonderful creation in my back yard:Bike shed

Up until now our bikes have either been stored in the living room (unsightly) or outside in the garden (out of the way but with the increasing risk of cold and wet damage as winter approaches). But now, thanks to the brilliant work of The Boyfriend, they have their own little hut in the garden.

The carpenters have cleverly cut the wood to allow existing trees to grow in and through the shed, so it blends right in. I was especially grateful today as it’s been chucking it down with rain all day (a sign of things to come) but when I got my bike out she was completely dry. Excellent!

Bike shed

There was one small issue in that the shed is a tad short, so when I come home this evening the shed had been upgraded with handy hooks… Well done Boyfriend and happy hanging bikes.

Hanging bikes

 

Kit review: Le Marq custom cycling clothing for the Financial Times

26 Jun

FT girls in Le MarqThe arrival of our bespoke Le Marq Financial Times cycling kit this week caused much excitement in the office. The brilliant team at Le Marq have designed the gear for Team FT to wear in the FT Human Race London Cycle Sportive this weekend, and we are going to look good! I only have this photo of some FT girls modelling the kit for now, but more action shots to follow after the ride on Sunday.

From the moment I unwrapped the tops, I was impressed. The design is fantastic, sporting the all important FT pink with eye-catching use of our logo across the front, sides and back. It keeps in line with the FT brand guidelines while looking distinctive and classy. The design uses three colours: a white base, FT pink panels on the front and back, and a curving black design across the front. As well as making the tops stand out, the black curves represent landmarks on the sportive route: Biggin Hill (a killer, if you’ve done it), North Downs, Box Hill (made famous by the Olympic route last year), Surrey Hills and the Herne Hill Velodrome where the ride finishes with a victory lap. It looks excellent and is also a nice way to remember the route. The sleeves are finished with a great three stripe design that matches the cuffs of the bib shorts. The bibs are black with the Financial Times logo along each side in white and – my favourite – the pink FT logo stamped firmly on the butt. Great branding. All together the kit looks sharp and as everyone knows, looking good is the number one rule for all cyclists. If you look the part, you’re halfway there to winning.

To the fit, functionality and comfort. The tops have a full length front zip, making it easy to get on and off. The sleeves are fitted but not too tight. There are three decent sized pockets on the back of the top, meaning you can fit in all the food and accessories you need for a long ride. Very important. The tops are a high quality material – all Le Marq kit is manufactured in Italy and has been developed and tested by cyclists on difficult routes, exposed to the elements – so is very comfortable for lengthy wear. Compared to previous kit orders where the hems have disintegrated on the first wear, this feels much more durable.

A word on the sizes – the men’s are very snug. Most of the guys in Team FT asked if there was a bigger size, so if I was ordering from Le Marq I’d go up a size from your usual one unless you really want a racing fit. In the end I convinced the guys that tighter was better because a) it was more streamlined and therefore fast and b) it was a good excuse to show off their rippling muscles, etc, etc. The women in Team FT had no problems with the sizing. In fact it was nice to find kit that actually fitted, compared to other gear where a size small is more like a medium because it’s adapted from the men’s sizing. The shape of the women’s tops is great too, figure hugging without being skin tight.

I asked the men what they thought of the bib shorts and the answer was positive – decent padding and a comfortable fit. A group of the guys have just set off on a three week trip around France, so I’ll report back on the comfort of the kit after they’ve spent a few more days in the saddle.

Here’s some of the feedback about the kit taken directly from Team FT:

‘I really like the design and it’s great to cycle in. The size is snug – although they should be!’

‘Very nice jerseys, though they are a little snug. I know they are a ‘racing’ fit, so it’s probably more of a case of me being ‘racing’ unfit!’

‘Fits like a treat.’

‘Love it. Very cool design.’

‘Fits really well and very comfortable.’

The verdict: I’d highly recommend Le Marq kit for anyone looking to order top quality custom cycling clothing, at competitive prices (more details about how to order and pricing can be found on their website). They aim to supply ‘premium quality apparel for the world’s hardest and most prestigious amateur events’ with clothing ‘worthy of the finest pro teams’ – and they certainly provide that. The clothing combines chic design with essential functionality. Thank you Le Marq!

P.S. If you’ve got stash envy, it’s not too late to order an official event jersey for this weekend’s FT ride. You can buy one online now for £59.50.

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