The testing Lab: SJ Works first aid kit

I'm always looking for ways to optimize what I take on my MTB rides, smaller and lighter things makes the ride more enjoyable.

Granted, the first aid kit from Decathlon that I was using for a while now is not ideal for my MTB rides, it's fairly big and takes a lot of space in my backpack.

Looking around on Internet and after a bit of research, I found the SJ Works first aid kit and I have decided to give it a try, and see if I can remove from the equation my heavy backpack, especially now when the days are hot.

Despite the small package size, the kit is surprisingly well-equipped, and contains all the items that will fix you up in case of a small injury.

sj works first aid kit
sj works first aid kit
sj works first aid kit

The content of the kit fits well inside of the pouch and there is enough space to add some small items or maybe even a folding allen key set.

Many sterile bandages and antiseptic toweletts in the kit. Quite useful is the sterile eye pad, I don't know how many times I had flies in my eyes.

There is even a space blanket in the kit, small but efective.

Nice touch is the easy access to the patches, easy to take out and to apply on minor cuts.

sj works first aid kit
sj works first aid kit

The sadle pouch fits very well under the dropper post, and doesn't affect the functionality of the dropper. The straps are firm enough and I had no issues during rides on rough trails. As a safety feature, the back of the pouch is made of reflective material making the rider more visible on the road.

For the cross country rides, I found more useful the smart phone solution kit. It's a bit bigger, and it can fit a smart phone,  useful to check a map.

sj works first aid kit

The phone is safe enough, the case is waterproof and dust proof. Also, the touch screen is working through the transparent plastic cover.

There is also a 3.5mm headphone extension cord.

The straps are sturdy and the kit is not moving around on the bike frame.

sj works first aid kit

The content of the kit is identical, same ammount of towelettes and antiseptic bandages.

Pros:

- light box.

- well-equipped.

- waterproof material.

- good price.

Cons:

- The first aid kit smart phone solution doesn't fit in all frames, it's recommended for XC and road bikes.

- A scissor and a tweezer would be nice to have.

Overall, the SJ works kit is a good solution for short cross country rides. fits well on the bike and is very well-equipped.

More info about the product.

How to save your brake levers

We all know that a nasty crash could mean a visit to the bike service. That means no riding for a while 'till the bike is repaired and also could be expensive.

Brake levers could bend since when you crash the handlebar is the first thing that will hit the ground.

There are a few things to do in order to save your brake levers.

brakes.jpg

- Positioning the brakes

When installing the brakes it's important to set them correctly. Be sure to position them so that when the lever is closed, the end doesn't go past the end of the handlebar. In case of the crash the end of the handlebar will take the energy of the impact

- Handlebar clamp screw

Do not over tighten the screw. The brake should not move easily but if pushed a bit more they should rotate slightly. If the brake lever will impact the ground instead of banding, they will just rotate a bit on the handle bar.

 

 

Best bike resort in Czech Republic

I had just found out the jewel of the bike resorts in Czech Republic. Simply called: TRUTNOV TRAILS..

Stunning view 

Stunning view 

Trutnov bike resort is located two hours away from Prague in the Čížkovy kameny and Jestřebí hory area. Because of the rocky walls the area of Čížkovy kameny is a frequent destination among locals for weekend getaways and it is very similar with one of the most famous places in Czech Republic, Adršpašsko-teplické. Here the reason why Čížkovy kameny is called also the little Adršpach.

The geographical features of the area with undulating landscape and rocky terrain have created a natural network of trails perfectly suited for biking. The single trails are suited for all levels, from green to black, every rider will find something that will push his limits.  

The GREEN trail is an easy uphill path with a few technical places, but there are also a few challenging elements. It is no too long just 3 km but I would say it's highly recommended for warm up. The key points of the "Starting trail" are the rocks similar with the one presented in the photo below. 

Rocks on the green trail.

Rocks on the green trail.

After you finish the green trail you definitely need to continue with the BLUE trail. It is a nice and smooth trail recommended to less experienced riders. You will enjoy around 7 km split up in 2 parts. Besides the entertaining technical section you will have the opportunity to stop of one of the best places for taking unforgettable photos.

mtb trutnov

For more advanced riders...

mtb trutnov

You certainly can have a lot of fun here... :D

You have all the elements, table tops. berms, walls. Everything made to put a big smile on your face.

mtb trutnov

Always something new to try..

trutnov trail
mtb prague

This nice and memorable trail it's ending with a catchy surprise..  ;)

Gain confidence on narrow path

Gain confidence on narrow path

Fast line

Fast line

mtb Czech Republic
Fun everywhere

Fun everywhere

The RED trail it's a different kind of beast. The main feature of this area is the rock garden. This medium difficult trail is suitable for bikers that enjoy technical riding. I personally advise to hit this trail if you feel like it's time to upgrade your skills. You will be surprised how challenging it is. 

mtb prague
trutnov trail
Best view over the bike resort

Best view over the bike resort

best trails in Czech Republic

The BLACK run in Trutnov is considered one of the most difficult trails in Czech Republic. It has around 2 km of perfect balanced technical parts suitable for advanced riders.  There is a section called Whistler....and this says all about this trail ;) 

The famous black run (Image taken from http://trutnovtrails.cz/en/ web site)

The famous black run (Image taken from http://trutnovtrails.cz/en/ web site)

 

With the great help of the local community the bike resort will open a few more interesting trails in 2017. 

Looking forward for the 2017 biking season!!! 

 

5 reasons to spend winter vacation in Southern Spain

Planning a trip to Spain and need a place to start? Thinking about spending the winter vacation in Southern Spain?

Here are our top 5 reasons to spend the winter vacation in Andalusia, the cultural and history reach area in Southern Spain.

1. Plenty of Sun and blue sky

While the rest of the Europe is under black clouds, rain and snow, the Southern Spain sky is bright blue and the Sun is shining. The weather is perfect to enjoy a nice walk in the old town of Malaga or to hike the hidden trails up in the mountains.

Bright blue sky

Bright blue sky

2. Mediterranean sea

Nice sensation to lay down on the sea side and feel the warm breeze. The water here is turquoise and the sand is made of tiny pebbles. On a shiny day the Atlas mountains are visible. To be on the seaside during the winter is an amazing feeling, it will boost your mood, no more gray clouds and cold weather. The sound of the waves is something priceless. This time of the year not so many tourists and the beach it's all yours to enjoy

pebbles sand
Sunset in Benalmádena 

Sunset in Benalmádena 

3. White old towns

When people think about Southern Span, they imagine small white villages under the bright blue sky. There are plenty of places like this in Andalusia, narrow streets painted in white, small coffee shops and restaurants.

Small street in Ojen

Small street in Ojen

No tourists this time of the year.

No tourists this time of the year.

mtb andalusia
The city of Mijas, one of the most beautiful old cities in Southern Spain.

The city of Mijas, one of the most beautiful old cities in Southern Spain.

Mijas is a very beautiful city, narrow streets painted in white, small coffee shops and restaurants

Mijas is a very beautiful city, narrow streets painted in white, small coffee shops and restaurants

4.  The great outdoor

Had enough of the sea side and the noisy cities? Southern Spain is not all about the sea, just 30 minutes away from the seaside there are amazing mountains, cliffs, gorges and water falls. 

The gorge in El Chorro, a very famous place for it's stunning views and dangerous walkways

The gorge in El Chorro, a very famous place for it's stunning views and dangerous walkways

Early morning in the mountains.

Early morning in the mountains.

5. Adventures

For the adventurous ones Southern Spain has a lot to offer.  Our favorite activity in Andalusia is  mountain biking. There are hidden trails in the mountains, natural trails with roots and crumbly stones. Very unpredictable with many turns and dead ends, steep rocky descents. It'a a paradise for biking. 

Mtb paradise

Mtb paradise

The trails located around the city of Alhaurín el Grande will make every rider smile

The trails located around the city of Alhaurín el Grande will make every rider smile

Canyoning is also an alternative, if you enjoy water and climbing rocks, canyoning should be on your must do list. Perfect activity for adrenaline junkies ;)

Fun fun fun

Fun fun fun

canyoning in Malaga

Porto, off the beaten path

"You will not discover Porto, the city will reveal it self to you..."

That was the first thing that our friend Eduardo guide and owner of  mygreenwaytours told us about Porto.

Difficult to grasp first time, but after we walked the old streets of Porto and the hidden trails from the surrounding mountains we start to get Eduardo's point.

There is something more of Porto than the touristic city center and the well known wine cellars crowded by millions of tourist in their's rush of testing wine.

When we met Eduardo we told him "take us where are no tourists, we want to see something different"....

And so he did...

Just 30 minutes ride by car from Porto we discovered the authentic Portuguese life style.

A short hike in the woods lead us to hidden waterfalls and natural pools with crystal clear water.

Hidden waterfalls.

Hidden waterfalls.

Natural swimming pool.

Natural swimming pool.

Small villages far away from the main touristic landmarks, amazing food and the home made green wine made our trip a memorable experience. 

Traditional village.

Traditional village.

Green wine and home made food in a local house.

Green wine and home made food in a local house.

The fire water will make your head spin.

The fire water will make your head spin.

The Geira roman road is the best way to discover the Geres national park.

We walked the old paving slabs left by the romans, now deeply eroded and rutted. We almost heard the sounds of old carts, horses and people walking the roads of the Roman Empire.

Old walls

Old walls

The road is easy to follow

The road is easy to follow

Breathtaking views

Breathtaking views

The old Porto is an amazing place, small streets where live has it's own pace.

A maze of streets.

A maze of streets.

The old town and the wine cellars. 

The old town and the wine cellars. 

The iconic metal Luis bridge.

The iconic metal Luis bridge.

We finish our tour having dinner in a local pub in Porto. Something different, 'Super bock' beer and 'francesinha', the traditional food. It's always good when you eat in the local restaurants, small and very cozy.

Douro river view in the night.

Douro river view in the night.

City lights.

City lights.

...and Porto wine

...and Porto wine

If you are looking for a different experience in Porto, mygreenwaytours is the way to go. Very friendly people, professional, everything was perfectly prepared for us. 

'Till next time, obrigado :)

I forgot my front wheel home

...this is a true story...

Sunday morning, usual day at SinglTrek Pod Smrkem. I take the bike out from the car and things go wrong.

"Me: I forgot the front wheel home :| "

"The guy from the bike center:......it happens"

"Me: Do you have a wheel that can fit into my fork?"

"The guy fro the bike center:....uhhhh, no, but I have a new Trek Fuel Ex 9.8 27-5+ bike that you can try."

And this is how I end up riding the new wheel size that every mountain biking magazine is praising about: the new  "Bontrager Chupacabra, Tubeless Ready, Inner Strength sidewalls, aramid bead, 27.5x2.80" tire.

The bike industry is presenting this new tire size like it is the best thing in the universe, you can't ride without it.

I was expecting big things from this new tire, I believed the adverts, but the reality was a very different story.

Difficult to jump, the bike was nose diving. Even tubeless the tires are too heavy.

Difficult to jump, the bike was nose diving. Even tubeless the tires are too heavy.

mtbprague

I had to pump a lot even for a small jump.

mtbprague

More speed is required for jumping.

mtbprague

Cornering is something very random, you want right, bike is going straight ahead(again inertia)

Cons:

  • Heavy, nose diving all the time when jumping. Bike manufactures will try to make components lighter. the rims for example, just to keep things in  balance. There will be a lot of unreliable products on the market.
  •  Difficult to handle when cornering. The bike feels very numb, and  require a lot more effort to steer.
  •  In mud, the tires are floating.
  •  Big tires means a lot of traction, a lot of pedalling is needed to keep a decent speed. Slower on climbs and more sluggish to accelerate.
  •  Precise pressure adjustment is required. Tire pressure matters more with big tires. The plus size tires feel very bouncy, this affects also how the suspension is working.
  • Big tubeless tires, a lot of sealing is going in, fun to fix a flat tire. Yuck
  • Expensive.

Pro:

  • Easy to go over big rocks. For a beginner that will boost the confidence.
  • A lot of grip.
  • Heavy tires, more stable bike.

I believe this new tire is still at the beginning and more adjustments and improvements needs to be done. Maybe in a while this plus tire will be the standard, but at this moment  2.4'' tire is more than enough, unless you ride on snow or on sand. Everything bigger in size than this is too much.

Nevertheless, we had tons of fun on the trails.

Lessons learned:

  • Try not to  sleep when you put the bike in the car. Count the wheels(and the axle also) :)
  • Don't trust bike magazines reviews about new stuff, go out and try it yourself.

All mountain trails in Prague

Are you looking for more technical MTB trails in Prague? Do you like to take some air?

Not far away from the city center we can find a few challenging trails that will put a big smile on every rider face.

If you like technical descents or fast and flowy trails with a few jump, this is the place where you should be.

Nice forest-park most of the time. with a few steep trails, the Točná hill is the favorite place among the local downhillers.

 

Also, if you are looking for some  hiking trails this is a great place to spend an afternoon.

History facts: the area t is the most extensive Celtic settlement in the Czech Republic, and one of the biggest in Europe.

Beautiful view over the city as reward after a short ascent

Beautiful view over the city as reward after a short ascent. One of the greenest city in Europe, plenty of natural parks around.

all mountain trails in prague
mtb trails in Prague

Fun on the trails. Taking some air is always fun.

dh trails in prague
downhill in Prague

Downhillers will love this place. Drops and berms all over the place.

mtb in Prague
all mountain trails in Prague

Technical descents, roots and rocks all over the place.

Točná hill is one of the best places to ride in Prague.

Easily accessible from city center, this place has it all, fast and flowy trails, technical descents with rocks and roots,  jumps, drops and berms.

Cross country trail to Karlštejn castle

Just only 30km from Prague, Karlštejn castle is one of the most famous and most visited castles in Czech Republic.

Karlštejn castle mtb

Some history facts: Karlštejn is a gothic castle,  founded around 1348 by Charles IV. It was used for safekeeping of the crown jewels, relics and royal treasures.

 
Karlštejn offroad

The trail from Prague to castle is a pure XC trail, crossing the suburbs of Prague, fields and small forests. The perfect way to discover the beautiful Czech country side.

Karlstejn mtb

Gentle path takes us out of the city and get us to the first descent of the trail. Some rocks and roots, nothing scary or technical. Beginners can tackle this trail without issues.

Also if you ride a Cyclo-cross bike, this is something that can be done.

Karlstejn mtb

Rocks and roots, not too scary.

offroad to Karlstejn

Getting our shoes wet in a small creek. No worries, there is a small bridge which can be passed.

Karlstejn mtb

Trail is taking us through small villages and endless green fields. Beautiful Czech country side.

mtb Karlstejn castle

First long uphill on tarmac, mind over body.

mtb Karlstejn

Taking a short brake just enough to recover after the long uphill on tarmac.

mtb Karlstejn

Some nice looking peace of machinery resting in the shadow. Would you ride this beast?

mtb in Czech Republic

Best reason for a short break, cherries. 

biking to Karlstejn castle
mtb Karstejn castle

It takes around 4 hours to get to the castle, the trails is not very difficult, but some level of fitness is required to enjoy this trail. There are two long uphills, one is on tarmac, the second one is going trough the forest. The descents are not very steep nor very technical. Any type of bike is suitable for this trail.