Endura Hummvee cycling mitts (first impressions)

While out cycling the other day (exploring Dorset’s Highlands), it occurred to me that my cycling mitts were nearly 25 years old. The reason that this crossed my mind was because, by the end of my 54-mile day tour, I was noticing a distinct lack of padding in their palms.

To be honest, I cannot recall if they even had much padding when I bought them but, if they did, it became compressed a long time ago. The stitching of a couple of the finger holes had unravelled as well. Overall, they were somewhat worn out, so it was time to investigate options for their replacement.

Out with the old, in with the new …

After some judicious research online, I ordered a pair of ‘Endura Hummvee Plus MTB Mitts II Black‘ from Leisure Lakes Bikes, a family-run business, which is based in the north of England (my local bicycle shop does not stock the Endura brand).

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VEL Airflow TRV pump

The pump supplied with a new Brompton is their branded version of a Zefal mini pump. It is not very good. If you own a Brompton bicycle, and currently rely on the supplied pump, do yourself a favour: try deflating a Brompton tyre, and then re-inflating it using that pump. Either you turn your Brompton upside-down, or you fold it and put it on a table for better access to the valve, or you double over straining your back, or you grovel on your knees as you labour away. Then, after a couple of hundred strokes of the pump, you’re hot and sweaty, and cursing. Not a good look.

Alternatively, sell your Brompton pump on eBay (like I did), and buy this little gem instead:

VEL Airflow TRV pump (£40.00 at the time of writing)
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A perfect stormin’ little stove

On a previous day tour I had taken a small gas stove, along with a stainless steel pot (the smallest of a nest of three, which I’ve used for camping for years, when saving weight hasn’t been a priority). However, as you can see from the photograph below, this can be somewhat unstable, unless you are on firm ground, and there is no wind. The whole setup is also relatively heavy, and burning a fossil fuel goes against the grain. It was time to investigate alternatives.

A brew stop where one of my rides intersected with The South Downs Way
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Bike Nation: How Cycling Can Save The World

Bike Nation, by Peter Walker

I play with the traffic every time I cycle to and from work. About 20% of my return journey is on segregated cycle path, but another 70% of my journey is on cycle lanes, all of which leave just a line of white paint between me and the traffic passing me. 10% of my journey requires me to cycle alongside all other road users.

To be fair, my commute is relatively safe, compared with those that others face. However, there are two places – a roundabout and a turn-right junction – which leave me feeling vulnerable and exposed. I could ride on the footpath and cross three roads, acting as a semi-pedestrian (instead of cycling around the roundabout), or use three pedestrian crossings (instead of using the turn-right junction), but I shouldn’t have to do that, and I do not do so. Instead, I make sure that my road positioning is ‘assertive’, I wear a high-viz vest in the dark, I display two lights back and front, and I make sure my hand signals are as clear as possible. Most road users respond well to this approach, but there are others who ‘buzz’ me as they overtake, and/or they simply drive past too close.

Peter Walker’s premise in his book is that I shouldn’t have to be exposed to the dangers of motorised transport in this way, that I should feel safe on the roads, and that transport planning has to change, such that more people feel safe enough to choose cycling as their ‘go to’ everyday transport . But how do we change minds?

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Laser Stubby Spanner (15mm)

Laser Stubby Spanner (15mm)

You will need a 15mm spanner to remove and refit your front or rear wheel (e.g. if you need to repair a puncture). You could use an adjustable spanner, but carrying one with a large enough jaw would require a rather heavy adjustable spanner.

My preference is to carry a much smaller and lighter adjustable spanner for the smaller nuts and bolts holding a Brompton together, and carry a 15mm spanner dedicated to wheel removal and re-fit.

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