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Cipollini

Cipollini
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Member since: 04.04.2011

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      08.05.2011 00:18
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      Value for money wicking T Shirt

      For those who don't know Decathlon is a french sports and fitness company which have anumber of large sports warehouses across europe. Quechua is their outdoor clothing brand for walking, hiking and camping products

      The techfresh 50 T shirt is part of their Blue Product value range and retails at £5.99 which seems great value for a T Shirt however these are great T shirts when you consider the price of equivalent products by many other outdoor companies where prices are often £15-20 for a wicking T Shirt! (wicking t shirt draw perspiartion away from the body and out to dissipate into the air- whereas a cotton t shirt would likely become soaked with sweat)

      Construction is from 100 % polyester fabric and this has been engineered to wick seat away from the body. The fabric feels very soft to the touch and is extremely comfortable against the skin.

      They are available in a plethora of different colours so every taste is catered for. I currently have them in white, black, red in short sleeve and black and red in long sleeve too (Long sleeve is priced at £8.99 or two for £15)

      I use these T Shirts for almost anything. I find they wick sweat well enough to be used as a lightweight base layer. The long sleeve versions have been very handy on warmer days while skiing. I have used the short sleeve versions for everything from cycling base layers to T Shirts for use in the gym.

      They wash fine at 30 degrees however should not be tumble dried due to their polyester fabric which permanently creases when tumble dried.

      I can't fail this product on any count except that it is not a big brand name for the fashionistas out there!

      As they are a decathlon own brand product they are also covered by a 2 year warranty against defaults too!

      A great comfy wicking t shirt that should be in everyones waredrobe.

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      • More +
        03.05.2011 09:40
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        Cracking value all weather tyre

        This review relates to my use of Vredestein Cycle tyres and in particular my experience of the Vredestein Fortezza and Fortezzo Quatro Tricomp tyres

        Those of you reading through my reviews have probably started to think I tend to buy alot of bike tyres and answer is - yes I do and it can get expensive. On my race bike I estimate I go through at least 3 tyres per summer alone- and that can rise depending on road conditions and punctures however I have been able to get a whole year out of a tyre before and over 10000 miles

        I first started using Vredestein Fortezzas as a recommendation from a friend who overed them over the internet for around £15 per tyre. They offered a comparable level of performance when compared to tyres more expensive so I gave them a go and ended up hooked! They're a little more expensive now (30.99 gbp from wiggle.co.uk) however i'm sure if you shop around you might get a better deal- Ribble Cycles were selling them a year ago for less than £20)

        Road Bike Tyres
        These tyres are for racing style bikes that use hooked rims (Also known as Clincher). These are the most common fitting and hook onto the rim requiring an inner tube inside. The right choice of tyre is extremely important. Lighter tyres will accelerate quickly however may be more prone to punctures

        The Vredestein Fortezza Quatro Tricomp specification
        Size available 700 x 23c (Standard size for racing bike tyres)
        Tyre Pressure (recommended) - 8.0-12.0 Bar (116 to 175 psi)
        Bead - Folding kevlar gives a lighter weight and easier to fit tyre
        Weight - 230g per tyre (Alot of race tyres are now around the 200 gram mark- if Vredestein could lower the weight of this tyre to that it would be a phenominal tyre however 30g extra is acceptable for the performance they give)
        Treads Per Inch - 120 tpi (High level shows quality casing)
        Puncture protection- Kevlar belt

        The name Quatro Tricomp comes from Vredesteins previous Tri comp (Three Compund model) The Quatro takes this to a fourth level by adding an additional drainage strip to clear away more water

        The most important thing about a tyre is how it feels on the road. Using these tyres at the 120 psi that I ride all of my race tyres at the tyres feel fast yet grippy in the dry. Cornering is very consistant and I feel confident pushing into corners

        The main performance feature I find for these tyres is in the wet where they feel just as grippy as in the dry and can be pushed comfortably into wet corners unlike many other tyres I have used and as a result I love to race in the wet.

        I once had a fellow racer tell me that when you road race you learn to take bad racing lines well through corners and these tyres help me do that. All in all a fantastic tyre that I continue to go back to.

        The only real negative for these tyres is that there are many race tyres now available that are lighter- however lighter weight does not always mean better performance as the principle abilities of a road tyre are grip and low rolling resistance

        For those with a separate pair of training wheels and Carbon wheels for race day these would make a great training tyre.

        Happy riding

        This review is also posted on my Ciao.co.uk account under the same username.

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        30.04.2011 18:21
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        Great simple heart rate monitor that would make a fantastic present for an active person.

        To anyone that does any endurance exercise the purchase of a heart rate monitor is an excellent investment in your health and allows you to monitor how hard you are working while exercising

        Many people will have heard of the French sports chain Decathlon. They have what could be described as Sports 'Supermarkets' in strategically placed parts of the country and have their own ranges of products as well as stocking other popular sports brand products.

        Kalenji is Decathlons in house Running brand and the 100 is their base model currently retailing for £14.95 which is a low price when compared to basic offerings from industry leading brands like Polar which start at prices over twice this.

        The 100 functions as a digital watch as well as a heart rate monitor and features day and date views too as well as a stopwatch, backlighting and water resistance to 5 ATM (50 metres)

        Users wear a transmission strap around their chest which sits below the breast bone. This strap initially feels strange and restrictive to the user however over time I have become so used to wearing it that I almost feel that I am not wearing the strap. Comfort is aided by the strap being elasticated

        The watch is simple and features 4 push buttons to access features.
        Top left activates a 5 second backlight.
        Bottom left- schiphens through the three operating modes. Time, Heart Rate and Stopwatch
        Top Right functions as a stopwatch reset button and activates date information while in Time mode
        Bottom Right functions as stopwatch start/ stop

        The watch interfaces automatically with the transmission strap while in Heart rate mode so show your working heart rate in large type. Generally the higher the numbers the harder you will be exercising however a simple way of working out how hard you should be working is use the formula
        220- age = Maximum heart rate
        Ideally for basic cardiovascular fitness you should be working at between 60-80 % of your maximum heart rate (However it's best to consult your doctor prior to taking part in an exercise program and taking further advice)

        This watch does the simple job of showing you your heart rate while exercising. You can spend more money on Heart Rate Monitors which show you more sophisticated information and health monitoring however at £14.99 this is a great introductory heart rate monitor and it would make a fantastic present for an active person for a reasonable price.

        Deacthlon also offer a 2 year warranty on their own brand products

        This review may appear on ciao

        More information can be found at
        http://www.kalenji-running.com/EN/cw-kalenji-100-146646446/

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          28.04.2011 13:21
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          Ideal option for short stays prior to holidays

          Last October I went out to Turkey on a Solo Travellers holiday and the company I booked with could only give me the option of flying from Gatwick. Not an issue to me as I have no problem driving- however it's a 3 hour drive on a good day from my Nottiungham home. With a 7 AM flight I felt it ideal to stay over locally instead of leaving home at midnight to drive down to catch a flight.

          I searched through a number of comparison sites fora hotel with parking and was quite surprised that it was only around £20 more than airport parking alone so was financially a viable option too
          The Mercure Gatwick sold itself to me by being only a short and inexpensive bus ride (£2.50) from my terminal while having the option of storing my car securely at the hotel. (Some hotels offer parking at one of the specific airport car parks so you still have to drive to the car park before your flight) all for a tidy £79 including a weeks parking. I could have paid slightly less for accomdation and parking however prices for buses or taxi were much more so it worked out around about the same price. It also had a gym and swimming pool so I could relax after my drive down to Gatwick too.

          Location
          This was great- Just about a mile down the dual carriageway from the South Terminal Island and even better was that the hotel postcode is spot on with my Tom Tom Sat Nav and that even took me down the hotel driveway- result!
          Asethetics
          I was suprised how large the hotel was as I pulled up- It was my first time at a Mercure so wasn't sure what to expect and to be honest the hotel exterior was not particularly modern- In fact it looked more like a council housing block from a distance (See photo courtesy of milesfaster.co.uk). Entering the hotel itself showed a much more modern clean interior with a large spacious reception and seating area leading to it's own Constellations health and fitness club area

          Car parking- The Mercure has a separate despatch and pick up desk for airport parking users
          My Room
          I'd booked a single room so didn't expect too much and was pleasantly surprised by the room as well. It was clean and the beds well made. The bathroom was exceptionally clean and there was also the traditiuonal tea and coffee making facilities. It was everything I needed in a room for a night before my early flight.
          The extra bonus was that the TV system had the option of programming in an alert so I promptly set for 4 AM. (And also asked reception to call myself at ten past as an Early morning call too- never can be too prepared if travelling alone!)

          I headed down to the health club area with a change of clothes and a towel. I find exertion helps me sleep better too.
          Entering the health club area you are hit by an overly strong smell of chlorine. It was so strong I decided not to take a dip in the pool initially as certainly didn't want to have my blonde hair go green on me pre holiday.
          The gym area consisted of a weights type area and a cardiovascular area. I warmed up in the cardio area and while it had a good selection of machines all of them were in very poor condition and on their last legs so I wasn't impressed. However it served its purpose for 45 minutes.

          To pass my evening I headed down to the bar to grab a bite to eat. The bar was more like a sports bar and even had a pool table to while away time on too. I chose a panini and portion of chips from the bar menu and it was with me in 20 minutes while I sipped on a pretty reasonable priced pint of Caffrey's (£3.05) and ate my meal while a group of Scots drank rather alot and became rather boystrous while they played pool
          My nights sleep
          I had a lovely comfortable bed and was getting a great nights sleep until I heard lots of shouting in the hallways- one of the Scots had lost his phone and not sure which room his mate was in (who might have had the phone) proceeded to shout continuously and loudly at the top of his voice Steeeeevvvvvvvvvviiiiiiieeeeee to try and get his attention. As that didn't work he started banging on doors and asking if Stevie was in the room-including my door at 1 in the morning. Not the best way for a good nights sleep and I had just started to doze properly when my alarm went off to get me up!

          I got up, ready (Nice warm power shower!) and headed off to catch the bus which stopped right outside reception and dropped me at the terminal within 10 mins too! They ran every 30 minutes early on so I would have had a fair wait if I had missed the bus and was in a rush! However it was 5 in the morning and I had been told the regularity increased later on.
          On returning after my holiday the bus pulled up at exactly the point I got dropped off and on return to the hotel I presented them my receipt and picked up my car keys. Returning to the car it had been washed as well.

          Would I stay there agin yes due to proximity and value. I would hope for a better nights sleep though!! And fingers crossed they'll have sorted the Gym in that time too!

          Also posted on ciao

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          • More +
            26.04.2011 22:43
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            Do you really need a specific Turbo Trainer Tyre?

            I was very lucky last Christmas due to my ingenious family seeming to always coming up trumps when it comes to Christmas Presents. I have to admit I'd not been drawn to purchasing a specific turbo trainer tyre so was curious as to what it would offer

            These tyres are ok forn use on the turbo however they simply slide around on a metal wheel making them unsuitable for sprinting and hard jump-style efforts meaning they're somewhat useless unless you're looking to do simply steady state efforts and therefore I really wouldn't recommend their use. They're certainly not quieter and I would rather stick to a good old road racing tyre on my turbo training wheels as a result.

            If you're looking for something to add to your turbo training workouts this is not going to be the right product for you in the long term.

            Good luck with your training

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          • Saucony Fastwitch 3 / Sports Shoes / 35 Readings / 35 Ratings
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            26.04.2011 13:49
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            A great shoe for shorter distances to be reserved for racedays.

            Saucony Grid Fastwitch Running Shoes

            Every active person needs a good pair of running shoes- whether for out plodding the streets and trails or hitting the gym after work. I always seem to have a few pairs on the go at any one time. I generally have one request when I initially start looking at running shoes- I don't want them to be white as they tend to lose that brilliant white colour over time- especially through mud and sweat.

            Saucony
            Saucony is an American sports shoe and clothing manufacturer best known for it's range of premium running shoes founded originally in 1898. Full details can be found at www.saucony.com. Saucony running shoes are stocked at many leading sports stores and also on the internet through Amazon.

            The Fastwitch 5 is Saucony's latest update to their most successful lightweight racing shoe . The Fastwitch has become an industry standard against which other racers are judged.
            Usage -Light stability racing flat
            This shoe is designed as a lightweight and responsive shoe for fast training days to fast race days.

            Features
            Breathable mesh upper- Ideal for use in warm weather this allows your foot to breathe.
            Dual density SSL, EVA Midsole - This provides support for the foot as well as shock absorbtion from the road. A heavier density midsole provides additional arch support. This is clearly visible as a darker colour material.
            Weight: 220g -This makes the shoe very light when compared to regular running shoes

            Cushioning Level and Support
            This shoe features a low level of cushioning due to it's racing purpose. It is not recommended for long distance running. It is predominantly a racing shoe however has just enough cushioning to be suitable for fast training sessions and sprint workouts. The shoe is designed as a neutral shoe therefore should be avoided by runners with severe pronation or supplination.
            Medial Arch Support-The arch support offered on this shoe is minimal and therefore it should only be recommended for racing and occasional usage. It is not a day to day use running shoe.

            Fit
            These shoes feel like slippers when you put them on due to their light weight and large amounts of flexible mesh which wraps around the foot like a sock. From experience saucony shoes are on the wider side and this means there is plenty of room for movement within the footbed for myself. The shoe is very flexible so while running the sole follows the natural arc of your foot.

            Road test
            While running these shoes feel light as a feather and encourage myself to make a quicker footfall in comparison to my day to day running shoe Saucony's excellent Grid Jazz i3. The shoe feels exceptionally comfortable on runs of up to an hour both on road and on dry country tracks. I feel on longer distances I require a more supportive shoe around the medial arch due to this shoe's high level of flexility. I know of people that have used these shoes in races up to marathon distances however I personally wouldn't use them for anything more than 5 mile/ 10 km races.

            Longevity
            Having run around 40 miles in these shoes so far I have noticed a large amount of wear around the heal and forefoot areas. Therefore I do not feel that the longevity of the shoe will be good in the long term however as a primarily racing shoe this should not be an issue if reserved for race use.

            Availability
            The latest version of these shoes is available through Chain Reaction and Amazon in UK male sizes 7-12
            http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?PartnerID=79&ModelID=61488 Price £64.99
            http://www.amazon.co.uk/Saucony-Grid-Fastwitch-Racing-Shoes/dp/B004EXMTVW Prices up to £71.99

            This review may appear on ciao

            Happy running

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            23.04.2011 14:11
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            Buy this and you'll still be pumping in a weeks time!

            My family often pick up some fantastic christmas presents for me however I'm often quite particular when it comes to my cycling stuff. In fact quite particular is an understatement! I used to work in sports retail selling cycles and accessories so have come across plenty of products to compare against.

            Cycle pumps attach to the valve on your inner tube. This uses a simple screw on connecter which came with Presta and Schraeder (Car type value) adapters. This version features an extractable handle which then forces air from its chamber into the inner tube once the handle is pushed back into the shaft. Some pumps offer an option of attaching co2 auto inflation cartridges however that feature is not available on this pump.

            Price- £3.49 in the argos catalogue sounds like a value product. I have a number of hand pumps at home ranging from £10 up to £25 so this is lower than I would usually pay

            The pump came with a clip system to fit the pump to your frame. I have not used this personally as prefer to keep a pump in the back pocket of my cycling jersey

            The pump is made from ABS plastic in black

            In use the pump is extremely hard work. It takes alot of pumping action for a long period of time to inflate a tyre even partially. I tested this pump out on a flat tyre at home first of all and found that it would not be of use in the middle of nowhere on a cold wet January day and it is subsequently gathering dust in my garage

            The packaging stated the pump will go up to 60 psi. This is an insufficient level to go to for anyone that has a road bike with skinny tyres as most road tyres have recommended psi ranges of above 85-90 psi. At lower levels of pressure insufficient amounts of air in the inner tube could cause the tyre bead to unhook and this is unsafe and likely to cause an accident.

            I'm afraid from my experience I would not recommend this product. I would give it 1/5 as it failed to inflate my tyre and that's what it's main purpose is.

            Happy cycling

            This review will also be posted on ciao

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            • More +
              23.04.2011 13:47
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              Water carrier with a great big price

              As i've said previously-I tend to collect water bottles. Being sporty it always helps to be carrying fluid around whether it be on the bike or in emergency cases in the boot of the car.

              I'm lucky that my family tend to have great ideas on what I like when it comes to Christmas presents and this was a stocking filler filler which has come in handy. Having checked amazon these retail for around the 11-13 pound mark which does seem expensive for a water bottle when I would usually spend at most about 3 pounds usually.

              I have also found they are stocked for a similar price in Cotswold outdoor shops.

              They are available in a wide range of colours, all of which are transparent so you can view how much contents are remaining. They are also dishwasher safe for cleaning purposes - generally cycling bottles are not recommended to be put in the dishwasher however the plastic on this bottle is significatly heaver duty.

              The plastic is BPA free (Bisphenol A- an organic compound often found in plastic products which is an endocrine disruptor which can affect your hormonal balance) and is therefore good for your health.

              Closure is via a wide screw fixing cap which creates a solid seal and does not leak. However the cap does not include a drinking spout like a sports bottle which limits it's use as a quick source of fluid. Maybe an additional adapter provided with the bottles would be a great innovation to make this product more useable

              The litre size is far too big for a cycle water bottle holder unfortunately too however these bottles are not designed for cycling use. It is also too big to carry around while running and takes up a significant amount of space in a bag when compared to a smaller 500 ml sports bottle which fits easier into my sports bag/ man bags (yes I have one!) -My main use for this bottle is in the boot of my car for emergencies and for post event fluid intake.

              This review has also been posted on ciao

              Happy hydrating- it's a warm day here today.

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            • Breo Sport Roam / Watch / 25 Readings / 24 Ratings
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              21.04.2011 19:32
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              Cheap and cheerful- you'll almost forget it's on your wrist

              My white Breo Roam is sooooooo much better looking than the colours on dooyoo at present!

              On a recent holiday trip I saw these watches in the duty free selection for £10 and thought what a great gift one would be for a friend with Christmas in mind.

              Breo is a young and hip, relatively new brand which is gaining in popularity all the time and their roam watches have been spotted adorning many celebrity wrist. Their range is continually expanding and the roam is their 'base' model.

              I bought this watch in white. The watch itself is a relatively simple looking rubber loop which houses a digital watch display in a simple capsule formed within the rubber strap. The strap is made of Tourmaline which is claimed to be responsible for many health benefits including enhancing mood and relaxation.

              The digital screen of the watch is extremely small and tells the time on two lines- top line hour and bottom line- minutes. Therefore visibility of the time is not best and you do have to hold it close to your eyes if your struggle with your vision.

              Time setting is through a simple push button system to the back of the display. I've used a pen nib to get the time right previously however a saftey pin or other stiff fine object would be suitable

              I said I bought this as a present but I was so taken with it I kept it for myself! And i've bought a couple as presents since too!

              The simple understated design looks fresh and my watch weighs a meagre 12 grams to I can hardly tell it's on my wrist!

              The white colour initially seemed like it might go a little off-coloured over time however 6 months on it's still brilliant white.

              I love this watch! For the price I give it a 5! and it'd be great for children too!

              This review may appear on ciao

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              • M&S Men's 2" Longer Shirt / Clothing / 22 Readings / 21 Ratings
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                20.04.2011 12:53
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                Quality shirts for work and special occassions

                When I hit my teens and started to wear proper mens shirts my mum used to always ask me 'why do you always roll up your sleeves' to which I would often reply that the arms were too short and when I did wear them 'normally' I had an awful habit of ripping them at the elbows due to the pressure.

                It took me into my twenty's to realise that there were a small number of retailers that actually made shirts with a longer sleeve without having to resort to exorbitantly priced custom made shirts.

                The weird thing is I'm only 6ft tall but have 'Go go gadget arms!'! I needed a solution to look good for work and special occassions. Being on the slimmer side- requiring a 15 inch collar shirt too isn't the most helpful situation

                http://www.marksandspencer.com/2-Longer-Shirts-Formal-Shirts-Mens/b/59375031

                I'm pretty sure that most men in the UK have owned an M+S shirt at some point. Generally the company make exceptionally good well priced mens shirts. AT present the 2 inch longer range starts from £19.99 and runs up to £39.99 for a single shirt although they also do a Value pack of 3 white shirts for £22.50 which is fantastic value even when compared to regular offerings from value ranges like George at Asda and F&F at Tesco.

                I went into the Nottingham branch of Marks and Spencer this weekend and felt a little disappointed at the range of colours on offer. They had 6 styles in my sizing available however two of these were over the top floral designs I could never wear with a tie for work. However I know the shirts fit me and there are 17 different colour schemes and styles to choose from on the M+S website instead which after years of rolling my sleeves up I can easily live with. And I can now get a proper dress shirt for black tie parties too!

                I have 3 of these on the go at present. All 100 % cotton construction, extremely soft to the touch and very comfortable to wear. They all have built in collar bones which means that forgetful me doesn't ruin my washing machine by letting collar bones clog it up too! The white shirt I have is still brlliant white after a year of use and washing once a week too.

                A great product for those with longer arms and bodies out there as we're all unique!

                If you've had the same problem as I had growing up you'll find these shirts to be fantastic and i'm sure i'll be buying these for years to come.

                Photo is courtesy of marksandspencer.com

                This review also appears on ciao

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                • More +
                  20.04.2011 12:48
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                  Its official, I love Cufflinks!!

                  Its official, I love Cufflinks!! They're a great way to add personality and customise an outfit. My current selection is up to 21 pairs and counting. I have great selection of expensive ones however am more interested in looks that price.
                  With a monotone look in mind I picked up a rather fetching pair with black Swarovski crystal ones from my local Swarovski shop. I'll admit- I went in there looking for a present for a female friend initially and hadn't realised they did a men's range too. My friend did get a nice set of earrings too!
                  Swarovski were founded in 1895 in Bohemia (Now part of the Czech Republic) by Daniel Swarovski and specialise in Crystal Glass Figurines, Jewellery and home wares
                  The cufflinks are rhodium plated and feature a large piece of cut black crystal glass which shimmers as it catches the light and grabs attention measuring 14 mm in diameter.
                  Swarovski crystals offer a very 'bling' look to add character to a simple work shirt and tie however I find them more suited to evening wear due to the brightness of them.
                  These are suitable for women as well
                  I paid £50.00 in my local Swarovski store however a quick web search shows some for less than this price on EBay. This might be more than some people would pay for such an item however these would be considered a 'designer' item and the effect of the cut glass is very unique. I haven't seen anything with a similar glass effect for less than this price previously

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                  19.04.2011 13:19
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                  Nice cufflinks however I do not believe they Justify the price when compared to high street options

                  I love to wear shirts with a Double Cuff and refuse to use the cheap rubber cufflinks that they come with. Cuff links to me are a way to personalise an outfit as a man while retaining a level of class and dignity and I'm starting to get quite a selection.

                  I received my first set of Ortak Cufflinks as a gift a couple of years ago and I've fallen in love with cufflinks. I n ow have a large selection of cufflinks in everything from Sterling silver to Silk patterned depending on the occasion and purpose of what I'm wearing.

                  Ortak- the Company originates from the Orkney Islands and is known for its innovative jewellery design and a high level of craftsmanship in gold and silver. Ortak is a member of the BJA which regulates industry quality
                  I recently bought their Celtic design. I was Christened Liam so I have some Celt in me I'd like to think! I also like to purchase items with character and a degree of heritage.
                  Ortak say (www.Ortak.co.uk)
                  'These stylish cuff links are largely inspired by Celtic Craftsmen who adapted ideas from nature to produce the familiar knotwork interlacings. These knots have come to symbolize the hope of eternal life.'
                  I use these often for work. They're simple and understated yet have an intricacy to the design that gets peoples attention. I have them in Sterling silver and they therefore look great with any colour shirt although I prefer a splash of colour personally with a white shirt. Fastening is by a simple clip system which does the job.
                  Price is £95 sterling silver and Ortak also make a 9 ct yellow gold version for £805 which is very steep to me for a pair of cufflinks. £95 is a lot to many people too however they do look great!
                  Link Dimensions 15*16 mm
                  Nice cufflinks however I do not believe they Justify the price when compared to high street options

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                • TW Steel Canteen TW11 / Watch / 18 Readings / 18 Ratings
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                  18.04.2011 13:01
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                  A great watch- shame I can't wear it with my best long sleeve shirts!

                  TW Steel Canteen TW11 - Great but not suitable for long sleeve shirts!

                  When my little brother bought an expensive Swiss watch for his 21st birthday I felt just a little bit jealous. I've always had a thing for nice things and he got to that one before I'd even thought about it! It also made me a little bit obsessed with watches for a while and my T W Steel was my first big purchase as a result.
                  I have to admit that I do like to make sure I look good and am happy to make one relatively big purchase instead of a number of smaller ones. Friends and family think I spend a fortune in comparison to them however realistically I feel it's not the case.
                  After a couple of months of researching watches I fell in love with the oversized look of TW Steel watches and thanks to a special offer voucher a friend gave for H Samuel I also had an extra £100 towards a purchase of over £250 which was a nice bonus and meant my budget stretched a little further.
                  Generally you don't think of a Dutch company for a watch!
                  The TW11 is a mens sports watch with
                  * 50 mm diameter case with a 14 mm depth
                  * Quarz Battery Movement
                  * Black round dial with white numbering and luminous hands
                  * Stainless steel bezel with a tachymetre scale and screw in crown
                  * Thick chunky black strap with red contrast stitching
                  * Mineral Crystal glass
                  * 1/10th second chronograph feature
                  * Water resistant to 100 m
                  * 2 year warranty
                  The watch itself feels heavy due to it's great bulk however on your wrist it does not feel heavy at all. A 50 mm dial is on the large size however you never have the problem seeing what the time is. I think someone 20 metres away the other side of a restaurant could tell the time from this watch too! I have fairly narrow slim wrists and basically the 50 mm dial is the width of my wrist- the watch is that big!
                  After 2 years of regular use the glass is still scratch free and I have not had to have a replacement battery yet!
                  Due to the style and styling this watch is very much a character statement. You have to have a strong personality to wear this watch due to it's brashness owing to it's size. I love it! I'm not usually someone for brash statement clothing however this watch is my way of being that little bit more eccentric and it gets comments from people wherever I go.
                  The downside of it's size is I cannot really wear it with a long sleeve shirt unless the cuff is undone. I know you can now get a shirt which has a cut out section as part of the cuff for watches thanks I believe to Armani as one of their design team developed an allergy to his watch strap. The shirt works like a double cuff with a layer of fabric on the inside between watch and wearer.
                  A great watch- shame I can't wear it with my best long sleeve shirts!

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                • Vredestein / Summer Tyre / 32 Readings / 25 Ratings
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                  14.04.2011 21:10
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                  Great road bike tyres on a budget

                  Please be aware I have now spotted that this review is under the subject Car Tyres and apologise to those of you who have taken time to read

                  I have contactedb site management to request it is either moved to a new entry under 'Sports Equipment' or deleted. Many apologies for any inconvenience caused
                  Liam



                  This review relates to my use of Vredestein Cycle tyres and in particular my experience of the Vredestein Fortezza and Fortezzo Quatro Tricomp tyres

                  Those of you reading through my reviews have probably started to think I tend to buy alot of bike tyres and answer is - yes I do and it can get expensive. On my race bike I estimate I go through at least 3 tyres per summer alone- and that can rise depending on road conditions and punctures however I have been able to get a whole year out of a tyre before and over 10000 miles

                  I first started using Vredestein Fortezzas as a recommendation from a friend who overed them over the internet for around £15 per tyre. They offered a comparable level of performance when compared to tyres more expensive so I gave them a go and ended up hooked! They're a little more expensive now (30.99 gbp from wiggle.co.uk) however i'm sure if you shop around you might get a better deal- Ribble Cycles were selling them a year ago for less than £20)

                  Road Bike Tyres
                  These tyres are for racing style bikes that use hooked rims (Also known as Clincher). These are the most common fitting and hook onto the rim requiring an inner tube inside. The right choice of tyre is extremely important. Lighter tyres will accelerate quickly however may be more prone to punctures

                  The Vredestein Fortezza Quatro Tricomp specification
                  Size available 700 x 23c (Standard size for racing bike tyres)
                  Tyre Pressure (recommended) - 8.0-12.0 Bar (116 to 175 psi)
                  Bead - Folding kevlar gives a lighter weight and easier to fit tyre
                  Weight - 230g per tyre (Alot of race tyres are now around the 200 gram mark- if Vredestein could lower the weight of this tyre to that it would be a phenominal tyre however 30g extra is acceptable for the performance they give)
                  Treads Per Inch - 120 tpi (High level shows quality casing)
                  Puncture protection- Kevlar belt

                  The name Quatro Tricomp comes from Vredesteins previous Tri comp (Three Compund model) The Quatro takes this to a fourth level by adding an additional drainage strip to clear away more water

                  The most important thing about a tyre is how it feels on the road. Using these tyres at the 120 psi that I ride all of my race tyres at the tyres feel fast yet grippy in the dry. Cornering is very consistant and I feel confident pushing into corners

                  The main performance feature I find for these tyres is in the wet where they feel just as grippy as in the dry and can be pushed comfortably into wet corners unlike many other tyres I have used and as a result I love to race in the wet.

                  I once had a fellow racer tell me that when you road race you learn to take bad racing lines well through corners and these tyres help me do that. All in all a fantastic tyre that I continue to go back to.

                  The only real negative for these tyres is that there are many race tyres now available that are lighter- however lighter weight does not always mean better performance as the principle abilities of a road tyre are grip and low rolling resistance

                  For those with a separate pair of training wheels and Carbon wheels for race day these would make a great training tyre.

                  Happy riding

                  This review is also posted on my Ciao.co.uk account under the same username.

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                  • More +
                    13.04.2011 13:28
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                    Great tyre I'd recommend

                    To get to my day job I have a 6 mile trip everyday and I have to admit that of a morning it takes me about 25 minutes to get there in the car- However it takes me exactly the same amount of time to get to work on bike. The local ring road isn't the nicest place to ride- though it does have a cycle track set back off the road which provides added safety. With that in mind I decided to adapt my spare cyclo cross bike for use on the cycle paths during the cold winter mornings and nights of riding home
                    Those of you that have riden on cycle paths probably understand that they are not always the best road surface and where I live they have in many places been added as an afterthought. Many of our cycle paths are just adapted pavements so often end up covered in gravel, damp fallen leaves and broken glass and cross a large number of road junctions. This provides a challenge almost as bad as motorists to a cycle commuter.

                    On a cold wet winters night on the way home from work you don't want to have a puncture so for that reason I purchased a pair of Continental Sport Contact tyres.

                    The Company
                    Many people will know Continental as a car and truck tyre manufacturer however they also produce bicycle tyres. The company has been running for over 100 years and all its testing and development is based in Korbach Germany. They also pride themselves on being 'Handmade in Germany'
                    The company is involved in cycling at grassroots up to professional sponsorship level and is constantly striving to develop better products for the consumer at all levels.

                    Road Bike Tyres
                    These tyres are for racing style bikes that use hooked rims (Also known as Clincher); these are the most common fitting and hook onto the rim requiring an inner tube inside. The right choice of tyre is extremely important. Lighter tyres will accelerate quickly, but will be more prone to punctures so getting a balance is extremely important. In some cases puncture resistance is more important such as for touring type tyres

                    The Continental Sport Contact
                    The Sport Contact has been designed as a touring tyre for such uses as long distance Audax events and would be considered ideal for members of the CTC (Cyclists Touring Club). It is designed to be extremely puncture resistant yet offer a low rolling resistance comparable to Continental's Road specific tyres.

                    Specification
                    Usage for Road/City/ Touring

                    Recommended Tyre Pressure: 80/105 psi.
                    You will require a cycle specific 'Track Pump' to be able to reach these recommended pressures. I personally weigh 76 kg and use the tyre at around the 100 psi mark.

                    Bead: Wire bead (4 wires)
                    Lower price tyres use a rigid wire bead. More expensive tyres often use a folding Kevlar bead which makes the tyre lighter, more flexible, however more expensive. If you are not looking for a specifically lightweight tyre then a wire bead is perfectly acceptable

                    Tyre Weight (g): 430 g
                    Generally wire beaded cycle tyres are above this weight. A lightweight racing tyre will usually weigh around 200 grams. Lighter tyres allow for quicker acceleration. 430 g is a sensible weight for a specific city and touring tyre as it includes an exceptionally good puncture resistance band.

                    Puncture protection: Vectran technology (Safety System Guarantee)
                    The tyre is built with a hybrid aramid/polyamide belt under the tread where lightweight and flexible polyamide is used as the main material to keep rolling resistance low with filaments of aramid (kevlar) spread over this belt to give strong while lightweight puncture protection.
                    On the road in 6 months I have not suffered a single puncture on my commute. I find this extremely good and the tyres are therefore doing exactly the job I bought them for.
                    The next version up in the range (the Top Contact) offers a 1 year guarantee against failure in the event that a foreign object punctures or cuts into your tyre Continental will replace the tube and the tyre at absolutely no cost to the user.

                    Tread Compound and Characteristics.
                    The compound that has beenused for the Sport Contact uses a mix of carbon and silica as the main compound agents. Carbon is added to increase tread life whilst the silica (rubber) boosts grip levels. The tread uses a high concentration of natural rubber, giving superior wet grip when compared to synthetic compounds and it includes moderate grooves in the tread to guide water away from the contact area for safe grip on wet roads.
                    I have found the grip to be extremely good in both wet and damp conditions on smooth roads and the tyre feels fast which is always a good thing to a racer. The only real negative I have found is that due to the relatively smooth tread I find it lacks 'bite' when the tracks become gravely.
                    I have recently changed to a set of Vittoria Randoneur Tyres and find that they are knobbly enough to cope with a small amount of gravel on paths. I have now swapped the Sport Contact tyres to my winter/ commute bike and will continue to use them throughout the coming summer on my road commute to work.
                    After 6 months worth of use in which I have riden Over 1000 miles the tyres are still in very good condition and should last me more than another 6 months. They have a small number of minor cuts in the tread which I feel is lower than I would expect from the riding I have done over the winter.

                    Sizes available
                    20", MTB & 700c sizes available
                    Great for 26 inch wheel Mountain bikes and Road/ Touring 700c size wheels too
                    Widths range from 28mm up to 42 mm

                    Value for Money
                    Currently for sale through online retailers Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles at a price of £18.95 (plus cash back of around 3-5% on purchases if you go through Topcashback.co.uk to their sites.
                    You can purchase cheaper Touring type tyres from around 8-10 pounds however these are often much heavier to achieve a similar level of puncture resistance and the extra weight can be felt while pedalling. I paid £21.95 each for 2 tyres 6 months ago from my local bike shop including a free inner tube which I felt was good value as most inner tubes now cost around £4- especially Continental's own brand ones. I also prefer to buy a few items on a regular basis from my local bike shop as they are an excellent source for knowledge and servicing if anything goes wrong that you cannot fix.

                    In summary
                    A great long lasting anti puncture tyre that could be used as a training tyre. They offer extremely good value for money however their smooth tread is not ideal over gravely cycle paths- One for mainly road and smooth track use.

                    This review has also been posted on ciao.co.uk under my profile with the same username

                    Happy riding

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