5 tried and tested travel accessories from my latest trip

On our mountain bike trip around the islands of Scotland this Summer, we had a great time exploring islands such as Eigg and Raasay, and staying at a number of luxury hotels and B&Bs along the way, all of which you’ll find detailed on the blog. We also had the opportunity to try out lots of new equipment, details of which you’ll find below.

Mountain bikes from Ridgeback

We had some excellent bikes from Ridgeback for the trip. Ridgeback, if you’re not already familiar with them, were responsible for introducing mountain biking to the UK and are currently enjoying their 30th anniversary. We used four different Ridgeback bikes among the four of us in the family. Mine was the 19″ matte black Dual Track X3 (pictured), my wife’s was the 15″ Dual Track X1 which comes in a very smart-looking ‘forest green’, our eldest son loved his 13″ 602LX which is aimed at “young adults” and our youngest was very comfortable on his RX24 and grew in confidence with his cycling as each day went on.

Ridgeback Dual Track X3

Cycle clothing from Madison

We were also well equipped with cycling gear from Madison. This included really good quality padded shorts (although our mileage was never that great, we didn’t suffer from any saddle soreness whatsoever) as well as jerseys and hi viz jackets. They also have an excellent range of kids clothing.For the most part the weather was very kind to us (almost too kind!) but the apparel remained very breathable in the hot weather.

Madison clothing

Helmets from Lazer

For this trip we used helmets from Lazer – a very comfortable fit and with a flashing reflector light in the rear of the helmet for added visibility. Again, they have a children’s range also (minus the lights).

Lazersport helmet

Thule Pack ‘n’ Pedal Tour Rack and Panniers from Madison

Also supplied by Madison were a couple of the Thule Pack ‘n’ Pedal panniers. Once I’d worked out to fit the rack and make it secure, the process of adding and removing the panniers as and when you needed them was a very straightforward process.

Thule Pack n Pedal system

Travel clothes for women from Anatomie

If you haven’t heard of Anatomie before, then take a look; they specialise in luxury travel clothes for women. My wife tried out a couple of items. Combining style and comfort, these were very lightweight (ideal given that we were away for around 10 days in total) and of high quality. The Monti Cozy is fashionable and perfect for an evening out. Similarly, the Celine Pants proved to be really versatile and could be worn for evenings out or for times when we were on the move.

Anatomie clothing

Comments (8)

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  1. Lash says:

    Hi Paul,

    I was pleasantly surprised to read that you recently went on a cycling trip. I do a lot of cycle touring, too, though mostly in Asia.

    I’m not really a gear-head when it comes to bikes. I dont’ especially care what brand or style they are as long as the frame fits my body correctly, the seat is the correct height and the components are good quality.

    But I am rather picky about having well-padded cycling shorts, excellent high-tech clothes for the prevailing weather conditions and a women’s cushy padded seat.

    I also find that a bell, lights, rain guards for wheels, a back rack and 1-2 water bottle cages are essential.

    I haven’t used any of the brands you mentioned in this article, but I’ll keep an eye out for them, particularly the Madison cycling wear.

    Thanks for the head’s up.

    Cheers, Lash

  2. Paul Johnson says:

    Hi Lash

    Pleasantly surprised? Is that because your perception is that luxury travellers just laze by the pool all day rather than actually travel? That’s a common assumption but one that isn’t always true! ;-)

    As for cycling gear, I couldn’t agree more with you about having good quality shorts. The ones we all had from Madison were really comfortable. So too were the jerseys – very breathable and with handy pockets in the rear, giving easy access to items such as phone/map/whatever…

    Ridgeback, Madison and Lazer are all UK companies so I’m not sure if you’ll see so much of their gear out in Asia…

    Thanks for dropping by and commenting,

    Paul

  3. Lash says:

    Hi Paul,

    Nope, that wasn’t it at all. I just didn’t know you were into cycling. I always get excited when I meet other cycle-travelers.

    I know of organized cycle-tours that stay every night at BnBs and luxury hotels. I know many wealthy people climb mountains, go on skiing holidays and do all sorts of other active vacations.

    I once stayed at Marina Bay Sands Hotel (paid myself, no promo or review. > $300 US) in Singapore and arrived by bicycle. I put my bike in their storage room, where the attendants didn’t even bat an eye. I asked him if many guests arrive by bicycle and he said yes, much to my surprise.

    (surprised because almost nobody cycles in Singapore)

    Thanks for the extra details on the Madison clothing. I haven’t seen that brand over here in Asia, as you suspected.

    But I am a global traveler, so will get to that part of the world again soon. I spent the summer of 2009 in Manchester and Costa del Sol. I’ll probably head to Europe next summer.

    Thanks for your reply and time.

    cheers, Lash

  4. Paul Johnson says:

    Sorry, Lash… a completely wrong assumption on my part then! :-) Apologies.

    I’m more of a runner than a cyclist if truth be known, but enjoy both, despite not being all that good at either!

    Interesting to hear your story about the Marina Bay Sands Hotel…

  5. Lash says:

    Hey Paul,

    No worries whatsoever. Since I am primarily a budget traveler, that could be an easy assumption.

    I travel on a budget out of necessity (thus far) but I do also love luxury resorts, hotels and spas. I’ve been to my fair share over the years and stay at them when I can. :)

    Ah, ha. I’ve always been more into cycling myself.

    Yes, staying at the Marina Bay Sands was pretty amazing. Disappointingly, the rooms were nothing special, and even had a few surprising flaws, but the rest of the experience was fantastic. Views! Food!

    I’d be more than happy to write about my visit and/or their amazing buffet lunches. Wowie!

    I’ll send you a few of my photos from the rooftop pool. Pretty unbelievable from up there.

    cheers, Lash

  6. Paul Johnson says:

    Thanks, Lash… I have seen quite a few pictures from up there and it looks amazing. I hear the pool is rather busy, though… in fact, the whole hotel has been a victim of its own success to some extent and that all the public areas tend to be very busy too… almost too busy. Was that the case when you were there?

  7. Lash says:

    Hi Paul,

    Yes, ‘a victim of its own success’is a great way to put it!

    The pool is definitely wayyy too over-crowded, especially with families with young kids running and splashing around. It’s more like a water amusement park day times. I think a lot of that is because of Chinese, Indian and other Asian families, that generally just let their kids run amok.

    However, in early mornings and evenings the pool is rather calm, quiet and peaceful.

    The rest of the hotel is not so bad in that regard. The lobby allows the general public through, but it is so massive and high-ceiling-ed that it doesn’t feel overwhelmed with people.

    The various restaurants are quite expensive, so they’re not too excessively crowded.

    It was mainly the pool in daytime that was a bit of a zoo.

    But the views are so incredible that it’s still worth it, in my opinion.

    cheers, Lash

  8. Paul Johnson says:

    Thanks for the insights, Lash… I’ll hopefully make it there one day. :)

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