In the drops: Tropicfeel Hive backpack, Giro Chrono Elite kit, Mio Cyclo GPS computer and Taskmaster

Selamat tengahari, as they say in Malaysia. And happy Friday! Did you have a good week?

It’s been a whirlwind, from Sunday watching the women finally kick off the race they’ve deserved since 1989 – the Women’s Tour de France – to seeing dear Jonas cross the line in Paris and then uttering one of the longest speeches in the Tour de France history.

Geraint Thomas is 36, Jonas, and he just toured France and finished third. He needs to sit down.

In my other life, we interviewed Peter Stenina on the Cyclist magazine podcast, and he was a goldmine of gravel talk, and what it means for a former road pro like him to go independent and start racing 200-mile off-road events across Kansas for a living. You should take a look at it.

You should also check out another guest on the podcast, Tyler Hamilton, who gave us a very candid interview — no holds barred, drugs galore — and then let us shoot him for a story that’s about the Cyclist website now. By the way, the podcast is much longer and Tyler has a nice American drawl. I highly recommend it.

But for the truest inspiration and the truest form of cycling joy, everyone, I mean everyone, must look at these words and images here, of Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig winning on the stage 3 of TdF Women. Proof that Jonas Vinegaard is not the only Dane in town.

But for now, I’m leaving with this, my In the Drops this week. I hope you like it too.



Backpack Tropicfeel Hive

Like Eeyore and Piglet, I like a good thing to put things in. What do you mean you don’t remember the story where Piglet gives Eeyore a popped balloon for his birthday and is all sad but then Pooh realizes it will fit perfectly in the pot he just gave Bourriquet?

OK, I lost you. The thing is, I love it when things come together, neatly, everything in its place. And so the Tropicfeel Hive ticks all my pedantic boxes.

It’s the smartest backpack I’ve ever seen, full of all sorts of compartments and stylish features, from stowable shoe storage to a little hook for your sunglasses when you’re not wearing them. The Tropicfeel hive is awesome.

In the basic shots, this bag goes from 22 liters to 32.5 liters to 46.5 liters thanks to a full zip that leaves the bag accordion to go deeper, and a zipped “kangaroo pocket” in below (were Kanga and Roo in the original or only in the Winnie the Pooh TV reboot?).

And the hive can get even bigger with accessories that hook onto the four FidLock tabs on the front – a FidLock toiletry bag or a FidLock pouch.

The point here is modularity, and to get the full measure of this thing is kind of like trying to describe a cubist painting, so in a way I’d say just take my word for it – that’s probably the kit most useful bike bag and general kit backpack you will ever find – and head over to the Tropicfeel website which has a very useful little animation of how it all works. But in another sense, here it is:

From top to bottom there is a zippered sunglasses pocket with fleece lining; the main compartment unzips and inside are two mesh pockets. There is a side slot for a drink bottle; underneath, a zipped ‘kangaroo’ pocket folds out and clips into place, making it a great place to store shoes, a helmet or a sleeping bag.

Waist strap removes from bag and functions as a stand-alone fanny pack; the front panel folds down completely and features a laptop sleeve and multiple pockets; the front panels are expandable to fit things like jackets or maps. And then there is more.

Inside, in its base form, the Hive is a large, cavernous cavern. But in this slots the Wardrobe or Camera cube. The latter is an insert that has customizable sections for lenses, camera bodies, batteries, and more, making the inside of the hive look like a checkered box. The first is a gloss for bikes and travel.

Hanging up, the wardrobe is like a small hanging wardrobe, elasticated slits for sitting, zippered mesh pockets and just one large hole that is ideal for a helmet or shoes.

However, the smartest thing is that you fill it up then pull hard on the side straps and it compresses the whole thing together so it slides into the body of the hive, while taking up about 50% less space. . Get where you’re going, pull it up, unfasten the straps and it hangs like a little fabric wardrobe.

And I could go on, there are all sorts of little hook straps, carry straps, clip straps, wide comfortable shoulder straps, reinforced ventilated back panel. It’s a bit overwhelming. But everything also works very well, every detail has been carefully considered.

As such, this will make a brilliant kit bag for a sport or a weekend getaway that includes a cycling kit, or just the daily commute if you need to carry your office and a full service course with you.

If there are any downsides to the design I haven’t found them, although I would prefer a fully waterproof bag as it is “water resistant”, made from waterproof materials and DWR treated. And it’s very expensive, as are the accessories – I really think you’ll want the wardrobe but it’s still £90.

Still, if well-designed bags are your thing, the Beehive is ingenious and you’ll love it, and Tropicfeel offers discounted accessory packs when you purchase the various items together.

Mio Cyclo Discover Pal

I think Mio’s original Cyclo computer was the first bike navigation system I’ve ever used, a step-by-step “insert your postcode” bike computer, which was an incredibly useful proposition back in 2012 when the cars were still using TomToms and I was getting around London writing instructions on tape and sticking it to my top tube.

The Mio Discover Pal is a very similar proposition to that original Mio Cyclo 305, that is, it puts navigation at its heart. The key here is the ability to explore new areas and get to an unfamiliar place, or return home if you get lost.

In a sense, it’s a similar proposition to the Wahoos and Garmins of this world, although unlike more powerful Garmins, it doesn’t cost as much as a refurbished iPhone.

The Mio Discover Pal packs all the usual features – you can share routes, find points of interest and let people track your journeys in real time, and it happily syncs your Komoot and Strava profiles.

It also features Mio’s “Surprise Me” feature, where you enter a distance or time and the Discover presents three routes from the current location. Great if you’re like me and hate planning routes – I was surprised at what’s in my area.

There’s also a little one-touch “remember me” button, where you can flag your own points of interest. I’ve often happened to walk past a great pub and think “I’m going to write it down mentally” and then forget where it is. Thanks to this “Location Save” feature, you leave a sort of digital breadcrumb that can be easily found after the trip.

A 17-hour battery life is generous, especially considering the large 2.8-inch screen, which is ideal in many lighting conditions. And 16 GB is a lot of storage space. The size here puts it on the wider end of the head units – 100×58×22mm – but it’s still considerably smaller than a phone and just a bit larger than the Wahoo Elmnt Roam.

Mio markets this more as a type of hobby computer – there’s a lot of flat-bar bikes in the literature and there’s a lot of noise about how this syncs up to show settings for Shimano Steps e-bikes.

But I would say it has everything to recommend the Cyclo for on-road riding and off-road adventure. OK, it’s a tour. I mean riding a touring bike. You can call a spade a spade.

Giro Chrono Elite jersey and shorts

I almost can’t believe I’m saying this, but look – this kit is a bargain! I mean this because since when is a £110 jersey or £150 bib shorts a bargain? The world is going crazy – I mean I just raved about a £219 backpack that once you buy it you’ll still have to buy more parts for it.

But the point here is that when it comes to “big” brands – and Giro is absolutely one of them – this price point is starting to look like an entry level. And yet, it is a kit of exceptional quality. The Chrono Elite bib liner is made by Elastic Interface, the widely accepted benchmark for bib liners. Materials are made from Giro’s Renew Series yarns, which are Bluesign approved, made from a blend of recycled nylon and spandex.

The fit is perfect, compressive and racy but still stretchy and flattering. On the back of the shorts is a lightweight, breathable mesh, while the straps lie flat and comfortably against the skin.

The hem edges are clean and feature darts that do a great job of, uh, gripping, but without pinching too much – sometimes the silicone darts can get extremely tight.

Of course, much of that comes down to personal preference, as well as the aesthetic, which I would describe here as still understated, thanks to that pink and font, a retro 1990s touch.

So for me, subjectively speaking, I like the fit and feel of this kit, and the look, and yes the price – in the context of the market – seems reasonable. Sizing is good too – matches both Giro size charts and my plainclothes sizes. There is everything to please.

  • Buy the Giro Chrono Elite jersey from Giro, £109.99
  • Buy the Giro Chrono Elite Bib Shorts at Giro, £149.99

What’s This Week: Taskmaster

[Matthew Loveridge, website editor: James has a magazine to run and he’s too busy for fun, so this week’s content recommendation falls to me.]

Close your ears, ignore the climate, ignore the wars, ignore the impending social crisis. Escape is king. look Tyrant on All4.

It sounds like something I should hate – a cast of comedians being given arguably very dumb things to do, in a competition stretched over several weeks, but it’s wonderful.

The tasks, largely dreamed up by show creator and show co-host Alex Horne (the smaller of the two men in the photo), are always imaginative, while the participants are always bright, funny and quirky in an equal measure.

The latest series features, among others, the quirky Bridget Christie and the brilliant Sophie Duker.

That’s it for this week, thanks for reading folks.


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