Shoddy: The gravel gear I’d tell my mates to buy

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Who’s dreaming of getting out for long days in the saddle? I know I am.

The weather since this whole situation kicked off here in France has been barmy; a young couple occupies the apartment to the left of us, they clearly love it. Out every day topping up the tan on their balcony. I admit I’m trying to top the tan lines too when on the turbo. But an hour or so spin on Zwift doesn’t give you that defined stipe on your legs like a five-hour ride around the hills does. Still, that’s a small price to pay for being safe and not sorry. That sun though sure is nice even if I can make the most of it, it’s pleasant having clear skies, birds chirping and no cars dashing past the house. Another unexpected upside of the lockdown is that I’ve saved a bit of cash over the past six weeks, due to the reduced -no, scrap that- nonexistent coffee shop stops. It’s stopped me treating myself to overpriced frothy coffees; instead, they’re poorly made by me on my little DeLonghi machine in my kitchen.

So, this week, instead of focusing on my balcony escapades I thought I’d rummage around my garage, a place that’s sadly gathering dust. I thought I’d grab a few bits and pieces that I was enjoying using before we were confined to riding in the virtual world. Bits and pieces that I’m looking forward to dusting off and giving an airing once we’re allowed out again.

And I’ve kept it to one theme, gravel. Because I think once we get outta this situation, we’ll all want to escape, and gravel riding is pretty damn good for that.

I’ve tried not to pick items that will break the bank; there’s no flashy carbon wheels or overly priced bars and stems, no top-tier helmets or stupidly marked up jackets. I’ve tried to keep to kit that sits somewhere in the middle of the market. Items I’d tell my mates to go out and buy. Stuff that should last the test of time, and gear that I hope is great for the bucks they’re asking for.

Watch this week’s episode of Shoddy and let me know what you think. Have I picked bits that don’t break that bank, and grounded in what a real-world cyclist can or is happy to splash out on or am I well off the mark.

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