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In the Drops: CHPT3 indoor kit, Thule commuter backpack and God is Dead

Robyn Davidson
11 Mar 2022

Our weekly roundup of the newest gear in cycling, with an ode to tattoos too

Happy Friday to you all!

What a week it’s been. I’ve barely recovered from last weekend’s Strade-Bianche results. 

Here at Cyclist we’ve been looking at women-only rides on Zwift, including Baby on Board workouts designed by Kristin Armstrong and Dani Rowe. 

Website editor Matthew Loveridge and regular contributor Joseph Delves have been investigating the latest instalment in the groupset rivalries: Shimano Dura-Ace vs. SRAM Red e-Tap AXS

Meanwhile, digital editor Joe Robinson gave us his thoughts on the ultra-light Brompton T-Line Urban, Emma Cole gave her verdict on the Universal Colours Unisex Insulated Packable Jacket and Will Strickson gave us a preview of Milan-San Remo 2022.

I’ve started weekly recaps of the funnier side of the sport, with somewhat frequent appearances from Tadej Pogačar and dogs, so take from that what you will. 

But I know why you’re really here, and it’s to see all the new cycling goodies.

CHPT3 Indoor Cycling Kit

Designed by women, for women, the new Studio Collection from CHPT3 focusses specifically on indoor training.

The brand has released new shorts, a crop top and training top in two colourways.

The shorts eschew bib straps and include an indoor specific cycling pad to add some comfort while exercising, but not to the extent found in outdoor cycling wear. The crop top should work for all manner of workouts, offering support and light compression.

Inspired by lockdowns when people would work out between work and home-schooling, the collection is designed with ‘athleisure’ wear in mind, taking cues from other fitness areas such as yoga, Pilates and running.

Lighter and more sustainable materials are used to create the Studio Collection, with the removal of bib straps and addition of a small pocket for items like a locker key or gym card.

Ella Tomkins, Head of Design at CHPT3, said; ‘It’s functional and doesn’t have to feel like you’re a pro sportsperson to wear it.

Thule 27L Paramount commuter backpack

Thule is named after the farthest north location mentioned in ancient Greek and Roman literature.

Good job they’ve released the new Paramount Commuter Backpack, should you wish to travel there.

It’s created with waterproof 420D nylon and coated zippers if you encounter any less-than-ideal weather on your ride, and the 27 litre storage space allows for things a bicycle commuter might need, such as a change of clothes or a spare jacket.

The front pocket boasts enough space for your helmet or extra pair of shoes while the laptop sleeve can hold a laptop sized up to 16in.

God is Dead by Andy McGrath

Andy McGrath is an award-winning author who previously penned Tom Simpson: Bird on the Wire.

He’s back in 2022 with a biography of Frank Vandenbroucke, dubbed cycling’s great wasted talent.

Vandenbroucke is labelled as his own worst enemy and God is Dead explains exactly why.

McGrath describes his life as a ‘soap opera’, one that shocked many with its premature ending.

The book includes contributions from Vandenbroucke’s family and friends on the rider’s life. It captures the highs – winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Paris-Nice – and the heartbreaking lows of a career marked by doping, addiction, court appearances and suicide attempts.

It includes a plethora of pictures documenting his family life, time at Mapei and even the hotel in which Vandenbroucke met his untimely end.

McGrath has captured the charisma and chaos of Vandenbroucke’s unfortunately short life perfectly, with respect and truth.

You’ve Got the Gig! By Ryan Murphy

Murphy’s book details 10,000 miles as a cycle courier in the gig economy over four years.

Whilst at university studying for a change of career, he set off for an adventure in San Francisco.

He describes how a convenient way to earn a living showed him a new way of life working for companies such as Deliveroo, and the crucial role delivery drivers played in the pandemic.

You’ve Got the Gig! showcases the good alongside the bad, and the downright ugly.

What we’re into this week: Tattoos

I’m writing this section after recovering from my latest adventure that centres on sitting down for a few hours while someone jabs a needle into my skin. How very 1990s cycling.

But I just wanted to spend this section where I can wax lyrical about absolutely anything talking to you about... tattoos!

I’m obsessed with them. I’ve long discussed my plans for a feature on the tattoos of the peloton over the years and have always been interested in the reconstruction after a crash too.

Tattoos range from the weird to the wonderful. Fine intricate linework can decorate the skin with such beauty it wouldn’t be out of place in a museum.

Bold outlines can define a piece prominently on the skin, while realism can be a shining beacon to draw the eye.

Unique dates and names serve as a permanent reminder of better times or people you now despise, a cover-up offering to silence the offender underneath.

The latest ones in my collection are two vines on my arm from the same artist that painstakingly applied my collarbone tattoos.

Finger tattoos are following next week, which I’m very excited for.

But my first tattoo is dedicated to my wonderful grandad who passed away a few years ago. When I look at the Latin motto for Clan Davidson on my side, I often think back to when he told me randomly: ‘Robbie, always kick a man while he’s down. It stops him from getting back up.’

Great advice.

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