Amplifi have really come up trump with this backpack! The Atlas 18 should be called the illusion bag! Its looks so small and compact from the outside however inside there is an ample amount of room for you to fit all your gear in for a day in the mountains!
Amplifi research team carried out all the correct tests when coming up with this product! Its streamline design makes it really comfortable when riding. The adjustable oversized waist belt allows you to adjust the fitting of the bag to whatever is most comfortable for you as well as giving some pocket space round the front of the bag where you can store some refueling snack to keep going throughout the ride without having to stock and go into the back of the bag.
The bag has all the required compartments, from a secure helmet holder on the front of the bag, to a pull out tool pack and a soft pocket for your phone and music player.
The one thing missing from this bag is that it doesn’t have is a built in hydration pack, however for me I personally prefer to ride with a bottle rather than a hydration pack. The pack also comes with a rain cover that is very much needed living in the highlands.
As I mentioned above this bag should be referred to as the illusion bag! It looks so small and compact however holds all the necessary equipment! We used the bag for all day trail rides so had to store all our food, extra clothing, spares and tools and it all fitted in really well without making me feel like a tortoise.
The bag retails for around £95 which put in middle of the road price wise for a top quality backpack. Personally I don’t see any point breaking the bank going for a more expensive backpack brand when Amplifi delivers it all bar the kitchen sink.
Only drawback with this bag was when I was wearing a full face I felt like it was pushing up against the back of my helmet.
Bag Provided for Review By – www.Paligap.cc
3-4 tbsps Chia Seeds
Half a cup of unsweetened almond milk (you can use soy, rice, hemp or cashew milk if you prefer)
1 tsp Organic hemp seeds
1tsp of Organic bee pollen (if your not vegan)
Handful of blueberries
Handful of pecan nuts
Handful of pistachios
Honey/Organic maple syrup to sweeten (optional)
Note: Chia seeds may be small but they are packed with fibre they have 10 grams of fibre in 2 tbsps! They are also full of anti-oxidants that protect our bodies from ageing and cancer.
Prep Time: 5 mins
Gluten Free, Vegetarian, Vegan (if you do not use organic bee pollen), raw food.
If you make too much this stays well in the fridge, so you can have it for breakfast the next day!
The 2015 season is now over so we caught up with Luana Oliveira to see how her 2015 season went and what her plans are for 2016 and the off season ahead!
Luana Oliveira is a Professional Downhill Mountain Biker. Born in Itu, a small city in São Paulo, Brazil.
Her first contact with the bike was so special that she never dropped the two wheels. Early in her career, trails and equipment were precarious and difficult to acquire & find. It was through a newly built BMX track in your area, that the passion for the sport began to flourish.
She is the biggest name in Mountain biking to come out of Brazil and defends the country at international competitions throughout the year. But mountain biking isn’t just a sport for Luana it is her lifestyle, her lives dedicated to training and developing her skills.
Hey Luana! Let’s start from the beginning, where did it all start for you? How did you become interested in biking and more specifically Downhill?
I was born in a small town in Brazil, near to São Paulo and the bike for me has always been a form of transport, since then I had already a strong connection with the bike. Until one day it was built an amateur Bmx track by my house and even with a very simple bike I started going to the track and tried to ride even I didn’t have any idea what is Bmx, because this modality was very weak in my city at that time .
After a while already jumping and having fun, I was invited by a Bmx team to compete. At the time my family weren’t in a situation to pay anything for me, nor did I have good equipment, but with help and support from many people in many different ways I could start competing.
Soon after I was invited to participate in a downhill race with a borrowed bike and the same thing happened, I had good results and had many people and sponsors who helped me to continue. Since the first downhill race I identified myself and since then I haven’t stopped.
How has the 2015 season been for you?
This year I went to California for the pre season, enjoyed a little bit of good weather to get ready for the Inca Avalanche in Peru. It was one of my best experiences ever, meeting an amazing culture, visiting some local community and riding bikes in the middle of the endless beautiful mountains and for my first time visiting Machu Picchu.
The other really nice trip was to the National Championships it happened in Minas Gerais Southest of Brazil, really important place to the country’s history.
My last adventures so far was in Europe for the World Cup and World Championship in Italy and Andorra. Amazing places and awesome track, I always enjoy so much the times in Europe, long tracks!
We don’t really hear much about mountain biking in Brazil? Did you find this made it harder to become an established international rider?
Mountain biking in Brazil is growing, the country has a lot potential to have really big mountain biking and what we really need is people with vision to bring this culture stronger and it’s happening already so it will be better soon.
In the beginning it was really difficult to get to competitions and most some of the most important races of the year, I had to struggle a lot to make it happened but I’m a positive person and it always helped me to get what I want and even the hard times was good and necessary learning.
Life seems like one big adventure for you Luana! But with so much time on the road you are bound to miss certain things! What do you miss the most when you are on the road?
Definitely my family, my dog and my culture.
You get to ride in some of the most amazing places in the world! If you had to pick a favourite place to ride where would it be?
I like many places and I see that each one has different beauty and characteristics, it is difficult to classify what is the best. But one that is really special for me is Peru.
This year your focus was more on the adventure and less on racing and looking through your photos we can we why! It looks like you have had an amazing year! What has been your most treasured adventure of 2015?
I am very happy with the adventures that I have accomplish this year, it’s always very special to take the bike for different cultures, places and people.
One of the trips that marked most was to Peru, we rode all around the Ollantaytamboo, the trails and the endless mountains is amazing.
We had direct contact with the culture, we were greeted by two communities and to be in touch with children who really lives in the mountains make your life change for sure.
What’s your plans for 2016 are you going to continue the adventure or focus more on racing again?
For the next year I want to do more traveling and this time I’m working to produce more videos, show a little bit more the “making off” of the adventures, to share all the learning we have with all that and show some great places to ride.
I will continue competing yes, but is not the priority.
Also I will keep my project of MTB Clinics, I love to help people to ride better and motivate them, so I will be doing it in Brazil and California in some period of the year.
Your career has had many highlights, but what is your most memorable highlight so far?
I think it was the Four Cross Worlds in 2010, it was my first Worlds and I was with a Downhill Bike, it was special for me to make happen. Also the Down Taxco in Mexico, it’s the most crazy and fun Urban Downhill I’ve rode in my life.
Time off the bike is essential for recovery both physically and mentally. What do you do with your time off the saddle?
I love to travel to visit friends, family and I love the nature so always on my days off I try to stay away from the city life. Meditation and yoga are my favourite things.
The off season is upon us now! Do you plan to get straight back into training for next season or are you planning some rest time now?
For me it’s time to keep training and ride but without pressure, I cannot really stops because I like to training but I keep doing it easy in this time.
I’ll also return to Brazil got a few projects that I will dedicate myself to between the training, I build bike trails and also the construction of an ecological house as my base.
What does your off season training involve?
I do every practice as I do during the season, but got more attention in training for concentration and technical improvement. As Downhill trails, meditations, and gym.
Mountain biking is still so heavily male dominated, which can be daunting and put a lot of girls off riding and racing! What advice would you give to girls that want to get into riding & racing?
Something we really have to consider is what we feel and want, looking too much to the side does not help much.
I always say that the best thing to do is to follow your heart and nobody opinion matters in this time. At the beginning to do anything it is always more difficult and only the dedication and love we put on that make us achieving something.
I always liked to be different so for me it wasn’t a hard thing to face.
We women can do anything, so I hope that each one of us remember the potential that exists within us and we can go get whatever we want.
Just do it!
You moved from Brazil to the US. Are you still in California? And how does it differ to your life in Brazil?
I went to California in 2013 for the first time and it was a shock to me, it is very different from Brazil. So I moved and lived for a while.
I see California as a second home, I’m always coming back. But now I’m back to Brazil for a while, I want to bring the experiences I gained in those years I travelled and use it to help mountain bike growth in my own country.
There many differences and I admit it’s a little hard to get used to my country again, the motivation that exists in California doesn’t yet exist in Brazil, you need to start over from scratch, in Brazil the life is harder whereas in California it’s much easier in a lot ways so I chose to leave my comfort zone and go back to Brazil accepting these difficulties but I’m happy to make something to have more people riding.
What one thing about you would most people not know?
Riding and racing is heard enough but without help it was be almost impossible to do it at such a high level! Any special mentions of thanks you would like to make?
Definitely I am super grateful to my sponsors, partners, family and my friends who from the beginning believed in my potential and they are with me to this day.
Oakley for the seven incredible years of partnership;
Nukeproof for the bikes one day I dreamed and all the professionalism;
O’neal for their trust and partnership that motivated me a lot since the beginning of the year, which made my year to be more colourful with my favourite gear;
Marzocchi for quality products that made all the difference and partnership we have since 2013;
DeRose Method that offers me the best training of high performance;
Friday night we set off from the rainy Highlands for the Pentland Hills surrounding Edinburgh for this years Red Bull Foxhunt. This was the 2nd year of the Foxhunt and hopefully the 2nd year of many! The event is the only female mass start race in the world!
We arrived at the site on Friday night (after getting lost numerous times) just in time to register! Even in the dark it was clear to see the effort Red Bull had put into the event! Tippee’s galore and loads of happy riders roaming about I could already tell it was going to be in awesome weekend.
Saying that Saturday morning didn’t feel so awesome when I pulled myself from bed at around 7 in the morning (this time should be illegal at weekends). I headed back to the race JUST in time for the 8:30 briefing and to grab a quick breakfast of porridge and flapjacks.
Heading up for the first practice run we loaded our bikes onto the Jeeps and headed up the Pentlands. Once the Jeeps had gone as far as they could up the hill our bikes were moved from the trails and moved by the event team over onto buggies to take them most of the way up. The whole uplift system worked really well and judging from what the girls that were there last year were saying it was pure bliss in comparison! The small walk up by foot was good warm up for the ride down anyway.
The first practice run down was more of a track check. The track wasn’t really techy so there wasn’t really any line choosing but it was super-fast!
We continued practice through the morning and early afternoon on the Saturday before taking a break for lunch! After lunch we launched straight into seeding, I was at the top end of the numbers so had a bit more waiting round at the bottom.
The seeding run was going so well until the bottom stage where I launched off track and had to turn around and cycle back up to re-join the track! I came down and finished seeding in 45th place out of the 150 riders so I was feeling pretty stoked going into tomorrow’s race.
Lululemon were on hand at the race too, to put on yoga classes for the girl on both the Saturday and Sunday morning!
After another briefing and breakfast on the Sunday I soon realised that there was going to be no hanging about! First practice was straight after the briefing at half 9 and last practice uplift was 10:20am. I opted for half a practice run on the more technical part of the course as I felt I had done far too many practice runs on the Saturday and tiered myself out for seeding.
After an hours or so chilling in the glorious Edinburgh sunshine I headed up on the uplift for one last time! I hadn’t been nervous about the race at all as I think I had forgotten that it was a mass start race till that moment! At the top of the hill 150 girls waited anxiously all lined up ready to take on the fox (Rachel Atherton). I think most people there were a bit apprehensive about the mass start as there aren’t many mass start events so must people weren’t sure how to approach it. Then the Horn went off and so did we. The mass start was carnage! The uphill section straight after the start saw mass collision and falls. Most of us opted to hop off and run up! After the uphill section we were met with continuous obstacles all the way down the course from disgarded bikes in the middle of the track to people falling into you it was downright carnage yet so much fun! Sprinting across the field I felt like my lungs were going to collapse at some point in the race!
I headed into the final more bike parkish section of the track where I heard from behind me ‘come on Rach’ and I knew I was about to be caught by the fox!
Second later Rachel flew past me! But I knew I was near the bottom and should just keep pedalling!
I rolled across the finish line in 39th position out of 150 making up 6 places on my seeding time! The real congratulations should go to Bex Baraona who stormed down the hill in under 4 minutes no way the fox was going to catch her with a time like that!
1st BARAONA Rebecca
2nd MILLS Cheri
3rd BEATTIE Fiona
One thing that struck me with this event was just how friendly everyone was! All the girls made a really effort to talk to one another, so whether you came to the race on your own or with a group of friends you were sure to make some new friends by the end of the weekend.
Now to wait for next year and the goal for next year is to not get caught by the fox!
A good set of flat pedals is definitely top of my list when it comes to required gear! I have never ridden clipped and with how clumsy I am it’s probably best for everyone that it stays that way. Once I find a good set of flat pedal I find it hard to see past them so switching from my usual trusted flats to Spank Spike Pedals I was a wee bit hesitant!
But anyway sometimes change is good! When packing for Whistler I took my favourite pedals off and left them at home and instead packed a pair of Spank Spike Pedals into my bike bag.
The first thing that caught my eye with these pedal was how slim they were, I thought my old pedals had a pretty slender look but these were on another level at just 12mm (not including pin height). However it may be skinny but it is strong! The thinness of the pedal means it doesn’t get in the way as much when riding and are less likely to hit off rocks! Each Spike pedal sports 20 pins (4 grub pins and 16 hex head pins). Each pin is clearly positioned very carefully in order to ensure maximum grip between foot and pedal. The flat wide based pedals offered a secure riding platform that gave me confidence that my foot wouldn’t slip off.
If you are looking to reduce weight as well on your bike the pedals are pretty light with each pair weighing in at 420g (all pins in)!
One of the first things I noticed when riding these pedals was that you really need to use pedal washers with these pedals. Otherwise the pedal goes right up to the crankarm and won’t spin freely. However even with the pedal washer the pedals still doesn’t spin as freely as many of the other brands on the market. Spank see this as a bonus stating that their inboard friction seal reduces unwanted spin! I have to say I am with Spank on this one! I think by reducing unwanted spin the pedal becomes sturdier and allows me to be more confident in my riding.
I like to run my pedal supper grippy and with all 10 pins perfectly positioned on either side the traction offered by the pedals was excellent! However 5 rides in and I had already lost at least 4 pins and without all pins in place I found the grippiness of the pedals significantly reduced! Just make sure you have pin replacements.
Market competitors have their work cut out for them if they want to offer a pedal as stylish and as good a performer as the spike! The grippiness offered by the pedals was excellent and the reduced spin on the pedals was suited exactly to my style of riding! The pedals retail at around £99 which is about middle of the road price! But in terms of value for money they are definitely worth it! The slender design means they don’t interfere with your riding as much. So when going through any kind of techy terrain you are less likely to clip anything on the ground! The pedals also come in an array of colours!
Platform: 12mm Thin
Weight: 420g per pair (with full pin compliment)
Material: Cold Forged Alloy Pedal Body
Axle: Hollow Taper Scandium Enriched Steel
Pins: 20 Adjustable Pins per Pedal
Chamfered Leading Edges for Improved Clearance and Reduced Impact Forces
Chamfered Side Edges for Improved Cornering Clearance
Oversized Sealed Full Compliment Inboard Industrial Bearing
Sealed Outboard IGUS Bushing
Full Sized Hex Head Pins Improve Durability and Maintenance
Inboard Friction Seal Prevents Contamination and Reduces Unwanted Pedal Spin
Distributor : Hotlines UK
I love smoothies but I also try not to drink too much dairy!
So left with a bit of a dilemma I came up with a breakfast smoothie that didn’t have any diary or any added sugar!
I use a blend active to make this drink! It is cheap and convenient, simply add the ingredients to the drinking bottle and Blend! Take off the screw on blender contraption and replace with the drinking bottle top and you are good to go
2 – Bananas
300 ml – Almond Milk
50g – Cashews
1 tbsp – Almond Butter
After UK Gravity Enduro announced they wouldn’t be hosting a race series in 2016 a lot of riders were left pretty gutted. However in light of that MTB Enduro Ltd stepped in and have announced that they will host the British Enduro Series in 2016. The trails will include a mixture of natural and man made courses from fast and flowing to steep and techy.
The exact venues are yet to be confirmed but make sure and keep these dates in the diary!
Marin Bikes, British clothing brand Flare Clothing Co have all confirmed their sponsorship for the series already!
So don’t wait around spread the word today of the British Enduro Series!