Review – BZ Optics PHO bi-focal photochromic glasses

With a UK distributor local to myself in the fens, I have seen a fair few pairs of BZ Pho glasses doing the rounds and have been intrigued to try a pair out.

BZ are Australian by birth but with a interesting feature for those of us of a certain vintage or optical ability!

The test pair came in a neat pouch with the bi focal lens in my prescription. That’s right, there is a strip at the bottom of the lens which matches my reading glasses. Ideal for reading a Garmin, or as BZ also promote, reading the cafe stop menu.

It’s not great to have to admit that sometimes my eyesight isn’t perfect so to have bi-focal lenses in a pair of cycling specific frames is a brilliant innovation from BZ.

Throw in the fact that the glasses have photochromic lenses that adapt to the amount of natural light and we are looking at a really interesting product with features that outshine some of the other, bigger, established brands.

Would I say the double lens style fits in with 2022’s trend for massive cycling specs?

No, but that is no bad thing. Alternative doesn’t mean bad and the weight and performance of these glasses should put them on your radar… even without a shiny “O” on the arms.

What is clear is that performance wise the Pho’s do the trick. I have tested them in various states of light and had good success with seeing both my Garmin and the road without issue.

To go full on bi-focal and photochromic you will need just over £100 which isn’t a massive amount of money in the current cycling spectacles market.

BZ also offer loads of retro fit goodies like mirrored lenses and a darker photochromic option with bi-focal strips for high summer dual vision.

You can read more about the range and order by visiting their website here… https://www.bzoptics.co.uk/

Cyclo cross Euros a joy to watch

Regular readers will know that the Namur cyclo cross course is one of my favourites.

Read my previous pieces on it by clicking here.

There is always drama and excitement on those cobbles and forested tracks. So when the 2022 European championships were revealed to be headed there I nodded in silent approval.

Without giving out spoilers the races delivered. Building nicely across the weekend to the Elite mens which was ran off under biblical rain leading to some comical moments. It also led to insane bike handling skills and incredible balance.

All under the watchful eye of a hillside castle and roman amphitheatre. Don’t let the Koppenberg or Koksijde know but I might be dumping them for another love.

I only wish the riders had been in trade team rather than national team kits. Just to see how Jens Adams Chocovit team kit (all white) coped.

(Note : Adams didn’t even ride in the Belgian kit being a late non-starter)

Whilst I think its fair to say that we are all watching the ‘cross awaiting messrs Van Aert, Van der Poel and Pidcock, these opening weeks of the season should not be dismissed.

The racing has been awesome.

Sunglasses remain my thing !

I first wrote a piece in 2020 on this website about how many pairs of cycling sunglasses I had bought in the 21st century to date.

Since then its been 5 pairs out and 4 pairs in the collection, with my Oakley obsession coming back to the fore.

ModelBoughtSold
Oakley Radarlock2022 (Gifted)
100% Speedcoupe (Maroon)2021 £20 (Ebay)2022 Ebay
Oakley M2 Prizm2020 £56 (Oakley sale)
Oakley Sutro2021 (Gifted)
Bloc Titan (4 lens system)2020 (£45 using 20% code)2021 Facebay
Bolle Vortex white 2019 (£10 Ebay)2021 Facebay
Bolle Vortex Red2019 (£10 Ebay2021 Facebay
Galibier Surveillance (Tortoiseshell)2019 (£35 full price)2022 Ebay
100% Speedcoupe (White)2019 (£40 using 60% off)2019 Facebay
Oakley Jawbreaker2017 (£100 deal Wiggle)
Oakley Radarlock XL 2015 (£45 Ebay)2019 Facebay
Nike Roadmachine2016 (£30) 2018 Facebay
Oakley Fastjacket L 2015 (£35 Ebay)2019 Facebay
BBB Select 2014 (£35 Wiggle) 2017 Ebay
BBB Adapt 2014 (£45 from Bristows Cycles)2017 Ebay
Oakley Jawbone2010 (free after Oakley website error)2012 Facebay
Oakley Radar 2008 (£120 Wiggle)2012 Facebay
Tifosi Q32004 (provided for product review)2008 Ebay

Its been some journey with a large number of brands and models (some twice!) playing the part of making me look more pro! (or as pro as I can look!).

when you think I have had 4 bikes that I have raced on in this same time period there is clearly something going on here. A psychologist might say I am hiding some inner guilt behind my eyes.

I reviewed the Galibier model on the site and was loathed to sell them to be honest. I just felt that as time went on they were less and less comfortable for riding in and were a bit of a luxury for off the bike wear.

I hope their new owner loves them as much as I did at the start and is getting lots of use out of them.

The Bolle pair of pairs was reviewed here. The brand remains dear to my heart but again it was a case of too many pairs and that they were better being sold so they get used. The buyer had two Sons riding a bit event so they were perfect for them and I was happy to sell.

8 of the pairs I have bought have been Oakley. Even though I still hear people saying that they aren’t as good as they were, the M2’s as the only new pair purchased have made a real impression.

It’s quite a list but in my defence a lot of them have been bought on a promotion or second hand… so I feel little guilt !

Enjoy this update and you never know, a new pair to review might soon be incoming.

To be continued…

PCS to revamp the ProcyclingGame for 2023

Long time readers of this website will know that I have been playing this trading game online since its inception and have enjoyed it immensely.

There have been issues in 2022, which the games developers have acknowledged. The lack of a stop loss function to enable you to sell a rider on a certain date and time to take the best advantage of market pricing being the main thing that has impacted my success.

I just don’t have time to log in to the website the second a tour stage ends to sell a player manually. The previous version enabled me to signpost in advance that I wanted to take the current price for Stefan Bissegger after a time trial (as an example). If you forget or log on later you can lose thousands of Euro in value.

Some of the other key buttons, like understanding who is currently racing should you have some spare budget, haven’t worked or worked consistently. Its good to see the developers understand this and plan to improve things.

These are minor blips as opposed to fundamental reasons not to create an account and build your roster.

Below is the ProcyclingGame statement about their intentions going forwards.

2023 Game

With the 2022 season problems in mind, we already are looking forward to the 2023 season. We will apply the feedback and analysis results to the 2023 game, which we can already tell will have some major updates. Here are a few bulletpoints regarding the major changes.

The interface will get a major upgrade
– Instead of a year game, the game will continue over the seasons. This will open up possibilities for investing in talented riders.
– Main ranking over money earned in past 12 months
– Prizemoney will be significantly lower so resource allocation will be relevant for a longer period
– No limit on number of riders on your team to increase strategies possibilities.

More details are to come as we will work out the new system. We hope that you will continue playing the game in to 2023!

I am looking forward to getting started with a new roster at the start of next year.

You can join up at https://www.procyclinggame.com/

The future?

What a venue, what weather, what a result (in both mens and womens races)… The UCI gravel worlds were epic.

I spend a lot of the year on a chunky tyre clad cross bike loving life. I also love Strade Bianche, Dwars door het Hagelaand and Paris Tours. So the inception of a UCI sanctioned world gravel championship weekend wasn’t going to draw anything other than praise from me.

The venue around Venice had the scenery and this really helped sell the concept. The course was a brilliant mix of white roads, cycle paths and true gravel farm tracks which kept the riders honest and the fans entertained.

Both races were keenly contested and I wonder if in years to come this will be seen as a stake in the ground moment?

This could be especially true of the UK where the number of cars increases and space on the road gets squeezed.

Let’s see.

Womens result

Mens Result

One hit with little wonder…

It’s a very different me who is sitting down to evaluate my 2022 cycling season. Read my personal 2021 review here.

Work, travel and things opening back up post covid 19 mean that I have attached a number to my jersey and bike only once in the whole year.

That’s still a bigger total than some campaigns when I had tiny children or was moving house. But’s its still less than both of the lockdown seasons where I at least managed to get five or six socially distanced club 10s in (see below in April 2021)

The training has been the same, if not harder and better. But the time to make it just 6 miles down the road to join up with Fenland Clarion on a Wednesday just hasn’t been there.

That might change in 2023. We will just have to see.

The positive news for this year came back in May.

Knowing that my midweek trips to Leeds would last most if not all of the midweek racing season I took the plunge and entered the ‘Rutland Border Epique’ sportive.

This is neither the time, nor the place, to debate the definition of sportive. For me though its a mass participation timed event.

So for some the time matters and, like me on the day, riders will look to get around the course as quickly as possible.

That I did, as you can see from the picture above closing in on the 100km mark.

Rutland is not terrain you can just go hard at from the first metre although I sure as hell tried. The suffering you can see above is the manifestation of that after over three and a quarter hours in the saddle.

I loved it though. It was a proper days riding in proper hills and with great riders round me pushing my level up.

I blew spectacularly on a 20% climb just after this picture was taken and coasted in (but with the 11th fastest time ;0) ) before heading home for a well earned pint of something Belgian.

I have written on my website in the past about how my riding should be best targeted. This is the chart that I keep coming back to..

Ride what you want when you want and somewhere in the middle of the mix you will find your cycling self!

So in short 2022…

Weather – Glorious

Riding – Brilliant and challenging

Competitive events- not enough but the one I did was great

Outlook – More time trials and sportives to come

Can’t wait.

Remco and Annemiek save the world(s)

After a bit of moaning from me in the build up to the Australian hosted world championships, I have to say that they delivered more than anticipated.

A bad looking fall in the midweek relay time trial left Annemiek Van Vleuten unlikely to even start the Womens race on Saturday. But, she managed to patch up her fractured elbow and take her place at kilometer zero.

There were plenty of times, even in the closing stages, where she looked likely to get dropped. She was also placed in the second or third group on the road more than once. It looked like a case of hanging on to get the best finish possible.

But as groups merged in the final kilometer AVV came to life.

She darted down the right hand side of the road with the perfectly timed attack.

After lots of riders trying to get away without success, this was one increase in pace and it stuck.

She was the most deserving of champions of the world and the finish will go down in history. It would have been epic, even without broken bones.

RnkRiderTeamUCIPntTime
1 VAN VLEUTEN AnnemiekNetherlands6003504:24:25
2 KOPECKY LotteBelgium4752600:01
3 PERSICO SilviaItaly400190,,
4 LIPPERT LianeGermany325150,,
5 LUDWIG Cecilie UttrupDenmark275130,,
6 SIERRA ArlenisCuba225110,,
7 LABOUS JulietteFrance175100,,
8 NIEWIADOMA KatarzynaPoland15090,,
9 CHABBEY EliseSwitzerland12580,,
10 LONGO BORGHINI ElisaItaly10070,,
from procyclingstats.com

Once Mathieu van der Poel had dropped out of the men’s race following a night of disruption at his hotel, culminating in a visit to the police station, all eyes were on Belgium for the win.

After the drama of Leuven last year, everyone wanted to see how the dynamic between Wout van Aert and Remco Evenepoel would play out.

Most pundits agreed that Remco would be the one to attack early and Wout would save himself for any sprint finish.

That’s exactly how it played out with the recent Vuelta winner slipping into a late group and then dropping its other members one by one.

It was as dominant a worlds performance as I can remember.

He soloed home with very little stress to cement himself as the rider of the late season and take the rainbow jersey.

RnkRiderTeamUCIPntTime
1 EVENEPOEL RemcoBelgium6003506:16:08
2 LAPORTE ChristopheFrance4752602:21
3 MATTHEWS MichaelAustralia400190,,
4 VAN AERT WoutBelgium325150,,
5 TRENTIN MatteoItaly275130,,
6 KRISTOFF AlexanderNorway225110,,
7 SAGAN PeterSlovakia175100,,
8 BETTIOL AlbertoItaly15090,,
9 HAYTER EthanGreat Britain12580,,
10 SKJELMOSE MattiasDenmark10070,,
from procyclingstats.com

A couple of notable rides came from Peter Sagan who showed his best form in a couple of years to come home seventh and our own Ethan Hayter who made the top 10.

Now we move on to the end of season Italian classics races and cyclocross… gone quickly hasn’t it?

Remember this?

Not so long ago I was looking for a new bike.

Kind of.

I was suggesting that the sporty nature of my Cannondale Super 6 was affecting my enjoyment of cycling.

Here is the piece.

However…

I have an update and its thanks to one of my local bike shops that I am not now in the market for something gravelly from Trek or Specialized.

I dropped Terry Wright Cycles an email to explain the bike I had and the riding I did. Just to see if there was any upgrade or tweaks I could make to the current bike. If it was a no, the pain of Facebay or Ebay awaited me. This was a big deal.

I hate selling stuff online and having to deal with people. The selling of the old bike is the worst part of buying a new bike.

We arranged a time for me and my bike to pop by their shop and it was agreed pretty quickly that there was some quick wins here.

I was fortunate enough to had upgraded the Shimano R500 wheelset to Mavic Cosmics which had a narrower profile.

That meant that despite an advertised maximum rear wheel clearance of 23mm tyres, I was able to fit 25mm. The internet had told me that a tyre upgrade wouldn’t fit…

2mm makes a real difference

Much as I wanted to believe that a quick investment of less than £50 could save me a fortune on equipment, my mind remained open.,

A quick hour spin didn’t totally convince me. Two weeks on though and I am finding the bike a lot more comfortable. It now feels much more stable and comfortable, a real bonus.

So thanks to my LBS for their help. If you have any questions on your bike fit and feel, you should always consult them before spending a wedge of cash.