Banana and Almond Slice

Healthy Snacks, Banana and Almond Slice.

We all love a little bit of sweetness in our lives. Having a sweet tooth makes it rather tempting to dig into something chocolaty or a slab of cake before going on a training ride, but these sweet treats don’t sustain you for very long, as they are full of sugar which give you a quick boost but leave you wanting more very quickly.
What you really need are foods that have a low Glycemic Index (GI), these are foods which  release carbohydrate more slowly over time in order to sustain the training you are doing for longer. So to combine something sweet with something that will sustain training I’ve started making banana and almond cakes, these are full of slow releasing energy and a sweet treat at the same time. Bonus!
What you will need:
3 large bananas, mashed
Sliced almonds, a hand full
200g (7 oz) plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
150g (5 oz) caster sugar
1 egg
75g (2 1/2 oz) butter, melted
A cap full of vanilla essence

How to make:
Preheat your oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4, then grease a tin, any tin will do as long as its about an inch deep. You could also make this into a muffin mix by using a muffin tray. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a mixing bowl and add in your sliced almonds.
Using a blended mix together the bananas, vanilla essence, sugar, egg and melted butter, once its turned into a yellow goo pour in stirring as you add the dry ingredients once its all mixed together add to your baking tray and cook for 25 to 30 minutes. You will know its cooked when you can lightly tap it and it bounces.

Leave to cool and then cut into slices, grab your bike/trainers and your delicious treat and your good to go.

I hope you enjoy my healthy snack, if you have any alternatives please share.

banana and almond slice


Breeze Ride Leader

On Saturday I braved the wind and rain to take part in my Breeze level one ride leadership award. British Cycling’s Breeze campaign is to get more women into riding bikes for fun, the aim is to help women to feel confident and comfortable about riding bikes.

I decided as biking has opened so many doors for me that I would like to volunteer some of my time to help get other ladies on to their bikes! The training took part over the course of a day and incorporated class room lectures with out door practical sessions. It was fun and informative and was a great introduction to the sort of rides i could expect to run as a Breeze champion. I met lots of other Breeze ride leaders and it was a fantastic opportunity to network and build a base of riding buddies.

If you would like to find out more about becoming a ride leader and getting more women out on their bikes contact the Breeze network.

I will be running Breeze rides from April 2014 from Petersfield and the surrounding area please contact me if you are interested in joining Rides will be tailored to ability and can be off road or on road.

Happy Cycling!

Breeze Ride Leader Award

Mud Sweat and Gears Round One Tunstal Forest

Mud Sweat and Gears Round One Tunstal Forest – 17th March 2013

Today was my first competitive race of the season, I competed in the Mud, Sweat and Gears Eastern regional round one.

Mud sweat and gears bomb holeI came into this race not in top form after suffering a fall, which left me unable to put in any training in the last couple of weeks.

IMG_2796The course was nine miles in length and the female sport category had to do three laps. The course weaved its way through the forest, and was made up of singletrack paths and wide open cart tracks. The technical element of this course was not in the riding as such but in maintaining speed as there was several opportunities to over take. In terms of technical riding there was one bomb hole that tested my ability to stay upright in the mud, luckily I succeed this on all three laps giving me an advantage against people taking the much longer ‘chicken’ route. Overall the course was good and tested my speed and endurance, something which I will be working on ready for the next round.

I completed the race in 1 hour 22 minutes, with my first lap being the fastest, completed in 26 minutes. I came second overall in my category which I am very pleased with as going into the race I was not sure I would even be able to complete it, yet alone end up with a podium finish. All in all a great day.

In reflection I think if I had been in top form today I could of knocked five minuets off my time.

Mud sweat and gears round one podium

Biking in Scotland Part Two

Travelling north the drive although gruelling and bum aching at times, was an interesting way to sample Scotland’s nature and wilderness, with rolling hills and snow-capped mountains which towered over vast lochs. There was no people or sign of civilisation for miles. Our destination was Glenuig Inn on Lochaliort, a secluded and magical place where family friend Steve Mac runs the Glenuig Inn. Arriving at the Inn after a journey of epic proportions we were greeted by the smiling face of Steve and wagging tail of Isla his dog. We were happy to not be spending the night under canvas and the temptation of a hot well cooked meal was an appealing thought.

We went explorinIslag the area surrounding the inn, Steve took us up to the highest point above the inn to see breath-taking views over the islands, looking out over Eigg, Muck and Rum places my Dad had described as being stunning and wild. I had seen pictures and thought it had looked idyllic but seeing the scene first hand was truly impressive. As the heavens opened we retreated back to the Inn and a hearty meal of well-cooked scrumptious food. With Steve busy preparing for filming the next day with Country File, we said our goodbyes that evening before getting a good nights rest ready to hit the trails the next day.

Arriving in a soggy Fort William, home of the UCI downhill biking world cup. We went straight to Ben Nevis. The plan was to bike the ‘Ten under Ben’ but the weather was not exactly ideal. We seized the opportunity to make a run for it when there was finally a break in the clouds. As we rode out into the clearing of trees the sun started to shine just in time for our decent. We twisted and turned through the forBikingest trail over boarded sections and tight switch backs reaching a technical section named ‘Nessie’, the crash mats and netting in the trees said it all, get this one wrong and its probably going to hurt! After this adrenalin busting section the trail returned to a more tame approach treating us to a glorious downhill ride all the way back to the car in time for a well earned hot chocolate.

The day was still young and we decided to go up a little further and try out the Wolftrax. From the car park the trail gave nothing away, however, once making our way to the highest point our journey descended into boulder fields, and rocky bridges. Each corner we were met with a new challenge and yet more rock crossings. The trail was fast and adrenalin pumping and most certainly worth the journey to find it.

We spent our last night in the wilderness of Scotland cooking a mountain of sausages and pasta on our little stove before withdrawing into our tent to stop the rampage of midges which had arrived since the rain and wind had calmed.

martyn biking

The next day we started the long journey back south around Loch Lomond to Glentress, the last stop on our biking adventure. I was really looking forward to this ride it sounded challenging and fun and the sun was again shining on us as we set off. Along the way up the track wound its way upwards throwing obstacles such as tree crossings and rock jumps to practise on. This trail has many surprises including rocky drop offs, berms, table tops and jumps. It’s a fantastic for downhill and cross country bikers alike with loads of features to suit both rider styles.

After a week of leg busting, lung burning climbs, sweet decents and plenty of bruises and laughs along the way our adventure had sadly ended. Packing the car for the last time we headed back to Southampton with some fantastic memories and promised one another that we would return another day to the wilds of Scotland.

I would recommend biking in Scotland to anyone who has a passion for single track and loves a challenge.

Loch Lomond

Giant Real Rider Lights Illuminator Combo Review

This month I have been testing the Giant Illuminator Combo light set. The first thing you notice about these lights is how small they are they can easily be fitted in a pocket of a jacket for safe keeping when you don’t want them on your bike.


These bright LED front and rear bike lights come with batteries and take a matter of minutes to attach to any bike with a simple to use mechanism which attaches the lights firmly to the bike. The only issue with this system is if you are transferring your lights between bikes it is a hassle to keep undoing all the screws to take them on and off, compared with some lights that have heavy duty rubber bands which hold them firmly in place but make the lights easily transferable between bikes. However retailing at £15.99 these lights are excellent value for money and if you are lucky enough to have two bikes, you could just buy two sets.

The front light has two settings flashing and steady beams both of these are very bright and the steady beam gives a good area of light coverage. The backlight has four different modes, steady and three different flashing modes. The backlight also comes with a handy clip that is great for attaching the light to a bag allowing you to have two backlights for added safety. As a bike commuter in a city I would recommend this option, having the ability to attach a light to a bag is a great addition to the lights functionality.

These lights provide ample light for on the road and even dusky rides off road. However for off road night rides I would recommend a much more powerful light to give you maximum light coverage.

Overall these lights are brilliant for the price, they work well are easy to use and have a long battery life.

Check out my other reviews for Giant here.

Prudential Ride London 100

So the good news arrived this week I have got a place on the JDRF team to Ride London in August.

My younger brother Sam was diagnosed with diabetes when he was five, I was 11 at the time. I have watched him grow up with the challenges of living with diabetes and am so proud that he is now at university, studying a sports science degree, playing rugby and leading an independent life like all his friends. He has only got there however from the constant support from his parents and diabetic team and it has not always been a comfy journey.

I believe that diabetes as a disease is sometimes disregarded. Children’s perception is that their friends are allowed snacks in class and teachers sometimes feel ones diabetes needs are an “excuse to get out of class”. However the reality of living with diabetes is very complex and is often not understood properly even by adults.

I have five months to raise my target of £1000 and also train around my cross country races for the 100 mile journey.

If you would like to sponsor me please visit my sponsorship page.

Sam and Me
Sam and Me

Giant Real Rider Control Mini MTB + Cycling Pump

The mini mountain bike pump looks sleek and stylish at 20.5x27x270mm it is very compact and easy to carry either in a ruck sac or on the bike itself. The pump to bike attachment is great, it sits nicely next to the frame of the bike and the Velcro held it in place while I raced round the new forest all weekend in wet conditions.


The pump is made of CNC machined aluminium and feels very robust which is important for mountain biking, as things (especially when strapped to the side of your bike) tend to take a bit of a battering!

To operate the pump you simply pull the cap off the top and pull out the hose, this is very neat, however with thick gloves on it is pretty impossible, which means taking them off and getting chilly fingers on those winter rides. The end of the hose has a screw nozzle, with Presta and Schrader valve fittings at either end making it quick and simple to change from one valve type to another.

The hose pushes neatly back inside the pump and you can then replace the cap. The rubber cap seems robust; my only thought was that if you lost the cap the valve would be exposed to mud and water.

Looking forward to my racing season I thought about how the pump would be in a race situation, I compared my old pump with my new pump and found it a lot faster to blow up tyres making it my new companion for racing! It took 38.7 seconds to blow up an Schrader and 38.2 seconds to blow up a Presta tyre compared to my old £10 pump, which took 42 seconds (Schrader) and 45 seconds (Presta). The pump easily screws on to fit both types of valve which is excellent, as before I’ve had difficulties with pumps where you push the pump onto the valve and then pull a clip up, trying to do this quickly often results in the valve getting pushed back into the wheel, so having a simple screw mechanism makes life easier. The screw nozzle is hard wearing and looks like it would last a long time.

The pump is at the higher end of the price range for a mini pump at £24.99, however I think it offers good value for money in terms of its robustness and how easy it is to use.

Biking in Scotland Part One

In six days we covered 1,212 car miles, 60 bike miles, went through eight inner tubes, broke gears, lost iPhones and met the BBC Country File cast. Not bad for a relaxing week away.The Slab

Our journey started at Dalbeattie one of the best (according to a friend) of the ‘7stanes’. These are seven mountain biking centres spanning the south of Scotland, from the heart of the Scottish Borders to Dumfries and Galloway. ‘Stane’ is the Scots word for stone, and at each of the 7stanes locations, you’ll find a stone sculpture reflecting a local myth or legend.

The red ‘Hardrock’ trail at Dalbeattie is a pleasant 25 km with not too many steep climbs and some fantastic views along the way. The ‘slab’ which is by far the most talked about part of the trail is a 15 meter granite ‘slab’ which from the top looks more like something you should climb up than ride down!


On day 2, we went to Mabie another of the 7 Stanes. The Pheonix trail is a 19km mix of cross country and twisty single track. Mabie encompasses the most fantastic switchbacks ive ever encountered which feel like your entering a washing machine spin cycle as you get sucked into the never ending spiral. Rocky drop offs and routed sections make this an interesting and technical ride at times. The scenery was stunning with hills covered in Scots pine and purple patches of heather making every climb worth it!

The South of Scotland brought many surprises and had been a good warm up for what was yet to come.

Mountain biking & other adventures