It’s that time of year again when we’re treated to lots of interesting data collected by the fitness platform giants showing the trends and behaviours of the past 12 months, with fitness and health tracking company Whoop sharing the deets it’s discovered on recovery, sleep, COVID-19 vaccine effects and also the relationship between sex and exercise.
Whoop’s Year in Review has found that UK Whoop users are the least promiscuous and had less sex as a nation than any other, recording fewer intimate activities than the likes of the US, Australia, Ireland and Germany across the whole year and during every month in 2021.
Whoop reckons this may be down to UK residents being busy exercising, given UK users recorded the highest number of activities per month.
Cycling was the most popular activity registered by UK Whoop users, with running and walking in second and third respectively. 2021 was also found to be a year for trying something new, with 37% of Whoop users registering a new activity.
The report finds a noticeable rise in recovery scores in June 2021, coinciding with the start of the “Great Resignation” where over one million UK residents left their job. “One of the biggest negative effects on recovery is stress, which would possibly have been relieved as workers left unhappy jobs or improved their work/life balance,” Whoop says.
Tuesday had the highest average recovery score for the week at 64%, with Saturday the lowest at 56%, most likely due to socialising or changing sleep habits.
Taking turmeric, caffeine and hydrating well had the best impact on recovery, Whoop found, whilst drinking alcohol, being sick and sleeping at altitude had the worst.
Sleep performance is key for maintaining optimal fitness, health and wellbeing, and Whoop data found that the best month for sleep performance was January (84%), and this then decreased as the year went on, with Friday (79%) the worst day for sleep performance and Sunday (83%) the best.
Whoop users are able to record behaviours that affect their sleep performance, with “sleeping in your own bed”, “feeling control” and “feeling efficacy” having the most positive impact on sleep and “sickness”, “alcohol” and “sharing your bed” having the most negative.
Whoop identified differences in physiological data recorded after taking the COVID-19 vaccine, with resting heart rate and respiratory rate elevated the first night following vaccination, returning to baseline by the fourth night.
Deviations in resting heart rate and respiratory rate were larger for females than males, and larger in younger members than older members.
Shimano has closed down a fake website that was pretending to be an official outlet for the Japanese brand, and has warned that you could become a victim of fraud if you give personal information to a dodgy site.
“After discovering the site in question, we promptly sent a petition for its closure to the relevant agencies and organisations, including sending a warning letter, and we have confirmed that the site was closed in early December,” says Shimano.
“Accessing suspicious websites or inputting your personal information may not only cause you to be a victim of fraud but also cause your personal information to be misused.”
The fake site was claiming to sell Shimano pedals at up to 65% discount. Shimano was keen to point out that it wouldn't be liable for any trouble that arose from the use of the fake website.
It is also redesigning its packaging, starting with pedals and cleats, to incorporate design features that are difficult to replicate, as well as enabling customers to use a QR code, accessible through an app, to ensure that items are genuine.
Body Rocket is the startup that’s looking to produce the “world’s first real-time aerodynamics device for cyclists” and it has now raised £551k through private funding alongside the £470k it was recently awarded as part of the UK Government’s Innovate Grant, to help propel its next phase of development.
The patented aero system aims to measure drag force on the bike in real-time, allowing cyclists to get faster and enhance their individual performance potential. It’s certainly an interesting and innovative concept, and so we took a deep dive into the tech earlier in the year.
With the new funding, Body Rocket now says it's in a strong position to accelerate its next phase of product development, software design and athlete testing.
“We have successfully taken the concept of real-time aerodynamic drag from a lab-based environment and out into the real world with a working prototype,” says Body Rocket. “It’s no longer a concept, it’s a reality, and we couldn’t be more excited to start working with pro teams and athletes to elevate our testing and evolve our product design.”
Restrap is running its bi-annual Solstice Century 100-mile Challenge this weekend (18-19 December 2021) which can be completed in one go or across multiple rides, indoors or outdoors, and the brand is chucking in some incentives to do so, too…
All riders who complete the challenge will be able to redeem an exclusive Solstice Century patch and all entrants will be submitted into Restrap’s prize draw. One lucky rider will receive a kit bundle worth over £500, which consists of a gilet, long sleeve jersey and bib tights from Restrap’s friends at Albion Cycling along with a Restrap Bar Pack.
The competition is open worldwide and as with previous editions the challenge will be hosted on Restrap’s social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and on its Strava club.
You have until 23:59GMT on Sunday 19 December to sign up for the event and get the chance to claim a patch.
Already have plans this weekend? There’s Rapha’s Festive 500 challenge coming up from Christmas Eve until New Year's Eve. Check out our tips on how to best knock off the 500 kilometres over the hols with ease.
Lightweight, breathable shoes to deal specifically with the sweaty demands of indoor workouts are becoming increasingly popular, and Adidas is the latest brand to offer an indoor-specific option with its ingeniously named Indoor Shoe (£110). It’s tagged with the brand’s iconic three-stripe design, of course.
With the focus on providing shoes that’ll keep your feet cool during high-intensity workouts, two open mesh windows are included to help increase ventilation.
This new shoe for three-bolt cleats (Look Kéo, Shimano SPD-SL, and so on) sits in a range which increasingly caters for a wide range of cyclists, alongside the laced Road Shoe, the Gravel Shoe and the Velosamba, designed for road, off-road and city riding respectively.
Check out this impressive seat post puller…
Stirling Bike Doctor marvellously demonstrates here how this tool can remove a seatpost from a carbon frame with a bonded alloy sleeve that had corroded, as well as from two steel frames.
Lots of cool-looking new wheels and bars were revealed by Deda this week as it spilt the deets of the latest products across its road and gravel collections for 2022, with aero gains and dropping weight key goals.
The RS4DBs are Deda’s lighter and more aero carbon road tubeless-ready wheels with 38mm deep rims.
“The full carbon rim is moulded with a technology that allows the differentiated distribution of the thickness,” says Deda. “The rim is reinforced in the nipple area and has reduced thickness out of the nipple area – this brings an important weight saving on the external part to reduce the inertia of the wheel.”
Hub flanges at both the front and rear hub have also been designed to reduce the drag. “The hub shell is machined with a rifling design that improves aerodynamics and amplifies the Magnus [down force] effect for more stability at high speeds,” says Deda.
The brand has also adapted the shape and geometry of its Superzero RS road bars with a more compact drop position to help you stay low for longer. While the reach remains the same as that of the Superzero bars at 75mm, the RS version has a 120mm drop rather than the 130mm found on the other model.
Alloy wheels and handlebars have also been added to Deda’s Gera gravel range which focuses on delivering a more comfortable set-up for long distance bikepacking.
This week a Kickstarter campaign was launched to crowdfund for a bike camera with integrated 80 lumen rear light that claims to offer a very decent 9.5 hours of video and audio recording time at 1080p @ 30fps.
TOOO Cycling's DVR80 is a safety rear view camera for cyclists which films what’s going on behind your back when you ride. It offers a fully integrated tail light that, according to the brand, is visible to other road users from over 1 mile (1.6km) away and offers a whopping 9.5 hours of recording battery life, catering for all-day adventures. With an RRP of ~£146, it's not incredibly expensive compared to the competition either…
TOOO Cycling says the light sensor offers high definition footage even in very low light conditions, thanks to the quality of the SONY IMX 323 CMOS camera sensor: “Visual details will be clear, even at night in low ambient light (licence plates, type of vehicle, faces can be identified)."
It has opted for a universal bracket which allows you to mount the camera on any bike seat post diameter, as this area will be "the least subject to riding vibration since it is the closest to the balancing point of the whole bike," TOOO Cycling says.
Ever wondered how a bike manufacturer makes carbon frames? Well, TIME Bicycles released a cool film this week which takes you through how its carbon bikes are produced; from the initial weaving of individual carbon fibre strands into complex bi-directional ‘socks’ using its unique Braided Carbon Structures (BCS) technique as well as Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM), which is the fixing of the fibre into a light and strong frame.
“This [BCS] process allows something that is unheard of in the cycling world; continuous, unbroken fibres that run the full length of a structure,” says TIME. “Contrast this with standard prepreg layup where the edge of every carbon sheet is a potential weakness.”
The video then follows the process as the dry carbon socks are pulled over re-usable wax frame moulds and then placed into TIME’s RTM machines. “Resin is injected under high pressure between rigid external and internal moulds, air pockets are pushed out and voids between layers are eliminated.”
After the frame moulding process, the internal wax forms are melted from inside the frame and recycled, and then the frame and composite parts are glued together to form the final frame shape. To ensure a perfect finish prior to painting, the frames are lightly sanded, then the finishing touches are made.
Bikepacking bag specialists Restrap launched its new do-it-all bag specifically for mounting on Bromptons. The £149.99 Restrap City Loader is said to offer the rugged practicality Restrap’s bags are known for, in a design that will handle whatever the everyday Brompton rider needs.
“We know that city life demands us to be flexible and the City Loader is built to match. Spare clothes? Groceries? A stove and bivvi bag? The City Loader can do it all,” says Restrap.
A removable shoulder strap and carry handle at the rear of the bag make the City Loader comfortable and convenient when off the bike, says Restrap.
With two 100% waterproof, fold-closure compartments this bag offers up to 20 litres of internal storage and is mounted to a Brompton front carrier block via a unique integrated fitting.
British cycle clothing brand Rapha has introduced a limited edition coffee machine with Rocket Espresso of Milan that’ll set you back £2,735.
The machine is Rocket Espresso’s existing R Cinquantotto with a few Rapha touches in terms of the finish.
One-hundred are being made and they’re available exclusively to members of the Rapha Cycling Club (annual membership is £70).
We must say, the Rapha + Rocket R Cinquantotto is a thing of beauty.
Campagnolo could be planning to add a power meter to its range, judging by a recent patent application.
The US Patent application is for a wake mechanism for an electronic device – to switch it from standby mode to running mode – but what’s more interesting is that the electronic device in question could be a crank-based power meter. Campag mentions it as a possibility and the pics in the application show a crank that wakes when rotation is detected and certain conditions are met.
Campag has filed patent applications related to a power meter previously but nothing has come of them so far. Our guess would be that the Italian brand will introduce one when it next updates its top-level Super Record groupset, but what do we know?