Viking vintage with a modern twist.

First established in Wolverhampton in 1908 the Viking brand has a history, rich in the tradition of top quality road bikes throughout the century, but that’s not what we want to tell you about.

Stepping into 2015 Viking bikes are as good as ever, and this year could be something special.

Introducing the Viking Buttermere.output_WNbbBD

Available in both Ladies and Gents models.

The latest in a long line of quality hybrids, this bike has all you could ask for, with an 18 speed Shimano transmission, full mudguards, a rear pannier rack and a modern take on a classic paint job, this really is a very unique bike.

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With real attention to detail on this bike, the modern-vintage paint job is accompanied by an equally stylish leather look trim. With a comfortable Viking branded saddle and matching tan grips, the new take on old school really has been done properly.

Now, for the more technically minded readers, we have a nice little surprise

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Full Shimano components and gearing, on a bike that wont break the bank.

Want the specs?

Shimano 18 speed with Shimano STI shifters,

Shimano 14-28T freewheel

Shimano front and rear derailleurs.

KMC chain.

Triple chainset 24/34/42T

170mm crank arms,

cartridge bottom bracket and chainguard.

For those not so technically minded, Shimano is a benchmark for quality, reliability and longevity.

So, why would you want a hybrid?

Well, its the perfect mix between road, race, mountain and touring bike. There are features for everyone. From the more upright riding position, to the sleek tyres, there’s something for everyone in a hybrid.

One of the most useful features is the rear pannier rack

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Whether you load it up with vintage look panniers, or just strap a few bungee cords on the back, this sturdy rack will be your best friend on those afternoon jaunts down to the shops, or on the early morning commute to work.

Finished in matt silver, to match the retro mudguards, the rear pannier rack sits perfectly atop the rear wheel.

What are you waiting for, come and check out all our new 2015 range of bikes and see what you’re missing out on!

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Bike Trailer Basics

Taking your kids out for a ride has got to be one of the best, time tested, family activities there is!

But what do you do if your child lacks the confidence, desire, ability or road sense to come along for the slightly longer rides?

How about let them ride in a bike trailer?

Perfect for long or short rides, in sun, wind or rain and a lot of fun for whoever gets to sit back and enjoy the ride, with absolutely no effort!

So what goes in a trailer?

Well, most trailers recommend only allowing children over the age of 1 in a trailer, and only when they can comfortably sit up and support their own weight. After that, its really about your own strength, endurance and weight rating of the trailer you buy. The better quality of trailer, the longer you will be able to tow your youngster around.

However, the uses don’t stop there, most trailers are big enough to seat two youngsters, making them ideal for loading up with shopping, supplies, the family pet or just about anything else you could think of.

So why choose a bike trailer over a bike seat?

Well firstly, kids love them. A trailer is less restricting and offers the freedom of a little more movement and the opportunity to bring a favourite teddy or doll along for the ride.

Secondly, safety. If you take a fall while riding with a child seat, there’s a very good chance you child may fall too. However when riding in a trailer a more solid support structure and a little bit of clever design work means that if you fall, your trailer may stay upright. If your trailer doesn’t stay upright, the safety harnesses and a more solid frame will help to minimise any injuries your passenger may sustain.

Finally, a good cycle trailer will keep your little one sheltered from the elements. Quality fabrics and a good rain cover will mean that your child will be just as comfortable riding in the back of a trailer as they would be in a pushchair. This means you can cycle year round without having to worry about the wind or the rain ruining the experience for the little one, in fact, they may find it quite amusing to sit back in a nice dry trailer while Mum or Dad are out in the rain making a splash!

If you’re still unsure whether or not a trailer could be right for you, head over to our website and check out all the options available. You never know what you might find!

Cold weather cycling: Tackling ice and snow.

Winter is still here and it only seems to be getting colder.

Wet rides are still pretty common, and your average cyclist is probably well prepared for the rain. However when temperatures drop and rain turns to snow, it pays to be prepared.

Here are some riding tips to stay a little safer this winter.

Before your ride

– Ask yourself, is it really necessary? If you can avoid putting yourself at risk, we advise that first and foremost. Otherwise…

– Check all your moving parts are lubricated. Extreme temperatures and the extra salt on the roads may lead to increased wear on a bike that is improperly maintained.

– Lower your tyre pressure ever so slightly. An under inflated tyre will provide a larger surface area to grip the road with, and might be the difference between a slight wobble and a hard crash if you lose traction

– As well as lowering your tyre pressure, why not lower your saddle? Not only will a lower centre of gravity make it easier to remain upright, if you do need to put your feet down, you can ensure you are able to firmly plant your feet down and maybe avoid a spill.

– Speaking of your feet, why not un-clip, if only for a short while? Sacrificing the SPD’s for a flat pedal will save precious time if you hit an ice patch and need to stabilise yourself. Not only will you be able to react more quickly, but if you need to walk anywhere, SPD shoes and ice don’t tend to get on well with one another.

– Wrap up in layers. An old but always relevant hint, many thin layers will beat one thick layer. Make sure to take care of any extremities (hands/feet). Remember, in snow and ice you might be riding at a slower pace so keeping warm might require more layers than you’re used to.

On your ride

– Be extra mindful of other road users, stopping times can be far greater in snow or ice, and even the most experienced drivers or cyclists are still subject to the laws of physics.

– You might want to rely on the front brake less. If you need to slow down in adverse conditions it may be better to use the back brake a little more then the front (70% back 30% front) just to make sure that you maintain grip and don’t allow the front wheel to come out from underneath you.

– Extra lights. In the winter it tends to be darker for longer, and when the harsh snow and rain falls visibility can become quite bad, quite quickly. Make sure you don’t get caught out. You can always turn off the lights you do have, but you cant turn on the ones you don’t.

–  If you can stick to main roads then your chances of hitting deep snow or hidden ice are greatly reduced. Try to take roads that have been gritted or are subject to heavier traffic flow. Hopefully these roads will be a lot easier for you to ride on. Furthermore, these roads should be maintained to a better standard, lowering the chance of you hitting a hidden pothole. Still, try to avoid riding near the curb as the threat of a hidden hazard is far greater when snow or ice may be covering dangerous items, or making already damaged surfaces even worse.

– Whatever happens, keep pedalling smoothly and try to maintain an upright position. If you hit an ice patch, don’t panic and slam on the brakes, don’t try to steer out of it too quickly and don’t throw yourself dramatically to the ground! Your safest bet is to remain calm and in control of the situation and either come to a slow and controlled stop or ride it out and let the ice pass.

After your ride

– Treat yourself, have a nice hot cup of tea and a cake. We applaud your commitment to riding through the most adverse of conditions.

Tackling the wet winter rides

When the wet weather rolls in, its time to say goodbye to the lightweight summer jerseys, hang up your vented gilet and maybe consider swapping those fingerless gloves for something a little warmer.

A7LyWGjCMAAbjTuIn Manchester, rain is never too far away. Even our sunniest mornings can precede the rainiest afternoons. However, despite all the rain, we see plenty of cyclists making their daily commute regardless of the wind, rain or freezing temperatures. With our winter riding tips there should be no reason you too cant keep riding long after the weather turns against you.

Clothing:

1. Jacket

Probably the most obvious piece of wet weather clothing is a high quality jacket. A waterproof outer layer will help protect your base layers, and keep you warmer for longer. We suggest layering up in the winter, as a waterproof jacket can soon turn the toasty cyclist into a more “boil in the bag” type. As long as your top layer keeps the water out, you can add or remove base layers as you see fit.

2. Legwear

While riding, its probably fair to say that your legs are playing a big part in getting you where you are going. Keeping your muscles warm will make for easier riding and a more enjoyable experience. We would recommend over trousers for those wanting to wear their everyday clothes while riding, or a quality pair of tights for those riders who need to look the part while in the saddle

3. Hats

How wonderful are modern helmets? Great aesthetics keep you looking stylish and venting technology keeps your head cool while you ride. When the freezing rain starts to fall though, those vents become less of a luxury and more of a source of misery. We know that buying a new helmet isn’t exactly the best solution, but there are alternatives. Wearing a hat underneath a helmet can keep the rain at bay while you ride, and still allow you the safety of wearing a helmet.

4. Overshoes

The last thing you want after a tiresome commute into work is to sit in wet shoes or socks all day, or to be carrying round spare shoes and socks unnecessarily. A quality pair of overshoes would mean you can cycle in whatever shoes you feel most comfortable in, and still be dry when you reach your destination.

5. Gloves

Anyone who has ever forgotten their gloves on a particularly frosty day will be able to testify to how uncomfortable it can be trying to warm back up again. A good pair of gloves will keep your hands warm and dry, and shouldn’t compromise your dexterity while riding. Just remember, your vented summer gloves may seem like a good idea, but all those holes let the heat out and water in.

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The Bike:

6. Lubrication

In the winter the moving parts on your bike are going to be in for a hard time as salt, grit and water begin to become commonplace on your ride. A quick wash and then protective application of degreaser followed by a quality lubricant on any moving parts will help to extend the lifespan of your bicycle and protect your beloved bike from the elements. Just make sure not to get any lubricant near your breaks and do your best to avoid water in your bottom bracket (Don’t spray pressurised water directly onto it).

7. Tyres

In the winter you might need a little more traction on the roads, and we would recommend achieving this by slightly lowering your tyre pressure, as this provides more of a surface area to grip the road in wet or icy conditions. Be warned, lower tyre pressure means you may pick up more rubbish off the roads, and may be susceptible to more punctures if you arent careful. Avoid riding to close to the side of the road where all the dirt and glass will build up and take a more primary position, this will not only help avoid those pesky punctures, but also help other road users see you this winter providing you have…

8. Quality Lights

Whether you ride down dark country lanes or across a well lit urban cycleway, you will need lights this winter. Not only is it the law to have lights on your bike after dark, its just the sensible thing to do when the winter months reduce road visibility. Make sure you spend a little more to get yourself some bright, long lasting and waterproof lights. These are one of those items you can’t afford to compromise on.

9. General Riding

This winter make sure to be extra careful on your rides. The added strain on the roads of more water and freezing temperatures may mean that the small dip in the road that you usually just ride over, may now be a deep, water filled, wheel buckling, bone breaking pot hole. For the sake of safety and your own warmth, avoid riding through water where possible. You should also consider how water will affect your own riding style. Your vision may be impaired and your breaks may take a little longer to stop you, so a little more caution could be necessary. Its easy to “switch off” and ride on autopilot on familiar stretches of road, but you need to remember that other road users may also be on autopilot too, a patch of ice, an unexpected puddle or condensation on mirrors or windows could lead to a sudden wake up call.

Make sure to take care this winter, pay attention to the roads and most of all, look after yourself!

Troop Bags, Best of British

Stop and think, what items would you say define the quintessentially British style?

The bowler hat and umbrella combination of an old school London banker?

Is it the football shirt, white socks and sandals donned during the summer holiday?

How about the pea coat and scarf draped around the commuter battling against a harsh winter?

These are all fine images of what some may say are definitively British styles, even if they do feel a little… Dated?

Lets think of the here and now, what does the modern Brit need? Of course, style will always be a factor, but what about utility, convenience and adaptability?

Introducing the Troop London collection.

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From the city streets to country lanes, there is a style and a bag for you.

Made from the finest stonewashed cotton canvas, accented with a choice leather trim, troop bags not only look the part, but play the part too. These bags emit an air of elegance without sacrificing any of the features the modern Brit may require.

These magnificent bags come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from a petite over the shoulder bag, perfect for a phone, keys and a few essentials, all the way up to a rugged and spacious hold all for the modern jet-setter. Troop has you covered.

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Troop likes to boast a combination of traditional leather craftsmanship with the latest innovative design processes to bring you some of the finest accessories on the market. Not only is each bag lovingly inspected before being sent out of the factory, each bag has its own feel and personality as the conventional stone washing procedure ensures that no two bags are completely identical.

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No matter where you are going, we have a bag for you. Going out into the wilderness? Why not try the Oxford range, each bag is lightly waxed and able to stand up to any challenges the weather may present you. Is the wild outdoors not for you, well how about the Dorchester range, from purses to knapsacks, this range offers you the rustic elegance you would come to expect from a strong British brand. Can you see what we are saying? Whatever your need, and wherever you go, troop has a bag for you!

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We cant see anyone not loving a Troop bag. There is one for everyone, but if you dont believe us, why not come and have a look through our store and see for yourself, you wont be disappointed!