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postheadericon How to be comfortable, safe and look good when cycling in extreme events

How to be Comfortable, Safe and Look Good When Cycling in Extreme Events

Recently I took part in an organised cycling event called The Exmoor Beast.I managed to  complete the gruelling “short” course (70 miles of extremely hilly cycling over Exmoor) and during the 6 hours I was in the saddle, I had plenty of opportunity to observe what other cyclists were wearing and now feel well qualified to comment on appropriate wear for such an event. 

There were over 1000 competitors for this challenging event and so I had plenty of opportunity to see a vast variety of clothing worn by my fellow cyclists.  Being an Image Consultant I was interested in colour as well as the technical value of the kit on display.

Some of the elite athletes taking part wore specialist cycling clothing in an array of bright coloured jerseys. These outfits are designed specifically for cycling and make the rider more aerodynamic as well as warm and comfortable.  There is such a wide choice of colours that everybody would be in a position to find their perfect colour.  This type of clothing is available from specialist cycle shops and from the internet.

 The lesser mortals amongst us, such as me, were dressed in a variety of comfortable and heat efficient clothing and some were just wearing shorts and an anorak.  The single most apparent colour amongst the competitors was florescent yellow.  Although it is not a particularly flattering colour for most people, it does make the wearer highly visible. 

When competing in endurance competitions such as the Exmoor Beast, wearing sufficiently warm and comfortable clothing is essential.  Probably the single most important item is a pair of padded shorts!  The weather on Exmoor can change dramatically, but on Sunday we were lucky.  It was a dull day, but dry and not too cold, except when exposed to the strong winds.  I wore three thin layers, the inner one being a sports specific t-shirt that keeps you dry how ever much you sweat and the outer layer being breathable and waterproof.  The outer layer was the perfect turquoise blue, that suits my auburn hair and made me very visible, another essential on a dull November day as mentioned above.  I have to admit to my socks and inner two shirts being a perfect red for my colouring, even though they were not visible on the day, I just can’t help it! 

As I am an amateur cyclist, I was just pleased to have completed the course before it got dark and enjoy the comradely atmosphere of so many people enjoying a day out.  I can hardly express my admiration for the elite cyclists, who completed the 100 mile course in less than 5 hours and just hope that I can improve on my time next year.  My comfort is that I may not be the fastest cyclist but I was wearing colours that suited me!

Whilst safety and comfort are ofcourse essential, there is no reason why you cannot look good wearing flattering colours that suit your natural colouring.

postheadericon Hunting knife – reasons hunters can’t do without it

Hunting Knife – Reasons Hunters Can’t Do Without It

Can you imagine any kitchen without a knife? Definitely not! As a matter of fact, some people are not satisfied with just one knife, they own several to perform various tasks! It is the same with a hunting knife. Any hunter is going to feel incomplete without this important tool in his luggage!

Whenever a knife is mentioned, the picture that comes to mind is that of a villainous character as depicted in the movies, brandishing something that looks very wicked and menacing! The reality is something totally different! In fact, hunters try to avoid too large knives because they are not really useful for the tasks they are meant for, plus they are too heavy to lug around!

Like all other knives, the hunting knife is also available in different sizes and shapes. There are also varied brands and models. What the hunter is looking out for is something that suits the type of animal being hunted. To be more exact, the size and weight of the knife should ideally match the game so that it can be wielded easily. At the same time, the knife should be well-made and function efficiently.

The first consideration while choosing a hunting knife is to check the material it is made of–stainless steel or ordinary carbon. A popular choice is the stainless steel hunting knife. It may not be as sharp as the knife made of carbon, but it has the distinct advantage of remaining safe even when exposed to moisture. The knife made with carbon is no doubt very sharp and even easy to sharpen, but keeping it rust-free when it gets exposed to moisture is not so easy. Again, compared to the knife made of carbon, the stainless steel hunting knife loses its sharp edge faster.

The blades of these knives can be of varied shapes, but the commonest ones are the drop point and the clip point. The drop point is highly suited for heavy tasks. The blade with a clip point has a size and weight ideal for cutting ropes and other small tasks, since it is tapering and much thinner. It is not really meant for directly being used on game.

Now the blade of a hunting knife can be foldable or fixed. The foldable blade can be compared to a pocket knife. It is compact in appearance. At the same time, just like the pocket knife, it can be fitted with a saw blade and other tools. It is portable and can be used for all sorts of small tasks.

In contrast, the fixed blade is meant for heavier tasks such as cutting, since it is stronger. These tasks could be something like cleaning and skinning animals. Unlike the foldable blade, the fixed hunting knife requires a sheath. The hunter has to place it in his pack or carry it on his belt.

postheadericon How a solar still may save your life

How A Solar Still May Save Your Life

“Still? What’s that? Isn’t that what you use to make moonshine?” These are the types of questions you are likely to get if you tell someone that you just made a solar still in your backyard, but the fact is that these fascinating contraptions can actually be lifesavers (literally) if you ever find yourself in a tight situation with no water to drink.

A solar still works on the principle that leaves and other vegetation contain moisture, as does the ground in many cases. The only problem is how to get the moisture in a drinkable form; we’re not all koala bears, so just eating the leaves is out of the question. The answer, it turns out, is to harness the power of the sun to extract the moisture from the source by evaporating it and then using a plastic bag or plastic sheet to collect it. As you can probably guess, the one drawback to the solar still methods is that if you don’t have a plastic bag or sheet, you can’t use them. However, it is amazing how many strange substances can be made to function as a sheet of plastic when you’re desperate, so with a little bit of the spirit of MacGyver, you will probably be all right.

To construct a simple above ground still, take a plastic bag, preferably one that can seal and that is made of clear plastic, and fill it half to three-quarters full with vegetation: leaves, grass, stems and stalks, any type of green plant matter. Make sure that it is a sunny day, and find a hillside or other sloped surface to place the bag on. The idea is to make sure that when the water evaporates from the plants, it drains to one location in the bag so that you can collect it. To ensure this, place a small rock in one corner of the bag. The water will tend to pool around the rock.

You can also make a below ground still, although it is a little more involved. For this, you need a digging tool, a clear plastic sheet, and some sort of container. Dig a hole in the ground somewhere where you think the soil will have some moisture in it. Dig another hole at the bottom of this hole and place your container in it. Put some vegetation along the sides of the hole for extra moisture, and put the sheet on top. Weight it down, and then put a rock in the center of the tarp so that the tarp dips down and the part with the rock is the lowest point. As the sun strikes the tarp, the hole will heat up, and the moisture will evaporate and collect on the tarp. It will run down to the lowest point, where the rock is, and drip down into your container.