The Saturdays are by far one of my most liked girl groups. Although they haven’t always had number ones (I think they only had one number one with What About Us). They have still have managed to churn out such hits such as Up (my personal favorite), Ego, All Fired Up and Issues among others. They have a song for pretty much any problem a female may come across such as men (I am looking at you Forever Is Over) or girly outing (Notorious). So finally after years of admiring them from afar I brought tickets to go see them on their Greatest Hits Tour at the Birmingham NIA.

The theme for this concert was travel. So five minutes before the concert a voice announced that ”The Sats Airlines will depart in five minutes” and every minute thereafter. As it was the greatest hits tour tune after tune after tune were just belted out. For  a set list click here My best songs were Work as the male topless dancers on stage were pretending to be working out at the gym which is a sight I like to see ;). Gentleman for the imagery on the screen. When the girls were singing the list of men near the end of the song the image of Obama that flashed up on the screen from behind got a chuckle from the crowd. The final song What About Us had the girls on screen dancing around a fire engine and the dancers on stage got a hose and blasted out smoke which was quite funny to watch.

The support acts
The support acts included Calvin Goldspink who used to be in S Club Juniors!, SD-Jem and Beth Sherburn. I cannot comment about Beth Sherburn’s performance because I arrived just as she was finishing her set. SD- Jem were good, Shanel’s voice was incredible. Her voice was so strong and bold and from looking at their website it seems they are already making tracks in the UK Urban music scene having supported Cher Lloyd on her tour. BriBry a solo artist from Ireland was fantastic. His music is very folky, chilled and the song lyrics are sung from the heart. He was cracking jokes on stage and was taking the piss out of himself which makes him really easy to relate to. He is the only support act that I have listened non stop on Spotify as I have been going about the daily monotonous tasks of travelling to work and cleaning my house… An up and coming artist, I think will be huge in the next few years.

Although the set was very simple with a platform on the stage that the girls and dancers can walk up and down on. There was enough variety in terms of the dance moves, fast and slow songs positioned appropriately and the background screen meant you were not getting bored. The girls grouped together often which was great for taking photos and when the girls spoke to the audience and to each other you could see that they are good friends and enjoy each other’s company. The Saturdays seemed very down to earth and I feel personally are fantastic role models for the younger generation.

Favourite song to watch
Gentleman definitely for me, just for the imagery on the screen. The image of Obama got a chuckle from the crowd.

Would you go and see them again?
Although the concert wasn’t the best theatrically if you are a die hard fan of The Saturday’s then I certainly think it is worth going. I thought the ticket price £32 was reasonable and the lasted around two hours which was the perfect timing as the end went off with a bang rather than dragging it out for too long. I had a really good time and it was such a laugh.  

   

As cycling has become more popular more and more amateur cyclists are wearing team kit. I have a Wiggle Honda team jersey myself, I brought the jersey because I wanted to help the team out by buying the kit (in the hope that maybe a couple of pounds may go towards the female cyclists) but also because I wanted to look a little like Laura Trott! shh don’t tell anyone!

I also have a pair of black Team Great Britain cycling gloves which I brought from a bike sale at the Manchester Velodrome and are fantastic.

I have seen amateur men wear Team Sky and Omega Pharmacy – QuickStep among other team kits and on Twitter there is the ever growing conversation whether amateurs should be wearing kit because they have not earned it. Here is my take on the topic.

Is it time to hang up my Wiggle Honda jersey for good?

Yes

1, Go with the status quo.
If football fan’s can wear team kit why cannot cycling fans? The more team kit amateur riders wear will only enhance the profile of the team in question. That can only be seen as a good thing in my eyes because it could ignite an interest in someone to learn more about a cycling team or take an interest in cycling.   
2, It look’s good.
Team kit does look good. As I said above I like Wiggle Honda’s offering of the orange and black- very striking. I also like the kit that the domestic team Epic Scott Woman’s Race Team wear which is purple, black and white offering from SMS Santini. I thought the Shamano Argos and the new Liv Shamano kit look smart as well. I find at times that non pro kit look boring and uninspiring or for females just pink and purple with some stupid graphic like a hearts or cats. 
3, It makes you think you are a pro cyclist for about five minutes.
Not everyone can be a pro cyclist. I am not one myself so I would like my five minutes to dream! 
No
1, Jerseys need to be earned.
Being a pro cyclist takes a lot of talent, guts and determination.and dedication. I do find it cringey when someone is cycling in national gear or the rainbow jersey when they have not earned it. It sets yourself up for a lot of stick. 
2, All the gear and NO idea…
There is nothing worse than a cyclist overtaking someone in pro kit.

3, You are a moving advert.
Some people I have been reading argue that the sponsors get enough money therefore why give them free advertising. At the end of the day its your choice if you want to wear a jersey with a logo on.

So here is my verdict.

I don’t have a problem with cyclists wearing pro kit. The benefits far outweigh the negatives and there are plenty of non team kit alternatives available.

Hello, I know its been a while. I have been very busy with work and then being ill which has kept me off my bike. Today I am writing about Llandegla Forest that I and my partner went for a afternoon of mountain biking a month back now. Llandegla Forest is in Denbighshire North East Wales and according to the website the forest is privately owned.

My partner and I decided to do the blue route which was the medium route because again we were not advanced enough yet in our mountain biking skills to tackle the harder routes. The route had a variety of slopes, pump tracks and berms. I enjoyed the views and couldn’t resist in stopping and taking a few photos. The tracks were wide enough in the most part that if other people could get past you. So you don’t feel as if you are holding people up. The day I went was a school day therefore there wasn’t many people about. Which meant I could go at my own pace and spend ages practicing on the Pump Track  The route was appropriately challenging for myself and I would certainly recommend for a great day out.

Points to note:
There are facilities on site such as the toilets and a Cafe.
You do have to pay for parking. I cannot remember how much however I do remember thinking it was a reasonable price.
There is a great mini pump track at the end of the route which I loved going around. There is also a free ride track. For more information please visit the Llandegla Forest website.

On Saturday I went down to the see the Tour de France pass through Yorkshire. I went to Skipton and fully enjoyed the day. The residents of Skipton had really made the effort to welcome the cyclists and visitors to Yorkshire and there was a real party atmosphere to the place. I will leave you with photos I had taken of the day.

*Author retains all image rights.

A small post from me today. A while back I was reading on twitter an article about what everyday cyclists take with them on their rides. So I thought I would share mine here.

1, Schwalbe Tyre Leavers. Amazon £3.95
These tyre leavers were brought after hearing reading the good reviews on Amazon. These tyre leavers do the job fine.

2, Inner Tube Raleigh 700×19-23c. Amazon £10.89 for three
I always carry a spare inner tube on longer rides just in case.

3, EyezOff GP96A Alloy Mini Bike Pump. Amazon £10.99
The pump is very easy to use and is easy to mount onto the bike. You can use this pump with Presta and Schrader valves.

4, Energy Gel Hi5 Brought as part of the race pack at The Cycle Show but see here
If I am cycling a longer route then I like taking one of these out with me. I really like the taste of these energy gels as the taste is not too sweet and the texture is not too sticky. Sometimes I just take a cereal bar instead.

5, Drinks Bottle. Wiggle (not available)
Essential for any ride this Wiggle bottle is one of many I own.

6, High5 Energy Bottle. Amazon £5.49
I tend to carry a larger water bottle and one smaller one. This High5 bottle is just one of many I own.

7, Puncture Repair Kit. This was a freebie from a cycling magazine but you can find similar from any cycle shop.

8, Lazer Sunglasses. From a bike jumble sale at the Manchester Velodrome.