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The New Shokbox Legacy Edition
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Shokbox Premium £599

Shokbox® Premium is safe and strong and without doubt the safest solution for transporting your bike. With TSA latches and the option of GPS tracking, our unique bike box design incorporates Shokbox’s® revolutionary impact damping system and smart impact zones, we use seminal technology and suspend the frame and wheels in an amniotic type cavity to create ultimate protection for your bike.
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Shokbox Classic - £499

The New 2020 Shokbox Classic bike box, is hand built in the UK, Shokbox® Classic is safe, strong and highly manoeuvrable. Our smart design gives strength and added protection to your bike. Now available in eight colour options with moulded signature graphics
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Shokbox Classic £499

Our original Shokbox, the classic is our leading bike box and shares its innovative design features with the Shokbox family, including TSA latches, multi-directional castor wheels and integrated carry handles, Shokbox® Classic brings together quality, durability and affordability. Our Classic bike box is now available in eight new colour options.
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Shokbox Bike Boxes and Cases

Shokbox® bike boxes are the ultimate protection system for travelling with a bicycle, manufactured and hand built in the UK. Shokbox® bags and bike cases are safe and secure, quick and easy to pack. TSA approved and comply with international airline regulations, Shokbox® comes with Lifetime Warranty
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LATEST NEWS

The Cost Of Owning A Cycle Today A Beginners Guide

One of the most asked questions for new cyclists is; How much should I spend on a bike? It will be a topic of conversation in the cycling world forever. The reason is that everyone has their own opinion, and that's  a good thing as long as it's a healthy opinion. Some advise that you should spend as much as you can afford, others ask the question of what are you going to be using your bike for first. So Shokbox will take you through the basics of what's needed to start cycling.

What Will You Be Using Your Cycle For

This has to be the first question before deciding how much to spend on a cycle its what are you going to be using it for. Different bikes have different price points so it can make a big difference in the cost of your pushbike. Is it just for the commute to work and to help lose weight cycling, along with saving money. If it is this decision perhaps you could justify spending a little extra because of the money you will be saving. Is it just for the occasional ride to help you get a bit fitter, don't fall into this trap because it's unbelievable how many people ride a bike once and never ride it again.

Buying a bike is a commitment so don't buy a bike on a fancy or a whim. Are you considering joining a cycling club and increasing your fitness level? What about cycling in European destinations or biking in the Balkans. Of course, you will need a bike box to safely transport your bike on a plane. To help you decide how much you will spend on a bike here is a small list of the types of bikes and what they are used for. In theory, some of the bikes lend themselves for the commute to work and then also adventure at weekends.

In 2019, United Kingdom's households purchased between 1.5 and 1.6 billion British pounds worth of bicycles.

A Quick Guide to the Different Types of Bikes:

Road Bikes  Lightweight, efficient bikes with drop handlebars and narrow tires for recreational riding on pavement. Styles include race, endurance and could be used for the commute to work.

Mountain Bikes  Rugged machines with flat handlebars and wide, knobby tires for riding narrow dirt trails. Styles include hardtail, full-suspension cross country, full-suspension trail, and full-suspension enduro. Very noisy when rides on roads due to the nobbly tyres.

Gravel/Adventure Bikes  Drop-bar bikes with clearance for multiple tire sizes for a range of riding experiences on- and off-road. Styles include gravel, bike packing, and cyclocross. Gravel racing has taken America by storm, read Kanza King Tips for gravel riding.

Utility Bikes  Bikes designed for utility, such as commuting or errands. Styles include commuter, fixie, mid-tail, and cargo.

Comfort/Fitness Bikes  Everything from beach cruisers to flat-bar bikes for weekend spins on multi-use paths. Styles include hybrid, fitness, comfort, and cruiser.

E-Bikes  Electronic bicycles can be bikes from almost any of the other categories here, designed with a small, lightweight electric motor to assist the rider. Styles include commuter, cargo, mountain, and road. These would be great for the longer commute to work, however, the starting price for a good one can be high

Fat Bikes – These head-turning bikes feature 3.8-inch wide or wider tires for flotation and traction often for sand, snow, or trail. Styles include mountain and cruiser.

fat bike tyres

Where Should You Spend Your Money Buying a Push Bike

Again it depends but for argument's sake you are going to take the cycling journey seriously so you want to invest in a cycle at the right place. So firstly do not buy a bike online, you need to feel if the bike is the right fit and feel for you. Also don't make the mistake of trying a bike at the local store then buy online, imagine if something goes wrong with it and you take it to that store. He isn't going to be a happy Chappy and I can't imagine  he would put his heart and soul into the repair. Don't get one from those multi-national stores that sell car parts as well. You might be lucky and have a passionate cyclist  building your bike. However multi-national, probably on around average wage, these places make money from selling lots of bikes.

Spend Money At Independent Bike Shops

I would recommend the smaller independent cycling shop where they know exactly what they are talking about. Independent shops don't open up with just making money in their mind. They open shops because they have a passion for cycling and just happen to make money as well. Try several shops, engage with staff ask them how much you should be spending on a pushbike. Ideally, set your budget to include the accessories as well, no point in leaving the shop with the bike and no helmet or pump etc.

Remember I said investing in cycling is a commitment so think it through first. If you go to a good cycle shop you should be able to ride the bike as well. Some of the larger stores have schemes where you try out the bike for longer. Some of the London councils have also got schemes running. Peddle My Wheels. Do NOT ever buy a bike without riding it first!

Is A Thousand Pounds Enough To Buy A Bike & Accessories

You may think that this is quite a large budget if you are new to cycling, however there are bikes out there that cost over 10k. So let's start to break down what you need to start cycling at a good serious level. This is ideally what you need to buy before you consider the bike. If you are looking at seriously taking up cycling as a hobby then the is a realistic budget to purchase everything you need to start cycling safely.

The Beginners Cycle Clothing

The first item on the list has to be a helmet for obvious safety reasons, it can be a tough place out there just you on your bike. You want to be aiming to spend around £50 on a reasonable helmet and there is no point n buying cheap if it offers no protection. It is your head, your brain and you don't get another one so protect it, this is one place you do not want to cut costs on your personal protection.

The next piece of kit you will be wanting is a Cycling top, you don't want to be riding around in some regular T-shirt that gets you all sweaty. You need breathable materials for when you are cycling so the sweat doesn't build up and make you smell real bad. You can get a good cycling top from between £20 up to £50 which isn't too bad, however the downside is you are planning to keep cycling during winter. Believe me, there is a vast difference from cycling on a nice summers day to a cold water morning, if you are looking at thermal cycling tops then the starting point is around £50. Of Course, these can go way up in value depending on the properties of the top and extras like zip covers.

The Bottom Half

Cycling shorts are a must because you do need that extra padding on the bum, it helps keep you in the saddle for longer without pain. You can get a reasonable pair of cycling shorts for around £30 which isn't too bad. Again if you are pounding those roads in the winter months it is going to need something to keep you warm. Probably the best option is bib shorts so it keeps your back nice and cosy, these start around the £60 mark and upwards.

Cycling shoes, do you or don't you, that is the question. This decision also affects what type of pedals you will have on your bicycle, basically there are 2 types, click in or slide in. You don't just want a basic pedal and trainers as you will lose so much power. The good news is you can get some pretty good shoes for around £30 Mark. Socks, yes I did say socks, wearing the correct ones can either keep them warm or cool, depending on what you want. Just a tenner should sort you out in this little dilemma.

The Cost Of Budget Cycling Clothes

of course, you don't have to budget all the winter and summer cycling clothes in one go, so let's look at the summer cycling gear for beginners

  • Helmet £50
  • Cycling Shirt £20
  • Shorts £30
  • Cycling Socks £10
  • Shoes £30

So all in all for a beginner set of cycling clothes you could just spend £130, the best way to start as a beginner is to buy last season designs. That way you can pick up some great bargains and get better quality gear as well.

Cycling helmet

Beginners Guide To Cycle Saddles

You may think that this wasn't going to be a cost to be considered at all. If you buy a top-quality bike the only standard 1 thing you are buying is the frame, everything else is extra. If you buy a cycle that has a saddle fitted as standard at some point you are going to want to change it. Believe me, bums come in all shapes and sizes and when you purchase a bike saddle that suits your fit makes the world of difference. Once you hit the 20-mile mark which takes around 1 hour and 45 minutes on average you will be wanting something good to sit on.

how much should you spend on a saddle for a cycle

The cost of a new basic saddle can be anywhere from £25 to £50, the range and the costs are staggering. There are cycle saddles out there that cost more than £300, of course you don't want to be spending that much. In the first instance, you don't need to be spending that much on a saddle. However, I do suggest that you get to your local cycle shop and start sitting on as many saddles as possible. Start to get a feel of what naturally feels comfy because the day will come when you need to upgrade that saddle.

Beginners Cycle Accessories

If you want to cycle at night then you have the legal requirement that you will have a white light at the front  and a red one at the rear. Unfortunately, this is a depends answer, because it depends on where you intend to cycle at night. If you are just riding on well lit main routes then you will spend less. If you decide that you want to cycle of the more beaten path then you are going to have to spend more money on more lumens. (the brightness of the beam) If you just want to be seen and ride on man routes then £20 should be enough for the beginner.

A multi-tool is an invaluable piece of kit for the beginner cyclist, just for checking everything is nice and secure before you start your ride. Or the inevitable at some point in your riding career, a flat tyre at some point. So you will need a pump and for around the £12 mark, you can get a good mini pump to carry with you. The next question is do you carry a puncture repair kit or a spare inner tube, let's go with the patches and glue for less than a fiver. However you may need some tyre levers two gets the tyre off so maybe an inclusive kit may be a wise choice here. Ideally, you will need a backpack to carry all your gear in, the pump, the repair kit, the packed lunch if you are commuting to work. You should get a good unbranded back pack for under £20 easily. Or you could go with the controversial bumbag, just saying !

Basic Safety Cycling Accessories

If you do intend to cycle at night time then you may want to consider some hi-vis items of clothing. If you purchase from a cycling shop expect to pay around £10 for a basic sleeveless hi-vis jacket. If you went to or shopped online at a workwear supplier you can get them for under £5 like this Portwest His-Vis Yellow vest. If you need something a little more discrete then you can go for the hi-vis bands. Usually, the kits come with a band you wear around the body and then 2 cuffs that you wear on the wrist.

Cycling Hydration - How You Carry The Water

Again this will depend on how serious and how far you intend to cycle. No, not all cycles come with a bottle holder anymore, things have moved on a little. Some people simply don't like  the little bottle holder bolted to the frame but it is the cheapest option. So for the base level, you can get elite Ceo Kit Resin and Corsetta Bottle Cage for £10.

You may be wondering what else is there to keep your hydration levels up whilst cycling. Now they make hydration back-packs, originally designed for the Army in a scorching hot environment, the ultra athletes also use them.

  • Cycle lamps £20
  • Cycle pump $12
  • Puncture repair kit £5 / Kit including levers £14
  • Back-Pack £20
  • Water bottle and holder £10
  • Hi-Vis £10

The Future Of Cycling

Of course, once the cycling bug gets under your skin you will want to start to cycle further and in different locations. The next is cycling abroad and that's when my Bike Box comes into its own.

Q&A

How much should I spend on a bike in the UK

How much should you spend? There is no need to spend thousands, but try to avoid very cheap bikes. Around the £400 mark is a good starting point for an entry-level road, mountain or hybrid bike.  Spending between £700-£900 will get you a really solid bike, especially if you keep an eye out for last season's deals.

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Euro Cycling Destinations

Cycling at home can be wonderful. The UK is, after all, home to some of Europe’s best seaside and mountain trails. If, however, you want a change of scenery – perhaps somewhere a little warmer – then you’re going to need to pack your bags and head across the ocean. Yet, with so many different countries and climates in Europe, just how do you decide on the best destination? To get you started, here are five of the best killer cycling destinations in Europe right now: Of course you need to take your bike in a bike box by Shokbox

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Cycling In The Algarve,

Portugal

Portugal has everything - extensive shorelines, national parks, mountain ranges and glacial valleys. All-in-all, everything that any serious cyclist could want from a holiday destination. Plus, you’ll benefit from that gorgeous Mediterranean weather! There are plenty of superb biking routes and tours in Portugal, ideal for meeting other likeminded cyclists from around the world. One of the best, though, is the Algarve coastal route. This will take you all the way from the Spanish border to the Western Algarve. – a trip that’s around 146 miles. Known as one of the sunniest spots in Europe. This route can be travelled all year round. Even on the warmest of days, being so close to the sea, you will benefit from a glorious Mediterranean breeze to keep you cool. There’s plenty of accommodation along the route, as well as other popular sports such as surfing and rock climbing if you fancy a change of scenery.

Why Choose Portugal For A Cycling Holiday?

Portugal has so much to offer cyclists with challenging mountain ranges, superb coastal beaches. They also have national parks, glacial valleys and celebrated vineyards! Portugal is so happy to welcome tourists, you will find that there is plenty of accommodation options. Hence allowing you to cycle across areas changing accommodation as you please. Most places you visit have a good understanding of English and have numerous options on menus to suit every taste. Even better, as cycling is so popular here, you’ll find most places will welcome you and your bike. Will you have to wear a mask on your cycling holiday.

When Should You Visit Portugal For Cycling ?

The wonderful thing about Portugal is the fact that different parts of this diverse country are best explored at different times of year. Consequently  you can visit whenever suits you. Keep in mind, at peak times such as July and August. You might find that the sun makes it too warm for cycling and tourism is at its peak. Spring (April to June) is generally the nicest time for cycling – as here the temperatures are a little milder as you head into summer. Plus, as this is still off-peak times, you won’t find tourist spots totally overrun by visitors. From January to March, the winter weather doesn’t go above around 16 degrees Celsius. However, this is mild and far warmer than the UK at the same time. Perhaps the best time to visit, though, is from September to November. As, during Autumn time, you can enjoy the gorgeous scenery as it turns for winter and even see the harvests during September and October.

Some Notable Cycling Routes in Portugal

There are numerous popular cycling trips across Portugal. Indeed, with so many available, you’ll be planning numerous trips back to this gorgeous country to explore more. Here are a few of our favourites:

  • The Algarve
  • Alentejo Wine Country
  • Azores - São Miguel Island
  • The Douro valley and International park

 

Cycling In The  French Alps

Morzine,

Perhaps best known for skiing, the Alps are also a killer destination for biking enthusiasts. The mountain terrain here is very varied, with lots of long flat stretches as well as climbs such as Col del la Ramaz and Col de Joux Plane. This makes it an ideal destination for both beginner and veteran cyclists. Around Morzine itself, you will find lots of hotels and chalets for your accommodation, as this is a popular destination for fans of skiing and outdoor sports alike. This makes it ideal for those who like to DIY their cycling holidays, rather than relying on an organised tour. Even better, the French Alps are just a stone’s throw from Switzerland. The prices in Switzerland, particularly for food and accommodation is far more expensive than in France. By staying close by, though, you can venture over the border for a day trip for free.

Cycling In  Spain

Tenerife,

One problem cycling-enthusiasts can face, is the fact that the rest of their family might not share the same passion. So, when it comes to booking a holiday together, it can be hard to find a compromise that fits everyone’s desires. Which is what makes Tenerife such a valued destination. Not only is it home to beautiful weather, resorts, history and a wonderful nightlife. This island is also a favourite among many of the world’s top pro cyclists. This is because of the Parador Hotel that sits atop the Mount Teide volcano, allowing pros, such as Bradley Wiggins, to sleep at altitude. For cycling itself, Tenerife is home to Europe’s longest continuous ascent. This trail covers 2,100 metres of elevation in just under 22 miles. You don’t need to go to the top, though, there is plenty of lower ground to cover. Plus, being an island with just 223 miles of circumference, it’s very hard for you to get lost.

 Cycling In Italy

Tuscany

If you’re a fan of the history of cycling, as well as the sport itself, then a visit to Tuscany during L’Eroica Sportive is a must. The annual event takes place in early October, with those taking part using bikes made before 1987. It’s not just bikes from the past, though, as everyone wears vintage cycling kits too. As well as this fun event, Tuscany is home to some of the best scenery in Europe, making any bike ride absolutely stunning. Here you won’t just find smooth tarmac roads, as Tuscany is well-known for its white dirt tracks that make your bike ride just that more interesting. Of course, being in Italy, you can also take the time to use up some of those calories you burned indulging in delicious pasta, pizza and gelato. All washed down with a few glasses of those wonderful homegrown wines!

Mortirolo

When you hear that a certain cycling route is the toughest in the world, most avid cyclist would want to take on the challenge.  However, before you start booking flights to Italy, Mortirolo is known for being the world’s toughest route for a reason. So, a look at our Mortirolo guide first, otherwise you might find yourself halfway up the climb wishing you’d never got on that plane!

What is the Mortirolo Cycling Climb?

Back in 2004, Lance Armstrong described the Mortirolo climb as the most challenging climb he’s ever encountered. So, you know that embarking on this route is not for anyone faint of heart! The route itself is approximately 11.5km when starting in Mazzo, however, what makes this climb so challenging is the gradient, which averages as 11% but does go to a crazy 18% as you make your way up to the 1,852m summit. Of course, with such a hard climb, surely there’s beautiful scenery that will compensate you. Well… Not exactly. There are hundreds – if not thousands – of easier climbs out there with far more stunning backdrops. If you’re looking to take on Mortirolo, it needs to be for the pure challenge, not anything else.

What is the Route Like?

Starting off, you might be a little surprised by the town of Mazzo. That’s because, for the starting point of one of the world’s most famous climbs, this town is quiet and unassuming with a myriad of roads and pathways . Luckily, the route has a lot of signs so, once you spot these, you’ll soon find yourself going in the right way. The actual road you take for your climb isn’t much wider than the winding lanes of Mazzo. Indeed, this trail was originally used for goats. These days, it is a little wider and the road is smooth, so you won’t have too many battles with any rocks or debris. Just keep in mind, as wonderful as scenery can be for distracting from the pain, the majority of this gruelling road is through dense woods with only a few clearings on the way. Although, at around 8km into your journey, you’ll find the Pantani memorial, which is worth stopping for. This is also a road used by cars, so always keep your ears out for traffic. Thankfully, though, not many cars use this road, as drivers prefer the Stelvio, which is longer but less steep.

Tips for the Journey

  • Train before embarking on this tough climb. If you’re new to cycling on steep gradients, this is definitely not the route to start with.
  • Bring plenty of water and, if you prefer, gels and energy bars with you. There aren’t too many options while on the route, although plenty of places to eat in Mazzo before you start your ride . There are also some options after you reach the summit and make your way down to Monno.
  • Check the weather before you go. The last thing you want on this adverse route is the added disadvantage of poor weather.

If you’re feeling brave enough to jet across to Italy and take on the Mortirolo, have you thought about making sure your bike arrives safely? Well if you are worried about travel, you can read about our bike transport cases here.

Cycling In Belgium

You can’t have a list of killer European cycling destinations without mentioning Belgium. After all, this is a country that is home to some of the most famous races in the world. So, why not combine your biking holiday with some cycling tourism. You can watch some pro races and soak up all that wonderful excitement. You could even enter amateur races such as the Liège-Bastogne-Liège or the Tour of Flanders sportive, which take place in the spring. Belgium is known for its British-like weather. That is, you never quite know when it might sunny or stormy. So, if you want your bike rides to be surrounded by sunshine, your best bet is to plan your holiday for the summer months (around June to August). Trail-wise, the terrain of Belgium varies. In the North, you will find long stretches of flat where you can spend your day cycling from town to town, soaking up the atmosphere. If you prefer hills, head to the south.

Gouden Carolus

One of the most prolific routes in Belgium is the Gouden Carolus. Perfect for fans of a tipple, this trail starts at the Mechelen brewery, heading towards the Palace of Margaret of Austria. You’ll pass the beautiful rivers of Rupel, Zenne and Nete, all surrounded by stunning nature reserves. The route ends at the world-famous Molenberg Whiskey Distillery, where you can all toast your wonderful ride.   If you are planning a cycling trip to Europe, have you considered how you will transport your bike? Not only are our bikes expensive investments, but these bikes are also beloved members of our families that we’ve cared for and upgraded over the years. Unfortunately, we can’t take our bikes on the plane with us, where we can keep an eye on them. Instead, we need to put our precious bikes into the hands of luggage handlers – and we’ve all seen videos of these people chucking luggage around like a bag of bricks. To help protect your bike, invest in a ShokBox bikebox , which will ensure your bike is safe, no matter how rough the journey! https://www.trustpilot.com/review/shokbox.co.uk

Marmot Tours

Marmot Tours road cycling holidays and challenges have been crafted over a decade. All by passionate and experienced cyclists, mountain experts and outdoor enthusiasts. Over the years we’ve evolved, tweaked and carefully crafted our itineraries into a product that we’re immensely proud of.  We’re passionate about helping cyclists achieve their goals in Europe’s most famous mountains.  Everything we do is with a personal and attentive touch – whatever you need, we’ll do our very best to help. When you come on holiday with us, the trip is your goal, your dream. It’s your mountain to climb. We love the preparation so you can love the ride. We leave no stone unturned to ensure that your holiday runs smoothly and exceeds your expectations. What to do if You luggage goes missing

Biking Holidays With A Premium Bike Box 

On every Marmot Tours holiday we gear the experience around your abilities, your needs and expectations.  Our range of holidays really do offer something for everyone; from cyclists new to climbing to experts and those in peak fitness. We know that when you come on your cycling holiday you’ll be bringing months of training, your beloved wheels, your hopes and fears.  We’ll be bringing two of our second to none, ridiculously well-equipped and technically competent guides to support your ride with 2 fully customised support vans on the road, so we’re 100% confident that we offer the very best possible service there is to all of our riders; no waiting around for the rest of the group or indeed, feeling under pressure to keep up. Our guides’ knowledge, skills and that all-important sense of humour ensure that you can relax and just turn the pedals, enjoying the scenery, the culture, the cameraderie and the escape. Whether in France(PyreneesAlpsMassif CentralProvence & Corsica), in Italy (the Dolomites or Sardinia), or in Spain (CataloniaPicosTenerife or Gran Canaria), whether you’re a novice or an expert – we’re here to make it real, make it fun, and make your cycling holiday the very best it can be. Why not come with us? Once you do, you won’t want to go on holiday with anyone else. Marmot Tours. It’s your ride, our passion.

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The Laws of Cycling in Europe

  When you plan to travel and cycle in EU countries, you will find that Article 44 in the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic lays out what laws you will need to comply with when cycling in those countries within the EU. In particular, you must ensure that any bicycle you bring or hire should have:

  • Working brakes
  • Working bell – no other sound devices allowed
  • Front lamp – either white or yellow
  • Rear lamp – red
  • Rear reflector - red

You should also ensure that you cycle on the same side of the road as the cars in that country do and, just like you do in the UK, you should stop at red lights and give an indication when turning right or left.

Cycling Laws in Specific European Countries

Although the above states the guidelines for many countries across Europe. It’s important to remember that specific countries might have more stringent cycling laws so, it’s important that you research any country before you take your bike on the roads there. Here are some of the specific laws you might face in some popular EU holiday destinations:

Cycling Laws In Spain

Helmets In Spain, when riding in rural areas, you should wear your helmet. There are some exceptions to this, such as not needing your helmet if you’re a profession cyclist, going uphill or it’s a very warm day. For anyone under 16, helmets need to worn all the time.

Cycling in Groups

It’s legal for two cyclists to ride side by side in Spain as long as they stay as close to the right side of the road as possible. However, a cyclist should return to single file if the traffic behind them builds up or if the weather is providing very low visibility on that day.

Cycle Lanes

If there is a bike lane on the road that you’re using, you must use that lane. It will depend on the city in question over how strictly this will be enforced. If there is no cycle lane, the road should be used.

Liability

Presumed liability is exercised in Spain, meaning if a car hits you it’s presumed the driver is at fault unless it can be proved otherwise.

Other Notable Laws

  • If you do not have your lights on at night you can be fined €200
  • You cannot drink alcohol and cycle on the road
  • Having no bell or faulty brakes can result in a fine

Cycling Laws In Germany

Helmets There’s no law saying you have to wear helmets, but you should.

Cycling in Groups

It’s preferred that you cycle in a single file, however, you can cycle in pairs when not interrupting the traffic.

Cycle Lanes

Cycle lanes that are blue with an unbroken line are compulsory and must be used. Those lanes with a broken white line do not need to be used, however, it might be safer for you.

Liability

Presumed liability, like Spain.

Other Notable Laws

  • You will be fined for wearing headphones, being on your phone or skipping red lights. You can also receive fined for cycling with alcohol in your system and not having appropriate white front or red rear lights.
  • Children cannot cycle on the road when they are under eight years old.

Cycling Laws In Italy

Helmets

Parents can be fined €90 for a child under 12 not wearing a helmet. Otherwise helmets are not compulsory.

Cycling in Groups

You can ride single file or as a group of two side-by-side. At night, though, or when traffic is busy you should cycle in single file. Also, if you are in a group of 10 or more, you must be split into two groups.

Cycle Lanes

Cycle lanes must be used when they are provided.

Liability

Presumed liability.

Other Notable Laws

  • Headphones are illegal when cycling.
  • You cannot drink alcohol and cycle.
  • As well as the regular additions to a bike – such as front and rear lights – you must wear a reflective vest at night.
  • You cannot cycle on pavements (unless you’re under the age of eight).

  These are just some of the cycling laws across Europe, always research your country of travel before you cycle. Especially when there may be a language barrier, as here it’s important to know your rights. Make sure you take your bike in a hard bike box

 Read the Shokbox Reviews 

Biking in the Balkans Review 

Cycling to loose weight

Should You Wear a Mask For Cycling 

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Do You Need To Wear A Mask While Cycling
Thats the question, do you need to wear a mask while cycling. The world will probably slightly change due to the world wide effects of covid 19, remember there still is no cure. What if covid never happened. do you need to where a mask while cycling. I know I get it, part of the joy of cycling is the freedom and independence it brings. The connection to the outdoors, the countryside and the beauty of your surroundings as you glide through the wind on your pride and joy. However there is also the need to protect you and your health. I am going to answer the question of do you need to wear a mask while cycling with, it depends. Yes it depends on your environment where you are going to be cycling, each scenario brings it own risk. Off roading probably presents the least risk to our lungs and internal defence system, that is unless you suffer from hay fever so that only applies usually in the summer months. The countryside presents the next easiest low risk from pollution, you just have to be careful of the boy racers whizzing around the corners not giving you enough room as they pass you at 60mph +.

Masks For Cycling and Covid 19 In The UK

There has been constant debates on if wear a mask will reduce the spread of COVID 19. I think we can agree that wearing a mask while cycling will not stop you getting infected. Especially a mask just made from material without any active filters built in. Wearing a mask is more about you NOT spreading germs, disease or COVID 1. Its to prevent the  aerosols coming out of your nose and mouth from being projected at other people. Research suggests that cotton is the best fabric for a mask, and having more than one layer of fabric makes a mask more effective for everyday use. However for exercising, you’ll be best of using a face covering that isn’t so thick that you can’t easily breathe through it. Of course you are going to need multiple masks because once worn you need to wash it every time. Not washing between wears actually increases the chance of bacteria and disease to grown and flourish. Wear once, Wash once.

Time And A Place For Wearing A Face Mask When Cycling

The common excuse for not wearing a mask while excersing is that it's more difficult to breath. Once there is a cure to COVID 19 then wearing a face mask will be a choice based on your personal preference and how you digest the information below. In the current climate we are being asked and expected to wear a mask in more and more public places. So picking your training routes and times is  becoming more  important if you don't want to wear a mask. Once it was the canal side to make sure that you are out and getting your physical exercise and seen by everyone. Of course there is the weekend destinations that all cyclist head too, to meet up and be seen with the latest cycling gear or a new bike. For today we have to think a little differently, if you do meet up when you stop pull up that mask. Reduce the risk of exposure too you and others, break the chan of the pandemic. I prefer the full face mask so its easier to pull of and wear it around your neck when in use. Then its just a simple pull up and hook it around the ears then it is on in a flash. Cycle at different times to discover when its less busy, just post more on social media so everyone still knows how healthy you are.

Tips For When To Wear A Mask During Covid19

  1. If you are out cycling but stop to buy refreshments from a shop you have to wear a mask inside the shop
  2. We you do stop to talk to your cycling circle of friends you should observe the 1 meter rule. If your respiratory rate its up from cycling hard I suggest 2 meters is safer until your breathing regulates.
  3. Do not cycle in large groups
  4. If you do cycle with someone stay out of there slip stream to avoid the droplets from treating or sneezing
    1. A study din Belgium suggest that released droplets can effect people from 10 meters away as the ride into the space you have just contaminated
  5. If you have to open a shop door place you face mask on first, do not touch your mask again until you have sanitised your hands, same for access for  gates on cross country routes.
  6. Always carry your own hand sanitiser.

Mask For Urban Cycling UK

Again it depends on how urban the environment actually is the, the bigger the settlement (urban area) the greater the risks grows.

Face Masks For Cycling Off Road

This is purely a personal choice because the air quality should be pretty good to start with. The only time I would wear a mask would be when the tracks are dry and dusty. Its not a problem if you are cycling alone but if you are with a group of people and at the back you will literally eating dust.

Mask For Cycling On Country Roads

Again this is pretty low risk even with some traffic on the road. The trees and the rest of the living foliage with actually help to absorb fumes and toxins from the atmosphere. The only downside to cycling in the countryside is if you are travelling to a tourist destination. Once there they can become quite busy and a build up of traffic causing queues, congestion and standing cars produce a lot of fumes . So to be safe take a cycling mask with you as you never know what situations may Arise

Face Mask For Cycling In Towns And Cities

Most of us presume that the worst thing for is the toxins from the cars exhaust The diesel  four main pollutant emissions from diesel engines (carbon monoxide-CO, hydrocarbons-HC, particulate matter-PM and nitrogen oxides-NOx) (source) Petrol engines, Carbon dioxide (CO2) – CO2 is a greenhouse gas, thought to be a major contributing factor to climate change. Although technically non-toxic, excessive volumes contribute towards ocean acidification. Carbon monoxide (CO) very toxic and is caused by unburnt fuel which is becoming less common due to efficient engines. Hydrocarbons (HC) are also produced by unburnt fuelNitrogen oxides (NOx), Sulfur dioxide (SO2) and Benzene (C6H6) which is a carcinogenic substance which is harmful to us mere mortals if enough is inhaled. We can see these as a visible threat because of the smoke coming out of the exhaust so ynataurly we see it as a danger to our health.
The Unseen Pollutants
The things that we cannot see we naturally presume that there is no risk to our health and well-being. Microplastics are a real threat to our health and we cant even see them, but what are microplastics and where do they come from. Microplastics are plastic pieces that measure less than five millimetres. The tyres on all our vehicles are responsible for a lot of microplastics in the air, yes even your bike produces it as well but not at the rate of mechanical vehicles. Tyre abrasion is responsible for creating up to 68,000 tonnes of microplastic pollution each year, between 7,000 and 19,000 of which end up in UK waterways. So the question do you need to wear a mask while cycling ? remember the microplastics when you are cycling through traffic. Would you believe that the paint used for road markings even produces microplastics. As the sun and weather erode the paint over time it releases micro-plastics. Also external paint is a contributor. Inclement weather and natural flaking means that the paint used on buildings and road markings can contribute between 1,400 and 3,700 tonnes of microplastic pollution to our waterways every year.
More Reason To Wear A Mask When Cycling
Everyone is hoping that when all cars are electric it will help to keep the air quality better. However thats not going to happen as we have already mentioned about the vehicles tyres cause pollution. The other unseen pollutant is brake dust and clutch dust. These tiny particles measure less than 2.5 thousandths of a millimetre across, less than one thirtieth the width of a human hair. They can reach deep into the heart, lungs and bloodstream causing asthma, heart disease, lung cancer and strokes. Do you still need ask the question do you need to wear a mask while cycling ?Well if your cycling in a town or city II would highly recommend that you do wear a mask for cycling. The other reason to wear a mask is also to stop you transmitting any airborne disease. With physical activity the heart rate goes up and pumps the blood faster, you breath heaver in order to get the oxygen in quicker. As you expel air the 2m social distancing isn't much good, it would be more like 3m to keep people safe around you.

What to look out for when buying a bike mask?

When purchasing a bike mask make sure that it carries a N95 or N99 certification. These ratings  show the percentage of air particulate matter that can get through the mask. So its 95% or 99% the N99 includes tiny PM2.5 particles which are the most dangerous as they can remain in the lungs for a while.

How do I get the right size bike mask?

It’s important to pick up an anti-pollution mask that fits correctly; it’ll allow unfiltered air to pass through the sides if it’s gaping off your face. Bike masks that are too tight will restrict breathing and feel uncomfortable during cycling. Luckily, most manufacturers offer a sizing guide to help you get the right fit.

Types Of Masks For Cycling

You need to consider what type of mask you are getting for cycling now you realise the dangers out there. The practicality of the mask, the cost of the mask and for some how cool you will look when wearing one.

Respro® Ultralight Mask Black

The Respro Ultralight Mask delivers on everything we’d expect from a high quality bike mask. It uses N99-rated filtering technology and replaceable Hepa Sport 2.5 PM filters to block out pollutants, allergens and even bad smells. This mask has been raved about on other cycling publications but after reading the reviews on Amazon I am not so sure now. The biggest complaint is that it does not fit well, the strap at the back isn't high enough and it slides down once you perform any physical activity. Also complaints about excessive condensation, they are currently out of stock at amazon. Priced at around £40 so not cheap.

1 Pack Anti-pollution Cycling Face Cover with 6 Pack Activated Carbon Filters Dust Proof Washable Sports Outdoor Mouth Face Guard

Some good reviews on Amazon about the mask, 50% of the reviews were 5 star reviews so thats pretty good.. The most common complaint on ALL masks is the quality of the items. Is this down to quality control because at the moment companies cannot make the quick enough. Lots and lots of the masks are just out of stock. When travel opens up again and you decide to travel with your bike make sure you get our bike box for your flight. Some ideas for your next biking trip, Biking in The Balkans and Euro Cycling Destinations. red bike box

Cycling Pollution Mask

Now it depends how seriously you want to take your mask as the everyday face coverings doo not stop pollutants. If you want medical grade face masks then you need to have the N95 or the N99. The labels N95 and N99 are used in the UK to describe the amount of particles that are filtered – 95 per cent and 99 per cent respectively.

Will an anti-pollution cycling mask protect me from the coronavirus?

The UK Government has advised members of the public to wear a face covering when travelling on public transport or going to the shops to avoid the spread of coronavirus. While these anti-pollution masks might offer some level of protection, it’s important to note that as they are not designed for medical uses, and they are not regulated in the same way, so protection levels can vary.

How do I get the right fit for my bike pollution mask?

It’s essential that your mask fits correctly. If it’s too loose, polluted air will slip in at the sides; too tight and it will restrict your breathing. Look for a sizing chart before you buy, so you can ensure you’re ordering the correct size. There are also a few different ways to attach the thing to your head: some masks use ear loops, while others have behind-the-head straps. Which you choose is largely down to your comfort preference. The majority of masks have a bendy metal strip in the nose bridge to ensure a good fit above and around your nose.

Is it better to get a mask with replaceable filters or valves, or neither?

Certain manufacturers make masks with replaceable filters or valves; other models have built-in filters, which means you have to replace the whole thing once it’s reached the end of its lifespan. It’s up to you which you go for: disposable masks may not be quite so environmentally friendly, but they’re simpler and each one should last between six months and a year, depending on the frequency of use and pollution levels.

Where To Cycle

Hopefully the covid 19 will not effect our lives forever and we can dream of better days to come with the best cycling destinations in Europe. Also read our beginners guide to owning a cycle.

Can you Loose Weight Cycling 

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Can Cycling Help You To Loose Weight
Since Covid-19 has disrupted the world everyone started to get a few things in common. Lack of the big outdoors, socialising and a lot more eating especially from the boredom. This ultimately resulted in quite a few of us gaining a few extra pounds. Can Cycling help you to loose weight ? Yes it can, I am not saying that I am a rippling Mr Universe but it has helped to burn those calories and keep the weight steady. Cycling for weight loss is one of the most common reasons people get into biking community . You can either just take it up as a hobby or you could take the plunge and start commuting to work. Just think of all the money that you would save on petrol and parking.  You may still be wondering if cycling is good for weight loss on the stomach, and will it reduce belly fat. Yes you do mainly use your legs for cycling but when it comes to the burn and peddling as hard as you can you naturally tense your core. So not only are you burning the calories you are actually toning your stomach muscles as you tense them.

Things To Consider Before Commuting To Work

Bike Riding For Weight Loss

Riding the bike is a good exercise for weight loss, which also involves weight loss on the stomach. However, there is no such thing as targeted weight loss, which means it isn’t possible to only directly burn belly fat cycling, the calories are burnt up everywhere. 
  • Cycling  will speed up your weight loss
  • Some advanced strategies you can use to make this process even faster
  • How fast can you expect to lose weight
  • The only two pieces of advice you will need to keep your momentum
Cycling is a good cardio exercise. Your muscles need energy to function. When you pedal you move your muscles and to get the necessary nutrients your heart rate is elevated so the increased blood flow can deliver these nutrients. The harder you pedal the the more energy you will need and the higher your heart rate will be. The average person burns between 450 to 750 calories per hour while cycling. Cycling is one of the top sports for burning calories and loosing weight along with, jogging, swimming and rowing. Should you wear a mask for cycling.

Burning Calories And Weight Loss

Depending on the duration and intensity of exercise, your body burns available blood sugar, glycogen stored in the muscles and liver, fat and, if required, even begins to burn muscle protein. Of course you never wan to go that far and burn muscle protein. That would be some serious long distance biking so the average cyclist has nothing to worry about.

If you want to burn body fat, aim to exercise at 60% to 70% of your maximum heart rate for at least 45 minutes. In that fat-burning zone, 85% of the calories you burn are from fat. But you must first expend the more easily available energy sources (blood sugar and glycogen) before your body turns to the fat stores. So if you only ride for 20 mins then you haven't hit the magic number and you will not be burning the fat calories. If you are commuting to work and it s only a short distance I would suggest going the long way and extending the time to get the full benefit.

Accelerate weight loss on stomach

The key to losing weight on the stomach is the same as the key to any weight loss. There is no magic diet to loose weight its just a simple formula.  Burn more calories than you consume, thats it. If you do this consistently then you will loose weight and cycling will certainly help burn calories with this. Any sporting effort can be ruined with bad eating habits. However, with proper nutrition bicycling is effective tool in speeding up the process of fat burning. Here are a three concrete tips to burn as much fat as possible.

Ride before breakfast

Pedaling on an empty stomach, also known as fasted cardio, is a very effective way of forcing your body to use the energy stored in the form of fat, which means that cycling to work can be such a powerful tool in accelerating the fat burning process. Bike commuters riding for 40 minutes in the morning 5 times a day, then back home thats around 666 calories burnt in a day. That around 3,300 calories burnt in the week. Imagine how many calories you would burn off in a year, on an average working year that would be over 150,000 calories  That would be the equivalent of burning over 38 pounds of pure fat. Skip your breakfast and have it at work and then your body will get to burn the body fat quicker as there will be less easily available energy sources (blood sugar and glycogen). What you need before cycling to work is a good cup of coffee, Or any physical activity if you want to increase the weight loss. The caffeine  works by blocking an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine By blocking adenosine, caffeine increases the firing of neurons and release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. This, in turn, makes you feel more energised and awake. Caffeine also stimulates the nervous system, which sends direct signals to the fat cells, telling them to break down fat

Pedal Hard or Pedal for HIIT

HIIT is a cardio session arranged as short bursts of very hard work. The whole point of high-intensity training is to kick up the intensity of your cardio. In order to qualify as true HIIT, you’ll need to push yourself to the max during every set. That’s why they’re short—anywhere from 20 to 90 seconds, typically. It’s the opposite of going for a long run where you ration your energy in order to sustain the activity for longer. Thats why cycling is perfect for the HIIT because after your maximum boost you can sit back in the saddle, coast and recover.  Ideally you go flat out for short bursts of 30 to 90 seconds, followed by a 1-3 minute recovery period during which you gently pedal while recovering. Numerous studies have shown that working your hardest is key when it comes to boosting endurance, increasing metabolism, regulating insulin levels, and losing body fat.

Do  Complementary Training

Doing some weight training targeting your upper body can prove to be very helpful. While this will not make you lose fat on the stomach, it will increase your upper body muscle mass. It will make you look more proportional (cycling only targets your legs), and it can make your belly look flatter too. Complimentary training doesn’t mean that you need to spend hours in the gym. In fact, you don’t even need to hit the gym at all. Body weight exercises work perfectly. Pull-ups, push-ups and dips work your arms and shoulders and can be done almost anywhere. Do them twice a week and just after 3 months you will be surprised and impressed. You could start by trying an online Pilates Class.

Stretching And Cycling

Stretched muscles to become longer and increases the viscosity. Thus It helps reduce injuries like ligament tears, muscle tears, strains and sprains. It’s also worth noting, especially with an ‘ageing’ population, that the ‘Synovial fluid’ which basically ‘lubricates’ our joints, reducing friction and wear & tear of joints, could and will deteriorate, causing damage over time. More on stretching before exercise.

Eat Drink  Sensibly For Weight Loss

This not directly speaking exercise, but very closely linked to it, because as you increase your level of physical activity your hunger level will increase too. You can easily ruin your gains if you don’t watch what you eat. It doesn’t mean that you need to count every single calorie, but you need to understand how much energy is contained in various types of foods. Fizzy pop, caffeine drinks, cream cakes in abundance are obviously not going to help with weight loss. The word diet is often misconstrued about its actual meaning. Everyone presumes or associate  it with losing weight. The first meaning of diet  just refers to the kind of foods that you eat on a regular basis. It does not mean eating crap foods to loose weight. Moderation is the key and remember that if you burn more calories than you eat you will loose weight. Sweets and snacks get easily get into the way of your weight loss too. You don’t need to forget about goodies altogether, but you need to have a strategic approach to them. Portion control is your friend here. Don’t open big bags of chips or boxes of desserts. By the time you notice you’re full or don’t want to eat anymore it’s usually too late. Go small instead. Reading the nutritional fact labels of the foods will help you understand how much energy is contained in them as a reference. The information contained there will empower you to make good decisions.

How fast can you expect to lose weight

You can burn the energy contained in 20lbs (9kg) of body fat with 1 hour of moderate cycling every weekday for 6 months. While this number can vary depending on a number of factors, it is very attainable. Coupled with proper nutrition, your 20lbs weight loss can be accelerated: it can be as short as 10 weeks. If, on the other hand, if  you don’t watch what you eat, you can end up putting on weight instead of losing. Obviously with the increased activity your appetite will naturally increase wanting to replace the burned carbs. Eat sensibly with a varied diet, some inspiration  for cheap dinner ideas.

The science behind weight loss through exercise

"Assuming your commute is a fourteen kilometre round trip then you can expect to use approximately 720 kilocalories (kcal) of energy. The average daily intake that an adult requires is between 1800 and 2500 kcal. This certainly shows the potential to lose weight by regularly commuting. The caveat when trying to lose weight through exercise is that you cannot eat much more. Exercise leads to hunger and research has shown that compensatory eating limits the effectiveness of an exercise based weight loss program. To give greater meaning to the numbers, 720 kcal correlates to a sandwich, an apple and two slices of pizza. Commuting to and from work has another benefit, albeit harder to quantify. Exercise temporarily increases the bodies basal metabolic rate (BMR). The BMR is essentially the amount of energy the body needs to sustain life while at rest. BMR rises during exercise and it takes time for the body to return to its normal state as it works hard to settle body temperature and heart rate. This is known as exercise after-burn. By exercising twice a day courtesy of commuting you get the benefits of this after-burn effect twice. There is mixed evidence in the literature when it comes to weight loss through the temporary increase of the BMR alone. Thankfully, there is no evidence of it being counterproductive. The inconclusive evidence of increasing BMR and the potential ineffectiveness of exercise programs for weight loss begs the question, why exercise? Exercise results in increased lean body mass, fat burning, muscle and ligament strengthening as well as reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer. All things being equal, if exercise has not resulted in weight loss, then it may be a matter of diet." (source) The cost of owning a cycle today

The best piece of advice to lose belly weight with cycling

The fitness industry is full of ads, and con-artists and various financial interests. It is hard to distinguish between genuine helpful information and scams. At the end of the day weight loss depends on you and your lifestyle. As long as you rely on will-power to lose weight or to replicate a certain way of living, you’re bound to lose momentum and give up. This is true with everything in life, but here I’m referring to weight loss through bike commuting and nutrition. The best piece of advice and the secret to something sustainable on the long run is to have a systematic approach and to build habits. This means don’t improvise the preparation for your commute and your meals. Changing the mindset overtime, in the beginning its might be a dread to get up and get on that bike. However with persistence it does change to acceptance that you need to get up and ride, the next stage is actually looking forward to riding the bike each morning and the freedom it brings.
Look Forward
Here are two things you can start doing today to start losing weight by bike commuting:
  • Prepare your clothes and gear the night before (backpack or pannier, computer, waterbottle, etc) You don’t have to start looking for your things in the morning, so you will be less likely to skip it.
  • Decide when, what and how much you will eat before you get hungry. This helps with portion control.
If you remove will-power from the equation by making these choices and building simple systems ahead of time, you transform your lifestyle and weigh-loss doesn’t become a goal, but a natural consequence of your newly acquired habits. You didn’t gain your stomach fat overnight, so don’t expect to lose it overnight either. Play the long term game instead. Come to terms with the fact that you won’t be able to target your belly fat directly, and celebrate every small gain. Let your body decide where it reaches for energy. The most important thing is to commit to the process and not the outcome, and fall in love with it.

Ignore the 'fat-burning zone'

A common mistake made by lots of cyclists and other endurance athletes who want to lose some weight is going out and riding for a long time at a low intensity in the fantastically named “fat burning zone”. Unfortunately for the sedate-paced it’s a myth. While working at lower intensities our bodies do predominately use fat reserves as fuel, but because the effort is low, the total calorie burn will also be low. This means that it won’t produce better results than other training methods and you’re better off using your cycling time more effectively. If weight loss is your goal it doesn't matter too much whether you are fuelled with fat, carbs or protein, as you’re in a calorie deficit you will lose weight. So, forget about the fat burning zone and focus more on high intensity, high effort cycling as you’ll get far better weight loss results through that. Sometimes you may need help from a nutritionist to loose weight.

Ride with others

Cycling with others has multiple benefits. You’ll likely push yourself further, and ride harder if you’re with other people. It’s much harder to quit when you are with others, and if you’ve arranged to ride with other people you are much less likely to cancel your ride due to excuses like the weather. When the restrictions are lifted why not try some of these Euro cycling destinations. While it might initially seem like it’ll be damaging your morale, riding with people who are fitter/better than you will mean you’ll quickly adapt and catch up with them. As well as that, riding with like minded people who are on the same weight loss journey as you will give you encouragement, advice and accountability - not to mention it’s often more fun, and if you’re enjoying it, you’re more likely to do more of it! Should you wear a mask while cycling.

If you ever decide to take you bike abroad read our Shokbox reviews. Shokbox the best bike box money can buy.

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Biking In The Balkans Dreaming of The Things To Come
It's Friday the 10th of April in the year 2020, it is also a Bank Holiday and the sun is shining. I suspect as its Easter many people had the best laid plans of mince and men but then Covid-19 entered our lives. There will be so many disappointed people who are on enforced lockdowns or happily self isolating to get better or to not get infected. We have to look at this as just an inconvenience because it will pass, life will go on. We can spend this time planning what we will be doing when freedom return, when we are back to the new norma. I for one will be planning my next adventure somewhere new and challenging. Of course until that time I will be cycling with the wife and no one else. It is important that at this time we do observe the rules on social distancing and help the NHS and the country. At Shockbox we want to share this little adventure that Anna undertook before the lockdown. Hopefully this will start the inspiration to dream and desire your next adventurous ride.

Biking In The Balkans

Shokbox are only sharing  a few snippets of Anna's journal of the journey. If you want to find out what happened and look at the stunning photographs you will have to read the rest on Anna's blog. The link is at the end of the article.
The Balkans have always been attractive to me and there is a place I have wanted to check off of my Bucket List: The Bay of Kotor. This Bay, also known simply as Boka, is the winding bay of the Adriatic Sea in southwestern Montenegro that includes towering peaks and a rocky coastline dotted with beautiful waterside towns.
Anna Barrero
When I write about adventures, I like to think that what I write is what I would like to read when looking for trip advice– a bit of adventure combined with practical advice and highlights of the visit. In fact, I just try to inspire others to travel by bike because I think that it’s one of the most rewarding things one can do. Life on a bike is very simple. It forces you to minimize and focus on the essentials, and it comes down to the necessities. I particularly get a sense of freedom and happiness from this. I carry my house with me, and I am flexible and independent. So, dear reader, if I may give you one piece of advice: travel -ideally by bike- as much as possible because money will return, but time won’t. Take your bike in a hard bike box.

DAY 0

Getting there in one piece The afternoon before our first stage, we left Barcelona headed towards Podgorica with an intermediate stop in Milan. We were afraid our bikes would get lost, so I checked for them from the window just after landing in Milan and again in the Podgorica airport. While they arrived safely at our destination, I saw one of the boxes fall 2 meters from the baggage conveyor belt. OMG! The day before leaving I had contacted the owner of the apartment to ask her to pick us up at the airport, and there she was with a mini car waiting for us expecting to fit both of us and bikes inside. Well, she had to make two trips. Oriol was the first one to go to the apartment, and I waited for her to return. After she picked me up, she told me that winters in Montenegro are cold. Here we were, ready to face the cold winter on our bikes. The first night we had dinner in a restaurant that the owner of the apartment recommended to us. We let the waiter choose what we ate, and what a good decision it was, especially since we didn’t understand anything printed on the menu. They served us “teletina ispod Saca” — a delicious local favorite with tasty meat and potatoes. Before going to sleep we assembled the bikes and let them charge to be ready to rock for tomorrow’s first stage. To our surprise, nothing was damaged from the bike box fall at the airport! The link to the rest of the story is at the bottom of the post.

Shokbox Strong & Durable

Of course it came as no surprise to us that there was no damage to the bike itself. We designed the Shokbox for these exact situations, knowing that baggage handlers just want to get luggage on and off the airplanes as quick as possible, accidents are bound to happen. With a Lifetime warranty we believe that you cant buy a better bike box than Shokbox

Light and Strong

Hand built in the UK, Shokbox is unique in its appearance and stands alone in performance. With sweeping lines and contours, we were purposeful in the design process, avoiding flat surface areas our smart design gives strength and added protection without increasing the overall weight or compromising internal security and impact integrity. Are all bike boxes created equal ? No we don't thing so ! https://blog.3t.bike/2020/03/13222/xpdtn3-balkans/

Read Ted Kings advice on Gravel racing or cycling to loose weight.

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Kanza King Chases down the triple & Gravel Riding Tips

King of the Road

Ted King is a man on a mission.  Ex-pro tour rider and Tour de France veteran with UCI Pro Team Cannondale-Garmin, two times winner of the iconic Dirty Kanza 200 in 2016 and 2018, Ted knows a thing or two about travelling with your bike and the importance of getting it there safe and sound. Now a pro gravel rider, he has lost none of his passion for the sport and has become something of an influencer Ted King. Ultimately inspiring people from all walks of life to travel the world doing something we love.  The added bonus of being able to take your bike is a phenomenal thing and we at Shokbox are excited and proud that Ted trusts our bike boxes when he travels. This year, Ted will attempt to be the first rider to win the Dirty Kanza for the third time, bragging rights aside, as a two-time winner, Ted knows a thing or two about what's needed to survive the 200 miles, 10 hour days in the saddle. His experience of training for endurance races led to him creating his own brand of nutritional products untapped Ted King transports his bike in a Shokbox Watch the video below to get Ted's advice on preparing for this mammoth event, because of course, to get to the event you need to transport your bike safely.

What you need for Cycle Gravel Racing By Ted King

Of course to get to the event you need to transport your bike safely and thats where the bike box by Shokbox comes in. Then there is a list of essential that Ted recommends with his many years of gravel racing Unchanged: Of course to get to the event you need to transport your bike safely and thats where the bike box by Shokbox comes in. Then there is a list of essential that Ted recommends with his many years of gravel racing
  • Helmet
  • Sunglasses
  • Cycling shoes
  • Normal gloves
  • Warm gloves
  • Leg warmers
  • Nutrition (high protein bars)
  • Neck protection
  • Water / Fluids
  • Bike tools
There is quite a few more but you have to watch the video to see what Ted King recommends for gravel racing. Perhaps now it should include a face mask for cycling.
https://youtu.be/x7DId8nuO_o

The Ted King Challenge

Ted also uses his global influence to support a not for profit organisation, the Krempel Centre in New Hampshire, which became close to his heart when in 2003, his father an orthopaedic surgeon, suffered a stroke.  The centre is dedicated to improving the lives of people who have suffered brain injuries and seeing what a fantastic support they were to his Dad, it seemed only natural to say thank you and nine years ago he used his influence to create the highly successful King Challenge With brother Robert, they held their first cycle event, which is aimed at all cycling abilities, and over its time have raised over one million dollars.. How can I help?

Fundraising requirement for the King Challenge

Adult $150 (minimum) individual requirement Youth (8-17 years): $25 (minimum) individual requirement Family (2 Adults and one or more Youth): $250 (minimum) Virtual Rider no minimum, for full program information,  click here.

Ted King Today

2020 isn't showing any signs of slowing down for this busy sportsman and entrepreneur.   The Team at Shokbox would like to wish him and Laura all the best for this newest challenge! To stay inspired and for advice on how to ride anywhere in the world,  listen to Ted's podcasts iamtedking, and follow his adventures on YouTube. To transport his bike to events, Ted uses the Shokbox Premium bike box.  Visit Shokbox to see our full range of bike boxes and transport cases, the safest way to take your bike. See the world through pedal power and remember the safest way to transport your precious cargo during flights is in a bike box. Thee hard bike box.

The King Career

      • Teams:

        • 2005 U23 National Team

        • 2006-2007 Priority Health

        • 2008 Bissell

        • 2009-2010 Cervelo TestTeam

        • 2011-2012 Liquigas-Cannondale

        • 2013-2014 Cannondale Pro Cycling

        • 2015 Cannondale-Garmin

Shokbox Premium Bike Box 

Are All Bike Boxes Created Equal?

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Biking in the Balkans

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Are All Bike Boxes Equal ?

If you are travelling with your bike, then you’re probably someone who considers your bike to be an important part of your life and indeed an extension of yourself. Whether you’re taking part in an overseas cycling event or you plan to hit some mountain trails or iconic climbs. You need to ensure that your bike arrives safely, securely and in one piece. You need a bike box from Shokbox

One thing I know is that travelling with your bike unprotected is not a good option. I have come across many who claim that shrouding it in bubble wrap and a cardboard box is enough protection!   Whether you are travelling by train or airline, the risk of damage to your bike increases and the damage can cost a significant amount to put right once you're there. Therefore, to avoid the risk, you need to make sure that you protect your bike in the best possible way.

shokbox Ian an airport lounge
Look beyond the obvious

The most common things people look for in a bike case are how heavy and how much?  A soft bag will generally weigh less than that of a hard case and tend to come in at a lower cost. However  you could find that you pay the price later.  Pricing varies with cases, ranging from £150-£800 but please keep in mind that all cases are not equal. Be aware buying cheaply can be a false economy because a bike case should be something you only buy once. So, ensure you bikebox represents real value for money.

The truth is that most insurance claims relating to damaged bikes in transit are attributed to soft bags. Simply put, they do not offer the same level of protection at all. Imagine arriving at your destination to unpack your bike to find it damaged. Although the soft bag v hard case debate will continue long after Brexit is settled. The reality is how much value do you put on your bike?

What should you consider when choosing a hard bike case?

Wheel Storage

Packing the wheels is a vital part of travelling with a bike.  Many cases come with moulded wheel recesses as part of their structure which can restrict the size of the wheel that you can pack.  In many older cases, for example, Bonza, this would make it difficult to travel with oversized tubeless tyres with liquid sealant. In fact, tyres would need to be removed to enable you to travel.  With a Shokbox this isn’t a problem.

Versatility

Bike and associated technology have evolved, but unfortunately, most bike hard cases were designed around old technology.  One consideration that nobody saw coming was rotor/disc brakes on road and TT bikes, many older bike boxes like Bikebox Alan can’t facilitate these which means they need to be removed adding more packing and assembly. What’s more, many of the older cases like Velovault are designed for QR skewers, however, many modern bikes now come with a through axel system making older cases redundant and often unusable.  It's a consideration that most overlook until it’s time to pack their bike, with Shokbox this wouldn't be an issue.

Is it Trackable?

Missing luggage or misdirected luggage happens all too, remember that your push bike inside the bike box will be treated as luggage. Its  extremely annoying when all you want to do is go and ride your bike and the airline have misdirected your package . Even though you might have insurance in place (and everybody should) a missing bike would definitely put a downer on your holiday!  Shokbox is available with GPS tracking, which means that you can track your bike wherever it might be.  It can even pinpoint the exact location of your bike box in the airport

Added Protection

So you did all the research and decided on hard case, but will it protect your bike from knocks, drops and stacking?   The Shokbox integrated Anti-crush System™ means no poles, rods or peripherals to attach making it easy to pack.  Impact damping technology ensures that all stress from loading is diverted to the heavy-duty sidewalls.

Shokbox Anti-Crush System

shokbox anti crush system
anti crush system

 

TSA Compliant Locks

Shokbox has TSA compliant lockable latches recessed into the contours of the case. This not only gives the case a much neater appearance, but it also prevents it from becoming snagged on conveyor belts. This makes travelling on airplanes with your bike more secure. Everything we have done is to ensure quality and functionality to our bike box UK.

Simple Manoeuvrability

It’s common for bike cases to come with just two castor wheels. But have you ever tried moving a 32kg bike box with just two wheels, while carrying a rucksack and juggling hand luggage for your trip?  However, with four multi-directional castor wheels, and ShokBox slick ball bearings, the load is evenly distributed. So the bike box can be easily moved around using our integrated pull handles with ease.

Multi-directional castor wheels
multi directional wheels

Pro-cyclist Ted King demonstrates four-wheeled, infinite steering capabilities.

 
Warranty

Most bike boxes offer some form of warranty ranging from 12 months to Bike Box Alan’s 7 years.  We are advocates of always taking out specialist travel insurance just in case the worst were to happen.  However, at Shokbox we are so confident in our quality products, every case comes with a lifetime warranty. What is Shokbox

The Shokbox bike box is a simple yet effective solution for travelling with your bike. Its unique design offers an exceptional level of protection. Whilst its clever, thought-through systems ensure that your bike can be packed and unpacked in a matter of minutes with minimal hassle.

Bike box Comparison Chart

compare hard cycle boxes

FAQ Shokbox 

Bike Box Rentals 

Source: The Cyclist

If you’re travelling with your bike by train or plane you need to make sure it’s properly protected in transit.

If it turns up damaged, at best you’ll end up with piles of yawnsome insurance paperwork once you get home, while at worst your well-earned bike break will be wrecked before it even begins.

Although soft-shell bike bags offer a lightweight option for those on limited budgets, our advice has always been to opt for a highly protective hard-shell case whenever you’re transporting your bike.

Not all bike boxes are created equal, however, so here we guide you through what Brit firm Shokbox offers with its products so you’ll know what features to look for when making this essential investment… our classic plus 

shokbox component chart

Whats Included

1. All Shokbox models – including the Classic, the Premium and the forthcoming Professional – use highly durable yet lightweight polypropylene for the outer casing.

Shokbox’s design then pushes this protection to the next level with features such as rounded, reinforced edges. These minimise the effects of impacts in the areas where they’re most likely to occur.

2. Once your bike is partially disassembled – a case of quickly removing its wheels, pedals, Seatpost and bars  – there’s plenty to keep the outside world from getting in.

A central support, for example, is integral to the case’s anti-crush properties and is strong enough to help keep the case’s walls apart even if a full-grown man stood on the case while it was laid flat.

3. Further internal anti-crush protection comes in the form of thick foam pads. Two sit between the outer walls of the case and the bike frame and wheels.

A third is then sandwiched between the frame and wheels.

4. Your Seatpost and pedals get their own carry sack.

5. Your wheels get their own bags, which are then securely strapped into the case’s lid.

6. There’s also plenty of room for your helmet, shoes, and any other cycling clothing.

gps tracking system and multi directional castor

7. Stainless-steel castors provide extra clearance and mobility for gliding through airports.

8. Theft deterrents include an in-built GPS chip (trackable via dedicated app) plus lockable TSA combination latches.

All cases can hold frames up to 62cm, and come in a blaze of different colours – so yours will be instantly recognisable when it emerges unscathed at baggage reclaim.

The Cyclist Magazine

Make sure your bike box is a Shokbox

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What is the TSA and How Does This Relate to Luggage Locks?

Who is the TSA?

Founded in 2001 due to the rise in terrorist attacks. The Travel Security Agency (TSA) was created to help improve security for passengers on flights to and from America. A division of Homeland Security, the TSA create and implement various security measures and checks for passengers. This includes the screening of luggage.

What is a TSA Approved Luggage Lock?

When we travel, we like to ensure the safety of our belongings from thieves. The easiest way to do this is through a padlock that prevents people from opening or accessing our luggage. The problem is, if agencies like the TSA screen our luggage and wish to open a suitcase to inspect it further, they will cut through this padlock. This leaves your suitcase without appropriate protection. In 2003, in response to growing airport security, Travel Sentry was created. This company create and manufacture padlocks that can be opened by agencies, such as the TSA, with a master key. This means that airport security can open your luggage without breaking your lock. Then when they are finished with checks, they can secure your luggage again with your padlock. Any padlock with the red Travel Sentry logo on it will be TSA-approved.

What Kind of Locks are TSA-Approved?

Travel Sentry has created locks in a variety of shapes of sizes, which will fit a wide array of luggage. Not just your regular suitcase padlock. These include locks with a key, locks with a 4-dial lock and cable locks. Do You Need a Travel Sentry Lock to Travel? Many people incorrectly believe that you need a TSA-approved padlock on your belongings in order to travel either abroad or to America. However, this is not the case. You can choose to place any padlock on your belongings or choose to leave your luggage entirely unlocked.

What Are the Benefits of Using a TSA-Approved Lock?

The TSA and other similar agencies have the right to open and inspect any luggage that is checked-in for a flight. Even if your bag has nothing suspicious in it, your case may show something peculiar during a scan or may be used for a random screening. Therefore, you can never bank on your luggage not being opened. If you don’t have a TSA-approved lock and agents choose to open your luggage, they will use bolt-cutters and will then discard your now-useless lock. Not only does this mean you’ll need to pay for a new lock, but it also leaves your luggage vulnerable to thieves. By using a TSA-approved lock, agents can easily open said lock using a master key and will re-lock your luggage when they are finished searching your case. If you choose to travel with your bike by plane, you should use one of our Shok Boxes. Not only does your Shokbox come with GPS tracking, but it also has TSA-approved latches so can be safely opened and secured by TSA agents. The Bike Box for You. Are all hard bike cases created equal? No we don't think they are

Bike Box Rental 

What is a TSA approved lock?

TSA Approved Lock is simply any lock that has the Travel Sentry logo on it. Travel Sentry was created in 2003 and is the group in charge of overseeing the creation and approval of luggage locks that can be opened by aviation security agencies like the TSA

what countries require TSA locks?

Well, the answer is zero countries require you to use a TSA lock. However, there's a list of countries that use the Travel Sentry lock system. Travel Sentry is the creator of the TSA-approved lock.

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How to Protect Your Belongings from Baggage Handlers
We all saw the viral video of Manchester airport baggage handlers that hit the internet last year. Many people were shocked at just how rough and uncaring these people were with other belongings. Literally chucking and throwing suitcases around. Some of which were falling to the concrete floor. It’s little wonder that many of our new and shiny suitcases come back from a flight so dirty and scraped. You need a Bike Box from Shokbox This is all very well if your luggage is just your holiday shorts and swimwear. However, when you choose to travel with precious cargo, such as your bike, the idea that someone could be so rough with your belongings is frankly alarming. So how do you protect your bike while travelling by plane?

Protecting Your Bike While Travelling by Air

Unfortunately for bike enthusiasts, your bike is too big to either bring on a plane as hand luggage nor is it small enough to fit in your suitcase. Meaning you’re going to have to be more creative when it comes to travelling by air. Some people will simply cover their bike in bubble wrap or cushioning. They believe this to be enough to protect their bike through a flight. In some cases, this will be fine, especially if you have good, courteous baggage handlers on all legs of your journey. In reality, though, baggage handlers are often inundated with work, having to move large amounts of baggage in very short spaces of time. So, it’s likely that your bike will be chucked both on and off of your plane. It may even be crushed under other people’s baggage. In this case your bubble wrap is going to do little to protect your bike. You need a hard bike box

Bike Box Rental 

Ease Your Mind by Investing in a Shokbox

The reality is, a bike can be a major investment. Especially if you’ve taken the time to upgrade yours or even build it from scratch. The likelihood is, your bike will have cost you not only thousands of pounds. It will also have taken a lot of personal time and energy to get it to where it is today. Even forgetting the money, we have emotional attachments with our bikes. These bikes are associated with happy and fulfilling times in our lives. Of course meaning we would be devastated if they got damaged on a flight. By investing in a Shok Box, you can be safe in the knowledge that your bike is safe and secure – no matter how rough the handlers are. The tough, durable materials of your Shok Box will cushion your bike away from any damage. Each box utilises clever seminal technology, which suspends your frame and wheels in an amniotic-like cavity for the ultimate protection. Even better, your Shokbox has been designed with air travel in mind. Your box comes with both GPS tracking and TSA-approved latches. This means you’ll know exactly where your bike is at all times and you can feel safe in the knowledge that if your bike is opened, agents can use a master key and re-secure your bike when finished. Shokbox the hard bike box What to do if your luggage goes missing
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What to do if your luggage goes missing!
  Going on holiday is one of the best times of the year. You can stick your out-of-office on, pack your bags and jet off to a wonderful destination for a few weeks of fun and relaxation. There is one nightmare associated with holidays, though. That is, after a long and exhausting flight, you stand at that baggage carousel and watch it turn around and around with no sign of your precious luggage. What exactly do you do when your luggage goes missing? Especially if that luggage contains your prized bike.  

What Happens When Luggage is Lost?

When you arrive at a destination and your luggage doesn’t, your first call will be to alert your airline. Hopefully your luggage has just missed a connecting flight and can be re-routed to your destination on one of the next flights available. Meaning you will – all things going well – be reunited with your luggage in 24-48 hours. Unfortunately, not all luggage that goes missing is found. So what happens when your luggage is lost? Well in these scenarios, your airline is liable for your loss. The problem is, there are no solid rules for how much compensation you will receive and there is an upper limit of £1000. For those of us with expensive bikes, this compensation will nowhere near cover the money and time you’ve put into your bike. Plus, this amount is very rarely given out, so you may receive a far smaller compensation than the £1000 limit.

How to Help Prevent Lost Luggage

Helping prevent your luggage getting lost isn’t an exact science. At the end of the day, baggage can go missing regardless of how well you plan your trip. You can, however, implement a few tips and tricks to help keep your luggage safe. For one, try using a unique case. You many laugh at people who have ostentatious colours or cases with their faces on them. However these cases stand out and are far less likely to be picked up by mistake from other passengers. For your bike, here is where your Shok Box comes in handy. With a unique shape and bright colours available, you won’t find others getting confused. Even better, these cases help prevent your bike from damage. So you won’t need to worry about extra flights as your luggage is re-routed. Even better, your Shok Box comes with GPS tracking, so you’ll know exactly where your bike is at all times. You should also add your name, address, mobile number and email to any case you are using. That way, if it is found, you should get contacted. You may also want to add your destination, flight number and hotel/accommodation on it, too.

Insure Your Luggage

If you do plan on taking your expensive bike on holiday, then get it insured. That way, if the worst happens, you can make a claim on the bike’s true value rather than what your airline decides to payout. An insurance firm will pay out far quicker than the airline, too. These companies tend to delay these payments as long as possible, which can be very frustrating. True, you will need to be an excess on your insurance policy, but this is far better than losing a large proportion of your bike’s value.

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WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

My Shokbox has been on nearly 20 long haul flights across the globe over the last few years and I have never had any problems with whatever bike I put in there!! Couldn't live, or travel, without it. Amazing box from a company with the best service.

 

 

Lucy Richardson

Used my new shokbox on a trip to the Pyrenees a few weeks ago, it was very easy to pack with space for loads of other stuff that saves weight in your normal luggage. Having been a Bike Box Allen user for many years this is a breath of fresh air in comparison!

Richard Anable

'Having used my Shokbox for 3 seasons and counting it has become my reliable and trusted travel companion. Over 20 flights, train travel and ferries later my bike has always arrived at every destination in perfect condition.

The box is simple to pack, easy to use and removes the stress from travel. It ensures your bike and wheels are fully protected and I simply couldn't imagine travelling without it!'

Alice Cobb
Lares Woawdeals Pro Cycling Team

Simply the best box I have ever used. Superb for transporting your pride and joy. Great customer back up to ensure a trouble free experience.

Simon Day

We approached Shokbox for advice for our first cycling trip abroad and how to transport bikes safely and securely via aeroplane, to France.

The response was very quick and hugely helpful. Where we were staying we couldn't hire bikes so we're quite concerned about the integrity of these boxes and the rough handling of our precious bikes.

We hired two bike boxes and were immediately calmed down when we saw the protection, secure clasps, padding, straps and wheels. A few other friends borrowed bike bags and the two of us were pretty smug wheeling these around the airport.

The customer service was excellent and they showed a real interest in our trip, bikes and how much our bikes mean to us.

Will definitely use these again and the new models look brilliant. Well worth the peace of mind.

 

Stuart Hannan

Training and competing for Ironman in locations around the globe. I like to know my kit will arrive in one piece. I purchased my Shokbox in 2014 and couldn’t be without it now.

 

James Brownlee

Shokbox arrived for the season ahead, and I was very surprised how easy it is to move around on its wheels. It also closes very easy and the shok protection works flawlessly, with no way anyone can interfere with it! Even airport staff when they have to search inside the box, this means my bike is always safe in transit. Mallorca Trip coming up! now my bike is happy knowing it is safe.

Scott Hills

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