The Singletrack Staffers pick the standout products and locations from their riding year. This article was originally published in Singletrack Magazine Issue 140.
The year has felt a little like approaching that nemesis feature on the trail: you roll up to it full of optimism, then at the last minute pull on the brakes in an attack of ‘nope’. Whether it was a ping that put paid to yet another plan, or a shipping container that didn’t arrive as expected (by now, perhaps, that should be ‘as expected, a shipping container didn’t arrive’), we had plenty of interruptions along the way. However, our northern hills had an unusually dry summer, so we managed a decent spell of short-sleeved riding on our doorstep, and there were a few chances to get further afield that we grasped and enjoyed. Like that trail feature, once we cleared it, the elation at meeting friends, riding new trails and generally enjoying bikes was all the sweeter.
Hannah – Managing Editor
After a year of keeping my wheels firmly on the ground and being very cautious after partially dislocating my shoulder in 2020, this year I found myself looking down trails I know I can ride and saying ‘nope’. A concerted effort through the summer has pushed me back into the realms of ‘I wonder whether I can…’, leading inevitably to my first crash post shoulder injury. Getting up and riding on (and crashing again, and getting up again) has helped me get over the feeling that I’m fragile and breakable, and has re-instilled a sense of bounce. I’m heading into 2022 hoping to stay away from injuries and get back to progression.
CamelBak Chase Protector Vest
I have to admit I’ve never really got on with hip packs – their tendency to ride up, or down, or just under your T-shirt is a frustrating distraction I find inevitably hits just as you’re on that descent that really needs your attention. So I’m a fan of the backpack that stays in place. I’m also a fan of my back, and a bit of a tumbler, so backpacks have an added benefit of providing a soft landing – providing you’ve not packed your pump beside your kidneys. This pack gives me all the back protection of the big certified enduro packs, but in a nice small package that doesn’t prompt questions of what on earth am I carrying in there. It’s narrow enough to be pretty cool to wear in the summer, and the strap mounted pockets are incredibly useful, especially the giant zippered phone pocket that lets me access my phone without having to stop to take off my pack. It’s light enough – and stable enough – that I’ve even used it for the occasional run. It’s only just big enough for essentials, but for rides that don’t need sandwiches or a couple of spare layers it’s just right.
Read Hannah’s full review here:
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