2014 Gravity season

2014 Gravity season

We have now finalized our 2014 Factory Development Team and are proud and excited to be working with some of the world’s best:

Hannah Barnes Enduro Hannah Barnes / UK Fergus Lamb / UK Justin Leov / NZ Liam Moynihan / UK

Steffi Marth DH Joel Andrey / CH George Brannigan / NZ Carina Cappellari / CH Drew Carters / UK Joe Connell / UK Bernard Kerr / UK Steffi Marth / Germany Lars Peyer / CH Jack Reading / UK

Bernard Kerr BMX Race Shanaze Reade / UK Miki Iibata / Japan bluegrasseagle.com/

New Year, New You?

New Year, New You?

This is the time of year where you might think about starting a new diet or eating more healthily thanks to the excesses of the holidays and the ‘blues’ that tend to follow. In fact if you are anything like friends and colleagues of mine, most people have already started and failed a couple of diets since January 1st. One of the things that is perceived as a little easier to follow that a fad diet, is to take supplements to help you in a particular area. One that seems popular this year, is Raspberry Ketone.

What is Raspberry Ketone Used For?

Raspberry Ketone is a natural phenolic compound which is responsible for the smell or scent of raspberry. In other words, when you smell a ripe red raspberry, Raspberry Ketone is responsible for what you are actually smelling. Despite its name, Raspberry Ketone is actually found in other fruits too, including cranberries and blackberries.

Raspberry Ketone is marketed as a natural weight-loss supplement, rather than one used to target a specific area of the body. It is used in weight loss management and considered to be helpful in breaking down fat more efficiently in your body. This is because it is thought to regulate and increase the quantity of adiponectin in the body, which is the protein that regulates metabolism. The more adiponectin in the body, the lower body fat is thought to be. This is therefore seen as somewhat of a miracle supplement as, should it be effective, it does not involve doing anything different in your diet or your exercise regimen.

The Cost of Raspberry Ketone

Raspberry ketone in its natural form can cost as much as $20,000 per kilo. This is because only a 1-4mg can be extracted from an entire kilo of ripe red raspberries. As Raspberry ketone can be synthesised far more cheaply, this is the normal way supplements have been created. Supplements tend to contain either 100mgs or 500mgs of Raspberry Ketone per capsule and depending on the dosage they are often one per day. Initially the supplements were very expensive, but as some time has passed since they became more popular, they are now well-priced. However, do not be fooled by poor quality imports that are very cheap. You should choose high quality certified supplements made by a reputable manufacturer.

Blind Me With Science

Scientific exploration is limited. In fact, there have only been very small studies on mice and no human studies undertaken at all to this point. However, with the latest investigations into Raspberry Ketone seeing a potential reduction in the chances of contracting liver cancer and a positive reduction of cell damage, these seem likely to increase and hopefully produce many positive results. There are no known side effects, although with Raspberry Ketone being a stimulant, some people have reported having symptoms such as heart palpitations and sleeplessness. Without scientific study and the passing of time, we will not know any negative effects, but it has been passed as a safe food product in both the US and UK among other countries.

A Bit of Bad Press

The Raspberry Ketone Diet Plan was under fire in the UK back in July after fake celebrity endorsements from Adele, Victoria Beckham and even the Duchess of Cambridge were used through Facebook advertising. It is thought that thousands of women purchased the plan which was not a one-off payment as they imagined, but in fact a monthly subscription service. It is unlikely that this did much to damage the reputation of Raspberry Ketone, but bad press is never positive.

So, Raspberry Ketones may well be worth a try, but we may need to wait until science catches up to verify this!

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Dale is a long-time student of health, wellness and nutrition. He’s currently working with Well Beings Health and Nutrition Centre in Langley, Canada.

3 Incredible Beach Holidays In Africa

3 Incredible Beach Holidays In Africa

3 Incredible Beach Holidays in Africa

Madagascar and the Seychelles might be well known, but the beaches surrounding the continent of Africa itself are dramatic and diverse. With a coastline offering everything from ancient ports, to forest fringed white sands and transparent waters, a beach holiday on the shores of Africa should not be overlooked. Here’s a guide to three of the best.

Essaouira, Morocco

Essaouira, Morocco

Essaouira, Morocco

Roughly two hours from Marrakesh, the ancient port of Essaouira on the West coast of Africa was first made popular during the sixties, when Mick Jagger and Maria Callas spent time there. Since then, Essaouira has upped its game, offering luxury hotels alongside atmospheric traditional Riad’s. The 10 kilometres of sandy beaches, water-sports, fine restaurants, a Sofitel Hotel and a Gary Player golf course mean Essaouira has joined the 21st century, but neither has it lost any of its bohemian charm. A traditional walled medina, fish shacks on the beach, the scent of spices in the air, and the maze of ancient winding streets tick all the boxes for a charming and authentic holiday experience. Known for a laid back vibe with friendly locals, even the souk is known for the lack of aggressive sales techniques commonly seen in Marrakesh.

World Bicycle Relief

With six assembly facilities, World Bicycle Relief is empowering people across Africa. So far, we’ve provided bikes in Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Where will you take us next? <a href"http://www.uk.worldbicyclerelief.org/our-story">World Bicycle Relief</a>

With six assembly facilities, World Bicycle Relief is empowering people across Africa. So far, we’ve provided bikes in Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Where will you take us next?

JOURNEY: 3 – 4 hours flying from London. There are no direct flights to Essaouira from the UK, so fly from Manchester, Gatwick or Heathrow to Marrakech then transfer by Bus or Train.

Tanzania and Zanzibar

Tanzania and Zanzibar

Tanzania and Zanzibar

Located on the East of Africa, here you’ll find some of the most secluded beaches in the world. The true beach lover will be able to indulge in some true me time, stretched out on the sands, or swimming in the azure Indian Ocean, beneath endless blue skies and year-round temperatures of around 30 degrees. The islands of Tanzania and Zanzibar include Unguja, Pemba, and Mafia Island, renowned as one of the best diving destinations on the East African coast. Apart from endless white sands and snorkelling and diving opportunities, Unguja boasts historic palaces and forts, while Pemba is an uninhabited island paradise popular with honeymooners, rich in spice plantations and coconut tree studded unspoilt beaches. A visit to any of these islands will have you reconsidering the rat race and dreaming of your very own hut on the beach, in true Robinson Crusoe style.

Journey: 10 – 15 hours from the UK. BA fly direct to Dar-es-Salaam, or via Amsterdam with KLM or Kenya Airways.

Tofo, Mozambique

Tofo, Mozambique

Tofo, Mozambique

Mozambique has put its troubled history to rest, and Tofo has earned a great reputation as a tourist destination largely for its beautiful sandy beaches. That said, it also boasts great nightlife, a laid back atmosphere, and good restaurants – only 20km from the historic port city and airport of Inhambane. Holiday in Tofo, and you can enjoy horse riding, deep sea fishing, and surfing, or scuba dive with the Manta Rays, whale sharks and dolphins in the balmy waters of the Indian Ocean.

Journey: No direct flights between the UK and Mozambique. Southern Mozambique is accessed from South Africa.

Bill Turner is an athlete, entrepreneur and freelance writer who specialises in guest blogging. He enjoys spending time with his dogs and family when he’s not traveling for business.

There’s Always Something To Do At Loch Lomond

There’s Always Something To Do At Loch Lomond

1280px-View_of_loch_lomondJust west of Glasgow is a part of the world that looks like something out of a postcard. Drive half an hour out of the city and you’ll find yourself at Loch Lomond. It’s the where the highlands and lowlands meet and it is stunning. A visit to Loch Lomond should be on anyone’s travel agenda as it’s the chance to see somewhere that seems to have remained unspoiled over time. And it’s not just a place for people who like to go for a nice walk. There’s a lot to see and do in an area that has national park status and really shows it off.

If you’re someone who likes to be active then this is the perfect place for you to breathe in some pristine Scottish air and get the heart pumping. You can get your hiking boots on and walk between the mountains, go cycling on dirt tracks, climb up some Bens (the Scottish term for small mountains) and even do a spot of bird watching if it takes your fancy.

Loch Lomond is also a great place for people who like to get their toes wet. The range of water sports on offer is fantastic. Drive by the loch any day of the week and you’ll usually see people taking it easy in a canoe or wiling away their afternoon with a bit of fishing (although you need a local permit to catch anything).

There’s always a sailboat or two making most of the conditions and you’d be surprised at the brave people who like to take a dip anytime of the year. In the summer you’ll usually come across packed out beaches watching on as water-skiers move around the water at breakneck speed.

For those who like to take it a little easier, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to finding a relaxing place to stay. Many couples use a trip to Loch Lomond as an excuse for a spa break and golf weekend break. There’s Loch Lomond Golf Club, which hosted the Scottish Open for 10 years and proves to be a great challenge for any visitor. One of the more exciting courses is The Carrick. It’s a 71-par course that has some holes nestled right in between mountains. You’ll never play a game in an area as beautiful.

If you or the other half isn’t much of a golf fan, a day spent getting the best beauty treatments might be more up their street. Get in to a fluffy robe and spend some time at Carrick Spa where you can get ‘Advanced Enzyme Facials’, salt scrubs, Swedish massages and luxury pedicures with hot stones. You’ll walk out feeling like a whole new person.

And when you feel a bit peckish you have to visit the institution that is the Wee Blether Tea Room. It might look like a bit of a tourist trip when you see people snapping the signs outside, but head in and you’ll get some of the best tasting cakes and tray bakes ever made. And their tea is obviously quite good too.

You’ll be surprised at how much you can get up to with a short break to one of the most beautifully serene places in the UK. You can at least get a few rounds of golf in and make sure it counts as fresh air.

Gary Gallagher is a writer who like to showcase the best getaway spots in the UK. He likes helping people find out about places they’d never even think about going to.

British Cycling wins bid to host 2016 UCI Track World Championships in London

British Cycling wins bid to host 2016 UCI Track World Championships in London

20120217-London-TWC-670x250The decision, made by the UCI management committee in Florence, Italy, means many of Britain’s track cyclists will have the chance to compete at a venue where they enjoyed amazing success winning nine Olympic medals in 2012. The 2016 Track Cycling World Championships will take place between 24and 28 February.

Forming part of UK Sport’s Gold Event Series which aims to bring 70 world class events to this country by 2019, the Track Championships will also be a great opportunity for the public to show their support for Great Britain’s cyclists in the final stage of the Olympic qualification process for Rio 2016.

For the National Lottery funded British Cycling athletes the event will be the final milestone on the countdown to the Rio Olympics, providing an inspirational send off for the British riders as well as a morale boosting opportunity to perform in front of a home crowd.

The process to bring the UCI Track Cycling World Championships to London began in 2012 in the run up to the Olympic Games and has involved a partnership between British Cycling, UK Sport, London Legacy Development Corporation, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, London & Partners and the Mayor of London.

“The events we’ve delivered over the last decade in the UK have rightly been regarded as world class but the delivery of a World Championships in this iconic venue will be the biggest task we’ve taken on to date.”

British Cycling Chief Executive Ian Drake

Speaking at the time of the announcement, British Cycling’s Chief Executive, Ian Drake, said:

“Winning the bid to host the final Track Cycling World Championships of the next Olympic cycle is important strategically for us, it’s good for the current generation of athletes, but it’s also an important tool for inspiring the next generation who will follow in their footsteps.

“The events we’ve delivered over the last decade in the UK have rightly been regarded as world class but the delivery of a World Championships in this iconic venue will be the biggest task we’ve taken on to date.”

Minister for Sport, Hugh Robertson, said:

“This is another great coup for British sport and a real legacy from London 2012. The capital’s velodrome is a stunning, world-leading venue and I am sure the 2016 Track World Championships will have capacity crowds supporting our best cyclists ahead of the Rio Games. UK Sport’s Gold Event Series is helping to cement this country’s reputation as a leading destination to host the biggest events in world sport.”

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said:

“This is absolutely fantastic news for London, marking the arrival of yet another thrilling world class sporting fixture to our city. These prestigious championships will be centred around our stunning Olympic velodrome, a remarkable venue that saw such awe-inspiring performances from British cyclists last summer. Interest in cycling is rocketing in this city and I’ve no doubt London’s 2016 Track World Championships help will propel this even further.”

The World Championships in 2016 will take place in the velodrome at Lee Valley Velo Park, currently undergoing transformation in preparation for its handover from the London Legacy Development Corporation to Lee Valley Regional Park Authority who will be responsible for the long term management of the facility for the people of London. The Track World Championships forms part of a much wider calendar of sport in the capital that build on the legacy of the 2012 Games throughout the next Olympic cycle.

If you have been inspired to get on a bike…