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Ultra-distance cyclist Chris Hall tells us about how his AfterShokz Aeropex cycling headphones helped him complete his Tour de France #107 cycling challenge, cycling 107 kilometres a day for 15 weeks!
"I’m Chris Hall, an ultra-distance cyclist based in London. I started cycling properly 6 years ago. I was never a particularly sporty kid, much more interested in computer games than being outside but whilst I was at University I started cycling to lectures because it was quicker and cheaper than any other mode of transport. I was a student and didn’t really have a lot of spare cash so a bike was the most cost effective way to get around.
Slowly after a few long rides I started to really grow to love the sport and eventually became hooked. For me ultra-distance challenges and races appeal as they test you both physically and mentally."
"I do a lot of fundraising for a children’s school which looks after kids with cerebral palsy and other motor based disorders. The Pace Centre is a charity which looks after these 107 kids and their families with the goal to offer them the best education and opportunity in life.
This year (2020) was the 107th edition of The Tour De France so I wanted to do something to support Pace around the Tour. My original plans were changed because of the global pandemic we are in but I’m incredibly pleased I managed to make something work. In the end I cycled the length and width of the UK."
"The rules were simple, to cycle a minimum of 107 miles every day that the 2020 edition of The Tour De France was on, It meant I could have rest days when the pros did as well but also meant I was cycling further than the total distance of The Tour"
"The challenge overall was incredibly tough. I intentionally made it as hard as I could! The weather conditions weren’t the best, especially in Scotland and the continual impact of riding 107 (plus) miles every day for 20 odd days meant there was a huge build up of fatigue.
With about three days left to go, I knew I was physically pretty done but mentally I always knew I would finish it. The challenge was for a more than worthy cause and thinking of the children my fundraising supported was enough to keep me going."
"Train for it, work with a coach and understand that there will be failures and issues. Be prepared for the mental battles you will have, not just the physical ones. These kinds of challenges ultimately become eating contests. You have to consume so much food to keep going - it sounds great being able to eat that much, but actually it is hard work. The more fuel on the fire, the longer it will last."
"Massively so. With AfterShokz headphones cycling time passes more easily. I listen to music and podcasts throughout my rides. It’s a great way to focus and keep motivated, especially on the longer sessions.
I also find it a good way to distract and occupy my mind which is so important in ultra-distance cycling. I’m someone who often doubts myself so being able to keep that at bay is important to me."
"A big reason was the safety aspect, being able to hear what is going on around me whilst riding is incredibly important. Bluetooth bone conduction headphones means my ear canal is not blocked so I can still hear ambient noise. Another one is that I’m part deaf, so normal headphones never sound too great. The bone conduction technology in Aftershokz cycling earphones really does help me hear music a lot better than I have before."
"They’re a great product! A lot of the time people ask if they are comfortable to cycle with, especially when you have glasses, the headphones and the helmet straps. I have never found this an issue and in all honesty I often completely forget about them, they have a really secure fit. If they are so comfortable you can forget you are wearing headphones, that means it is a fantastic product!
The BlueTooth connection is totally reliable and the sound quality excellent, they really are my most-trusted wireless earphones."
"For me the big thing with all Aftershokz products is the bone conduction technology. Like I mentioned previously, being part deaf I have often struggled with the sound quality coming to my ears. The bone conduction technology has honestly changed how I listen to music and podcasts. When I first tried them I asked my friends to suggest a bunch of songs to listen to and it really blew me away."
"One thing I’d love to see improved is the battery life. It’s already incredibly good, with hours of playback, but for multi-day bike-packing trips where I may not be able to charge anything for several days it would stop me worrying so much about how much I can listen to music."
"I get asked this one a lot too. For me the best way I have found is first of all to put on your helmet and do up the strap. Then put your Aftershokz wireless headphones on over the strap then, finally your sunglasses.
That order seems to work perfect for me and I have no issues! It's another reason they are the best headphones for cycling!"
"This is literally my most hated question as everyone likes to know what’s next haha! I take most of December off from cycling with Christmas and my Birthday. I think it’s incredibly important to have a break in the winter months, to maintain winter cycling motivation and to stay motivated for the rest of the year.
With the current global pandemic travel plans for 2021 may be a bit restricted, much like this year but fingers crossed I can make a few of the ideas I have in place happen!"