Shimano XC30 MTB Shoe Review

Smimano XC30s

These replaced a worn out pair of budget DHB shoes which the soles and tread had been destroyed on rocky ground.  They’re a good pair of basic three strap shoes, so no laces to get caught in chains.  Good foot and arch support, as well as being a fairly wide fitting so comfortable.  Even though just a Velcro fastening, they still cinch up tight so work well on the up stroke.  The Velcro has stood up well to dusty tracks as well as being soaked for extended periods.  Easy to open up to dry them out at the end of the day, with the foot bed coming out easily.

Shimano XC30 MTB Shoe
Shimano XC30 MTB Shoe

The standard Shimano MTB cleats fit easily (though NB these are not supplied so you will either need to refit some old ones or buy new ones at the same time).

Screws and the backing plate do come with the shoes however, and 5 minutes with an HB pencil and a bit of foot dangling over a table soon have the cleats fitted and aligned.

Shimano M647
Shimano M424

The cleats are quite recessed into the treads, which makes them easy (and quiet!) to walk in on smooth surfaces – but could possibly be a problem with some pedals.  We use them with SPD pedals like these with surrounding cages (so the pedals can be used for quick rides with ordinary shoes) and they aren’t a problem, however, but could possibly be an issue with more aggressive interfaces (though in that case you would probably be looking at more expensive shoes anyway!..)


A good basic MTB shoe and excellent value for money.

More Info

Please see our MTB routes  or our family holiday cycling pages for more details


Bungee Straps for Mares Fins Review

Mares Bungee Straps

If you have Mares Quattro, or similar, fins and are still using the old style of standard straps which came with them…

Mares fin straps (old style)
Standard Mares fin straps

… put down your mouse and get immediately along to your local LDS (or favourite on line retailer) and get yourself  some Mares Bungee replacements.

Mares Bungee Fin Straps
Mares Bungee Fin Straps

These replacements are a dead easy to put on and for ease of use make this upgrade option a total “no brainer”.

Just one large rubber loop, big enough to easily grasp when wearing gloves or even a “lobster claw” style glove. You simply grab the loop, pull it over your heel and that’s it.  Fins on!

To remove them again just grab the loop, slip it under your boot and you’re done.  Fins off!!

Absolutely no faffing around with plastic clips on hinges, or trying to squeeze two small pips with cold fingers in gloves to release them, ever, ever, again.

Fitting them

The clips have a “key hole” style fastening, which locates onto a plastic mushroom head that protrudes from each side of your fin.  Simply pivot the old clip up 90 degrees so its vertical (it will take a bit of a push to turn it) and it will then push down about 10mm and release.  Instructions are on the packet, and once you’ve done the first one, the other three sides are dead easy.  If you’re worried about the length (they are sized to match your fin & boot sizes) they do come with two screw on extenders for each pair, that can be used to lengthen the strap by around 10mm or so (shown in foreground of picture above).


Absolute no brainer. Go and buy them.


More Info

For more info on our diving activities in Spain please see our diving holidays pages.

Sierra Nevada Ski Resort – November News

Sierra Nevada Ski Lift Improvements

We’re all pretty excited over the news that 3 Million Euros have just been spent on improvements up the road at Sierra Nevada, in readiness for the new skiing season.  Main beneficiary of the big spend has been the Al Andalus gondola lift, which we are told will be more comfortable and faster for the 2015/16 season, having undergone a profound renewal of structural, mechanical and electronic elements over the summer to mark 25 years since its commissioning.

Al Andalus gondola is the one on the right as you stand at Pradollano and look up towards the top (the one on the right is Borreguiles) and connects the ski village of Pradollano to the main Borreguiles ski area.  Last year the uplift capacity from the lower part of the  village via these two gondolas was 3300 px/hr for Al Andalus and 2275 ppx/hr for Borreguiles (with Jara chair lift giving an additional 2880 px/hr straight up to the Sulayr snow park / Lomar Dilar area).

Two of the 26 ski lift pylons (numbers 21 & 22) have been renovated and re-located to ensure better performance, which involved draining the lake during the summer to facilitate the work of concreting of the base.  Further work undertaken in the major refit over summer was renewal of over 400 blocks and 50 rockers, as well as major hardware upgrades to the motor rooms.

Sierra Nevada Lift Improvements
Sierra Nevada Lift Improvements

The lift has also benefited from upgrades to the motor and gearing system, described as a “new heart”, which, along with the renewal of all the electronic control systems and cooling systems, will allow the Al Andalus to be faster, reaching a maximum speed of 6 meters a second (compared to 5.2 from previous seasons).

A renovation of  65 gondola cabins has included new windows, isolation supports and interior comfort improvements as well as an improved suspension system to reduce vibrations as the cabins pass over the pylons.

Additional improvements have been made to improve access for users in both the upper and lower stations for more convenient access to the gondolas.

In addition, the station has further invested in improving facilities, with a reform of the Borreguiles top station building, with new public toilets and waterproofing of the terrace of the restaurant, a new transformer for the Monachil chairlift, changes to the urban chairlift cable, fiber optic installations in Stadium chairlift and a new ski lift landing stage for Jara lift.

Finally the works have also improved the lighting of the River and Maribel slopes for night skiing, a renovation and repair of the windbreaks around the park tracks, new processing machines as well as the incorporation of new snow bike Service tracks.

New Pistes & Ski Cross Track

Sierra Nevada will now have a permanent ski cross track and a new competition area for children.  The new ski cross track will be approx. 750 meters long and be used for official competitions.  It will be built with small jumps and banked snow between Sector Three of the Snow Park and the Lomar de Dílar piste.

The station has scheduled 55 races already this year, and will continue to give grants to clubs who dedicate equipment to official competitions, which will benefit about 280 children.

Cetursa Management Changes

Francisco Fernandez, Minister of Tourism and Sports of the Junta de Andalucía, is now president of the operating company, Cetursa Sierra Nevada.

Among the new directors of the company highlights is the former World Cup racer and CEO of Sports Promotion, Maria Jose Rienda, as well as new representatives of local authorities present in the shareholding of Cetursa Sierra Nevada.

Fernandez told the recent general meeting of shareholders and directors of the company details of the investment of 3 million euros, the strategic aims for Cetursa for the 2015/2016 season, the return of the  Freestyle World Cup in 2016 and the increased momentum in promoting Sierra Nevada.

More Info

See our skiing in Sierra Nevada page for more info on our ski and snowboard activity days with Totally Sorted Sports.