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2017 Frankfurt Motor Show Review

The year’s biggest motor show is always a key date in our diary, with this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show taking place from 16-24th September, with advance openings for the press from September 12th. There may have been some big name absences (strange not to see Alfa, Citroen, Fiat, Peugeot and Volvo in attendance) but there were still more than enough exciting announcements and reveals to keep us interested.

Here at The Hatchbag Company, we’re always keen to keep an eye on major motor industry events, both out of our personal interest in cars, as well as to identify new vehicles we can offer our custom boot liners for. In this blog, we’ve chosen to highlight a few key trends that we saw come out of 2017’s Frankfurt showing.

Interesting Concepts

This year’s event certainly didn’t disappoint, with a range of stunning concept cars on show. We could spend all day talking about the eye-catching and futuristic features on show, with options such as Volkswagen’s new Polo, the latest Impreza from Subaru, a look at the new Bentley Continental GT and Renault’s Megane Renaultsport, but here are our three favourites from this year’s offering.

BMW M5

Blue BMW M5

It’s always exciting to see what BMW bring to the table, and this year was certainly one to savour. Their new M5 not only looks the part, it also features a range of innovative tech and is reported to handle wonderfully. It’s sure to be one of the leading executive saloon options on the market, with all of the familiar benefits of previous 5 Series cars, but with even more in terms of comfort and performance.

For a look at our custom BMW boot liner options, you can click here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/bmw

Honda Urban EV

White Honda Urban EV

The new offering from Honda may look like something out of a Sci-Fi movie, but it has the potential to become the first electric car to really win over the mass market. Honda are saying that when this concept model arrives to the European market in 2019, it should look pretty much the same as it did at the Frankfurt showcase. Personally, we’d be more than happy if that were the case, as it looks great.

For a look at our custom Honda boot liners, you can click here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/honda

Audi Aicon

White Audi Aicon

Audi unveiled its gorgeous new Aicon concept car, part of their new “AI” branch which is focusing on the kind of autonomous and self-teaching cars that are set to usher in the new generation of vehicles. This really was a glimpse of the future, with a stunningly sleek style and a range of innovative features under the surface.

For our custom Audi boot liners, head here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/audi

Focus on the Future

While the Frankfurt Motor Show is always somewhat future-focused due to the number of new and concept cars on display for us to fantasise about owning, this year was even more geared towards what is to come for the vehicle industry. Namely in the form of electric cars. There’s been a lot of talk about the increasing popularity of electric cars in an environmentally-conscious and functionality-obsessed age, but this year’s motor show brought statements of intent from a number of major players.

There were two major statements that caught our attention on this topic:

  • - The repeated suggestions that every major car brand was likely to have at least one electric version of their main models by the mid-2020s, offering a huge range of electric car options.
  • - The statement made by Dieter Zetsche, boss of Daimler, who have involvements in brands such as Mercedes-Benz and Smart Car. During his address at the conference, Zetsche said that Daimler’s intention was to have between 15 and 25% of their vehicle line-up as fully electric in the near future.

It remains to be seen how the general motoring public will respond to the electric car revolution, but it looks increasingly like it’s going to be a case of when, rather than if, many of us will switch to electric.

Anyway, that’s enough future talk for now; we won’t even mention the self-driving car talk that went on!

German Innovation

It stands to reason that there would be a strong German manufacturer’s presence with such a prestigious motoring show on home soil, and this year was no different. There was a strong showing from Audi, with the aforementioned Aicon concept car catching our eye most, especially with the rumours that it could come with “no pedals, no steering wheel and a 500-mile electric range” and all that could mean.

BMW had a number of ideas on show, including its X7 concept car, but not everyone was impressed with some of their design choices this time around. Volkswagen shared their own concept, an electric version of their famous Golf model, while Mercedes also showcased electric concept cars, which they said would be able to offer a sub-5 second 0-60mph capability with ease.

In Closing

We’ve hardly had time to scratch the surface of the full scope of what went on in Frankfurt – we could also wax lyrical about the new Land Rover Discovery SVX, Ford’s new and revised Mustang and Jaguar’s I-Pace racing vehicle – but we hope this has given you a little insight into the excitement on show.

As we looked on admiringly at so many of the excellent new options on offer for car lovers, we felt a renewed commitment to ensure The Hatchbag Company keep offering the very best options to protect the boots of these high-end vehicles with a custom boot liner that matches each vehicle in terms of quality and style.

We offer our high-quality boot liners, handmade in Britain for a custom fit, with current offerings for many of the major brands mentioned in this Frankfurt Motor Show review. As soon as these new and exciting vehicles hit the roads, we’re sure to be offering custom boot liners for them too, but for now you can take a look across our range of hundreds of custom boot liners and find the exact fit for your current vehicle. Our full list of available brands is found here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners

The Best Cars for Dog Owners

For many dog owners, finding a car that is compatible with transporting their beloved pet is a top priority. Whether it’s taking your dog out to their favourite walking spots, away on holiday with you, or on day trips to see family, you’ll want a vehicle that both you and your dog can enjoy riding in.

Any car’s suitability for travelling with a dog, or dogs, can be enhanced by features such as quality boot protectors and mats that offer both comfort and protection. That said, it is still worth looking at the cars which come ready-made with the most dog-friendly format.

When look for the ideal vehicle for this aim, we consider features such as interior space, seating layout and ease of access for dogs who aren’t as mobile as they once were. We’ll also provide helpful links to the range of available items we offer, designed specifically for these leading dog-friendly car models. After that, it’ll be down to you to choose the car that suits you and your dog the best.

Skoda Superb Estate

Skoda offers a fine range of vehicle options, but we chose the Superb model here, because it lives up to its name when it comes to providing a great fit for dogs. There is a real focus on comfort, with the Estate option particularly spacious and the car able to cruise along in real ease even on long trips.

This model also has one of the largest boots of a car of its type, at around 660 litres capacity, so much so that you’ll probably be jealous of the amount of space your dog gets to enjoy! It also offers the benefit of a low loading sill in its boot that is easy for most dogs to jump into. An ideal fit.

Our range of Skoda Superb items are here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/skoda/superb

Nissan X-Trail

Offering a sleek and stylish look in a range of colours, the X-Trail is becoming an iconic model for those with an active lifestyle and taste for adventure, albeit with the comfort of such an elite vehicle. In terms of what it specifically offers to dogs and their owners, it is a comfortable and spacious option, with space consideration for a storage rack for leads.

This is a great looking car that gets better with every new model, whilst still being priced around £10,000 less than comparable options from Audi, BMW and Range Rover. The boot loading lip is a little higher than some, but overall it’s ideal for any dog owner looking to achieve luxury at a fair price point.

Our range of Nissan X-Trail items are here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/nissan/x-trail

Peugeot 308 SW

This is another vehicle with a fantastically spacious boot capacity, in fact matching the Skoda Superb at 660 litres, but doing so with a shorter and taller boot shape. This makes it an ideal fit for dogs who may prefer standing tall in a boot rather than lying flat. You’ll know your dog’s preferences and comforts better than us, but it’s worth noting the point that shape can often be as important as space.

A classic family car that, while offering a little less space than our other listed options for its rear seats, offers a low boot floor and loading lip that makes it comfortable for the majority of dogs to get in and out of. It is also a highly economical car for those looking for additional value when travelling.

Our range of Peugeot 308 items are here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/peugeot/308

Seat Leon Estate

A sleek car model that is as stylish as they come in terms of estate models, you can see the influence of Volkswagen construction methods alongside the unique Seat style. This car features a 580 litre boot, but comes with the benefit of an adjustable boot floor to help you find the ideal level for your dogs.

Providing a lovely balance of performance, style and economical use, this vehicle is sure to have your dog travelling in style while also giving you a range of benefits as a driver.

Our range of Seat Leon items are here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/seat/leon

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

The latest range of Picasso models are the crowning achievement of the Citroen Grand range, offering a real style and innovation to their design. Equipped for a large family with its third row of seats, the makers also keep in mind that many families have a dog as a vital member, with the third row of seating able to be removed to offer a 540 litre boot capacity ideal for a dog to enjoy.

With its low lying boot floor and lip, it offers a comfortable space for any dog to climb in and out of, as well as a range of economical running features meaning you’ll also feel at ease whenever you use it.

Our range of Citroen Grand items are here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/citroen/grand-c4

We hope you’ve enjoyed this brief look at some of our favourite vehicle options for dog owners. We’re continually casting our eye over the leading cars on the market so that we can ensure we offer custom boot liners and accessories for them all. We’ll report back if any new options make our list, but for now, these are the best options in our eyes and well worth considering as your next car selection.

The Best Dog Car Mats on the Market

As we move towards autumn, chances are that your dog walks are likely to become a fair bit wetter and muddier. That should never stop you from taking your dog to stretch their legs outside, but it may call for added protection for your car. Here at the Hatchbag Company, we know how important it is to find the right mat to protect your car, so we’re always looking to provide the best options.

Thankfully, there are a range of boot protectors and dog car mats on the market, so today we’re going to look at the best car mats you can get your hands on. Whether you’re looking to protect the car from mess, from smell, or just to give your dog a more comfortable ride, we’ll help you to find the best options to benefit your dog and keep your car looking its best.

Rubber Mats

A rubber mat isn’t specifically designed for dogs, but does offers a range of benefits for any dog who is likely to make your boot wet, whether because they’ve been out running through wet terrains, or are yet to be fully toilet trained. They offer waterproof protection to your boot, as well as being designed to reduce the chance of your soggy dog slipping around in the boot as you turn corners.

There are many options on the market, but here at the Hatchbag Company, we have developed our range of elite rubber mats to sit over the base of our Hatchbag boot liners, each designed specifically for an exact car make and model. While our rubber mats are only available in black, they’re able to complement our range of boot liners, available in colours including blue, brown, grey, pink and red.

We would recommend the rubber mat as a suggested dog mat choice for heavy use. The top surface of our rubber mats features a Penny/Stud design that is innovatively designed to reduce slip, but also allow objects to move across the mat’s surface without snagging or ripping it. Meanwhile, the underside of the mat is textured to eliminate any slip between the boot liner and the mat.

a Hatchbag rubber mat

Odour Control Mats

It is inevitable that your dog is going to get a bit smelly from time to time, especially when they get wet. As we’ve covered already, the autumn and winter months bring particular consideration for damp and dirt, which in turn bring a range of potentially ‘interesting’ smells!

There are a variety of odour control mat options for the home, designed for dog beds and other sleeping areas, but the options for cars are more limited. Or at least, they were. The good news is that here at the Hatchbag Company we’ve developed a quilted blanket-style odour mat which offers comfort as well as containing activated carbon that is built to absorb and eliminate bad odours.

Any odour control mat we produce will be tailored to fit perfectly inside the bespoke Hatchbag boot liner for whichever make and model of car you own. Additionally, all of the odour control pet mats we sell feature a special finish that repels both hair and dirt. The mats are available in black, which provides a stylish complement to the range of colour options our boot liners provide.

a Hatchbag odour mat

HatchBed Mats

We’ve covered dealing with wet, and with smell, but what if you’re looking to offer your dog the height of comfort as they travel? Here’s where we can offer another option that really sets us apart from the general market for dog mats.

We offer an option called the HatchBed – see what we did there? -  that offers a soft pile rug-style lining of around 25mm depth. Even better, they come in three main size options which are designed and tailored to fit inside the specific boot liner match for your vehicle.

HatchBeds utilise a unique non-slip ribbed rubber backing to ensure they stay securely in place and let your dog fully relax and even snuggle up on their comfy new surface. HatchBed mats are washing machine and tumble drier suitable and supplied in pairs, so you always have a clean/spare one.

It’s no wonder that our HatchBed mats are recommended by many Vets and pet care professionals, with many clients attesting to the fact that their dogs have never had a more comfortable ride. Our selection of HatchBed mats are only available in charcoal colour at present, but again, the classy colour and design combination allows them to fit perfectly with a range of boot liner colour options.

a Hatchbag Hatchbed mat

We hope this has provided a helpful overview of the best dog car mat options you can employ. We love seeing dogs well cared for and are aware that this has previously been overlooked when it comes to car journeys, which can be an anxious time for many dogs.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a range of car mat options that provide your dog with the best possible surfaces to make them comfortable, while providing your car with ideal protection. We hope you enjoy taking a look across our range and finding the ideal option for your car and your dog.

Protect your car boot from dog hair!

The question dog owners across the county face, irrelevant as to whether they have a brand new car or if they have had a vehicle for months/years is: How do I protect my car boot from being covered in dog hair?

We’ve all been there, following a day of adventure with our pet pooch, we arrive home, let the dogs out of the back and are faced with dog hair and muddy paw prints everywhere. And, so, the process of cleaning the car boot begins, even though we know that the next time you take your dog out, you are going to be faced with the same dilemma. So, here at Hatchbag, we appreciate your time is precious and have come up with a way to keep your boot, dog hair free!

Step 1: Clean your boot from pet hair

If you have a brand new car then your car boot will be pet hair free, however, for those whose pooches have been in the boot already, the first step is to remove the hair.

To do this, you will need to give the car a good hoover out and also either use a pet hair removal brush to remove the hair from carpet, or, wrap your hands in cellotape to remove the dog hair from the carpet.

To prevent you from having to repeat step 1 on a frequent basis, you may want to invest in a boot liner. All our boot liners are tailor-made to fit the contours of each specific car model and are made from tough, waterproof and non-absorbent fabric. Plus, they are wipeable meaning, if you want to give them a clean it will literally take a couple of minutes.

You can also customise your boot liner to suit you and your family and pets needs. So, if you need a boot liner to just cover the base, the sides and back of the seats then a Standard version will be more than suitable.

a blue boot liner

Step 2: Prepare their space

Should you wish to give your pet more space by folding your backseats down with the liner in situ then you will need to upgrade the Standard version with either a Rear Plus or Rear Split. The Rear Plus allows you to fold your backseats down altogether, whereas, the Rear Split offers more flexibility in that you can fold your backseats down individually or altogether.

an orange boot liner with folded rear seatsa grey bootliner with back seats partially folded

And, if you want to protect your bumper from being scratched or from muddy dog paws then we also offer a bumper flap, which attaches to a loop fastener strip at the end of the liner and can be rolled away in the boot when not in use.

an orange bumper flap

If you have big dogs that like to drool over the headrests then a Rear Seat Flap might be of use, which attaches to the top of the backseats and flaps over the headrests. And for pets that like to press their bum up against the boot door, a tailgate cover will not go amiss.

a grey boot liner

Step 3: Cleaning your hook and loop fasteners!

Inevitably no matter how much we try, some pet hair will be attracted to some of the hook and loop fasteners, especially owners who have more curious pooches. But, we have a few tricks to help keep the hook and loop fasteners pet hair free.

Before fitting your boot liner, you may want to squirt the hook and loop fasteners with anti-static spray, as this will prevent the fasteners being covered in hair.

However, should hair accumulate in the hook and loop fasteners then you can use either a lint roller, tweezers, a comb, duct tape or even a toothbrush to remove the hair. Then you can use the anti-static spray to prevent hair from getting into hook and loop fasteners again.

Step 4: Keep pet odour at bay

And finally, we all know how much our four-legged-friends like to jump in puddles, lakes, or roll around in mud and sand, not only covering them in muck but also giving them a distinct smell. So, in order to keep pet odour at bay, Hatchbag have come up with an odour mat, which is comfortable for your pooch to sit or lie on with the quilted material, but it also has a charcoal layer in the middle to absorb unwanted odours.

a black dog sitting in a car boot

Now, you can spend more time with your beloved pet than cleaning out your car boot. Don’t forget to send us your snaps of your pooch on the road, as we love sharing them on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter page.

The essential checklist for your next camping trip

Dog and dog owner camping near a lake

With summer in full swing, now’s the perfect time to pitch a tent and spend a few days exploring the outdoors.

Planning a camping trip may not be as relaxing as staring into a flickering campfire but there’s a good reason why you should put some thought into what you pack. With few of the usual creature comforts of home available at campsites, neglecting to bring an important item could turn your much looked-forward-to getaway into a damp squib.

Avoid holiday misery with our handy checklist.

The tent

Obviously, you’ll need a tent (or tents) big enough to accommodate your party. If you already have one, dust it off and check it before you travel as you may have forgotten that tear from your last adventure needs to be patched up. You should also set it up and pour water over it to ensure it’s still weatherproof. If your tent is new, practice pitching it at home first so you know exactly what you’re doing when you arrive at the campsite.

Accessories

Check you have all the poles, mallets, pegs and groundsheets you need to keep your tent upright. Bring spares too.

Bedding

If you want to protect your back and get a comfortable night’s sleep, an airbed or sleeping mat and some comfy pillows are essential. If you don’t want to mess about with pumps, then you may want to invest in self-inflating roll-up mats and pillows. You could also opt for a camp bed if you want to be raised off the ground. Don’t forget sleeping bags too - you can get mummy sleeping bags for ultimate warmth, couples’ bags and ones in junior sizes.

Furniture

If lounging on the ground isn’t your thing, pack portable camping chairs and a table to create an air of civilisation in the great wide open and a perfect spot for socialising and al fresco dining.

Kitchen equipment

If you plan on cooking, you’ll need a stove or a barbecue, gas or charcoal and some matches or a lighter. You’ll also need pots, pans, utensils, crockery, cutlery and water containers. A basin, some bin bags, a coolbox, a tin opener and a bottle opener should also come in useful.

Lights

City dwellers may be surprised by how dark it can get in the countryside. Pack a few lanterns, torches and headlamps to help you stay safe on those night-time trips to the loo and make rooting around for your pj's easy.

Power supplies

If caveman-style camping doesn’t appeal to you, you’ll need power supplies. Whether you plan on Instagramming your trip via your smartphone or you’re hoping to use a handheld GPS for hiking, you’ll need a portable electronics charger to keep your devices topped up with juice. Or if you just can’t live without a morning brew from your instant boil kettle, make sure you have a mobile mains kit to get power from an electric hook up.

Health and safety

To keep you and your family healthy and happy, take all your usual medicines, a first aid kit, insect repellent, sunscreen and after sun. Stay clean with antibacterial hand sanitiser, body wash, wet wipes and toilet roll too.

Waterproof duct tape

Whether you need to mend a rip in your groundsheet or your waterproof fishing trousers, this stuff is bound to come in handy.

Boot liners

Tent poles, fishing gear, golf clubs, bikes and other such equipment can take its toll on the upholstery of your car boot. Protect it with a boot liner so memories of your trip aren’t imprinted on your vehicle forever.

3 tips for protecting your car from the inside out

As a car owner, it’s important that you do what you can to keep the exterior of your car looking its best. However, it’s just as crucial that you look after the interior of your vehicle too. To learn how to protect your car from the inside out, keep reading.

  1. Invest in a boot liner

There’s no denying that the car boot is a convenient place to store items that we want to take from A to B. However, whether it’s your food shopping, a pram, a bike or even your pet dog, getting stuff in and out of your boot on a regular basis can be detrimental to your car’s interior. If you’re not careful, you could potentially damage the inside of your vehicle, leaving it looking tatty and tired more quickly than you’d like.

To avoid ruining your car’s interior, you could invest in a boot liner from Hatchbag. And if you want further protection then why not choose an optional extra such as; a bumper flap to protect your bumper from dogs jumping in, pram wheels or work-tools, or a tailgate cover, to protect the inside of your car boot door. All of these accessories will help to keep your boot clean and protect your upholstery.

  1. Keep it shaded from the sun

We all know the ways in which the sun can affect our health - but did you know it could damage your car too? Not only can the sun’s harsh rays discolour the paint on your vehicle’s exterior, but they can cause the inside of your car to fade too, including the upholstery of your seats, and can even cause the dashboard to warp and crack.

The good news is, there are a number of things you can do to stop the sun from ruining the interior of your car. For example, you could use a windscreen sun shade. This accessory sits on the inside of the window and stops the sun from penetrating through the glass into the car. Usually, these shades are reflective too, helping to keep your vehicle cool in the summer.

You could also try parking your car in the shade, such as under a tree or, better yet, in a garage.

  1. Clean it out regularly

When it comes to keeping your car spick and span, you’ll need to make sure you clean it out regularly, in particularly giving it a good vacuum. Over time, it’s easy for the foot-wells and sections between the seats to become grubby, so make sure to clean up any crumbs, stones and dirt that’s built up.

It also helps to use a suitable surface cleaner to wipe down your dashboard and steering wheel, and you could scrub away any marks on the seats using an appropriate stain remover. For the finishing touch, you could hang a fragrant air freshener from your rear view mirror.

Three alternative activities for the whole family this summer

With just over three weeks of the summer holidays left, we at Hatchbag appreciate the need to get out of town, enjoy new experiences and create some family fun memories. So, with your boot liner in tow, making sure that your car boot’s interior stays in tip-top condition from mucky shoes, clothes and four-legged-friends, we have come up with some alternative activities for you and the whole family this summer.

Trampoline Parks

One of the fastest growing trends in the UK are trampoline parks, so, instead of just bouncing around your back garden on one trampoline, you can now go to one of the many trampoline parks/locations across the UK and get the ultimate work-out by bouncing across numerous trampolines, undertaking obstacles or participating in a trampoline style workout.

Flip-out currently offers thirteen trampoline parks across the UK and is looking to open three more sites in the near future. At flip-out you can experience the different areas to bounce around or if you’re looking to do something with the older members of the family, then why not try out their Flip Fit exercise class, which will test your strength, balance and flexibility.

Zip-Wiring

For the adrenaline junkies within the family then here’s an activity to get that heart pumping, zip wiring. Zip World currently have three locations and are just about to open a fourth in London, for all those daring individuals who want to zip-wire through the sky. Each location offers a different zip-wiring experience, so, you can either choose the location that takes your interest the most, or, work your way round all four locations.

So, whether you want to zip-wire across at Penrhyn Quarry, which boasts at being ‘the fastest zip wire in Europe,’ or, take on Titan, in which you and three others can experience the zip wire together at the ‘largest zip zone in Europe,’ or, Fforest Caffi, where you can zip wire through the top of the trees, there is surely something for everyone. And, for all thrill-seekers in the big City, soon you will be able to zip-wire down London Southbank and take in the sights of London.

Outdoor-Obstacle-Course

For all those who like an outdoor challenge, enjoy being harnessed in, as well as taking on different obstacles then Go Ape’s outdoor adventure could be the right choice for a family fun day out.

climbing in the trees at Go Ape

Go Ape have over thirty-one locations in the country and offer obstacle courses in the trees. So, strap yourself in, complete the obstacles and all whilst taking in the breathtaking views of the forests.

Go Ape offer two versions of the obstacle course - Tree Top Adventure for those 10+ and Tree Top Junior for those aged between 6 and 12. Therefore, young and old alike can all experience the thrill of being up in the air, climbing around the obstacles. Just don’t forget to bring a spare change of clothes and shoes in case you all get muddy or wet.

Whatever you and the family get up to this summer, we love seeing your photos so don’t forget to share them on our Facebook page, Twitter @HatchBagCompany or on Instagram @thehatchbagcompany.

Tricks that every in-the-know cyclist uses

The number of people taking up cycling is on the rise and it’s no surprise why. If you want to boost your fitness levels, build muscle, save money and help the environment, it’s time to get on your bike and join the many cyclists already on the road.

Whether you’re a complete novice or you’ve recently caught the cycling bug, to being a keen cyclist, these tricks should help you to get more from your new hobby.

Dress the part

If you think that Lycra-clad cyclists are just trying to make a fashion statement, think again. If you want to cycle long distances, improve your speed and protect yourself against the elements, tight-fitting, breathable, moisture-wicking clothing that allows for movement is a must. To prevent chafing and reduce shock absorption, make padded cycling shorts your new best friend. To improve your speed, ditch the backpack and get a cycle jersey with pockets in the back for carrying essentials like pumps, inner tubes and energy gels.

Invest in a power meter

If you think power meters are just for the pros, you’re mistaken. In recent years, these training aids have become more affordable, allowing amateurs and casual riders to measure their power output and track their performance effortlessly. These gadgets can motivate you to become a stronger rider and help you to discover your strengths and weaknesses, get the most out of your training and prepare yourself for races. What’s not to love?

Go clipless

If you’re among the uninitiated, you might be confused when experienced cyclists talk about ‘clipping in’. What they’re referring to is the use of clipless pedals, which can improve comfort and boost pedal efficiency. If you find yourself having to re-position your feet as you cycle, clipless pedals can help. They keep your feet in touch with the pedals for the whole revolution, which can improve your handling and help you reach a high cadence without wasting energy.

Use a boot liner

Transporting your bike by car may be convenient but it can result in wear and tear to your upholstery and tough stains, especially if you enjoy off-roading. If you want to chuck your bike in the boot of your car for a cycling weekend away or a journey to a cycling event, use a boot liner. With their wipe-clean surfaces and durable material, they make easy work of removing dirt and can help you to keep your car looking like new for longer.

Work out without your wheels

Every cyclist worth their salt knows that if you want to stay balanced physically, you need to train muscle groups that aren’t used when you’re on the bike. Activities like running, yoga, pilates, resistance training, weightlifting and swimming can help to build strength and flexibility in parts of your body that aren’t being worked by cycling. Cross training exercises like these can also help you to improve fitness, prevent injury and promote recovery.

We hope these tips have inspired you to take your bike out of storage and get on the move. With the summer in full swing, there’s no better time to explore your surroundings on two wheels.

Top 5 Dog Breeds in England

As you may have all realised by now, we love our four-legged friends here at Hatchbag. Thus, we were interested to find out, which dog breed is the nation’s favourite. So, in this blog, we have compiled the top 5 dog breeds, as well as some interesting facts about each breed:

top 5 dog breeds in UK

Number 5 – English Springer Spaniel

The English Springer Spaniel is friendly in character, as well as having the ability to learn quickly. With their happy-go-lucky nature, getting on with both children and other household animals, they make great family pets. Springers do tend to choose one person within the family to be 100% loyal to and they require a lot of exercise and activity to keep them entertained. If you are often away from home then springer spaniels are not the dog for you, as they cannot be on their own for too long.

Number 4 – Pug

Due to their small size, cute factor and squishable faces, the pug has become a firm favourite breed within the UK. They are charming in nature and are eager to please their owners, often following them about as they crave attention and affection. They make great family pets, as they are good with children. And depending on what you are looking for in a four-legged companion, pugs tend to be very lazy and like to sleep a lot.

Number 3 – French Bulldog

In recent years, the french bulldog has climbed the top dog breeds in England and is a strong contender for knocking the number 1 dog from its spot. But for now it sits at number 3. The french bulldog rarely barks and is good with children and other dogs, so, again making it a firm family favourite. They do not require too much activity and a few short walks a day will suffice. However, french bulldogs crave attention, so, they shouldn’t be left on their own for more than a few hours. And, you will need to get your french bulldog friend a jacket for winter, as they get cold easily.

Number 2 – Cocker Spaniel

The cocker spaniel is kind, smart and an all-round happy dog. They get on great with children, dogs and other pets. So, another great pet for families. They do tend to bond to one particular person in the house and that person tends to be the one who gives them food. Plus, it is important to bear in mind that they don’t like loud noises or being on their own. So, if you are a particularly loud person or are often not at home, then the cocker spaniel may not be for you.

Number 1 – Labrador

And the number one top breed in England is the kind and friendly labrador. Labradors have a strong sense of smell and are often used by the military, the police and as guide dogs. They are highly intelligent dogs and love company. They get along great with children and other dogs, so, make great family pets. They don’t tend to bark a lot, so, are very quiet in nature. But, you do have to be careful when it comes to food with these pooches, as they love their food and don’t have a switch-off button to stop eating.

It is fair to say that all us Brits love our four-legged friends and now we want to see your doggie photos. So share your snaps with us on Instagram @thehatchbagcompany, Facebook or Twitter @HatchbagCompany.

We wish you and your pet pooches a lot of fun together!

Preparation tips for a road trip with kids

Whether you’re going on a day trip, taking a staycation or driving to the airport for a holiday in the sun, bringing children along for the ride can be a challenge. From cries of ‘are we there yet?’, to requests for snacks, to car sickness, there’s a lot to deal with when you’ve got little ones in the backseat. But you don’t have to dread your next road trip with the kids. Follow our tips for a smoother car journey and happier memories.

Check your car seats

When it comes to kids, safety should always be the first consideration. Remember that until children are 12 years old or 135cm tall, they must be strapped into a car seat. Before you set off, make sure you have an appropriate car seat for each of your children and check that they’re fitted securely. Ensure that seat belts aren’t twisted, harnesses aren’t too loose (you should only be able to fit one or two fingers between the harness and the child’s chest) and if you’re using an Isofix seat, make sure all the points are connected properly.

Pack sensibly

To avoid ransacking your car looking for your toddler’s favourite toy or having to stop the car to get nappies out of the boot, pack in a way that means you’ll have what you need to hand throughout the journey. For example, keep a changing bag (with essentials like nappies, wipes and a change of clothes), a snack box and a busy bag full of toys and activities close by so you can keep your kids comfortable, dish out nibbles and drinks and rotate the sticker books, sorting puzzles and rattles whenever you need to.

Plan breaks

Little kids are likely to get very irritable if they’re made to sit still for too long. To avoid sibling squabbles and fretful tots, plan in some pit stops along your road trip. Allow your children to get some fresh air, stretch their legs and burn some energy by stopping off at playgrounds, parks or other open spaces along the way.

Motion sickness

Unfortunately, car sickness is common in children from the ages of 3 to 12. Taking headrests that will prevent your child’s head from moving too much or putting acupressure bands on their wrists might be a good idea. You should also encourage them to look at a stable object such as the horizon or close their eyes if they’re feeling unwell. Calm music may also help your child to relax. If your children struggle with motion sickness, you may need to give them medication before you set off. Ask a doctor or pharmacist for more advice.

Protect your car

If you’ve been on a long road trip with kids before, you may be familiar with their ability to transform a pristine vehicle into total chaos. While you’re bound to get the odd crumb on the floor, you can do some damage limitation with a few simple tricks. Firstly, always ensure you have a bag for rubbish in the car. You should also take a packet of surface wipes so you can mop up spills and reduce the risk of stains. Lastly, don’t neglect your boot. If you’re transporting prams, bikes, trikes, scooters or roller blades, you’ll want to ensure you have a boot liner that can protect your upholstery and keep your boot clean.