Put Something In The Box
Admittedly, I’ve only had the tires mounted for just about a month. However, in those four weeks these gnarly fuckers have paid their ticket into the permanent Boredom Service Course.
Up until the end of January, we had a mild winter in #BikeDC. Lots of riding outside and the small bit of snow we received was easily handled by regular CX tires. Yet, there was a foreboding chill on the horizon—dark clouds emanating from the mountains to the west. In anticipation of an unrelenting trek through the realm of the Vortexxx I called Schwalbe and finally ordered the studded tires I said I’d order every damn year I rode through this shit and cursed poorly maintained trails, paths, and bikelanes.
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Wiki sez: “A shield is a type of personal armor, meant to intercept attacks, either by stopping projectiles such as arrows or redirecting a hit from a sword, mace, battle axe or similar weapon to the side of the shield-bearer.”
The Spy Optic Daft ($150USD) are a rimless, shield style glass, designed to intercept attacks and projectiles such as killer UV rays and the deadly looks the rest of the field sprint gives you as you look behind yourself crossing the finish first. It also protects your from the gnat swarm scourge and perhaps also many tiny air dirts.
I’ve had the luxury of testing more than a few extremely technical jackets from a veritable plethora of brands. Some are “me too” products offering nothing new. Others are fantastically conceived on all levels. The 7mesh Revelation Jacket Launch Edition ($450USD) falls into the latter category. Both men’s and women’s models are available.
This has to be de jaar of the insulated shirt/jacket, hashtag #SHACKET thing. Honestly, we can go een ronde further: reversible insulated shackets. I first got my hands on Chrome’s Warm Work Shirt and now this one from Giro. At first, I honestly couldn’t see the point of these things existing. However, once I put some time in them, it was a different story.
The Giro Insulated Shirt ($180USD), as well as the rest of the New Road line, has the dystopian future cyclist steez on lock. As voor de insulation properties, I can attest to its inherent warmth after a few wearing sessions. Also, I can attest to the steez appreciation considering the compliments I’ve received will wearing it. And no, it wasn’t me complementing myself via sweet selfies.
“Some of our most satisfying creations come from building things that we all collectively want -yet can’t find easily. Our M’s Insulated Shirt is a great example that offers timeless style and comfort with a reversible, Primaloft- insulated fabric. It’s a versatile staple that keeps you warm and dry, packs down easily for storage and looks smart in any environment.”
I’m pretty sure I have a puffy jacket addiction. I seem to have a plethora of them. Hell, I even have puffy shirts to fatten up that plethora count. And, despite said plethora, I crave moar.
FUN FACT: the puffy jacket (and it’s infinite variations) is the official outerwear of ‘Merican CX.
Ride & Destineurs, Vulpine, have fashioned themselves a puffer as well. The Ultralight Quilted Thermal Jacket ($255USD) combines warms injected puffiness with jacketness voor fietsen. I can attest to the warmth of de warms as I’ve been using it voor both riding and destinating.
“The Ultralight Quilted Thermal Jacket is a high performance cool weather solution that insulates you from the elements. We’ve built it around Primaloft Gold, a filling that is extremely light weight for the degree of insulation it offers and is very breathable. The outer layer is water resistant against snow, showers and drizzle, but if you get caught in torrential rain, it dries extremely quickly.”
Pumps are pumps are pumps. Except when they’re not. Finding those that are not just pumps and that also fit your particular preferences narrows things considerably.
The Blackburn Airtower Shop Floor Pump ($110USD) seems to check off most of the boxes I’m looking for. Since I regularly deal with both Schrader and Presta valves on my bikes, I’m not a huge fan of a chuck only capable of doing one or the other without changing (cue outrage over the usual suspects). The Airtower Shop handles that with aplomb as well as some other necessary boxes, but it’ll take much more inserting and pumping to produce some results.
For those about to commute, Vulpine salutes you! Well, at least those who want to ride and work/play/shop/drink/etc. in the same outfit, that is. Whether your steez is casual Friday on a Friday or everyday, this may be what you’re looking for.
The Vulpine Jinzu Raw Selvedge Cycling Jean ($280USD) is both long in name as it is long in style. Wait, is long in style actually possible? Anyway, Vulpine’s thrown all the requisite cycling friendly features into this commuter jean while still managing to maintain an air of normalcy.
Vulpine: “You don’t want to be sat on any uncomfortable seams, so we’ve used our low-key Diamond Gusset, as with all our trousers. We’ve cut them long at the back to prevent any exposure of your ‘gluteal assets’. These are straight cut, in regular 32” and long 34” legs, to accommodate a cyclist’s quads, without being baggy.
The 12oz raw selvedge (unwashed) denim is sourced from the Jinzu River area in Toyama Prefecture, Japan. This is exceptionally high quality pre-shrunk denim that we suggest not washing for 6 months if you want the most personalised effect, though you can rinse out the excess dye straight away. If you leave them unwashed you’ll get the best possible fitting and self-designed jeans. It’s up to you.”
While I’m a fan of hi-viz or brightly colored kits when I’m out riding voor exercise, I am not when commuting or running errands. Whether I’m grocery getting, beignet getting, or bloodbag getting, I prefer NOT to look like a pedaling safety cone. I want to arrive at my destination in the clothes that I would normally wear when not cycling (which happens to also be cycling clothing. I know, complicated). However, those articles of clothing aren’t necessarily the uniform of the urban ninja. While muted in their hues and tones, they have a secret weapon of visibility: REFLECTIVITY. Unfortunately, most of those garments are outerwear (or pants, which are also worn on the outside). Obviously, there are times and temps when such jacketry isn’t needed, and a simple shirt would suffice.
The Endura Urban Shirt ($89.99USD) answers that need. Made of magical wicking cotton fibers that are also antibacterial which means they’re anti-stench, this shirt also delivers on the reflective front. Threads harnessing the power of bright are sewn throughout the garment, lighting up when lit!
This is one epic sack. The messenger game be changing and this thing is an evolutionary masterpiece. While still adept at portaging files and big boxes, it’s also equipped to get food orders and flowers to their intended destinations.
Chrome says: “The Pro Barrage is built with our WW2 technology – welded-waterproof, built twice – the most durable, truly waterproof way to build a bag. The liner seams are 100% welded-waterproof and the outer shell is made with abrasion-resistant Cordura. The Pro Barrage fits a standard size file box and has a removable food-tray stabilizer system. Our iconic five-point cargo net secures a range of loads from garments to flat files. To increase comfort and load distribution, we split the yoke on the shoulder straps. The Pro Barrage has been tested by working messengers in our HUB cities of Seattle, Portland, SF, Chicago, and NYC. Nico, a messenger with Four Star Couriers in Chicago put the Pro Barrage through some pretty harsh Chicago work days and weather and made sure it could stay out of the way at the bar each night. Made in USA. Guaranteed for life.”
Cycling glasses are typically categorized under two styles—performance and lifestyle (I know there are more, but that would defeat my literary device). Then, there are the illegitimate child glasses created during a frenzied, alcohol-induced, late night Vegas hook-up between performance and lifestyle. That pretty much describes the Flynn.
The Spy Optic Flynn ($149.99USD) straddle between the world of big pimpin’ and big KOMs. Perfect voor both ride and destination, especially when your destination is the DJ booth. Pretty much all of the styles available for this model are off the hook. Happy Lens models are available as well.