Archive for category design
I seem to be on a visibility kick, I know, but really I just happened to see this over at Swissmiss. It’s a good idea, I guess. Not nearly as ugly as some of the hi-vis yellow clothing I see out on the road. But it seems you could just make one yourself and save $80.
It’s dark at 6:00 am (and cold, but that’s a different story). The darkness (and the cold) has thinned out the already svelte bike commuting crowd. Of the bike commuters left, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who refuses to wear a neon yellow top. I have my reasons.
And, I’m not even sure hi-vis jackets and vests work all that much better than other visibility solutions. There doesn’t seem to be much out on the interwebs linking blindingly yellow clothing to cycling safety, “there seems to be even less research on the effectiveness of high-visibility clothing for the bicyclist than for the motorcyclist.”
Much of the clothing I wear is black or gray but also has built in sections of reflecting fabric making me, at least somewhat, visible in the dark. But, more than that, the flashing white headlamp and the red taillight I ride with in low light should do more to make me visible than even the brightest yellow (and unlike reflective clothing, my lights don’t rely on others having their lights on).
Many cyclists out there probably look at my refusal to wear hi-vis clothing and think it’s foolish (much the same way I look at people who eschew helmets). In fact, one thing “research” turned up was a high number of websites suggesting, with no data to support the claim, that wearing hi-vis clothing is a must. Some may even feel that Hi-Vis clothing is the most stylish and fashionable trend in cycling since spider helmet covers. Which helps explain the guy I saw this morning in a bright yellow jacket without any lights on his bike.
I’m not convinced on either count.
Riding home yesterday I pulled up to a stoplight and noticed on the opposite corner a young man with black pants, white shirt, tie, pocket protector, helmet and backpack on a standard issue mountain bike. I thought it was odd he was by himself and then guess who rolls up? None other than another young man with tie, pocket protecter, etc. but what is he riding… a slate blue fixie with bright yellow deep dish rims! No brakes, yellow grips on a tiny flat handlebar. Wish I had pulled out my phone in time for a picture…
Via Raise Your Seat
Way back in October, or September even, when I first read about Shutt Velo Rapide I was just getting tired of the obnoxious advertising that plastered the replica team jerseys I usually wore. Will someone please tell me which marketing genius figured out cyclists would pay $100 just to be a billboard? This blog was still in its infancy – or this version of this blog – and I wrote a quick note to Shutt Velo Rapide to get some information about their product. Eventually, a Signature Sportive found its way to my house and the only disappointment I felt was that it was late October and the weather was turning from nice to cold, wet and I knew I wouldn’t have many opportunities to wear the jersey before it was too cool for a summer training top.
My first impression of the jersey was favorable. It has a simple, stylish design with a little color and none of those disgusting graphics you find on so many jerseys. The jersey also has two standard pockets in back with a small zipper pocket in the center. It is hand sewn (in the UK) and made of high quality sport wool. At £79.00 I wasn’t exactly sure how much it cost (I’m pretty sure that works out to about $130.00 US) but I knew it wasn’t ridiculous.
So, I wore it once (not counting the times I wore it around the house just to see how it fit). After my second ride I was a little less impressed.
The zipper on the center rear pocket zipped vertically from the bottom up to close the pocket. The pocket itself had been one of the things I was most excited about; a safe place to put my, still new, iPhone 4. When I got back from my ride I was dismayed to find my iPhone stuck in the pocket. The zipper’s slider was stuck and the pocket was closed. I spent 40 minutes or so gently trying to finesse the slider down the zipper and free my phone. I wiggled it, twisted it, swore at it, and pleaded with it to it with no result. It was still stuck. Eventually, starting to feel iPhone withdraw, I changed tact and pulled the slider up, forcing it past the top stop of the zipper and then, once the slider was completely removed from the jersey, used my fingers to pry apart the teeth and free my trapped phone.
I was a little disappointed. In addition to the now useless pocket, the jersey itself had 2 small holes in the back, where the pocket was sewn to the rear panel, from my less than gentle attempts to free my iPhone.
A few days later I sent an email off to my contact at Shutt VR and told her about the issue. Her response was that I must of gotten a jersey with a defective zipper which would be covered under warranty:
Faulty or Broken Zips
We only use quality zips but they do break, if you believe the failure is due to quality or manufacturing fault please contact us immediately. If the fault is outside of normal wear and tear we will arrange either a repair or an exchange free of charge. If not then we can still arrange for a repair at cost.
Directly following the zipper incident I didn’t have much time to ride and when I did it was usually too cold for a lightweight jersey like the Signature Sportive. It was January before I got to start wearing the jersey again regularly – with a baselayer and a wind proof jacket on most days. Without even really thinking about why, the Signature Sportive became my everyday commuting jersey. I wore it rain or shine, with or without base layer, twice a day, three or four days a week. In that time I’ve washed it every day (delicate – line dry) and stuffed it in my bag rain and sweat soaked. We’ll just say it’s been well used.
If I ignore the issue with the zipper, write it off as a defective product – a quick Google search turns up only glowing reviews of Shutt Velo Rapide’s jerseys and no mention of any problems with any zippers – I love this jersey. It’s durable and shows very little wear considering the daily abuse it gets. It’s stylish. The sport wool is comfortable and does just what sport wool promises to do – wicks moisture away from the body.
In the end, I guess, the overall quality and durability of the Signature Sportive far outweigh the minor, warranty covered problem with the zipper. But if you all go out and buy one, then my favorite thing about the jersey won’t be true anymore – to date, I’m the only person I’ve ever seen wearing it.
All images from shuttvr.com.
A new dirt-bike and BMX park in Elk Grove will be constructed using tons of dirt from the stalled Elk Grove Promenade mall site. The bike park, the first of its kind in the south Sacramento area, will be located on the western edge of the Elk Grove Regional Park, replacing the Green Diamond softball field, which will move eastward inside the park.
The Consumnes Community Services District approved plans to spend $365,000 on the new park, awarding the contract to Parker Landscape Development, Inc. The donation of dirt from the mall site will save the district an estimated $200,000.
“This is going to be a quality park…the design really reflects the needs of the cycling community.” Said local dirt-bike park advocate Keith CoBen in the Elk Grove Citizen.
The 2.4 acre park will feature a series of challenging jumps, mounds and pathways, many of which were designed by local cyclists. Bike park specialist Hillride also contributed to the overall design. Volunteers are on hand to see the park through the construction phase.
The new park is scheduled to open in August, 2011.
Let’s talk about fenders! That’s right, fenders! I can just feel the excitement. Fenders!
Because my commute bike is my road bike and because things like fenders look awfully silly in a paceline – though I have been on a few rides where a fender on the bike in front of me wouldn’t have been the end of the world – and because we all know that cycling is 1% fun and 99% style, it’s important that the fenders I put on my bike are easy to get off my bike.
The Origami Fender from Portland Design Works is pretty much everything I could ask for from a fender.
The rear fender clips onto the seat post with and adjustable two stage clippy thing (technical term) and includes an little turny bit (again, very technical) that can be loosened to adjust the angle of the fender. In addition to the ease of installation, the PDW Origami fender is low profile and doesn’t turn your sleek carbon fiber road bike into an odd lucking commuting juggernaut.
The plastic fender – and this is true for both the front and rear Origami Fender – snaps on and off the mount and will flatten out in the event you wanted to pack in the a bag and be even more incognito.
Now, the front fender is almost as cool, but I have to admit I haven’t been using it as often. The mount for the fender slides under the derailleur and brake cables on the downtube and attaches to the tube with a couple of silicone straps. Once the mount is on you snap the fender in place. It’s a tiny bit more difficult to get the mount on and off and because I don’t commute in my street clothes and I have a pretty fat down tube I’m not overly concerned with the small amount of road spray that may make it onto my leg warmers. That said, in the event of cycling with real pants on, the front fender would be required.
I haven’t quite made it though an entire winter with these fenders – I’ve been riding with them, as needed, since early February, but the durable, lightweight plastic fenders seem to be holding up pretty well. The rear fender is not quite as straight as it was when I first got it – it tends to get pushed a little out of shape in my bike locker – and the front fender only gets used on the wettest of days. But, they are super lightweight, well designed and worth the reasonable price – $20.00 for the front and $25 for the rear).
Before I wrap up, I should also mention that PDW sent a Magic Flute along with the fenders and while I’m not quite ready to write a full review – I haven’t had a puncture since I got my hands on it (perhaps that’s what’s magic about?) – I will just say that it’s a pretty clever little mini-pump.
I forced a test with it this weekend and, while I hate pumping up road tires with a mini-pump, I was able to get the PSI up to 80 pretty consistently before my arm wanted to fall off. But that’s not the clever part. The Magic Flute takes threaded CO2 cartridges through a twist valve on the end of the pump. Ensure the valve is twisted to the closed position, thread in the CO2 cartridge and twist the valve open to release the air. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked; there was no leakage to speak of as I twisted on the cartridge and filled the tire. The Magic Flute, because it’s magic, works with both Schrader and Presta vavles, thanks to a reversible thingy (I really do apologize for being so technical today).
Admit it, that was all a lot more exciting than you thought it would be.