Archive for category mountain bike
This weekend after a mountain bike ride in Fairfax, it was suggested that we must stop at the Gestalt Haus for a beer and a brat hot dog. “You can bring you bike inside and hang it on the wall!” was said on our way through the quaint town. As we pulled our bikes through the door, wound our way by the line and along the wall to group our bikes and order one of the seventeen available brats and one of a dozen beers on tap for ten dollars. Waiting for my name to be called to pick up my brat, I found a wall of board games to play and several classic mountain bikes attached to the wall to look at.
The beer is large and well worth the five dollars. I ordered the chicken-apple brat without sauerkraut and it hit the spot, especially after the ride. If you are ever in the Fairfax/Mt Tamalpais area, be sure to check them out, you can find them at 123 Bolinas Rd, Fairfax, CA 94930.
I’ve set out in the rain and come home dry, or mostly dry.
I’ve sat comfortably behind big men, the ones that are as wide as Volkswagen Beetle.
I’ve dropped those same men.
I’ve been dropped by women.
And old men.
I’ve set out in the sunshine and come home wet.
I’ve stopped, not because I needed to rest but because I wanted a moment to take it in.
I’ve sat up when the gap was too big.
I’ve had road rash.
I’ve run red lights.
I’ve been defeated by headwinds.
And Coleman Valley Road.
I’ve stopped for wildlife.
I’ve been honked at.
And yelled at.
And waved at.
And smiled at.
I’ve slowed down to chat with strangers.
I’ve taken turns at the front.
I’ve been stopped by the police.
But mostly, I’ve had fun.
That little dog makes this video.
Okay, well, they aren’t so much leaked, as official, unofficial product shots of Twin Six new 2012 knickers or for our UK readers, three quarter pants. They will be available this March in Pavement (black) and Gravel (tan/brown) for about $120. Couple of cool things about the construction of the pants is they are made from post-consumer recycled plastics with a PFOA and PFOS free DWR coating, for water repellency. They offer deep zipper pockets, articulated knee’s and highly reflective appliques.You can ride on or off the bike and look good doing it.
Coming soon, check out Twin Six’s facebook page for a limited, one off, cycling caps made from their left over jersey fabric by Walz Cycling Caps. There are currently only 100 or so left, one will be posted each week for purchase. Truly one of a kind!
I’ve had quite a few hydration packs over the years. Most of the time, I wore the old one out (or got tired of the leaks) and bought a new one that had a couple new features and was maybe a little bit nicer. They held my water and tools and food without complaint. One of them even did a little extra duty as a pillow during a fateful night-riding incident. But that’s a different review…
So when Kurt said he had a new pack for me to review I was expected something little bit better and maybe a little bit nicer than my current pack. This one is A LOT better and A LOT nicer than my current pack. In fact, I’m pretty sure this one is much better in every regard.
The pack in question is a nice yellow-orange Osprey Viper 10. The first thing I noticed is that they seem to have used about 15 different types of fabric. Just listing the types that are orange, you’ve got the stretchy outer pocket, the sort of waffle-weave rip-stop outer fabric, the embossed bubble-wrap looking fabric, and probably a couple others. Instead of just picking up whatever was on the shelf at the factory in the right color, they really put some effort into picking the best technical fabric for the specific case. As a mechanical engineer who has done a bit of industrial design implementation, this is the kind of detail I really love because to me it’s the difference between a small bag with arm straps that you stuff a water bladder in, and a real designed hydration pack. It’s nice to see a product where an up-close inspection just reinforces the appearance of quality. But enough industrial design talk let’s get to some more details:
Basic Stuff: 3.0 liter reservoir, big internal pocket for tools, small zippered pocked for other stuff, big stretchy pocket on the outside for stashing things.
One of my favorite features is the magnetic clip for the bite valve. I’m used to blindly feeling around for that little clip to put the hose on, giving up because the trail requires two hands, and then having to put up with my pack slowly peeing on my leg. What the thoughtful folks at Osprey did is put a magnet on the sternum strap, and put one on the valve. It’s not totally automatic and you do have to blindly feel around for a little bit, but then it clicks into plate and you’re good.
The rotating valve is also a nice feature. It lets you get it at just the right angle, and also functions as the lock-out when you have it rotated parallel to the tube.
The next thing I loved about this pack is the resevoir. Pushing a floppy bag full of water into a small backpack that already has a bunch of stuff in it has never been an easy job. On this one, the 3.0 liter reservoir has a ribbed plastic back which helps it keep it’s shape, and a nice long handle on the front side which also protects where the tube exits the reservoir. Weather hasn’t been too warm lately, but I expect the ribbed back will also provide some air insulation to keep your back cooler in hot weather.
Installation is also helped by the fact that the reservoir compartment is separate from the others and has an easy velcro opening. There is a big nalgene screw on lid which is big improvement over my current hydration pack which has a weird inverted lid which is unfortunately really easy to overtighten and then impossible to get back off.
Other things I liked were the well thought-out straps to keep everything tightened down so it doesn’t flop around while riding. The stretchy back pocket is awesome and easily fits an extra 29er tube and my vest, knee-warmers, a couple clif bars, etc. It works pretty much like the usual criss-cross stretchy stuff that many packs like this have, but you don’t have to worry about stuff falling out, or listen to your vest flapping in the breeze. Pockets are well thought out (no surprise here) with a smaller one for cell phone and sunglasses, and a separately accessible bigger one for tools, pump, emergency blanket (after my “incident” I started to carry one of those), and other things that you hopefully won’t need to get to during a ride. There is a little stretchy pocked one of the arm straps that could hold a small phone or credit card.
They couldn’t even leave the zippers alone and put these cool injection molded loop things on the nylon loops that keep them open for easy grabbing. You probably think I’m a little bit crazy for talking about the zipper pulls but seriously folks, these are awesome!
If you’re current pack is at the end of it’s life and you want something new, I highly recommend the Osprey. It does come in some different sizes if you want something bigger for big epic rides or you want something a bit smaller.
I know I’ve listed a lot of positives up above but I’m having a hard time coming up with a real negative. I guess it did take some getting used to the shape on the bite valve. Also, if you check the website to look at features, you have to really dig to find the reservoir capacity. Another possible downside is you may not find these at your LBS. If you can’t find it there and you don’t feel like buying it online, try your local REI.
Growing up a good friend’s dad had a hairy back and chest. I don’t mean normal hairy. I mean, every summer when we all went to the lake he’d get ready to go for a swim and you’d want to shout, “don’t forget to take off your sweater!” My legs aren’t quite that hairy.
[photo omitted for your sake]
For a brief stint of my cycling career I started to shave my legs. It’s what you do. I was told. It’s better, they said, to be hairless in the event of a crash. It looks cool.
And it’s true, cyclists and swimmers are among the only male athletes that can claim leg shaving looks cool.
So, that was pretty much it. If you’re the kind of cyclist that wears lycra shorts, then you should shave your legs. It’s a rule, in fact.
But here’s the thing. I didn’t like shaving my legs. It took too long and any razor I used would be dull before I finished my first calve. Also, it turns out, when you have stick thin climbers legs, it doesn’t look as cool. On top of that, I didn’t race and the idea of planning my life around the rare crash – I’ve had one where shaved legs might have helped – just seemed silly.So I stopped with leg shaving.
Every now and again I get a little grief. Our friend Kurt has called me out for breaking rule #33 (last time I rode with him, I was able to put the hurt on Kurt, so he couldn’t talk too much, I’m not sure if that’s true anymore). And more than once a pedestrian has commented on my built-in leg warmers. Yes, even pedestrians know to make fun of my legs.
But I’m not worried because you’re doing something wrong too.
That’s right, you probably have the wrong shoes. Or wear a helmet. Don’t wear a helmet. Drops on your commuter. Flat bars. Platform pedals. Clipless. Freewheel. Foldie. Saddlebag. Camelbak. Bar tape is wrapped the wrong way. Wrong glasses. And so on.
The list of things you’re probably doing wrong is never ending. You should be ashamed of yourself.
Or, maybe you shouldn’t. At least you got the most important thing right:
You’re riding a bike.