Archive for category recreational cycling

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Be a Blackburn Ranger

BLACKBURN IS LOOKING FOR BRAND AMBASSADORS FOR 2014:

Are you a cyclist with an adventurous soul? Someone who likes to capture your stories along the road? Maybe you’re a seasoned bikepacker, well-versed in traversing back roads and trails. Maybe you’re just getting into adventure cycling – testing out overnight trips and yearning for more. Definitely you’re somebody who passionately believes in the idea that viewing the world can be better by bike.

At Blackburn we design product for those who embody this spirit of adventure, and in support of this community we’re recruiting 4 new brand ambassadors for 2014. Nicknamed “Rangers”, our ambassadors provide the ultimate test of our products and bring them into real world situations as they tackle journeys along the Pacific Coast and Great Divide routes. Blackburn Rangers work directly with our designers and engineers to deliver invaluable product feedback as well as advocate for bicycling touring, share their journeys and adventures along the routes and encourage everyone to get “Out There.”

If you’re interested in traveling the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route or the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route and sharing your stories along the way–as well as testing out our latest and greatest gear–you just might be the perfect candidate to be a Blackburn Ranger.

Learn more about what our Rangers did this year by clicking the Out There link in the header above and be sure to watch the video stories below.

CRITERIA OF A GOOD RANGER/WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR:
Loves the idea of exploring the world by bike.
Active and knowledgeable on social media, with a good following
Passionate about the Blackburn brand
Someone who likes to “capture” the moments of life.
An excellent storyteller; written, verbal and/or visual
A camper, traveler and adventurer.

AMBASSADOR RESPONSIBILITIES/WHAT YOU’LL BE EXPECTED TO DO:
Spread the word about the Blackburn brand and products
Travel the Pacific Coast or Great Divide Cycling Route in summer of 2014
Create and deliver ride inspired content (photos, videos, blogs)
Actively participate in social media
Attend Ranger Camp at the 2014 Whiskey Off-Road Event in Prescott, AZ
Provide product testing feedback to the Blackburn team

WHAT YOU GET/WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU:
New & Prototype Blackburn Gear
Travel to and participation in our 2014 Blackburn Ranger Camp at the Whiskey Off-Road in Prescott, AZ
Appearance in Blackburn videos and possible regional ad campaigns, in-store displays or other Blackburn marketing initiatives
Small travel stipend to help you complete the route

HOW TO APPLY:
Submit a short essay that details why you’d make a great Blackburn brand ambassador.
Try to hit upon the following points: What sort of history do you have with the Blackburn brand? What kind of bike touring have you done, if any? What are your personal motivations for embarking on the Pacific Coast or Great Divide? Is there anything special you’d like to do along the way? Surf, Kayak, Climb, Skateboard, raise money for a cause, hit every historical site?
Send along several photos (3 to 10) that best illustrate who you are and how you view the world
Bonus points: upload a short video to YouTube that showcases the points listed above, #beablackburnranger and send us the YouTube URL with your completed essay

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT:
You will receive an email confirming we’ve received your application
An 8 person panel comprised of Blackburn representatives, media and creative partners and a representative from the Adventure Cycling Association will review each application
Finalists will be notified by February 22nd, 2014
Final selection will be determined by March 7th, 2014. Notification will be posted to www.blackburndesign.com

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Marin Bikes announce re-branding and new 2014 line


Today, Marin Bikes California announces an evolutionary leap for the company, including the culmination of robust new R&D and company structure, led by President Matt VanEnkevort.

Respected bike-industry veteran VanEnkevort took the helm as CEO in late 2012 and swiftly began the work of driving Marin forward with the greater resources at his command as a result of the company’s acquisition by a private firm earlier that year. VanEnkevort and the team at Marin have revitalized the company from the ground up and the inside out, driven by love for the brand and the thrilling, majestic landscapes that inspired it. The new direction features crucial advancements, as well as a return to the heart and soul of Marin: bikes designed by a small collective of passionate riders who work and ride hard in order to give the cyclists of the world the absolute best.

“I couldn’t be more excited,” says VanEnkevort. “Marin Bikes California is intimately connected with its namesake, and our people and products reflect this. We all live and ride here, and we love it. We’ve challenged ourselves and dug deep for our fans—our dealers and customers—and we have high expectations for 2014. Not only are the bikes going to be better than ever; we’ve completed and will be launching a full redesign: logo, headbadge, design aesthetics, bikes, Web site, all of it. We’ve built a bigger, stronger company, poured resources into R&D, and embraced platforms like 27.5-inch wheels, the IsoTrac suspension system, and much, much more, offering greater performance and versatility to our riders. We can’t wait for everyone to see it all come together.”

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Beat the Heat Tips

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Homeless use Citibikes for outdoor trainers

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The Spokesman

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Berenstain bears ride bikes

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“Bears on Wheels” by Stan and Jan Berenstain

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Cycling Specific Jeans: Yes you need some.

Some of you might be of the school of thought that any jeans are riding jeans, why spend top dollar just because someone’s labelled them ‘cycling” jeans? Is it a form of hipster trap? Why do I even want to ride anywhere in jeans? These are valid questions. Here’s why…

I rarely wear anything besides jeans unless I’m going for a ‘proper’ road ride. I live and work in a town which is a perfect size to get around by bike, and as a result I have worn clean through the arse area of the following jeans: Seven For All Mankind, Superdry, 2x pairs of G-Star, and my Hudsons are getting dangerously close. I love my jeans and these were all rather nice ones… It’s depressing when they go, and it’s pretty much impossible to fix. (I have tried, both with a sewing machine and with iron-on patches) The G-Stars in particular were useless – a new pair wore through in less than a year!

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon Creux Cycling – an Australian urban cycle clothing brand – and fairly rapidly decided I wanted to own everything they made, especially their jeans. At a glance they just have a style I love, and on closer inspection they’ve considered everything to make these the ultimate legwear for living and riding in.

Fortunately while at Bespoked Bristol a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting the man behind (iL) Soigneur who has been hand-making really lovely musettes since 2011, and doing rather well at it. (iL) Soigneur now stocks a selection of Creux gear here in the UK and I took away a pair of the men’s and the women’s jeans to see which I’d get on with the most.

(Size info: I’m testing the Men’s Small and the Women’s Large (12),  most of my jeans are a size 29-30 waist. My waist is 29 inches, and my hips are 40 inches)

The Review

The men’s version of the Soigneur Jeans are, on me at least, a slim fitting straight-leg cut which fit comfortably around my waist, higher than most of my jeans which are all low rise cut, these come to about an inch and a half below my belly button. The lower legs are just loose enough to turn up a couple of times to avoid your bike chain, but I couldn’t roll them up any higher than in the pictures. When riding, I prefer the men’s because of the higher waist. It feels just right in the bike position, no pants on show.

Men’s version.

The women’s cut has a lower rise, and a much skinnier leg. I LOVE how these look when I’m walking around, but when I’m riding I found that once they’d loosened up a bit, they were coming down a bit too low at the back. It’s no biggie if your shirt is tucked in, but if not; PANTS CITY.

Women’s version.

The fit is really quite different from the men’s, and I’m surprised by how well the men’s cut fits me – I do not have boyish hips. So it really comes down to your preference – do you want slim straight leg or skinny leg? Higher waist or low rise? Both are super comfy on and off the bike.

Two things I love about turning these jeans up: The cyan coloured tape sewn over the seams on the inside looks ace, and on the men’s version, the large reflective Creux logo inside the right leg, which massively increases your visibility in the dark. Never mind products with a tiny bit of reflective piping here and there, there’s nothing better than a huge block of the stuff to catch driver’s eyes. Plus it looks freaking cool. It’s not there on the women’s, no doubt because they’re a lot skinnier so you can’t really roll them up.

 

Men’s – reflective turn up

 

Both versions are very slightly stretchy, but to be honest I think they could be stretchier, because it’s such a heavy weight denim. When these jeans first go on they feel heavier and stiffer than most jeans. Unsurprisingly though, after wearing these for a few days they loosened up a fair bit, became less tight around the waist, and altogether more and more comfortable as the days wore on.

The denim itself is such a big feature of these jeans, it feels so tough that I can’t imagine ever wearing through the arse section. Even if the bum was one layer thick I don’t think I would – but as it happens Creux have built in a double layered seat, complete with lightly padded chamois! I was a little concerned this would feel bulky and even too warm, but when I’m not riding I just don’t notice it.

Then there’s the Schoeller NanoSphere treatment, which is unbelievably valuable. Living in the UK, if I waited for it to stop raining, I’d barely ever get to ride so I don’t tend to shy away from wet weather. After all, skin’s waterproof, right? Turns out these jeans are too. Close enough anyway. I live a short distance from work, but even a short distance will soak regular jeans through if it’s pissing it down as it often does. I’ve sat at my desk for several hours with wet jeans, patiently waiting for them to dry out after the 5 minute ride in. It takes about 3 hours, I’ve timed it. So since testing these jeans out, I’ve had it rain on me a couple of times, once while riding, not overly heavy rain, and once when it just absolutely shat it down for 5 minutes, so I went outside and sat in it. Just to see what would happen.

I’d say that in extremely heavy rain, 95% beads and splashes right off you, and 5% begins to dampen the jeans. Dampen, mind, not soak. I came back inside, brushed them off and sat at my desk, and within 10 minutes the jeans felt completely dry again. My hood stayed wet for the rest of the day.

The men’s jeans have a few little features which the women’s jeans don’t have, although I’m not entirely sure why. There’s an extra pocket on the right hip which is much easier to dig into then the front pockets when you’re sat down, there’s a little loop for keys on the left side waist band, and there’s a D-lock holding loop on the back, which is pretty handy if like me you often pop into town without a bag.

The only thing to be aware of is that these jeans are very heavily dyed, and it will transfer to your pale coloured couch. I’m hoping that it will wash off the cushion covers. I’m told the denim is designed to fade with use, so I fully expect a lot of loose dye to come out in the first wash which will probably stop the couch getting any worse.

There’s not much else to add, so I’ll summarise by saying that, like me, you can test these jeans out without buying them because (iL) Soigneur is offering a no quibble try before you buy scheme. So if you’re still not sure, try them out for yourself! I for one will be putting my money where my mouth is and buying them. I’m just not sure which ones…

Screw it. I want both.

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Stoopidtall

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Chrome Truk Pro Released

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You might have read our review of the Chrome Kursk shoes a couple of years back. The folks at Chrome have been busy as usual to create the most covert SPD on the market, the Truk Pro. It is perfect for commuters, messengers, and others who live and work on the bike every day—and need a durable and comfortable shoe for bike, street, and office.

Enter the Truk Pro.

For those who live in and ride the city and want SPD performance on the bike and sneaker comfort off it. Durable, comfortable, and walkable. Made to be worn on and off the bike—all day, every day—with zero foot fatigue.20130320-143235.jpg

It’s the most innovative SPD on the market, featuring Chrome’s dual-density FlexPlateTM technology, developed to provide a fully rigid sole from the heel to the ball of the foot but also a flexible toe area (five times more flex compared with any traditional fully rigid SPD shoe). The result? Total comfort while riding and while walking.

Other features include a contoured, impact-resistant PU footbed, skid-resistant outsole, and recessed SPD plate. The 1,000-denier Cordura outer shell is 25 times stronger than canvas. Add 100% vulcanized construction and you’ve got one thoroughly bombproof shoe, ready for the demands of life on and off the bike.

Like all Chrome footwear and apparel, the Truk Pro SPD comes with a 365-day warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.

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