Archive for category reviews
Whether you have one or more bikes at your disposal, if you live in a loft or have a garage, you most likely do as I do, and that is to lean your bike against the wall or against your other bikes. This of course leads to unwanted scratches, falling bikes, pedals in spokes, the list goes on and on.
For over 15 years Feedback Sports has been manufacturing bicycle repair stands, storage stands, display stands and measurement tools with award winning design, ease of use and built to last. A perfect example of their quality, design and the answer to the leaning bike dilemma is the Rakk.
The Rakk is a versatile storage stand that can accommodate a bmx, road or mountain bike tire from 20″ to 29″ and 700c, having a maximum width of 2.4″. The Rakk comes powder coated in either black, white or silver and holds up to everyday use and abuse. You can connect two or more Rakk’s together to create a multiple bike storage or a great bike shop display, you can as well purchase spacers to accomodate 12”, 13.5” & 15” widths between stands. This comes in handy with the mountain bike that have the wider handlebars or bikes that require a little more breathing room. The Rakk works well in the garage, loft or even in an office and when not in use, it can fold flat and be tucked under a desk or in a closet easily. To do so, you depress the locking pin and viola, folded. Both positions are locked with the pin.
The Rakk is exceptional in its ease of use. Once unfolded you can guide your bike simply into its three point contact with either your front or rear wheel, without touching the Rakk. The spring loaded arm holds the bike by the tire thus avoiding any unwanted scratches or nicks to your spokes or rim. Once the bike is placed it stays very stable and removal is simple, just pull your bike off.
I found the Rakk to work perfectly for both my road bike and mountain bike. It holds them upright with no problem and being parked next to my kids bikes, my bikes have not fallen over due to the occasional, accidental bump or nudge. My mountain bike tire is a 2.35″ and fit well in the cradle and I must be honest I didn’t think it would hold it very well, but it does. I also found the Rakk to be a nice tool for doing minor maintenance and cleaning. It weighs about six pounds so moving it is simple and cleaning it is a breeze. Taking out on the lawn for a good bike cleaning is a great use and I would recommend drying it prior to storing or using it again, just to play it safe.
Feedback Sports offers a one year warranty on the Rakk and at a price of $35 you can’t beat it. I would recommend the Rakk because I am one of those that has a few bikes and always lean them up against something and regret finding it fallen over and scratched or dinged. We all need order in our lives and especially with our bikes, the Rakk can bring that order and confidence that it will be upright and ready for your next ride. You can find the Rakk online or use Feedback Sports dealer locator to find your closest bike shop.
Last week was all about packing. The nice folks over at Chrome sent me one of their Citizen Buckle Bags and I spent most of the week trying to figure out the best way to pack all my crap into it.
I tend to carry a lot of stuff with me when I ride: 15 inch Dell Latitude, work clothes (shirt, pants, shoes, socks, undershirt, underwear), lunch, sunglasses and case, two tubes, mini-pump, 2 threaded 16 gram CO2 cartridges, deodorant, etc. In my new bag, this is 17 pounds on my back. Part of the reason is that my office doesn’t allow overnight storage in the locker room and my employer requires I lug this laptop back and forth. Before the Citizen, I was carrying everything in a three section laptop backpack I’d purchased at REI a few years ago. The backpack was packed to the max; some days it was difficult to jam my wallet into the little front pocket.
When the Citizen arrived I was a little worried that there wasn’t enough space and, after my first attempt at packing it seemed almost as full as my little backpack. There was a lot I liked about the bag, but having never packed a messenger bag for cycling, I wasn’t sold after the first couple of days. I had packed it like a backpack, putting my laptop in first and the bag turned into a plank across my back, leaving me with a sore spot where most of the weight rested on my spine.
My first attempt at re-packing the bag only slightly improved my situation and I was beginning to think the thing wasn’t designed for packing as much stuff. It wasn’t until Wednesday that, by laying my shoes down in the bag and putting them where the laptop had been and packing the computer in the center of the bag between my lunch bag and my clothes, that I found the ideal comfort for me. Since figuring the packing out, the bag has been perfect.
The “Truck Tarp” liner is durable and waterproof (and I can vouch for it keeping my clothes dry after today’s ride). The shoulder strap is easy to use and the pad is thick and comfortable. There are plenty of pockets and the bag is deceivingly large. My only complaint now is that the shoulder pad doesn’t extend down under the buckle and, especially when I’m wearing just my jersey, the metal buckle can sometimes put pressure on my massive pectoral muscles. Look for a full review after a few more weeks of riding with it, but for now, I’m pretty impressed.
With all this bag talk, I forgot to mention that on Saturday I took my first recreational ride since I began commuting and had the following observations:
- The first few miles felt weird without the bag on my back.
- I felt strong on the flats.
- The 3 weeks of (flat) bike commuting has not helped my climbing legs.
That’s all, for now.
It’s taken a while for me to get around to giving these knickers a good few tries, up until two weeks ago they’d been sitting in their packaging, staring accusingly at me for a few weeks, waiting to be reviewed. The last few months haven’t been particularly fun for me, back problems causing knock-on pain in my left knee has prevented me from riding for far too long. Even my short commute has had to be walked, and stairs have been avoided.
But as of the last few weeks it’s eased enough that I’ve taken a few tentative rides and in doing so, I’ve had a chance to test out these knickers. That’s the last time I’m calling them knickers though, I’m English and we don’t talk about our knickers on a public forum, so I’m calling these “Scarlets”.
My first impression of the Scarlets was a good one. They appear well put together, the outer material has a familiar soft-shell feel to it, and the inner material also feels technical, in fact it looks like that’s where your money is going. It’s made with “X-Static”, a silver lined stretchy fabric which amongst other things, helps prevent odours. Now I’ve owned some cycling socks for several years which share the same silver threads. I can definitely speak for their longevity and lack of odour, they are easily the best cycling socks I own, and I’ve amassed quite a few more pairs over the years to compare them to, so I’m sold on the X-Static material.
On closer inspection of the outer material I was surprised to note that it has almost no stretch to it. This panicked me a little at first because looking at the size of them I wasn’t sure I’d squeeze in unless they were stretchy, but I needn’t have worried, trying them on they were snug but comfortable. I like the reflective strip down the sides although I would have liked it more if there was some sewn onto the back, perhaps a strip on the back pockets. I’m more worried about drivers not seeing me as they approach from behind rather than the side.
On to how they ride. My first ride in these was a cold one. A really cold one actually, the temperature was hovering around freezing, and to be honest I think it was a bit below what these were intended to be used in. I was suitably wrapped up but my shins and my feet were uncomfortably cold after 20 minutes or so, and that was a bit distracting. However it was noticeable that from the knee up, the Scarlet’s outer material was doing a fine job of blocking the wind, and the inner lining was insulating my upper legs against the cold.
The Scarlets were also noticeably comfortable. I like how snug they feel around the middle, without cutting into you when you’re leaning forward on the bike. They have a nice wide waist band which fits comfortably high at the back and a little lower at the front. There’s no stitching digging in anywhere either, the stitching of the lining seems to have been thoughtfully laid out.
The pad in these shorts is minimal, it’s not a traditional bulky foam affair, its basically several layers of slightly cushioned silky material. According to Harlet’s website the decision not to use a traditional pad was very much a conscious one, and it seems that feedback from the women who wear these ranges from “the pad is great for all length of rides” to “the pad is only good for shorter rides”. After this first ride I went on, I’d agree with the latter statement – on my race bike with a 135 gram Selle Italia saddle, I needed something bulkier between me and the thinly padded leather.
Since that ride though, the freezing temperatures have subsided (for now) and I’ve been able to take the Scarlets out in some positively tropical 10ºC (50ºF) weather. For the purposes of giving them a fair test, I also swapped my rock hard race saddle for a Charge ‘Spoon’ off one of my fixed gear bikes. I figured it’s more like the kind of saddle that fits the style of riding these …shorts… were intended for. Sure enough, sit-bone comfort was no longer an issue. On my warmer rides I was practically unaware of even wearing the Scarlets, which is they way it should be.
Today’s ride took me over to my parent’s house, my anterior motive being to watch the RBS 6 Nations game on their huge tv, and after showering I was somewhat dismayed to realise my stash of slouchy clothing usually kept in the spare room for such occasions had been moved/thrown away, so I threw the Scarlets back on to watch the game. That’s clearly going to be one of the better features of these shorts, especially compared to all the Assos lycra shorts I own – these are not only comfy to sit around in, they look casual enough to not feel self conscious in when you’re off the bike, and even with my parent’s dog climbing al over them, the dirt and dog hair was easily brushed off when I left. In warmer months I will definitely be rocking these on my rides to pubs / back yard BBQs.
I think the Scarlets will really come into their own when the weather warms up even more. I’d like to see how they deal with a bit of sweat and some rain, so no doubt I’ll do a longer-term review eventually, for for the time being I’m pretty satisfied with them, both from a technical and an aesthetic point of view.
A few weeks ago you read a review on Chrome’s Kursk shoe. After wearing the shoes for some time now, I am really liking their quality and ability to withstand the elements and everything I’m putting them through. I wanted to see what else Chrome has to offer, that we don’t hear too much about in the mountain biking scene. I found them, their Loop Pro Knicker. Now before you go to far off in thought, we are talking about bike shorts that extend past the knee. I have worn numerous different types of popular mountain bike shorts and I like to take the path less traveled when it comes to my riding apparel choices. As well, I really like to cover up my thighs when riding in some terrain to not only avoid sun burn but from the occasional whacks from brush and high weeds. So at the risk of seeing you also riding with the Loop Pro’s, and with a slight hesitation, I will share more about these knickers.
Made in Oakland, California, the Loop Pro’s are made from Everest 4-way water repellent fabric. Now here I go again with some fabric name dropping, you’ll remember the Cordura fabric from the Kursk’s review. What Everest fabric brings to the Loop Pro, is of course its ability to repel water, but are highly breathable and dry quickly. So less to no chaffing, comfort and happy rider. The legs of the pant have a light stretch so they are flexible when moving around and on your bike, but not loose to avoid snags or bunching.
So do you carry some items with you on your ride? Whether you ride urban or mountain bike, you are bound to carry something. As you can see from above, the urban rider can stow their lock and secure it with the lock holster. For me, I carry my iPhone, I have two spots where I can safely and confidently place it within the zippered cargo pockets. So as not to loose it or anything else on the trail. The main pockets are elastically secured and do not protrude and stay close to the body. At the bottom hem of the Loop Pro’s you will find the hem adjustment snaps, giving you a loose or tighter fit, for your own taste or situation.
The Loop Pro’s are not a “baggy short”, they are intended for a more slim fit, which I appreciate as I am consistently snagging my baggy’s when moving off and on my saddle in rough terrain. Comfort is well handled with the sewn in ultra-light chamois. As we all know, on those longer rides, which you will do in the Loop Pro’s, is very welcome. For our urban riders, Chrome has placed reflective fabric on some of the details of the Loop Pro’s to help you be seen out there!
The Loop Pro’s come in Small, Medium, Large and X-Large, be sure to check their size chart for details and they are available in grey or black. The price tag for these knickers are $140, but let’s be honest, you get what you pay for and these are worth it, they will last!
I’m almost tired of writing reviews raving about the products I’ve received in the mail, but here comes another one. Castelli sent me their Prologo LS Jersey FZ ($90.00 at Competitive Cyclist) and a pair of Velocissimo Bibshorts ($125.00 at Competitive Cyclist).
As a thin, lanky fellow I often find that long sleeved jerseys are a tough order. Either the jersey is too loose and hangs on my nearly non-existent upper body or the snug fit is exchanged for short arms and a bare lower back when I slip into the drops. Perhaps it’s because European cyclists are built more like me and less like the peddling running backs I tend to see on the road in Sacramento, but the Prologo Jersey avoids both these problems and offers a race fit jersey that meets my gloves at my wrist.
The first day out in the Prologo was a crisp, bright late fall day – typical of the region – and I was surprised by both how well the jersey breathed and how warm it kept me on the chilly descents. Unlike the fleece lined Pearl Izumi long sleeved jersey I have in the back of my closet, the Prologo stays dry, even if the rider is out of shape and sweating heavily as he struggles up modest climbs – not that this reviewer would know anything about that.
My only complaint about the jersey is small – the zipper pocket is just a touch too small for my iPhone. Of course, it’s not enough to prevent me from buying myself a short sleeve Prologo for the summer; I need something to match my new bibshorts.
These are probably one of the most comfortable pair of shorts I’ve ever worn. The KISS3 padding offers all the support in the right places and according to the Castelli website, doesn’t require chamois cream – this reviewer only uses a cream on the longest of rides anyway.
The shorts themselves tend to stay where you put them while allowing full mobility. The leg cuffs offer a firm enough grip without the rubbery, hair pulling – yes, this reviewer has hair on his legs – that so many other shorts offer.
Speaking of hair – and I’m going to try to say this delicately – Castelli sent me the red, white and black kit – I’m not sure how they knew it would match my bike – and, well, I’m a hairy man and one that prefers not to go through the trouble of “manscaping”. I will say that, standing in front of the mirror, there was a visible dark patch where the short might have wanted to offer a bit more coverage. Now, this isn’t really an issue in the saddle – or for someone with less contrasting skin and hair colors – but if you’re like me and sometimes find yourself in your full kit, barefoot waiting in line for an espresso…well, let’s face it, if you’re wearing your bibshorts at Starbucks on a regular basis, it’s probably not something you’re going to be overly shy about but, if you’re worried you might want to stick with black.
Overall, I’m in love with this kit, in spite of the minor complaints above. The bibshorts are an affordable upgrade from those of us who might normally stick with the $75 shorts from Pearl Izumi and well worth the extra cash. The jersey fits great and I sure look a whole lot faster all decked out.
Do it. Buy ‘em.
I believe every cyclist has faced cramps, aches or even bonking at least one time in their biking life. These feelings typically stem from one thing the body needs, fuel. I know of many people that grab just an energy bar and ride. This works most of the time, but you could experience slight cramping or soreness after the ride. Having a complete fuel regimen can help correct this dilemma. To cure this, in 1995 Hammer Nutrition Endurance Fuels were created to add to Brian Frank’s E-Caps, a boutique nutritional supplement company. The main products that stemmed from this creation were the Hammer Gel, HEED sports drink and Recoverite.
Hammer Gel is your energy boost you need while out on a ride. It is suggested to consume every one to two hours, but I like to take it right after a big climb, that way I’ll be prepared for the next climb ahead. It contains no added refined, simple sugars, artificial colors or artificial sweeteners. This is good news for you because that means you are getting high quality carbohydrate energy. The flavor you taste is made from real fruit; they are Apple-Cinnamon, Banana, Chocolate, Espresso, Montana Huckleberry, Orange, Raspberry, Tropical and Vanilla. In this review, those that are bold were tested. Espresso is always the safe flavor and tasted great. The flavor that surprised me was Montana Huckleberry and Raspberry, sweet, but tasted great as if I were actually eating the berries. Apple-Cinnamon tasted good, but was a bit too sweet for me so a suggestion would be to mix it with your HEED sport drink or just water, which would soften the flavor. Hammer Gel is Gluten-free, vegan friendly, contains no MSG and is Kosher Certified. It should be noted that the Espresso flavor contains 50mg of caffeine and Tropical contains 25mg. Well priced, the single serving will cost $1.30 and more cost effective is the 26 serving bottle, to refill the Hammer Flask, at $19.95.
In the past I was one of those riders that would bring along an energy bar and figured that would take care of me on my ride. However I would cramp late in the ride and sometimes earlier depending on the difficulty. Hammer Nutrition HEED is added to your water to solve this cramping and then some. HEED comes as a fine powder that mixes and stays mixed with your water. Nothing is worse than being out on a ride; taking a sip and having chunks of your electrolyte drink go down your throat. Some riders think that a certain electrolyte drink is a good “aid”. These are filled with high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors. HEED contains none of this; it contains complex carbohydrates and a full spectrum of chelated minerals. What does that mean to me? It means you are getting the healthiest electrolytes to help you attack the hills, pound the pavement and sprint away from the pack. HEED goes down easy; it really tastes great as well. Flavors available are Lemon-Lime, Mandarin Orange, Melon, Strawberry and Unflavored. All except unflavored were reviewed, but I am sure unflavored tastes good, just a hunch. HEED as well is Gluten-free, vegan friendly and Kosher Certified. HEED is priced at a single serving for $1.80 and depending on your ride or length; one to two servings would be expected. You can purchase HEED as thirty two or eighty servings, costing you $24.95 and $46.95 respectively.
Have you ever returned home from your ride and found yourself to be sore or you ached? Recoverite is there to save you. If no meal is planned within about an hour after your ride, drinking Recoverite will help rebuild muscle tissue and restore muscle glycogen, which will all help you ride better the next day and allow your body to obtain all the benefits from your hard workouts. Made with natural ingredients, it a powder mix added to water and I found it to perform as stated. I didn’t ache those nights and wasn’t sore the next day. Flavors for Recoverite are Chocolate, Citrus and Strawberry. Chocolate and Citrus by far tasted the best, I wasn’t a big fan of Strawberry the taste was a bit thick and didn’t go down well, I want to try blending it with ice on my next time out. Recoverite is Gluten-Free and Kosher Dairy Certified. A single serving is well priced at $2.90 and thirty two servings is $49.95.
On each ride I used two Hammer Gels, one HEED in my water bottle and the ride was followed up with a refreshing Recoverite. The cost to follow this regimen would be $7.30 per ride and I honestly felt good during and after each ride. The Hammer Gel, HEED and Recoverite tasted great and weren’t chalky or bitter and the flavors were smooth. I would definitely recommend giving this a try for your next ride.
When it comes to food in the saddle, most of us tend to stick with what we know. Early on, we find something we can get down (and hold down) and we stick with with because there’s nothing worse than food you can’t eat.
Bonk Breaker Energy Bars claim to be “The World’s Best Energy Bars” right on the package; I was a little skeptical. As soon as I opened the first package I started to believe. The bars smelled fresh and, while a little dense (like all energy bars I’ve ever tasted) Bonk Breakers looked and felt moist. By the time I finished my first bite (Peanut Butter & Jelly) I was pretty sure I’d found my energy bar of choice. Sam was riding next to me as he munched on his sample of the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, “I’d eat this just as a snack.”
In the mouth Bonk Breakers feel more like a sandwich than a traditional energy bar. The bar itself is dense but it feels much lighter as you eat it-likely because, as I was informed by the owner of the company, all Bonk Breakers are shipped within a week of baking. The samples I was sent included the four flavors currently available: Peanut Butter & Jelly, Peanut Butter & Banana, Almond Butter & Honey and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip. Each flavor tasted how I imagined it would with the Peanut Butter, as a rule, being the strongest flavor. The bars seemed fresh, something difficult to achieve when a product is foil wrapped. Bonk Breakers are made with things that sound like real food:
Organic rolled oats, B-Breaker (Brown rice syrup, Natural crunchy peanut butter [peanuts, salt] Honey), Brown rice flour, Blackberry Jam…
And, as a result Bonk Breakers taste like real food.
I’m not prepared to make any claims about an additional energy boost during my rides or feeling stronger than when I eat a Cliff Bar. Instead, I’ll just say that when I felt a bit hungry during a ride, I’d eat a Bonk Breaker and feel better. I never had to force one down or make that face I usually make when eating an energy bar. I recommended tossing one in your jersey pocket.
Stemming from design and utility, Chrome started fifteen years ago with the idea to create clothing, shoes and bags for purpose and function. Chrome is based in San Francisco and has retail stores in it’s hometown, New York and an online presence: www.chromebagsstore.com
Recently we had the opportunity of reviewing Chrome’s Kursk shoes. They are made from ultra durable 1,000 denier Cordura fabric. I had to look Cordura up and see why it would be important to me. Essentially, this is what the military or anyone looking to have something last and be functional, uses on their gear. I found it to be strong and resilient, but still flexible to provide great support to your foot.Whether it is riding through the city or trendy bar hopping, the Kursk shoe can conform to all elements. They are available in six colors, black, brown, gray, green, blue and red, so you’re able to find the right color for your gear and taste. One great feature is on the tongue of the shoe you will find a “lace garage”. This allows you to tuck your laces in while riding your bike and free from getting caught in your chain. I don’t know how many times I have torn a pair of laces in the chain, I would always tuck them in on the side, but this was always uncomfortable, Chrome has solved this.The front of the shoe has a narrow design to allow easy use of toe cages and a rubber covered toe to avoid marring. This is definetly true of the shoe, fitting for city/messenger type riding.
Moving to the bottom of the shoe, you will find the skid resistant contact rubber sole and a reflective hit on the heel to keep you visible on those night rides. The uppers and soles are 100% vulcanized construction. Inside the sole is board lasted, which strengthens the platform of the shoe to avoid pedal hot spots. The mid-sole are reinforced with nylon/glass fiber to support the midsole and a polyurethane contoured crash pad. The insole is contoured and provides ample cushion to the step. I’ve been wearing the shoes in as many conditions possible, whether it be riding, running around with the kids, out on the town or snowball fights in the snow. They are comfortable and stylish.
I have been a Cons and Vans wearer since I was able to wear shoes. From my review I say ditch the Cons and step into the Chrome Kursk. I found them to fit well and are true to size, so order the same size you currently wear in your Cons, Vans or any similar type shoe. They grip well like Vans on studded pedals and feel great walking and wearing all day. The soles absorb shock and are comfortable. I didn’t find that my feet got hot or sweaty as they breathe well and as mentioned prior, I took them out in the snow and they kept my feet mostly dry. The Kursk’s will not let you down and set at $70, that is a small price to pay for this assurance of quality, durability and design. Check back at Talking Treads to see how they do in the longevity test.
Other place to purchase: JensonUSA is currently offering free shipping!
Photos: Mariea Rummel Photography
Wahoo Fitness is about to release their new product, the Fisica Sensor Case for the iPhone 4, 3GS and 3G, this coming January. The case is a clean design and has been made to be as compact as possible while retaining its Ant+ technology: allows you to wirelessly connect to any Ant+ heart rate, speed, cadence and/or power sensors.
Made from ABS, the case is durable and weatherproof. Overall control of your iPhone is possible through the clear lexan screen cover, that works very well to the touch and I found that I could navigate with gloves on. The phone is usable while you are on the road whether you are using a headphone jacked or Bluetooth ear piece. There is an attached cap to access your headphone jack and a rubber button to allow use of the top lock button of the iPhone. On the bottom of the case you will find a micro USB outlet which can be used for charging your iPhone and data connection. Wahoo Fitness is currently working on an external battery pack that will attach in between the case and the bike mount, connect to the micro USB and charge your iPhone while you ride. The case allows you to utilize your iPhone’s camera while stowed in the case, however for the iPhone 4, the flash will not work due to the lack of port size in the case.
Opening the case you will unlock six waterproof nylon latches; they keep your iPhone nice and dry in the most unforgiving weather conditions. The case comes with two liners, one for the iPhone 4 and one for the iPhone 3GS/3G. I found it easy to install the liner and would advise to take extra care on the top of the liner in between the headphone jack and top lock button, that the seal lip seats and the liner button is pushed through the case as far as possible. Once you are ready to lay your iPhone in the case, you will see a clear plastic tab, this is so you can easy remove your iPhone. Closing the case is fairly simple and you will find your iPhone safely stowed.
The case comes with a bike mount, which allows quick disconnect of your case via a slide latch. It can be attached to your stem or handlebar to display your iPhone in either landscape or portrait position, this is changed easily via the center Phillips head screw. On install, ensure the center screw is nice and snug prior to heading out. I found the landscape position to best on a road bike.
The case can work with many different manufactures Ant+ sensor, my review was tested with Wahoo Fitness’s Soft Heart Rate Belt sensor and their Speed and Cadence Bike sensor. The heart rate belt fits well with button snaps and is adjustable. The speed and cadence sensors attach easily to the bike with zip ties and has rubber feet to keep the sensors from moving. When installing the cadence magnet on the crankarm, I suggest to tighten the zip tie prior to the aligning mark of the sensors and use your fingers to push the zip tie and magnet up the arm of the crank for a super tight fit. I would recommend that once you finish the installation of the sensors and the case, is to download Wahoo Fitness’s free Fisica Sensor Utility app. The app is helpful to ensure each sensor is connecting and installed correctly.
Overall this is a great case and sensor package and I would recommend it. It leverages that iPhone you are carrying with you on your ride and pushes your rides to be training exercises. On Wahoo Fitness’s website you can review app and choose which works best for your training. I tested their free Fisica Fitness app and Biky Coach app, which fit me well for my training regimen. I would like to see some minor improvement made to the size of the camera port. The pictures taken for test had a slight vignette from the case. Possible future productions of the case Would be to size the port slightly larger. There was a slight rattle of the case on the mount on some rough road conditions; however a little electrical tape on the mount easily cures this. Both concerns are not a deal breaker. Currently being offered for pre-order on a January 2011 release, the Wahoo Fitness Bike Pack 2 is priced at $206.99, which includes the case, bike mount, heart rate belt and the speed/cadence sensor. If you already own an Ant+ sensor you can purchase just the Fisica Sensor Case, currently for $119.99, check their compatibility chart prior to purchase.
Photography by Mariea Rummel Photography
Last week on Friday I finally got my copy of the new mountain biking film ‘Life Cycles’ in the post all the way from Canada. The trailer promised some outstanding footage, and understandably I couldn’t wait to get home and watch it. I’ve been sans computer for the past 2 weeks while Apple have been trying to figure out what’s wrong with it, and since my partner and I don’t own a television, we watched it on her computer instead. I was fairly confident that given the various articles I’d read in the lead up to the film being released, that even to a non-cycling fan, this film would be entertaining enough to hold her interest. After all, a couple of years ago when I brought Seasons home and started watching it, within five minutes she too couldn’t pull her eyes away from the screen.
The focus of Life Cycles is quite different from Roam, Seasons, and Follow Me though. These are the only other MTB films I own and thus the basis for my comparison. In Life Cycles, it really is all about the bike. In theory, that sounds like a great idea. We all love bikes, lets get right in there and tell the story of a bike – any bike really – and it’s journey from creation in the factory furnace to ultimate destruction, however that might come about. And along the way we’ll weave a story of how the bicycle is the most noble of all human inventions and allows us to explore, destroy, create and ultimately gain better knowledge of ourselves and our surroundings.
It’s no surprise watching Life Cycles that the directors, at least one of them, is taking his first step into film making, coming from a photography background. The cinematography is breathtaking, that is undeniable. As I understand it, the film was made with the lowest budget possible, and to me, especially working with the format of film making, I find that the result is staggering – they say they spent time not money, waiting long periods of time to acquire borrowed Red cameras to get the quality of shot they desired. And the time spent filming is also evident – especially in one sequence which marks the changing of the seasons through one section of single track – as the rider weaves his way through the woods amongst bright green ferns and foliage, the autumn is right behind him. Fall leaves litter the same trail and the shot morphs from greens to browns in his wake.
Watching this film with Meg, I became slightly uncomfortable as the time ticked on. Beautiful as it was to watch, the story – helped along sporadically by a series of voiceovers by one man, was not enough to really hold our attention. Ultimately, what Life Cycles lacks, is something personal. You can fill the screen with shot after shot of incredible slow motion cinematography, but a film is not a photo album. It needs more. The bicycle itself is inanimate – its the rider that drives it to become something more, and not once having a rider take his helmet off and just share something of the joy of riding was a mistake I think. But I can see that that is not what they set out to do, they have created a masterpiece of sorts – a long series of mountain biking sequences which look amazing, but left me wanting more – or in fact any – interaction with the riders.
I also felt that the slow motion shots outnumbered and overpowered the real-times shots, which I’ve always felt were more entertaining to watch. Sure, get some slow motion in there because it gives you a chance to really appreciate what the rider just did – but Life Cycles uses slow motion far too much, and the over all result is that a film already lacking in a personal human touch, also has no pace and starts to feel very, very slow.
Overall, I’d say watch it for the beauty, but don’t expect it to deliver much else.