We spend a lot of time choosing our gear carefully and as we know cycling gear is expensive! Especially when it comes to all-weather wear. But do you know how to keep your Rapha softshell going strong? Your Castelli Gabba still stretchy, or your favorite Showers Pass shedding through the spring? With a little investment in care you can keep your gear performing well.
I’m picky when it comes to jerseys these days. It’s probably because I’ve been riding and racing long enough that I’ve become a curmudgeon and I don’t have patience for second-rate stuff. And being “in the industry” means I’ve come across some of the best kit available.
Pretty psyched for a change of season, I ordered up some new gear.
I needed some new colder weather kit and wanted to try something different, so I grabbed a few things from Ornot, a smaller San Fransisco company that has been around for about four years. Ornot’s brand stuck in my mind from the play on words in their clever marketing campaign: “You can be a rolling billboard, Ornot.” The whole point being that their kit has no logos, no sponsors, no massive branding. In the cycling world we’ve all been subjected to logos everywhere on cycling kit — some tastefully done, some not. Browsing through the website you see an array of products all with minimal branding and really nice patterns and designs.
I ordered up some winter bib shorts, a winter jersey and socks for the full matchy-match look.
Here are my impressions…
This year has been absolutely brutal weather-wise. So much water has fallen from the sky that it seems as though I can count on one hand how many times I’ve left home for a ride and not gotten wet at least once. The recent few days of sun have been a welcome change, but there are still a lot of rainy days ahead before the reliably dry late-summer-fall season.
If you ride year-round in Portland, you’ve pretty much got to have a pair of gloves — or two, or three, depending on the weather. With temps ranging between 30 to 50 degrees and skies going from sunny and cold to wet and mild and every other combination you can think of these past few months, I’ve been rotating through five different pairs. Yes five. I’ve got two pairs for when it’s raining, two that I use either on their own or as liners if it’s really cold, and my newest pair: the Aquilo gloves from Planet Bike.[Read more…]
I love hats! As someone who bikes almost every day year-round, hats do many things for me. They keep out the elements (rain and sun being my biggest threats), they soak up my sweat in summer, they keep me warm in winter, and they also hide my sometimes disheveled hair.
I’ve worn hundreds of hats over the years, and it takes a lot of little things to go right for one to become a keeper. For the past few weeks I’ve been wearing one that has become my go-to this winter.
The Bella Capo winter cap is made in Italy for Portland-based Cyclone Bicycle Supply (suggested retail is $35.98). Unless you’re in the industry, you probably haven’t heard of Cyclone. That’s because they’re a parts and accessory distributor that sells to bike dealers and other retailers all over the country. All the Bella Capo caps stocked by Cyclone are made just for them by hand from a source in Italy.
A bike light that creates virtual bike lanes wherever you go? That’s the promise behind the NiteRider Sentinel 40, a rear light that comes with a special “laser lanes” mode that projects two bright lines on the ground around your bike.[Read more…]
One of the cool things about having a good friend or a partner with a different knowledge set than you is that it gives you access to expertise without having to be an expert in everything yourself. Since my partner is a bike mechanic, it means I don’t have to master a headset press — and he doesn’t have to master WordPress.
Although I’m very familiar with basic bike maintenance, I’m by no means an expert. Sure, I understand how to adjust my derailleur, but I’m always going on guesswork. And un-expert guesswork, at that.
That’s the problem that the new derailleur tuning system from OTTO DesignWorks, a startup based a few miles south of Portland in Wilsonville, is trying to solve. Their OTTO Tuning System uses an iPhone’s camera, visual alignment technology, and a set of gauges to help you quickly adjust your derailleur. It’s compatible with most Shimano and SRAM 9-, 10- and 11-speed cassettes, and costs $39.