Untapped: It’s Like Magic! 08/01/2015


untapped If like me you struggle with a lot of the mid-ride energy gels giving you an “upset” stomach then you are always happy to hear about a brand coming along and offering something natural. I have been using the Scratch Labs products in my drinks now and love them (especially the Orange flavor) and my wife bought me the Scratch Labs cook book, but I find it really hard to get myself organized to make whats in there as good as it sounds. This summer I was lucky enough to spend time in France on a ride with Ted King (of Cannondale Garmin fame) where I got introduced to UnTapped, a pure Maple Syrup “Athletic Fuel”. I was intrigued as I live in “Syrup country” upstate on the New York/Connecticut border. Syrup wasn’t something I though of as fuel. A few weeks later the guys at Untapped sent me a box to try out and I packed it in the kit bag on a two week trip to the Pyrenees, and this is where it proved to be a magic life saver. You know those days when you get the Michelin map out at breakfast and highlight a route. Something that looks good and will get you home before dark in time for a Panaché by the pool. But sometimes those maps lie, in a really bad way and a “triple chevron” road, well just doesn’t have the triple chevrons on. The climb started poorly with a 17% nice to meet you. That climb was called Col d’Ahusquy. The next 7km sat somewhere around the ever lucky 13% easing of to a what felt like a lovely average of 8-9% for the last 10km. At the top suffering from heat, jet-lag, not eating enough and generally sucking I pulled out the UnTapped with the wise words of Ted King ringing in my ears (“it can get you another 2 good hours…) In it went on the way down and we started the ride home over the Col d’Osquich. It literally is like magic. It kicked in pretty immediately and along with two new bottles of water I was feeling really good again. It was quick and effective and I reckon it got me at least another 2.5 hours. There is more to this than just a sugar kick, its naturally full of minerals and anti-oxidants – its basically just good for you. Its something I will definitely be adding to the every day ride kit. When something saves your ass like this did, you just put it in your pocket and don’t ask any questions – and put in a spare one for a friend in need.

If you want to get your hands on some go here

Me_UntappedRiding in the Pyrenees is serious business, so you better bring the good stuff.

 

Categories: Kit / Rides / The Other Stuff

The Meridian Alpine Jacket By Mission Workshop 04/10/2015


Mission_JacketAnother really nice urban riding piece from Mission Workshop, with some seriously nice features and materials.  They chose a fabric that has great stretch qualities making it perfect for a riding position, as well as being constructed from 96 g/m2 Polartec Neo-Shell that will pretty keep out most of what the weather will throw at you. The hood is shaped to work with a helmet and they have an internal media pocket to protect that iphone 6. It comes in two colors, black and charcoal and is available on the Mission Workshop site for $499.

Categories: Design / Kit

The Brookes Lands End And John O’Groats Panniers 03/21/2015


Brookes_Panniers Growing up I used to see a lot of German touring cyclists on the loop around Galway, pushing into an Atlantic headwind with bikes loaded full of bags and things strapped to them. Fast forward a couple of decades and the selection of camping and on-bike kit for touring is pretty astounding and technically advanced. Named after one of Britain’s most iconic routes that stretches the length of the country – this full pannier set stretches the full length of the bike front to back. The bag system uses an integrated Ortlieb mounting system that makes it compatible with pretty much all frame systems. Each pannier allows you to pack a substantial 23L – thats 92L of kit – enough for any trip. With the Ortlieb QL2 mounting system and the bags the system comes in at 1940g.

Categories: Classic / Design / Kit

Vulpine + Sir Chris Hoy 02/14/2015


Vulpine_HoyI have been following and wearing  Vulpine kit for a while – although I just wore a hole in my socks (over-use). They really pay attention to the details, and their fabric choices are always really good. The launch of the “Hoy” line with Sir Chris Hoy looks like a really nice brand extension for them. The kit selection is designed to stretch from commuting to racing, with my favorite being some of the commuting kit in the pictures above. Creating performance kit in such a flooded market (even with the Hoy name behind it) is a tough ask, but Vulpine seem to be absolutely nailing and owning casual and urban riding. Best of luck!

Categories: Design / Kit

Mido Riding Boots From PEdAL ED 12/21/2014


MidoReally liking this new cycling boot from PEdAL ED. They are styled on a classic hiking boot design but with some bike specific modifications. A lowered back heel design allows for a smooth and comfortable pedaling action. A reinforced toe cap area gives some added protection when flicking the pedals. The heal also has a reflective strip built in for night time riding. The boot comes in four color choices and each color comes with a selection of three different lace colors. A contrasting color (like the blue laces above), a matching tone color (like the beige above) and some black reflective laces for night riding. All topped of with the excellent Vibram soles and hand made Italian leather by Diemme.

Categories: Design / Kit

From Furniture Scraps to Gorgeous Saddle 05/26/2015


scraps_saddleThere can be a lot of waste in the manufacturing process, and not always in a way where a second use is obvious. Italian furniture makers Poltrona Frau who make beautiful modern leather furniture have this problem. Lots of small and sometimes oddly shaped off-cuts of very expensive leather. To figure out what to do with the waste they approached the students at Parsons School Of Design here in New york to come up with ideas, one of which was this beautiful red saddle above. For now the products including the saddle are prototypes that will be shown at the Poltrona Frau’s showroom until the end of May. After the show the brand will decide to take one of the prototypes forward into an actual product. Lets hope its the saddle.

Categories: Design / Kit

Enve GPS Integration 03/26/2015


enve_gps_mountA nice new addition to the Enve product line with their integrated GPS holder. Made to be compatible with Garmin head units you get the option of attaching it to the top set or bottom set of bolts depending on your preference for where you want the head unit to level out. It weighs in at 26g and will set you back around $40. Gives your cockpit a nice clean look.

Categories: Design / Kit

And There Was This 03/15/2015


Team_Sky_JaguarThe relaunch of the Jaguar brand has been a resounding success. They are once again making cars that if we could afford them they would definitely be on the list. Their partnership with Team Sky gives them an interesting media platform to get their products good air time in some of their biggest global markets. Last year they did a special edition F-Type Coupe for the Tour De France, only to see Chris Froome crash out. So they decided to try again in Paris-Nice this year and did a special World Champion Edition to follow Bradley Wiggins for the final time trial up to d’Eze. Alas Jaguar can’t seem to catch a break as Wiggins was a no-show for the final stage. No doubt looking at his over night position on GC and taking a peak out the window at the non-typical weather for Nice decided to say “Non” and stay in doors. Not sure they followed Richie Porte in the Jag, but they should have, he won.

Categories: Design / Kit

The ALM Saddle By Fabric 02/03/2015


FabricI haven’t seen the ALM saddle from Fabric in the flesh yet, but they look stunning. They have altered the basic design to push the rails further to the edge of the saddle creating what they call a “Leaf Spring” effect to help suck up road vibration. Love the buffalo etched cover. Gorgeous finishing.

Categories: Design / Kit

The Magic Elixir 12/18/2014


Savlon

Any rider who has spent long hours in the saddle day after day has probably at some point had the misfortune to experience a saddle sore. That felling that starts with a mild irritation at the end of a ride, only to wake up the next day to a full on saddle sore and a world of hurt. At this point there is not a lot to be done, other than suffer. Although I once watched a documentary on the Tour in the days of David Miller, where they would take raw meat (usually Liver) and seal it in a ziplock bag to then be placed in their shorts over said irritated spot. Apparently it worked, but rumors of the team chief then cooking it and making the “Lantern Rouge” eat it for dinner are apparently not true. One method of prevention I was introduced to when racing in my teens was the wonders of “Savlon”.  Or ironically our knick name for it now used in other cycling circles was “Ass Saver”. Savlon is a British made antiseptic cream. The stuff that when you were a kid and grazed your knee was the go to “magic cream” that your mother used. For this particular use case, usually after a post ride shower and drying, I put a thin layer around any contact points that might need a little love and attention (or even if the don’t to be preventative). I have got to the point where I do this after every ride and have not had a saddle sore for nearly 20 years. Is it the Savlon? Maybe, but that is the magic. Something is working and I am not changing it. So my recommendation would be, like me, if you are ever flying through Heathrow make sure you make a visit to Boots Pharmacy (they are in every terminal) and pick up a few packets. It is always something I keep in my kit bag.

Categories: Classic / Kit