It’s That Time Of Year 11/15/2014
Just outside Eindhoven in the Netherlands designer Daan Roosegaarde has creates a 1 KM stretch of bike path inspired by Van Gogh’s “Starry Night“. 50,000 small pebbles were coated in a luminescent material manufactured by Heijmans and then pressed into the bike path concrete. These pebbles essentially charge during the day in natural sunlight and glow in the dark after sundown. Summed up beautifully by the designer “Some people will come because they’re interested in safety and energy-friendly landscapes, others will come because they want to experience art and science”.
Well it was only a matter of time considering how much of a cycling nut he is. The new Paul Smith “531″ cycling line looks pretty nice. I am going to be in London next week so I will be making sure to stop by the shop on Floral Street to have a look in person. I expect the construction will be flawless as on all that Mr Smith makes and considering they are built using Swiss-made Schoeller fabrics I expect they are going to be both very practical and durable. More to come…
The FireFlies ride is as close as I am going to get to living the life of a Pro. My job for the day was to get up and ride, finish in one piece and prepare myself for the next day. Our rider support was excellent, although all massage was self applied using “Pain” sticks. The camaraderie is the sort you only find when you pass through moments of suffering together, followed by moments of euphoria brought on by the consumption of Chocolate Milk or the “Double Andrea” (A dinner in which Andrea orders two main courses for everybody as starters). The group brings its own set of road rules, someone is always with the slowest rider, and weaker riders make experienced riders realize there is more to this all than just mashing on the front. We trash talk constantly, and anyone who appears to be riding well, showing moments of “Power”, attacking, or apparently having a birthday swiftly get punished the following day by having a shopping basket attached to their stealth black carbon masterpiece. Then there are the groups within the group. The “Lady Train” where men were ushered of wheels, or off the back. “The Sprinters” and I use that description liberally, this group was less about going fast at the end and more about climbing at one speed, not slow but not fast. Their rallying cry “We will descend like gods!” For the route, we may not have 10,000 ft Tour days but pulling the equivalent of 14 intervals that are each between a 2 and 3 mile climb each in sequence gets you close to the feeling of riding an ARDENNES day. We were still putting in 5000+ ft days, we seemed to do that a lot. The route is spectacular with most of it having the Pacific on your right shoulder and vineyards over your left. The wind is pretty much always in your back and the sun was out. A few times we looked across the road in wonder as to why Tourers were riding the other way in to the wind with bike five times heavier than us. As always the FireFlies never disappoints, and always exceeds expectations. The other expectation exceeded this year was raising $312K for the City Of Hope in LA. That is money that can make a difference, so thank you so much to everyone that contributed. There is already talk of whats next and potential recon rides on the east coast – but damn this one is hard to beat.
Large images and a full photo gallery here.
Upright Cyclist just keep bringing really nice looking and practical pieces for getting around town. Their latest piece is the Lakeshore Jacket, made from a Cordura Cotton shell by Artistic Milliners, the style sits somewhere between a classic Moto jacket and a workwear jacket. As with all of their products it is designed for riding, with nice touches like the classic “Coaches Collar” and Nylon inserts over the shoulders to make the fit comfortable on the bike.
Running brand Ashmei who I have been following for a while just made their first steps into the cycling world with a small but beautifully constructed range. Runners who use their kit always talk of the quality and fit of their products, and the construction using high end Merino. Their stand-out cycling piece for launch is a softshell jacket in two colors red and black. The jacket mixes a Merino around the back for breathability, and a fabric they developed themselves over the shoulders and front that is waterproof and windproof. It is not cheap at about $330, which firmly puts them in the Assos and Rapha category, so the construction has a lot to live up to. The detailing is really nice, with a key pocket and small pump pocket as some of the stand-out features. The brand practices a performance first philosophy over looks, so the designs are very minimal and unfussy. I expect they are going to feel really nice on when they go on sale in the Spring, definitely worth watching out for.
Some beautiful new kit from NYC brand Isaora. Made with micro-quilted, water-resistant nylon for the unique front panels and a tight knit wool/nylon for the sleeves and back. The fabrics are from Japan and Italy and the piece is designed and made in New York. Great jacket for traveling.
Some beautiful new pieces from Machines For Freedom up on their site. Love the finish on their new Dot Print jersey and the oversized middle pocket for larger items. Our friend Tracy Chandler put some of their kit to the test this summer on the Alpine Fire Flies ride, you can read about it here.