You could be shivering, ornot.

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Pretty psyched for a change of season I ordered up some new gear. I needed some new colder weather stuff and wanted to try something different from Ornot, a smaller San Fransisco company that has been around four years now. Continue reading “You could be shivering, ornot.”

Product Review : Saltzman SS Jersey

collar_detail_anthn_saltzman_webIn the world of development, the following description is a pretty common thing, You have a great idea, you make contact with an agent in Hong Kong or Mainland China and you start in a series of negotiations and long e mail chains, sometimes calls at 9pm at night to develop a product with your offshore agent. What happens 90% of the time is a few iterations in design, back and forths to the factory, a few samples and slowly you find it difficult to really nail those fine details that are essential make your product shine in an ever demanding consumer market, 2nd, 3rd sample and things are good but not as perfect as they should be for you. Continue reading “Product Review : Saltzman SS Jersey”

Product Review – Double Darn cycling caps

Caps are a little bit like water bottles to me. I have had quite a few in my time, quite a few different styles and from quite a few different manufacturers. The thing with caps, like water bottles, is that you have to replace him them somewhat frequently. Either they wear out or they end up just looking a little bit tatty.

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I replace my water bottles more frequently than my caps but a very good cap can last about a year for me and that’s with using it five days a week. Often the failure in my caps is where the brim comes away from the body (see pics further down). And they get grimy and discoloured from use in the rain and all the sweat in the sun.

The caps I’m talking about here are the general caps, the caps that are made of normal cotton material and not specifically made for the winter or ultra lightweight summer caps (which are hard to find I may add). Winter caps a completely different thing, in design and material.

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Good caps can be used from about 40°F to probably around 75°F, of course depending on personal preference, how cold you feel your ears get or how much venting you like on hot days.

Now a couple of things about style and fit. I would say the Double Darn caps what I call more of a traditional cycling cap in that they have a small brim which follows the contour of the caps man body, i.e. it doesn’t stick out like a baseball cap brim, it sort of flows down the face. The DD’s brim is also constructed out of layers of material versus card or plastic insert. This means the cap appears a little different but also has a better hand feel, and as you will see from photos. In my experience, the more ridged brims actually pull away from the body – weak point as they say. As far as sizing goes, I am wearing a medium. they do come in 3 different sizes and I found that a medium was snug for me. I have measured my head before for helmets and I am a 58.5cm, but my cap guide for a medium is 55cm, so best to say is try on for size and also note they will stretch a little bit over time.

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I look like a bit of a saddo here.

DD’s caps have a high-quality construction and what I mean by that is the stitching and accuracy are very good. Not tatty (brit for ill-finished) at all like mass manufactured caps. If you look inside a DD cap and compare to a common garden $20 bike shop cap you will see what I mean. Better construction, better stitching, better material joins. Take note of the headband also, the part that goes across your forehead. DD’s caps have got the amount and shape of material just right here. Some caps the band is too wide, too large or had a thick wedge of material that can cause a line across your forehead after hours of riding. Tall bands make your forehead feels like it is sweating, not a great situation.

Shown below, my common brim tearing away situation, but have to say this is after about a year of heavy abuse / use. You can also look and see on the close up picture the difference in edge stitching and construction used in mass production caps. The stitch is wider, looser and not as well executed.

I have now officially spent 22hrs cycling in this cap and a few hours off the bike. I have to say it has performed well. A bit of rain, a bit of sun and some cold. I rode for 4 hours in it today at between 37 and 45 degrees and it was ok. I would say a thicker cap below 40 would have been nicer, but I was going fast and generating heat.

Conclusion : Double Darn caps are pretty darn great. Great value for money at $37 and a cap that should last a while, be very comfortable and fits under a helmet well. Check out DD’s caps here or get one from one of the many folks she crafts for. Mine was purchased at Sugar Wheelworks (which is a sweet wheelshop in Portland Oregon). DD’s caps are handmade in Portland, Oregon.

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Product Review : Super wet yet warm? Chilly Grip H2o might be a solid glove for you.

I’m always on the lookout for gear that has innovate ways to solve cycling problems. For me gloves are always an issue. In wetter, cooler climates there is a large need to address many performance characteristics at once. Continue reading “Product Review : Super wet yet warm? Chilly Grip H2o might be a solid glove for you.”

A Beacon of Light by Showers Pass

showers_pass_ls04This latest ShowersPass’s jacket is called the Torch, aimed at the commuter that wants the maximum performance and safety. Torch – also another word for the Flashlight. For the first few hours of use, the high reflectivity in this jacket had me thinking about lots of things, even some hearty emotions based raised to the surface. Continue reading “A Beacon of Light by Showers Pass”

Cheap Glove Tricks for Commuters

$14 – $19 from your local Fred Meyer Grocery Store. 2mm neoprene fishing gloves will keep your hands dry and warm for commutes less than an hour. They can take good downpours but are not seam taped so in heavy downpours water will get in after a short while. The manufacturer Glacier Glove has a whole line up of neoprene based gloves which are not specifically designed for cycling but could be good.

For cycling specific designs and fancier longer ride time gloves with similar materials and qualities, check out Castelli or ShowersPass

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A Design look inside Rapha

As a designer, Alex Valdman (head of design at Rapha) makes the link between working hard, hitting mental walls, struggling in the process to get to a successful design. Continue reading “A Design look inside Rapha”

Autumn Cycling Tips

OK! Summer has been in full swing, but let’s think ahead to Autumn (or Fall as they like to say in America). Over several years of cycling in the Pacific North West I have learned a few things about this Autumn game. Continue reading “Autumn Cycling Tips”

Rapha Pro Team Gloves

I have to admit, the first time I grabbed these I was skeptical. The material is thin, they don’t particularly feel as if they are very water resistant, and all I could think about was my hands being cold. Yes, I run on the cold side in the hands and feet department, maybe a smidge colder than the norm.

and all I could think about was my hands being cold.

After about 30 rides in them now, I can see I was very wrong. These gloves are now in my top 3 gloves. They work great between a nippy 45 degrees all the way up to  about 65degrees, that’s a substantial range for your hands to feel comfortable. They are very water resistant using a thin softshell material, and guess what, yeah they fit like a glove.

Actually the fit is great, high cuff tight fight at first you might feel they are too tight, they are not, I found after 10 /15 rides that the skin like feel is great, it’s form fitting and doesn’t give up any performance. The padding is minimal, for the best bar and bike feel, and the  tips of the fingers are reinforced.  A feature I really liked was the area of the inside palm that grips the top of the hoods by using a different material, a nice detail which offers a secure feel and maybe more durable in terms of wear. One glove has a soft wiper on the thumb area for wiping glasses pretty standard for most gloves nowadays.  As for colour and branding – I have the black version and they have reflective details and subtle branding and are constructed well.  A very versatile glove.

With many a pair of gloves in my basement after years of riding and trying different ones, these get a solid 5 out of 5 , a definite keeper.

I took a few pics below, but for more products shots check them out at Rapha

My other top full finger colder weather gloves include:
-Pittard Palm Glove by Pearl Izumi – Softshell top (currently discontinued)
Siberia Winter Glove  by Craft
Lobster gloves from Pearl Izumi, sometimes with a thin liner glove, should the temperature be in the teens or twenties

 

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rapha pro team glove cycling

rapha pro team glove cyclingrapha pro team glove cycling   rapha pro team glove cyclingrapha pro team glove cycling

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