Winter Boots – Shimano MW7 2017/2018

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I’m in my second year of this boot now. Last weekend I completed a 6hr, 38degree ride in them, complete with a stream crossing, rain and about 4 miles of bike hiking in the snow (see buckyrides on facebook for pictures). I can still say that they live up to their glory. Continue reading “Winter Boots – Shimano MW7 2017/2018”

Winter Boots – Shimano MW7 2017/2018

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 – Double Darn cycling caps

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”

A Beacon of Light by Showers Pass

How to ride gravel

Being mainly a road / gravel rider nowadays, but having experience on a mountain and cyclocross bikes, I pulled together several years of experience to produce these tips that will help you with the daunting thought of riding gravel at speed. Continue reading “How to ride gravel”

How to ride gravel

Blacksnow June 29th

Today marked Ron’s inaugural ride, 82degrees and busy as hell on the Springwater, neutral roll to a full on LaCava cemetery climb, gapping all the way with a few in the chase group, I’m second trying to close 3 bike lengths, Bernie pulls by me, I egg him on. LaClava is 5bike lengths on Bernie now, Tom and Seb come whizzing by, they run out of juice before the gate. 12345…. Nice job.

Second – LaCava keeps form and crushes the second climb up to Fairview from Charthouse, I egg Bernie on and give him a shove “don’t let this happen again” in a joking manner. this time,  LaCava only gapping Bernie by a couple of bikes with me and Joe in tow. LaCava has the audacity to roll back down a little, punk.

Third. – LaCava keeps form and crushes the second climb up to Fairview from Charthouse, I egg Bernie on and give him a shove “don’t let this happen again” in a joking manner. this time,  LaCava only gapping Bernie by a couple of bikes with me and Joe in tow. LaCava has the audacity to roll back down a little, punk.

Forth – Joe takes the flyover to Council Crest rd, everyone seems to peter out for the Council Crest climb, well maybe not, but im at the back chatting shit with Josh, so whatever…

Council Crest has a free play piano. yeah that happens and its pretty cool. Ron of The Shins tickles the ivory. Then Seb gets on it for some swinging shenanigans. Not sure what the evening lawn dwellers thought, but I liked it, Bravo musical cyclists.

Fifth – Hewett comes fast. Im solid chilling chatting it up with LaClava about road racing and how cat3’s are fast nowadays, like endearing old men but LaCava is a young punk. Something happens at the front. I don’t know but I’m like yeah 61st climb is next. Oh shit.

Sixth – Dropping into 61st climb fast with Tom on the speed approach, I like it this way to kick the first bump, go in fast, top gear and just grind, summit then recover. Tempo up, push it.I keep a gap. I see LaCava, punk, he’s on it. Hold him off by a solid 15-20..Break the stop sign onto Barnes rd and hold it. Punk gains, I think it’s over, then he fades. I soft roll to the end. Propper buggered.

Crew kinda breaks up a bit, chaps roll off. I’m well out of it now, buggering around taking photos as normal. Then I think Bernie took the lads sprint from Joe but it’s a blur to me.

Till next time. Good crushing. Beers next time, apologies on bailing,

Blacksnow June 29th