V/DEC AC 2003 - Adventure Cycling Association



V/DEC AC 2003 - Adventure Cycling Association
Summer Gear Guide
($29.95, 208-426-9058, www.polarpak
.com) During a hot day’s ride, there’s not
much that’s less satisfying than drinking a
big gulp of warm water. PolarPak solves
this problem. It’s a gel-cooled reservoir that
fits into just about any water hydration
pack and is simple to use. You simply twist
to detach the insulated water tube from its
connection and place the reservoir in the
freezer. After about an hour (in my freezer
anyway), the fifteen individually integrated
gel compartments freeze and you fill it up
with water. One thing, though. The bladder tends to freeze flat so, after you take it
out of the freezer, you may need to blow
into it so it expands and fills up easier. I
rode for three hours and the water was still
very cold right up until I finished it. I then
refroze it,
filled it, and
left it out at room
temperature. Eight hours later, the water
was still cold.
Highgear Alterra altimeter
($170, 888-295-4949, www.highgear.com)
I haven't even begun to figure out all of the
things this watch/altimeter/barometer/compass can do. At this point, it wouldn’t sur-
prise me if I could use it to
communicate with aliens
spacecraft. I do know
that it’s easy-to-read
digital face tells me
the time, altitude,
and date at a glance.
With a couple button clicks, I can
switch to temperature, barometric pressure, or a digital compass. On my last tour it
also told me my total
climbing at the end of every
day and the cumulative
climbing at the end of the trip.
The Alterra is
bulkier than a nonsuper-computer
watch, but not
absurdly so. I
haven’t tested its
claimed water
resistance to fifty
meters, nor have I
managed to test its
claimed 30,000-foot altimeter range (Everest here I come),
but I’ve found the altimeter and
compass to be accurate and its durability seems excellent, at least over the eight
months I’ve used mine. -AT
WTB Mountain Road Drop Bar
($80, 415-389-5040, www.wtb.com)
The Mountain Road Drop Bar,
as its confusing name indicates,
is a handlebar with an identity
crisis. Fortunately for cyclists,
it’s an identity crisis of the best
kind. This is a tough, 7075
aluminum handlebar that’s stout
for mountain biking
yet offers
the variable hand
of a drop
bar, making it perfect for —
— rugged
Available in
25.4 and 31.8
centimeter diameters, it fits most
mountain and
cyclocross stems, making it perfect for people who ride mountain
bikes but want drop-bar versatility. Put
these one of the old steel mountain-bike
frames with rack eyelets (why, oh why
don’t they make these anymore) and you’ll
have a bombproof, go-anywhere touring rig.
At 60 centimeters, the Mountain Road
Drops are also extremely wide for a
drop bar and have a nice 30degree flare to the drops
(randonneurstyle), making
them great,
again, for rugged riding.
They also weigh a full pound,
which is heavy for a handlebar, but
durability should be excellent. -AT
Wingnut Modular Pack
($230, 845-569-7278, www.wingnut
gear.com) I know you’re out there.
You’re the type that likes technical gear.
Well, Wingnut has got a pack for you. The
Wingnut Modular is a three-in-one unit
that can be used as a lumbar pack, a lumbar
pack with the top bag, and as the whole
hydration-pack unit — the lumbar pack
with the top bag and the central unit,
which houses a 2.5 liter water bladder. I’m
not going to lie to you, the Modular is not
an immediate “get.” It takes a bit of time to
figure out all of the attachment points and
how they detach
and re-attach but,
like I said,
you’re the
type that
likes this
kind of
right? It’s not
easy creating gear
that serves multiple purposes, so, if you’re interested in learning more
about the Modular, I’d
recommend having a
conversation with Scott
Gibson, its creator at
Wingnut. -MD
Ibex Beezer jersey
($125, 800-773-9647, www.ibexwear
.com) If you’re like me, you look at the
price of this jersey and say, “holy cow,
that’s an expensive jersey,” and mentally
categorize it with other unobtainable items
like $10,000 pizzas in New York City
(true!). But, if you’re like me, it will only
take one ride in the Beezer to show you
how misguided you were. This is simply
the finest, most comfortable, most wellmade jersey I’ve worn.
by Mike Deme & Aaron Teasdale
I like wool for lots of reasons — durability, low stink-factor, and environmental friendliness — but this
is the first wool top I’ve
worn that truly didn’t
itch even the teeny, tiniest bit. Plus, it offers a
greater temperature
comfort range than
polyester and, in my
opinion, has a more
subdued, classier aesthetic.
This dream jersey features a
trim, but not too tight, fit; an
elastic waist; a rear triple-pocket; and a full-length zipper for
hot-weather ventilation. It
might be expensive, but it
might also be the last jersey
you’ll ever buy. The
Beezer jersey can be purchased at
Adventure Cycling’s online
store, www.adventurecycling
.org/store, or by calling (800)
Arkel Briefcase
($189, 888-592-7535,
www.arkel-od.com) For those that
have been cooped up all winter,
it’s time to think about commuting to work by bicycle again. If
you need a bag to carry your important
papers, files, and laptop to and fro, Arkel
has designed a briefcase that fits on your
bicycle rack with the same Cam-Lock
attachment hardware as their panniers. It’s
a snap to attach and detach and comes with
a flap that covers the hardware so you
won’t scratch up any furniture once inside.
The flap also doubles as rain-cover stash.
The Arkel Briefcase has plenty of external
and internal pockets for all of your important items, is expandable, and offers a
detachable internal laptop pocket which is
padded and suspended to offer maximum
protection. It also comes with an adjustable
shoulder strap for easy carrying. Like all
Arkel products, it is constructed of rugged
cordura and all zippers are covered by rain
($68, +44 (0) 1420 542980, www.power
traveller.com) No electronic gizmo has
become more ubiquitous in a shorter period of time than the cell phone and many
bicyclists carry them in case of an emergency. Let’s face it, it can be a kooky world
out there and if carrying a cell phone provides you with a level of security that lends
Cycling in Civvies
by Grant Peterson
Diplomacy through clothing selection
My favorite cycling top for hot
weather is a long-sleeved cotton seersucker. It’s loose, so there’s no hot fabric on
your skin. It provides shade and sun protection, is a cinch to ventilate, and it flaps
for good airflow. Sure it gets sweaty, but
the cotton-haters have overstated the
dangers of that, at least during summer.
When it’s hot, a wet shirt with air blowing through it is your own personal
swamp cooler, my friend.
Seersucker is good because the puckers keep the fabric from laying flat on your
skin, but any light, long-sleeved buttondown works well, and you probably have
a dozen of them.
Short-sleeved button-downs don’t
protect your arms, but have their own
magic: At fifteen milers per hour and up,
the baggy short sleeves act as in-vents for
the air and the shirt fills up, turning into
a combo air balloon/parasol. This happens whether it’s tucked or hanging out.
That’s as dreamy as it gets. The only
downside is you look extra fat.
“Dress-style” shirts don’t have the
convenient three back pockets of a jersey,
but a small bar or seat bag takes care of
that. For bigger loads, bigger bags.
For pants, try nylon hiking shorts or
swim trunks — with seamless crotches if
you can find them. In thin fabric the
seams are harmless, anyway. If you want
extra padding or sweat-absorption, wear
seamless, padded liners (Andiamo! is a
well-known brand). You wouldn’t buy
normal pants with sewn-in undies, and
it’s even more important in a cycling
short. If you can’t give up your tight shiny
after dark.
While they might not win any
medals at the next Cycling Glove Style
Awards, you won’t find a more comfortable glove for long rides and
tours. -AT
comfort and will help get you out on your
bicycle, that’s a good thing. The problem
with cell phones is that their batteries generally aren’t very good and they seem to
crap out just when you need them most.
PowerMonkey to the rescue. The
PowerMonkey is a backup battery that provides about 100 hours of backup power for
cell phones and also can be used on iPods,
shorts, wear other shorts over them.
Some of my best friends do that and the
more spandex you cover up, the better.
You can ride in any socks, so let’s go
to shoes. Ninety-nine percent of the time
I wear Teva sandals. At twenty-one
ounces and $39 per pair, they’re lighter
and cheaper than cycling shoes. They
adapt better to the weather, too. In summer I go sockless, and in winter I wear as
many pair of thick socks as the weather
demands. There’s never a circulation
problem with sandals, but if you want
more protection, try thin, flat-soled
sneakers. The Adidas Samba, an indoor
soccer shoe, has a strong following
among riders who are figuring out what I
call the Civilian Way.
Talk of non-cycling sandals and
shoes leads to wondering about pedals,
and this one takes a big leap of faith. I ride
double-sided pedals with no straps, clips,
or clicks. Studies prove that at normal
cadences nobody pulls up on the pedal.
The best you can do is minimize the
downward pressure on the upward moving pedal. Not being plugged or snugged
to the pedals helps that by training your
foot to follow the pedal better. You don’t
train a dog to come by keeping him on a
leash, after all.
One benefit to not having to “costume up” for a ride is that you’ll ride more
often. Another is the message it sends to
non-cyclists — that they don’t have to
dress weird and show off their insecurities
if they want to ride a bike “seriously.” We
can all just root through the closet, then
Arkel Tail Rider
digital cameras, PDAs, and other electronic
devices as well. It comes with a variety of
adapters for various gizmos and power
sources. Additional power tips can be purchased for $1.50. To see if the
PowerMonkey can be used with your cell
phone, visit their website. -MD
($83, www.arkel-od.com) I can’t say I’ve
ever been a big fan of trunk bags but after
using the Tail Rider, I’m sold. With its
sleek porpoise-like looks and well-thoughtout Arkel design, it’s a
great addition to any
day-ride or touring-gear arse-
Planet Bike Gemini gloves
($25, 866-256-8510, www.planetbike.
com) Not everyone likes a lot of cushion on
the palms of their gloves, but if you like
ample, comfortable padding, the Planet Bike
Geminis are your gloves. I like padding, but
not so much that it interferes with my feel
for the handlebars and the road or trail.
The Geminis — with their soft, breathable
Amara palm and non-squishy gel padding
— strike the perfect balance.
Thin elastic mesh on the back allows
for excellent venting in hot weather, and an
extra-thick swath of terry-cloth allow for
nal. The Tail Rider has two external pockets for quick access to the items you need
away and a
large internal
space which is divided
into two compartments; this
space can also be converted quickly
into one large space. There are also seven
internal pouches to keep items neatly
stored and separated from each other. The
Trail Rider attaches to your rear rack in
four places with easy-to-use velcro tabs and,
if it rains, all zippers are waterproof, and
there’s a rain cover stored away in a pocket
at the front of the bag. A handle on top
makes it easy to carry the Tail Rider while
off the bike. If you want to use a shoulder
strap (optional) there are two d-rings so
you can hook one up. The Tail Rider can
be purchased at Adventure Cycling’s online
store, www.adventurecycling.org/store, or
by calling (800) 721-8719 (item BT-5563
and BT-5564). -MD
Native Eyewear Throttle
($100/$115, www.nativeeyewear.com)
Native keeps producing great interchangeable sunglasses so I keep telling Adventure
Cyclist readers about them. There’s a lot to
like about the Throttle, including their
Rhyno-Tuff® Air frames, the three venting
holes in the frame above each lens, their
solid cam-action hinges, and their comfortcontinued on page 45
absorbent swiping of sweat and other bodily effluvia (just don’t get carried away). The
neoprene wrist features a Velcro closure for
secure fit and the glove’s reflective piping is
an especially nice touch — you simply
can’t have too many reflective bits for those
inevitable rides where you’re caught out
continued from page 21
able fit. Perhaps the best aspect of the
Native line is the Snap Back™ interchangeable lens system, which allows
for quick and easy switching between
the polarized high-, medium-, and lowlight shades. Lens options include Blue
and Silver Reflex (bright-light); Gray
and Brown (medium-light); and
Sportflex and Clear (low-light). A pair of
Throttles comes with one set of lenses
of your choice. You can add lenses for
an additional $35/$55 depending on
which ones you choose.
as low as $109.
Reinforced Handholds
"Anti-Drift" H-DESIGN
Strap System
•Designed to Last For Years •All Parts Replaceable
•Optional Wheel Caddy Kit as Low as $35.
Fits All Adult and BMX Bikes • Meets UPS/Airline Specs
All Models Collapsible For Easy Storage
4 OPTIONS: Pro-1: Double-wall Corrugated Bike Box - $109.
Pro-XLC: CORR-X® (High Density Polyethylene) Bike Box - $159.
Pro-XLRC: Short Wheel Base Recumbent Bike Box - $159.
Pro-XL-TC: TANDEM/LWB Recumbent Bike Box - $299.
Cane Creek Thudbuster ST
($149, 800-234-2725, www.cane
creek.com) If you’re not ready to make
the move to a full-suspension mountain
bike, you might consider giving
Thudbuster a try. Cane Creek has
redesigned the product and given it the
twice over, literally, as it’s available in
two versions — the LT and ST. I tested the smaller,
lighter ST
which is supposed to off the
same benefits of the
LT. I’ve been using the
original version since I
reviewed it back in the May
1998 issue of Adventure
Cyclist and I’d have to say
they’re right. The ST still
offers the parallel linkage design
that provides 1.3 inches of travel, enough to really take the edge
off when riding those rooty single-track
trails and washboard dirt roads. It
weighs just short of one pound (more
accurately, between 440-480 grams,
depending on seat-tube size) and comes
with three shock-absorbing elastomers
from firm to soft.
Mike Deme is the publications director for
Adventure Cycling Association and editor of
Adventure Cyclist. Aaron Teasdale is the deputy
editor of Adventure Cyclist and the media liaison for Adventure Cycling Association.