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Beyond Trails: Atacama

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 10:30

Beyond Trails: Atacama follows the ambitious human-powered adventure of Lorraine Blancher and Robin Munshaw as they embark on a multi-day bikepacking expedition through unmapped trails and canyons in the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile.

The Atacama Desert, known to be the driest non-polar region on earth, is a barren and inhospitable place.

As mountain bike explorers, the endless kilometers of natural ridgelines scattered with unmapped wild trails and historic salt trade routes created by earlier civilizations offered adventure and challenge beyond the confinement of traditional mountain bike trail networks.

Every new trail you travel on or off the beaten path brings uncertainty. Riding bikes in a place like this forces you to pay attention to the terrain, listen closely to suggestions on how to move through it. Instead of success and failure you became to think in terms of adaptation and forward motion.

We’re fans and travel with Osprey packs; of interest too, are the Scotts Blancher and Munshaw are riding. I rode Scott’s Genius a couple seasons ago in Deer Valley.


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Chrome Collaborates with DKLEIN

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 10:23

Over the weekend, Chrome announced a collaboration with DKLEIN and here’s a video about it.

Perhaps you’ve wondered like me what Chrome has been doing since they were bought by Keen? It’s been a few years and we didn’t get any water sandals with a griffin logo on them. There is a new bag, and a few other items, but not any major updates or new lines. Chrome is in the fashion business where being on trend is essential.

Slate Olson, President of Chrome, has this to say about Chrome-DKLEIN,

Getting Dustin into our mix is going to lead to all sorts of fun things. He’s got a creative style that stands apart yet straddles the cycling and art circles, and I’ve always looked forward to seeing how he brings new product ideas to life. While we’ve got something of a roadmap of what we’re going to do together- from graphics to altogether new styles- I suspect that the unmapped roads we’ll come across are going to be the most rewarding for us to bring together.

I hope the new roads follow what’s happening in the adventure space and pays attention to what cyclists are doing with large-volume tires on dirt roads.

If it does, there’s sure a market there for fun and getting out for big miles. Klein’s work in the bike space includes embellishments like this one and while interesting I’m not sure where that fits into a larger, established brand like Chrome who hasn’t driven headlines in several seasons.

I’m very interested in what and if we’ll see Chrome work with Klein on the road+ category like maybe custom OPENs or bringing style to say a Surly.

If it’s limited to graphics, maybe not? As you can get a bike custom made and painted with your own embellishments, whatever they are.

Max @333fabmax welding

A post shared by Byron (@bikehugger) on Feb 15, 2018 at 2:05pm PST



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GORE Wear SHAKEDRY Colors Jacket

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 11:10

GORE continues to innovate performance apparel by adding colors—blue and gray with high-vis—to their SHAKEDRY jacket. That’s GORE’s highly breathable and completely waterproof shell, the one with a permanent beading surface.

I’ve been riding with a SHAKEDRY in the wet since the launch and it performs like GORE says it does. Not announced but released with the 1985 version last year is “rec” sizing and sizes for women.

The color release this year includes high-viz panels on the cuff and back panel. As much as I like the SHAKEDRY category of jackets, all black is rather dreary under grey skies.

GORE’s naming conventions can get super confusing and it’s easiest to just shop and find what you want per the larger category. Here’s the link and the SHAKEDRY’s start at $279. Women’s are here.

Instead of working with a textile surface, which is conventional with raincoats, SHAKEDRY jackets have the GORE-TEX® membrane on the outside. That removes extra weight and it never needs re-treatment with a product like Nikwax.

No outer layer means the jacket feels like a latex glove and without fleece inside, it retains no heat. So keep that in mind for your longer rides. It’s also fragile and easily damaged by a backpack. The SHAKEDRY is not meant for commuting with a pack. You’ll want another jacket, probably from Gore like this one, for that. I ride in mine with a thin merino liner in 40-50 degree weather.

Not yet on the market, but mentioned in the release is a stretchy version for a more comfortable, less restrictive fit. The stretch laminate is both sides, on the hem and in the shoulder area. And, the expected result is a high-tech racing bike jacket with a close-fitting cut that guarantees the best fit and maximum freedom of movement; also, room for a beer belly. The stretch inserts are made from a low-force stretch material, which yields with even the slightest resistance. So it’s kinda like, you’re wearing stretchy pants as a jacket.

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Donnelly New CDG Tire

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 17:18

In time for the spring thaw, Donnelly launched their new CDG tire. That’s the airport code for Charles de Gaulle and a reference to Paris Roubaix.

Developed for 4 years, the CDG borrows slightly from the Strada USH with its aggressive side tread to handle tight turns. The center tread is a completely new pattern that combines tightly spaced pyramids with measured, flatter recesses along the pyramid pattern to create a fast rolling center tread with plenty of traction.  

It should handle rough road and slick, tight turns like we have in Seattle and in the Spring Classics. It’s that transition into the turn or at the apex where crashes happen at Roubaix. That was the thought process behind the CDG.” Donn Kellogg explained in an email.

The Donnelly CDG is available now in a 700 x 30 tubeless ready version, weighs 420 grams and retails for $70. It fits most disc road bikes and all adventure or gravel bikes. A 700 x 30 tubular version is scheduled for late spring and will retail for $129.00.

CDG Product Features
  • Unique center-tread pattern provides excellent grip in wet or dry conditions.
  • Side nubs offer excellent traction while cornering.
  • Integrated puncture-protection belt.
  • Lightweight construction.
  • Tubeless ready. Can be used tubeless or with an inner tube.
  • Size: 700 x 30 mm
  • Weight: 420 grams.

We’ve got a set of the CDGs on order and I’ll put them on the Modal for the rainy rides and then later my Open Cycles UP.

The CDG launch follows Donnelly’s partnership with Nick Legan offering a free copy of Legan’s first book: Gravel Cycling ($15 on Amazon) with a purchase of any Donnelly tires.

If you’re wondering, Donnelly was previously Clement ($34 on Amazon) and there is still some stock left of those very popular tires.

Mark V reviewed the X’Plor MSO last year, “Riding the Grand Ridge Trail on a day that saw both rain and snow dampen the singletrack, the MSO tyres felt quick and fun.”

I expect the new CDG to perform even better.

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Lime-E Bikes Launch in Seattle

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 12:51

I spotted an Lime-E bike outside the shop this weekend. And, didn’t think too much of it. I’m sure the motor boost will help people commute around our hilly city and meets some perceived demand.

What I didn’t know until the PR hit my inbox is that 499 more electric share bikes are being launched all over Seattle this week.

It’s a milestone of sorts for e-bikes and bike shares. According to LimeBike, it pivots them from a smart bikeshare company to a smart mobility provider, and they’re excited that Seattle gets to be the first market with Lime-E.

I don’t know if Seattle had to apply for that e-bike honor or we were just like

Yeah, sure drop off more bikes here. Why not?

  • Model: Lime-E

  • Price: $1 to unlock and an additional 10 cents for every minute of riding time; 50% discount for all students and faculty members with a valid .edu email account

  • Maximum Speed: about 14.5 MPH

  • Maximum Range: 62 miles per charge

Read more about the Lime-E on their blog.

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Pivot Phoenix Carbon DH Colors

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 12:50

Just heard from my friends at Pivot and they’re preparing for another season full of podiums and with new colors for the Phoenix Carbon DH.

It’s the same flagship bike just more colorful in blue and silver.

As you’ve probably read from our PressCamp coverage over the years, Pivot is what got me back into spending more time mountain biking and I encourage you to do the same.

The bikes have gotten that good and Pivot’s are exponentially better than when I rode 20 years ago. If you’ve got some base fitness and handling skills you can ride pretty much anywhere; probably not like Bernad Kerr, but you can still have a super fun time.

The reason Pivots are so good is the suspension. As Chis Cocalis told me “The dw-link is key.”

The anti-squat and variable wheel travel path enable us to create a bike that pedals better than any other downhill bike. And since the Phoenix doesn’t squat down deeply under pedaling force, we can lower the bottom bracket height and slacken the head angle. You get the best performance in the most technical sections of the downhill without striking your pedals everywhere else on the course. The Phoenix is a World Cup missile, but it also works amazingly well at the bike park.

It totally does.

For 2018, the new Phoenix Carbon colors are: Aqua Blue with red accents or Sterling Silver with bold yellow highlights. The Phoenix is equipped with a meticulously shaped carbon frame and features such as the massive downtube and double wishbone rear triangle to maximize stiffness and precision.

Pivot Phoenix Carbon DH Pivot Phoenix Carbon DH Pricing, Specifications, and Availability

The Pivot Phoenix Carbon DH is available as a complete bike in few different configurations, ranging from $5,399 to $8,799 USD. The Phoenix is available now, in all sizes, at key Pivot Dealers worldwide.

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DryGuy Keeps Your Gear Dry in the Pacific Northwest

Mon, 02/05/2018 - 20:38

After every rainy-season ride, I make sure to rinse my frame, wheels, boots or shoes of the grime and then dry my kit with a DryGuy Force Dry DX. I’ll stuff my hat between the shoes too.

Since they’ve been keeping weather records, over a 100 years, it’s never been so wet in the Pacific Northwest as it is right now. Sure, it rains in the Seattle area and all the way down to Portland, but we are used to riding mostly under gray skies instead of nonstop precipitation like this fall and winter.

The new normal is wet stormy days, with some sun breaks, but mostly stormy. And, cyclists cope in their own ways. Making sure you start a ride with dry gloves and shoes is one method to make the ordeal seem less arduous.

I’m not over dramatizing the rides, it’s not epic or anything and the rain itself doesn’t causes the problems. The tedium of the winter is the grimy residue your bike and feet pick up from the wet road.

Standing water is exponentially worse and we’ve had more of it than I’ve ever seen. It’s almost like the Sound is flooding and your wheels churn the flotsam, jetsam, lagan and derelict into a frothy coating spray.

Riding Dirty

The Force Dry DX quickly dries my gear at the same time using a forced-air drying system that heats to 105 degrees and features a three-hour timer with heat/no heat switch for overnight drying. The Force Dry DX is well worth the $80 MSRP on Amazon.

DryGuy also makes a travel version of the dyer, the Travel Dry DX, which we take with us on road trips if we know it’s gonna be wet. The Travel Dry DX uses a hybrid convection/forced-air drying system that heats to approximately 99 degrees and gently circulates air through your footwear. It weighs 1.3 pounds and fits into a backpack for easy carry and comes with an AC/DC Power Adaptor for use at home or on the road.

The DryGuy Travel Dry DX costs $40.00 or less on Amazon.

Cleaning your dirty kit is the topic of another post, but read up on about NikWax.That’s the best defense to repel the dirt and moisture during the wettest winter on record. Fenders are a must.

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SRAM S-900 Direct Mount Rim Brake

Fri, 02/02/2018 - 13:19

Busy week and two press releases—TIME and SRAM (both allcaped)—arrive in our inboxes about the same time, that started an messaging exchange between Mark and I over who’d cover what.

Mark V: Did you get a press release from SRAM about direct mount S900 rim brake calipers?

Me: That’s about as exciting as bike camping/packing but def post.

Mark V: DM brakes from SRAM are interesting since I figure they’ll be a forgotten footnote when everything goes disc.

ME: TIME just launched a new bike, I got a preview of it while in Park City…it’s awesome

Mark v: Nah…..too niche, too French.

DL Byron: They’re using harmonic dampeners to tune the ride

Mark v: So….French Zertz, huh?

Lovely but not direct mount brakes either.

Several hours go by and SRAM’s Direct Mount Rim brakes are all over the bike media news; apparently, that story does have traction v. a $16K French bike.

Me: apparently people care about direct mount brakes, it’s all over the bike media.

Mark V: I for one think a superlight bike from Time is less relevant than direct mount brakes from SRAM, because Time is no longer a player. That SRAM is making direct mount brakes means that big brands such as Trek and Canyon are not ditching rim brakes as fast as bike journalists have suggested. It means that SRAM concluded that DM rim brakes needed to be addressed in order for SRAM to be competitive in the OEM market. That means more than French boutique bikes, which don’t mean shit to the mass market and haven’t for a decade.

And, that’s a perfect lede, while somewhat buried, to SRAM’s brake news. The new design is something of a departure from the SRAM Red group’s AeroLink cammed single-pivot caliper design. The new DM caliper has dual pivots that are bolted directly into the seatstay or fork crown of framesets using the DM standard. The two pivots are symmetrically situated rather than offset like conventional dual-pivot brakes such as the SRAM’s Force rim brake. Direct mount brakes are much stiffer because the splay force is dissipated into the frame/fork rather than flexing the caliper upon a single central mounting bolt.

As a result, this is a rim brake with superior modulation and great power, no sponginess, and a snappy return. The bikes I’ve ridden with direct mounts braked well, sure. That was another French bike, incidentally. By virtue of relying upon the bike frame or fork to support the pivots rather than metal arch, direct mount brakes also allow framesets to offer a bit more tyre clearance than could be had with conventional short-reach racing calipers, usually 28mm or perhaps even 30mm.

Mark V: By now you should understand that DM rim calipers are not an aftermarket upgrade that you could use to replace your existing conventional brakes. These new brakes from SRAM exist to compete against similar offerings from Shimano and Campagnolo on new bike being made with the DM standard. The fact that SRAM decided that they needed a DM brake means that they and frame manufacturers expect to be selling rim brake road bikes in significant numbers in the future….or at the very least, in the mid- to high-end of the road market where DM brakes are more likely to be incorporated.

Read Mark’s explainer about the DA 9000 brakes here when they were first leaked/spotted in 2013.

SRAM’s direct mounts will ship in March and are being ridden by Team KATUSHA ALPECIN.

And, with a company like Rosignol behind TIME, I wouldn’t count them out; at all.

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TIME Alpe d’Huez Launches, Their First New Bike in 4 Years

Thu, 02/01/2018 - 13:03

While in Park City last month to cover Sundance and fat bike in the snow, I also got a preview of the TIME Alpe d’Huez. As I noticed at the time, it’s lovely and what you’d expect from a legendary brand like TIME.

Time Visit in Park City to see their first new bike in 4 years.

It’s the first all-new bike from them in 4 years and meant to evoke the days when Michael Rogers, Tom Boonen all rode TIME. If you’re wondering, yep, a follow-on model will have disc brakes. For now, they’re focused on road racing.

Rim brake only for now with discs to follow.

TIME’s US operations were preparing the bike for a show and media tour this week, there was also snow on the roads, so I didn’t ride the Alpe d’Huez.

I did admire, again, how lovely it is.

TIME is the only bike brand allowed to officially use the Alpe d’Huez names, but also the only brand with a particular link to the village, as emblematic as their bikes.

The ride is tuned with a harmonic dampener in the fork.

The TIME Alpe d’Huez is the lightest bike TIME has ever made, almost 9% lighter than their previous light bike and the frameset weighs 840 grams. They achieved the weight drop a with a resin-transfer molding technique (RTM), using their own carbon, and layup. They tuned the ride with a harmonic dampener.

Watch the technical edit below for the details on how they make the frame.

All fascinating stuff for the roadie into ultimate performance and price. The complete, limited-edition bike costs $16,200. The more comfortable club version is called the 21 and will be offered in a range costing from $3500 on up. A 01 frameset cost $5150.

Bikes at the highest end, deliver a “wow” ride and while the demands of where I ride now require a bike with a different aesthetic, I understand where TIME is coming from with the Alpe d’Huez and the staff I met was certainly excited about it.

TIME offers a configurator for the bike as well and reminded me their frames are made by hand in the French Alps.

It’ll fit a 25 thank you very much.

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Trek Travel Palm Springs & Joshua Tree

Wed, 01/31/2018 - 16:35

Riding Palm Springs and the Joshua tree is on my trip list ever since I was there for an event and rode the tramway on a folding bike. That was a hard ride, not sure I’d do it again. And, these days I’d much rather relax and enjoy myself with an outfit like Trek Travel who just announced their mid-winter getaway exploring the beauty of Joshua Tree National Park and the architecture of Palm Springs.

Trek Travel guests will enjoy a private cycling tour of architecturally-significant Palm Springs homes, including former homes of Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and the Kaufmann Desert House, a 70-year old masterwork of design and construction. The base for the rides is Korakia Pensione, a Moroccan villa originally named Dar Marroc that was built in 1924 and was the former hideaway of Scottish painter Gordon Coutts. It was restored in 1989 with villas and bungalows on a 1.4 acre estate.

Sounds awesome, right?

The five-day, four-night trip begins and ends in Palm Springs, CA and is priced from $2,999 per person. It is available January 21 – 25, January 28 – February 1, February 4 – 8, February 11 – 15 and February 18 – 22, 2018.

Each trips includes the use of the latest Trek bicycles like the Domane SL 7 or XM700+ electric assist, featuring Garmin GPS devices and Di2 electronic shifting; boutique accommodations; most meals; snacks and drinks for each day’s ride; daily route support; social hours; entrance fees to group events; transportation during the tour; complimentary Trek Travel merchandise, and more.

Read more about the Palm Springs and Joshua Tree trip on Trek’s site and my review of the Domane here.

It’s a great bike.

Trek Travel was formed in 2002 and is the luxury bicycle touring arm of Trek Bicycles. It’s been winning awards ever since. Trek Travel comes highly recommend and why I share their trips, like this one in Sonoma where attendees spent an amazing Singlethread weekend.

Photo credit: Zack Jones Photography

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Pure Cycles $800.00 Adventure Bike

Tue, 01/30/2018 - 10:30

While the gravel/adventure niche has been flourishing for a while, it took 3 years for a 700c/650b swappable frame design to trickle down from the highest end to the value market. Today, Pure Cycles launched an $800.00 adventure bike. That’s a road bike with wider tires to ride off road on dirt.

It’s for rails to trails routes and forest service roads. In the Pacific Northwest there are thousands of miles of trails and roads where cars aren’t allowed.

Eight hundred dollars? That’s college-fixed gear pricing, but yep.

And, sure, it weights 26 lbs, spec’d at the lower end of competent maker’s line, with a chromoly frame, and an 8-speed drivetrain. For comparison, “racing” gravel bikes weigh about 6 or more pounds less and run 11 speed drivetrains.

If you’re not racing, riding big miles, or competing, who cares? The Pure Cycle will do great through the tunnel on the Iron Horse trail.

The Pure Cycles Abbott also can run a 650b x 47. That’s what I run on my brown bike and it costs $3K just for the frameset. If you get the non-pro, the Floyd, you can save another $200.00 and put it towards a set of good wheels.

Bikes like this prove once again why there’s never been a better time to be a bike enthusiast.

There’s so much great product and at every price point. If you haven’t upgraded in a while, now is the time to do so. Also note how Pure Cycles offers delivery and build options.

  • Frame: Pure Cycles Cromo Adventure
  • Fork: Pure Cycles 1-1/8” Cromo Adventure
  • Headset: 1-1/8” Threadless
  • Crankset: FSA Tempo Adventure, 48/32t Chainrings
  • BB: FSA Square Taper Sealed Cartridge
  • Pedals: VP Alloy Test Ride Pedals
  • Front Derailleur: Shimano Claris
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano Claris
  • Freewheel: Sunrace CSM55 8pd 11-34t Cassette
  • Chain: KMC Z-8
  • Handlebar: Pure Cycles Alloy Drop 31.8mm
  • Stem: Pure Cycles Alloy
  • Grips: Pure Cycles Tape
  • Shifter: Shimano Claris
  • Saddle: Selle Royal Rampage
  • Seat Post: Alloy Micro-Adjust – 27.2 x 350mm
  • Seat Clamp: Alloy 29.8mm
  • Wheelset: WTB STP i23 32-Hole Rims, Stainless Steel Spokes, Alloy Front Disc Hub, Alloy Cassette Rear Disc Hub
  • Tires: Hutchinson Override 700 x 38c
  • Brakes: Promax DC-330R Flat mount Mechanical Disc
  • Brake Lever: Shimano Claris
  • Weight: 56cm: 26 lbs

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BikeFlights to Interbike

Mon, 01/29/2018 - 16:21 and Interbike announced a program today to encourage Interbike 2018 attendees to bring their bikes and ride them at the show’s new location in Reno, Nevada.

Interbike is the bike industry’s largest trade show and is the simplest solution to travel with a bike. There will be a variety of riding options in Reno including morning group or individual road rides before the show opens, mountain biking just a couple of miles from the convention center and commuting to/from the hotels in the Interbike housing block during the show.

To accommodate riding, Interbike will offer a large bike parking area during the expo that will be monitored by dedicated security guards. You can pick to have the bike shipped to a FedEx center, hotel, house, or shop.

Click through shipping guide for shipping dates and addresses that have been pre-populated for event partner receiving locations.

Interbike Marketweek will take place in the Reno Tahoe region beginning with a new consumer demo and festival in North Lake Tahoe, CA, September 15-16, 2018, followed by OutDoor Demo on September 16-17, 2018, and closing with the Interbike Expo September 18-20, 2018.

We’ve used to get our bikes to CrossVegas and just recently during our annual Maui vacation. It’s a bike-forwarding scheme that totally works and I’d recommend it for those attending the show; especially if you use their Coroplast box.

If I attend the show this year, I’ll do so with the Modal and ship it with best rates so it’s waiting for me at what I think will be a rented house in Reno.

Clicking through the shipping process, the rate for 2-day shipping and S&S is $24.95 each way—a total of $49.95.

That’s less than what Alaska now charges, way less than other airlines, and means I’m not dragging a bike case and suitcase through the airport.

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Riding the Kenai Peninsula

Fri, 01/26/2018 - 11:19

A lovely view of the Kenai Peninsula around Seward and Moose Pass Alaska. It reminds me to tour there again, like we did years ago.

Here’s what I wrote about Alaska in 2004.

After climbing for 6 hours, spinning into a steady headwind, on our way to Valdez, I finally understood how big Alaska is. I saw it when we turned a sharp corner, descending from Thompson pass, and looked straight into the striking peaks of the Chugach National Forest.

At that moment, I realized just how much terrain I had seen. Pam and I had been riding for 6 days, for hundreds of miles, and had seen all sorts of peaks, glaciers, trees, and wilderness. However, that was only a small percentage of Alaska, a 10th of the state. It was one of those,

“I’m meaningless moments,” a speck in time, I was just dust floating by this grand landscape.

Before we started the bike tour, I attempted to read Michener’s Alaska, I fell asleep each time, but distinctively remembered how he described Alaska, how it had been formed by tectonic plates, in the ring of fire, over millions of years. Looking up at the peaks, I tried to visualize that process, how the peaks got so high, how the glaciers formed, and how the streams flowed.

Then Pam whizzed by me, grinning, rushing down the pass, challenging me to catch her and I snapped back to our ride. We had two hours to go and I needed to focus on getting us to Valdez.

We got to Valdez and sat in the hot tub for hours…..


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The Best Track Stands

Thu, 01/25/2018 - 11:14

You may have seen cyclists standing on their pedals at intersections and wondered what they’re doing? Besides showing off and not wanting to clip out of their pedals, it’s called a track stand and comes from the sport of track racing.

Read more about track stands ad free on Medium or in this article from our archives.

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Hiplock DX Red, Stylish Security

Wed, 01/24/2018 - 14:07

When a new company enters the bike business with some innovative designs, they deserve props and attention. This one, Hiplock, took how we carry locks in different directions. And, while wearing a thick chain around your hips may not be for everyone, I like the DX Red for the clipless D lock design. You can pretty much drop and secure it into any big enough pocket of a bag or your jeans. Also, see the Hiplock Lite.

Hiplock isn’t that new anymore, but their DX Red is and built for maximum security with a Sold Secure Gold-rated design, 14mm hardened steel shackle and hardened steel body, mated with dual locking, anti-twist shackle tabs. If a thief tries, it’s gonna take them a long time to open the DX Red.

Hiplock reminds me of Knog, with a similar good-grip “kitchen” gadget approach to products we use daily; meaning, look at what OXO or Chef’n did with a cheese grater, flipper, or spatula.

Order the Hiplock DX Red direct or from a shop near you. It costs $99.50 USD.

It’s in the side pocket of my Warsaw Messenger II.

The Specs
  • Security Level: High Risk
  • Security Rating: Sold Secure Gold Award
  • Product Specification: 14mm hardened steel shackle. Dual locking tabs. Hardened steel body casing, tough nylon outer shell.
  • Weight: 1250g
  • Locking Size: 15cm x 8.5cm Internal Area
    Keys: 3 keys with coded key replacement program.
  • Sizing: One size fits all.

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Saddles for Sale

Tue, 01/23/2018 - 14:06

My friend Steve is getting ready for the Seattle area bike swap next month. That’s where you trade, buy, and otherwise talk about bike parts and bikes for a couple days in a warehouse. Posting about all the saddles he has (way more than me even) he wrote…

Bicycle saddles, where to begin, definitely my most favorite individual part of the bike. I have an attachment to saddles the way some folks do shoes. Shoes and bicycle saddles provide practical aspects to the user like protection, performance, and comfort. And then there’s the undeniable style aspect- both are a means of expressing one’s own personal sense of style. They reflect one’s values. Like good shoes, a good saddle isn’t cheap. Invest in quality, take care of it and you will likely enjoy years of service. A beautifully designed well-made saddle is timeless. Just like a beautiful pair of shoes.

When I look at a bike in profile and begin to look at the detail –beyond the frame & fork- my eye immediately goes to the saddle first and the handlebar stem next before moving south to the wheels, drivetrain etc. Saddles to me speak volumes about the bike and its intended use. If it’s a new bike the saddle is a reflection on the designer and the mechanic who assembled the bike. If it’s a bike in the field it reflects rider preference. Is it the original saddle or did the rider swap it out and why? While I’m super picky about the fit of my handlebar I don’t have the same emotional attachment as I do towards saddles and stems. It’s not just the aesthetic aspect that drives the emotion; something in my brain is triggered that immediately causes me to envision riding the bike. All those hours and miles sitting on the thing I suppose.

When you design and sell bicycles for a living, saddles are the most often discussed feature, especially amongst the casual, bike-curious population. But even the pros talk about them. It’s pretty obvious why. When someone asks me about choosing a saddle for their bike I often use athletic shoes as an analogy since almost everyone can relate. Some shoes feel amazing right out of the box, others might not feel perfect initially but you know they’re going to break-in and feel better with time; and then there are those shoes that no matter how much you want it to happen, it just isn’t going to happen no matter how much you wish it would.

Once you know what shoe feels best, and the brand that made it, you tend to stick with it. Brand X runs wide and always feels great. Brand Y is too narrow for my foot. That assumes consistency in the last, or form, the maker uses to construct the shoe. Like shoemakers saddle brands also tend to adopt a design language that shapes their saddles across an entire range that is if they have the discipline to maintain it. Easier said than done. Of course, design philosophy and materials evolve over the years mostly for the better, sometimes not-so, but you get the overall gist.

Where the shoe-saddle analogy begins to break down is that most people have a level of familiarity with shoes that they simply don’t have with bicycle saddles. Folks certainly know what they don’t like (that seat hurts my butt) but have no idea of the saddle shape that is going to be most simpatico with their rear-end. The only way to figure that out is through experimentation. Work with a professional bike-fitter if necessary, and certainly take advantage of the brands & retailers who offer a try-before-you-buy saddle demo program. Trust me eventually you’ll find what you’re looking for! Among all these saddles I have some clear favorites and some that just didn’t fit my butt but I kept them for a reason. I’ll take close up photos of some of the more interesting ones for those of you who want to know more of the story.

P.S. these are just the ones in the shop, it doesn’t account for the ones I’m currently riding on a range of bikes. That’s for another day.


I’ve never been that attached to saddles, but have used them as wall art. Mark has more of a relationship with them, owning a buffalo hide model, and his fav is the Volta R1.

I hope to see you at the bike swap. I’ll have a few saddles with me, but not like Steve, he hasn’t even showed us the ones ON his bikes.


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Chris Cosentino Knife Roll by Chrome

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 17:03

Chrome recently collaborated with celebrity chef Chris Cosentino on a knife roll and during the time spent with him Chris explained why he likes riding to work and what motivates him in the kitchen.

I’m not a food blogger, but that is a good looking knife roll.

Looks like it’s made from the same military-grade tarpaulin lining and 1050d nylon the messenger bag I carry with me to shoots is, the Warsaw II. See the Warsaw in this story for DP Mag.

The roll features

  • Four utility pockets
  • Fits 11 knives up to 17”
  • Snap closure flaps for safety
  • Cinch-down clip straps
  • Pen slots
  • Quick-access business card pocket.

And, costs $125.00.

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Please Subscribe to Our YouTube Channel

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 15:01

I never ask, but YouTube changed their creator policy and our channel requires 1K subscribers to get whatever small payout may come.

Please subscribe.

We got the watch hours, been on their forever, just not the subs. Video hasn’t and isn’t a huge content priority for us, but we share what we have when it’s made.


A future pizza party depends on it.


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Fatbiking in the Snow 360

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 14:52

And, I thought the fatbiking in Park City was cold. We didn’t get out on a frozen lake like my friend Robb did.

Fat biking on frozen Hoth yesterday with a nice view of #Barrie too. #winter #fun #360video #views #norco #bigfoot #fatbike #LakeSimcoe

A post shared by astroboy (@astro.boy) on Jan 20, 2018 at 6:14am PST

See the full 360 here. Grab the video with your cursor to move the view around. And, maybe drink some hot cocoa afterwards.

Fatbiking in the Snow

Cycling is now a four-seasons sport, you can ride year round if you want, even in a resort town like Park City with powdery snow. See the rest of our fatbiking in the snow coverage in these posts

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Fatbiking Sundance

Thu, 01/18/2018 - 09:32

I’m covering camera tech at Sundance for Digital Photo Pro, shooting with a Leica CL and Sony RXOs (the featured image was taken with one). The best way to get around is with a Fatbike, of course, and that’s what we did yesterday for the first shoot. Photo-John and I rode up one of the thousands of trails around Park City to catch the golden hour but the light was terrible from a hazy, overcast sky.

So I set the Leica CL to Black and White Natural mode. 

Leica CL at Sundance with Photo-John.

I’m very happy with that result and will have much more to share, as Sundance proceeds—the tiny RXO did great too, considering the conditions and fast action.

RX0 at Sundance, taken by Photo-John.

Please follow the Sundance coverage on Instagram.

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