Gear & Reviews

August 22, 2012

Invisible Bike Helmet

Remember the last time you rode without a helmet? I do. At least the last time I went on a ‘real’ ride without one. My pal, Ken and I were headed to Kananaskis country. At that point, we hadn’t done much riding in the mountains at all – we were still pretty green on the mtb scene. Ken had researched a trail called Jumpingpound, that sounded pretty good. We drove along, bikes on the roof of Ken’s red, VW Golf, a couple of Edmonton river valley riders, excited about the K-Country adventure ahead. We found the trail parking lot, got out of the car and started to get geared up. Then I heard Ken say, ‘Oh f*@k! I think I forgot my helmet.’ This, of course meant that yes, he had forgotten his helmet.

Faced with the dismal prospect of driving back to Calgary to get it, and losing valuable ride time, you guessed it – we opted to ride anyway, sans Ken’s helmet. Stupid? No, not at all, or at least this was our thinking, because we had a strategy, deciding to share my helmet, switching back and forth allowing one of us to rip while the other held back and took it a bit easy. Needless to say, until that day, neither of us truly realized the impact not wearing a helmet has on you once you’re used to wearing one, especially when riding on the rocky, rooted terrain of Jumpingpound with danger at every turn! Without the helmet, I rode like an old granny on the descents – so cautious in fact, I was probably putting myself more at risk than if I had just let it flow. Bottom line, riding without a helmet is scary and a bonehead move – not wearing one, to me now, is like driving without a seatbelt.

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July 11, 2012

Flat Out

‘Ppttsssss…’ That’s the sound of air bursting out of your tire, which is usually followed immediately by the sound of you shouting ‘Son of a ‘b%#t&h!’

Flats haven’t ever been a common thing for me – I might even be able to recall each of them, counting them just on my two hands. I remember pinch flatting on a parking block once. I can vividly remember the time I slashed my tire open on shale on the Transrockies, just 1km from a stage finish – other teams breathing down our necks. The memory of me having to walk through downtown Edmonton (full lycra) with my bike, is a fond one… I was even whistled at.

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June 20, 2012

Lululemon bets on women & cycling

Commuting over the past 5 years, I’ve witnessed a noticeable increase in the female cycling demographic every year, but the explosion of women on bikes this spring is astounding – It’s awesome to see! Especially since many people consider women an “indicator species” regarding the bike-friendliness of a city :-)

Happily, it appears as though Calgary isn’t the only city experiencing this phenomenon and I’m not the only one taking note – Lululemon also seems to be betting on the future of women and cycling with their new cycling apparel.

Lululemon cycling jacket

Now, being neither female, nor regularly practicing yoga – I’m likely not Lululemon’s target demographic, but I can say that I vicariously appreciate the quality and style of their clothing through my wife, sister and almost every other female I know.

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April 25, 2012

Build Your Own Bike

I’ve always been a shop guy, and always bought my bikes and gear from ‘my shop’. Sadly however, my shop is no more – product of many factors, the economic ‘slow-down’ to name one, for sure. So, when I was sitting around thinking about what to do about getting a new Cyclocross bike for this fall, I decided to venture into the mysterious world of ‘build-your-own’.

I began by asking around, learning about the various resources that are out there for hands-on bike build projects, and let me tell you, there are many, and you can go many routes – anywhere from buying each piece one at a time, to ordering complete kits. In my case, I did a combination thereof.

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January 18, 2012

Cycling ‘Threads’

Following up on, and in response to Ken’s most recent post, ‘Ode to the Parka‘, or something like that, I thought it’d be cool to do some looking around to see where the best cycling threads are coming from these days.

Obviously, Rapha, from the UK, is going to sit at the top of my list. Rapha offers a unique blend of cycling performance capability and modern urban style I haven’t found anywhere else… It’s an undeniably attractive combination, providing cycling wear that can also often be worn ‘off the bike’ (Ken, this stuff was made for you). Collared shirts, jeans, trousers, have never really been considered performance cycling wear, but now, thanks to Rapha they kinda are. I wear my Rapha shirts at the office no problem. Rapha’s success has been driven even further through clever collaborations with designer Paul Smith. Need I say, it’s nice stuff. Maybe not cheap, but very, very nice. Coles Notes: Highest quality, artistic detail, spendy, incredible fit and performance, distinct yet understated, and very hip.

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January 12, 2012

Ode to the cycling jacket

For better or worse, I’m not one of those guys who has a jacket for every event. Sometimes I wish it were different, but this was the hand I was dealt… My clothing needs to multitask, and yes, that includes some of my cycling gear as well. Now, this isn’t to say that I’m going to rock my bib shorts to the next company picnic, but for something like a jacket, it needs to exist beyond the bike.

I'm not nearly 'snooty' enough to rock his bad boy.

I'm not nearly 'snooty' enough to rock his bad boy.

Style vs. Utility. Form vs. Function. Call it what you will, it’s oftentimes a rare and wonderful occurrence when the two carefully meet and we’re able to reap the rewards of their lovechild.

Luckily, one of my favourite cycling garments seems to straddles this delicate balance perfectly.

The cycling jacket is perhaps one of the few almost perfectly designed articles of clothing. As evidence of my claim I call to bear the following five points:
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December 21, 2011

Training With Power!

Motivation – in the off-season we’re all looking for it. Without it, we’d never get off the couch. If you’re talking about just ‘riding’, finding motivation can be pretty easy – riding is a blast, and all about fun! Personally, I’m up for going for a ride pretty much anytime. But, if we’re talking about getting on the bike for training purposes, that’s a different story… Training is mostly about hard work, and if you’re training hard, there usually isn’t much ‘fun’ to be had. So, we need another motivator, or at least I do – something that is going to get us into the gym, on that stationary bike, or out on that winter ride. For me, it’s results. I’ve found that I respond to results really well, and I know I’m not unique in that, but I admit, I am a bit surprised just how pumped I can get about training, when I can actually measure and see the results of that effort. And it’s training with POWER that gives me those metrics, that keep me coming back for more.

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December 7, 2011

Form & Function: VINER

I heard it said once, that having beauty around us in our day-to-day lives greatly enhances our overall quality of life, which I would have to agree with – especially when beauty comes in the form of a bike. In my opinion, the VINER Perfecta that I rode this season, is as as nice to look at as it is to ride and race. And that goes a long way with me because admittedly I enjoy things that operate exceptionally well, but also look good do it – form and function come together in this bike like the two halves of DNA’s double helix.

There’s little question, that the fact that this bike is designed and handmade in Italy, plays into why it looks the way it does. Everything from the unique contours of the top tube, the subtly flared chainstays, to the colour scheme, all make this an unquestionable work of cycling art that literally makes me happier when I see it. And it didn’t just have this effect on me – not a race went by when I didn’t have at least one person come up and ask about that bike and comment on how nice it was. There aren’t many CX bikes out there that can do that.

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November 30, 2011

2011 Ultimate Cycling Gift Guide

Ah, the holidays, a time of excellent couplings… Family & friends, rum & eggnog, mistletoe & kisses… Who knows, maybe even a couple of gifts under tree. It is with this last thought that we bring you the Bikeridr 2011 Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide.

Not content to simply give you a measly ‘Top Ten’ we’ve pulled some recommendations together for just about every type of cyclist on your list:

  • The alcoholics,
  • The ladies,
  • The men,
  • The classics,
  • The techies,
  • The spendy and
  • Those who just love the Christmas spirit

It is an epic list, to be sure, and I’m hoping that at least one of these items will satiate the desires of the cyclist on your Christmas list. If there’s something you think I’ve missed – Hit us up in the comments :-D
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November 10, 2011

Top Cross Bikes from Downeast Cyclocross 2011

Finding the right bike isn’t always an easy task. Sometimes simply getting the bikes on to a level playing field can be pretty helpful when you want to start narrowing it down, or at least start understanding what you can get for a certain price point. – An online comparison tool, let’s you put your favorite rides side by side and help you make an informed decision.

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