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New BMC’s

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BMC

Here are two new BMC bicycles worth a look. First up, the Alpenchallenge AC01 IGH. This is a city bike, with Gates belt drive running a Shimano Alfine 11 speed hub, that could very well be the perfect city bike. Second up is the Granfondo GF01 Disc road bike. I’ve ridden previous iterations of this Granfondo, and I can wholeheartedly say they have been some of my favorite bikes to ride. I can only imagine this new model is even better. BMC is doing a bang up job with the color choices and specifications. Both these bikes look gorgeous, and I hope to ride one or both before the end of the year.

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Whispbar

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VW Passat with Whispbar

 

Whispbar is a division of Yakima, specializing in high end solutions for carrying your cargo. I had spied them early on, and was immediately drawn to the sleek design of the different carriers. A little research revealed their design philosophy: to make a simple and easy to use rack that is the quietest on the market.

I’ve used many different rack systems on the roofs of the different VWs I’ve owned, so I went into this knowing the turbulence that can be created by these racks. I reached a point where I no longer opened the sunroof. The crazy amount of noise from the different setups I’ve tried is the unfortunate by-product of wanting to carry my bicycles on the roof of my car, and I am forced to forgo using one of the best features an automobile has to offer.

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Assos T.rallyShorts_s7

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Assos Rally Shorts
The Assos T.rallyShorts_s7 are the company’s first foray into the mountain biking domain. The line consists of one pair of shorts and two jerseys. I received the shorts some time ago, and it’s time to give some insight into this top end offering from Assos. To begin, I admit I no longer have a mountain bike, but I do have a wonderful gravel grinder, as they seem to be called these days. In other words, a road bike that can handle just about any fire road you can point it down. I figured these shorts would be ideal for this type of ride, so off I went in search of the dirt roads of the Santa Monica Mountains.

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Hiplok Gold

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Hiplok is an English company specializing in bicycle security. As the name suggests, these are locks meant to be carried around the waist. The newest offering from the company is the Hiplok Gold. This is their highest rated lock, with a secure gold rating. The chain is 10mm hardened steel while the padlock is 12mm hardened steel. The lock weighs 5.3 pounds, and ships with three replaceable coded keys. This is serious security for those wanting to keep their rides safe from the hands of bike thieves.



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Therm-a-Rest

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Vela Double Blanket
The cross country trip afforded the opportunity to try out several different products, and now that I seem to have settled back into life in LA, I thought I would begin highlighting a few that were standouts. At the top of the list is the Therm-a-Rest Vela Double Down blanket. As we are fortunate to have the VW Camper, a full bore sleeping bag is not really necessary. Instead, I had wanted some sort of blanket that would work well in the van, and that would suit a variety of temperatures. The Vela is that blanket. The first night of camping in Arizona was on the cool side, and the blanket was perfect. (more…)



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Onomichi U2

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A repurposed warehouse built in 1943 near the city of Hiroshima now serves as a 28 room hotel catering to the cyclist. Hooks on the wall of each room accommodate bicycles, and there is even a bike shop built into the complex. The project was designed by the Suppose Design Office headed by Makoto Tanijiri. He is an avid cyclist, so many of the design features in the hotel are based on firsthand wants and desires. Now we need to get something like this going in the States. Head over to Architectural Record for more information and photos. (more…)



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Calfee & Effeto Mariposa

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Calfee Dragonfly Adventure

 

The road trip has ended, and last weekend I had to face up to the effects of not having ridden for over 5 weeks. At just shy of half a century old, I find that it gets more difficult to rebound from bouts of inactivity. Sunday’s ride would be the test, and just to make it more interesting, I threw in a very late night prior to my morning ride. So, with little sleep, no riding in over a month, and various other excuses, I hopped aboard the Calfee and headed up to Nichols Canyon. (more…)



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And We Are Back!

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The trip across the country has come to an end and now we have an amazing collection of memories that will last a lifetime. The kids gained a much better understanding of the scope and breadth of this country. Strangely, cycling didn’t come up often during the trip, with the exception of visits to a few shops in a few cities. Instead, this was the chance to experience a multitude of new things with my family, and escape the computer, work, and the usual daily routine. I’ve compiled a short list of trip trivia: (more…)



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NYC, Red Beard Bikes, and More

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Red Beard Bikes

 

We arrived in New York City, specifically DUMBO, and the first thing I spotted after parking the Eurovan in its perfect spot, was Red Beard Bikes. I am no expert on what NYC has to offer, and I thought I was pretty up on all the bike shops in town, but this was a new and wonderful discovery. The shop is a small affair carrying bikes from the likes of Parlee and Giant. It is a beautifully designed space with a robust inventory. The business card offers a small and pointed description of the shop: “Purveyor of Fine Bicycles and Gear and a Damn Good Bike Fitter”. So, the first stop in NY, and bikes came to rule the day. We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring all that NYC has to offer, and thanks to a heads up from my sister, we were able to go to the Bicycle Film Festival later that evening. (more…)



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