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USA

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USA Map

This is a map of the US with our tentative route in red. If I’m counting correctly, it looks like we will visit between 30 and 32 states on this meander through the US. I am so looking forward to showing the kids how varied different parts of this country are. Anyone interested in following the adventure should be sure to follow the Velospeak Instagram account. I plan on posting photos daily. The VW van will be loaded up Friday afternoon, and the trip starts the following day. “Off we go into the wild blue yonder!”



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Mission Workshop

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Mission Workshop, LA

 

Mission Workshop has come to be known for the excellent quality of their bags such as the ones seen above. What some may not know, is that they also make clothing that rivals the design and quality of the bags. As is the case with most of what they do, Mission Workshop produces a small, carefully selected range of apparel that is all top notch. I’ve been lucky enough to wear many of the pieces, and I can unequivocally say they are all exceptional. From the top of the line Remi hooded blazer to the more moderately priced items such as the District Henley, they are all welcome additions to any wardrobe. I found myself wearing the Remi blazer for a good part of spring and loved its utility and good looks. Now that the weather has warmed up, I seem to be living in the District Henley. It is  a well designed piece, and it pretty much can be worn with anything in your closet. It is made from merino wool, so it goes a long way between washes if need be. The District will be a staple on our upcoming cross country trip, as laundromats may be few and far between. It will join the VX/R8 Field Pack, another staple for the upcoming trip. Mission Workshop is a company to be watched. Production is in the United States and Canada, the quality is phenomenal, the release schedule of new products is well paced and deliberate, and the overall ethos is one to be admired. These are all products made to last a lifetime, an unusual approach in these days of disposable goods.



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Light and Motion Urban 800

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Over the years Light and Motion has produced a steady stream of rock solid lighting for cyclists, divers and hikers. I have long been a fan, and when presented with the opportunity to test the new Urban 800 Fast Charge, I admit I was a happy camper. I have tried previous generations of the Urban line, and have always been impressed with the lights. I was curious as to how Light and Motion could improve upon a seemingly perfect product, but as evidenced by the new Urban 800, the engineers at Light and Motion have been busy. The most important improvement in my opinion is the beam of light. The new Urban distributes the beam in a smooth and even pattern. There is no harsh transition from the center of the beam to the outer edges, and it seamlessly enhances the field of view. The new lens that creates this beam is brilliant; this feature alone is worth the upgrade. At 800 lumens, the light is more than bright enough for any need, and as is per usual, the light has four settings covering high, medium, low and pulsating. As the name suggests, this light charges quickly, with a mere 2.5 hour time for a full charge. This helps in situations when you realise it hasn’t been plugged in and you are faced with a dark commute home. Plug the Urban 800 into the USB port on your laptop for a little while, and you will be ready to tackle the ride home. The light is also fully waterproof to a depth of one meter for 3o minutes. This isn’t to suggest you should go for a dip on your bike, but it does mean that no matter the intensity of the rainstorm you may be stuck in, the Urban 800 will pull through without any problem. The Urban 800 is designed and assembled in California with about 50 to 80 percent of the manufacturing done in the United States. This number will grow as the company has built a new factory in Marina, California, that will be able to accommodate more in-house production. Light and Motion deserve a great deal of credit for designing and creating excellent products, all the while committing themselves to bringing back domestic manufacturing. I continue to be impressed, and more importantly, I continue to see the road in front of me.



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Coldsmoke Innak

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New from Coldsmoke are the Innak Biking Shorts. These are made from Schoeller stretch canvas finished with R3 technology. The material is unique in that the outside is water repellent, while the inside is water absorbent. The combination should do wonders for keeping you cool on hot summer days. Another benefit of the material is its ability to prevent perspiration marks, a benefit that will be appreciated by the urban rider. Other bike friendly features on the Innak shorts are zippable leg vents, easy access stash pockets, and an ultrasuede waistband to prevent chafing. And, to top it all off, the shorts are produced in North America. I am happy to see Coldsmoke stepping into the biking category with such a strong showing. I look forward to seeing more.



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