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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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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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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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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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De Marchi

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Emilio De Marchi has been producing high quality cycling clothing since 1946. Shortly after the end of World War II, his passion for cycling translated into what is now considered the oldest cycling clothing company in the world. De Marchi makes everything from technical clothing to lifestyle pieces such as the one pictured above. A lot of it has a certain retro feel that is instantly appealing to those steeped in cycling tradition. The Tradition Polo is sewn in Italy from Italian materials. The quality is evident in the stitching and mother of pearl buttons. The slim fit makes this piece a pleasure to wear, and the three rear pockets give it a distinct cycling appearance. The De Marchi website has a treasure trove of clothing worth looking through, and one day, I’d love to show my affinity for all things Swiss, and get the 1954 Koblet vintage cycling jersey. Also, be sure to have a look at the blog as well as the history of the company. It is all fun reading.



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