Wednesday, January 30, 2008


{words brian}

Hey Chrisb

Heatsaver Gloves…you can usually find them in farm implement stores for less than $10. I coat them with some SnoSeal and they’re good for almost anything. I even use those gloves for skiing all but the coldest of days. (check out the Happy Holidays post) They absolutely rock.

It is with a heavy heart that I must admit that I am no longer wearing cycling clothes as yourself. I remember my very first mountain bike race in 1991. I was wearing sneakers, swim trunks without a chamois, cotton t-shirt, a beat up sweatshirt (it was cold), and a Giro Tequila SunRise helmet. I religiously rode in this type of gear for years. I never set foot in a Bike shop for Cycling clothes. Goodwill and the Salvation Army were my “sponsors” for years.

Today on my lunch ride I noticed that my new Sidi Dragons cost more than my first mountain bike and all my “riding gear” put together from that first bike race. How did I get to this point? Best I remember it was 1997. I was a volunteer wrench at USA Cycling with the grand hopes of becoming a Pro Mountain Bike Mechanic. Unfortunately, so did ¾ of the mechanics out there. I was asked to be a mechanic for the Track Sprint Program instead. Track racing?! Isn’t that like road racing but with no scenery at all? I had grand hopes of traveling to all the various races, turning a wrench, and getting to ride all these mountains. Instead, I saw the various ways an oval can be constructed. So instead of mountain biking everywhere, I got a road bike…(sigh)…and a full National Team kit to wear on the rides. It’s been a wallet vortex ever since.

While my Republic of Doom vest was given to me by my buddy Higgins, it’s a far cry from the sweat shirt that looked like I stole from the set of Flashdance. Custom made for me by Single Speeder Extraordinaire/carpenter/PDX messenger Steve Fassbinder. While I’ve had the vest a mere month I’ve worn it on almost every ride I’ve done since I got it. The GoreTex material blocks out the rain and wind like you’d expect, and keeps my core warm. There is one small Velcro pocket in the back and subtle reflective striping. The cowboy styled pistols and gun casing zipper grab more ‘eye humps’ and comments than any other piece of cycling clothing I have. While his vests are pricey…anything that fits and looks as good are worth it.


ChrisB. said...


The gloves are sweet and obviously reflect a sense of practicality which is in no way diminished by your other high end items. I have nothing against the fancy stuff, but I'm riding on a family budget, which means even though those Pearl Izumi knickers I have could quite possibly be Pearl Izumi WOMEN'S knickers, I still use 'em. And regardless of their intended gender, they are a quality pair of knickers.

Thanks for the info on the gloves, I'll keep my eyes out for a pair.

Love the blog. Love your bikes too.


Anonymous said...

Ahhhhhh my first look at the vest..........Yeap that one came out nice just as Fastbinder said it woudl !!! Love the post, but PS to everyone who has any silly ideas about riding in leather pants......It can be done, but is NOT recommended.....

Lets Catch Up Soon Higgins

Jamie said...

The need for bike commuters to wear cycling clothes has always been a mystery to me. I wear ONE item of cycling clothing, and that's a Pearl Izumi Vagabond jacket in the Screaming Yellow. And that's only for visibility. I'd much rather throw my work clothes on, hop on my bike, and ride to work.

I'd like to see companies start to put out bike commuter clothes - reflective jackets that aren't skin-tight and the like. There's a market for that, I think.

Casey Casem said...

While I like riding in a pair of Carharts as much as anyone, there is something that will never catch on for commuters, Jaime, taint chafe. If you're going to wear anything cycling specific for your communte, wear a chamois. And please, think of the taints...

ChrisB. said...

I couldn't agree more Mr. Casem. It's true that I'm frugal and practical, but the latter quality has lead to the firm belief that some items are essential and a good chamois is one of them.