Jiff on a Bike!

We like Jiffpom on Facebook and asked if the Pomn’s handlers had any bike photos. They do! This one.

Jiffpom

Dogs and bikes go together like peas and carrots

Photo: Jiffpom

A Drinking Hat for the Holidays

Blake's Hat

Blake’s drinking hat dominated the party last night and we’re hanging out today with family. A quick spin later and back to work tomorrow.

For Black Friday, we made a Tumblr Lookbook about the gear we make and sell. It’s all on sale and ships for free from Amazon.com.

From the archives, two Turkey-related posts

and a thanks for reading and following us.

Elite V-Arion Parabolic Rollers

Elite V-Arion rollers

I hate training indoors: the monotony, the sweating, the clutter of the equipment in my loft apartment. But I hate riding in the cold and rain even more. So as the Pacific NW lumbers into the dark days of winter, I sold off my old Blackburn trainer to make way for a set of Elite rollers. Rollers can enhance your pedaling technique as well as give you a proper workout.

Many people talk about how humourous it is to fall while riding rollers, but the truth is that crashing in your own living room is really annoying. Certainly not a turn-on for indoor training. Rollers require better than moderate skill, but you don’t need to be a pro to ride them. Yet inattentiveness can lead to a spill if your front wheel drifts past the end of the roller. Elite’s unique “parabolic” rollers flare to a larger diameter on either end. The roller design won’t absolutely prevent you from coming off, but it gives you some tactile feedback from your wheels to tell you that you’re getting too loose with your bike handling. So long as you don’t spazz out and over-correct, you’ll find that you can ride Elite rollers without hyper vigilance. You can relax, but you can’t forget that you’re on rollers.

The larger the diameter of roller, the lower the rolling resistance. At 85mm, the Elite rollers are bigger than product like Kreitler’s 2.25” (57mm) mini-rollers that rely entirely on the rollers diameter to generate resistance. Instead, the Elite V-Arion uses a 3-level magnetic resistance unit integrated into the plastic frame. This is one of the primary reasons I was attracted to the Elite model, because older rollers normally had to clumsily bolt on a mag unit. I wanted to be able to quickly and conveniently stash the rollers when I’m done using them, and the V-Arion does this handsomely. And while the plastic frame might strike many as being a little cheesy compared to those frames made of metal, keep in mind that the plastic frame is less likely to scratch furniture and hardwood floors and features a convenient mounting step. The plastic also helps to dampen the noise and vibration somewhat. On the other hand, the plastic frame has no grip where it contacts the floor, so forget about using these directly on a wood floor because the roller frame can move about precariously as you mount or shift your weight while riding. I bought an extra long padded yoga mat to place under the roller when I work out. The mat has the added benefit of preventing my sweat from pooling directly on the floor. In use, the Elite rollers have a bit less vibration than other rollers I have used, and the manually controlled resistance unit functions as follows: off/ light resistance/ pretty stiff. And when I’m done the folded up V-Arion has a relatively small footprint and doesn’t fall over.

The $409 V-Arion is actually last year’s model. The new $400 Arion Mag has all the same features in a slightly refined frame, but you can get the V-Arion on clearance for $260 while supplies last. Also new this year is the Arion Digital, which has a wireless remote control for the resistance (w/ 16 levels) integrated into an ANT+ compatible cyclo-computer. You can even program in workouts. The Arion Digital Rollers retail for $840.

Elite V-Arion rollers

Riding in the Rain: a Bootie-Boots Solution

Pull ridiculously small

Nice jacket, ridiculously small zipper pull

Whoever spec’d this small of a pull on a zipper has not ridden in the rain with gloves on and cold hands. Offsetting the zipper with a tiny pull makes it even harder to vent the jacket or close it. Suggest they spend some time in a outdoor gear test shower at 35 - 40 degrees, zipping and unzipping their jacket, repeatedly until they promise to forever spec a larger pull.

Matrix looking

Like I’d ridden off the set of the Matrix in the rain

To the shoe setup this rainy season, I’ve got this thing about keeping my feet warm and dry. I’ve tried every combination there is; going as far back as socks over your shoes, before we had booties. That’s right, like Madonna used to wear her underwear on the outside, we’d ride with socks over our shoes. They’d soak through in a few seconds and looked stupid.

Fast forward a few years and cyclists have many choices in booties. Under these Assos rain booties are Vittoria boots for a bootie-boots solution. Bonus is the bootsie setup looks like it belongs on the feet of that hot chick from the Matrix, if she had cankles.

Before you complain about the $150 cost of the Assos, see above where I mentioned many choices, including the Sugois I’ve recommend and ridden in for years.

Important is the tight cuff on the bootie, to prevent water from running down your shin and into the shoe/boot. You can also run a Gore-type sock, but I don’t like a pool of water in the shoe either. Also in on test are booties from Castelli and Nalini.

bootie

The Windtek in the Vittorias is for warmth and the bootie seals out the water. What I don’t ride with anymore in the Winter is thick wool socks because my toes eventually go numb from lack of circulation. Find Vittoria and Assos at a bike shop near you. The Artica MTB cost $265.00.

Osprey Shuttle 32 Roller Duffle: Now I need to renew my passport

Osprey Shuttle 32 roller duffel

My passport has stamps from 23 countries in it; I even had to have additional pages glued in to make room for more stamps. Most of the time I was traveling with a big roller duffle. Well, just as my passport is set to expire next month, my roller duffle probably needs to be retired as well. After some research, I went for the Osprey Shuttle 32.

I feel that roller duffles are ideal for my travel for some specifica reasons. First, large capacity. I have to have enough room for wildly different attire needs. Clothes for casual, clothes for cold, clothes for the symphony, clothes for riding. My life is long dreary spans confined to the Seattle gloom, punctuated with escapes to ridiculous destinations. This isn’t flying down for a business lunch; I can’t remember ever not having checked baggage. Second, soft baggage with good zippers rarely pop all the way open like a hardcase can. And the compression straps provide additional security. I’ve had hard suitcases before, and they just get pounded and dented within a few trips. Sure, a roller duffle isn’t the best choice if you’re an 80yr old gran trying to smuggle a load of snow globes home to the lil nippers, but you can usually use clothes to pad the more fragile items within the roller duffle. A roller duffle also maneuvers on the wheels better than a lot of more squat wheeled bags/cases.

In addition to the reasons above, I chose the Osprey Shuttle 32 because of its quality of construction, sub-compartment size and placement, and large wheel size. The Shuttle 32 is built from heavy duty fabric with a sturdy internal frame. It has a number of external pockets to keep small items to which you might need immediate access, and zippered mesh pockets along the interior side and tongue that I use to store plug adapters, over-the-counter medicines, sewing kit, chamois cream packets, condoms, safety pins…standard adventurer kit. An improvement over my previous bag is the external access shoe storage. That way, dirty cycling shoes don’t need to cross paths with clothes. Lastly, the Shuttle 32 uses larger wheels than most other bags, which allows the bag to roll over rough surfaces much better. Large wheels can be fragile, and the wheels on my old duffle had the urethane tread chunk off. But the Osprey wheels have more of an interlocked hub, like inline skate race wheels.

Now I need to go to the passport agency.

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