Go Straight to Hell, Boy

Sunday in Hell

Ride a bike on Sunday straight to hell

A Puck cartoon from a Forbes piece on the 1890s bike boom. That looks like at least 3 races I’ve done. A commute or two. Back then, the concerns were ill effects of too much cycling, improper female attire, and skipping church service. Today the bike backlash is what? Not paying road taxes, salmoning, and being a scofflaw? Or between cyclists regarding plainclothes or kit.

KEEN Presidio casual cycling shoe

KEEN Presidio Pedal shoe

Presidio and Davidson Bicycle

KEEN (why do they insist on all caps? is it some sort of acronym?) made their mark with comfortable sandals for active people but have since branched out into runners, work shoes, and even cycling shoes. In cycling shoes, KEEN also first debuted with a sandal but now offer several closed toe models. I’ve been wearing a Springwater II shoe as my townie and commuter shoe, and I like it because it is close to the fit of a dedicated SPD/offroad shoe but is much superior for walkability. But the Springwater still looks very much like a cycling shoe. I wanted to try out a KEEN that would be totally incognito once I’m not on the bike.

The obvious choice is the Austin, a lace-up Oxford in brown leather. Obvious, except for the fact that KEEN’s men’s shoes only go down to a US7(M) and I wear a 6. So, just like previous occasions I went with the women’s line which comes in black, and has a slightly different stitching pattern. The equivalent women’s shoe is called the Presidio; though I usually wear a women’s 7.5 in Salomon running shoes, I wear an 8.0 in KEEN to get adequate length. Luckily for me, KEEN shoes in general are rather generous in the toe box relative to length, which is commonly where women’s shoes are a problem for me.

The Presidio’s full-grain leather is double-stitched, and together with a pigskin liner, looks classy and well-made. Certainly not as stiff as a Giro Code carbon mtb shoe, the Presidio is nevertheless a decent cycling shoe. Being SPD-compatible, the shoe can be used with just about any clipless mtb on the market, but the rubber toe cap is actually pretty comfortable with clip & strap pedals as well. There’s something to be said about lace closures, as they often times enable a better distribution of pressure than velcro straps. I can get the shoe to feel comfortably snug without any pressure points. Of course the conventional laces were doubtlessly chosen mainly for their aesthetics, but KEEN provides a convenient elastic pocket atop the tongue to keep the laces from getting in the way. Have no doubt that under hard efforts, you’ll quickly realize that this casual shoe’s upper lacks the structure to harness real power to the pedals, but the comfort for easy riding is outstanding.

The Presidio would not be my choice for rainy commutes. The leather upper and liner readily allow water to seep through, they stretch when damp, and there are no drainage holes to allow excess water to escape. Finally, the leather dries slow compared to mesh/microfibre shoes.

But are they comfortable to walk in? Totally. I walked around up and down the strip in Vegas for hours wearing these and totally forgot that I had cycling cleats attached. Arguably that was due to the alcohol, but the cleats don’t scrape on the ground, and foot pain was never present. What’s more, no one else noticed that I was wearing cycling shoes. In fact, these KEEN Presidio shoes are actually among the dressiest shoes I own; when I go out wearing nicer clothes, I wear these whether or not I plan to use a bike to get there.

The KEEN Presidio (as well as the Austin shoe) retails for about $120.

Sup Son? The Holiday Deal is What

S'up Son

S’up with the deal?

All of our gear is on sale and shipping from Amazon.com. Spend over $25.00 on our jersey and get free Super Saver Shipping or free 2-day shipping with Amazon Prime.

jenny rides by

Jenny just riding along

To show you the gear and share where we ride in Seattle, we made a Lookbook on Tumblr. The kit is all made from the best stuff and at a sale price with free shipping to hook a Hugga up.

Jenny and Ed

In the gully near Hugga HQ

Got more shopping to do for a cyclists? See what we recommend on Amazon. For stocking stuffers, Clip-n-Seals are also on sale, Kickstands too and ship for free.

SRAM Red Hydro Levers: elusive sightings

SRAM Red mystery lever photo from Competitive Cyclist Photo’s Flickr

I call these levers “Coneheads”. They are the new hydraulic brake/cable shift integrated levers for SRAM’s Red group, and the elongated horn atop the lever presumedly houses the hydraulic master cylinder. CG spy shots of the levers and calipers leaked out way back in spring, but the hardware didn’t show up at SRAM’s Interbike booth in September. They did show up last weekend at USGP#3 on the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld team bike belonging to team leader Tim Johnson. After testing the set-up in practice, Johnson chose to use the more familiar standard Red levers pulling on BB7 cable-discs.

These are the clearest shots of the actual levers that I’ve seen so far. Velonews’ tech writer Lennard Zinn got chased out of the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld team bus without getting nearly as good a shot. They look like they are at least pre-production versions since they have the Red graphics on the lever blade and the rubber hood has moulded-in logos, but still SRAM has not hinted at when they will make an official introduction. Rumour in the industry is that they should have been shipping OEM on bikes by now. Will these levers herald the hydraulic brake roadbike revolution? Well, we’re still waiting for the trumpet to sound……..

Coneheads-movie-01.jpg

Woodland Park CX Race Report

MFG’s season-closer at Woodland Park is a fun race but not particularly suited to me. I love the flat sections in the picnic area; when it’s a bit wet you can really rail through the turns. But because of some tendinitis issues early in the season followed by 50hr+ work weeks at the shop, I’m not really in the shape I was last year. Which is a damn shame since I got a lucky position on the grid and made it through the first corner top-10. At first I was just flying, but what waits at the end of the singletrack put my chances of a top-10 finish into perspective. A 90deg left into a steep dirt section was rideable but very difficult to set-up proper in the middle of traffic. Though easy to ride on the warm up laps I never cleaned it on any of the five race laps; in fact, I fell once trying to set up the turn. After that there was a short false flat to a set of barriers, then a gap too short to ride but not pleasant for non-runners like me to hoof it. Then a short hill with 2 somewhat slippery logs, and even though I made fairly clean remounts, you soon turned almost 180deg to make the course’s longest climb (with a short flat in the middle) back to the parking lot. In short, there is nowhere to recover.

Most of the other local courses (like SCX’s Steilacoom) have sections laid out like a lab rat maze through the grass, and I seem to do relatively well at that. I’m also decent on singletrack, so I can recover in between run-ups and climbs, but Woodland just makes ya take it all in one huge bite. So, yes… I choked on it. Even the final stretch is too short for me to really work up a sprint. That’s right, 25th place guy…..10 more meters and I would have had you hanging out with unlucky 27th place dude.

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