The Perfect Winter Cap from Novara


These three hats combined into one from Novara

Like a reduction in cooking, the new winter cycling cap from REI thickens and intensifies the ingredients from three hats into one.

REI hat

The perfect winter cap from Novara

A rain-blocking brim style like a racing cap, old-school ear flaps from one made of merino wool, and thin, warm Italian fabric. I’d like to think Bike Hugger had some influence on this hat; ensuring it fits under a helmet, isn’t too hot, and will survive repeated wash and dry cycles. Also that the ear flaps are flippable and it doesn’t lose its shape. I’ve been chatting up product managers about this hat for years and Novara finally made it.

It’s perfect for the purpose and costs $24.50. Still on injured reserve, I spent the weekend riding in Rapha kit and wearing this cap.

Winter Rides with Rapha

*Winter with Rapha, looking and smelling good*

Winter with Rapha, looking and smelling good

Mentioned earlier in the week, that the Great Pumpkin brought Rapha to Hugga HQ and rode their Winter kit yesterday. Matt Haughey is not only one of the smartest cyclists I know, but will occasionally say something insightful to me, as an aside. A few weeks ago it was this

I know it’s popular to make fun of Rapha, but they really are good guys making great stuff.

Matt’s right and I’ve snarked them too, starting with this old wool Saint Raphael jersey I have.

St. Raphael

Recognize the font and name? So did I and suspected that maybe Rapha were just spec’ers bringing Nike-esque marketing to the sport and conjured up a brand with merino wool blends, a whiff of cobbles, and a hard-man aesthetic. Study their marketing, as Slate told the Oregonian, and learn how they do it in the wake of Lance and the waning power of sports celeb. Sophisticated marketing aside, if Rapha didn’t have the goods, they’re Euroness would fade like retysn in candy. You can’t front for long with prices like that. Their kits are getting ridden, raced, and enjoyed by their owners and a fan base. They’re out supporting Cross, a sport very dear to us.

You could record and upload unboxing videos with Rapha’s packaging. The kit looks good in the box and the weight, construction is noticeable in the hand. On the body, it’s comfortable, like it’ll last, and work as expected. I paused at why the knickers bunch at the knees without a gusset or how the rain jacket fit a bit blousy and more like a cape. There’s so much competition at the high end of the market and for a premium price, I’d expect a jacket with a more tailored fit like what Castelli, Gore, and Assos offer.

If Rapha is in your price range and the brand appeals to you, I recommend it. The jacket, knickers, jersey, embro and creme cost more than $800.00 combined.

Knowing who they are, what they’re doing, and based on what Matt said, I support companies in the industry that are doing it for the love of the sport and bike.

Rapha also sent their soap, embro, and cremes. It’s nice stuff too, but of course, a personal grooming matter and not sure you’d want to smell like another Rapha Guy on the ride. I prefer my chamois creme to tingle and smell like an astringent instead of creamy nutmeg. I do like a spicy soap though and Rapha soap smells like the most manly scent of all, Old Spice.


Wool blend comfort

With my ankle injury and not that cold yet, the embro will have to wait a few weeks. Finally, to their wool jersey, I like that piece so much I’ve set it aside for my apres-cycling wear.

It joins the retro, classic, and other merino wool pieces in my closet right next to my adored St. Raphael jersey.

Vote with your Bike

A pro-vote/bike/Obama message from Mission Bicycle with Monkey Lectric and filmmaker Luis Peña. As a bike shop, Mission doesn’t have to adhere to any equal time rules and make a Republican version of this short, but if they did, we’d run that too.

Amhole with a Bike

Amhole with a bike, a nice one

Amhole with a bike, a nice one

Amhole is a term Seattleites use to describe Amazon employees who’ve taken over South Lake Union, a few regentrified blocks in the shadow of Space Needle where the south edge of an urban lake laps at the city. It’s where the will of a couple billionaires is reshaping a neighborhood and changing building height rules. Paul Allen tore down warehouses to build space that Amazon leases and Tom Douglas opens yet another themed restaurant. There are condos, apartments, retail, not enough parking or trees. Employees wearing Amazon badges on lanyards, like they’re at a never-ending tech conference, walk 3 x 3 on the sidewalks. Their chatter about important online matters continues until they detect you’re not one of them, then it’s like, “sorry to interrupt, please continue your strategery after I pass.”

It’s like the Alaskan gold rush started in this very restaurant

In the hood for a meeting about what we’re doing at SXSW next year, I spotted this bike.

Fendered and automatic hub

Fendered and an Automatic hub

Hold up, that’s a Nishiki with a Pacific Northwest patina, custom wood fenders, and an automatix hub.

Sorry to interrupt again, but may I take your picture?

This Nishiki once had retro drivetrain and he showed me a photo of it.

“Send me that,” I said and thought he wasn’t an amhole at all, but another bike geek working in tech, like me.


More photos of the retro-direct drivetrain mentioned above are on Matthew Weltman’s site.

White Bar Tape

White tape stays white

Funny how someone close to you can say something so poignant, it interrupts your ride with a pause. @mzsitka rides next me last night and says, “how do you keep your bar tape so white?”

Well, cause I’m injured and NOT RACING IN THE MUD! Also, Motorex cleaner.

bike clean

Mud melting Motorex

It melts the mud and grime off the D-Plus

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