UNEEK sandal by KEEN


by Mark V on Jun 13, 2014 at 7:20 AM

UNEEK sandals by KEEN

KEEN went back to what made them famous, the sport sandal, and reinvented it with a couple of cords. What they came up with was UNEEK.

Using innovative two cord construction, KEEN UNEEK molds to your feet for the perfect fit. The two cords and a simple, free-moving cord junction design allow the upper to move and adapt to the shape of foot. This construction provides freedom of movement while providing security and structure. The lightweight PU midsole delivers durability and comfort while the high traction rubber outsole with razor siping ensures secure footing.

UNEEK, Ortlieb, and a Bianchi

If you’re out biking on a tour or just exploring neighborhoods beyond the one next to your own, it’s nice to slip on something other than cycling shoes and walk about.

I find that the UNEEK sandals have a lighter, thinner sole that perhaps has a bit less arch support than other KEEN sandals. Not my choice for running, but they work well playing around in the city or on the rocks and in the water of the shore. They kinda remind me of woven moccasins. I would say they run about 1/2 size small. $100 retail.

UNEEK sandals by KEEN

UNEEK sandals by KEEN

UNEEK sandals by KEEN

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Issue 13 on Medium: Superstitions and Strange Rituals


by Byron on Jun 12, 2014 at 6:51 AM

Issue 13 of our magazine drops tomorrow and today I’m on the Microsoft campus for a Lumia event. Here’s a post on Medium about the issue, superstitions, and strange rituals

Superstitions and Strange Rituals

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Nikwax TX.Direct


by Mark V on Jun 11, 2014 at 4:30 AM

As late spring in Seattle warms into a glowing summer, the specter of the rainy season still haunts me…not the least because I haven’t stored all my rain gear yet. Setting aside the superstition that putting away my GoreTex and fenders would somehow beckon rainfall from a clear sky, the technical fabrics used in the waterproof/resistant garments require specific care in order to maintain their properties. Nikwax manufactures a number of products to maintain/restore the performance of technical fabrics. Nikwax TX.Direct

I have a pair of Vittoria Arctica MTB winter cycling shoes. Right around November I start wearing them for commuting because I hate dealing with booties. Sure, for training rides in the rain/cold I’ll pull on the booties along with all the other jackets, base-layers, etc, but I don’t want dressing myself to be a huge ordeal just to get to the store or work. After three long winters of daily use, the Arctica shoes lost a bit of their water-repellency, so I got some Nikwax stuff to right that.

Breathable tech fabrics with water-repellent properties should be cleaned with methods/products free of bleach, surfactants, fabric softeners, and perfumes, which often contain oils or waxes that encourage water to wet the fabric rather than bead off. Nikwax Tech Wash is a good product for washing your technical garments. Nikwax also makes a gel specifically for cleaning shoes, but I didn’t actually think that far ahead. If after cleaning the fabric still wets out, Nikwax’s TX.Direct can be used to restore water repellency. TX.Direct is available in a wash-in bottle or a trigger-pump spray bottle.

In the video below, I left the first shoe untreated. As I pour water on the tongue of the shoe, the water beads off just for an instant before it starts soaking into the fabric. In contrast, the treated fabric of the other shoe beads water and even supports a small pool of water without wetting.

Good rain gear for riding is expensive, so it really makes sense to take good care of it. After cleaning and treating my rain gear, I can put it in the back of the closet where I hope to not think about it until very late in the fall. And when I bitterly acknowledge that the rainy season has closed out the sunshine, at least I know that my clothing will be in tip-top shape for the long, watery siege.

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Adventure Bike: Finna Landscape GT


by Byron on Jun 10, 2014 at 11:37 AM

Adventure in Spain

A Spanish adventure

Spam from Spain’s Finna Cycles gets past email filters to reveal an exceptionally well-spec’d touring bike… the Finna Landscape. A second before I normally would’ve cursed and deleted the email, I see the photos, like this.


A coast somewhere, maybe the Costa Brava

So Finna can mark that as win in their CRM for email campaigns and I encourage you to see what they’re doing. So a company I’ve never heard of builds to the adventure/touring trend with an exceptionally well-spec’d bike. Steel, American Classics, Schwalbe, fenders, and so on. American companies, the big ones that import bikes, should take notice in their meetings trying to figure out how to market the gravel trend.

Lunch or breakfast stop

Lunch or breakfast stop

Note: grabbed the photos from an email, so don’t have anything high rez from Finna.

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On the Workbench: FreeRider Pannier


by Byron on Jun 09, 2014 at 12:26 PM

As it was explained to me…

The FreeRider began as a class project at Metro State in Denver. The goal was to design a cycling related product that fit with the current Green Guru product-line. The first prototype was so well received that we decided to continue and Kickstarted it.

This is the tent fabric version

Funded in just a few weeks, the FreeRider’s Kickstarter campaign ends this week and it’ll ship in two versions: upcycled tent fabric or inner tubes for $60 or $75. As the bullet points explain in their marketing, the pannier hangs onto an existing rack and features bolts to lock in it place. In these photos, I attached it to the Shinola Runwell’s front rack and use it for shopping. With plastic bag laws in the Seattle area, I take it into the store with me, fill it up with groceries, then hook it back on the bike, and ride home.

Attached to the Runwell

You may recognize the Green Guru name too, they’re sponsors for life of our Mobile Social Interbike, cause they always bring the boom by bike, like this.

From the kitchen after shopping to the work bench

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Bicycle Wheel On Car


by Byron on Jun 08, 2014 at 8:51 AM

Known a couple Jedi Wheel builders, but none who would attempt to attach a bicycle wheel to a car and would most likely ask, “Why?,” but Bill Mould decided to do that. See the results in the video and that’s one strong wheel.

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Gear to Go: Naturalista Sneaks and a Freitag Bag


by Byron on Jun 07, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Sneaks and a Bag

Freitag Zurich, made from trucks

Sometimes new gear arrives for review and it matches! Like the Naturalista Meteo sneakers in green and the Freitag Victor. Both are comfortable, casual, and with a style that’s going to patina with time.

Lacking a chest or waist stabilizing strap, I’m not gonna fill the Victor up too full or ride that far with it, but still have always appreciated Freitag’s aesthetic and they were upcyling materials before it was popular. This bag is as tough as a truck, with a roll top, and zippered quick-access outside compartment.


Meteos in black and green

The shoes are very comfortable in natural rubber and leather and I’ve been riding around wearing the bag and shoes, as seen on Instagram: New Arrival from Zurich: Freitag, El Naturalista Shoes just arrived.

Bag and Shoes

Naturalista Sneaks and a Freitag Bag

Find the Metoes and Zurich online or a store near you for 120 € and 350 €. I think unboxing gear like this would bore you, but the premium price for these products is witnessed by the care they take in shipping from Europe. A wide selection of El Naturalista are available on Amazon too in mens and women’s.

Also see a post from this one time when we rode on Freitag bikes in Berlin and a book about their business.

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Redline Conquest for Gravel Grinder


by Mark V on Jun 06, 2014 at 8:41 AM

Redline Conquest Team

Redline Conquest Team. The 2015 models are all disc-brake, so my cantilever brake version is almost a throw-back. Personally, I’m not convinced that disc brakes are all that necessary, but that is definitely the direction that the market has gone. At the Gran Fondo Leavenworth, almost all of the newer cyclocross bikes and gravel-grinder bikes were disc brake, but it’s hard to say how many were recently purchased with disc brake as a motivating factor versus how many bikes had disc brakes simply because that’s what’s readily available on current complete bikes.

After 3 seasons of cyclocross on this frameset, I’ll vouch for the geometry and handling. Redline’s Tim Rutledge really nailed the recipe for cyclocross, but the bike handles gravel grinders well too. If I had to complain, I wish that the bike had a little more tyre clearance, especially at the rear. A 35mm width is pretty much the practical limit on the back; 38-40mm for the fork. However, with the UCI limiting CX tyres to a measured maximum width of 33mm, it’s not terribly surprising that there isn’t more space. This isn’t a big deal for me, but big dudes might want more grab for traction on loose climbs and cush for technical descents.

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Touring Under Difficulties


by Byron on Jun 06, 2014 at 7:37 AM


In all conditions, the ride must go on

The Bay City Wheelmen, in the 1850s, took pride in how they toured under difficulties. Just like cyclists do today, on gravel or adventures rides like in Leavenworth, Dirty Kanza, or Rebecca’s Ride in Sun Valley.

Tour of California, circa 1850

Instead of Strava, they discussed the best tweed weave

Here another group ride is seen 6 abreast on gravel, like the Tour of California in 1850.

Cool down

bikes equipped with umbrellas

While another stops to cool down at a roadhouse.

Photos from the California Historical Society’s Bicycling photographs and ephemera album on Flickr. HT Rebecca Onion.

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Horse Heaven Hills Photos


by Byron on Jun 05, 2014 at 8:06 AM

Cool down

Cool down section of the ride

More photos and a gallery from the riding in Eastern Washington this week, where I wondered at one point if a mailbox was another cyclists AND who needs gravel when you got chipseal?


Road so long, thought a mailbox was another cyclist for about 30 minutes. Disappointed when it wasn’t.

Chipseal for miles and all day

Back in Seattle and working on Issue 13 of our magazine before a trip to Press Camp and Vegas this month.

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