The Outside Blog

Adventure : Jan 2013

Year in Review: The 11 Best Cycling Products of 2012

We test bike gear year-round at Outside, from our desert test trip in January and endurance races like the Arizona Trail Race, Breck Epic, and Triple Bypass, to daily road and trail rides here in Santa Fe (including snow biking just this week). In the process, we beat the bejeezus out of lots of gear, and while much of it these days is very good, there are often a handful of items that we come back to again and again. With our 2013 test trip to Tucson coming up next week, we decided this was the perfect moment to highlight the top pieces of bike gear that impressed us most in 2012.

Crank Brothers Kronolog

This dropper post impressed us more than any other piece of gear this year. Crank Brothers replaced the hydraulic internals of the uneven Joplin with an all-mechanical design that has stood up to nine months of hard wear. We prefer the Kronolog’s infinite height adjustment to other brands' two- or three- stage configurations, as well as the simplicity of the air spring for slowing or speeding the post’s return rate. This is not only a huge improvement from Crank Brothers’ original design, but it’s darn near our favorite dropper on the market, and we recommend it on any bike except for your lightest weight racer.

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House Delays Sandy Relief Bill

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives expressed consternation after the House failed to vote on a $60 billion Hurricane Sandy relief bill Tuesday night. Representatives from both parties were quick to voice criticism of Speaker John Boehner, who halted the vote. While the bill will be reintroduced when the new congress elected in November is sworn in, it will have to be considered and passed all over again, further delaying aid for New York and New Jersey residents whose homes were destroyed in the October storm.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was especially vocal, tweeting: “When American citizens are in need we come to their aid. That tradition was abandoned in the House last night.” New York Representative Peter King (R) expressed similar sentiment. “Anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to congressional Republicans is out of their minds,” he said. “Because what they did last night was put a knife in the back of New Yorkers and New Jerseyans.”

The 113th Congress will convene for the first time at noon on Thursday.

Via Global Post

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Will You Stay Drier Running or Walking in the Rain?

Yes, carrying an umbrella is the simplest way to stay dry when it's raining. For science's sake, let's just say it starts raining unexpectedly on a day when an umbrella just isn't a possibility and you have somewhere specific to be. What's the best way to get less wet while traveling to your destination?

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Aspen Investigating Patroller's Death

A Snowmass ski patroller was killed in an avalanche on Sunday while skiing alone in the closed Ship's Prow Glades. Aspen Skiing Co. officials said that Patsy Hileman, a 26-year Snowmass patroller, triggered a small slide that swept her over a cliff, where she was found dead 40 minutes later. The out-of-bounds area known as Hanging Valley Wall had a weak base covered by a slab of heavy snow, and it's unclear why Hileman was there alone. “At this point we have no knowledge of Patsy's intentions, and we will not speculate on this matter,” spokesman Jeff Hanle said in the statement. “We can confirm that we have located only one set of tracks going into the area.”

Via Aspen Daily News

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Drilling Rig Grounded in Gulf of Alaska

Severe weather has impeded the salvage of a large drilling rig that ran aground on an uninhabited island in the Gulf of Alaska, highlighting conservationists' concerns about drilling in isolated and environmentally sensitive waters.

The Kulluk, a Royal Dutch Shell drilling rig, was being towed to Seattle for maintenance when it became separated from its towing vessel south of Kodiak Island and ran aground Monday night. Winds of up to 80 miles per hour and 50-foot waves hindered yesterday's salvage attempts. It is carrying an estimated 143,000 gallons of diesel fuel and another 12,000 gallons of lube oil and hydraulic fluid.

Federal on-scene response coordinator Captain Paul Mehler told reporters that there is currently “no sign of a release of any product.” The Coast Guard has nonetheless mobilized for an emergency spill response as a precautionary measure.

The area is home to two endangered species, as well as seals, salmon, and sea lions.

U.S. Representative Steve Markey (D-Mass.) expressed his concern over the incident, saying “oil companies keep saying they can conquer the Arctic, but the Arctic keeps disagreeing with the oil companies.”

Via Anchorage Daily News

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