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Miir Bicycles: Changing the World One Ride at a Time

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Bryan Papé believes that a bike is more than just a frame, two wheels, and a bunch of components. He sees the bicycle as an instrument of social change. “After clean water and sanitation, one of the biggest impediments to economic development in Africa is transportation,” Papé says. “Kids can’t get to school. People can’t get to market to sell their goods. And the simplest, most affordable solution is bicycles.”

For every bike sold through Papé's two-year-old company Miir, another bike is donated to someone in need. The program, called One4One, began with Miir’s first product, water bottles. One dollar from each bottle sold—which Papé says is enough to provide clean water for one person for a year—supports well projects in developing countries. “The starting point for the company was to make a great product and build a sustainable business,” Papé says. “Once we realized we could do that and we put in place a model that can support itself, then we turned our attention to taking some of what we were making and giving it back. Looking at the problems out there like clean water and lack of transportation, and seeing how easily they can be solved, I just feel it’s important to try and do a part.”

We chatted with Papé from Miir’s Seattle, Washington, headquarters about how the program works, the cost of clean water, and why he believes that everyone who wants a bike should get one.

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Polartec Alpha: Insulation for Active Pursuits

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Down is the warmest insulation. In fact, when you’re hiking or skinning, it can be too warm. Same with Primaloft. It’s fantastic when you reach the summit, when you’re belaying your partner, or riding a lift, but get your heart rate up, and you’ll probably start to get sweaty.

That’s why Polartec invented Alpha.

Unlike down and existing synthetic insulation batting, Polartec Alpha is a highly stable layer of synthetic fibers that lets manufacturers use more open and breathable fabrics on the outer and inner layers of puffy garments. Classic puffies require down-proof fabrics inside and out so feathers don’t poke through, or they need high-density woven layers. Both create a vapor barrier, trapping moisture inside the garment during activity.

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11 Holiday Gifts for Cyclists

Haven't done your holiday shopping yet? (Shame on you.) Picky cyclist in your life whom you're never sure what to get? (Aren't we all?) Relax. You still have some time, and we've got you covered. Presenting 11 gifts that any reasonable cyclist would love to receive, from inexpensive stocking-stuffers to big-ticket items for the rider who has it all. To get it there in time, though, you may need to summon the speed of Mark Cavendish. Allez!

Rapha Travel Set 

1. RAPHA TRAVEL SET ($45)
This gift pack includes shaving cream, aftershave lotion, and chamois cream (which, incidentally, is among my favorites). These products are loaded with the essences of lavendar, juniper berries, cypress, lemon, and more, which is what makes them feel great, though they might not be quite right if your guy's not into smelling good. For the non-roadie, consider the Winter Skincare Bundle ($60), which nixes the aftershave for soap and cold-weather embrocation.

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Thule Introduces Best-in-Class Camera Bags for Outdoor Photographers

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Thule makes great roof racks, bike and ski and boat mounts, rooftop boxes, and snow chains. It makes laptop and table bags that Apple likes so much that they're sold in the company's stores around the world. Thule's luggage is as rugged as its racks.

Last week, Thule announced its newest category of uber-durable, highly-functional product: camera bags. Called the Perspektiv collection, these bags aren't like anything you've seen before. They have an Ikea-like aesthetic—clean Scandinavian design all the way—with features that show these bags were designed by photographers with other photographers in mind.

The six bags in the line range from backpacks, to SLR carries, to messenger bags, to an action sports case. They've all got waterproof zips, welded and taped seams, and most have hidden raincovers for extreme weather.

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For Those Who Know Too Much: The Eco-Friendly Gift Guide

350.org3Photo: 350.org

Your aunt, the environmental lawyer who sued British Petroleum. Your Fulbright scholar cousin who recently returned from India, where he's developed a highly efficient solar cookstove. Your old roommate, the vegan who went undercover to expose cruelty on a chicken farm.

What, in the world, should you get them for holiday gifts?

OK, you might not have that many incredibly committed, informed, passionate people on your list—and even if you do, they're not going to judge you that much for buying them some lame, plastic stocking stuffer with a huge carbon footprint. Then again....

So if you're still on the hunt for a gift or two, consider these options for your eco-est friends and family.

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