Review: And While You’re At It …
Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.
Outside magazine, March 1998
Review: And While You’re At It …
A few worthy extras for the discerning pedal-pusher
BICYCLES BUILT FOR ONE | AND WHILE YOU’RE AT IT … | BOOKS
The needs of a cyclist, on trail or tarmac, can change swiftly. The barometer plummets, or gnawing hunger intercedes, or the rear tire goes flat. Thus you require clothing that gracefully handles shifts in weather and venue, and accoutrements that’ll serve you on any bike, on any ride. In the interest of always being prepared, here’s a
Proof that not all occasions require a “technical fabric,” Pearl Izumi’s invaluable Zephrr Jacket ($60, 800-877-7080) is made of a good old-fashioned nylon-poly blend. Great for unexpected cloud cover or a chilly descent, the high-necked Zephrr packs into a spare-tube-size wad that should go with you on all but the most blazing rides.
With many cycling gloves currently assuming an Evel Knievel panache, we’re heartened that Louis Garneau still offers its Classic ($15, 800-448-1984). This timeless synthetic-leather-and-spandex mitt has an understated swath of terry cloth on the thumb for wiping your brow and not-too-bulky palm padding, and it fits great.
Whether you’re zipping in and out of singletrack shadows or racing the setting sun, it’s unwise to be limited to one shade of shades. Briko’s answer is the Stinger ($120, 800-462-7456), which has photochromic lenses that quickly adapt to changing light conditions. The orangeish lenses morph from light to dark, alternately brightening and shading your view of the world.
If there’s any chance you’ll show your face — or your cycling shorts — in public, it’s nice to be wearing something slightly more subtle than hip-hugging spandex. Take Sugoi’s Trail Shorts ($60, 800-432-1335), which combine lightweight padded tights inside with a loose-fitting, quick-drying Supplex shell outside. They’re almost fashionable. Two zippered front
If dual suspension seems like too much apparatus but your local trails seem too harsh, consider Answer Products’s Body Shock seatpost ($150, 805-257-4411). It intervenes between bike and tush with about one and a half inches of cush. Long-lasting needle bearings keep the post from binding, allowing smooth reaction to even small bumps, and the four shock-absorbing elastomers can
At last, there exists a piece of gear that lets you own less. Sigma Sport’s slim BC 1200 computer ($40, 888-744-6277) features the usual speed and distance functions, but what’s unusual is that it remembers two different wheel sizes and thus can maintain two separate odometer logs. Pop for an extra mounting bracket ($13, $25 for a wireless setup) and the BC 1200 switches easily
Crank Brothers deserves thanks for taking time to redesign the lowly tire lever because the Speed Lever ($8, 714-644-0842) makes fixing a flat as simple as can be. Where it really shines is in replacing a tire: Nestle the tip’s hook between rim and tire bead, extend and snap the other end to the axle, give the telescoping lever a whirl, and — zip! — the tire’s
For an all-in-one flat fixer, try Specialized’s Airhead pump ($35, 408-779-6229). With a big and sturdy aluminum barrel, a minimum of strokes quickly inflates big-volume mountain bike rubber; the flip-out T-handle doubles as a tire lever; and a small compartment stashes peel-and-stick patches.
The Topeak McGuyver multitool ($75, 800-250-3068), naturally, can free you from any jam — short of torture by reruns of bad adventure shows. Set alongside crucial bike features like screwdrivers, a rainbow of Allen wrenches, and a chain breaker, this Boy Scout of a tool carries knife blades (yes, plural), a fish scaler, and a fork. In all, there are 33 functions. Diagram