All I want for Christmas is you. And you. And you..

UnderĀ theĀ guiseĀ of “a gift guide for the cyclist in your life”, here’s a list of stuff I would freaking love to get for Christmas IRL.

 

A recent visit to anthropologie might have started this whole post. It took all of my willpower to leave the store without this, and I don’t even have a Christmas tree to put it on.

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Tree in Transport ornament, Anthropologie, $16

My handmade doormat is quickly succumbing to the ravages of the real world now that I have a house. This would ease my pain:

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Bike Doormat, Uncommon Goods, $32

I asked for this and after getting rather soggy the other night in a non waterproof jacket, I’m extra excited to receive it:

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Women’s Odyssey Jacket, Showers Pass, $189

I *might* be addicted to panniers. This one takes the cake.

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Bergen Pannier in Mosaic, Po Campo, $115

 

Every bike commuter needs a small arsenal of these bad boys on hand to beat the winter weather:

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Buff Original Headwear in Nordic, Amazon, $17

Big fan of this local Greenville artist who makes adorable laser cut jewelry:

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Laser Cut Bicycle Ring, Etsy, $7

Only tools don’t carry tools.

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Acadia bicycle multi-tool, Etsy, $35

It’s a well established fact that you ride faster when wearing a jersey that looks this pretty.

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Women’s Stained Glass ES Jersey, Velocio, $169

I said that I didn’t need one of these, and then my plain wooden stand broke this morning. All by itself, I swear, I have no idea what happened.. Guess I need a gorgeous copper replacement.

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custom engraved Copper and Wood bike stand, Velo Valets in Greenville SC, $140

and for some reusable gift wrap:

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Bicycles Tote Bag, World Market, $4

All I want for Christmas is you. And you. And you..

Steel is real (as is teal)Ā 

I haven’t really mentioned the fact that I bought a custom built steel frame road bike earlier this year. Probably because I’ve been busy riding it.

 


 

It was a long time coming, as I bought the groupset for a steal online last summer. Then pondered what kind of frame I wanted and where I would buy it.

 

 

 

I wanted a road bike that would replace my 27 lb touring bike with something lighter, while still being durable and hardy enough for long distance riding and tours.
And of course, I wanted something pretty.

 

 

So a friend mentioned that there was a small outfit in Italy that did custom steel frames with Columbus Spirit Tubing, and I decided to give it a shot.

 

 

It’s an expensive gamble to do something like this online and across the ocean more or less on a whim, but when you don’t spend $9k a year on a car, you do have these luxuries.

 

Vincenzo did a beautiful job, and there were more details and options than I could have imagined. From the tapered head tube to the exact RA# paint colors to the placement of the cables, it was a treat to get to select each aspect of the bike.

 

 

One of my favorite details to select was the writing on the top tube. I selected “senza pareti”, which is Italian for “without walls”, after a particularly zen morning commute where I realized that I felt particularly connected and at one with the environment when on my bike, surrounded by cars where people are walled in and cut off from the world, stuck to the confines of doors and windows while on the open road.

 

 

The custom build process also forced me to learn more about bike mechanics and look up the pros/cons of each aspect of the bike. Most of my choices were focused on weight or aesthetics, but I did go with disc brakes because I’m a control freak about descending. Maybe about a few other things as well.

 

The finished built bike (with 11-speed Ultegra, mechanical disc brakes, some carbon fiber pieces like bars and seatpost,Ā and Chris King wheels) weighs in around 20 lbs. Ā If you’re in Greenville, Carlo at Velo Valets is your guy for custom builds!

 

 

 

I changed out my belovedĀ Selle Anatomica saddle for weight, but I’ll probably try one of their new lighter models before too long.

 

 

 

We’ve already explored roads and trails in 6 states and covered over 1,000 miles, and we’re just getting started!

Steel is real (as is teal)Ā 

two-wheel-barrow

 

In unexpected ways, biking lets you be super lazy sometimes. For instance, why walk over to the community garden when you can ride out and fill a pannier?
Speaking of which, I’m really digging my Brooks rolltop pannier for my commuter. It’s waterproof, has a nice neutral tone look, and stays put nicely on a standard rear rack. I already have a set of Ortliebs for touring and grocery runs, but the simple hooks plus exterior pocket and interior organizer features on this pannier made it worth the impulse buy (and it was half price to boot!). Frustratingly I can’t find this exact model online but it’s most similar to the Land’s End Rear Pannier hereĀ (just with aforementioned pocket and organizer).

two-wheel-barrow

Happy Bike to Work Week!

Abus recently sent me my new favorite Tshirt (that’s saying a lot, given my bike Tshirt collection). While I may not be wearing it to work, it will get some good wear, especially during bike month.

I’m also testing out the Abus Bordo lock and pretty happy with it so far. I really only go for this security level when in a bigger city (I also lock my bike to a rack that’s properly bolted into the ground..), but it’s comforting to be able to leave your bike outside and not have that vaguely worried feeling in the back of your mind. My only gripes are that I’m not great with keys and would prefer a combination version, and I’m used to threading a coil lock through a wheel as well as through the frame. But neither are a very big deal (locking skewers are a good idea in higher theft areas so your wheels don’t walk off).
Ride on and prosper šŸ––
(That would also make a good Tshirt)

Happy Bike to Work Week!

App Update

As a self-confessed app addict, I figured I would update my list with what I’ve discovered since last posting about my favorite apps

  1. Fresh Air

Like Dark Sky for weather, but free. And with pretty visuals.

 

2. Goals


AlsoĀ free,Ā easyĀ wayĀ toĀ visualizeĀ habitsĀ thatĀ youĀ wantĀ toĀ buildĀ andĀ itĀ hasĀ aĀ reminderĀ featureĀ thatĀ youĀ canĀ setĀ forĀ aĀ certainĀ timeĀ ofĀ day.Ā I’veĀ triedĀ aĀ fewĀ similarĀ appsĀ butĀ thisĀ oneĀ isĀ myĀ favoriteĀ becauseĀ it’sĀ soĀ intuitive.Ā I’mĀ currentlyĀ usingĀ itĀ toĀ rememberĀ toĀ logĀ atĀ leastĀ 1Ā mileĀ on StravaĀ perĀ dayĀ inĀ 2017Ā (soĀ farĀ soĀ good!)

 

3. Achievemint


Better than free, it actually pays you to exercise. It’s just $10 per 10,000 points, but you can sync it to apps like Strava and Apple Health, and then go about your usual business. And yes I do have a referral link if you want to try it.

 

 

 

 

4.Ā ByCycling

 

ThisĀ newĀ appĀ isĀ justĀ releasedĀ fromĀ betaĀ testing,Ā andĀ automaticallyĀ detectsĀ yourĀ ridesĀ andĀ countsĀ upĀ mileageĀ forĀ you (as long as wifi is enabled). ItĀ claimsĀ toĀ useĀ upĀ veryĀ littleĀ batteryĀ whileĀ runningĀ inĀ theĀ background,Ā andĀ soĀ farĀ thisĀ seemsĀ toĀ beĀ trueĀ forĀ me.Ā IĀ don’tĀ StravaĀ everyĀ ride,Ā butĀ it’sĀ funĀ toĀ seeĀ howĀ manyĀ milesĀ rackĀ upĀ justĀ commutingĀ back and forth. It appears to be pretty accurate too and doesn’t pick up walking or driving as far as I can tell. If you can encourage your employer to sign up, you can put the incentive feature to use as well!

 

 

App Update

Favorite things/ Selle Anatomica saddle

 

I’m not the pickiest when it comes to saddles, but after trying the Selle Anatomica X series I’m pretty sure it will be hard to switch to anything else.

 

My first road bike was a steel touring bike that came with a thin, flat Selle Royal saddle. I had no problems until I started doing longer rides, and past around the 40 mile mark I started to notice my legs going numb. Not so great.

 

I graduated to a San Marco Concordia, which had sloped sides that didn’t cut off my circulation and was generally comfortable, so I figured that would do just fine. And it did for awhile.

 

And then my friend had me sit on a Selle Anatomica, and I realized everything my butt was missing. It’s pretty much like an armchair got installed onto your seatpost, butĀ with the shape and performance of a road saddle, plus flexibility and movement that eases discomfort that usually sets in with saddles on longer mileage rides. It can be tightened as you wear it in by a bolt on the front, and it has rear attachments for the vintage style saddle bags (which I have my eye on for my birthday, hint hint family). I’ve got one on my road bike and one on my commuter, and it’s comfortable with or without a chamois. I also love that they’re made in USA out of excellent quality materials.

 

Cons: it weighs about 1 lb, and if they make a version that can get my new road bike under 20 lbs, I may just go for it. You also do need to make sure you put on saddle sauce/ take care to weatherproof it as needed to protect it from exposure to the elements. That said, I’ve put my commuter saddle through hell and back already and it’s doing fine so far šŸ™‚

 

[Not a sponsored post. Just a very happy butt.]

Favorite things/ Selle Anatomica saddle