After spending nearly a decade as a reporter for The Indianapolis Star, Robert Annis finally broke free of the shackles of gainful employment to freelance full time as an outdoor travel journalist.
The start of the Tour de France means companies are revealing new bikes, components, and accessories. Road bike makers are unveiling gear being used in the Tour, and even though few mountain bikers care about European stage races, those companies are leaking the details of their 2018 models too.
I’ve known Shamrock Cycles builder Tim O’Donnell for years. Even if we weren’t friends, I would still lust after his custom steel steeds that bicycle nerds have drooled over for the past decade.
I first worked with Tim about five years ago, when he built me a gorgeous Campagnolo-equipped travel bike that was exhibited at the National Hand Built Bicycle Show in Charlotte. Since then I’ve ridden it around the US and Europe, and it never fails to receive enthusiastic compliments from other riders.
Pearl Izumi’s first-generation X Alp Launch MTB shoes were a huge hit with the all-mountain crowd.
So how does the new version, two years in the making, stack up?
Still, the program hasn’t been without its challenges. For instance, the trial was terminated in Santos Bike Park in Florida when a group of five androids developed a hive mind and turned on their flesh-and-blood overlords, killing thousands of squirrels, wild boar, and the now-extinct Florida panther, as well as three park rats filming sick edits in Santos’ Vortex jump park. iRobot spokesman Larry Panabaker called the incident unfortunate, and claims the offending robots have been reprogrammed.
Club Ride’s western flair appeals to the generation of urban cowboys (and cowgirls) who prefer mountain bikes to mechanical bulls. I’ve worn several Club Ride pieces for years and wanted to know how the company’s newer gear stacked up.
Who can afford a new bike every year? Not me, and writing about bikes is my job. Luckily there are several ways to make your bike look, and ride, like new.
Being prepared for a pop-up shower typically means stashing a bulky storm shell in your hydration pack that eats up space that should go to essentials like a pump, multitool or a whiskey flask. When you eventually put the shell on, you’re likely to get as wet from sweat as you would from the rain.
That’s a pain, so naturally my curiosity was piqued when I heard GoreTex was launching a 4-ounce shell. The company claims that it’s the lightest in the world, that you can stuff it in a jersey pocket, and it supposedly breathes well to keep you dry. It was my goal to see if that 4-ounce shell lived up to the hype, keeping me dry, while riding hard in blasting rain.