Nemo Dagger Ultralight Tent


I’ve entered the Nemo universe, and I couldn’t be happier. The New England based company started back in 2002. The name NEMO is a melding of New England Mountain Equipment and the ingenious Captain Nemo. And ingenious certainly describes the first item I picked up from NEMO – the Dagger Ultralight tent, which has now accompanied me on many trips. From a snowy night in the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, California, to a backpacking trip on Catalina Island, the tent has proven to be a worthy travel companion. (more…)



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Smith Trace

I’ve long known about Smith Optics and their collection of glasses for almost every type of sporting activity, but I was unaware of Smith helmets. Turns out I’ve been missing out on a good thing. Smith makes helmets for both cycling and snow sports, and seeing how it’s the middle of summer here in LA, the only option right now is cycling. The Trace sits at the top of the range and is a full-featured cycling helmet loaded with the latest tech. (more…)



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To Live and Ride in LA


Los Angeles is a car city. Once the old red car trolley system was dismantled by oil and automotive forces, the city was set up as a car centric place catering to every driver’s needs. And that might be part of the reason LA has such a terrible reputation for cycling compared to most other major US metropolitan areas. But, I’m here to say LA is a cycling mecca offering everything a cyclist could wish for.

Since the start of the COVID pandemic, I’ve found increased solace in getting on the bike five, sometimes six days a week. And I like to climb, so most days I find myself heading to the Hollywood Hills. My regular morning ride is to the Hollywood Sign. Follow my Instagram, and you’ll see photo after photo of the Sign, some with bike, some without.

I live in the mid-Wilshire district, so I start my ride heading north toward Hollywood. I pass the impressive homes of Hancock Park, where I often see residents in bathrobes coming out to collect their morning paper. There are plenty of walkers and joggers out early, so there are a lot of hellos and waves. Once through this idyllic neighborhood, I enter Hollywood. (more…)



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Wahoo ELEMNT RIVAL

There are a lot of fitness watches on the market, so the fact that Wahoo is entering an already crowded playing field is a gutsy move for the company. That said, Wahoo hit the scene with a bike computer when companies such as Garmin already had the market cornered. Ever since, I’ve been watching Wahoo’s slow and evolving takeover of the segment. One major reason for this is the simplicity of setting up their bike computers. It’s made it a cinch for those of us who want to set up quickly and ride. After all, riding is what we want to do, not mess around scrolling through menu after menu. The Wahoo bike computers show that good user interface design can make all the difference.

So, when I got word that Wahoo was going to release the ELEMNT RIVAL watch, I was more than curious to give it a try. (more…)



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Shimano Dura-Ace – Perfection?

The Haley pictured with a complete Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 group set

Covering an entire group set from any of the three major manufacturers is a daunting task. There is a lot going on, from braking and shifting duties to electronic or mechanical shifting, and of course the many different levels of components offered. Before getting too far into it, I admit to being in the enviable position of having bicycles with group sets from all three, SRAM, Campagnolo and Shimano. And even better, I’ve got the top tier offerings. But, this post will concentrate on Shimano’s latest electronic group.

Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9150 – nearly perfect? (more…)



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Thule RoundTrip Bike Duffel

 

Thule, originally known for ski racks, has expanded over the years to cover almost all sporting equipment travel needs. From bike racks, to bike travel cases, to baby strollers, the company has a hand in many different and incredibly useful products. I’ve long used Thule roof racks for carrying bikes, and currently use a Thule roof cargo carrier for camping and ski trips. Both are incredibly useful and solid additions to my car, and in all likelihood, will outlast the car, and be transferred to the next.

Another Thule product segment is their luggage collection, and here I’ll cover the RoundTrip Bike Duffel. (more…)



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Panaracer GravelKing SS/SS+

 

Panaracer has 16 gravel tires listed on their website. Fourteen of those have the GravelKing moniker, with different tread patterns and different colors. The most recent addition to the category is the GravelKing SS/SS+ tires, and they seem designed just for me.

If I broke down the type of riding I do on the Open U.P.P.E.R., I’d venture a guess that 70% is on pavement, and the remaining 30% on hard pack dirt. So, for me, a tire with knobbies is out of the question. I like a stable and solid connection to the road when I’m descending the canyons of Los Angeles, and knobs on the sidewalls do not provide that. Throw in a splash of water, and the likelihood of kissing the pavement increases tenfold. This is where the new GravelKing SS excels. Instead of knobs, the tire has continuous “aggressive lugs” that are in constant contact with the pavement or dirt. This allows for stable traction in any conditions, and predictable handling on the bike. (more…)



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Gazelle Ultimate T10+

Once in a great while, I receive a bike to test that blows my mind. That is the case with the new Gazelle Ultimate T10+. What sets this bike apart from the myriad e-bike choices? Well, first things first.

Gazelle is a Dutch brand that has been in the bicycle business for over 128 years. Being Dutch, city bikes are their thing, and for the North American market, they offer eleven different models. All eleven models are e-bikes, and the Ultimate T10+ is their top of the line offering. The Plus designation is purely for its 28mph assist level.

Before going further, I want to point out some things I’ve learned from riding several e-bikes. (more…)



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Bookman Urban Visibility

 

 

 

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Bookman Urban Visibility specializes in visibility products for cyclists, runners and pedestrians. Their design aesthetic is clean, modern, and highly functional. The Curve, pictured above and below, has an output of 220 lumens, and a run time of up to 70 hours in power saving and flashing modes. It is easily attached and removed for safe stowage in a backpack when not in use. The glass lens design allows the light to be seen from the sides as well as the front, and the unit is completely weather resistant. The lights are available in three colors, and can be ordered directly from their website. In addition to lights, Bookman also has reflector stickers that can be worn, or attached to a bicycle. This is another simple, yet highly effective product that helps improve one’s visibility. Bookman Urban Visibility has a singular mission, making being seen their guiding ethos.

 

 



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