Category: Accessories

If you spend a lot of time riding your bike, you may come to value a particular saddle that works for you. Several years ago, I discovered the Wilderness Trail Bikes “SST” saddle (in my case, the SST.X “Flash” model) and I pretty much fell in love with it. Trouble was, WTB no longer made this saddle, and NIB/NOS examples can be hard to find on the auction market.

So, I was GREATLY excited when I heard during Interbike 2008 that WTB was going to be re-releasing the saddle for 2009. No word on when, exactly, they were going to bring it onto the market, and as of today they still don’t have it on their website… BUT, thanks to my pals in California and our friends at KHS Bicycles, I received a lovely Christmas gift of a pair of brand-new 2009 SST saddles to add to my fleet.

Here’s the new saddle:

WTB kept the overall shape and construction of the original SST saddle…the flat back, abrasion-resistant corner panels and the distinctive dropped nose and dipped center area. Here’s a picture showing both saddles together — you can see just how similar the two are in shape:

old and new

What’s new with the saddle are subtle refinements in the construction and shape…the back portion of the saddle is a few millimeters wider and a bit flatter, catering to folks with slightly wide-set “sit bones” or anyone who prefers flat-backed saddles to sloping ones. A new feature, to me at least, is the inclusion of WTB’s “Comfort Zone”, which serves the same purpose as a saddle cutout but without a hole. Basically, it is an oval gap cut into the nylon shell of the saddle’s underside that is filled with a plug of softer material before the saddle’s cover is glued and stapled on. It works in preventing crotch numbness, that’s for sure…but to be honest, the original saddle works just fine at that, too.

comfort zone

Although the saddle is designed for mountain bike cross-country and all-mountain disciplines, it works very well on the road, too. It is narrow enough not to look out of place on a skinny-tired machine and comfortable enough for long miles. The saddle rails have enough fore-aft adjustability in them to suit just about any application, and the saddle appears to be very well constructed.

I neglected to weigh the saddles before installing them on my bikes, but I can say they’re not lightweights. I’d guess they push the scales around 280-290 grams. These particular saddles came with chromoly rails, but I suspect that WTB will also offer a titanium-railed version at some point (this is only conjecture). WTB, if you’re reading this: PLEASE bring back glitter vinyl, even if you do it in limited-editions. I’ll stand in line to buy some more Bootsy Collins bling!

I’ll be riding with these over the next few months and I’ll let you know how they turn out. Since I got them for Christmas, I’ve already put about 150 miles on them — and they feel just like my trusty old saddle!


Action Wipes recently sent me some body wipes to test out for the sites.

Here’s some specs on the products.

Durable Washable Reusable
Directions For Use
Pull wipe out
and open to
full size.
Clean face…
Wash and clean bike, equipment,
yoga mat, car, furniture… Anything!
You’ve changed since your days in the nursery… You’re bigger, play harder,
smell stronger and your skin is not as smooth as your once cute baby behind.
That’s why we created a bigger, thicker wipe specially for you. One that
doesn’t leave you smelling like a baby, or remind you of one when its your time
to play.

Action Wipes are created with a clean, fresh aromatic scent that smells like you
just stepped into a spa. They’re made with all natural ingredients and
therapeutic aromatherapy oils of tea tree and eucalyptus to clean sweaty
pores and remove bacteria.

They have a mild sudsing action that doesn’t require rinsing, so you’re doing
more than just wiping your skin, you’re actually cleaning it! Quick to dry, it
leaves your skin soft – not sticky.

Action Wipes are naturally antiseptic, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory, so
they’re good for your skin. The gentle formula is safe for your face, sensitive
skin, kids, pets and our planet too.

Did we mention they’re extra big? Yup, click here to see a comparison with
other popular wipes. And they’re extra strong too! Unlike other single-use
wipes, Action Wipes can actually withstand several machine washings and
drying, so you can repurpose them for other uses – such as washing your
dishes when you’re out camping, cleaning your equipment, dusting your
furniture… When done, recycle them!

So go ahead, use them before, during and after Triathlons, Yoga, Music
Festivals, Burning Man, Surfing (great to clean dried salt off face!) Golf, Tennis,
Camping, Hiking, Backpacking, Soccer, Rugby, Roller Derby, Horse Back Riding,
Motocross, Racketball, Football, Baseball, Wine Tasting, Travelling… what ever!

Sprayed directly to your face and body, our mist helps hydrate, clean, protect
and restore your skins thermal balance after a hard workout. You’ll smell good

It is a naturally antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal misting product. That
means it fights against many environmental odors and pollutants that we come
into contact on a daily basis. So protect yourself against bacteria, fungus, yeast
growth and backyard mosquitoes, too!

I had the privilege to use the wipes and spray at a recent 24Hour mountain bike event that Moe and I had participated in during the Thanksgiving weekend. After riding about 33+ miles and grilling food as well as not showering, my body started getting funky. Next best thing to a shower would be using the Action Wipes.

What I liked about these wipes, opposed to baby wipes was the scent. Action Wipes smelled clean and fresh. Plus it didn’t leave me feeling sticky like other wipes do. I used the wipes all over my body, from my face, arms, legs, and my boy parts. The aroma of the wipes are not over powering, in fact, after I had used up the wipes, I was left with a small hint of eucalyptus on my skin. I literally felt like I just showered.

Though Action Wipes say that after I used the wipes on my body, I could use it to clean my bike. But after applying the wipes all over my junk…I decided to pass on cleaning my bike with it. But I do see what they say, these things are durable, large and can be “repurposed” if needed.

As far as the spray goes, I used it to refresh my pits, my face, head and all over my body. The cool mist really helps to keep you smelling and feeling clean.

Price: Wipes start as cheap as $3.95 for 5 wipes and $9.95 for 15 wipes.
Spray come in a 2oz bottle for $7.25 or a 5oz for $14.95.
For more information about Action Wipes, click HERE

Back in September, I received a set of skincare products from Mission Product. I’ve had a chance to test every one of the products pretty extensively, and I wanted to share my thoughts about them.

The blurb from the Mission Product website states:

Teaming up with scientists and skincare industry veterans, we’ve established an entirely new category — high-performance, athlete-engineered skincare™. Engineered in MISSION Labs, the entire MISSION Product line is designed, and has been proven, to meet the specific needs of athletes and sports enthusiasts across all sports.

A couple of the great features of this product line is that all of their products are preservative and paraben-free and that the products are either unscented or have a very mild fragrance. I really like that — I’m not a huge fan of introducing weird chemicals to my skin and I don’t like smelling like a perfume factory. So far, so good…so how does this stuff work?

Anti-Friction Cream

Of all the samples Mission Product sent to test, I’ve probably used this the most. On my days off, I like to go for long bike rides, and some type of “chamois creme” is crucial for long-distance comfort. I’ve used a lot of products, from the expensive Assos chamois creme, Chamois Butt’r and even the classic Bag Balm (no snickering, folks!). The Mission Anti-Friction Cream stands at the head of the class — every bit as good as more established competitors. This stuff WORKS…no friction to speak of, and the cream is long-lasting. The cream doesn’t dissipate or absorb into my skin like some of the other products I’ve tried; in fact, this stuff can be pretty tenacious — it takes a bit of extra scrubbing to get it off while showering.

The cream has a very mild fragrance and goes on smoothly. A little bit goes a long way to providing real comfort for long bike rides. Commuters may or may not need this product (depending on your ride distance and the kinds of clothing you wear), but if you are a fan of chamois creams, this one’s worth a try.

Besides, there are few finer things in life than buttering up your crotch and heading out for a therapeutic bike ride!


Revive Gel
revive gel

The Mission Revive Gel is intended to soothe wind- and sun-burned skin after exercise. I’ve used it as a moisturizer, but I find it especially nice after shaving my legs (yes, I DO shave my legs…say whatever you want but know that it makes my wife very happy). The Revive Gel cools my razor-irritated skin and it really locks in moisture.


This gel really lasts, too — the moisture-sealing properties are evident hours after application. The gel’s magic ingredient is aloe vera, which has long been touted as the perfect remedy for burned skin. Like other aloe-based products, it leaves behind (in my opinion) a vaguely unpleasant stickiness. This isn’t a deal-breaker, of course, because this gel does what it is supposed to do with aplomb.

Foot Synergy Gel
foot synergy

Mission’s Foot Synergy Gel is intended for use on the feet before or after exercise — reviving and moisturizing your dry, tired feet after a grueling workout or event. Many such products on the market have a minty scent and a tingly effect after application, but the Mission gel is scent-free. I’ve used this on my feet but I’ve found that it is quite effective on my knees, which get achy after a long day on my bike.

I was expecting an “Icy Hot” sensation with this product — many such products for soothing feet and joints are on the market. The Revive Gel doesn’t tingle or heat up…but it seemed to do what it was intended to do just fine without that sensation. I wonder how much better it would be with a little added “tingle” — a soothing sensation I’ve come to enjoy after exercise — in the gel?

Lip Protector
lip protector

Now that the cold weather is here (even in Florida), lips can get chapped pretty quickly in the chilly, dry air. I work in a heavily-conditioned building, as well — humidity and heat are the enemies of a library’s collection. So, my lips get an environmental “beatdown” on a daily basis.

Mission’s Lip Protector to the rescue! The Lip Protector is packed with antioxidants, moisturizers and sun protection, and the stuff works great. My lips are as smooth and slippery as if I’ve just eaten a plate of ribs at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack in the ATL, and that’s a good thing!

The only thing I didn’t really like about this product is that it has a cloying, grapefruit flavor…not one of my favorites. I got a little bit on my tongue and the taste is pretty overwhelming to this grapefruit-hater. I noticed that Mission Product has a new line of flavored lip balms in more “Jack-friendly” flavors like mint and sweet vanilla…I’d sure love to try some of those, too.

Daily Offense Stick
daily offense

You want some sun? Florida’s got it in spades, and with our longitude, the sun’s angle of attack on our area is vicious for most of the year. It’s entirely possible to get a wicked sunburn deep into November here. If you value your skin, sunscreen is critical for protection.

All that being said, I’m not as careful as I should be. Sure, I’ll slather some on before going to the beach or if I know I’m going to be out in the sun all day. One gripe I have with a lot of sunscreens on the market is that they tend to clog pores and remain greasy on the skin. Not so with this Daily Offense SPF stick. Boasting of a sun protection factor of 30 and a host of skin-friendly features, the Daily Offense stick does quite nicely. I tend to use it on my face and ears, the areas that are exposed to the sun no matter what I’m doing. This product goes on and STAYS on without feeling greasy or migrating into my eyes, and it keeps the damaging rays of the sun away. Why, this stuff saved me from a wicked sunburn at this year’s Bicycle Bash! Despite our ample (and shady) tent, I spent most of the day out in the blinding sun, and the Daily Offense stick helped me survive out there. No irritation or clogged pores afterward, either! Thumbs up in my book…

If you value your skin and spend a lot of time in the outdoors, you owe it to yourself to try some of these products. They live up to the claims presented by the company, are wonderfully skin-friendly and are filled with many natural ingredients. Check out Mission Product’s website for even more information, and happy riding!

My DiamondBack Xtracycle serves me for 2 purposes; the first one is to do errands and the other one is to ride around with my children. When we saw the Xtracycle’s Magic Carpet at Interbike, I had to take one home. The Magic Carpet is made out of high density, closed-cell foam with a high visibility reflective strip around it.

The Magic Carpet is simple to install, just wrap it over your SnapDeck and you are ready to cruise!

Is it comfortable? Well, I wouldn’t really know since I’m the pilot, so here’s a little video of my 7 yr old briefly describing the Magic Carpet:

The Magic Carpet’s MSRP is $39, for those who carry passengers and don’t have DIY skills like myself, the Magic Carpet is totally worth it.

A couple of weeks ago, we were contacted by the community manager for Mission Product. He wanted to know if we might be interested in testing and reviewing their line of athlete-oriented skincare products. Of course we said a resounding “yes” (who DOESN’T love free samples?), and a few days later, the products appeared at my door.


Here’s a bit about the company in their own words:

“When ultra-endurance athlete Charlie Engle came to us to talk about running across the Sahara Desert, it was clear that he was the definition of an athlete on a MISSION.

After 111 consecutive days in the most grueling terrain on the planet his plea was simple: “In my 30 plus years of training and competing, there has never been a skin care product that has met my needs.” Charlie needed products that could keep up with him, and we quickly discovered that he wasn’t alone…

Teaming up with scientists and skincare industry veterans, we’ve established an entirely new category — high-performance, athlete-engineered skincare™. Engineered in MISSION Labs, the entire MISSION Product line is designed, and has been proven, to meet the specific needs of athletes and sports enthusiasts across all sports.

By agreeing to test and review these products, the staff here at has joined the ranks of sports greats such as NBA’s Steve Nash, pro triathlete Hunter Kemper and gold-medal Olympians Mia Hamm and Amanda Beard.

Wait a minute…what do WE have in common with world-class athletes? Well, not that much. But, even if you ride a bicycle solely for transportion and not for fitness, you’re exposing yourself to wind, sun, cold and muscular stress. Do you ever come home from a long day of work feeling tired, chapped and sore? Wouldn’t it be nice to protect your skin, your “saddle area” and your lips from the ravages of the elements?

That’s where Mission products step in. The five items that came in the pack were “Daily Offense SPF 30 Stick” sunscreen for face, ears and anywhere else, “Lip Protector SPF 20” for the lips, “Revive Gel” to moisturize sun- and wind-burned skin, “Anti-Friction Cream” for the saddle area or anywhere else hotspots appear and “Foot Synergy Gel” to soothe tired, aching feet. All of the products are preservative-free and free of PABA and parabens…and are cruelty-free (always a plus in my book). Several of the products are scent-free, too, and those with scent have a mild, pleasant fragrance — you’re NOT going to smell like the perfume counter at Saks Fifth Avenue after applying these products (another plus)!

We’re excited to try these products, and we’ll be posting some first impressions as well as long-term reviews, so stay tuned for that.

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