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Review: Ryders “Oasis” Sunglasses

A couple months back, the folks at Ryders Eyewear sent me a pair of their “Oasis” sunglasses to try out. I’ve been wearing these sunglasses exclusively for all that time…to the beach, to work, on recreational bike rides, to events and out on the town. So, I think I’ve developed enough of an impression to write something about them.

Oasis

Here’s a little bit about the glasses from the Ryders website (these glasses are part of their “Chill Collection“):

    FRAME: GLOSS BLACK, DURAFLEX
    LENS: GREY, POLYCARBONATE, 100% UV PROTECTION
    TINT: 15% VLT
    FIT: MEDIUM
    FEATURES: ANTI-SLIP NOSE PADS AND TEMPLE TIPS
    PRICE: $39.99

Although these glasses are not sport-specific, they seem well designed for active lifestyles. The lens material is tough, the hinges and finish are durable and the temple and nose pads do their thing without slipping.

There are three major attributes I really liked about these sunglasses. First, the lens is almost completely uninterrupted by the nose bridge…that bridge is just a tiny vertical strip of plastic, giving the wearer a great field of view with no obstructions. Here’s a shot of the lens as viewed from the inside:

nose bridge

Secondly, the shape and curve of the lens gave me great peripheral vision. While the temples and hinge area of these glasses are chunky, they are set back far enough in my field of view that I can barely see the edge only if I really crank my eyes over to the side. With other sunglasses I’ve tried, my peripheral vision tended to be obstructed unless I turned my head. Not so with these glasses — I get the full sweep with no head-turning!

Third, the glasses fit very tightly to my face. I have a very narrow face, and sometimes sport glasses stick out past the sides of my head, giving me a rather “insect-like” appearance. Also, if there’s a big air gap at the top or bottom of the lens, this can cause my eyes to tear up when the wind hit them at speed (I like to ride fast…what can I say?). The Oasis lenses curve both horizontally and vertically, snugging up to the contours of my face. In fact, the tops fit so closely to my eyes that I actually have to tuck my wacky, Leonid Brezhnev-style eyebrows in!

Untucked:
untucked

Tucked:
tucked

For those of you who live in hot, humid environments, have no fear…the hydrophilic nose pads and temple inserts WILL NOT slip, no matter how much you sweat. Sunglass slippage is the bane of many a cyclist — it’s a safety hazard! And, while many reasonably-priced sunglasses have rubber pads that claim to be slip-free, they don’t often deliver; good pads are usually in the realm of really expensive sport-specific eyewear. Not so with Ryders…these rubber pads are the real deal.

So far, I’ve been incredibly pleased by these sunglasses. They filter out a good amount of light and glare on sunny Florida days, they stay in place and they keep my eyes from watering. Sure, they look a little “pimp”, but hey — that’s how I roll!

Check out the full collection at the Ryders Eyewear website…oh, and Ryders, if you’re reading this, I’d sure love to try out some of the other models (hint, hint).

G-Form Gel pads Review

What:G-Form Gel Saddle kit, Gel Brake hood Over-Grips, Bike Shoe Inserts:

About G-Form:

About me and my commute:
I’m 5′7″, 160lbs and 37yrs young. My commute is 23.6 miles round trip and it is mostly flat. I ride from Whittier, CA to Downey CA in Los Angeles County. 90% of my commute is ridden on the street and the rest is on the San Gabriel River Trail Bike path.


Brake hood overs freshly installed.


Gel Saddle pads freshly installed

Overview:I installed the G-form saddle pads and the Gel brake hood overs on my trusty and reliable Ibex X-ray cyclocross commuter bike. I was looking for a little extra comfort, specifically in the brake hood area. Although I didn’t need the extra comfort in the saddle area, I installed the saddle gel pads to see if I could feel a difference. I’ve ridden with the G-Form pads for over two months and put over 200 commuting miles on them. Here’s the skinny:

The pads work as advertised, they do add the extra comfort and they absorbed and dampened some of the imperfections of the road. I really liked the hood overs — they gave me the comfort that I was looking for and my hands were not fatigued at the end of my commutes. I was also pleasantly surprised by how comfortable the saddle gel pads were; I used another type of gel saddle cover once, but I really hated it because it moved all over the place.


Hood overs after 2 months and over 200 miles


Saddle Gel pads after 2 months and over 200 miles

Some of you shared some concern about the durability of the gel pads; I was also a little worried that the glue of the pads was not going to last. After 200 miles, the saddle gel pads needed a little ‘patch kit’ that G-form is now including with their saddle kit. These little patches MUST be installed or the tips of the saddle pads WILL unglue.

The hood over pads are showing their wear and tear; the edges are not sticking to the hoods anymore and when is really hot outside, they tend to soften up and bunch up a little. The bunching up does not really affect the comfort of the pads, they tend to firm up after a while. I’m guesstimating another month of commuting before they become totally unglued. I still don’t care much for the shoe pads — after correctly installing them, I didn’t feel any added comfort.

So the big question is, are they worth it? For those who are seeking comfort from their saddle, the gel saddle pads are comfortable and durable. You can try to buy another saddle, but that would be a hit and miss and those other gel saddle covers are just horrible. The gel hood over pads durability is questionable, but they may be worth it to you if you don’t mind shelling $12.95+ shipping about every 3 months. I can’t say much about the shoe pads, my guess is that if your feet experience discomfort, give the pads a try.

G-form sells all three items for $47.85 and shipping is included, if you are thinking about trying the pads, this would be the way to go. If you want to buy an individual item, ask your LBS to carry G-form pads — you’ll save a few bucks in shipping and handling.

For more information or to buy the G-form pads, go to www.gformcomfort.com

Peace Coffee Review: Guatemalan Organic Dark Roast

This week’s coffee review is the Guatemalan Organic Dark Roast

Here are the specs:

Hang with a smooth Guatemalan. Well-rounded and complete. Layers of deep solidarity from a dark roasted chocolate place. A fat favorite all around. Big.

Roast Level: Dark
Acidity: Medium – Low
Body: Heavy
Aroma: Dark chocolate
Flavor Notes: Bitter-sweet chocolate with dark roast smokiness and a slight remainder of citrus.

Farmer Cooperatives: ADIPCO, Apecaform, Nahuala, Rio Azul & Chajulense

Here’s how the beans look. Now I’m no Starbucks Barista but from what I’ve learned over the years, the darker the roast the more visible oil is on the bean. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but these beans are glistening as if they’ve been sunbathing on the beach with baby oil.
beans

Once the beans were grounded, the sweet scent of a fine dark chocolate hits the air. Eventually the whole room smells awesome.
grounds

Much like the last reviews we did with Peace Coffee, the French Press has been the standard for the test. Look how rich the coffee looks. You just can’t get that with an automatic drip. Oh and here’s the thing, I TRIED to use my Mr. Coffee Auto Drip machine for this test…you know to be different. But those machines literally murder the flavor and texture of the coffee. It wasn’t until I used the press that the flavors came back to life and greeted my taste buds.
french press

What’s great about using a press is you get a full bodied and richer coffee. Usually if you use a drip machine, the coffee looks more like a shiny dark tea. But the press gives you texture, flavors and that nice little frothy foam..
pour

So here’s how this coffee did…the specs show that this has a bitter sweet chocolate flavor. As I sipped my cup of sweetness…well not really since its a dark roast and it was black…anyhow, the certain flavors do jump out then lounge on your tongue; think of a Dove Dark Chocolate Bar. If you’ve ever had one of those then you’ll understand that this is the exact flavor the Guatemalan provides. It’s smooth, rich…oh wait, I already said that, and overall delicious. Though it’s a dark roast it doesn’t mean that it is super bitter. No, not at all — what happens is when you drink this, you do get the smokey flavor that it has been roasted longer than other beans, but it’s not like it is a kick in the mouth where you feel violated because the “dark roast” is taking advantage of your mouth. No the Guatemalan is very smooth and easy to drink. Acidity level is rated at low to medium, not bad considering darker roasts typically have a higher level. Plus I never experienced any stomach aches or heartburn after drinking it.

From this coffee lover to another, my gift to everyone reading is this review. You really have to give Peace Coffee a try. I’ve been really blown away on their coffees. They’re nice people too! Peace sells the Guatemalan Organic Dark Roast for about $9.99 per pound, and I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed!

Qstarz BT-Q1000 GPS travel recorder

I love gadgets, that’s one of the reasons I like to call myself a Bike Geek. When I read the Qstarz press release, I was curious about this device, so they sent us one for me to ride with.

The BT-Q1000 GPS recorder is small and sensitive enough to put inside of a jersey pocket, panniers or a backpack. It comes with 2 PC programs that lets you download the data from the recorder and map it, analyze it or export it to different file formats.

So why would a bike commuter be interested? Well, I know some of you like to keep stats about your bike commute, and truth being, a cyclocomputer is not exact enough. I can’t remember the time that my exact tire size was listed on a cyclocomputer’s manual, so I just guesstimated or used the size closest to mine. So by using the GPS recorder I came to find out, my commute is NOT 21.3 miles but 23.6!!! Yeah, that made a dent on my bikejournal.com log, I’m over 800 miles for the year!

Another cool feature is that I can link it to my PDA via Bluetooth and by using GPS software, I can can pinpoint my location, get directions or find out where the nearest liqueur store is, well you don’t really need a GPS for that in SoCal, you can find them on every other corner, right next to the donut shop. Also, by pressing the little red button, the GPS will make a note of your current location, just in case you want to go back to that donut shop that sells really good Apple fritters.

So how much for this little geeky gadget? I’ve seen them retail from $89 bucks, that’s like a fourth of the price of a GPS unit! Sure it may not have a screen, but it is small enough to put on your significant other’s vehicle so you can find out where Sancho lives. 😉

Peace Coffee: Columbian Heavy Pedal Roast Review

This week we reviewed the Columbian Heavy Pedal Roast from Peace Coffee.

Peace Coffee has placed a clever WARNING LABEL on the package of their coffee…

Here’s are the “specs”

Bike delivering a trailer full of beans. True java to go. Bold flavor and fuel for the uphill. Sweetness on the way down. Rapid.

Roast Level: Medium Dark
Acidity: Medium – Winey
Body: Heavy
Aroma: Complex
Flavor Notes: Dark chocolate and raspberries. Clean finish.

Farmer Cooperative: Fondo Paez

The Columbian Heavy Pedal Roast is a medium roast. Just think of it as notch up from the Birchwood Blend that we reviewed.

The beans grounded to a nice darker earthy tone. The aroma that hits your nose is very pleasant. The medium roast has that coffee scent everyone is familiar with, but it doesn’t have a burnt like smell that some Starbucks beans can have
.

Just like the Birchwood Blend, we used the French Press to make the coffee. Again I first tested the flavor just plain black.

The Columbian Heavy Pedal Roast is a great medium blend coffee. This would be perfect for the rider that likes coffee but not strong like espresso. So its a great in between blend for those that “like it just right.” Acidity level is very low, I measure by seeing if I get a stomach ache and the runs after having a cup. As far as the flavors, Peace describes it as “dark chocolate and raspberries.” I’d have to agree, it was a bit hard to figure out at first, but as I had my second cup, I could definitely taste a dark chocolatey flavor. Just think of a smooth dark chocolate bar that’s been made into a drink. I couldn’t pickup the raspberry flavor, but there’s an obvious twinge of sweetness that hits your taste buds. Actually it doesn’t really it hit, it kinda just flirts with it, as it goes smoothly down your throat.

Peace Coffee describes the Columbian as “Bold flavor and fuel for the uphill. Sweetness on the way down. Rapid.” The coffee does provide a good pick me up, to help you in your morning rides. I say get some of this coffee, have it before you get on your bike in the morning and about 15 minutes before your ride in the afternoon. You basically get the same benefits of an energy drink, but no sugar, carbonation and it doesn’t cost you over $2.00 per serving. Again, a 1lb bag of this Peace Coffee is only $9.99. That should last you at least week or two.