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Interbike 2013: “Booth Dudes”

One thing we noticed at this year’s Interbike was the reappearance of the “booth babe” — you know, “our product’s not interesting enough on its own, so let’s hire some sex appeal!” Yeah, it’s a pretty tired-out technique, and it is unfortunate that companies still resort to sex-sells tactics. We’re sure you’ve noticed photos of pretty women shilling bike parts if you’ve been following Interbike coverage on other sites. There was quite a bit of that in Las Vegas this year…most of the worst offenders were in the Chinese (!) and Italian zones.

Well, we want to flip the script here and showcase some “Booth Dudes” — RL and I noticed that a lot of the men in bike businesses are rather handsome! The difference here is that not only are these a bunch of manly pretty faces, but they also know their product lines in depth. These are the hardest working guys in the bike biz — folks who are passionate about what they do and have the know-how to back it up. Try getting detailed specs from a booth babe!

So, our 2013 “Booth Dudes“:

Mike and Eric, costumed crusaders par excellence from Banjo Brothers
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The debonair Adam Z. from O2 Rainwear
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These dashing and futuristic cats from Ryders Eyewear
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Our buddy, the supercool JT from Serfas
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The incomparable Mark L. from Planet Bike
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Marcus, our friend and a handsome face at WTB/Freedom
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And, last but not least, the ever-so-dreamy Corey P (in the black shirt) of Dainese. Corey used to be one of our sponsored racers over at Mtnbikeriders.com, and this young man is a hoot to hang out with.
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There you have it — our roundup of handsome, friendly faces at this year’s Interbike. Give these guys a hand for all they do for the bicycle community…both in providing great products, but also in prettying up the place for the rest of us!


Interbike 2013 Coverage Proudly Sponsored by Black Tiger Jerky
Black Tiger Jerky

Interbike 2013: O2 Rainwear

We had the pleasure of running into our friend Adam Ziskin, the creative force behind O2 Rainwear. He and his father were manning their booth on the show floor, and we had a great conversation:

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Adam mentioned that he has leveraged his manufacturers a bit, and in fact is able to lower the prices on some of O2’s products! You may remember our review of the excellent O2 Rainwear Calhoun jacket a while back. The product line is great, and we wish Adam the best of luck!


Interbike 2013 Coverage Proudly Sponsored by Black Tiger Jerky
Black Tiger Jerky

“Return of the Moocher” Coming to MPLS

Our friends at Banjo Brothers and O2 Rainwear are cosponsoring a gala event (along with Twin Six and Handsome Cycles) on February 18th…here, take a look at the flyer and press release for all the lurid details:

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News Release

Contact Mike Vanderscheuren Adam Ziskin
Banjo Brothers O2 Rainwear
612-310-7795 952-543-1894
mvander@banjobrothers.com adziskin@rainshield.com

For Immediate Release

Minneapolis Bike Industry Companies 02 Rainwear, Twin Six, Handsome Cycles and Banjo Brothers Team Up Again for Cutters Ball III “Return of the Moocher” on February 18th at 7pm.

The Annual Party Features Free Food, Free Booze and a Healthy Dose of MPLS Bike Culture for Local Cyclists and Visiting Bike Shop Personnel Who Are In Town for an Industry Tradeshow

February 1, 2012 – Minneapolis, MN— For the third consecutive year four of the cycling industry’s emerging new brands, Handsome Cycles, 02 Rainwear, Twin Six and Banjo Brothers partnered to host the Cutters Ball. The Cutters Ball is an underground, unsanctioned celebration of Minneapolis Bike Culture for local cyclists and a free social event for visiting bike shop staff that are in Minneapolis for an annual trade show. The free party takes place in South Minneapolis, in the workspace of custom frame builder, Peacock Groove.

The event was the brainchild of Handsome Cycles’ founders Jesse Erickson and Ben Morrison who recruited the other local companies into the mix. For those not familiar, the “Cutters” reference is in homage to Breaking Away, 1979 Academy Award -winning cycling film. Like the “Cutters” from the film the four brands involved have all bootstrapped their respective companies to success with a combination of street smarts, hard work and a commitment to game-changing products.

The annual event which is by all accounts, “just a damn good party,” does create a venue for like-minded cyclists to brave the normally frigid February temperatures ton seek out free food from Jimmy Johns, beer from Pabst Brewing and music. For those in town from other cites, it presents a unique opportunity to dive head-first into Minneapolis cycling culture. For the four brands involved, they hope the long game will result in better brand awareness and a deeper network of industry contacts.

To raise the profile of this year’s event, the brands are going a step beyond their normal use of social media and bike-friendly websites to promote the event. One hundred select dealers, culled from the customer lists, media contacts and sales targets from the four brands, will receive a one-of-a-kind screen printed seat cover designed by industry pioneers Twin Six. The item is bound to become a collectible. The seat cover’s hang tag will come with it a Top Talent VIP distinction and details of the event.

The Cutters Ball takes place Saturday, February 18th from 7pm-?? at 2718 East 28th Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota. The event is free. Host sponsors are Twin Six, Banjo Brothers, 02 Rainwear and Handsome Cycles. Other sponsors include Hed Cycling, Peacock Groove, Kurt Kinetic, Jimmy Johns and Pabst Brewing Co.

About Twin Six
Twin Six is a fashion-forward cycling apparel company located in Minneapolis who offers finely designed cycling lifestyle apparel and a whole mess of other good stuff.

http://www.twinsix.com

About Handsome Cycles
Handsome Cycle Co. was started a few years ago by a couple of guys in Minneapolis who wanted to create classically styled, versatile bicycles for a price within reach of the many—not the privileged few.
The Handsome line of bicycles have been crafted from steel because of its comfortable ride and its tried and true reliability. But steel is not handsome—people are. Handsome is about people riding bicycles that reflect the individual’s style and riding needs. So, please take a long, handsome look—better still, a handsome ride.

http://www.handsomecycles.com

About 02 Rainwear
Developed by Rain Shield, Inc., O2 Rainwear is a national biking apparel line offering affordable protection from the elements for anyone who rides — from serious cyclists to casual rec riders. We’re based in Minneapolis, one of the most active cycling communities in the country. Our own passion for cycling means we get it: we understand why you’re out there, rain or shine, and we know what you need from your gear to keep you going back for more. Since 1997, we’ve been creating O2 Rainwear products to help you make the most of your ride.

Home

About Banjo Brothers
Founded in 2003 by Mike Vanderscheuren and Eric Leugers in Minneapolis (not brothers), Banjo Brothers make a line of high quality, well-built and affordable panniers, waterproof backpacks, grocery bag panniers, handlebar bags, seat bags, messenger bags, and more for bike commuters, recreational and urban cyclists.

http://www.banjobrothers.com

About Breaking Away
Breaking Away is a coming of age story which follows a group of four male teenagers in Bloomington, Indiana, who have recently graduated from high school. Breaking Away was acknowledged as the eighth best film in the sports genre by the American Film Institute.

Review: O2 Rainwear’s Calhoun Jacket

We showed you the O2 Rainwear “Calhoun” jacket in a teaser a few months ago…and at the time, it was dry and hot here in Ohio. Well, as many of my neighbors told me it would, the rainy season set in around mid-October and hasn’t let up. Being cold is tough for a longtime Florida resident. And, as a Florida resident, I’ve gotten caught in many a rainstorm, but our rainy season there was during the heat of summer, negating the need for stifling raingear. Being cold AND wet is about my least-favorite sensation, and since it seems to rain about every other day here, the Calhoun received a thorough test before I put my thoughts together for the review.

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Let’s recap a bit with a list of the details of the jacket, straight from O2’s website:

Product Details
100% 2.5Layer Rip-Stop Nylon
Waterproof, fully taped internal seam
Waterproof, Breathable, Lightweight, Compact
Supreme Wind & Water Protection
Waterproof, full length front zipper with garage
Reflective elements for low light visibility
Welded waterproof front Napoleon pocket
Form Fit
Pit Zips for additional ventilation
Breathability: W/R; MVP: 10,000g/m2/D
Waterproof: W/P: 10,000mmH2O;
Weight: Avg. 13 ounces depending on size

Normally, I wear a size small in cycling wear…as I mentioned in our sneak peek, Adam Ziskin, the owner of O2, sent me a medium based on my dimensions. As it turns out, the medium is just right — roomy enough to fit over an insulating layer on truly cold days. Thermal cycling jerseys/baselayers or even a fleece jacket fit under the Calhoun with no problems. Of course, like any self-respecting cycling jacket, the Calhoun has an extended tail to keep your butt dry in the rain. Off the bike, the jacket feels boxy…not particularly form-fitting and with gorilla-length arms. Once I got onto my bike, the genius of this jacket’s “cut” was immediately apparent: the jacket’s arms are long so that your arms are still covered when in the drops of a road bike, and there is no bunching or restriction as you stretch out into riding position. It’s still not a body-hugging fit and there is some flapping of the jacket’s material in the wind, but nothing I couldn’t live with.

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The fit can be tailored somewhat using the hidden drawcords at the waist and neck:

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The sleeve cuffs have simple hook-and-loop fasteners with enough adjustability to fit over heavy gloves or mittens…and help seal in the warmth.

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Because extra visibilty is key when the weather turns nasty, the Calhoun comes in neon yellow, and it has effective reflective accents on front, back, and sides. For those of you who don’t want that screamingly bright color, the Calhoun also comes in blue. Seriously, though, being seen by motorists when the rain is blowing sideways trumps fashion any day…yet it’s nice that O2 offers a choice.

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One thing that surprised me is that the Calhoun jacket doesn’t feel clammy when I put it on. I’ve worn some inexpensive rainwear over the years — you know, the stuff with the thick polyurethane lining or the rubberized fabric ponchos popular with campers. The Calhoun simply feels like a quality jacket. The interior of the jacket has a slick look to it, but it feels good against the skin, for what that’s worth. I can’t tell you how breathable the 3Flow Performance fabric is with any concrete quantifiers, but I never felt like sweat was bottling up inside the jacket. Granted, my rides have been in the teens to the low 40s and I just don’t sweat at those temps. When I did feel like I was starting to get a bit too warm, the pit zips did the trick to cool me down a bit. Simply unzip them, pull the main zipper down a bit and flush out the excess warmth before zipping it all back up. Worked like a charm!

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One of my favorite features is that the Calhoun packs up small…about the size of a big burrito (but perhaps a bit lighter). When the weather is iffy, the jacket can be rolled up and carried along in a jersey pocket, pannier or bag. A more practiced hand could probably roll this thing up even smaller!

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After all this, you’re probably wondering, “well, how does it work in the rain?” Rest assured, this jacket is waterproof to a fault. I still hate riding in the cold rain, but the Calhoun makes it substantially less miserable. And, the jacket’s fantastic windproof ability also makes it my go-to choice when it is clear and chilly. Take a look at the picture below — the coldest bike ride I’ve been on in 25 years or more, with starting temps in the low teens and highs in the low 20s. I was rocking a thermal jersey and baselayer, fleece-lined bibtights, wool balaclava, shoe covers and lobster gloves. I was afraid I looked like Randy from the classic “A Christmas Story”. What can I say? I ain’t designed for cold weather. Anyhow, the jacket accommodated all those layers and kept the heat in where I needed it. Thumbs up all the way!

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Perhaps my only gripe with the Calhoun is that the one chest pocket is nice, but I prefer to carry things in a pocket on my back. Perhaps I am just used to having jersey pockets for long rides, but a heavy smartphone just felt weird in that chest pocket. After a short time, I transferred the phone to my saddlebag. Luckily, O2 has other jackets to choose from that have other features you may desire. Also, I must say that at first, I was thinking, “gee, I really wish there was a hood on this jacket”, but I understand that hoods can be more trouble than they’re worth. I DO need to figure out a decent technique for keeping the rain out of my helmet, though.

The Calhoun jacket has an MSRP of $119.00. That’s pricey, but I feel you get what you pay for — this is a quality jacket that performs admirably when the weather turns sour. It looks nice, it has good features and visibility, and it is packable enough that there’s really no excuse not to bring it with you when you ride. Check out O2’s full product line by clicking here.

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.

2011 Bikecommuters.com Holiday Gift Guide

Before the clock ticks down on Christmas shopping, we thought we’d share some gift ideas for that favorite cyclist in your life. This was a group effort, with lots of good suggestions from Miriam, Noah, Vince, Elizabeth and RL. Some of the products listed below were reviewed here, and that will be noted in the descriptions. Other items are on our own wish lists or are items we’ve seen and think are worth sharing.

Don’t forget about yourselves as you shop…with all that gas and parking money you’re saving, you deserve some bikey treats, too!

Bikes:

— Redline 9-2-5…one of the staff favorites around here. Reviewed here. Get ’em while they’re hot, as Redline drops them from the lineup for 2012.

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— Jamis Commuter 4 — Vince’s favorite, and on special if you’re in the Portland area. Swing on over to River City Bicycles Outlet for a screaming deal on this machine.

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— Urbana Bikes — Reviewed here, and the electric version here.

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Torker Graduate. Or, if you prefer a sensible drop-bar bike, check out our review of the Interurban.

Lights:

Lots of lights to choose from…many that we have reviewed and others that simply caught our fancy.

— Portland Design Works Spaceship/Radbot light set. Reviewed here.

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— PDW Cosmic Dreadnought headlight.

Supernova Lighting Systems…both battery- and dynohub-powered.

Blackburn USB/Solar Flea Lights. Reviewed here.

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Niterider MiNewt 600.

Revolights wheel lights…one of the many Kickstarter projects.

MonkeyLectric M210. Review coming soon.

LED By LITE directional lights…shown here.

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Flashbak safety light. We reviewed this in 2009 but it is one of those products that’s worth a second look.

Clothing:

O2 Rainwear’s Calhoun jacket…review coming up soon now that the rainy season is in full swing.

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Chrome Vanya knickers. Reviewed here.

Pryme Trailhands gloves. Reviewed here.

Pryme V2 Helmet. Reviewed here.

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Nutcase Gen 2 helmets.

DZR shoes. Reviewed here.

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Accessories and Stocking Stuffers:

— Anything by Banjo Brothers…it’s no secret that we have an unabashed “bromance” going on with Eric and Mike of Banjo Brothers, and we’ve been extremely pleased by everything we’ve tried from the cargo-carrying offerings there. Rather than overwhelm you with a string of links, simply type in “banjo brothers” in the search box at the top right of our site and you’ll see just how much we love their products.

Planet Bike “Captain Safety” reflective stickers…so much fun!

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— Bags by Po Campo — made in Chicago. Yay! We reviewed their rack tote and Po Campo offers a ton of other choices.

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Onetwothreespeed’s Reflective Helmet Bows.

Planet Bike Superflash/Superflash Turbo…a perennial favorite here at Bikecommuters.com, and a perfect stocking stuffer. You can never have too many of these (disclosure: I have about ten of them).

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— Gift Certificates to your local bike shop. Yeah, you should support your local shops.

Chainspirations Bicycle Jewelry…. review coming soon, and here is a sneak peak at a necklace. chainspirations necklace

Resource Revival’s recycled bicycle picture frames, bottle openers, clocks and keychains. So cool!

— Cobra Tire Tool — reviewed here. Naysayers be damned; this is a useful tool and one that fits nicely in your sweetie’s stocking (or saddlebag)!

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Got a gift idea for the cyclists in YOUR life? We’d love to hear about them…drop them in the comments below.