Monday, December 12, 2011

Freeload straps - first impressions

I make no secret. These "straps" were bought for the ultimate epic adventure, the Kiwi Brevet.
But how could I test them to failure without endangering myself unduly? Fate smiled upon me in the form of the end of year christmas function double header. A lunch at the Upper Hutt Cossie Club followed by an epic duel on the Killing Fields of the Upper Hutt Bowling Club. Heady stuff.

We started with an entree of the sea-food platter, which I duly followed up with a main of the seafood platter. Even the batter had batter on. My zip was bursting, the Freeload strap was straining but it held fast. I didnt even need to re-cinch it once. We had some Ginger Crunch and a very good Latte and we adjorned to the green. Bending over with that much seafood onboard was a risk, but things stayed in place. Phase one of the testing was over.This is by no means a final test, but its a good start. Stay tuned.
http://www.freeload.co.nz/store/0/12/Straps

Elite bowls action, Upper Hutt styles

How buying a new pair of pants added value to my day

It’s funny how progress happens, or as often doesn’t. Many times we are told that the latest thing is the best iteration of a product in a long evolution. Often it is complete bullshit and is usually a fix for something else that the marketing guys botched along the way. Bike racks and bottom brackets are a good example. You won’t get me giving up my square taper internal BB just yet.

Ground Effect Supersonics
I had an excellent experience the other day that made me think about the evolution of bike pants. My mum had given me some loot to spend for my birthday, and after much deliberation I decided to buy something sensible. A pair of cycling pants. I'd heard very good things about Ground Effect’s kit, so opted for a pair of Supersonics. These are not bib shorts. I quickly realised that 95% of my shorts are bibs. I started to wonder why. Have you ever been to a ladies race and seen the poor women trying to have a nervous one before a race? A very tricky manoeuvre with bibs on.... not so for the guys, but why were bibs invented? This is a guess, but maybe the original shorts were woollen and shoulder loops were a means of keeping them up, kind of built in suspenders.

Back on to the subject at hand.The upside of these new Supersonics shorts was how they have streamlined my day. Now I can jump straight out of bed, throw on my shorts and wait in line to do my ablutions. None of this faffing about, not being able to get dressed while I wait for the log-jam at the bathroom door to clear, because of the complexity involved with putting a top on over the bibs and then having to take it off again for a number 2. Time is money. I can get out of bed at 7.30, do my stuff and free-wheel down the hill to be at work in about 5 mins, by 8am!

Not only was I very happy with the freedom these new shorts gave me, but they were on my desk when I turned up at work the next morning, having only ordered them at 3.30 pm the previous day. That is impressive. On top of that, they are very comfortable, and look to be very solid in construction. Also you don’t get a sweaty patch up the middle of your back from the bib part when wearing a back-pack. Apparently they are made in NZ too. I get the impression these are going to be my favourite shorts.

Once again, popular with the chicks
I have had quite a few rides on these shorts now and can fully recommend them. The first two rides on the shorts were long ones, about 5 hours each and I got a bit of chaffing on the left as they settled in, but now they are fully broken in and comfy-as. The special "lower leg bands" are just right. They seem to give a real wide band of support, unlike your traditional leg grippers which can cause a bit of a pressure point, and the back is just high enough to protect you if your top rides up. There is a little internal pocket in there as well, not sure what it’s for, maybe a spare patch or two.  The lyrca seems very robust which is what I like. The last time I brought two pair of shorts they both failed in different areas. The Cape Storm bibs material wore out in about a year (became transparent) and while the Tinelli shorts I got at the same time are still going really well, the stitching has come away on the chamois on one side. Only time will tell how robust these pants will be but they come with a good reputation, a good price and laser fast delivery.