Friday, December 17, 2010

Just got my new phone case in the mail. This is the coolest thing ever. If you are looking for a hard plastic case for your iPhone and were looking for something with a little cycling flair, check out case-mate.com - You can upload any image you want, and in about a week you'll have you're own custom phone case.

Enjoy!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Top 50 Cycling Books

I picked up an issue of Cycle Sport the other day. In it is an article highlighting the top 50 cycling books. It's in the December issue along with some other good articles on the Ghent Six track races, Thor and his WC win and the 2011 Tour de France route.

I looked around online to see if I could find the list anywhere and I couldn't, so I decided to recreate it here.  Absent from my list is the clever commentary, especially since I've only read three of the books on the list. If you want to know more about the book, you can buy the December issue of Cycle Sport or look up the book on Amazon.

  1. Wide-Eyed and Legless, Jeff Connor
  2. A Rough Ride, Paul Kimmage
  3. Kings of the Road, Robin Magowan
  4. Lance Armstrong's War, Dan Coyle
  5. Kelly - A Biography of Sean Kelly, David Walsh
  6. The Rider, Tim Krabbe
  7. The Death of Marco Pantani, Matt Rendell
  8. The Escape Artist, Matt Seaton
  9. French Revolutions, Tim Moore
  10. Flying Scotsman, Graeme Obree
  11. The Hour, Michael Hutchinson
  12. We Were Young and Carefree, Laurent Fignon
  13. In Search of Robert Millar, Richard Moore
  14. Breaking the Chain, Willy Voet
  15. The Great Bike Race, Geoffrey Nicholson
  16. From Lance to Landis, David Walsh
  17. Boy Racer, Mark Cavendish
  18. Put Me Back On My Bike - In Search of Tom Simpson, William Fotheringham
  19. Bad Blood, Jeremy Whittle
  20. The Fabulous World of Cycling, Winning Magazine
  21. The Giro d'Italia - Coppi vs. Bartali at the 1949 Tour of Italy, Dino Buzzati
  22. Visions of Cycling, Graham Watson
  23. Tour de France - The History, The Legends, The Riders, Graeme Fife
  24. Fallen Angel - The Passion of Fausto Coppi, William Fotheringham
  25. Kings of the Mountains, Matt Rendell
  26. World of Cycling, John Wilcockson
  27. Cycling is My Life, Tommy Simpson
  28. It's Not About the Bike - My Journey Back to Life, Lance Armstrong
  29. The Foreign Legion, Rupert Guinness
  30. A Dog in a Hat, Joe Parkin
  31. A Peiper's Tale, Allan Peiper with Chris Sidwells
  32. Watching the Wheels Going Round, Barry Hoban with John Wilcockson
  33. Le M├ętier, Michael Barry
  34. Push Yourself Just A Little Bit More, Johnny Green
  35. European Cycling - The 20 Greatest Races, Noel Henderson
  36. Tomorrow We Ride, Jean Bobet
  37. Greg LeMond - The Incredible Comeback, Samuel Abt
  38. The Tour de France 1903-2003 - A Century of Sporting Structures, Meanings and Values, Hugh Dauncey and Geoff Hare
  39. A Significant Other, Matt Rendell
  40. Inside the Peloton - Riding, Winning and Losing the Tour de France, Graeme Fife
  41. The Agony and the Ecstasy, Stephen Roche with David Walsh
  42. Great Road Climbs of the Pyrenees, Graeme Fife
  43. Roule Britannia, William Fotheringham
  44. Tour de Lance, Bill Strickland
  45. Le Tour, Geoffrey Wheatcroft
  46. In Pursuit of Glory, Bradley Wiggins
  47. The Unknown Tour de France, Les Woodland
  48. A Century of Paris-Roubaix, Pascal Sergent
  49. Inside the Postal Bus, Michael Barry
  50. Sex, Lies and Handlebar Tape, Paul Howard
That's it. Print it off, take it with you next time your at a bookstore or a library. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Assos Winter LL Bib Tights - First Ride

The Assos Winter LL Bib Tights (no pad) are the best winter tights I have ever used and I wish I hadn't waited this long to try them.

There, I said it.

As a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to cycling clothing, this was a hard thing for me to admit. If you looked through my cycling wardrobe, this is abundantly clear. I tend to take good care of my gear and hold on to it for a LONG time. For example, my old tights were almost a decade old and my winter jacket is a series of neon pink and purple panels as if it was ripped right off the back of some 80's pop singer. I found myself shopping around for some new tights since my old ones were finally starting to show their age (ripped seams, the pad was in bad shape, all the zippers were busted), it was time to lay them to rest.

This box just oozes cachet 
I did a ton of investigating and reading reviews and it seemed like a majority of folks gave the Assos Winter LL bib tight high marks. I shopped around and found a good deal, and, with a bit of trepidation, I parted with the $230 smacks to acquire these Gucci-esque cycling tights.

And boy, these things are fancy. Why, just look at the box they came in. No loose garment thrown into a plastic ziplock bag, Assos wants to give you the whole experience when you buy their stuff and that comes through with the packaging, the tissue wrapped article of clothing, and even this neat little plastic tag that doubles as an information card/credit card/cash holder to take with you on rides.



Maybe I'll model them next time. If you're lucky...
Pulling the tights out of the box, I was immediately surprised by their lightness. For winter tights, these certainly aren't very heavy. I gotta admit, I was a bit concerned. That is, until I slipped my hand inside them and my fingers were engulfed in a fleecy wonderland. Some sections actually have double the fabric for additional protection. Awesome. I was excited to give these things a run.

A bit about their insulation and protection. This is Assos warmest tight and they use some sort of Roubaix-type fleece, with a no doubt aero-space inspired fabric that is both stretchy, windproof and breathable.

I know what you're thinking. Every damn bib tight uses similar fabrics, well, here's a few things that set these apart. They've got bib straps with a nice mesh back to keep you from getting too sweaty, a zipper on the waist which is great when a fella has to heed the call of nature, stirrups (you can't see 'em in this photo, but they're there) to help keep the ankle areas warm and, my biggest reason for purchasing, NO PAD.

In my opinion, winter cycling tights should never have a pad. If the weather is cold enough that you need to use tights, then you can stand to put on cycling shorts under your tights. It makes them sooo much more versatile. Your layering options are endless. And, the best reason, LESS WASHING...

OK, so the tights are out of the box, and I've finished my verbal giz-fest about the materials - now the big question - How do they fit??

DISCLAIMER: I've not ridden a whole lot since last December. I've put on some weight. Hell, who am I kidding? I've put on a lot. Twenty pounds in fact. The svelte folks reading this may have a different experience.

With that off my chest (wish it was off my belly...), the fit is very tight. I tried them on with a pair of cycling bib shorts on underneath to get an accurate fit and they fit really snug around my quads, butt and gut. According to the Assos size chart, I am a Large. I actually bought a Large and an XL just to make sure I got the right size. I tried both on and  the only discernable difference that I could tell between the LG and the XL was the length. The XL was a little bunched up around the knees and calves, while the Large was nice and smooth everywhere. The snugness still had me a bit worried. That's when I remembered all the reviews saying you need to ride in them to truly appreciate their fit.

That's what I did.

Holy shit. I have never ridden in a pair of tights where there was no perceptible drag or inefficiency felt from all that extra fabric. That is, until now. These things felt like I was only wearing cycling shorts. It was amazing. For some reason, once you get on the bike, your position just makes all the snugness and pulling go away and you are left feeling very... uh... natural.

As far as warmth, it was about 32 - 34 F, and they provided just the right amount of warmth. If it was colder, like teens, I would probably throw on some leg warmers underneath and be just fine. The wind panels did a great job, although my posterior did get a little cold by the time my hour ride was completed.

Bottom line: It's obvious from these tights that Assos is obsessed with the details. From the packaging, and tags, to the fit on bike, it's all about the details. It obviously pays off, I'm sold on these tights after only one ride. I would love to try some of their other clothing as well.

Going forward I will be very interested to see how these tights hold up over time, to me that's the true test. I'll try to update everyone as the winter progresses to see if they've lived up to their hype.

Additional images below:
Assos logo sown to right butt cheek

Laundry care tags are on the outside so they don't irritate 
Label sown right at the zipper junction to add reinforcement




Friday, December 10, 2010

The Leg Quiz - Answers

Here are the answers to yesterday's big quiz. See the captions below the photos.
A. - Track

B. - Cyclocross

C. - Flahute
D. - MTB
E. - Sprinter
F. - Climber


Thursday, December 9, 2010

You'll know them by their legs...

A.
B.
I found a crazy picture of Sean Kelly's legs today and it kinda inspired this post. Look at the pictures on the right and match them with the type of cycling discipline they are associated with. Answers to come tomorrow...
  1. Cyclocross
  2. MTB
  3. Road - Sprinter
  4. Track
  5. Road - Climber
  6. Road - Flahute (Hardman)

C.
D.
E.
F.