The big bicycle industry convention in the US is Interbike, which is held in late summer in Las Vegas. We’ve never gone to Interbike (well OK, I kind of snuck in once a long time ago). Perhaps we will one day. But, considering the number of cycling related products we came across at this year’s Outdoor Retailer show right here in our own Salt Lake City, we may not ever need to.
I know I’m not the only one of our readers who rides, so I thought I’d share some of the products we found here. Some of these are expected, and some of them are pretty innovative, but they’re all useful, and so that’s why I’m sharing.
Smith Overtake and Route Helmets with MIPS technology.
Stef already hinted at this in an earlier post, but Smith Optics was at OR, and thanks to our conversation with them at the show, both Stef and I are sporting new lids on the bike.
There was a bellwether article in Bicycling magazine a couple years ago about helmet technology, and how it hasn’t kept up with the times. This is largely because of testing standards for helmets that simply don’t match real world cycling accidents. One of the advancements in helmets that was discussed in the article was MIPS technology. In brief, MIPS allows for rotation between parts of the helmet that will lessen torsional strain in a glancing impact. Since cyclists rarely fall straight down on the top of their heads, this is a good thing. Since that article, MIPS technology has been finding its way in to helmets outside the lab. And now, it’s found its way onto our own heads. Behold!
These are our new Smith helmets. Mine is the “Overtake”, an aerodynamic road helmet more geared for racing. Stef’s is the Route, also a road helmet, but not quite as tricked out. Unless you count the green, which is pretty cool. But besides looking fantastic and potentially protecting us from TBI, my helmet has another very important feature:
The honeycomb stuff you see here is what they call koroyd. It takes the place of most of the traditional EPS foam usually found in helmets. Besides being cool looking, it’s lighter. But more importantly:
It should protect my head from stinging insects!
Throughout my cycling career, I’ve been plagued by stinging insects dive-bombing the holes in my helmet and stinging the crap out of my head. It’s happened more than once. It’s painful. It sucks. And at 20+ mph, there’s not a lot you can do to prevent it other than wear a cap (and then you have a hot head). By filling the holes with Koroyd, I’m hoping the insects won’t get through. Or, at least if they do hit the helmet, they’re dismembered into smaller non-stinging bits. This use is probably not what Smith envisioned when they designed the helmet, but it works for me. Anyway – super excited about the new lids.
If you’ve been around here a while you know that we travel with the Scrubba wash bag in our Class B RV. We saw them last year at the OR show, got one of their wash bags, torture-tested it, and now we don’t leave home without it.
Well they were at OR again this year, and they had a new product, the Scrubba Wallet. They are making these out of the remnants from their wash bag manufacturing process, so you have to applaud their resourcefulness and dedication to eliminating waste.
They’re not even officially for sale yet, but I picked one up and I’ve been using it for cycling, where it excels. If you didn’t know, most cyclists carry their essentials in their back jersey pockets. That works great for energy bars and spare tubes, but paper money tends to get a bit soggy. Convenience store clerks everywhere will rejoice that the Scrubba wallet is waterproof, just like their bags.
Like most cyclists, I used to carry things in a ziplock baggie to keep them dry, but that gets a little cumbersome. Plus, I always felt like a ten year old girl with a change purse every time I wanted to buy an energy drink. No more! I have a real wallet. If you’re interested in a lightweight, waterproof wallet, watch this page for a kickstarter campaign coming soon to help get these off the ground.
The Scrubba guys actually took us over to meet their friends from Quad Lock. Apparently, they work in the same office building in Melbourne?? Small world! Quad Lock makes phone mounting accessories for active lifestyle types. (Namely, us.)
Here you can see my iPhone mounted on my mountain bike. When I’m on the road bike, I’m usually all business, and have the lightest bike computer I can find. But when we’re on the mountain bike, it’s strictly for fun, like this:
So on the mountain bikes, we’d like to roll with our phones front and center (instead of in the aforementioned ziplock baggie). This makes it more convenient to capture pictures of Stef getting rad, take pictures of buffalo, and pull up google maps to try to figure out where in the heck we are anyway.
Enter the Quad Lock. Besides mounting easily to our bikes, the Quad Lock, well… it locks! The locking in place is a good thing if you ride your mountain bike the way I do. (That means I crash a lot.) I’m now rolling with an iPhone 6 specific mount on my mountain bike, and Stef has a “universal” model with a stick-on-connector on the back of her LG.
The Lockless Monster
I recently wrote a piece for Winnebagolife.com about bicycle locking. This product, while it isn’t exactly a high-security option, is such a simple concept; and it fills a certain gap in RV and bike security. It’s earned its place in our RV.
The Lockless Monster is a coated anti-theft steel cable, with a loop end, and a ball end. It allows you to lock up your bike (or anything else, really) to your RV or car without a lock, key, or combination. It’s incredibly simple. Just loop one end around the item you wish to lock up, and throw the ball end inside your car door, trunk, or RV door. Lock your door, and there you go!
Like I said, brilliant in its simplicity. And while the security isn’t that of our On Guard chains, it’s got its place in our rig. I would have used this product, for example, at a recent Time Trial race. I warmed up on one bike, but I raced on another. I more or less trusted the crowd (other bike racers), but still wanted to lock up my warm-up bike while I raced for 30 minutes. Rather than taking apart the trainer and bike and stowing them in the precious few minutes before my start time, it would have been great to just throw this cable around it and leave.
The Lock Less Monster comes in 9 and 16 foot lengths. We got the 16, and I recommend you do too. Wrapping up extra cable is easy. Making a too-short cable long enough isn’t!
And there you have it. No, it’s not Interbike, but there were plenty of products for cyclists at this year’s outdoor retailer show. Can’t wait to see what they’ve got next year!