Friday, December 11, 2015

Friday News And Views

These Things Rule:

Once in a while you get a hold of something and use it, then you decide it is awesome. It may be a small thing, but it is so good that you decide it "rules". There are a few things I have come up with of late that I feel this way about, and I figured I would share here.

First of all, if you have an issue with shorts or winter tights rolling down, not staying up, or if you have to cinch down the tie or use a belt on your knickers, well, here is something I am using that you should as well. This is old, old, old school. They are suspenders, or as they are called in some parts of the world, "braces". They turn anything that isn't a bib style cycling garment into virtual bib type garments. No more belts, no tight rope strung around your gut. No more tugging at your waistline to get your tights in place.

I think suspenders rule. They are comfortable and cheap to buy. Mine came from a surplus store and cost ten measly bucks. You can wear your outer shell over them and no one will know you have them on. (If you even care about that sort of thing.) Found in a multitude of colors and patterns to suit your taste. Get some!

Bontrager Lithos jacket
Another item I have just purchased is this Bontrager Lithos jacket. It is a hard shell jacket that is wind and water proof and it comes.......breathable. Yeah, everyone says that about rain gear, and then you wear it and, yep! You may as well be in a garbage bag you are so soaked in sweat. Well, this jacket actually does have a modicum of breathability. I know, because I have been wearing it on these upper 40 to lower 50 degree days. Cycling back and forth to work, I have noticed little of the "garbage bag" effect. The Lithos has two enormous vents running diagonally from the chest down to the lower sides. What is more, the huge slash pockets have mesh liners to the inside.   So, they are, in effect, two more vents. There are no pit zips, but if you don't cinch down the wrists, you get some air flow through the arms. This is, actually, my only nit with the jacket so far. Had they put pit zips in this it would be really breathable. But as it sits, I think it is really good.

Besides the breathability, The Lithos has a helmet sized hood, an inner chest pocket, well sized for the largest phones, and that has a zippered closure. That pocket also has a media port. There is this little pocket on the upper left arm as well. Not really sure what you'd put in there, but it is there! The main zipper is a two way zip, so you can zip it up from the bottom for more venting options. Finally, it features a treatment dubbed 37.5 which is why the  Lithos works when you are exercising.

I haven't been in a rain with the thing yet, but if it passes that test, (and for a $300.00 jacket, it darn well better!), I'll say it rules as well. The main thing is that it fits true to size, breathes okay, and vents pretty well. It is a mountain biking piece, so it is meant for hydration pack wear, thus no rear pocket/venting. And about the price- in rain wear, you get what you pay for, generally speaking. I've had a lot of rain jackets that cost less, and all of them were deficient. We'll see how this plays out, but so far........

The much maligned Fasterkatt
Finally, I want to nominate the 45NRTH Fasterkatt as a boot that rules. I know, I know.........lots of folks hated on these. And to be sure, they have their deficiencies. You had to learn how to dance with them, the zippers in particular are fussy, but the alternative is what?

The alternative, which lots of folks forget about, is cycling shoes and booties, or"shoe covers" if you prefer. Whatever you want to call them, Fasterkatt boots beat the heck out of the old way. Yeah, go ahead and slag the boot, call me stupid for liking them, but I am not going back to those booties. No how, no way. That sucked, and in the worst way possible. These boots protect from wind, rain, snow, mud, and keep my feet warm. They fit me great, and I have zero discomforts when cycling with them.

45NRTH now has a Japanther model which has supplanted the Fasterkatt boots and is supposedly a better deal. Get those then. Whatever you do, get something like the Japanther, or the Garneau boot which is similar. Just get a boot for cycling that rules.

My boot? The Fasterkatt, and I have learned just exactly how to make the zippers live and I get along with them just fine. So for my uses, this rules, and it is waaaaay better than booties!

Okay, how long can this totally awesome weather hold out in December? (Maybe not long with the coming storm, but.....) Anyway, get outside and enjoy what you can of what is left of it. Thanks for reading, as always, and have a great weekend!


Wally said...

Been using the suspended trick for a while. I had the same issues!

Ben said...

I like the suspenders idea. I used it for my shell pants last winter, till I didn't, because I always wear a backpack in the winter.

The damn backpack kept hitting the clips on the suspenders and unclipping the butt straps, leaving a saggy ass and loose straps in my jacket. My backpack then starts digging the clips in to my back.

I'm going to cut the damn clips off and replace with a quick Velcro interface. That should fix it up good :)

Guitar Ted said...

@Ben- That's the great thing about suspenders. They are easily modded to work in specific applications and they don't cost a lot so if you screw up, no big deal.

S Sprague said...

Another Fasterkatt wearer here! Yes, the zipper is finicky but I deal with it. With the temps falling here in California, yeah California, my feet have been nice an warm. I even can get away with just a regular lightweight sock when it's not as cold later in the day. Thanks GT for supporting these!

Michael Lemberger said...

I was lucky enough at swap a couple years back to come across a pair of Lake MXZ-301 boots in my size with the BOA lacing still intact. Way better than shoes with covers, so long as I treat the closure with kid gloves and hit them with a coat of boot oil every couple of weeks...