Thursday, February 28, 2008

Rapha Racing

I've been scoping out Rapha's products for a while now, and recently decided to check some out firsthand. I ordered a pair of their Bidons (water bottles) and was happy to see that they were offering free shipping from England! They arrived the other day in this fancy package.

Unfortunately, one good squeeze and part of one of the letters flaked off one of the bottles. Needless to say I was a bit disappointed. So I e-mailed Rapha to let them know that one of the bottles was a little defective, and that I was concerned that my impression of the company had been tarnished. The next morning I received an automated FedEx e-mail stating that Rapha Racing had shipped a package to me. I picked the package up from FedEx this evening and found that they had shipped me one replacement bottle and a complimentary copy of the Rouleur 2008 calendar as well! I'm quite impressed, especially since they got it to me so quickly.

In the meantime I had ordered a pair of their bib shorts and crocheted gloves from Competitive Cyclist. They arrived today and my first impression is that they are of very high quality. I'll have to post a follow-up once I've had a chance to break them in, but I think I'm going to be very pleased with both items.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


My winter commuter this season has been a Univega mountain bike that I picked up used for $90.

In the photo you can see that I'm sporting the SON hub with some homemade headlights. These are the Cree headlights I put together based on the work of Joe Gross (thanks Joe!). There's a reference to his work in a previous post on this blog. Anyhow, these lights are amazing; I couldn't be happier with my lighting solution. The Planet Bike taillight is insanely bright too.

I just ordered a second Brooks saddle to put on my road bike. I decided that it deserved the B17 with the fancy rivets. Besides, I really wanted a B17 on my commuter. I liked the Terry Fly well enough, but when I sat down on the Brooks I knew I had done the right thing. It just feels great. Now I just have to break in the new one. I gave it a good rub-down with the Proofide last night. Now I just have to put some miles on it.

Speaking of the road bike.... I just finally got the Salsa Casseroll back after it had been sitting in the bike shop basement for 4 months. I was the victim of a negligent driver at the end of September. This person was too busy talking on their cell phone to realize that they were turning left in front of me. So I crashed into their fender and went over onto the hood of the car. Basically it resulted in some major damage to the car and my bike. We had some trouble getting a replacement fork, so I had to wait a while. I'm pretty happy that I ended up with a carbon fork to replace the original steel one that came with the frame. The IRD Mosaic is a perfect solution as it accommodates the long-reach brakes and fenders that I had on the bike. I also took the opportunity to upgrade the broken Centaur controls to Record. I haven't gotten used to it yet, but I think I'm going to dig being able to sweep the entire cassette with one motion.