Acre Supply Hauser Hydration Pack

This year has brought many great new things to the Spindle. We've opened in a new location, upped our custom bag making a thousand fold and one Spindlero brought another child into this world. While we were busy building a greater foundation for the brand, some of our friends have been conquering other goals. For instance, local legal battler, Gerry Weber, chooses exotic locales to take his gear, just for testing purposes. He's kindly lent us his skills in testing Acres Supply 14L Hydration Pack. When he's not defending artists in Atlanta or suing Athens for not allowing the likes of GWAR to play, he's getting sicky gnar gnar on trails around the world. Heres is account...

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In their commitment to you the customer, The Spindle recently sponsored my 350 mile mountain bike expedition into the Mongolian steepe for the sole purpose of testing the Mission Workshop Hauser Hydration Backpack.  The rigorous test-hurdles included dust and hail storms, yak dodging exercises, sandy/rocky 20 percent downhills that produced three broken ribs for other non-Spindle riders, and an inexplicable requirement that this writer get drunk on fermented mare’s milk.   The route was all off-road (save about 10 miles of tarmac), and a mix of single track, vaguely defined jeep tracks and literally no track but a GPS coordinate.  

Before we see the Hauser in action, let’s take a tour of the bag.  The bag comes in two sizes, a ten liter and fourteen liter option, but why go small when they weigh almost the same amount?  The bag is weatherproof, and well into the water-resistant category.  Included is a tool roll, which I liked, but takes up too much room in a small bag to use for that purpose.  There are three small weatherproof pockets (one of which has pull-out straps for a roll bag or blanket) and a fourth larger pocketwith easy access to hydration.  The main pocket can roll or flat as the spirit moves you, and you can attach the helmet with ease.  The bag pocket can handle a small laptop plus papers.  Six areas in all!  The bag comes in nine colors, including some camo varieties.

The Hauser is roomy, light and comfortable.  Rarely do I use a backpack on extended bikepacking trips – the shoulders rebel.  But even packed with a (1) camera, lenses, pelican case (2) jacket and other provisions for inclement weather, and (3) a bunch of snacks: never a pained moment.  The bag felt nearly invisible due to the strapping system and perfect fit.  It was often hot, but the system separating the bag from back proved cool and far less nasty than expected. On steep descents, or dodging the various animals that crossed everywhere, the bag was fixed.  Even on a couple of oh-shit moments where death was near inevitable, the bag never sent me off a cliff or into a camel.  Yes, and one river crossing did not go so well,  but the bag’s waterproofing capabilities proved just fine for a brief dip in the river.  

 

The pocket system proved efficient, with just a few issues.  The main all-around back pocket is great and roomy, but remember to close it all the way, or stuff falls right out.  The camelback outside pack likely works well for that purpose, but is also your easy access to snacks and binoculars or a small camera.  I wish they had a second small side pocket.  I used one for sunglasses, but it would be nice to have another for phone which I ended up putting in a protected pocket on the inside.  Also, if they had a small add on for the belt where you could put sunscreen and bug juice, that would make sense.  While I tested the larger bag since the weight difference is small and you can never refuse extra space, The Spindle has promised a similar sponsored journey to Africa to test the smaller bag.

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The Hauser has become my go-to bag for light hauling on the bike, or just rolling around town from work-to-bar-to-wherever.  The sheer comfort and practicality of the bag has replaced its larger competitors for most excursions.   

 

Women's KitsBow SS Jacket

Team rider, Molly Russell, really puts in the work. She's out riding on the regs, races on the weekends and leaves the guys in her dust as she gets deeper and deeper in the CX and MTB scene. This Spindlera has been putting the ladies Kitsbow SS jacket to the test and heres what she has to say:

 

I’ve had this women’s Kitsbow SS jacket for a solid 3 months now and I, along with all my friends, can tell you that I wear it way too much. On my commute to work, during work, social events, on the trails, during bike races…everywhere. I love this jacket.

My favorite part about this jacket is the impressive ability to be so light and form fitting while still being wind resistant, water resistant and capable of handling temps below 40 degrees. My favorite temperature to wear this jacket in, without worrying about warm base layers, is in the upper 30s. 

With a base layer added, I’ve worn this jacket during a mountain bike race with temperatures starting in the teens with snow on the ground throughout the 17 miles and it was perfect. In contrast, in temps over 40 degrees, it’s got these awesome full length zippers near the armpits that can be zipped down or up half way or completely to allow for air flow of your preference.

My other favorite part is the large back pocket with a zipper that can fit all your bike essentials. I ride with a water bottle in the back pocket when I’m too lazy to put bottle cages on my bike. It also has hand pockets that zip closed, so you don’t have to worry about anything falling out while you’re getting rad on your bike. 

The jacket features Polartec material and has super cozy fleece on parts of the inside. All three pockets have mesh material to allow for air flow. I wouldn’t ride with anything heavy or sharp in the pockets because of the mesh, but I wouldn’t really advise riding with anything sharp or heavy in the pockets, period. I’ve fallen a few times in the jacket but it’s held up really well. Though, there is a very tiny burn hole in the jacket resulting from a bonfire ember. 

The back of the jacket seems to have that just-right length to cover your butt on the bike but still look flattering on or off the bike. I generally wear a size small for tops but for this jacket the medium worked best. The only real issue I have with the sizing is that the sleeves aren’t long enough, even with the taper, to cover my arms fully while extended- but I run into this issue often as a taller person.

Overall, I consider it a wardrobe staple and highly recommend it.

Report: Dirty Pecan 2016

The Spindle Gravel team took it down to Monticello, FL on March 8, 2016 for the Dirt-y Pecan 60/100/150 mile unsupported ride. The team party paced through 60 miles of plantations, oak canopies, and of course, pecan orchards.

Monticello is a cool little town right over the GA/FL state line, we arrived late Friday evening, set up camp, and a couple of beers and whiskey shots later, it was time to rest up.  Rising up at 6 am to cook breakfast for the team was little rough, but Spindlero Ezz heeded the call for some tacos to get the gears moving, slowly after 7am you started to see cars and trucks with beautiful bikes strapped on and ready to get filthy!

The organizers rolled through and greeted everyone with a fierce battle cry, at the start of the race at 8, there was an estimated 250 riders ready to get going. Although the Spindle team lagged a little, due to Sharif’s inevitable mechanical failure, which we were just happy to get out of the way. Out by 8:30 on a gorgeous soon-to-be 75 degree day, we embarked on our fantastic voyage.

 

 

The route was less than 20% paved, so dirt and gravel were going to be abundant.  Pedaling through the farmlands between South Georgia and the panhandle of Florida was packed with stunning views and mixed terrain of which none of us have ever seen. The route was mostly exposed but portions of the trail was marbled with shade from the enormous tree limbs draped with Spanish Moss, lingering overhead. Excavated forest roads dug 4 feet deep through the wood exposed deep, red-orange GA clay that has been eroded over decades of sun and heavy machinery rolling through each groomed passage. The walls on these roads were enveloped with rich moss of bright greens and yellow shades. What we also found was a hybrid texture, a combination ofsand, GA red clay and water that could only be described as peanut butter. 

Most of us rode CX bikes and rolled through fine. Even Sharif and Ivan Ravioli (aka David Baker), had little trouble on the route with their All-City fixed CX bikes. Though Spindlero Andy's thoughts on choosing a 650b MTB deemed to be a bit of a sluggish decision. Being an unsupported ride everyone was well-prepared with their Spindle packs and frame bags loaded with snacks, fruit, and water. Helping immensely as the temperature rose throughout the day.

As we approached the finish, we scouted out a little farmers market that served up a sundry of local fruits, veggies and boiled peanuts which Spindlera Molly Russell and Atlanta Beltline Bicycle team rider, Zach Holmes, took back to camp.

 

 

With beautiful views and good people surrounding us, overall it was a beautiful ride. We drank the juice and are already looking forward to dirtying up our pecans for next year’s ride!  For more info on the ride please visit the Dirt-y Pecan facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/dirtypecan/?fref=ts

Gettin' Toasty! with American Spirit Whiskey

Some of us didn't dodge the rain on the way in to meet at the shop, but the ride from the shop to the distillery was graced with clear skies!! The ride consisted of leaving from the Spindle ( you gotta pregame whiskey with beer, right?!?) and highlighted the unfinished part of the Beltline. The trail portion on the south side of Piedmont Park is hard packed dirt and gravel but as it extends past the backside of Ansley Shopping Center, it's riding along abandoned railroads on top of plum-sized, granite stones. 

After pushing through the large, loose gravel we were rewarded with the sweet smell of mash as we rolled into the bustling distillery. Greeted at the door by Chad who graciously dialed us into the goings on of the distillery that day. The days activities included tasting their line of aged and unaged whiskeys and a new apple brandy utilizing apples from Mercier Orchard in North GA, a tour of the Distillery with hospitable owner, Charlie Thompson and S'MORES!!!! My sweet tooth and whiskey tooth were in heaven! 

After sipping whiskey by the outdoor fire pit with our judgemental palettes, exchanging anecdotes with distiller Justin Mangalitz and his Red Man belt buckle he's had since middle school (arguably longer) and a group photo we were off to explore some new construction and back down the rough terrain that we love so much.

Look for rad new releases from American Spirit Whiskey ( www.americanspiritwhiskey.com/ ) later this year and be on the lookout for our next pursuit of "Gettin' Toasty!"

Rapha Button Up

Rapha, a name synonymous with roadies, spandex, tights, and..well, you get the idea. However, they've started to sneak in a couple of commuter friendly offerings over the past few years; from sleek button ups to jeans, they've been tossing us commuters a bone here and there, and the bone landing at our feet was the Merino Button up.

The shirt has no pockets, more of a dress shirt in disguise with a basic flat front. This minimalist look is in line with Rapha's other commuter designs where they are very well thought out, straight to the point designs. Which is a nice change of pace from some other gear you'll find and keeps your wardrobe diverse.

In the past we've tested other 100% merino shirts, and over time they tend to wear holes after continuous use, not the case here, the merino has held up very well for over a year of commutes, long day rides, as well as a few hikes. The shirt gets softer as well, but doesn't sag as other merino shirts may do.

The Rapha team added some nylon on the shoulders, which beads water during a light sprinkle. If you get caught in a heavier rain, you'll at least have piece of mind when your shirt is soaked but you are warm and toasty until you reach your destination, and as merino does, it dries pretty quickly.

The shirt is solid, it's no frills, as most commuter shirts have pockets on the chest or on the lower back, Rapha keeps it simple, it's a great layering piece that does a great job of keeping your core warm, and when coupled with a wind/waterproof jacket, you'll find yourself reaching for it often in various weather.

Swrve Durable Cotton Shorts

 

As most cyclists have learned, riding in your run-of-the-mill cotton shorts can be fine, but after a few longer rides you can start to feel that seat start to wear, then more rides are taken and you're basically either back at the store or cutting off another pair of pants that probably didn't deserve it at the time!  This is a cyclists dilemma, Is it possible for me to continue cycling without having to: A. Spend tons of cash a year barreling through casual cotton shorts, or B. Break down and just buy a kit, and just have a change of clothes in a bag.  Well as a teacher who's life didn't go as planned and always liked throwing curve balls on pop quizzes and will ever-test your mental limits, the answer for those questions is, C. Buy Swrve durable cotton shorts.

 

 

 

I know what you're going to ask, "Why Spindlero, you just said cotton was a horrible monster to ride in, all you did was throw the word 'Durable' in front of it, what is this chicanery?!?!"  Well the Swrve team has developed a tough, resistant-abrasion cotton with an added 4-way stretch that allow superior movement that can handle light city rides with ease, but these baddies really shine on longer rides.

I received my pair in October of 2013, having already had the regular cotton shorts from Swrve, I was interested to see what additions/upgrades had been made.  So I met up with some buddies and took a 35 miler ride keeping it around 15-20 mph.  After a 30 minute break-in period the shorts really let loose, the stretch on these are amazing!  They'll move nicely along with your cadence without rubbing or irritating your skin, and they bounce back into form, there's no droop, no sag in these babies at all, that impressed me the most in the durable cotton material, even after owning them for this long and with continuous riding, the shorts are in the same form as they where when I ripped them out of the packaging!

 

 

 

 

Swrve has included standard additions that most of their bottoms have, the reflective belt loops for added visibility, the pen holders along both side pockets, the zip pocket, and the phone pocket under the right back pocket.  What I would like to see on these is to deepen the back pockets like the OG cotton shorts Swrve had that you could fit a U-Lock in, the durable cotton's have a pocket sized for a wallet but not really much else.  In the case of the phone pocket, while it holds my iPhone with Speck phone case just fine, I couldn't put it in there while riding, and even while standing the phone will protrude out of the top some, making it easy for those with sticky fingers to swipe it with ease.  It would be cool to maybe widen the phone pocket a little, deepening it slightly so the whole phone fits, and add a zipper/Velcro/button snap for extra security.

These shorts are really great for any conditions, except obviously the freezing cold, (unless your one of those guys that wears shorts all year long...ya crazy!).  They stand up well on those steamy hot days, they remain swamp free and comfortable while they breathe very well.  What I found surprising is how they performed in very strong rains, the shorts on the outside were of course soaked, but none of the water penetrated the material keeping me nice and dry!

 

But, as in a marriage, you brush the faults to the side and only look at the positives, Swrve has done a remarkable job in not only designing extremely bulletproof material, but making sure Men of all shapes and sizes enjoy them, the cigarette fit for the slimmer gents, the regular fit not only for heftier riders, but also for those with swollen quads from many years of riding, and finally the regular fit trouser shorts, which has a 9" inseam for those who like a little thigh with that biscuit!!  These shorts are not only Spindlero approved, but approved by every single customer that has come into the shop and purchased them, these are a top seller at The Spindle, we've already had people come back in not only to buy more pairs in Swrve's assortment of colors, but also speak of already riding 700+ miles in them without any sign of wear in sight!!

 

 

How can the cycling community get more Atlantan’s to commute?

    

Recently, Mayor Kasim Reed proposed doubling the miles of bike lanes to Atlanta’s infrastructure in 2014, pushing to keep his goal of making Atlanta a top 10 city for commuter cycling by 2016.  We were inspired to write this post from a recent article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (http://www.ajc.com/news/ap/georgia/atlanta-moves-forward-with-bike-sharing-program/ndFYF/) quoting Atlanta officials wanting to increase the actual cycling community from 1.1% to 2.2%.

  

Right now, Atlanta’s cycling community is small, but vocal in educating others in the benefits of commuting.  With advocacy groups like The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and Georgia Bikes! in addition to many volunteers pushing the government for more bike lanes and laws, the seed has not only been planted, but nourished and watered to grow without a glass ceiling in sight.  With a new Bike Share program looking to break ground this summer, many commuters hope to meet many new friends along our current routes!

From time to time we have pedestrians swing by The Spindle with an interest in getting into commuting but all have once similar question:  Aren’t you scared to ride on the main streets?  The answer for us is no, if you can gain confidence riding on main roads like Dekalb ave., Ponce de Leon, or Peachtree St., you can ride anywhere.  But that’s what it really comes down to is confidence. If you can stay to the right, avoid potholes quickly, and obey traffic laws, most drivers will notice and treat a cyclist as traffic, not traffic cones. Sometimes it is better to take main roads. They're wider, you're more visible plus it allows drivers to get used to the fact that there is a growing presence of cyclists.

It’s not only educating cyclists on the how-to’s, but also drivers.  Unfortunately, we live in a society that believes cars are the only mode of transportation that should be on the streets or the age old “Share the road” attitude where they give cyclists 3 inches from the tip of their side mirror. If they are stuck behind a cyclist, drivers must learn it is inherently dangerous to inch by us. If there is the standard 3ft space available, then by all means take it, but when the driver inches by they are putting the cyclist in severe risk.  Drivers need to keep in mind the trechorous road of the city are exponentially worse to a bicycles thin rims and we must avoid potholes just as drivers do. Even more so because they may not only have to pay the cost of a tube, but likely a whole tire or rim and at times those repairs can be costly.

Now, I know some drivers are reading this saying “Well, what about the cyclist who buzz through stop signs, or traffic lights?!?!  They’re causin’ a hulabaloo on their bikes, are they trying to set us back?? What is this the 1850’s?”  Ok, so maybe they don’t talk like that, but I do from time to time!  But they’re right, I see a lot of cyclists flying through lights all the time for absolutely no reason. Once I was driving to Grant Park and 2 cyclist ran a red light while I had a green light, I was going about 35-40 and was literally inches from killing one of them.  I definitely took the time to bark up the guy, in the end all he said was “jeez, I’m sorry” in a very sarcastic tone, what riders don’t tend to realize is that if they get injured or even killed by a driver when they don’t obey traffic laws it causes serious trauma for the driver that could stay with them for the rest of their life.  If we want respect on the roads we need to earn it as well.

 

We've had our fair share of run ins with angry pedestrians and drivers. The best thing to do is to keep calm and refrain from cussing up a storm. Some people understand reasoning and rationale, but others will take all their aggression for cyclist out on you. People like this are difficult to please and as much as you want to punch them through the face, you must walk away. Not to be a coward, but for people to realize that not all cyclist are maniacal. Sometimes we make mistakes but the result of our mistakes can possibly be our lives.

Police training on bike laws has definitely increased and needs to continue growing. As cyclist, stories and experiences with police have become more commonplace. And since recently being pulled over for lack of lights or traffic violations, we still appreciate the recognition. With cyclist becoming more cognizant of traffic laws, officers should acknowledge and protect at risk cyclist from aggressive drivers. If an officer sees someone driving recklessly close to a cyclist, then that driver should be ticketed severely.  This will spread the word quickly once drivers realize that endangering a rider will get you a hefty fine and hopefully get bike fatalities to nil (oh to dream!).  I believe PSA’s by advocacy groups would help tremendously, along with public forums in all counties to educate drivers and riders alike.

But what can we do to help to increase commuters here in Atlanta?  Most importantly open conversation is key, if you are a daily commuter, talk to your coworkers, friends, and family that live near their jobs and try and persuade them to ride their bikes.  You can point out the health benefits as well as the cost savings commuting by bicycle entails.  Take them on a ride on the beltline, start slow, then take steps onto neighborhood roads, and then once their comfortable, main roads.  Maybe influence your company to offer incentives for those who cycle to work?

 

Communication with new riders is extremely important, even experienced riders are always finding better routes and educating themselves on the rules of the road.  When rules are learned by new riders they then pass it on to others who they influence to commute, and so on and so on.  This way, they become more active in the community and vocalize our need for better, safer cycling infrastructure for their city.

In addition, social rides like The Mobile Social, Civil Rides, and Critical Mass are great ways to get a new rider comfortable with their surrounding while meeting new people.  Plus, bikes are cheap!  They can run from $50-$5000 based on whatever your needs may be, we definitely recommend you building one up so you can learn the ins and outs of bicycles and can make quick and easy fixes while out on the road.  Learning how to change a tire or make adjustments to your bike in the middle of a ride can save you time and money.

 

We look forward to seeing you all out on the road soon!

What are your questions/opinions?  Do you live in another city and have any suggestions? Leave your comments below, we’d love to start a conversation!!

Outlier Button Down Pivot Shirt

 

 

Generally with commuting shirts, most companies will add a touch of Lycra or Spandex to the otherwise cotton shirt to add a little flexibility to the rider. Outlier went on the other end of the spectrum on their 100% cotton Pivot Shirt with some solid tailoring making for a great fit. Make a dress shirt for riding, with no added fabrics, and voila!  The Outlier Patent Pending Pivot Sleeve is born.

 

 

The Pivot is a sleeve that is not stitched in with the shirt, it's a part of it, coming from the bottom all the way to the cuff of the sleeve.  When riding, there is no bunching up on the shoulders or feeling of tightness as you lean on the handlebars giving you a wider range of motion.  The pleats on the back shoulder blades also allow for a great range of motion, the perfect shirt for those business casual meetings at the climbing gym. The sleeves are made long so even on colder days, those wrists aren't feeling even the slightest of cold air ( but also don't look like they're all bunched up on your hands like wearing your poppa's gear out to a business meeting).  We bought the long version of this shirt, so while you are tucked in on the ride to the office, you won't arrive with half or all your shirt hanging out of your trousers, it stays put.

 

 

This shirt is also extremely versatile in styling and wear.  The covered pocket is a great fit for your phone so you can turn up the speakers on your ride in without worrying about it bouncing out. It can be coupled with N.Bidlake or Makers and Riders business slacks for a hard day at the office, then switched out in the evening for some Swrve Jeans or Cadence Trousers for drinks with friends or that hot date you've been anticipating all week!!

 

For me, this shirt is very comfortable, I wear it for work, weddings, and the occasional rebel-rouse.  In buying the "Long" version of the Pivot L/S my opinion is that it must always be tucked in,  if you like to wear your button ups untucked then just go for the "Short", wearing the longer version drapes over you bottom and honestly looks a little sloppy hanging out.  But as always, Outlier has done a superb job on their product, finding the best materials and coming up with a fantastic design for riders of all walks of life and styles. And did we mention its made in the USA ;)

      

Levis 511 Slim Fit Commuter Jeans

 

We have been eying the Levi's Commuter jeans for a good bit. A mainstream company pursuing the not-so-mainstream market of bike commuters? Our curiosity had peaked, jeans are a major staple in any American’s wardrobe, but for people that bike everywhere, this icon is in rotation more often than not. I've blown through countless jeans and these may prove to be the better class of denim. Once purchased, I immediately put them on and went for a quick ride to get a feel for what they were all about; I first noticed they were a bit more stretchy than other jeans I owned, which is awesome for riding, they are more fluid in their movements while pedaling, unlike regular jeans that tend to be a little stiff.

The next day was a big test, Critical Mass (a large group ride through the city on last Friday of the month promoting bike advocacy), usually these rides aren't terribly long but this one went on for 20 miles. So at the end of the trip from home>critical mass>taco feast>home it was a 30+ miler in these jeans and they did great.

 

Execution is just ok though, the Nano-sphere water/dirt resistant coating was an instant disappointment, I knew that by the time I washed these that the scotch guard would fade quickly, so before I did that I jumped on the bike for a quick 2 mile ride in a light, steady rain. By the time I reached 1 mile the jeans were considerably wet..by 1.5..drenched, so I wouldn't count on them if I get caught in rain let alone a downpour. I sat in them for about two hours and they dried OK, but if you're at a bar or party, not sure if you want to be mingling with some heavy pants. On the plus side the Sanitized odor-resistant coating seems to work pretty well for daily use for the time being.

Levi's has built and tested the commuter line on the streets of San Fran, they have several added features that apply to the cyclist. The 3M reflective tape on the outer seams is a great safety touch and the reinforced crotch has held up quite well, so far. The lock loop on the waist band is a great feature when accompanied by an over-the-shoulder style messenger bag, but if you wear a belt (which usually serves the same purpose as the U-lock loop) the added fabric becomes a bit cumbersome. Also they have added a raised back, there's nothing worse than supporting the crack epidemic in this country, flashing that butt crack while cruising through the city especially when it’s raining. Without fail there's always a handful of drops that want to slide right between your cheeks, so that addition is an incredibly well-thought out feature along with deeper back pockets for any small tools you may carry, which definitely comes in handy when carrying your other daily ammenities.

Although in Hotlanta's humid heat, the added fabric keeps your nether region quite swampy, cooler weather use would be more applicable. But they look damn good, fit very well and I know this because while I was writing I got a few winks and whistles from a few construction workers, "Settle down boys!" I say, yes.. settle down indeed. In the end, we here at The Spindle believe the Levi’s commuter jean is a great alternative to a biker’s everyday jean. We'll be sure to let you know when the crotch blows out! We've heard 8 months so far, 3 down.....

To check out more of Levi's Commuter line, click on the link below.

http://us.levi.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=11844101&cp=3146842.15376476&ab=commuterlookbook_page1_shopcollection_050313

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Have a great ride!

Illadora Mindy Skirt

 

Most fashion forward female cyclists know that there will be times when they will want to wear something other than jeans, maybe there's a gallery opening or a date with their beau to a nice restaurant.  Some will feel they'll have to break down and hop in their car for a night on the town, but as we see the commuter cycling community grow, we find companies that are more geared to the dressy side of this fashion.  With companies like Outlier, Iva Jean, Vulpine and Vespertine focusing on good looking, well-made clothing for women, we found a new company, Iladora, based out of San Francisco is focused on producing female specific cycling line.  So for the next two weeks, The Spindle will be featuring Iladora's whole line of commuter apparel.  For this week, we had our Spindlera, Caroline Templeman, rock through The Mindy Skirt:

 

#bikebeautiful – I couldn’t agree more with Iladora and what a great inspiration for a women’s clothing line.  I am all about skirts in the summertime on or off the bike so when I came across The Mindy Skirt, I was super excited.  I love the color and slim fit, it is flattering, stylish and easy to wear with many different tops and shoes.  The fabric has a great four way stretch so you are never limited in movement and keeps its form well after hours of riding.

 

The skirt has a longer length and a drop-tail for coverage in the back so all your unmentionables are safe from public viewing.  I am 5’9”, so I don’t mind the longer length of the skirt but I can see some shorter women having a hard time fitting this skirt without hemming it shorter which can’t be easy with the special contoured hem.  The fabric is a synthetic blend so it naturally has a slight water resistant character, so don’t worry if you are caught in a rain shower.

 

 

Other features include, a hidden zipper pocket, which is nice to have but you realistically couldn’t keep much in it because the location is right at the hip where your leg bends to pedal.  The invisible side zipper is nice but has an extra interior button on a flap of fabric which, in my opinion, isn’t necessary and adds a bit too much extra fabric at the waist.  The skirt sports a high waist, with an even higher rise feature in the back.  While I appreciate the function of this feature, I also find this the downfall of the skirt.  The waist has so much material and is so high-waisted that it isn’t flattering to wear a shirt that is not tucked it.  In my opinion, the rise in the back is just too high, loosing style and making it down right hot in the summer time, but would fare well for the fall/winter/early spring months.

 

The skirt also tends to ride up pretty easily when off the bike so I find myself pulling down on the skirt often to readjust.  Overall, I like the color, fabric and fit of the skirt with the exception of the waist. I can see the skirt holding up well to lots of use and washing, making it a good, affordable purchase for the style conscience bike rider.

 

Makers and Riders Trench Shirt

 

Trying to ride around looking like a pro? Makers and Riders have been producing great functional commuter apparel for professionals. We've been watching this Chicago born and bred company since it was once called nonetheless andwere diligent about getting these products in our store due to their quality, versatility and style.

This 3 season wind Shirt/Jacket is on point for you all weather riders. The material is amazing and works flawlessly. After meeting up with Johnathan, the founder of M&R, he explained the shirt is made out of an Italian fabric used in Burberrys outerwear line. Silky to the touch, its tough and durable enough for the elements. This shirt is great for more formal occasions and it quickly becomes a topic of conversation, in a good way. The articulated shoulders are great for mobility and ventilation. The expanded vertical seam down the center of the back adds to the breathability.

The functionality of the Trench Shirt/Jacket is the focus, Great ventilation and pockets for days!. Three to be exact, but each is on point. They all zip and keep contents fairly dry. The 2 side pockets can fit more than an iPhone for all you galaxy users but the chest pocket is perfect for a iphone. Great to have while blasting tunes from your phone on a gloomy, drizzly bike ride.

The tag on our version of the shirt says Nonetheless. On the M & R version, some great improvements have been made. The collar stays flat, as opposed to this versions curling and the sleeves have been made a bit longer, keeping those wrists warm.

On cold days, its best to wear this with a good insulating layer. The shirt is a great shell, keeping wind and rain out and heat in but cold air makes the fabric cold to the touch. Great for cooler days allowing air flow throughout the buttons and vents while the fabric keeps you cool.

This is an all around great shirt. Not just for riding but traveling and keeping all the important items on you. Pockets fit extra cards or cliff bars and don't get in the way when you saddle up or sit in a booth for dinner. And nothing makes me happier than a shirt I can clean with a wet towel. Yea, we get it, we're a mess.

Swrve Bamboo Shirt

    

One of the main problems of riding on hot summer days is that you usually make it to your destination dripping sweat, and since you've stopped peddling, your body heat rises and you start pouring even more sweat..and you're acquaintances won't be too keen on sitting close to you while you cool down and your cotton shirt dries up (which generally takes an hour if not more!).

Swrve has come up with an answer to this dilemma with a line of short and long sleeve shirts made with bamboo fabric.  These shirts are incredibly soft, they feel better than that cotton shirt that's been in your standard rotation for years.  The shirts are naturally, 4x as absorbent as cotton and wick moisture much quicker, which keeps it from clinging to your body like a synthetic fabric. Bamboo fabrics are a natural insulator, keeping you cool in the summer and warm in the winter and make great base layers.

 

For the summertime, these shirts wick away moisture from those longer afternoon rides when all it takes is riding for 10-15 mins before your body waterfall lets loose.  But once you reach your destination the shirt takes about 10 minutes to dry up, so you can get to schmoozing at your local watering hole.

 

While cruising around in New York earlier this year, I went out to grab a bite at the food truck gathering in Madison Square Park on 5th ave and 25th then to meet friends at a pub a few miles down the road. En route, ominous clouds overhead opened up on me in my L/S  crew neck version of Swrve's Bamboo shirt and Outlier's Slim Dungarees ( http://thespindleatl.com/2013/05/28/outlier-slim-dungarees/ ). I figured for testing sake, I'd walk to the pub in the brief, 10-15 minutes of heavy rain. The shirt had soaked it all up like a sponge, weighing in heavy and sagging. After the brief downpour, I ducked into an alley, rung out a good pint or so out of the shirt and continued walking in the sunshine. Literally within minutes in direct sunlight, the shirt felt comfortable and dry again. I was extremely impressed! So, no need to fret when a downpour catches you off guard, you can wring out the shirt for a quick dry.

Another benefit to bamboo is that its odor resistant, so you can rest assured even after it dries up, that lingering stink won't stop you from chatting up that hottie you've been waiting to approach.

 

These shirts are cut specifically for riders in mind, they are a bit longer than normal shirts to keep you warm in the winter and cover your backside up.  There's no seams in the armpit which allows for smoother, fluid movement. Bamboo fabrics are durable, ensuring  you'll own this shirt for the long haul.  Swrve has the fit designed for both men and women, they come in both crew and V-Neck styles with the sizes ranging from XS-XL so people of all sizes and shapes can enjoy this amazingly comfortable shirt!!

www.swrve.us/

Sombrio Womens Flannel

Here at The Spindle we've been working dilligently to give you reviews of the latest and greatest products coming out for the daily commuter. But so far we've only been able to give you opinions on the latest men's gear..well..because we're men, so we decided over a month ago we needed a woman's touch. So one of our dear friends and cyclists Caroline Templeman swooped in to save us from Captain Cavemandom, here is her review on Sombrio's Women’s Silhouette Riding Shirt:

 

 

I have to say that being a woman and looking for stylish but yet functional commuter bike clothes can be harder than one would think. After taking the boys at Spindle's recommendation, I checked out the Sombrio website, a company from Canada that has been making high quality mountain bike clothing for years, but recently they have been tapping into the daily commuter market designing fashionable, street-worthy clothes but with some function to it for an active lifestyle , and they even make women’s clothes too, JACKPOT!

So, I quickly jumped in and was immediately impressed with their wide range of offerings from gloves, tees, shorts and all kinds of jackets. One of the shirts that really caught my eye was the Silhouette Riding Shirt. A stylish plaid shirt with a nice feminine cut and snaps down the front. The website was very helpful in describing the cut, which is on the generous side, so ordering the right size is easy. The shirt is plenty long, even for me at 5’9”, and is great for layering a shirt or tank underneath it. I would definitely recommend going down a size if you are wanting a tighter fit and don’t want to layer.

 

The fabric has a nice stretch so leaning over and extending your arms fully is no problem at all and there is even a mesh underarm panel to keep you cool. The front pocket is made to the perfect size to fit my phone so I can listen to music as I enjoy my ride. The shirt definitely has some weight to it which is great for cooler weather and breezy days. My favorite part was that I can take it off, stuff it in my messenger bag and pull it out hours later and the shirt is barley wrinkled at all! The shirt has held up well after many washes, since it is a blend of cotton, polyester and spandex, it barely shrunk at all and the color hasn’t faded a bit. I am certainly eager to check out more of Sombrio’s clothes especially considering my plaid shirt hangs and waits patiently for me in my closet until the sweltering hot, southern summer days have passed.

http://sombriostoreus.myshopify.com/

Swrve Cigarette shorts

 

It's summer time sukkas, a great time for you to show off them legs! Mine are of a certain delicious bird variety, but still really strong mothercluckers. Enter Swrve's Cordura Denim Cigarette (Skinny Fit) Shorts. Unfortunately, this cut is not available any more with the Cordura denim but they are both offered separately.

 

With the redesign of the Cigarette shorts, subtle changes have been made. The left rear pocket now has a zipper to secure a wallet or phone. The phone pocket has been moved to the rear upper thigh as opposed to the previous slanted pocket within the right back pocket. If you don't think your Galaxy 500 phone won't fit in there, you're right. It barely fits an iPhone with a case. Though it is super useful for keeping the simple stuff organized (i.e.ID, CC's, cash, etc.). With the pen pockets on each side, the shorts are great at keeping me organized. The major change is in the fabric. They have now been cut with their Durable Cotton/nylon blend keeping them tough as nails. If you need the extra durability, the corder denim is still available in regular fit shorts and in several of their jeans.

 

 

These shorts are skinny fit to the T. The longer there ride the tighter they begin to fit, much like spandex. For those of you with regular to large quads, these would be sausage casings. Burstin'!

 

In addition to the front pen pockets, the shorts still keep true to several of the finer details. Reflective fabric on two of the rear reinforced belt loops, the gusseted crotch and high rear waist to hide your crack. The front is also slightly lower for your Texas-style buckles. Though skinny fit, they've broken in really well. Stretching the the Durable Cotton without busting the triple reinforced stitching, guarantees we'll be thrashing around in these puppies for at least another year and a half. Only now are we starting to see wear in the seat of the pants. With the additional nylon, wear shows as the cotton piling and is slightly lighter but not too noticeable.

 

 

 

Thanks to our model, Jeffery Bruckwicki (@jeffreyseamster) of Nock Co (nockco.com) and HLHuman. He's also rocking his Pelican Clip key loop w/ reflector available currently and exclusively at The Spindle. Thanks for wearing my shorts buddy.

MISSION WORKSHOP SIGNAL 5-POCKET PANTS

 

As most of you who have followed The Spindleros know that we ride in whatever gut punches Mother Nature slings our way, but aside from that we are diligent in making sure that everything on the shelves of The Spindle shop are well made, high quality products. If something busts..you’ll hear about it, because we know commuters don’t want to show up at their destination with a busted pant or ripped shirt.  With that being said, we try to test gear that is ready for all types of weather but also has style.
Many All-Weather commuters know thatweather resistant/waterproof pants are generally highly insulated, which tends to leave cyclists hot and swampy upon arrival. Not to mention the 10 minutes after getting off your bike when your body temperature rises to molten lava status! This leaves us with an extra pair of pants in our bag to do the ol’ switchero so you don’t look like a sweaty mess heading into the office. Then good people of Mission Workshop sent us the new Signal 5-Pocket pants in Mid-January and we had a good feeling those days would be long forgotten.

Let’s get the construction out of the way here, The Signal is made from Swiss-made Schoeller Dryskin Fabric with Nanosphere water repellant treatment. A mouthful, we know, but this Schoeller fabric gives the stretch and durability of Coolmax synthetic fabric (used in the lightest running/active apparel)  as well as the abrasion resistance of Cordura nylon ( a ballistic nylon designed for military use).

 

They've also added a side zip 5th pocket to the fray and will fit a iPhone and a wallet with a bit of room to spare.  But it’s not only the material, it's the look we love. These are just sleek looking pants that can be dressed up or down. I’ve walked right into the office on a rainy day without looking like I just walked off an episode of ‘The Deadliest Catch’. Unlike most water-repellant pants, these pants don’t make an entrance, not that their not snazzy, they just don’t make that swish/swash noise like most technical pants do letting the world know ‘Hey, I’m coming around the corner in 5 minutes, oh and by the way, that swishy noise, that’ll be here all day!’


As we expressed in our past review of the Mission jackets, we love Schoeller fabric, its waterproof, and extremely breathable. These pants have been tested in anywhere from 30-55/60 degree weather both rainy and sunny. They did great in all weather, since their highly breathable they’ll build up heat while you ride, but once done, the pants let loose and breathe out the heat. They are also very comfortable. As said before we're denim guys, but these have become one of our favorite pants in the Spindle chest of goodies.
Now for the big one, rain. On light to moderately rainy days these pants do great, out of the box they immediately had a great weekend ahead of them for testing. The first just happened to be The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s Mobile Social ride which was hit with consistent rain with light winds throughout the trek, the Signal’s did great, I was warm and dry by the time we reached Argosy bar for a couple of pints and hot totties! The next morning, I groggily awoke to head to the shop and noticed sheets of rain outside, I looked at the Signals and I swear they winked at me and whispered “LESSGO!” It's 3.5 mile ride from the house to The Spindle, not until the last mile did I start to feel wetness hitting my leg, it wasn’t a lot but it was definitely noticeable. But again they are not waterproof so choose your gear wisely on longer rides. Also, it was a decent dry time both days. After The Mobile Social it took about 10 minutes to dry and 35 after the down pour and they weren't weighed down by the dampness and held their shape just fine.


The fit is a bit relaxed, but not baggy, they’re a good mix of relaxed and slim, the inseam is set at 34”, so if you’re shorter gent we recommend getting them hemmed, but be sure to let your tailor know to use thread that stretches, otherwise you’ll be popping seams frequently since the pants have a bit of give to them, you’ll want to use a thread that will be up to task.
We know that MW will always come at us with a quality products and The Signal doesn’t stray from the goal, it’s got a hefty $225 price on ‘em, but rest assured these baddies will be hanging in your closet for years to come anticipating each and every ride no matter the weather.

Beard Maintenance for the Winter Rider

 

 

It’s getting to that time of year when men, look like men. I think all men should grow a beard, especially in the winter. There are so many benefits, just to name a few:

 

  • You look more timeless.
  • Mustaches help filter cool air.
  • You are generally warmer.
  • Chuck Norris has a beard.

 

Another thing that is important during the winter, riding your bike. Just because a little cold nips at your nose doesn’t mean you should conform to the car or society. Grow your beard long and ride your bike. Did Sherman burn Atlanta to prove a point? Yes because someone told him to shave. A substantial beard will allow you to ride longer with less discomfort, ask Cogzilla.

 

 

Standing with historical bearded figures is something that is uniquely masculine. But, make sure as your beard takes care of you fighting off hard city winds, you take care of it. At a certain point lotion won’t cut it. When your manliness can no longer be infiltrated by the viscosity, it’s time to look to oil. Not car oil but beard oil. Yeah it’s a thing and it makes you feel and smell good.

 

Beard oils are relatively inexpensive and can save your face from harsh itching. Typically a mix of carrier oils and essential oils, beard oils are fluid enough to penetrate the small carpet factory you have grown on your face. Coming in a host of scents from woodsy to floral to savory (if you can imagine a fine rack of cow sitting on a warm platter with potatoes), there is always something you can find to suite any occasion.

 

 

 

I use Beard Friendly’s First Aid in the winter. It uses some of the best of oils including: jojoba (yo ho ba), avocado, and almond. All have different properties but the almond really offers a nice rejuvenating property for the harsh winters we have had in Atlanta the last few years. It smells like Natures medicine with eucalyptus, lime, and tea tree essential oils

 

Some things to look for when buying an oil. Most oils have Vitamin E in them so make sure you are using something that mainly consists of that. You want a variety of oils because each oil has a different property and if the maker is smart they have taken that into consideration. Make sure there are no more than 3 or 4 essential oils. Some essential oils can be harsh and you won’t have a clear man-scent if there are too many.

 

When applying beard oil there are a few ways. The one that works for me and that Beard Friendly offers is a dropper style application. Some brands you have to pour the oil on your hands and then try to wrestle to skin. The dropper allows you to put the dropper on the skin and apply directly to problem areas. My mustache is too thick to use just my hands. I need tools to handle this successful lip decor. The dropper does it.

Whatever method works for you, just make sure you take care of the thing that takes care of you. Ride hard and Grow long.

Vulpine Original Rain Jacket

Vulpine: 1. of or relating to a fox or foxes. 2. Crafty or cunning

Both are rad definitions and relative in the urban cycling world.  Daily riders need their mind clear when riding through the city, we weave and wind through cars and traffic, accelerate when needed, and have a constant desire to keep moving, in ALL weather..and every season.

 

In October, a good friend of The Spindleros John Woodruff (@twotoneams, follow him now!), modeled for Vulpine, a commuter brand out of London, and suggested we take a look at carrying their line.  We called them up for some testing materials and a few weeks later, our package arrived and the testing begun.  As we opened the box to reveal the contents, this jacket caught my eye.  It was purple and yellow..usually not my bag color-wise but I dug it.  What I didn't understand was why in the hell a company would make a cotton jacket for cycling, doesn't wick moisture and I'll get drenched on myrainy rides.

So, like any inquisitive person would do I hopped on Vulpine.cc search for the reasoning.  There it was, the answer that would blow my mind, Water-resistant Cotton!  The jackets are made with silicon treated Epic (TM) Cotton.  It is not completely waterproof, they couldn't use the samematerials and have the breathable jacket they desired to make.  But after riding in this jacket for the past 5 months I can say that they are being kind saying water-resistant.  The website claims to withstand 2+ hours of heavy rain and persistent torrential rain, and I have ridden from weather varying from a light sprinkle to an all out nasty flooded-streets monsoon, and have been COMPLETELY dry!  Once reaching the destination I have given the jacket a quick dry snap and it was fine.

 

The features here are very innovative, Vulpine has ditched the conventional approach and uses magnets for the front pockets, the neck snap, and the removable reflective splash guard.  With fully-taped zippers on the chest and side pockets, the flaps with magnetic snaps ensure extra protection against rain, and doesn't leave you with that annoying, dangling flap that you usually have to snap back in, nope, you just slap it forward and it stays put.

 

A brilliant feature is the removable reflective splash guard, also kept in place by, you guessed correct...magnets.  This can be used on those days when an unexpected shower comes through and you are without your trusty fender, when you don't need it, it will magnetize to the inside of the jacket, or simply unzip to remove it.  It is reflective, so if your back light goes out during a ride, you still have a safe way of making you visible to traffic on those evening trips around town.  Additionally, if you roll up the sleeve it reveals a reflective cuff, but your wrists are still protected against the cold with a fleece cover.  It's nice to see a company putting such though into their products, the little things is what regular riders love like a cool little sleeve pocket to store the necessities.

 

 

I have never been so amazed with a single piece of gear ad I have been with this jacket, it's breathable and beads rain like other, way more expensive jackets.  The Original Rain Jacket runs about $300 USD, a little steep, but for a water resistant cotton jacket that looks damn good anywhere and is durable as hell, don't hesitate to snag this piece.  If one is looking for less reflective components, go for the gorgeous Harrington for $290.  They sent us a small and I was surprised at how well it fit, I can still layer it with a merino hoodie and it won't constrict my form, so you can size down if you feel the need.  This is a solid Fall>Winter>Spring piece, if you have the proper layers it has a good wind resistance for cold climates and can be worn up to 75 degrees.  It would be nice if it was packable so I could just have it in there for those questionable days, but it is what it is, and what it is a damn fine jacket.

HAPPY RIDING!!

Mission Workshop Stahl Shorts

Finding a pair of shorts that can power through the rigors of long distance rides as well as daily commutes is something as cyclist we want to find and snatch up every color.  We need a durable, everyday short that can blast through the elements while not forfeiting style.  Stretch is essential when looking for an all-rounder pair of shorts, constant movement on regular shorts will tear them like tissue paper, but also finding a pair that can withstand all conditions can be a task unless they zip off from a pair of pants or cargo shorts which should be not be done ever.

 

 

The Stahl by Mission Workshop is the first pair of shorts I've tested that feel like they are up for any kind of biking, from gravel, dirt, to pavement and whatever else you can think of in that menacing head of yours.  The 4-way stretch flows well especially on long rides, as your thighs fill with lactic acid, the shorts don't feel like there's any sort of limitations as far as elasticity goes.

 

My Stahls have been through almost every terrain over the past year, gravel, some muddy times, light/heavy rains, and a trip to Egypt.  Let's start with the riding, I've put at least 1000 miles in these shorts and and they have yet to show any sort of wear.  They've also maintained their form, so don't think they'll give out after months of wear, get your standard size.

Since unsuspected downpours happen, these guys have seen the heaviest of southern rains, but they've never taken more than 15 minutes to be completely dry, dirt and stains are easily wiped clean.  However, I did get a couple of grease stains on them that have yet to come out since I got to them too late, but for the one I caught in time, I just rubbed some dish soap and baking soda and let that marinate for a few hours and was completely clean, that's a little homemaking Spindlero tip for ya, don't worry, it's free....this time.

 

For travel, these pack really well, roll em up and throw em in whatever bag you got; they take up no room and don't come out all wrinkled, so they're easy to pop on right out of the pack to go out adventurin'.  If you're accident prone and gotta carry extra gear, these shorts will definitely fit in your frame bag with room to spare.

 

Feature wise, the fifth pocket is clutch, it's deeper than your standard fifth, which at times can be troubling if you got some change in there, but it fits a pocket knife and pens securely, making you forget they're on you.  In Addition, a very well-built zip utility pocket can hold your tools, phone, or whatever without worrying about any fallout destruction happening, and when I say phone, I mean most phones will fit in there, now maybe you have one of those laptops people are passing for phones these days, those could be a stretch, also, throw that phone away, it's too damn big!

 

For me, the MW Stahl's the perfect everyday riding short, ready for the dirty, the streets, the tsunamis, the long rides, and whatever else you can thing of doing on a bike or off, I started off with the Foliage color, then after 6 months bought the Black and Crocodile Brown, as I said before, you find a pair you dig, and buy em all!  Some may be deterred by the $139 price tag, but you shouldn't, you won't be spending any money on shorts again..at least I won't be.