Posts tagged ‘review’
A while back, the very nice people from YMX (YellowMan Expression) offered to send me a summer cycling jersey to review – along with another to give to one of my readers. And although I know that the YMX official name for this jersey is the Maori Spiral Cycling Jersey, when I saw the graphic on the back it somehow brought to mind tribal art from the Pacific Northwest. And as my silly mind typically works in baffling and stupid ways – not to mention that I have always been a sucker for really bad puns along with an addiction to romantic comedy movies of the Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks variety – I couldn’t help but think: Sleeveless in Seattle. (OK, I know, I know … slap me upside the head for that one).
After cycling in this jersey for the past few (very warm) weeks, I will confess that it has become a favorite part of my cycling wardrobe. Cycling jerseys, with their fitted, clingy nature, have a tendency to make many of us feel very body-conscious. And not every manufacturer has mastered a flattering cut for a woman’s body. In this regard, YMX really delivers. The jersey is long enough where it needs to be, providing a flattering woman’s silhouette without being binding or too revealing.
The MadKool technical fabric is light, forgiving and oh-so comfortable on the hottest days – and smooth as silk to the touch. While the color combination of the graphics on this particular piece are a little more vibrant than what I (personally) would typically choose, I will admit that I appreciate the visibility factor while on the road, and I love the tribal pattern. Personally, I have my eye on a few of their long-sleeved designs for the upcoming cooler months – for both skiing and cycling. (And if you are a yoga or running enthusiast, they offer a variety of “cross-over” garments – which could be some pretty exciting street-wear as well.)
But there are two areas where I am particularly picky about cycling jerseys – the sleeves/armhole seaming, and the rear pockets. I’ve often found that other sleeveless jerseys can be uncomfortable due to binding/elastic and seaming around the armholes, but the soft and stretchy MadKool binding on this one is exceptionally comfortable. No chafing, super comfortable for several hours over the handlebars.
The top gusset on the shoulder also makes this a very comfortable fit throughout the arms and shoulders. And the triple rear pockets are the ideal length/depth with a secure top binding – exactly what I need when for stowing my camera lens on my back.
By now I am sure I have convinced you that you want one for yourself, right? Well, the good news is that the very nice people at YMX have told me that they will be giving away another to one of my readers (which would be you). So how will this happen? Easy. Simply leave a comment on this post, and to keep with my “Sleeveless in Seattle” silliness, be sure to include your favorite romantic comedy in your comment. For my male readers who may have a partner/wife/girlfriend cyclist in your life who might enjoy a surprise, you can enter too (but you must confess your favorite romantic commedy as well … heh heh). I will pick a winner at random and be in touch with you (i.e., You’ve Got Mail (?)) about forwarding the appropriate information (size, shipping address, etc.) to the folks at YMX.
And if you’d like to be entered in a sweepstakes to win a $300 YMX wardrobe, simply “like” their Facebook page: here.
Now to return to my Netflix queue…… 😉
It’s that time of year again … festive lights, festive bikes, winter riding, wishlists, and all of the riding that goes along with the holiday agenda – from the baking to the shopping to the shipping. And there is no other bike that can get it all done-with-fun like an Xtracycle.
There has been a lot of chatter in recent months about the growing selection of cargo bikes on the market. And kind of like the great Pillsbury Bake-Off, the cargo bike discussion seems to be taking on elements of a “Hauls(bury)Bike-Off”. From Xtracycles to bucket bikes to bakfeits to beer-on-tap bikes, it’s a great discussion to be having … for in my opinion, any bicycle that enables someone to substitute bike for car is a wonderful thing – and nothing does that better than a cargo bike.
However, if we ever get down to casting votes, I cast mine without hesitation for Xtracycle. If I could only own one bike, it would be my Xtracycle. No question, no debate. It is my favorite bike above all others, and the one I could not do without. And as I’ve looked at and contemplated some of the other contenders, I’ve been able to reach a few conclusions about why Xtracycle rules the cargo bike contest….
- No other cargo bike can accomodate irregularly-shaped loads as easily as an Xtracycle. You want to haul a Christmas tree, a kayak, a weed-eater, a vacuum cleaner or another bicycle? On an Xtracycle, it’s a piece of cake. We’ve hauled them all; easy to load in a variety of ways, easy to secure, easy to ride with. Even for a silly old lady like myself.
- I like the fact that my cargo sits behind me. Other cargo bike enthusiasts might like that Christmas tree or preschooler directly in front of them, but I like to have an unobstructed and distraction-less view of what’s ahead, thanks.
- You won’t out-grow an Xtraycle. While kid-hauling bikes like the Taga or the Feetz might be a fun way to carry your pre-schoolers, I can’t help think this is a short-lived use of a pricey bike. Kids grow – quickly. Why not carry your pre-cyclists on a PeaPod (or two) on the back of an Xtracycle for that short period of time? In the end, you’ll continue to love and use an Xtracycle for countless things, rather than being stuck with a limited-use stroller-bike after a few short years.
- If I need to take my Xtracycle somewhere else (out of state, or beyond timely riding distance) I can carry my Xtracycle on my vehicle. Using an extended rail on our Thule roof rack, we’ve transported our Xtracycles out of state for vacations and other weekend cycling trips. I can’t see putting a Madsen or a Bakfeit or a Feetz on top of my car nearly as easily, if at all.
- Affordability. The ability to convert an existing bike (from road to commuter to mountain or whatever you might already own) to an Xtracycle requires minimal investment when compared to buying an entire dedicated cargo bike. And of course, if you’ve got some spare cash, the Xtracycle Radish or Big Dummy are beautiful, quality builds and very competitively priced – and the folks at Xtracycle are among the friendliest, most generous and helpful bike people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. (And they’re not paying me to say this. 😉
- But the biggest reason of all to own an Xtracycle … it is beautiful bike just to ride. Even when I don’t have to haul anything, I love being out on my X. It’s a beautiful ride – on the back roads or in traffic, in town or on the bike path. I don’t have to make a conscious decision when I head out – like, “do I need to take the big bucket bike, or utility trailer today?” I ride my Xtracycle like other folks ride a road bike or a commuter – and if I get a phone call along the way telling me we’re out of orange juice at home, I always have the easy ability to stop and pick some up. I just can’t imagine that I would ever do the same amount of non-cargo everyday riding on bucket bike or bakfeit.
If I were Santa, I would bring everyone an Xtracycle … But in the meantime, I’ve combed through my pile of Xtracycle photos from the past few years to give you idea of the fun that you, too, could be having on the best cargo bike EVER. Put one on your wish-list … because you never know what Santa has in his bag 😉
Happy Haulidays* and Happy Pedaling!
(*Thanks to my friend Rick for letting me borrow his clever homonym (haulidays) :-D)
There is a long list of things that comes to mind when thinking of summer: popsicles, baseball games, watermelon, swimming pools, the beach, bicycles. Probably not Siberia – or riding a bicycle through Siberia – but it’s about all I can think about, read about, through these infernal days of heat and humidity.
The heat is sweltering here; a recent article claims we’re in the midst of the hottest six months in recorded history. Another reminder – along with the mess in the Gulf – from Mother Nature: ride and walk more, drive less? I’d like to think so, but also admit that it’s a difficult task in this kind of weather. And you have to be willing to arrive everywhere dripping with sweat and looking like hell; no room for a shred of vanity, that’s for sure. But hey, as Stephen Markley penned – “We didn’t need a world with a functioning climate anyway.”
Back to Siberia … Rob Lilwall’s book, Cycling Home From Siberia, is beautiful, remarkable, inspiring, and the perfect summer read in the midst of a heat wave. What began as a preposterous undertaking to begin with – his plan to spend one year cycling from a far-eastern city in Siberia, in winter, all the way home to England – turned into an epic 3-year/3-continent/30,000-mile cycling odyssey. It is filled with fascinating detail, humor, and yes – the expected drama and dire circumstances you might expect. But it is written in an amazingly unpretentious and even very spiritual voice. It is a beautiful story – on so many levels.
It’s a story that is filled with human (versus super-human) moments; his “humanness” and honesty draws you in, while the adventures keep you turning pages. And ok – the guy rode over 30,000 miles, so there is a fair amount of super-human in there as well, for you feats-of-incredibleness junkies. But with chapter titles ranging from “Over Mordor” (ch.1 – yes, in reference to Tolkien’s gloom-filled world), to “The budgerigar and the naked weatherman” (ch. 11) and ” ‘I’ve had enough of this stupid bike ride’ “ (ch. 36) … it is entertaining, often funny, sometimes sad, sometimes frightening, yet always so very real. A better description appears on the back cover:
A gripping story of endurance and adventure, this is also a spiritual journey, providing poignant insight into life on the road in some of the world’s toughest corners.
Get your hands on a copy and read it. Period. That’s all I’m going to say.
A final note to my kind friends and those of you who commented on my last post: your insight has been most valuable to me, and I greatly appreciate your taking time to share your thoughts – and even more for listening to me and reading. It has really helped me, and has made a difference.
#330daysofbiking update: today I have ridden 110 of the past 117 days …. 248 days remain. And so it goes. (As I wish for a blast of arctic air to blow over from Siberia).