Merchandising, Merchandising!


While I’ve got your attention, I’d like to direct it either to the right-hand margin of this blog if you’re on a computer, or else to the very bottom of the post if you’re on a mobile device. Once there, you’ll note that I feature an elite handful of banner ads, and I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome a new sponsor named ARGO, who offer a kit to convert your regular bicycle into a cargo bike:

While I have not tried the ARGO kit, I very much like the looks of it. If you’re in the market for a front-loading bakfiets-esque cargo bike, you should note that at just over $1,000 the ARGO kit is well under half the price of a Yuba Supermarch√©–a bike you may recall I had on loan back in 2018:

Yes, obviously the Yuba is a full bike whereas the ARGO is a just kit, but if you’re anything like me you’ve got at least three potential donor bikes that would make something like this an extremely compelling proposition. I’ll also add that, while I’m fixed cargo bike-wise (I mean “fixed” as in “set,” not “fixed” as in I ride a fixie cargo bike), I am a big fan of the open front-loader setup, especially for schlepping kids, and provided you have a place to store one (and you don’t need to regularly thread the needle through dense Manhattan-style traffic) I daresay they’re the best way to go.

And while we’re on the subject of bike stuff, I might as well take the opportunity to update you on how some of the stuff I’ve been “evaluating” recently is holding up. First, the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT GPS cycling computer:

I really like this thing, though I will admit that, like the Jones, it’s a piece of equipment I don’t use to its full potential. For one thing, it’s a training tool, and I don’t train. For another, the best thing about it in my opinion is that you can download new routes onto it and then follow them, but my highly domesticated lifestyle means I mostly just do the same short ride every day so rarely have an opportunity to do so. Still, I do use it for most of my road bike rides, I really appreciate the clear display and ease of use, and I cling to the faint hope that one day I will in fact have enough time to undertake some new route explorations with it.

Speaking of road riding, this past summer I also graciously accepted a pair of Brancale Dynamic II cycling shoes:

My usual road shoes are a pair of pretty beat-up Sidi Genius something-or-others, and the main difference between the two (besides aesthetics) is that these feel both roomier and stiffer, which is either better or worse depending on what you’re looking for in a pair of cycling shoes. I generally wear these when riding my plastic bike, since they complement each-other quite well in terms of feel:

As for the fact that Brancale eschew fancy closure systems in favor of Velcro, I don’t hold that against them in the slightest, though I do appreciate the fact that the ratcheting strap on the Sidis allows you to tighten them while you’re wearing shoe covers. However, if you’re a fair-weather Italophile who wants something a little different, these would go great with your Pinarello Dogma.

(Oh, and the socks are the merino ones from Vulpine. I regularly wear them multiple times without washing, and my foot funk hasn’t melted the crabon soles yet, so clearly merino is a miracle fabric.)

Since I’ve got new shoes, it only seemed fair to give my plastic bike some new shoes too, and so I recently gave it some Donnelly LCVs:

I’ve been using a pair of these on my Litespeed for almost a year now and they’re still in great shape–and while yes, I do spread my riding across numerous bicycles, they’ve still proven quite durable for a fancy racing clincher. As for this pair, I received them at the same time and had been sitting on them until now. (I guess I inadvertently aged them in my cellar). Originally I requested them for the Tresca, but the tires were so damn nice it seemed like kind of a waste, and so instead I sat on them until a more worthy bicycle was in need of re-shoeing:

(This bike is aggressively boring-looking, but fun to ride nevertheless.)

At $75 a tire they’re quite expensive, but they are among the nicest clinchers I’ve tried, and if you’ve been tempted to spend a bunch of money on wheels I suggest saving it and splurging on some fancy tires instead, it’s the next best thing.

By the way, yesterday I mentioned the brakes on the Teledyne, and I feel compelled to mention that the latest Dura Ace brakes are amazing, especially after you’ve been riding a 45 year-old road bike:

I may have to drill some holes in them though.

Moving on to less Fredly matters, when Vulpine sent me a bunch of stuff months ago they included a pair of their cycling jeans:

Please forgive the stock photo, I don’t have access to a mannequin:

Anyway, at the time it was way too hot to ride in jeans, but now that it’s September I’ve been wearing them for like the past four days, and I find them exceedingly comfortable both on and off the bike. I also like the way they look, but then again I look good in everything. See, it’s called “natural style:”

You either have it or you don’t.

Of course, the real test of a pair of jeans is durability, and only time will tell if this $134.98 pair of jeans makes more economic sense than buying like four pairs of regular jeans. I’ll keep you posted on that front.

Finally, commando mannequins notwithstanding, you should probably wear underwear with your jeans (especially while cycling), and I’m increasingly convinced that there’s definitely something to this whole merino thing:

Semi-professional bike blogging may not pay very well, but at least it keeps me in fancy underpants.

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