Pearl Izumi Pursuit Thermal Bib Tight Overview

Please check out my video on the Pearl Izumi Pursuit Thermal Bib Tight.

I apologize for the actual video quality on this one. My camera battery died prematurely because it was out in the cold weather and I really wanted to get some content out. I shot on my iPhone and of course YouTube compressed the sh*t out of it.

ANYWAY…

These bibs are such a well thought out design. Everyone questions me on why I love bibs so much, well they are extremely comfortable and these make it super easy to be able to use the bathroom without fully de-robing. The drop-tail is a game changer and now rivals my favorite halter style design on competing brand’s bibs.

The fleece lining is soft and cozy, the outer layer of the tight has a water resistance and just the right amount of bio-viz reflective hits for when the sun sets early. The mesh is also soft and finished nicely with the right amount of stretch, yet snug compression for the bibs to stay in place.

I’ve had some qualms with PI’s quality on some of their entry level clothing in the past, but the Pursuit Thermal Bib Tights have thus far won me over. I’m looking forward to putting in some proper miles in these and reporting back with a full review of how they’ve performed.

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Thanks for reading and as always, see you on the path!

Fitchburg Cycles Partners with Spoke Haven Cycling Club

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We are super excited to announce Fitchburg Cycles as a new club supporter. The shop is providing us with a start/end location for rides twice a month as well as in store discounts for club members. Fitchburg Cycles is also lending the club space for future workshops and clinics.

Owner Edwin Benet has spent his life in the cycling industry and works to create a welcoming space for all who want to ride. He, along with his wife and kids, opened the shop nearly three years ago and aimed to make the space warm and inviting. With its bright green walls, handmade wooden displays, and large bike themed  paintings (all created by his wife Mary Benet Treleven) the space is unlike any other shop in the area. Customers are offered free coffee, tea, or hot chocolate while they browse or wait for service repairs. Not to mention there’s always free treats for humans and pets alike at the front counter.

Fitchburg Cycles carries bikes from brands Giant, Liv, Momentum, Linus, Cannondale, and Borealis. The Liv brand is a dedicated women’s line of bicycles from the parent company, Giant bicycles. One of the largest and most revered women’s bike brands in the world.

Accessory lines from Pearl Izumi, Bell, Giro, Cat Eye, Topeak, Continental, Yakima, Thule, Saris, Brooks, Light & Motion, Knog, Blackburn, kryptonite, GU, Tifosi, Feedback Sports, Park Tool, Fizik, and Selle Royale offer a range of products that are well known by customers and trusted by Edwin and his staff alike. Benet stresses the importance of carrying products that are made well, have a good reputation, and he refuses to carry brands or products that he himself wouldn’t use.

We look forward to calling Fitchburg Cycles our home shop for the 2016 season! A huge thanks goes out to everyone at Fitchburg Cycles for opening their doors to us and supporting women’s cycling.

For more information on rides, please check our ride info page.

*full disclosure: club manager Cassandra works for the shop. She does not, however have any financial gain by promoting the shop or its products and services.

Surly Now Offers $150 Off Any New Surly Bike

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Surly posted a blog this morning that includes a $150 coupon for any in stock complete Surly bike, valid at any US Surly dealer.

As a popular bike touring and all around utilitarian bike brand, Surly gets inundated with sponsorship requests from folks looking to tour the world by bike. With this in mind, Surly decided to run a promotion for “Superfans” of the brand that would help get them rolling on a new Surly of their choice.

We think it’s an awesome idea. There are many “mainstream” brands that run seasonal sales on their bikes, but you rarely see that from more niche bike brands. We’re super stoked that Surly decided to run this promotion. We’re obviously huge fans of the brand and love their take on how bikes and bike related accessories/clothing should be designed.

So, print of that damn coupon and go get yourself a cool new bike 😉

p.s. Surly also just released their new 650b version of the Straggler. Yay for no toe overlap!

Rainy Day Wear to Help You Survive Your Commute

Wisconsin has been experiencing some of the most miserable icy, rainy, sleety weather of all time. Most of us would opt to ride in three feet of snow over rain any day, because at least you stay dry in the snow.

We’ve decided to pick out some of our favorite rainy day items in the market place to help YOU stay happy on your commute!

5. Rivendell’s MUSA SPLATS!

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Rivendell has always been known for unique, but functional cycling wears. Their SPLATS are no exception. They are a waterproof shoe cover that are Made in the USA (MUSA), come in several sizes, and only cost $30! It’s hard to come by anything still made in the states for that cheap.

4. Brook’s Waterproof Saddle Cover

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There’s really nothing worse than a wet ass…and we don’t mean a donkey. Brook’s saddle cover was developed to help protect their precious leathery saddles from rain, but they fit a pretty wide variety of saddles. Pick one up for roughly $10-15 at your local bike shop.

3. PDW Metal Fenders
308_full_metal_fenders_1.1We’re aware that we at Spoke Haven tend to gush about how we really love clip on fenders. Our exception is of course made for the PDW Metal fenders. they are absolutely beautiful and much like their other products, they work really damn well. The Metal fenders retail anywhere from $110-120 Purchase some HERE!

2. Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters

61572_001Outdoor Research decided to utilize long standing rain shielding Gore-Tex technology in their ultra tough Crocodile gaiters. These are not only great for rain rides, but to keep your feet warm and protected while riding in snow, snowshoeing, and hiking. This season’s gaiters retail for $79, but older models can be found (in odd sizes of course) for a little bit less. You can purchase a pair HERE!

1. Cleverhood

The Cleverhood is probably the ultimate piece of rain gear a cyclist could own. It’s made out of waterproof, breathable material and most models come with reflective piping courtesy of 3M. They are also Made in the USA! Pick up one directly from Cleverhood for $249.

Surly Intergalactic Product Tester!

First of all, sorry for the bit of radio silence on the blog the past couple of weeks. We’ve been taking some much needed away to spend with our neglected friends and families. Planning all of these really cool bike rides, workshops, and such tends to be exhausting and a gal can burn herself out if she’s not careful!

Ok, now back to our scheduled programming! I’ve been selected to be a part of an awesome new pilot program Surly (as in the bikes, not the delicious beer) has put together to get some feedback on their current product line up. The people testing the products are all women folk, as Surly would like to potentially expand their softwoods to include more lady friendly items. There were around 750 applicants total and those crazy bastards chose ME! I must have had one hell of an application or I was touched by bike angels or something. All I can say is I’m incredibly honored to be a part of it all and a big shout out Christina a.k.a Jules (per the Surly blog) for making all of my dreams come true.

The way the program has been set up is that we get sent one item out of a series of items that we noted we were most interested in. Surly then picks the item they want you to test based off of your size (body style) and location.

I was beyond thrilled when I received my envelope at my work mailbox. I couldn’t wait to go home to tear it open and see what was inside! Not only did they hook me up with the Surly Striped Raglan Shirt, but they included some pretty kick ass stickers, as well as instructions as to what I was to do with said items.

My initial reaction to the shirt was, “SOFT!” I kid you not, it was the most soft piece of wool clothing I’ve ever felt in my life. Had I not been standing in my parking garage when I tore open the package, I would have stripped down and put that bad boy on right then and there. Luckily for my neighbors I made it all the way to my condo before tossing my work bag and mail on the floor, then disrobing to put on the shirt. 15690388570_2a0e943a96_k
The shirt was soft and warm and comfortable all at once. I own some base layers from other companies who claim to have fancy itch free wool and they don’t even compare to the Surly stuff. I had none of the claustrophobic itchy wool feeling at all from the Raglan. I can also say that about the Surly long sleeve jersey I’ve had for the past couple of years. I’ve posted about the jersey in the past if you look back on the blog. I’m glad that so far both items seem to have the same level of quality. This is my third season of wearing the long sleeve jersey for winter commuting and it’s held up really well.

I ended up wearing the Raglan for two days straight without washing it. I even slept in the thing and wore it to work after that. No, I’m not trying to be a dirty hippie (not that there’s anything wrong with that), I just wanted to test the wool’s odor repelling properties. It did a fantastic job of keeping the stink away. A big plus for if you are bike commuting to work and sweat a lot or if you need to travel light and don’t have access to laundry facilities.

The longer I wore the shirt, the comfier it became due to it stretching out a little bit. Sometimes when you put on a new wool shirt, it can be a little on the form fitting side. As you wear it the more it breaks in, kind of like a pair of jeans.

I ended up commuting to work a couple of days with the shirt as my base layer. Actually, I just wore the Raglan and my Patagonia down jacket over it and was good in 25 degree weather. It helped wick the sweat away and kept me warm. It’s nice to have a piece like that in your wardrobe. Sometimes I don’t want to wear three to four layers while riding. It’s much more comfortable to just have one or two.

I want to note that I am not being compensated by Surly for any part of this product testing. I’m giving my honest opinion of the product. In fact I will cover my pro’s and con’s of the Raglan below. There are a few changes I would like to see if they decide to make a “women’s specific” version of the shirt as it’s mostly marketed as a men’s or unisex product currently.

Pros:
-Extremely comfortable fabric
-Stitching and garment seem to be durable
-Garment length in the torso (great for being in a road riding position)
-Garment length in the arms (arms are long enough to prevent drafts when commuting)
-Screen printed tag (no annoying tag rubbing your neck)
-Competitively priced (when compared to similar products from companies such as Smartwool, Ibex,   etc. who sell woolen goods)
-Wicks moisture well
-Doesn’t stink after a few wears
-More comfortable as you wear it
-NO ITCH!
-You can wear it off the bike and not look like a roadie or tri dork. Totally passes as regular, non bike clothing.

Cons:
-The cut isn’t the most flattering if you have any extra cushion or are more shapely
-The color isn’t bad, but I’d like to see something like a black and white striped or maybe even a solid color with polka dot pattern (it could be something like little fat bikes or little surly logos instead of polka dots, but you get my drift) Something to make it a little more fashionable 😉
-Not made in the USA like some other wool items, but with that comes a much higher price point
-You can’t dry wool in the dryer, but that’s the nature of wool

Surly, in my opinion, has done a pretty great job with their existing soft goods. I purchased the long sleeve jersey with my own money and would do it again. If they end up coming out with a “ladies” version of the Raglan shirt, I would also spend my own money to buy one. I would also consider giving it as a gift. I can think of a few men in my life who work outdoors and would greatly appreciate having something like the Stripped Raglan.

I would definitely recommend any of their items (with confidence that they will hold up) to a friend or family member. I plan to continue to wear the shirt and look forward to reporting back on how it is holding up. Hopefully, if all goes well I will have one or two more items to test and share my thoughts on, but since the program is in its infancy, we shall see!

Thanks again to all the kick ass folks at Surly for making items that every day cyclists need and like to use. They aren’t here to sell you the lightest and most expensive of anything and aim to just make kick ass gear and I think they’ve succeeded!

**A special thanks for my friend Mary for letting me borrow her Pugsley for the fat bike photo!