Best Summer Gear 2017

Good gear should help you go farther, faster, better. It should enhance, not hinder whatever activity is ahead. We all have opinions about the gear we use. Summer 2017 proved to be a good in the Department of Gear.  I have had this space on my site for sometime, but I always talk myself out of writing about products. Also, it’s important to use a product for more than a few days. Gear needs to be put through the paces of your routine. Something that works for commuting may not be the best for travel.

Here are the items I’d buy again. The five items listed I purchased within the last year. Recently I came home from a big trip and all these products were used. If any of these vendors (TerryBikes, SweetSpotSkirts, GoodOrdering, Moxie, and HydraPak) want to sign me up for some swag or send me a coupon, I’d be happy to accept. Read on.

First up: The Soleil Top by Terry

Admittedly, I was skeptical. Long sleeves in the heat of summer? Hello? How can that possibly be cool? But when you get sick of slathering on the sunscreen and you want to be outside enjoying the day and the rays—this is the best top. I bought mine at REI on an impulse. I was heading to Greece and I thought this top would be easy to pack and one of those perfect tops for traveling. I was 100% spot on. I love it. I paid full price and it’s on sale now on the Terry site. I have noticed them for a few years but again, I thought it would be too hot. I was wrong. What a find! The black and white goes with everything and the sleeves are long enough to protect your wrists. Did any sun get through? None! It’s rated at 50+ and the crew design keeps you covered from your neck to hip. You could also wear it over a bathing suit. It’s weirdly cool even when the temps are high. How high? I’ve worn the top in 100 plus degrees and it’s cool. Cool!

I thought I’d only give it four owls since I kind of wanted a few more colors or designs, but when you have one classic design you don’t need anything else. If you want it loose, order up a size. Three stash pockets in the back are big enough for keys, snacks and even a big phone.

I’m choosing owls for my rating. Five owls is the best.

53355335533553355335

#2 Next up: Moxie Cycling 

The T-back tank is a favorite. I bought three at an REI sale last year. One of them had a bad pocket, but the other two have become part of my summer uniform. If the soleil top is to keep  you covered, then the T-back is for tanning while on tour. Add sunscreen of course!

IMG_3460

The T-back top swims well too. I didn’t know that until I found myself at the end of a long ride near a beach and the water was calling my name. This top and I took a plunge in the Perissa Bay. I think when a top does even more than what it was designed to do it deserves five owls. This top really does have moxie! Try eBay for other styles. I’m not sure what’s up with the company. Some of the links weren’t working for ordering new. This is my favorite top of theirs. They also have a t-shirt style, but I wasn’t a fan of the cut. The T-back is flattering and cool and have some built in support (wink).

53355335533553355335

 #3 Sweet Spot Skirts 

These skirts are like potato chips. You can’t stop with just one. Note that each one is reversible too, so it’s like getting two skirts. I have too many, but what can I say. I was around when Sweet Spot Skirts was starting up. I know that each one of my purchases has helped support this company and the skirts are cute and versatile. I always travel with one and I wear the skirts throughout the year. Paired with leggings and boots in the winter or cycling shorts in the summer these skirts are great when you want a little more coverage than cycling shorts provide.

It’s hard to choose a pattern because they’re all spectacular. Like I said, the potato chips of skirts. You can wear them with any compression shorts of padded cycle shorts. The possibilities are endless. Check out the site and if you live in Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, Washington, go to the store and see for yourself.

IMG_4961
I can stop anytime I want.
IMG_7708
Handmade too! I tend to choose colors that will go great with anything in my closet.

53355335533553355335

#4 is the best bag ever. It’s the Market Bag from GoodOrdering.

How do I love thee… Market Bag! Let me count the ways. First it’s lightweight even when you pack it full with everything from a journal to two liters of water. I was astounded by how much I could fit into the bag and still carry it. It’s a backpack and a pannier. How amazing is that? It’s the best travel bag ever! I didn’t take any tech with me except for my iPhone, headphones and Mophie charger. It worked as a beach bag, a book bag, a market bag, a pannier, a carryon! Plus it’s super distinctive and guess what? You can throw it into the washing machine and let it air dry and it’s as pristine as the day you bought it. I love this bag! I bought it at a bike shop because it was orange and had loads of pockets. I hadn’t used it much because I was afraid to get it dirty. I figured it would travel well and I was right. When I read on the GoodOrdering site about machine washing the bag, my love grew. It’s brilliant! They even make great bags for kids.

53355335533553355335

#5 The HydraPak..

It was another impulse purchase at REI. One thing about traveling is you have to pack water. Even though in Greece the water was a Euro or less for a liter, it’s nice to have you own bottle. I took this everywhere and when it wasn’t in use, like the airport, then I’d crush it down to take up as little space as possible. The hard water bottles are bulky and take up a bit of space. I love how easy the HydraPak makes is to pack water. If you need  additional water on a ride, this is a good way to do it.

53355335533553355335

The most expensive product is GoodOrdering bag at about $90. The Soleil top is $89 but sometimes certain styles go on sale. The Moxie top might be the only one that’s hard to find, but I see REI has them on sale for $30 or so.

That’s a rundown of my favorite products this summer. I’d love to review more products, so if anyone wants feedback on a product, you can let me know and I’ll be happy to try it out. I’m here for you.

Thanks for reading. Tell me about some of your favorite gear. What’s the one bit of gear you couldn’t imagine your summer without?

Get out there and ride!
BG

 

 

 

Hoppy Easter!

IMG_0496

The Easter Bunny brought me this irreverent shirt from TwinSix and I absolutely love it! It’s called “He Has Ridden,” and it’s my new favorite seasonal bike shirt.

Easter in my family of Greeks involves bread baking and an scrumptions spread of traditional village foods.

Yes, there was lamb and green beans, salad and cheese or spinach pies. This year I was in charge of the bread. Tradition dictates that I should make the bread is a braid and red eggs baked into the strands. I tried something different this year. Someone posted something clever on Facebook that showed the dough in a  muffin pan. I think traditions can be updated, so I put half the dough in a loaf and made half in muffins. Same dough, so the flavor is the same. The serving is what’s different. The muffin size was a big hit.

I managed to make time for a bike ride with my dog. He loves his bike rides.

The weather was very cooperative the last two days. Sunny days ahead I hope. So we can all ride our cares away.

About the t-shirt. Twin Six promotes a t-shirt of the month. Their shirts are clever and unique. I’m a pushover for a good pun and I had to share.

Happy trails. Be safe out there and remember to get out there and ride.

Thanks for reading.

Bike Goddess

 

 

Mad About Mass Transit

I love mass transit. I’m a transit junkie. Figuring out bus and train schedules is like planning a trip to a far away destination but the ticket is infinitely cheaper. I don’t know why I love it, I just do. You become the travel agent. In the mornings I commute by bus and bike and in the afternoon I ride my bike all the way home. It’s what I do and it works for me. Last year I got lazy and didn’t take the bus much opting for my husband’s offer to drive me to work. Then the bus schedules changed this fall. It has been the best change too. At first I was upset since I wasn’t sure how it would work. Now, I love it. My bus goes farther east which means I only have to ride 2 miles in the morning and I’m at school at 6:40 a.m., instead of 6. That extra time has been put to the pillow since I don’t have to get up as early. The bus comes a bit later so I don’t have to wait outside until 5:50. Liberating!

The other amazing upgrade this year is my bus. Not that I had much to do with that change, but what a difference it makes to ride a shiny new eco-friendly bus.  The first day I was on the new rig I was wearing a dress and it felt like a special occasion. What a difference. Quite a boost to morale to be riding is such a posh carriage.

With few other bikes on the bus I feel like I have it all to myself. There are a few other bikers who ride but they get on after me. There was only one day I had to school the guy who was on before me about how to put his bike on the rack closest to the window so others could get their bikes on swiftly. He has since learned his lesson. There was a day last week a young guy got on and he was asking me about my bike. His friend gave him a fixie and he wanted to know where to buy tubes and how to get his new acquisition into shape. I gave him a few tips about patching the tire and taking it to a bike shop to have a mechanic give it a more thorough check up.

Since the bus goes a little further in the morning and I don’t have to ride as far, I tend to wear my work clothes and pack whatever bike related knickers I plan to wear home. That was working great for the month of September, so we’ll see what the rains of October bring. I pack my rain pants and it would be easy enough to change if the weather required it.

There was another upgrade I made this year, but I’ll save that for my next post.

Be safe and seen out there!

Happy riding!

Right after the bus drops me off.