Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Review of Zepher Long Johns

Originally submitted at Ibexwear

Those other long johns? The Dodo. Our Long Johns? Sort of like a crazy combination of Stephan Hawking, Muhammad Ali and Indiana Jones. In other words, it doesn't get any better. Superfine merino wool in a form-fit cut. Double-panel construction.

Good c/ commuter knickers for fall days

By Doryman from Seattle, WA on 3/30/2011


4out of 5

Inseam: Feels too long

Waist: True to size

Pros: Retains Body Heat, Comfortable, Breath-ability

Cons: Too thin

Describe Yourself: Avid Cyclist, Outdoorsman

Best Uses: Under Clothes, With Knickers

Was this a gift?: No

I'm a 4 season bicycle commuter and I bought a pair of the commuter knickers and was unhappy with them until I added a pair of these long underware and some wind proofed wool boxers. Together with my wool socks & Shak jersey & Vim Jacket I've become immune to cold and rain. The long underware is even comfortable inside at the office 68F. (The wonderful properties of wool.)

My only grip is that the layer of wool is too thin. I wish for a shak weight of long underware for those colder days and the durability of the Shak. I wash everything every two weeks (10 days of wear riding) in ivory soap which is really mild and hang dry them but I can see them thinning out already. (oh yeah being a guy I'd like a fly flap)


Monday, March 28, 2011

OMG! Downhill Urban bike racing run in Chilli

from changoman on

You gotta watch this in full screen. Notice that there are no hay bales, parked cars along the route, loose dogs. It's all in a days run. I am so glad my commute is nothing like this.

I've often wondered how people learn to take jumps and stairs etc without losing their teeth learning. I'd guess slowly and with full gear first and then just keep adding a few more stairs and a little more speed. Still though I've been blessed with the gene that says "no way buster! you are going to die." Guess that's why I'm here and still alive. But I admit it's fun to watch someone else risk their neck.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wool! It does a body good! And you look good in it.

If you live in a cool climate like the Pacific Northwest, you'll soon discover that there is a reason those old timers wore wool. Fortunately it's still available from a couple of great sources.
Which has a wide variety of nice stuff, that seems to be holding up very well, but the designs/fashion are boring. (boring can be good, as in it does what it's supposed to do. Just very little fashion flair to it.)

And which has some really nice jerseys, shorts etc. with classic Retro Team styles.

Of the two, ibex shak jerseys are more tightly knit, and warmer. But with a Ibex Vim coat over a VintageVelo Jersey you get the best of both worlds. The Vim coat has wind panels down the front of the chest, and on the front of the arm. That's great for the ride in from 30F, to low 50's. The long sleeve VintageVelo Jersey has the pockets in the back, and for the afternoon ride home in the mid 50's is perfect. In the summer when the afternoons warm up to the 60's and beyond, the short sleeve jersey is fine, with arm warmers for the morning. I happen to have Ibex arm warmers and leg warmers and VintageVelo shorts. But that's a matter of availability. Ibex had them when I needed them. The arm/leg warmers are made of the same thick black merino Shak wool and don't slide down. Can't say enough good things about them.

Customer service both companies are really good. Although VintageVelos will give you close to personal service if your problem warrants it.

I've also become a hipster, or rather hipsters have discovered that knickers are good for bicycling in the cool weather. And since clothes make the man, I guess we are of the same clan. I've made my own knickers from wool pants I bought at Goodwill for the last 30 years. Using the lower part of the pants for the material for the knee tabs and the crotch gusset. Cut them below the knee with enough fabric for a hem, split a couple of seems, cut the fabric, make some tabs, sew on some velcro, and you are done. Takes a good Saturday afternoon but it's not hard sewing. Recently I picked up a pair of Ibex knickers on ebay on bargin basement pricing and they work pretty well. So if you are not handy with a sewing machine it's a good alternative.

Wool boxers, for cold mornings, and the wind proof front ones for really cold morning rides. Highly recommended for keeping things that should not be cold warm.

Top off your head with a wool skull cap and you are warm enough on cold days. Or use the thin wool balaclava for those really cold days, say high 30's, or wet low 40s'.

Nice thing is even when wet you'll still be warm. And given a place to hang it while you are at work, and it will be warm and dry for the ride home.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Review of Vim Hybrid Jacket

Originally submitted at Ibexwear

Everyone has two sides. Front and back, to be specific. This light, fast jacket has breathable, lightweight 4-way stretch fabric in the front, Shak lite wool in back. A jacket that recognizes the essential humanity in us all. It's pretty deep.

Good for winter bicycling in the PNW

By Doryman from Seattle, WA on 3/8/2011


4out of 5

Chest Size: Feels true to size

Sleeve Length: Feels true to length

Pros: Warm, Breathable, Durable, Lightweight, Wind Resistant

Cons: Needs 2 B longer in back, No back pocket

Best Uses: Bicycling, XC-Skiing

Describe Yourself: Advanced

Gear Usage: Winter Sports, Fall Sports

Was this a gift?: No

I bought one because I was afraid that Ibex would discontinue the line. I've got an older Ibex cycling jacket and when that wears out, I'll break out this Vim jacket. I like the bright Red color, it has good visibility. Wish it had a back pocket and was a little bit longer in the back.

I wear this on days that it's threatening to rain. It's waterproof enough for a light rain or a short cloudburst.

I wear it on days 35F to 60F. Above that it's too warm to wear over a jersey. (short sleeve wool Jersey 50F & above, and long sleeve wool shak jersey 50F and below.)


Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Visibility is a problem for bicyclist both at night, and during the day. After a lot of years I've decided that it's better to be extremely visible than to be invisible but know that you are and try to hide on the road.
To that extent I bought the lime colored survey's vest. It's a class 3 highway rated vest. That is to say you can work on a 55+mph road wearing this.

A couple of things to note: This vest has pockets. When I'm commuting it's very handy to have a place to put things when I'm walking from where I lock my bicycle up into the office. The vest is made of a mesh fabric. I'm not looking for warmth or wind or rain protection with this vest. I do wear it on top of everything else and therefore I don't have to care what color my rain coat is, although it's also bright orange. Or my jersey which are bright but not as bright as these colors.

I picked a velcro fastened front. It doesn't really matter. I have a friend who bought the zipper front one and they both fit about the same.

Lastly this vest has reflective tape on the sleeves. That's good for cross street traffic and when you are leaning down on the drops even if your chest is partly covered by your arms, there is some reflective materiel showing in all directions.

The minor disadvantage of wearing a vest on top of your rain coat is that it tends to keep the vents a bit more closed. I work pretty hard riding so it doesn't really matter. If it's pouring I'm wet, either from the inside because I've got everything closed up, or the outside because the vents also let water in.

Lastly who else wears reflective vests? Yeah you got it, cops. Want to hit a bicycle cop? I thought not. Now while I don't look like a cop up close at 100yds from the rear can you be sure? No, better slow down until you are sure. And thus the vest has accomplished it's goal, I've been noticed and cars passing me do so more carefully than without it.

Add reflective gloves, and flashing red lights and stick your arm out to signal a turn, and people pay attention.

You can get your own vest from any place that caters to construction workers. Or order it from Western Safety or

Brazil Horrific car crash

It's not often you get video of what happens when a car hits a bicycle. But in Brazil an idiot in a car plowed through a group ride. Now you may not like this group, "Critical Mass" but no one has the right to just drive over/through someone else.

This is not for the squeamish.