Wednesday, July 21, 2010


image from

I've been using MKS metal toe clips on my bike pedals for two years now, and wearing my Vans Authentics, I find that the rigid prongs pinch my toes. In comes Feetbelts, a foot strap made from recycled seatbelts. They are about the same price as the venerable Power Grips, but they are constructed by a couple of bike dudes in Austin's backyard, San Marcos. With their bold graphics and poppy colors, they definitely stand out. Too bad they're all sold out online, so check with your LBS, Texan riders.

Update: After 2 weeks of using these, I can say I am sorely disappointed. The belts are simply too floppy to be of good use. If I happen to step on the strap while I'm trying to get my foot it, it's all over, until the next light. The strap flattens to the side of the pedal and cannot be coaxed to rise up. According to the Feetbelts site, version 2 has reinforced straps for stiffness. All I can think is, great, thanks for selling the last of your original stock to local bike shops. I'm going to have to get some foam sheets and make my own reinforcements. Furthermore, because my shoes have rubber soles, they sometimes gets stuck when I try to pull out to put my feet on the ground. In a few instances, I have almost fallen sideways, feet still in the straps. It's almost enough to make me go clipless. Bleh!

Made in: San Marcos, TX
Handmade: Yes!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Clif Shot Bloks

I haven't tried all the energy/ exercise nutrition bars out there, mostly because I'm aware that most of them are compromised on taste. Clif Shot Bloks are essential in keeping me going when I'm working out or biking longer distances in 97 degree weather. The best part is that taste very much like candy.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Soma Rush Special Edition

images from somafeed

Special editions tend to blip louder on my radar. Most of the time the makers have added a handful of bells and whistles. Unnecessary, yes, but pretty, oh yes. This is the special edition of Soma Fabrication's track frame, the Rush. I have never been a fan of Soma's uninspired lettering, but this vintage font looks solidly terrific. See the same on this unreleased Rivendell frame collaboration. I am not feeling the new "Rush" logo too much. Yet the nicely designed headbadge is a unique and very attractive touch. Who knew you could get away with a red and green color combo without being Christmassy? Now that the mad heyday of riding minimalist, super modern fixed gear track bikes is tapering off and being replaced by love for classic steel road and randonneuring bikes, Soma has made a smart move in adding traditional touches to their frames, including lugs. Sharp looks aside, what is stopping me from adding this to my wish list is the fact that it has "aggressive track geometry," which means speed > comfort, and it doesn't have bosses for a water bottle mount. I'm all for minimalistic good looks, unless they get in the way of practical considerations. Still, it is an item of beauty.

Made in: Taiwan ("better than China")
Handmade? No


Monday, July 12, 2010

Rivendell Burrito Wrap

Quite possibly the cheapest and simplest way to carry your tools and spare tubes. As a city rider who has had very bad luck with saddlebags (it dropped my wallet!) and despises the sluggish feeling of a bike weighed down by stuff, I admire this waterproofed cotton burrito wrap. For a few seconds I pondered over making my own, but the description is correct: "you can't make it for yourself this cheap." If you wanted to make a couple, Campmor sells similar waterproof canvas by the yard. Also here is a fancier version with pockets and patterns costing almost 10x more.

Made in: USA
Handmade? No


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

No. 117 Mechanics Hidden Buckle Belt

image from billykirk

Simple, classic, and brilliantly designed. By the Bray brothers at Billykirk. I want to get this for my man, even though I may be saving up my pennies for a long time.

Made in: Amish Country, PA
Handmade? Yes


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Korin Fruit Knife

I have an unhealthy obsession with knives. This coupled with a general ignorance about their various styles and materials doesn't really help me in the kitchen. After reading forum comments on the uber-popular Shun knives (thinking about replacing my cheap, dull Cuisinart paring knife), I found myself on the Korin website. I educated myself by skimming the linked articles on the Learn tab, found out that their 15% off sale was going on until July 31, and drooled over the fairly affordable $40-60 offerings until I came across this fruit knife. It's easily 1/10 of the price of the next cheapest knife up. I'll wager a guess that this is because it is probably not lovingly handmade by an expert craftsman, and because the blade is mere stainless steel. It won't hold an edge as long as a blade with more carbon, so it needs more frequent sharpening, but it also won't rust. I also like that it has a more traditional Japanese look, with the simple cylindrical wooden handle. This would make a great picnic/ outdoors knife, with its convenient sheath, and would probably rival similarly priced plastic handled paring knives.

Made in: Japan
Handmade? Not sure.