Friday Group Ride #100

Much to my chagrin, some of the most read pieces on Red Kite Prayer are the product reviews. No matter that I sweat blood into my keyboard every week over each post I write.  I understand. Not only do regular RKP readers click on links to product reviews and express their very wise and considered opinions, but people doing web searches, who are simply curious about those very same products, who may never have even heard of RKP, will end up here as well.

So, it doesn’t hurt my feelings that the posts concerning new wheelsets or chamois creams get more attention than my garbled, personal rantings about riding my bike up a steep hill. Chamois cream is compelling. I get it.

But there’s so much talk now of pay-to-play advertising in the cycling industry, it got me thinking. What bike products and people would I recommend unreservedly? Who do I want to see succeed? What about a little free publicity?

I don’t know about you, but I start every day with a cup or four of coffee. Two cups before I leave the house. One upon arrival at work. Two more in the afternoon. It’s both too much and just enough. And, coffee and cycling go together like asses and chamois cream, so I recommend High Cadence Coffee.

High Cadence manages two pretty spectacular tricks at the same time. First, the single-source and small-batch roasted beans make fantastic coffee. The Gavia Espresso will fix more or less any problem I have, even in small doses. Second, High Cadence donates $0.15 of every sales dollar to support and promote women’s cycling. What? You mean I get a great cup of coffee AND I support cycling? Yes, and yes. Jeff Ernst, who runs High Cadence, as well as the Ciclirati website, sent me a free bag of coffee once, just because. I recommend the coffee because it’s good and it’s good for cycling though.

I don’t know anyone at all who works at NiteRider. No one. But I ride home every night in a cone of daylight supplied by my NiteRider MiNewt 600 headlight. I love that light. It’s bright. It runs long on a single, USB charge, and it weighs nothing. I can’t imagine a better headlight. Of course, the name “MiNewt 650” is goofy. 600 refers to the lumen output, which is fine, but “MiNewt?” Great light. Bad name.

My favorite t-shirt, maybe ever, is this one. Mike Spriggs, the man behind Gage+DeSoto, is the sort of guy who pops up here there and everywhere in the cycling world. When he’s not silk-screening the coolest velo-themed t-shirts on the internet, he’s working with Rapha or the Red Hook Criterium or, I don’t know what else. I don’t want to web-stalk him to find out.

This week’s Group Ride is all about FREE PUBLICITY! What people, places or things do you recommend to other cyclists? Who are the good guys? What are the indispensables?

Finally, this is Friday Group Ride #100. We’ve done this 100 times. It boggles the mind. Just wanted to take half-a-sec here to say thanks to everyone who has come along on the ride.


Follow me on Twitter @thebicyclerobot!




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  1. grayson

    After 15 years of Look and Look style pedals, and walking around sounding like a two legged horse I’ve made the leap to Egg Beaters for the road.

    The last 3 years of cyclocross racing/training and commuting pushed me over the edge. Sometimes you have to get off and run with the bike and when that happens it’s usually on dirt or up stairs. I produce probably 140 Watts on average, what do I need a big ol platform for. I guess I could argue I need every watt I can get…

  2. Tallmoots

    I have been impressed with Moots over the last 5 years. They have a commitment to cycling, product, their employees, their costumers, Steamboat, and the their environmental footprint. I like to see companies who have a wide range of priorities in check.

  3. Clark

    Handlebar Mustache (dot com) makes fun bike-themed clothing, and also gives back to charities on many (if not all) sales, which I think is pretty darn cool.

    As for riding gear, I can’t say enough good things about Hed Ardennes wheels. You can ride them every single day, whether you’re training, racing, climbing, riding rough or dirt roads, or just about anything else. Now if their wide rim came in a tubeless option, that would be killer.

  4. Dolamite

    Planet Bike Super Flash, is one of the cheapest and by far the best taillights for the money you can get. Cheap, light, bright and with a distinguishing strobe pattern, it’s an outstanding tail light.

    /Just don’t bother with their headlight blinkey. That thing doesn’t do

  5. Conrad

    You like your Niterider. I have a Cygolite that works well. But here in the dark rainy Northwest I love my Schmidt dynohub and Busch/Muller Cyo light. Its nice to have a bike that is instantly ready to ride at all times, day or night, with fenders and a generator light that never runs out of juice. The generator does not create noticeable drag whether the light is on or off. The only disadvantage is you can’t (or it is cumbersome) to move the setup between different bikes. If its rainy or dark I always ride the same bike anyway.

  6. Dan O

    A few shout-outs from me, sorta old, bike geek…

    Ibis Cycles. For a production bike company, make some really cool stuff. Great vibe and customer service. Big enough to be famous, small enough to be hip.

    National Interscholastic Cycling Association. NICA is coordinating high school mountain bike racing across the U.S. Very cool program getting kids out on bikes and exposing them to racing with a great low key atmosphere.

    Sidi shoes. Been wearing ’em for years. Last forever, replacement parts available, just plain work and look right.

    Timbuk2. My 15+ year old messenger bag used daily: bicycle, motorcycle, driving, traveling. Indestructible. And still looks cool. Fantastic bag.

    Clif Bar. My family goes through one box a week. Good stuff, easy to carry, company appears to actually have a heart and personality.

    Nikon D7000. Not officially bike related, but you can shoot Bikes ‘N’ Races with it. True? Been using mine for a few months now, since getting (back) into photography. Just feels right in the hand and works fantastic. I dig it.

  7. Sam Findley

    Mad Alchemy. Just don’t mix up their chamois cream and embro when you’re getting dressed in the dark at 5:30 AM (why did they make the jars the same shape?)

  8. C.Monaco

    DT Swiss, for I can’t imagine a better spoke nor hub. In the age of pre-fab’d wheels I recommend pulling them apart and re-spoking them if only to have DT holding it all together.

    But my real comment is this: The only space on my google reader that gets my ding every time. Thanks for being here, guys. You’re the heart and soul of online cycling.

  9. Jim Morehouse

    Ditto to Mad Alchemy. And yes, order matters! Also, Friction Freedom chamois creme, second to none. Also, DZNuts gets a favorable mention. Ditto to Sidi. Rapha bib shorts (even though I’m on a sponsored team, I nearly always train in the Raphas because they’re just so damn comfortable, and they wear forever). Lastly, Cervelo R3. It feels like it was made for me personally; the best bike ever since my 1973 Colnago (which is what I raced on back in the day). So that’s my two cents worth.

  10. Wallisphotos_UK

    a more related note

    USE – British company just down the road from me for the Titanium Seatpost and the lightest nicest wheel skewers i have seen that have been going strong for 10 years.
    They make lots of really nice stuff and its all in house

  11. randomactsofcycling

    I’ll agree with Jim Morehouse – I love my Cervelo. It’s the duck’s guts.
    I also have a set of training wheels with White Industries hubs. These things rock and the customer service from White Ind. has been fantastic. The distributor in Australia is lame, I purchased the hubs direct from the factory in the U.S. and also some spares I needed. Done in quicktime and with a friendly attitude.
    Also, here’s to Rapha for making caps in different sizes. The one-size-fits-all cap does not fit my fat head! And their race gloves are fantastic too.

  12. Punkture

    I love my Look Kg281 (im not rich enough to afford the shiny stuff that is referred to on these pages so have to be a few years out of date). Look pedals and bikes are almost beyond reproach for me…and they’re built in continental europe, cycling’s heartland (which for me gives them just a little more heart and soul)!

    Park Tools – 100% awesome

    RKP – 200% awesome (95% of the time I spend on this site is on the Body and Mind sections)

  13. Bryan Lewis

    It’s awesome how much lights have improved recently, eh? I’ve bought a new one in each of the last few years because the previous year’s model is so wimpy by comparison.

    I have the MiNewt Mini.300 (two years old) and the CygoLite Expilion (one year old). The CygoLite is my favorite. But who knows… if I bought a new MiNewt 600 it would probably be even better.

    But I think I’ve reached the plateau of contentment. I mount my little old MiNewt on my helmet and the CygoLite on the bar. Plenty of light, adjustability, backup… and I can read my odometer. (As if I needed to on my regular commute.)

    The Park Tools workstand is another favorite. My wife says it’s the best present she ever bought me.

  14. spiff

    Its the shoes!
    I’ve been riding in Sidi shoes for a long long time, they fit almost perfectly and last forever. Most times the velcro wears out after 6-7 years.

    I also love my Campagnolo equipment, need I say more?

  15. Bill H-D

    I am not sure there is a single piece of hardware I have that I would not at least consider an alternative to. Same goes for bibs, jerseys, etc. But I do not want to give up Honey Stinger waffles. Best jersey-pocket-shaped food I’ve had outside of a banana.

  16. armybikerider

    Actually my LEAST favorite part of RKP is the Machine or products section. I’ve never been a fan of reading what someone else, who might just be slightly biased for whatever reason, thinks about a product. That’s why I rarely buy mainstream magazines.

    I tend to have a slightly off-beat view of the cycling world and like to focus on the lifestyle rather than the equipment… someone said once – “it’s not about the bike.” Rather than point people – especially newcomers to specific products (that’s easy enough to find), I like to watch them really get into the lifestyle. To that end I like to tell people about Red Kite Prayer and other blogs that don’t merely report race results but give a glimpse into why I spend so much time riding my bike, thinking about bikes or jonesing for the next time that I get to go for a ride.

  17. sophrosune

    After more than 20 years of riding race bikes, I finally went tubular last year. And I did so with a set of Speedcomposites wheels ( I love these wheels. Absolutely bullet proof. I ride them as an everyday wheel and they have never gone out of true. They’re super light at 1078 grams for a pair designed for riders of 92kg and their hubs are smooth and just spin…forever. My other unabashed recommendation is Tufo tubulars with Tufo extreme tape. It was easier to put these tubulars on then it was a clincher. Over 2500 miles and never got a flat. I took them off and the tape comes off pretty cleanly leaving it easy to put new tape and tubs on. With the liquid sealant, you don’t need to carry an extra tire (or tube with a clincher set up). I am beginning to wonder if clinchers really are more convenient any more.

  18. redroadrider

    Time ATAC peddles-I’ve got them on all four of my bikes, and recently acquired a fifth pair, so it goes without saying I must build a fifth bike.Been using them for years, with never a problem.
    Clif bars and Shot blocks-never tire of them, taste great, great company.
    Twin Six-tasteful, creative, great fit, made in USA by another fave-Voler.
    Specialized waterbottles, especially the purist line-the mark of a truly great product is when you never notice it, it simply works without drawing attention to itself. I will not use any other bottle, period.
    Higher Ground, my LBS of choice here in Tallahassee, Florida-excellent staff, two locations, amazing selection, and just a groovy place to hang out.
    Lastly, but easily first, RKP-hands down the best cycling-oriented site anywhere. The only one I read everyday. And you keep getting better(welcome Whit Yost- I will miss Pave, but I’m glad you’re here).
    Thank you Robot, Padraig et al. keep up the fine work.

  19. DavidA

    My favs are Uvex sunglasses-Hawk and others, Conti GP40000 tires, Sportsbalm embro, pt’s coffee roasting and Flying Monkey coffee, Pearl Izumi PRO and Elite Line of bibs, Assos leg warmers, Hincapie rain jackets, GU gels, Miche cassettes, Born embro and products, Blogsite Wielrennenen en andere dingen (bike racing and other things) Fizik saddles, gatorade energy drink and energy bars you can get at the grocery store, Litte Debbie oatmeal creame pies, banana and jam sandwiches on white bread in foil, DMT and Sidi shoes, Lazer helmets, Stussy hoodies for after the ride and at coffee shop. Delonghi esspresso machines(this is @Robot!!!) Craft baselayers and wintercaps.

  20. DJ Cox

    Helmet mirrors. I frequently ride on a tandem where it can be a little harder to look over your shoulder so its great to be able to look back and know when to get a little closer to the shoulder of the road. I’m using Wood River mirrors made my mechanic, John, at W.E. Stedman’s bike shop in Rhode Island.

  21. Mike

    I am a bit late to the party … but better late than never! I recommend RKP to all my cycling friends and acquaintances. While I don’t dislike product reviews, I rarely read them. I find the mind and body pieces (both the central article and the reader thoughts) to be most interesting. Smart, thoughful, and entertaining … some of the best that is available! Thanks for the works!!

  22. Souleur

    sweet ride…

    Chris King….by far. Under spoken, over the top performance

    Dario Pegoretti…because he deserves it
    Tom Ritchey…because he has a huge heart
    Ira Ryan…makes black look…sweet
    Vanilla bikes…because anything called SpeedVagen must be cool
    Waterford bikes…because everyone goes GaGa over carbon, and they are doing great work

    (and yes, my next bike will be carbon)

    Selle Italia Flite saddles…because I just got another and remembered how it fits me perfect, I should never try anything else

    here’s to the little guy, bottoms up!

  23. A Stray Velo

    Currently these following products over the have greatly increased my enjoyment of the sport.

    1. Trek Thermal Gloves
    (Not made anymore but I have a backup pair. The best features of these gloves are the terry cloth snot wiper on the thumb and a very long cuff which covers the wrist and really helps keep the hands warm.)

    2. Trek Bat Cages
    (Also not made anymore but some are still out there. These bottle cages have survived everything and have never ejected a bottle. Even during my own personal tour of the famous cobbles in Belgium they’ve never let a bottle go.)

    3. Oxford Chillout Windproof Knee Warmers (Meant for motorcycle riding, but are my best friend when cycling from November to the beginning of March.)

    4. Shimano Hubs
    (Bless Shimano for still using good old ball bearings. With proper care over the years I’ve never had to replace any part of any of my Shimano hubs. They keep rolling smooth year after year. Plus they are very affordable.)

    5. The Feed Zone Cookbook: Fast and Flavorful Food for Athletes by Biju Thomas & Allen Lim
    (Nothing is more important than proper nutrition on and off the bike. This book has some great recipes and tips that are invaluable.)

  24. Davide

    Firstly: the product reviews here cannot be lumped in with product reviews from any other source. It’s clear, Padraig, that you ride the stuff you have to review long enough to understand it, you have the experience to recognize what’s hot and what’s not, and your editorial line is transparent (and also unbiased). I’m really not in the market for anything that you’ve reviewed (well, almost), but I read the reviews because your criticism is just that: critical.

    So I’ll ditto the support for RKP- and to everyone who posts here (and here’s hoping this comment will be one of the 100), but also for the other web personalities who I hope will continue in 2012 (may advertisers fall into their laps among piles of Google dollars): Stevil, Klaus, Lanolin, to name a few.

  25. Cadenceminge

    Arundel bottle cages – expensive for a reason

    Strava – reinforces bonds developed on the road

    Lezyne minipump – the hose makes all the difference

    Lezyne Caddy Sack

    Camelbak bidons

    Brooks saddles

  26. Peter Kelley

    Thomson seat posts. I’ve got one on every bike I own: road, cross, full susp. Mtb, and fully rigid mtb. They are strong, light, and easy to set up.

    Ritchey wcs classic handlebars. I love a round bend b/c it gives me a long flat hand hold at the end of the drops.

    Campagnolo Chorus.

  27. Nelson

    Crooked Tree IPA from Dark Horse Brewery in Marshall, MI.

    Would recommend to anyone after a ride. (or sometimes before)

  28. Ann

    Although relatively new to RKP, I’m hooked. You guys rock. And, I’m one of those who go predominently read the Body & Mind blogs instead of the equipment. DeFeet wool socks & Wabi Woolens jerseys are 2 of my favorite things.

  29. Jesus from Cancun

    Time Equipe Pro pedal/shoe system. Rock solid, stable, no unwanted play, swearking, rocking or whatsoever, made to work forever.
    Too bad Time had to join the 3 hole standard. That killed the best system ever. But there is Speedplay, not as good, but very close.

    Oakley radars. I know, Oakley doesn’t need any more advertisement. But I just love them. I usually try sunglasses at the mall, just for fun, and I haven’t found anything as comfortable yet. The pair I have is living extra time right now, but I am getting a new pair this week!

  30. TV@VT

    What do I recommend – Road Bike ID to anyone who I hear of who’s riding without any ID on them. Don’t leave home without it. That goes for running, too. Had a dear friend die on the road after hitting a cattle guard at high speed – and not be identified for several days. Don’t let that happen to you (any of it…)

    Italian Bike Mirror – only sold at Aspire Velo Tech from what I’ve seen. Check em out. One on the left handlebar drop lets you know who’s sitting on your wheel and when there’s traffic coming. Don’t look nerdy at all. Very subtle.

    Louis Garneau Neo Power shorts and bibs – great shorts, great price! Love these.

  31. Bills

    my serotta frame, moots stem and seatpost, chris king hubs and headset, brooks saddle, giro helmet, speedplay pedals, ee brakes and hopefully they will make silver cranks, garmin computer, love all my assos………man i love these brands………….will always love campy and sidi.

  32. Graham I

    My Marinoni Sportivo – steel custom-made in Canada – ride all day comfort and keep for 5 decades quality – and priced to be a good value

    Campgnolo Wheels and drivetrains – I’m a clyde and my two sets of Zondas go and go with no complaint. My groupsets only get better as they age

    Look “Delta” pedals – cheap on eBay, built like Russian Tractors and as obsolete as anything – like em a lot

    Selle Italia Turbo – sold my Allez with the saddle on -not knowing it would be hard to replace – have a Turbomatic on the way – hope my days of ass pain are gone.

    eBay – cheap campy stuff

    Argon 18 – the smaller, less popular Canadian bike boutique manafacturer

  33. sterlingbbiking

    oakley glasses…giro helmets and any shimano product…and by the way, I really enjoy this website.

    as a side note, no Muur at Flanders??? shameful, just plain shameful.

  34. Ryan Surface

    I am going to come off like a retro grouch here but

    Brooks B.17 saddles and Merino wool gear -just plain comfortable!

  35. Peter Leach

    Campagnolo groups and wheels, Reynolds 853 tubing, Columbus forks, Cinelli stems and bars, Vittoria EVO tyres …

    Cadel, honestly.

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