Friday Group Ride #144

Today is what is known in the US as Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the official beginning of the consumer frenzy that precedes Christmas. Bike shops across the country will spend this period selling off last year’s unsold inventory and trying to get their books into the black before the New Year comes and puts a general chill on cycling-related commerce.

Eurobike and Interbike allowed bike companies to trot out their wares only very recently. Padraig made a Herculean effort to highlight those wares herehere, here and here, and I was fortunate, this season, to be able to walk the show floor with him and talk about the relative merits of each company’s offering. I, for one, benefit from his insight, as he has this uncanny ability to tell you how something that looks shiny and fast on a pedestal in a conference hall will actually perform out on the road.

My own interests, this year, run almost entirely to more traditional products, made domestically. I can’t get enough wool jerseys. I can’t stop looking at the steel and Ti bikes being turned out by custom builders all over the country. I want almost everything Ibex makes. I want the latest Merckx biographies, and I want more hats. What is it about hats?

Oh, and I need some gloves that will keep my hands operational when the mercury dips below 30F. Suggestions?

This week’s Group Ride ignores completely the shameless consumerism of the season and instead indulges it. What the hell? What do you really, really want for Christmas? Is it a set of wheels? Is it a trainer and a stack of race videos? Are you likely to get whatever it is? Or do you live with a cycling Grinch, someone who doesn’t understand the mania you have for the finest Swiss toe warmers.


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  1. Wsquared

    “Lobster” style 3 finger gloves can’t be beat in cold weather. I’ve gone through several pairs of Pearl Izumis. Look geeky but work great.

  2. armybikerider

    Without regard for reality…..I really really want a Baum Corretto. In my mind the ultimate in Ti self-expression to replace my Lynskey.

    What I will likely get….a new pair of bibs or two, some new rubber, I also need winter gloves so pass along the suggestions (Bellwether Max, PI Elite Softshell are a couple I’m looking at)…maybe a couple of pairs of socks. I’m fighting with the idea of getting a set of rollers. I have a resistance trainer driven off the back wheel that I absolutely loathe, but I’ve ridden rollers in the past and they at least are tolerable. I’m just not sure that I will actually use them more than a time or two.

  3. Eric

    armybikerider – I hated the rollers. Then I modified them so they are like the e-motion rollers and it made a huge differences. It’s not like rollers are fun, but just that little change was great. If you can work a screw driver and a wrench, any set can be modified.

  4. Adam

    Giro Empires for me. My wife’s no cycling grinch any longer, she used to be, but I think now believes its no passing fad and that cycling gifts bring the greatest joy

  5. Mark S

    Eric – what are the e-motion rollers like? Never heard of them before but sounds intriguing, currently own rollers but don’t like em much, open to ideas?

  6. SteveW

    Extremity warmers are what I crave. I love my Capo socks. Together with my booties, they keep my toes warm down to 20F. And this season I intend to get my act together and buy a pair of those lobster gloves Wsquared endorses.

  7. Mark S

    Here’s a tip for you all, I just bought a bunch of hand and feet warmers from Costco, the ones you stick on your socks or put in your lobster gloves, they work a treat, I even sometimes stick a couple on my base layer to keep my lower back nice and warm on those cold rides. Give it a try.

  8. christopheru

    What do I really want? No holds barred? One of two cyclocross bikes – the 2013 Specialized Crux SRAM Red or a True North custom built titanium loaded up with boutique parts (I have wifely permission to save for either) :).

    Neither one is happening, at least not this year. What is happening has already happened and that is a set of Schwalbe Ice Spikers for the commuter bike. Yummy 🙂 Started the run in on asphalt today and they are settling in nicely. Good thing I did as the temperature dropped, snow started, and some bits of my ride home had actually iced up. I did not notice…

    As far as gloves go, I use unlined full finger mtn bike gloves down to below freezing. I layer up a lot and my hands don’t get too cold because of it. When it gets colder than that, I use dirt cheap insulated gloves from a local department store, or insulated work gloves. This is for commuting – I don’t ride my fast/expensive bikes in the winter because our roads get a lot of salt on them which is hard on the machines.

    I am with you on the woolies – I really (really) want some nice wool tops. Badly. Might have to get one as a present to self sometime in the spring:)

    For the feet – Kona makes (made?) some really nice wool mtn bike socks that my daughter got me for Christmas a couple of years ago that I still love. I wear them all the time. More of those are in the offing as well as I tend to wear them all day at work. In sandles. In the winter.

  9. jimc

    I really like the Kilometer glove from Ibex that my wife gave me last Christmas. Wore them for the coldest rides last winter. They’re warm, breathe well, and dry fairly quickly. What I’d like is another quiet winter last last year!

  10. Eric

    Mark S. – here’s a good video of the back and forth action of the rollers.

    Standing up and pedaling on rollers isn’t a white knuckle affair anymore. The whole ride, whether sitting or standing, is now smoothed out. It’s a dramatic difference from riding on rollers that are “locked in” vs. having them float back and forth. I watched a few you tube-videos of what others had done to modify their rollers. Then I grabbed a few items lying around the workshop and from the local hardware store and made a set-up to put my rollers on that gives the same effect.

  11. Hautacam

    A Volagi. With Campy. And disc brakes. I’d sell off two of my three old bikes (CX, winter/commuter) and ride the snot out of it. I’d keep my old Columbus SLX road bike for sunny sundays.

    Or a Moots CX bike.

    Or a longtail freight bike with electric assist so I can schlep my kids to school by bike despite Seattle’s hills.

  12. Bart

    My birthday is in October and I asked my extended family to all pitch in for a birthday/christmas gift of the Inside Ride Rollers. It’s been a warm fall so I haven’t used them much yet, but the few rides I’ve done so far have been good. It takes some getting used to but is totally different from the resistance trainer locked on the rear wheel. It takes my full concentration and I’m quite fatigued after 40 minutes.

    I’m not expecting any Christmas gifts other than this one this year. But I’m happy.

  13. Jprummer

    What I want is more time to ride with my daughter. In a year and a half both my kids will have gone off to college. I wish I would have worried less about training and more about just riding with the kids. But we have had some great cycling trips over the years.

  14. Eto

    I feel very satisfied in the bike department because I received a new mtb for my b day in July. I love it. So, if I were to be to get greedy this holiday season a Cervelo S3 or 5 would be heading down the chimney with Santa.

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