There have been a few items bumping around in my fleeting attention for a few weeks now, things that don’t necessarily merit a full review, but have been cool enough to warrant some mention. I file them under items I kinda wish someone would have purchased for me for Christmas.
The first among these is the Skratch Labs cookie mix. As much as I love the stuff I’ve tried from the Feedzone Portables Cookbook, I have to be honest about two details. The first is that everything I’ve tried has been cooked by someone else. So any testimony I offer is based on the success of the cooks in question. The second is that I’m a profoundly unambitious cook. It’s all I can do to help my wife get food together for my family and me. However, cookies don’t require many ingredients or much competence. And while the mix starts GMO and dairy-free and vegan, by the time I had finished cookies, they were neither dairy free nor vegan. I added milk chocolate chips and the cookies were beyond delicious. One Saturday I was deep in the Russian River Valley, riding through a driving rain when I decided to pull over and fuel up with a couple of cookies. They were transcendental. After that, the rain wasn’t so bad.
You might be wondering about the why of a cookie. A big part of the Skratch ideology is moisture content, simple-to-digest ingredients and no ingredients that aren’t nutritionally necessary. These cookies hew to that. Keep it simple and your refueling will go faster, with fewer (or no) dips in your energy.
I’ve done plenty of mountain biking and encountered so few hikers that a bell was unnecessary. But life in NorCal is different. People hike here like Southern Californians drive. If you don’t have a bell on your mountain bike, sooner or later you’re going to upset someone by not speaking up sufficiently. I don’t like to yell, and honestly, sometimes my effort doesn’t permit me to bellow. So a bell is just part of being a considerate trail user. The Spurcycle Bell is one of a handful of what I’ll call premium bells. The sound is clear and piercing without being aggravating. The only way you’re going to miss the sound of this $49 unit is if you’ve got your iPod turned up to Who concert. The clarity of the tone distinguishes it from the crap on the wall at most bike shops. You don’t mind hearing this thing and the sound lingers, finishing like a fine wine, in part because it is made from stainless steel.
Back in the day, out on the road I saw guys wear Reynolds and Peugeot jerseys. I saw Panasonic, Brooklyn, 7-Eleven, Coors Light and even ADR. But of the many pro team jerseys my friends and I wore, there was one that no one ever found.
And living in New England and riding over crap roads, we all imagined to one degree or another that we were Sean Kelly. How could we not? Those of us with Irish blood were just that much more inclined.
Our friends over at Velo Jerseys managed to get the art for the old KAS design and to my knowledge this is the first time you could find one of these jerseys without flying to Madrid in 1985. They even offer the matching cycling cap. For $102 ($90 for the jersey and $12 for the cap), you too can be king. Has there ever been a field of yellow more desperately in need of a splatter of mud?
Image: John Pierce, Photosport International