Odds, Ends

Odds, Ends

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.

In this this photo provided by PhotoSport International shows Sean KELLY

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

, , , , , , , , ,


  1. Denis

    My KAS jersey comes out every year or so for a ride, but for some reason it just doesn’t fit the same is it did in the late ’80’s (go figgur). And it only makes that rare appearance as it, and the team socks and cap, were actually Mr. Kelly’s, complete with initials. A relative was his parish priest at the time and Sean was kind enough to gift them to us when my relative came for a visit to the US. The signed posters for my brother and I got left in a cab in NYC but the rest made it out here to Seattle and have been treasured ever since. My wife often asks why I keep the stretched out old socks around. The only answer? Because, that’s why.

    1. SBC

      Love those vintage jerseys – I have an old, wool, Panasonic in blue myself.

      @Denis: what’s clearly missing from Unified Field Theory is the part of the equation that describes how all jerseys shrink at the same rate, regardless of material…

    2. Denis

      @SBC: I believe I know the equation that relates jersey shrinkage. Something about the square root of the pints consumed multiplied by the age of the jersey (not said jersey wearer) and divided by the grin factor. And then subtract 3, as 3 is the magic number.

  2. michael

    love that KAS jersey, though my fav is still the PDM. I’ve worn out 3 of them over the years, and am due for a new one.

    Last time I had one I mysteriously had to pull out of my training for 3 weeks due to food poisoning 😉

  3. ScottyCycles

    I love my Spurcycle Bell! So much better than yelling “on your left” which here is SoCal usually results in an abrupt movement to the life by the runner on the path.

    1. Steve-o

      My pet peeve. I think the only word that registers is the direction, so they move that direction. Better to just yell “Passing!” or, ring that bell.

      My second pet peeve is joggers with headphones who can’t hear a bell, but that’s a rant in and of itself!

  4. Dave

    @ Michael……

    I too have a coveted PDM jersey from like 1988-89. I loved studying pictures of Gert-Jan Theunisse and Steven Rooks in the magazines of the day. I still wear it on occasion. It’s heavy and doesn’t breath at all, but it’s nice on cool Fall or Spring days with arm warmers.

  5. Pat O'Brien

    I really like that bell. I use a well known Japanese made bell on all my bikes, but the appearance on that one screams quality. I will check it out.

  6. Stephen Barner

    I bought a SpurCycle bell for the back of our tandem during their Kickstarter campaign. It is, perhaps, the only bell that would look fine on any great bike, no detail of it’s design has been left unattended, the workmanship and aesthetics are superb and, most important, the sound is transcendental, if that word can be applied to a bicycle bell. If you want to give a cyclist a gift, and a Silca floor pump is more than you want to spend, buy one of these bells. If the cyclist is a male, he’ll probably first mount it on a mountain or junk bike, but you’ll be pleased when he realizes what he has been given and it moves to his favorite road bike.

  7. peter lin

    I’ve been following the skratch motto with ride fuel and my stomach is much happier. I haven’t tried skratch cookie mix, since I have my own gooey chocolate chip cookie recipe that I love. I have used skratch rice cake recipe as a jumping point for my own recipes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *