Is it completely gauche, in the midst of the Cross Worlds, the Lancepocalypse and all manner of other deeply important events, to pause for the half minute it takes to point you toward some of the wares in the RKP store? Our overhead here in this corner of the cycling omniverse is low but persistent, and the warehouse is full to bursting with products of unparalleled quality and soul-nurturing goodness.
Our Cream of Courage embrocation is just the thing to slather over freshly-shaved legs. It’ll make you the best smelling rider in the paceline. Pete Smith at Mad Alchemy mixed this stuff up just for us, so it’s got a pedigree to go along with its complex herbal bouquet. Think of it as the perfect addition to your pre-ride routine, or an acceptable cologne substitute for last minute cycling dates.
And as long as you’re dressing to impress, why not kit up in the latest RKP bibs and jersey? Nothing says ‘wo/man about town’ quite like a sharp kit, and you’d be hard pressed to find one sharper than this. Designed by Joe Yule of StageOne Sports and made by Panache, we guarantee you’ll be 20% more impressively attractive while wearing it (if not any faster). We have all sizes still in stock, including yours.
And for off the bike, how about an RKP ball cap? I have always been uncomfortable with companies who call their ball cap a “podium cap.” It makes me feel unworthy. This cap is just a cap. You can wear it on podiums, if you’re one of those people who wins things, but you can also wear it to the grocery store if your hair’s a mess, like mine is, every day.
I hope you will understand that these sort of shameless appeals to your base consumerist instincts are not the reason we set up our stall here on the internet. But the staff accountant, comptroller and operations team have all recommended we sell more stuff, if only so we can continue to pay their handsome and well-justified salaries. This, it seems, is how the world goes round.
And thank you for your support.
Every now and then you slip down the rabbit hole and aren’t even aware how it happened.
Last fall, Byron from Bike Hugger referred a tweet to me in which the Twitterer asked just what embrocation is. I started to reply with a 140-character techsplanation and then realized (thank heaven) that I had promised the world I would try not to go all Dr. Spock on Twitter.
So I had some fun.
I suggested that embrocation is “heat in a jar, cream of courage, a forcefield of awesomeness.”
No sooner had I composed my little near-haiku that I realized I had an idea for Pete Smith at Mad Alchemy. As much as I love embrocations, start oils and chamois creams, the companies behind them rarely have any personality. They can be forgiven for that; giving a substance you rub on your body much personality can be like trying to draw a smiley face on a plank of wood. On the other side, if it had too much personality it could get creepy.
For reasons I can’t explain Mad Alchemy seems to have struck a balance between straightforward products and a brand with a sense of fun. So I fired off an email to Pete and suggested I had a name for a new product: Cream of Courage. His response: Let’s do a custom embro.
How could I say no?
I asked Pete to dash up something that smelled like a Provençal herb garden. Heavy on the lavender and rosemary and then improvise from there. He made several non-warming blends for me to try and following a second round we settled on a blend that leads with lavender, has a strong undercurrent of rosemary, plus dashes of sage and mint. It’s the sort of scent that lingers pleasantly in any room you enter. You become a one-cyclist air decorator.
Usually, we seem to be working the other end of the spectrum. Ahem.
Pete’s a genius. It’s unquestionably my favorite embro of all time, but then, it’s exactly what I asked for. (Though I gotta admit, last season’s Chris Jones Signature was distinctly amazing.)
Because it’s almost always chilly for my morning rides here in the South Bay, but rarely ever frigid, I went for a mellow heat which should be good enough to keep your gams happy into the 40s and has the staying power of the spring classics—this stuff will heat for six hours … more if you use it liberally.
Pete doesn’t seem to be desperate for business; he didn’t need this order, but I’ve really enjoyed doing this because I like him and what he’s about and this was way more fun than just writing another glowing review of one of his embros. This was a genuine chance to put my money where my mouth is.