Thursday, November 17, 2011

Getting Ready for Winter Part 1

In early September I decided I wanted to get Pogies. I looked around at the few makers and decided on Moose Mitts. These are made by the people at Trails Edge bike shop in Michigan. When I ordered online, it specifically said that production wouldn't be until mid-October. I figured it wouldn't be super cold until November anyways, so I didn't mind waiting. Prior to their arrival, the good folks at Trails Edge emailed me to say "hey it's been a while, do you still want these?". Heck yeah! They arrived 2 days later. Great customer service in my book.

Now these Moose Mitts are hand made in the back of their bike shop by their employees. Not in some sweatshop in China or Taiwan, but here in the USA. When it comes to American made products I don't mind paying a little extra, but these were only $60 shipped (now $65). Figuring that these are a low-wear item, they should last quite a while. They are very well made and the attention to detail is pretty impressive. No loose threads, no defects, etc. I was very happy with them when I took them out of the box!

The biggest benefit is that you can ride with these in super cold temps with normal gloves. No need for super bulky gloves that are hard to shift/brake in. Having full control of your bike in winter situations is important. Last year I wore 2 pairs of gloves layered, which did OK, but using the controls on my bike was tricky. Now that the pogies are in place on my Pugsley, I have ridden it 3 days this week, wearing nothing on my hands other than a thin wool liner glove. Granted the temps are just in the teens (so far!) I have no doubt that these will work great all winter. I don't think I'll be needing to layer up gloves anymore!

If you're interested in getting some of these before it gets too cold, visit Moose Mitts

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Getting Caught Up

So I've been off the blog wagon again, just busy I guess. Most of my pictures for this blog are taken from my camera phone, and my phone was annoying me, so I didn't want to take pics. Well I gave into the iPhone4s this week so hopefully I'll take more pics.

Back in late October my beer friends and I went to Minneapolis for Darkness Day at Surly Brewing. It's the one day a year the bottled beer is sold at the brewery, and the release day is usually a week before stores get it. So we made the trip down to the Cities and ended up getting to the brewery early, about Noon on the 22nd, a full 23hrs before Darkness Day began. We were FIRST in line! We set up our tents and starting drinking beer, then the madness began. More people showed up, we drank more, we ate good food, and had a great time along with 3000 other like-minded people.

Now this trip to the Cities also allowed me to bring me bike, since Milltown Cycles was hosting a Fall Gravel Tour on the following day. 45 miles of Minnesota gravel roads. It sounded much better leading up to it. I was so excited to ride, but this was before I had gone on a 27hr bender at the brewery! I still made it out, and I'm glad I did. Even though I wasn't feeling 100% (more like 60%!) I still made the ride on my own time and was able to stop whenever to enjoy the scenery without a group. It had been a while since I'd been on a ride where you come down a hill, or turn a corner and see something so breathtaking you just want to stop. This gravel tour had a few of those. It was amazing. Next year I'll make a trip without the hangover and I'll enjoy it much more.

Besides that I've been still riding to work everyday and testing out my gear in preparation for the long cold winter ahead. Expect some product reviews soon of my pants and Moose Mitts "pogies".