I’ve been a fan of cotton bar tape forever. I like how it feels, I like how it looks, and I like that it’s a natural product.
My favorite cotton tape is Newbaum’s. They make a fantastic milled cotton tape right here in the U.S. using only eco-friendly dyes. It has an adhesive backing that’s sticky enough (but not too sticky), and it comes in 10′ rolls that are long enough to easily do one side of any handlebar with plenty left over (there’s nothing worse than running out of tape before you reach the end).
Newbaum’s is available in 14 colors. My favorite is the #23605 Yellow. I coat it with Zinsser BullsEye Amber Shellac to achieve the nice Brooks-like honey brown shown above.
What do you say about the Brooks? For touring and transportation, it’s still the standard by which all others are judged.
Brooks England →
We have a fondness for Wald baskets.
Wald has been making wire bicycle baskets in Maysville, Kentucky, USA since 1929. Theirs are undoubtedly the best wire bicycle baskets available. Wald baskets are constructed from steel and nicely finished with no burrs or edges to catch on bags or clothing. The 137 basket is our particular favorite. It’s a small/medium-sized basket, perfect for carrying a single bag of groceries, a small commuter bag, a laptop bag, or a camera bag. The 137 normally comes from the factory with struts, but we prefer to mount it on a randonneur or porteur rack. It can easily be attached to almost any front or rear rack using either small hose clamps or zip ties.
The 137 measures 15 x 10 x 4.75 inches and weighs practically nothing. It’s just a perfect little basket; not too big, not too small. Highly recommended.
PS – If you get one, be sure to pick up an elastic cargo net to go along with it.
Disclaimer: Yes, Wald a sponsor, but we were fans long before we were fortunate enough to have them come onboard.
We like Silca pumps. They’re clearly designed to last a very long time; the critical parts are made from metal and wood, and replacement parts are available so they can be rebuilt for a few dollars when the seals eventually wear out.
Our favorite is the Super Pista. Features include an 8″ Beechwood handle; a 60cm tall chamber for high volume and upright pumping; a metal gauge mounted at the base where it’s safe in the event the pump gets knocked over; and a bomb-proof brass head with no levers or other moving parts to break.
Silcas are a little expensive, but they’ll outlast most other pumps by many years. Good stuff.
This little strap has turned out to be one of the most versatile and downright indispensable accessories a utility bicyclist could ask for. We like it so much that we keep a few stashed here-and-there on various bicycles, just for those times when we need one to solve some unanticipated problem. Here are a few ways in which an Irish Strap might be used in a pinch:
- To stabilize an overstuffed pannier (see above)
- To lash a laptop or u-lock to a rack
- As a belt
- As a pant cuff strap
- To stabilize a rando or porteur bag
- As a secondary camera strap
- To lash a basket or crate to a rack
- To compress a sleeping bag
- As a toe strap
- As a sling (yikes!)
- As a leash for a lost dog encountered on a ride
- As a tent stabilizer
- To hang a lantern
- Etc., etc., etc….
I have a drawer full of velcro straps that rarely get used because they have a limited range of adjustment and they’re difficult to draw tight. I also have a bunch of double loop straps with plastic hardware that are pretty much useless. In contrast, the Irish Strap has a clasp made of metal that absolutely does not slip; it’s plenty long* but adjustable all the way down to just a couple of inches; it’s wide enough, but not too wide, so it’s strong, yet it fits many of the loops and handles on bike bags, tents, and such; and finally, it’s made in Ireland and it looks terrific, which should count for something.
John’s Irish Strap at Rivendell →
Disclaimer: Rivendell is a sponsor of this website.
*The Irish Strap is available in either 19″ or 39″ lengths. The 39 incher is far more versatile and you can always wrap the excess strap back on itself if the length isn’t needed for a particular task.
“Birdcycle” by Robert Lee (Methane Studios)
In celebration of National Bike Month, Poster Cabaret recently published their 2010 Bicycle Poster Print Set. 16 prints by 15 artists — all hand-made screen prints and way cool. We love these prints!
Poster Cabaret →
The Velocity Dyad is a tough, no frills, 700c commuting/touring/tandem rim available in 32, 36, 40, and 48 holes in either black or silver finish, with or without machined sidewalls. At 24mm, it’s slightly wider than your typical touring rim (some people even use them on 29′er mountain bikes). With its boxy cross-section, the Velocity Synergy looks more traditional, but the Dyad’s V-shaped cross-section makes the rim stronger and eliminates the need for eyelets. The 36-hole version laced to any decent hub makes a completely bomb-proof commuting wheel. Get the version with machined sidewalls for bump-free braking. Great stuff.
Bead seat diameter: 622
ERD = 596
Velocity Dyad →