A Cozy Cap


We have an entire closet full of hats for riding, everything from old school cotton caps to high tech balaclavas, but it seems we always end up fighting over who gets dibs on the Pace merino wool cap. Casey at Spokepunchers sent us a sample a while back and now it’s everyone’s favorite. Soft, warm, reversible, machine washable, with just the right size ear flaps and visor. And because it’s made from wool, it wicks nicely and it doesn’t stink. Couldn’t ask for more from a winter cycling cap…


Stuff We Like: Gates Carbon Drive Systems

Recently I’ve been riding the new Raleigh Alley Way outfitted with a Gates Carbon Drive and Shimano Alfine internal gear hub. I’ve never experienced such a smooth, quiet drivetrain. It feels like an over-oiled fixed-gear drivetrain, but with 8 speeds and no grease stains; completely clean, smooth, crisp, and quiet. From all reports the bugs are pretty much worked out of this system and it’s ready for prime time. My experience so far bears this out. If you have an opportunity to ride a bike with this drivetrain, definitely give it a try; you’ll be amazed by the performance.

Following are a few benefits of the Carbon Drive System:

  • Durable (CDS technology has been used with motorcycles and dragsters for years)
  • Special sprockets shed all types of debris including mud and snow
  • 100% maintenance free and clean
  • Twice the life of a bike chain
  • Lighter than conventional chain drives

Gates Carbon Drive Systems

Stuff We Like: Pletscher Deluxe Top Plate

The Pletscher Deluxe Top Plate replaces the standard top plate that comes with the Pletscher Double kickstand (a top plate is used on bicycles that don’t have a kickstand plate welded between the chainstays). The Deluxe Top Plate includes the metal plate, two plastic sleeves to protect the chainstays and a longer mounting bolt. The metal plate is drilled to accept tabs protruding from the plastic sleeves. The tabs hold the sleeves in position while allowing them to rotate left and right.

Installation was a simple bolt-on affair. To provide a little extra grip and protect the stays on the bottom side, I wrapped the stays with a single layer of cloth bar tape prior to installing the kickstand. It’s also a good idea to put a little Loctite on the mounting bolt during installation.

It took me a bit of searching to find one, but the Deluxe Top Plate is available through Thor USA. I ordered the part through their website and it arrived just a few days later. It’s well worth the $8 plus shipping if you have a Pletscher Double. While you’re at it, I’d recommend ordering a pair of Double Shoes as well. They’re only a couple of dollars and they improve stability on slick surfaces.

Thor USA

PS – Scroll about half way down the above linked page to locate the plate and shoes.

Stuff We Like: Planet Bike Superflash

Not much to say here. The PB Superflash is widely acknowledged as the best little battery powered tail light on the market. Bright, light, reliable, and tough. We’ve been using them for a few years now with no issue. With one or two of these on the back of a bike I have no worries about being seen.

Planet Bike

Stuff We Like: MKS Sylvan Touring Pedals

MKS Sylvan Touring Pedals are essentially copies of the old Lyotard and Campagnolo touring pedals. They aren’t the grippiest pedals out there, they don’t offer the most support, they’re relatively heavy, and they don’t even have the best bearings among the various offerings from MKS, but all that said, they’re still my favorite pedals. Maybe it’s because I grew up with department store “Rat Trap” pedals that looked and felt like these, but the way they sit under my feet when I’m wearing sneakers or sandals just feels right. When I think of a generic, universal pedal, the MKS Sylvan Touring is what comes to mind; they’re the modern incarnation of a cycling icon.

Stuff We Like: Schwalbe Marathon Supreme Tires

The Marathon Supreme is Schwalbe’s top-of-the-line touring tire. It serves as an exceptional commuting tire as well. It’s extremely durable and flat-resistant, it’s relatively light and fast (37-622mm = 440 grams), it’s grippy in corners but rolls like crazy, it has a nice round profile, it has a supple feel and absorbs road shock better than many other “flat-proof” tires, and to top it off, it looks good. What’s not to like? Well, at $69.95 per tire it’s pricey! The fact is, you have to pay for all the tech that went into this tire, but if you can swallow the initial investment, you’ll love ‘em.


Stuff We Like: Silver Shifters

These are my favorite shifters. In my opinion they’re much nicer than Shimano bar-ends. They’re longer than the Shimano for better leverage, the ratchet is velvety smooth, and they have a subtle contour that lays nicely across the palm. Friction only. Nearly perfect.

Silver Shifters

© 2011 EcoVelo™