Monday, December 27, 2010

first, the 'and more'... cole and i hope everyone had a great holiday, and hope some of you are continuing to do so!!!
damn. that's pretty much it for the 'and more'. i thought i had more to say, but i don't. trying to make an effort to be more positive, and sometimes that means drinking a tall glass of shut the hell up!

so i was just checking my email, and got this from our friends at Fuji Bicycles and Action on!

(PHILADELPHIA) December 27, 2010 - A tale of ultimate survival and human kindness, Damian Lopez Alphonso's story is one that needs to be told. He's not only captured the hearts of those he's met and raced with; he's inspired an outpouring of support from the cycling community at large.

At age 13, while trying to retrieve a kite caught on an electrical wire in his native Cuba, Damian Lopez Alphonso was electrocuted with 13,000 volts of electricity - the voltage equivalence of what it takes to move a New York City subway car.

He spent 52 days on life support following the accident and has had dozens of surgeries - some life-saving - since his teens. Doctors are still baffled by the fact that he's alive.

But Damian, now 34, hasn't allowed these seeming setbacks to slow him down - literally.

Although he lost both of his hands and uses no adaptive devices, Damian is an accomplished cyclist, who finished first at the Coppa 8 de Marzo Time Trial, second at the Tour of Havana de Este, and third at the Criterium de Havana against some of the best athletes in his region.

He learned to ride his bike by carefully resting the remains of his arms on upturned handlebars.

Tracy Lea, a fellow cyclist and a Team Fuji ambassador, first witnessed this balancing act at the 2002 Pan American Championships in Cuba.

Mesmerized by how he could compete without prosthetics and not in the Paralympics realm but against some of the best able-bodied cyclists in the world, Lea decided she wanted to help him in any way she could.

After much lobbying with the Cuban government, Lea secured a visa for Damian, and he arrived in the U.S. on December 6.

A gift from an old friend was waiting for him upon his arrival.

Former Fuji-sponsored athlete, Ivan Dominguez, who knew Damian from the Cuban racing scene, called Fuji as soon as he heard about Damian coming to the U.S, asking if the brand would be willing to donate a bike.

Fuji's response was simple: "Of course."

So when Damian arrived in New York, a brand new Fuji Roubaix ACR was waiting for him, and Lea took him to Echelon Cycles, a Fuji dealer on 8th Avenue in Manhattan, for a full fitting.

With his new bike in tow as well as some new cycling gear provided by Louis Garneau and Hincapie Clothing per Dominguez, Damian set off for the NYU Langone Center.

After undergoing a week of extensive physical and psychological exams, the NYU doctors determined that Damian is eligible for prosthetics and facial reconstructive surgery.

Elated by the news but knowing that neither she nor Damian's family could pay for the surgery and prosthetics, Lea reached out to the cycling community.

Several private individuals (Lea's fellow cyclists) have since offered to cover Damian's travel expenses; the National Foundation for Facial Reconstruction has offered to pay for the surgery; and the Achilles Foundation, a non-profit organization that enables disabled and able-bodied athletes to train together, has offered to pay for his prosthetics.

"Everyone has stepped up," said Lea. "He's achieved incredible acceptance in the cycling community.''

"When people have a chance to meet him, it's a game changer. People who see him ride his keeps our lives in perspective," she added.

Damian's surgery is planned for late January 2011, and he will be fitted for prosthetics following the surgery.

When Damian returns to the U.S., Fuji will be there every step of the way to provide the latest updates on Damian's progress. Stay tuned.

For the full story on Damian, please visit:

Help Damian

With aspirations of qualifying for the 2012 Cycling Paralympics and racing in the New York City Marathon (the Achilles Foundation has already extended a personal invitation), Damian's dreams are big.

It's because of Lea and the cycling community's generous contributions that Damian is where he is today. But it's going to take a lot more to see Damian's dreams realized. If you'd like to help Damian, please contact Tracy Lea at or visit the Achilles Foundation's donation page at or the National Foundation for Facial Reconstruction's homepage at

Thursday, December 16, 2010

...and the winners are

OLC's holiday winners are: Andy Jones won the water bottle/holder, and Betty Moore won the grips- both from Organic Bikes, and Jordan Gerke won the pair of Natoma pants from Chrome!!!

Thanks to everyone who thought of us this holiday season!

Brandon & Cole

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

thanks to everyone for making our christmas sale a success and entering to win the natoma pants from our friends at chrome & some goods from organic bikes too...not to mention the free stickers, and the copies of wrenched! your orders should arrive before christmas no problem. we'll announce the winners VERY soon!

if you're not big on the holidays, or if time isn't an issue, keep ordering! operators are standing by right now to take your order!

with ten days to go, christmas is right around the corner! we've got some reviews coming up before then for all of you last minute shoppers...

soooo.....FREE STICKERS!!! who doesn't love free stickers?
alright- so i've been trying to get reader stories about cycling, and we've gotten a few, but not as many as I thought... I should have known from my years of making zines & running contributor driven sites that if you don't give someone any direction, they get stuck.

like i said when i first tried this, i got the idea from an old graffiti newsletter, and they had weekly "chase" stories... so, to keep it in the biking spirit, let's do WEEKLY CRASH STORIES!!! send yours in along with a picture if possible and tell me where to send the stickers!

LET'S DO THIS!!! we've ALL crashed, and who doesn't love a good crash story, right?


and it will be called THE CRASH REPORT.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Back with a couple reviews as promised!

Chrome Cobra Mens Merino Wool Hoodie

Clothing made for cyclists by cyclists is always rad, and worth it in the long run because they think of the little things- like being lower in the back which is a feature of both, but both have rad features that the other doesn't. For instance, the Cobra has a semi-secret stash pocket down low on the right arm that the Pasha doesn't. But the Pasha gets mad style points for the offset zipper. I wish the Cobra was made like this but with the zipper on the other side. I love that feature! Read more...

Chrome Pasha Womens Merino Wool Hoodie

I dig being able to put the hood up, zip up to the top, and have my mouth covered. It’s a nice, ninja-like characteristic. Thumb loops on the sleeves help keep those drafts out and your arms warm. Thumb loops are always a big plus. You can also feel safe wearing your low rise pants, because the back of the hoodie hangs down slightly lower than the front. It’s barely noticeable, but you’ll know, because you’ll feel fewer drafts and avoid accidental peep shows. This back panel also owns a discrete, mesh, zipper pocket for stashing your stuff to hop on your bike. Read more...

Don't forget about our sale- ends the 14th!- including your chance to win a pair of Chrome's Natoma Pants, get a copy of Chrome's zine, Wrenched, or some Free stickers!!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

All t's only $15 + FREE stuff* & WIN a pair of Natoma Pants from our friends at CHROME!!! 1 week only!

*Official Rules & FREE stuff:
1. CONTEST -pants & all- IS OPEN WORLDWIDE!!!!
1. ALL orders will get free stickers at Cole's discretion I have no idea how many or what ones you'll get. Feel free to make a request, but don't be sad if
2. The next 10 shirt orders will receive a copy of Chrome's new zine- WRENCHED...totally killer!!!
3. All orders will be entered to win a pair of Bamboo Grips and a water bottle from Organic Bikes!
4. And to top things off, all shirt orders will be entered to win a pair of Chrome's Natoma riding pants (pictured above- grey, size medium, new w/tags, non-negotiable; unless you wanna pass them on to the next winner in line for some silly reason!).
6. sale ends 12.14.2010 @ midnight SHARP!
...or early the next a.m.
7. the 14th is also our cut-off date to make sure you get your order by Christmas. Outside of the US? Order sooner if you want it by then!!!


Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and a wonderful Festivus for the rest of us!!!

Thanks to all the people reading, our customers new and old, the companies that keep our review section running, and bicycle lovers everywhere!

Cheers to you-
Cole & Brandon

Monday, November 29, 2010

and the winner is...


Yup. Ain't that a bitch! Nobody got to take home the Chrome Natoma pants that day.

All I wanted was to make someone happy...I love mine and thought someone else might want a pair too...heavily discounted (100% off, FREE, nada, zip, zero, zilch) at that.

But for one reason or another, we didn't get a single order that day. I realize everyone has their bad days, but we usually get at least a few sticker orders...



But not THIS Black Friday.

I'm hoping it's because our readers are also hip to Adbusters and looked past the shiny lights and falling prices of that day and participated in Buy Nothing Day instead!

Maybe we should've went for today, which is now officially Cyber Monday, so I hear.

Anyway, our second annual 12 days of Christmas sale is coming very soon and you'll have another crack at the pants then... good luck!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Here's all the info from the newsletter:

Hey Everyone!

We're keeping this Thanksgiving real and giving a little something- ok- a big something back this year! We wanna turn your Black Friday Grey!!!

learn more about them:

The story:
A little while back Chrome sent us a pair of their Natoma (MSRP $120!) riding pants (pictured above) to review. We guessed on the size (medium), and they were just a tad too small for the belly I grew... the belly that just won't seem to go away since I turned 35 last June!

We were trying to save these until our 12 Days of Christmas this year (which is also coming up soon!), but we can't wait to give these away!!!

So how do you win these already?
Simple- get yourself an OLC shirt- any OLC shirt- and get that shirt this Friday (Nov. 26th), and you're automatically entered to win...but Friday ONLY!
It doesn't matter what time it is Friday, as long as you order Friday, by 11:59PM EST.

That's it!

Pick up a shirt from us ANYTIME THIS FRIDAY (EST) and you just might win a pair of Chrome Natoma pants!

Fine Print: You can live ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD and win these pants! The only catch- if you live outside the US, you have to pick up the shipping tab. If you live in the US, they're on us. The winner will be announced this Saturday at Noon (EST) via our blog and twitter (follow us!!!). If the winner lives outside the US and does not want to pay for shipping, another winner will be picked!

One last thing... The winner will have 24 hours to email either of us and claim that prize!!!

Happy Holidays!!!

Brandon & Cole

P.S. We're still giving away free stickers for your riding stories!!! We really want this to be a regular thing, so keep those stories coming! -If you've sent in a story and haven't received your stickers yet, email Brandon!

P.P.S. If you want a Bates Crate for Christmas, I'd order it soon. Talk to Cole if you have any questions there. If you want shirts by Christmas, I think our cut-off date is Dec. 15th to guarantee US delivery.

One Less Car |
Bates Crates |
Cole: twitter: @1morebike
Brandon: twitter: @greezus

__________________________________________________________________________end newsletter.

*this wouldn't be late notice if you followed either of us on twitter or subscribed to the newsletter that we try to send out semi-weekly... just sayin'.

So, from all of us at OLC, we hope you had a good Thanksgiving, and good luck!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

We're branching out!

Last week in my old stopping grounds of Michigan, was one of the nation's largest mountain bike races- The Iceman Cometh. A 27 mile (the longest in the US!) point to point race through the woods. With 4000 entrances, snow on the ground, and a pro class race, how could i not?

A car was rented, camera gear packed, and made plans to pick up Brandon on the way and report back what we saw.

So here are the best pics of the day. It was great event and I'm pretty sure there will be a Team One Less Car next year, because both Brandon and I want to race it!
iceman 4
ICEMAN COMETH, travers city mi
ICEMAN COMETH, travers city mi
ICEMAN COMETH, travers city mi
ICEMAN COMETH, travers city miiceman 5
iceman 2
ICEMAN COMETH, travers city mi
ICEMAN COMETH, travers city mi

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bicycles & Cameras

Those of you who follow our blog regularly might know that I really like photography. Thanks to a very generous girlfriend, I have acquired a nice dslr. With my track record of destroying cameras while biking, I was looking for a way to carry a full size dslr without a mass amount of vibrations to the camera. Read more... -Review by Cole.

We've been out to a few events taking pics, so we'll be posting those soon! We've got more to review and more on the way, so stay tuned!


Monday, November 08, 2010

The Iceman Cometh!!!

Brandon and I made the trip to Traverse City, Michigan, to cover the Iceman Cometh 2010.

The Iceman is the longest point to point race in the US, being just under 30 miles and has always been held the first weekend in November. Started by Gary Fisher and a few others 20 years ago, Gary also came to celebrate his 60th birthday!

We took a lot of great pics and will post them later this week, we'll have more reviews this week, and then some- check back and see what we got!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Reviews this week feature a rad cap and helmet liner from Pace, a sleeping bag and pad from Big Agnes, and a correction to the review for SE BIKEs 29" Big Ripper...

Monday, October 25, 2010

I love Boneshaker Almanac. I've sung it's praises in our reviews section. Now, the first four of their five issues are now sold out, and they released a very limited edition box set containing all five issues and then some!

Word on the streets is they're going fast!!!

Check it out here:

Cole & Shauna took some great new photos that are up on the Bates Crates site. Way rad. Everyone should have one of these crates on their wish list! Check it out:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Back today with a couple reviews- I've got one on Raleigh's Sojourn, their touring rig, and Cole did one on Gerber's Octane, one of their new multi-tools. Now that we're back from tour we're both stoked and have to catch up on some reviews!

Is there something in particular that you've been looking at or wondering about? Let us know and we'll see what we can do!

Friday I'll be coming at you with some art products- some can help whip that whip into shape and others will clue you in on some things you might see while riding around your town!

See ya then- Brandon

Thursday, October 07, 2010

This week's reviews stem from our tour this summer.

I reviewed Topeak's Bikamper EXP tent

and Cole did an update on Gerber's LMF 2 Knife.

check them out here:

we're still looking for a reader story for tomorrow, so if you've got a story about you and your iron/aluminum/carbon fiber horse, we want to hear about it- and you'll get FREE STICKERS!!!

Monday, October 04, 2010

I know you guys love free stuff. We want to give you some stickers! All you have to do is send us a short story about bicycling- we prefer true stories, with a picture if possible to be published every Friday!
Send them to me- brandon at 1lesscar dotcom and be sure to include your address! Reviews on Wednesday!!!

The asterisked numbers (the little star looking things) in the story below are my two cents & are at the bottom of the story. Without further ado, here's Cole with a short recap of our summer tour:It’s now been two weeks since my childhood friend and I took off on our annual bike tour. *1 I guess it's annual- it’s the second year in a row. As soon as we got back, I started to type up a story about it but never finished. I'm happy I didn’t finish it then because it gave me time to think about what we had done and how it affected me. *2
The route was nothing huge. *3 It wasn't across the country or through India but simply from Chicago to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, where we picked up the oldest car ferry *4 running on Lake Michigan *5 and then rode from the ferry dock in Ludington, MI, to my traveling partner Brandon's house in Frankfort, Michigan. *6
In theory, the whole trip was five days long. We left on a Sunday and arrived on Thursday. During that time we rode in oppressive heat *7, on limestone trails *8 for waaay to many miles resulting in us looking like we had been wading in cocaine. *9 I pulled my spd out of my shoe. *10 There was a pretty good storm one night- We found out Brandon’s tent was about as sweet as it looked (and that’s not that sweet). *11 Raccoons stole our pita bread, our dried pineapple, and a banana.
Then we were two hours late on the ferry, because they decided that it would be a good idea to carry 3 large semis with parts *12 of those new giant windmills that are going to save the world. We climbed the .5 mile, 11% grade hill. *13 We fixed some crappy ass fenders with a few glue-less patches. *14 We got fresh fruit from roadside stands. *15 We rode so long we literally fell down. *16 We found out that a natural bug spray that cost $6.00 may actually attract mosquitos. We thought better of staying with the guy who said “the hell with that, you'll be sleeping with me” *17 and then continued on about his dossiers and the 45,000 in his safe- he never did say 45,000 what. *18
We learned self registration did not apply to us. *19 We learned that Kodak batteries that cost $.99 don't last long in a gps. *20 We used Google Maps bike route and think it's pretty rad. Brandon lost his hat…more than once. *21 We tested a crap load of gear for reviews. *22 But most of all, we got to hang out together and just leave our problems and lives behind. *23 It was such a good time to just be with a close friend and have no real place to be, to wake up and know all you have to do is ride 'til you are tired. *24
The night we finished, I was tired, sore, and ready to be off my bike, but the next morning when my alarm went off at 6:30 am I was bummed I had to turn it off. *25


brandon's notes:
*1 i wrote the title for this post before reading cole's story. crazy...that's what's rad about an old friend, and I couldn't ask for a better one.
*2 thinking time is good. my dad died a week before & i needed to get away. perfect!
*3 that's what she said! sorry, i love that stupid joke. i swear we rode farther this year though. and my route started earlier- taking an automobile from Frankfort to Holland, MI, then Amtrak from there to Chicago, then bike, boat, bike...
*4 i also love trains. what we know today as car ferries used to haul rail cars, not automobiles. the ferry is also a steam ship running on coal.
*5 not a big fan of getting in water, but i did go in that lake twice this year. splashing around with my niece made it totally worth it. i'ved lived by it my entire life, but can't swim. sucks.
*6 we took the long, HILLY, scenic route. beautiful.
*7 we managed to do this during the hottest days of the year, 2 years in a row. nice!
*8 everything was covered in limestone. i don't know how much i ate just from my water bottle.
*9 or asbestos, but right on! no serious partying took place. sorry.
*10 we need some shoes!!!
*11 it looked sweet on the interwebs, but not so much. review coming soon. needless to say i want a different tent. i'll name names *cough*topeak*cough* later...
*12 three sections of pipe, four trailers per piece with the piece in between. money hungry ferry owners should run freight separate, but it did all work out in the end.
*13 NOT cool or any fun at all. period. accomplished, yet why do i feel like i'm making mountains outta mole hills?
*14 thank you Topeak...for real! no thanks SKS...
*15 love your peaches... your plumbs. all that. good, good fruit.
*16 i did fall down at the top of a hill. i fell a few other times too. don't know why, but i crash a lot. i blame it on bad gravity.
*17 which is odd, because sketchy or not I'm usually up for adventure. looking back it felt a little House of 1000 Corpsesish... but yeah buddy!!!
*18 i always attract the town crazy/goon/challenged in any way people for some reason
*19 free is key...
*20 ...but sometimes you get what you pay for
*21 and somehow it was always on me. go figure.
*22 lots of reviews on the way!!!
*23 long overdue, and i missed my old lady & my dog (always do). ...but yeah- I couldn't ask for a better friend.
*24 i couldn't have said it better myself.
*25 some tours feel like they just shouldn't end yet. so far it's been two in a row, and I can't wait to hit the road again!!!

I'd also like to thank the handful of people who ordered shirts & stickers while we were on the road so we could eat, and the following companies for making this possible for me: Raleigh, Arkel, Old Man Mountain, Topeak, Kelty, Profile Design, Axiom, Bern, Pace, and SOG. Most of all, I'd like to thank Cole for taking the risk to start OLC in the first place and making things like this trip happen. It wouldn't have happened without him.


Friday, October 01, 2010

This weeks reader submitted story is from our home state Michigan!

Send in your own cycling story (with a picture if possible) along with your name and address and we'll send you some free stickers!!!

To break in my first real bicycle, a 2009 Giant Bowery single speed, I signed up for a midnight to dawn ride in my hometown of Minneapolis with a high school friend, Ashley. About 200 riders participated and they varied greatly in both age and skill level. The ride itself was casual, with two distance options. The longer route was about 38 miles. The shorter route was ten miles shorter and cut out a significant part of St. Paul, including the ice cream place Ashley and I planned on stopping at.

Aside from some problems with my front brake, the ride was going very well. We had ridden through several suburbs of Minneapolis and were heading towards the point where the riders split into two groups, those who would take the long route, and those who chose the shortcut. Ashley and I had to stop to adjust my brakes and became disoriented. Also, it was about 2 am, and my sense of direction was more impaired than usual.

After several miles of hills, Ashley and I realized that we were lost. Neither of us recognized our surroundings, so we pulled over to consult our maps, which were woefully lacking in detail. Eventually, we realized that we had accidentally taken the shortcut. Now at this point, we had two options. The logical choice would be to just ride straight to the creamery to get our ice cream and continue on the long route after that. But our 2 am logic compelled us to ride back along the entire shortcut and take the long route, adding about 20 miles or so to our ride.

When we finally arrived at the end of the ride, we were exhausted. We had almost fallen asleep when we stopped for a break on a bridge, gotten lost again on a University campus, and I had nearly crashed my bike trying to do the dance from the “Bad Romance” music video. I was too tired to eat breakfast and had to beat morning rush hour traffic on my ride home. Those last seven miles were the hardest I’ve ever ridden. They seemed to pass in flashes, with time slowing down every time I reached the slightest incline.

Despite the difficulties, that night confirmed my belief that the best adventures can only be had on a bike. I’m doing the same ride next summer. Minus the unnecessary extra twenty miles.

Thanks for such a great blog!

Anne P.

Thank you Anne! Be on the lookout for your stickers!

We'll be back Monday with the story of this years summer tour!!!

Til Then have a rad weekend-


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

So I was going to try and do a video review, but that wasn't working out so well and I burned through a pair of batteries in minutes. Daylight was running out. I had to take pictures. They didn't turn out so well, so here's the stock photo... I'm gonna retake pictures and post them (I'll let ya know) soon! So without further a do...

SE BIKES 29" BIG RIPPERI was talking to The Wildman over at SE about 29'ers- with all the hub-bub buzzing about them, I knew I had to check one out. I was asking about an older MTB model & he suggested I take the Big Ripper a spin.

Now, if you know anything about BMX history, SE Racing's P.K. Ripper should be a household name. The Big Ripper is a P.K. BLOWN UP! Full on 29's, and it's a straight up BMX bike. The flagship of their retro department and with good reason. Read more...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Google Bike Maps

Price: Free


There was a lot of talk about Google Bike Maps when they first became an option. Some good, some not so good. Leaving Chicago to go north has always be a pain in my ass. The roads up there in the suburbs don’t make sense, then there are bike trails that start, stop, go through parking lots, etc., and it’s just a damn mess. So I decided I would let Google maps do the work for me.

I put in our destination in Manitowoc, WI, and press enter. The route came back and looked good. I made a few changes for the start because I didn’t like one of the roads, but other than that, our route was all Google.

Now comes the fun part... Ok- so I had the route on Google, but I need to get it to my gps. I knew you could use Bikely to export .gpx format, so the challenge was getting Google maps to Bikley. So a few hours of frustration and I find this link:

I pretty much did what the link said, and sure enough- it worked. I uploaded the routes to our gps units and we were good to go. The route was awesome! I thought sure it added more than a few miles to our trip, but we are talking very, very, little traffic. I also felt we got see more of the cities- like we knew the secrets or something. T

There was, however, the 30 miles of limestone... that kinda sucked (yet tasty! -ed.), but that whole 'what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger' thing might apply here. The one other thing we noticed was that Google maps doesn’t take in consideration how safe the neighborhood it routes you through is. So let's say you are riding to Detroit- you might want to check that route out.

Overall, I totally dug it and it made for a great first half of our tour.


Monday, September 20, 2010

I usually try not to post things that other blogs have posted/wrote about, but every once and a while there's a special exception.

Enter Chris Brigham, the man behind the blog called Knife & Saw, and creator of the bike shelf! The bike shelf is a very unique, beautiful piece of functional furniture that displays the beautiful piece of artwork that is your bicycle, and then some.

Sure, there's bike trees and the like that sit in the corner and hold a few bikes vertically to save precious space in your place, but since Cole started making Bates Crates, we've been even more on the lookout for hand made cycling items, and this one is a gem!

For a lot more pics and info, check out Chris' blog.


Friday, September 17, 2010

*Chickasaw Trace Classic Race Report


Friday when I decided to do this ride, I didn't really consider the weather. I figured "meh. whatever." Well the weather decided "we'll show him", and so, in Columbia, TN, it rained quite literally all day. I was driving in it, and even that wasn't particularly pleasant.
I had intended to pre-ride the course on Saturday (hopefully with Big Mac), but the rain said "nuh-uh" and so I didn't. Sunday I rolled in to Chickasaw Trace Park and parked in a big grassy field about 3 ft from a nice little bit of singletrack (no, not part of the race course). I rode up and got signed up (Beginner Men, age 30-39). I couldn't see when I signed up who all I'd be getting to utterly dominate, but there were lots of people milling about, so I figured there would be a few. :)

Big Mac warned me about a downhill that led into the field where we parked. He said it was nasty and slick, and everyone should probably walk it. Based on the condition of his knee, I surmised that this was experience speaking, and I should consider that as well. Big Mac also told me "good tire choice." I told him I made the decision late the night before. No wait those are my only tires for that bike. He also said I should run low pressure in my tires, which I decided to do as well. By that I mean I totally forgot to put air in anything (including the frame shock). Even so, it was probably my most comfortable ride on the FS bike yet (I've only ridden it maybe 300 miles so far).

I warmed up for probably 15-20 minutes on a paved road (which I later found out was in fact part of the course). Not much of a warmup, just enough to get the blood moving and ride some 100yd wheelies to psych out the competition. About 10 minutes before the race, we grouped up, and I discovered that there were a total of 5 in my category. Yay! Just *finishing* means I get no less than fifth! Two groups go before us, two minutes apart, and then it's our turn.

A horn. We ride. The start was long and a little downhill in grass, with a gravel turn, and then back up the hill on a paved road. That was almost the first mile (0.89mi). Two guys are ahead of me, one guy right behind, a fifth that I can't hear. He's what I'll call a "bad habit" (that's what we dropped him like). We stay like this until the 40 foot drop (in about 20 ft horizontal) down the wreck-y entrance to trail. The 2 leaders get probably 100yds on me in the first singletrack through a field, and just before we enter the woods, 4th says "excuse me kind sir, but I wondered would you mind terribly if I ease past you and ride in third position for a while until we cross the finish line 8 miles away." I dissented, and dropped the hammer \thusly. This had the fortunate side effect of pulling the first 4 back together. 1-2 are moving along, and I'm keeping pace with them for the most part. Then they sort of disappear. A mile later, I see them. And that was pretty much the last time until the podium.

So we ride in the woods for a while, and the whole time I was "mudroplaning" (kinda like hydroplaning in your car, but in mud). Made the trail probably twice as hard, at least.

Comparing race times to last years, even the lower placed people were above 10mph, so I'm thinking on a dry day, this trail cooks. I had one unexpected dismount of my bicycle, which I initially thought (and might be quoted in newspapers as saying) was one of my most graceful falls ever, but some bruises that have only recently made themselves known indicate either someone hit me in the left thigh with a softball bat, or I did in fact fall on *something* then. I tried to roll up onto a 6" rock ledge while going slightly uphill, and my bike decided we should stop for a second, and pitched me over the front side. Fortunately it didn't hurt, and I got up and rode off. I guess it was adrenalin that kept it from hurting (EPO doesn't do that as far as I know). Past that, some of the steep hills were so slick I had to dismount, and some of the slick hills were so steep I had to dismount. I was off my bike a total of 4 times through the ride, as far as I can recall (except once when I picked up a hammer so I could drop it again later in the race). There was once where I went off a 1' drop, and when I came back up over my seat, the front of my shorts got hooked around the back of the seat... I wish I had been watching that guy, cause I'm sure it was hilarious. But since I WAS that guy, I had to figure out a way to right that wrong. I very unnaturally (while riding) dropped back down over my rear wheel and unhooked. Turned out to be uneventful.

The first 4 miles or so was just back and forth along a river. After mile 4 or 5, however, instead of traversing horizontally (my preferred method of traversing), we began going straight up hills, crossing the gully at the top, then going straight down the other side of the gully. One can actually see this very clearly in the elevation profile, and the vertical play actually started at about mile 3.5. So that was pretty brutal...

The trail is a great trail. They maintain in sections, so some person gets maybe a one mile section, another gets the next. Could be that they build it that way too, because some people's sections were definitely much more difficult than others (Trail of Tears, specifically). Total was about 8.5miles (and maybe my GPS cut out for 100 yards or so). I took 1h 1m 50s to do it, so yeah, you guessed it, that's about 8.5mph (ok official result says 8.733mph). Given the slick-as-snot conditions and a completely new trail to me, I'll take it.

With the amount of forested area they have in this park, the amount of trail there is pretty amazing. You can see it on the google map I'll attach below. Just about all the tree'd area is covered in trail (much like Whirlpool, but without all the cut-throughs). The group used race timers in the form of ankle bracelets from Kramer Race Services to time the event. Reminded me of my days under possible for our upcoming events. They also wrote my age on my massive left calf (I think they had to use the Sharpie Magnum) so that all the young people I passed could eat my "30"year old dust. I also got a smiley face in my zero which was cool. It'd have been nice as well have gotten the girl to draw something that indicated to all the people I blew by what my name was with "you just got served" under it, so they'd remember next time. :) By the way, where it wasn't muddy, it was either a water puddle, or rocky. And plenty of rocks were plenty tall enough to catch a pedal (and were freshly scarred to prove it). Sporttracks tells me that the ride was 50% flat, with the rest being divided equally between uphill and downhill. It's tough to dispute hard numbers.

Once the top 2 in my cat dropped me, and pretty quickly some wrecks by Mr. Number 4 gave me some space, I was alone. I rode about 6 miles fully alone in the woods, only seeing other people on trails I was about to suffer on, or trails I'd just suffered on. Thanks to MH I have quite a few pictures of my second race in my life, and some great ones, too. (link below)
By the end of the ride, the mud had started tacking up a little. It stopped being so slippery, and just caught tires and kicked up into your nostrils.

I was third in my category. Fourth hadn't raced in 13 years, and 5th, hadn't missed a meal in 13 years. Brad (Fourth) informed me that according to the results, the winner in our category, had he done that same turn in a second lap, would have placed third in the Sport category. We needed the sandbags on the course, not in the race... Either way, it was a great time, and very nice to have a shower so close. Temps were perfect for a race, and thankfully the rain held off (I think for everyone's race).

I've realized that while accurate, this race report has become less funny and more long. Probably best to keep me from racing just to prevent these long reports...

-Jason M.
Oxford, MS

Thanks Jason! Some stickers will be on their way shortly!

Want some free stickers? Send in a bicycle related story along with your name & address with pic if possible! It doesn't matter what type of cycling you do, as long as it's about cycling.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I gotta quit saying Wednesday, but that's what I shoot for. A day later is pretty close. If you're a regular reader you've probably noticed that until time machines are invented, I'm probably gonna be a day later than I say. I'm far too easily distracted, yet can do this, watch teevee, and have a headphone in one ear.

But without further ado, we're back with a couple reviews. I didn’t realize how long it's been since we had an actual review up. I don't like that, so I've been working on it and have a bunch of stuff to tell you about in the weeks to come!

Arkel Dolphin 48 Rear Panniers

Arkel has a wide variety of panniers and other bags, and they sent us a pair of their Dolphin 48 Panniers to review. I put them to the test on our tour this summer, living out of them for about a week.

Knowing we were going to be gone awhile, I wanted something water-proof. I didn't want to mess around with rain covers- they'd just be two more things to keep track of, and I already lose my hat among other things a couple times a day as it is & it'll be somewhere I've already looked 5 times... so yeah, waterproof was the way to go for me. Read more...

Old Man Mountain Cold Springs Front Rack
Seriously- what a killer rack!

The Cold Springs can be mounted to almost any bike (road/mtb/etc.) of bike with any type of brake- even a 29'er. On or off road- It doesn't matter. It's also suspension compatible...

See ya tomorrow with our first reader's story!

Monday, September 13, 2010

So we're back from our tour. We had to cut it shorter than what we had originally planned, but still had a really rad adventure! We managed to pedal just under 300 miles in a few days! Pictured below are our bikes loaded up (roughly 50 lbs. each!) and resting in the fine city of Milwaukee.
Cole rode his Surly Long Haul Trucker that he's had for a few years now, and I rode the Raleigh Sojourn that they sent in for review. Both bikes performed great and luckily had no serious mechanical problems- not even a single flat!

We did have a couple problems though- the cleat on one of Cole's Shoes completely ripped out. Gone. And sorry SKS/Raleigh, but whatever model fenders came on this year's Sojourn are half crap- I say half because the rear fender is great. The front fender, however, isn't so great. It just didn't want to stay on. I'll report more in the review this week on that. We'll also report more on our tour later on this week!

Pictured below, besides what looks like a total mess in the background, looking bigger than Traitor's PBR Ringleader and sticking out in front is the world's largest bmx bike: SE's 29" Big Ripper (with retro pad set)!!! Very similar to the flagship P.K. Ripper, but with 29's!!! Big, big fun. More on that soon too!

This week is gonna be a good week over here! We've got a ton of reviews coming up, and we're gonna stay on top of things and have some up Wednesday...

Then Friday we're gonna start posting bike stories- i explained it all a post or three back- check it- but basically we're trading stickers for your stories! We've got a few so far (your stickers will be in the mail soon- promise!) and I'm excited to start those!

Cole JUST made it back to Chicago today after our trip & then he stayed to build more Bates Crates! I'm still at home in northern Michigan where our trip ended.

I'm about to go downstate for the day & can't remember if I took the sale down or not & don't have time to look. If shirts are still $15.00, get them at that price while you can, because they won't be that cheap for long!

Til then, ride fast & ride hard!


Saturday, August 21, 2010

up and running again!

The catalog is fixed, so you may order at will! We'll still be updating more, but everything is working right now. Cole took some great new photos of our shirts, and they look really great!

We're also going on tour next weekend, so all shirts are back on sale for only $15.99 each!!!
This time the sale will be over when the tour is, so act while it's happening!

Friday, August 20, 2010


technical difficulties:
we know a lot of people haven't been able to order certain items due to a glitch with our paypal buttons. i don't know how it happened other than something happened when we ended the sale a couple/few weeks back, so to make up for it- and because cole and i are going on a 5 day tour at the end of the month and need all the help we can get, all shirts will be back on sale- only $15.00!

the catalog should be working again very soon- with all new pictures even! i'll let you know when it is- should be sometime tonight. thanks a lot for your patience! we appreciate your business and support- it's people like you that keeps the air in our tires & our dreams alive. we hope you stop back soon!

want a couple stickers on us?
we'd love to hear a good cycling story and know you do too- everybody's got at least one- even if they don't ride!

like the first time i rode my blue schwinn stingray without training wheels in the lutheran church's parking lot across the street from our apartment where i grew up. about how i fell hard & skinned my knee up- it hurt like hell! blood was running down my leg...

but my grandma helped me wipe the blood from my knee, made it all better, and i got back up on that blue steel horse and kept on going. that was probably 31 years ago. i'd say i kept going and haven't looked back, but here i am, looking back.

so big props to my grandma for getting that stingray & teaching me how to ride- it's been a great ride ever since! the bikes have changed over the years, just as i have, growing with each one... and 31 years later here i am, and still riding as hard as i can, as often as i can... alone, with my better half, and my best friends when i see them in chicago...

so like i was saying before my lil' story, we'd love to hear- and post yours!

please send a related (or not) pic along with it (if possible), along with your name/address and we'll send you a couple stickers for your time!

it can be about ANYTHING bicycle related- first bike, favorite place to ride, what got you riding... those are just a few examples.

please try to make it at least a paragraph or two, and longer is fine- but one sentence won't cut it unless it's a damn good sentence- one that will make me wanna get up & dance because i got too much booty in my pants kind of sentence!

i used to get a graffiti newsletter/email once a week & it had a "chase/cat & mouse" story (if'n ya catch my drift...) or two at the end. it was great and i miss that newsletter, and i'm trying to do the same type of concept here except with bicycles, making our blog more of a community.

i don't care if you ride bmx, parks, street, fixed, geared touring, mtb, trike, recumbent, cyclocross, rollin' on 29's, or your sister's 10 speed! we wanna hear about it!

send your submissions to me:

thanks again!!!

we've been getting things in to review again- i'll post a pic & fill you in as soon as I can get the catalog fixed and updated- not to mention shirts are back on sale for $15.99, but only for a limited time! due to the following, i'm trying to stay busy and will be in top of things this time around!


p.s. have you checked your tires lately? not just pressure, but for wear too? might be a good idea...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

pathless pedaled video

being that im a fan of touring and photography i totally dig this video from

Monday, July 19, 2010

Bicycle Illinois

I'm sitting in Morton Grove, IL, at some public park. It's 8 in the a.m., and I've laid out a table full of trail mix, pretzels, water, Gatorade, fig newtons, and fruit. You're probably asking yourself what the hell is he doing? I'm on the support end of Bicycle Illinois.

It all started here in the Land of Lincoln a week ago. A staff of three- myself included, drive a truck full of food, supplies, luggage, and 17 bikes along with two suvs from Chicago to Cairo, Illinois. The trip is 600 miles starting at the Mississippi and ending on the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago, IL, with five over night stops on the tour. I've slept in closets, on gym floors, teacher's lounges, and even considered the parking lot outside- I sleep pretty much where I fall.

My job is simple: support all the riders the whole tour, doing whatever it takes to make the trip as smooth as possible. This is my second year and I was the baggage guy. I would wake up at 4:30 a.m., set up breakfast for the riders, and fill all the water coolers with ice and water, then load the support vehicles for the day.

At 6:00 a.m. the two other support vehicles head out. One scouts the route making sure there's no construction so we don't have to re-route the riders to avoid it. The second vehicle heads out to set up the first rest stop for the riders, then each rider hits the road at 6:30.

After the riders leave, I clean up breakfast, do a "dummy check" to make sure everyone has everything, then head out to pick up the baggage of the people who chose to stay in the comfort of a hotel instead of the local school or reccenter with the rest of us. After I load all the luggage, its off to the second rest stop where I will take over the route scouting.

I drive the course ahead of the riders looking for construction and praying there is none. After about 20 miles or so, I set up rest stop number three and wait for back up. Once all the riders go through the rest stop, one of the support guys comes up to relieve me, and I head into a town to drop off the hotel baggage and get our lodging set up for the night. A few hours later riders start coming in off the road.

The first few are usually the fast riders, and they head back out and do a few additional miles so they can get a century (100 miles) in. The rest of the pack trickles in over the next few hours as I set up water, cut up oranges, and start to restock the rest stop kits with food and whatever else was used during the day, so the next day we can do it all over again.

I hang out and talk to riders as they come in and see how the ride went. After a few hours we head to dinner. We see a few riders there, talk, eat, and laugh. Being vegetarian in southern Illinois is not the best- the restaurants do their best, but there's no tofu, that's for sure! After dinner it's back to the main lodging site to set up breakfast, and find a place to sleep for the night.

The previous year I worked this I always snuck out and had some alone time at this point, but this year I hung out with a few of the riders and staff and had fun. 9 o'clock would roll around and we would think about bed and try to get there by 10. At this point you're so tired, you just fall asleep despite the fact you're sleeping on a hard floor and there is always a light somewhere that's shinning in your eyes. 4:30 a.m.- the alarm goes off, and you do it all again for 6 more days.

This years ride was great! Last year when I got done I felt relieved, but this year there was a certain amount of sadness. It's hard to just be done and get back to regular life.

I watched 17 people ride 600 plus miles (except Lauren and Bruce who did 700+)! I watched them push themselves to there limits in intense heat. I laughed with a lot of them, listened to their complaints, and offered a word of encouragement here and there.

You really begin to bond as a group, and when it ends, there's just a certain void. About halfway through it wasn't about the money anymore- it was about helping these people reach their goal for me. Last time when it was done I never talked to any of the people or read their blogs, but after this year I made some friends who I hope to stay in touch with, and I've been reading the blogs of a few of the riders. Check these out! and

Well, I'm home now. The cars have all been returned and the polo shirts are in the wash. I want to say thanks to my fellow worker Bill, and the guy in charge, Rob (I can say it now- WE DID IT!). And a special thanks to Rob's truck. It's the little engine that could, that's for sure! I took a few pictures along the way- I wish I could have had more action shots, but I never had a chance to see everyone out on the road...

'Til next year

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

happy wednesday- hope everyone's week is going good! i'm finally finished with that roofing project. a few days later and my feet are still killing me. hurts to walk in the a.m.'s really bad, then it just hurts, but like R.E.M. said way back when, everybody hurts.

enough whining- but yeah, i would like some cheese...a sharp cheddar thinly sliced sounds great right now.

like the title says, we've got 2 reviews this week-

mission workshop: vandal: waistbelt

This is the biggest, most bad ass waist belt for a bag that I've ever seen.

If you don't know what the Vandal is, then all I gotta say is what the hell already!? Wake up!! Read more about it in my review here. My only complaint of the Vandal was that the waist strap wasn't included. When it came, I saw why. It's not a "traditional" waist strap- it's a full on waist belt! Read more...

Pace Sportswear: Classic Cotton Cap
Pace makes a a wide variety of cycling caps and they come in just about any flavor you like. I'd been wanting a brown hat, so I was pretty stoked when I came across this.

The Classic line all have a minimal stripe down the middle, and that's it. No logos or anything- just a great cap with a stripe. I like that a lot. Then again, I've always been a fan of stripes.

Basics: it's a 3-panel dome cap, and the bill- or visor (toe-may-toe, ta-mah-toe...) is a little longer on this model. It's really rad while still retaining full flipability. I think I just made that word up- at least according to the automatic spell checker- wait- it should technically be hyphenated, but I'm claiming it as a word! Go ahead and say it- flipability....feels good! Read more...

thanks for stopping by- see ya soon!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

today is the last day to get shirts for $15...I'm taking it down tonight (after i go for a ride!)- and if you want the sale price, add the item to your cart from the main products page!

come back tomorrow for a few reviews!

signing out- ride in progress...shortly!

see ya tomorrow-


Thursday, July 01, 2010

So Cole just returned from his work with Bicycle Illinois, and my birthday was last Friday...we've had guests over and have been re-roofing our other building 10 or so hours a day since then. The roof still isn't finished, but it's getting close!

Just to let everyone know what we've been up to, and what's been going on. Things should be back to normal here very soon!

Remember the Chrome X Krooked bag I was telling you about? It just dropped on their site today- VERY LIMITED!

Happy July!


Friday, June 25, 2010

That's right- Cole did a couple reviews this week- from PDW we got their Magic Flute, and from North St. Bags their Avenue B Convertible Bag.

It's my birthday today, & Cole took off early this a.m. to work for Bicycle Illinois!

Been a long week too- chemo trip & other crap...

My old lady is out in the truck waiting, so I'll tell ya more later!

Monday, June 21, 2010

My girlfriend is a photojournalist and recently bought herself a new camera, so she gave me her older dslr! I'm stoked and will start taking more pics for the blog. Last week was Bike to Work Week and Chicago has a rally for everyone on Friday. It starts early with a breakfast and goes all day. This year they had music, polo, and huge ass storm...


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Happy Thursday- hope it's been a rad week for everyone! I got my mac back with more things fixed than i was counting on, so that was pretty nice, but things should be back to normal a bit now.

We've extended the shirt sale!!! All shirts are only $15.00, but you have to order from the main page to get the discount!!! meaning, don't click the link to go to the shirt's own page, add to cart from the main products/new home page!!! if you don't do it right, tough luck.

Cole and I both have a review for ya this week- I got to review a really rad trailer from the folks at CycleTote, and Cole got a handlebar mount for his Blackberry from Arkon!

So without further a do...

Arkon Blackberry Handlebar Mount
Carrying my phone while on my bike has always been a perplexing thing for me. Sure, you can put it in your pocket, but it gets all sweaty, and if your keys happen to be in there, your phone gets all these scratches on the front of your phone, and then your pissed- at least I am. So I thought I would try and find a handlebar mount for my Blackberry.

Akron makes cell phone mounts for pretty much everything, so they had what I was looking for. The mount is pretty straight forward- rubber spacers and screws and it attached. The phone snaps in and is held in by tension.

CycleTote Touring Cargo Trailer

A few years back, Cole had a trailer -which was later stolen from the mean streets of Chicago- but I'll admit I envied that trailer- ideas were flying through my head of all the things that I could do with one, and all of the opportunities to ride my bike more and drive less. I could go get groceries, pick up cool stuff- ie: other people's trash, etc. With no welding skills nor the equipment to weld with, I didn't see a trailer in my future.

A few years later- or a little more accurately, a few weeks ago- enter CycleTote, trailer manufacturers extraordinaire. They were kind enough to send out their touring/cargo model to test out. CycleTote has a wide variety of trailers too- besides the touring/cargo model, they make trailers for adults and people with special needs, trailers for children, and even trailers for your pet! Read more...

Ride on...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

hey- my mac took a crap AGAIN, but i'm going to pick it up right after this post (2hr. round trip...). So that's the main reason...hopefully reviews will be up tonight, and if not, first thing tomorrow!

Thanks for yr patience...


p.s. really soon we're gonna be redoing part of the site and getting rid of other parts...a little condensing. kinda like campbell's soup- when i was 14 i worked at a celery farm and campbell's bought their celery. as it comes up the conveyor belt a couple dudes throw it in a big box while another dude stomps on it to try and get the box as full & heavy as possible. so 21 years ago, chances are i stomped on the celery in your campbell's soup. something to think about!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

So check it out- our sale is still going on...i got a lil lazy & we need to sell a few more shirts, so get 'em while they're CHEAP!

Also- Bates Crates got featured on EcoVelo again today- check it out here:

And Chrome gets Krooked- I'm talking about the new bag collab with Chrome & Krooked Skateboards with artwork by Gonz himself. So rad!!! More info... due out July 1!!

And more reviews coming this week!



Sunday, June 06, 2010

check it out- we made it on the list! act now & get you're shirts on for only 15 bucks! CHEAP!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

We're back with some kick ass reviews today! I know it's been a couple weeks, and I apologize.

Between dealing with my old lady's mom who is about to start chemo for breast cancer, my computer taking a big crap on me, and then unexpected visitors over the holiday weekend, life has been a little hectic to say the least, and days seem to be flying by lately. Normally, the clock ticks slowly and the years fly by, but the past couple weeks have been a blur- so blurry in fact, that I've had to resort to using reading glasses, and I've always had perfect vision!

But I know you don't wanna listen to me bitch (at least I don't think so...but if you do, say the word...), so let's get to these kick ass reviews I was talking about!

First up is Mission Workshop's Large Cargo Backpack, The Vandal!

If you haven't heard of Mission Workshop before now, you've been doing some serious sleeping. Located in the heart of SF's beautiful Mission district (my old band played a show in the back of the old Mission Records store a decade ago!), Mission Workshop was founded not too long ago by a couple of great guys who've been making bags for cyclists for over 15 years, leaving the comfort of a solid brand they help create (Chrome ring a bell?) to follow their dreams once more and go off on their own.

These guys are off to a great start with their weather-proof backpack that comes in 2 sizes: medium and large, The Rambler and The Vandal respectively. I like to carry a lot and many times need to as well. And being American and all, bigger is always better, right? Right. So The Vandal was the obvious choice from the get go. Read more...

Next up is the final review of Melon's Slice folding bike-

It’s been a long time between reviews of the Melon Slice-folding bike. I can explain this delay in one word: winter. Yup, I decided that filling a review bike full of salt a slush was just not a cool thing to do, so the bike sat in the comfort of my parent's garage for the winter 'till I had a chance to take it out for some more testing.

The plan was to bring it back here to Chicago to test out in the city, but repeated attempts to get it on the South Shore commuter train failed, so I tested it on few different visits to Michigan. Read more...

To finish this week off, Cole got a box of goodies from the folks at Organic Bikes and is reviewing their 11 piece Multi-tool.

Organic Bikes sent me a box of stuff to review- the 11 in 1 tool is the first thing I will review. First impression is that this is a nice looking tool. The bamboo sides give it that earthy feel & being that that's what Organic Bikes is all about…well, making organic products- this makes sense.

Now for technical part. The 11 in 1 tool has pretty much everything you will need to adjust or repair your bike on and off the road. It has all of your basic metric allen wrenches, a few screwdrivers, plus it has the allen wrench to tighten your cranks, and a chain tool. I feel that these are really important things. Read more...

That wraps it up for reviews this week! Don't forget, our t-shirt sale is still going on- $15.00 measly bucks for a sweet tee!!! You can't beat that! To get the sale price, you gotta order from the main catalog page. That simple!

Thanks for stopping by & we'll see you soon!