What Does ECJ Want for Christmas?

By: Brandon 12/16/2014

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Yeah, everyone does one. Everywhere you look during the month of December someone is publishing their own little version of a Wish List. Why did I decide to do one? Probably to hint to my wife what I want, it's subtle, ya know?

Anyway, here are a few things I'd love to find on Christmas morning. A few small, a few huge, something in between, but all great stuff.

Skratch Labs - $2-$35

The up side of buying Skratch for someone else is that so far, I have yet to find a flavor I didn't like. Of course, I do have favorites, and at the top of that list is Matcha + Lemons Exercise Hydration Mix. A little bit of matcha (green tea) which provides some caffeine, as well as some lemons for flavor. It's kind of tough to beat and tastes good enough that I wouldn't hesitate to drink it off of the bike as well.

Beyond Matcha + Lemons, it seems everyone around my house likes the Apples + Cinnamon, which is meant to be consumed hot. I can't say I've gotten into drinking it while on the bike, but a small serving after a cold ride is certainly a nice treat. I plan on giving it another go once the temps really start to drop, if I can pry it away from my kids.

The best part? It's kinda cheap. Single serving packets are under $2, a box of single serving packets are $35 (spread the love!), and a resealable bag can be had for under $20, which is my recommendation.

Don't forget the glass jar for the person you give the resealable bag to. It's a touch of class and under $12.

Coffee - $10-20/lb

Another drink, this one meant for off the bike (I tried coffee on the bike once, don't do it). Everyone has a favorite, but sometimes trying something new is a welcome change. My personal favorites are Unicorn Blood from Dark Matter and Black Cat from Intelligentsia.

These two taste vastly different, so you'll need to decide if you want to risk it and surprise the person or search their cabinets in secret to find out what they drink. I'd be thrilled with either, and am always game to try a new blend.

Cycleops PowerBeam Pro Trainer - $999

Winter is rushing over the northern hemisphere, and predictions of severe cold are here again. Many of us will resort to riding inside, and a huge portion of the people I know riding indoors hate it. What do we do to make it more fun? Fun is tough, but manageable is easier with the Cycleops PowerBeam Pro.

I have a couple of seasons of riding Computrainers, so I have a bit of a basis to place my opinion on this one. First, it works really well. Wireless connectivity is HUGE, no clunky PC program here. There are two versions, ANT+ and Bluetooth, I have the Bluetooth version to works flawlessly with my iPhone.

When compared to my Stages powermeter, the PowerBeam does read about 20w higher no matter the output. After approximately a month of use, it's 20w all the time, so I feel confident it's at least consistent, though I don't know is more accurate.

Stages Powermeter - $700-900

Speaking of Stages, they are next up on my list. There was a time that all powermeters were exceedingly expensive, or outrageously inaccurate, or both. Competition has drove prices down and accuracy up, but Stages is truly pushing the envelope these days.

Comparison tests have shown Stages to be just as accurate as other meters over and over again and now with their production catching up with demand, wait times are now minimal.

Embrocation Subscription - $100

So I'm biased, sue me. ECJ is a labor of love and our print publication carries stories that shape the reason we ride. Want to justify the purchase this holiday season? Grab an ECJ combo subscription for yourself and a friend and everyone wins.

Other ideas to follow, hopefully these plant a few gifts under the tree for my buddies, though......

photos and words by Brandon Elliott

 

Bespoke Builds - Field Cycles Road

By: Brandon 12/12/2014

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click any photo to view gallery

Field Cycles may not be a household name in the US, but that clearly isn't for good reason. Founded by Harry Harrison, he told me a little story about where Field came from:

I set Field up about five years ago and build the frames and generally keep things moving then my pal from Art college John Burke paints the frames and Tom Smith does the design and photography. We work really well together each completely focusing at their own bit of the puzzle and pushing for the most beautiful bike we can possibly make!

I started to build frames because I love cycling, I love making things and it just sort of joined up in my shed one day - I knew I would never be able to justify spending a fortune on a bike so I thought I had better make one if I want one, I have always looked at beautiful things with a view to making them rather than owning them!

It's a simple thought I think many of us have had, but clearly some of us (Harry and his team) are better at actually completing the vision.

Without getting all wound up in stories, I can't help but to want to learn more about Field as we stay in touch with them and get photos of more of their builds. My hope is to one day that they get a larger presence in the US so we can see these things in person.

Thank you to Harry and the rest of the Field Cycles crew, and here's to hoping a lot more of their bikes make their way into our pages.

photos by Tom Smith and words by Brandon Elliott

 

Meet the Team - RVR Rider Casey

By: Brandon 12/08/2014

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Hopefully you've been following along with our little project to support some junior riders. Rogue Velo Racing is the first team we've featured, and we're selling these socks to help them out.

But, it's tough to get behind a team we don't really know, so I thought we should get to know them. Duh. First up, Casey. Apparently quite the stud already! At 13 years old he's hanging on the big group rides, bunny hopping barriers, and pulling top-10's racing against adults, we think he might have a nice little future of racing bikes ahead of him!

Now for a bit of a Q&A with Casey:

ECJ: How old are you?

13.

ECJ: How long have you been racing?

3 years.

ECJ: What's your favorite discipline and why?

Cyclocross, because I have the most fun.

ECJ: What are your cycling goals?

To be a pro cyclist.

ECJ: Who is your favorite racer?

Jens Voigt.

ECJ: Who got you into racing?

My dad.

ECJ: Do you participate in any other sports?

No

ECJ: How do you balance bikes, friends, school, and other activities?

I get my training in, then homework, and then hang out with my friends.

ECJ: What's your favorite ice cream flavor?

Cookies and Cream.

So there you have it, a young, ambitious, focused, Jens-Voight-loving, family-man. What's not to love about this team?

 

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