Not being in the saddle does not mean that I refrained from all bike-related activity, though. Now that I, finally, have wifi up and running at the new Bikeist Worldwide Headquarters, this Hallmark Holiday provided the perfect excuse for me to go online and treat myself to some new gear.
First up was this snazzy new helmet from Giro:
Can't wait for it to arrive! I have been riding with the same Giro road helmet since 2007. Manufacturers say you should trade out helmets every two or three years (of course), while some publications say you can go longer (although, there is no really good research out there on the shelf-life of helmets that haven't suffered impact). I'd say that, both scientifically and anecdotally, though, that seven years is probably kind of pushing it.
For all you "buy local" folks out there, please don't hate me for purchasing this through the interwebs. My local shop only sells Specialized helmets, and they said it was too much of a pain to special order the "Aspect."
As for the helmet, Giro touts it as being high performance along with its fashionably utlitarian look. Extremely lightweight with venting that is supposed to keep the helmet off the scalp itself. The visor (key for me) is removable and gives the helmet the look that makes it just as suitable for pulling up to a brewpub as it is for shielding your eyes on a long Saturday ride. As someone who uses my bikes equally for fitness, commuting, and errands, I love gear that performs well but doesn't look ridiculous when I'm riding casually or off the bike. More to come on this helmet when it arrives and I get to try it out.
Speaking of gear that fits just as well in a coffee shop as on a group ride, my next treat to myself was to order two of these:
Notice how it looks like a bike jersey, with many of the same features (plus a pocket that looks to actually be useful), without the whole stretchy spandexy thing? Leave it to LL Bean to provide something classic and useful that doesn't make you look like some sort of martian on two wheels. Please don't get me wrong, while I like to tease about spandex, I understand the benefits of skin-tight clothing for, actual, competitive cyclists. Given that at least 98.34% of the folks I encounter on the road are not that, though, I just like to demonstrate now and again that there are alternatives to looking like an overstuffed sausage when you go out riding. Again, had to go online to get this shirt, since bike-shops just don't sell this sort of useful gear.
Wow, my new Ridgerunner shirt is really going to look great with my new helmet! Especially as I slurp noodles during a post-ride recovery session at Underbelly! I think I'll probably take the helmet off, though, to eat the noodles . . .