Category Archives: reviews

A Review of TRP Spyre Disc Brakes

Edit Dec 7 2013: TRP “has identified a potential safety issue in the lab with the Spyre and Spyre SLC mechanical disc brakes and, as a responsible company, has issued a “stop sell”  notice to our OEM customers and distributors until we have a solution in place. We are working hard on the issue and anticipate a solution very shortly. More information will be forthcoming as soon as possible.”

I’ve removed my Spyres from the English for now. Back to BB7 hell.

This summer has been tough. Lots of work and travel, and not enough time on the bike. I like to put in a minimum of 15 hours a week on the bike, but I’ve been in more of the 10 to 12 hour zone, and a lot of that hasn’t been quality time—just quick dashes around the neighborhood. Good for exercise, but not a lot of fun.

A bright spot, though, was the delivery of my English 650B bike in June. Since June 20th, I’ve put 1375 miles on the bike, and it has revolutionized my back-road riding experience. It handles precisely like a road bike, it is much more comfortable on the rough stuff and no slower on the flats. An unexpected bonus has been being able to descend more quickly. Instead of panic braking and hopping over obstacles—and slowing down because that shadow on the road might be hiding a pothole, I just sail over everything.

Have doubts? Just try a 650B bike, if you can. The only thing that might be difficult is that most are built as vintage reenactment machines, so if you’re used to a modern road bike, it’s a different experience. (I want to note that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with vintage reenactment bikes—I have a few myself and love them. But I realize they’re not for everyone, or even the majority of riders).

Anyway…this wasn’t supposed to be about my English. Instead, I’d like to tell you about my experience with TRP Spyre brakes. Keep in mind that this is an honest, unbiased review–I’m not paid for posts, nor do I reprocess press releases like so many other bike blogs do.


I’ve always been of the opinion that disc brakes confer no benefits on a road bike. As many have argued before, the rim of a wheel represents the largest possible rotor, and thus offers great braking performance. I support that position: there is no rational need for disc brakes on a road bike. At least not mechanical disc brakes.

However: If you’re riding a nontraditional road bike—say something with fat tires, like my 650B, or even a cross bike with 32s or 35s, disc brakes are a handy solution. The long-reach brakes that are available now are heavy and not very high quality. Thus, disc brakes represent a reasonable option.

My previous experience with disc brakes was with mechanical Avid BB7s on my winter cross bike, a Lynskey Procross. Awful. Truly awful. They went out of adjustment every other ride, they shuddered and shook, and squealed like crazy when they got even a little bit wet. I guess if you’re a professional mechanic they would be okay, but I don’t have the time or skills to adjust my brakes every few days. Like many other mechanical tasks on a bicycle, I can adjust the brakes to perfection, it just takes me forever. I’d rather be riding my bike, y’know?

Enter the TRP Spyres. After some initial frustration getting them set up right—I like my brakes relatively “stiff”—they have performed admirably. They are simple to adjust, and they do not squeal even when wet. They offer at least equivalent braking performance to BB7s; in fact, on average they offer better braking performance because they don’t require continuous readjustment. Keep in mind that this is from the perspective of someone who flies down mountains almost daily, often in inclement weather (a blessing and a curse, because I also have to climb up those mountains!)

One word of advice: Toss the rotors they come with, or at least hold them in reserve for an emergency, and buy some Shimano Ice Tech rotors. The braking performance is improved considerably and there is little to no squeal. With the Ice Tech rotors, the braking performance is, dare I say it, even better than well-adjusted rim brakes. Again, I’m riding in extreme conditions, the stock rotors may very well be okay for regular use.

The best part? The only adjustments they require is an occasional tweak to make up for pad wear. A matter of a few seconds.

The “power curve” for these brakes is different from rim brakes. I’ve now had a chance to ride this bike, with the Spyres installed, in a paceline with people using conventional rim brakes. I’m happy to say that the modulation is good enough for the occasional feather touch when soft-pedaling or sitting up won’t do. Don’t run out and ride in a fast paceline the day you install the brakes, though.

So…have TRP Spyres made me change my mind about disc brakes on a road bike? No, not really. If you’re buying a new conventional road bike, you don’t need them and, even though the Spyres are low maintenance and perform well, they are still more trouble than a rim brake for not a lot of additional benefit.

If you’re buying a cross bike or any other type of bike that may not fit regular road brakes without going to long-reach calipers, they are an acceptable alternative. If you insist on ordering a bike with mechanical disc brakes, insist on Spyres. OEMs would be crazy to specify BB7s instead of Spyres–they are that much better!

I’ve purchased a set of the HY/RD hybrid hydraulic brakes for my winter bike to replace the god-awful BB7s. I’ll report on those later in the year.



Should I?

You’re probably wondering where I am. I’m not neglecting the blog because I’m tired of it; instead, I’ve been traveling. First California, then Anguilla for the wedding, and now I’m back in California and waiting for my 7 pm meeting. I’m only out for a few days this time, although I’m not getting back until 3 am on Sunday morning.

From last Friday to yesterday, however, I managed to get in almost 150 miles of riding on the new English 650B. I took a few glamor shots of the bike. At least I thought they’d be glamor shots, but I took them with my iPhone and they ended up a little blurry. Here’s one photo, I’ll post the good ones when I return.


I got in a few rides with significant gravel segments. Nothing more than 40 miles, but it was a lot of fun on 650B. I’m taking it easy on my knee right now.




Speaking of my knee, it still hurts a little. I’m on my way to a second formal bike fitting on Wednesday to see if there’s anything I can do about it. There’s nothing that will change about my reach, which has been optimized through a fitting and long experience, but I’m hoping we can do a little work on optimizing my saddle height and, most importantly, cleat position. I clearly have a leg length discrepancy, because when I ride with a Brooks, only one side of the saddle collapses. The knee issues have only cropped up over the last month because of dramatic overuse–the week that my knee really started to fall apart I had ridden 300 miles with almost 30,000 feet of climbing. That’s a lot when you come from the flatlands of NYC.

I know you want to hear about the English. I can’t write a comparative review because I was off the bike for a week due to the knee injury, and then an additional 10 days because of the wedding. So a direct back-to-back comparison with the 700C English is impossible. I will say this, however: I am definitely much faster on descents on the 650B. My usual route into town has about 650 feet of descending on rough, potholed backroads and gravel. I’ve done it dozens of times, and it always takes me 21-23 minutes. I rode into town twice now with the 650B, and the trip took me 18 minutes the first time, and 19 minutes the second time.

This is entirely to be expected. Because the road is really rough, on the 700C bike with 25 mm tires, there’s lots of jumping, dodging, and panic braking. On the 650B, I just roll right over obstacles that would terminate my Clavicula fork or cause a pinch flat. The good part? The handling on this bike is not different from my 700C bike. Other than providing a lot of extra cushion, it really does not feel or act different, even when pushed relatively hard.

Going uphill isn’t faster (or slower, for that matter). But it is more pleasant because of the dramatically lower gearing on the 650B. I’m going to figure out a way to gear down the 700C bike, because grinding up 15% and even 20%+ grades in 34/25, while feasible, is certainly partly responsible for blowing out my knee.

The paint. Holy shit sparkles! It’s amazing. On one of my rides I stopped to eat, and I parked it by the window and stared at the sparkles instead of reading the paper as I had intended. It’s a lovely bike, at least if you’re not a traditionalist who thinks anything with a less than level top tube is ugly. My only regret is not going with something really bright. Oh well…next bike, if there ever is one, will be fluorescent pink with gold sparkles and a My Little Pony sticker on the headtube. Liberace on wheels.

A note about the Spyre brakes. I originally had weight weenies rotors on the bike. After only a few trips over the mountains, they were pulsing horribly. I replaced them with Shimano Ice Tech rotors, which seem more suitable for the type of riding I do.

What about the Spyres themselves? I regret to report that they have poor modulation at best. I thought it was a matter of getting used to them, but really they kind of suck. I’m going to try a few different models of brakes, starting with the HY/RD hydraulics, then I’ll try Shimano, and if all else fails, go back to BB7s. At least the latter work well, even though I hate them because they require a lot of messing around to keep them from squealing.

Regarding the title of this post: I’ve been seriously contemplating a 4-person team RAAM either next year or the following. If my knee is okay, I’ve decided it’s a go. We’ve got two team members so far (including me).

New and improved routes coming fast and furious starting at the end of next week…and, of course, don’t forget you can Win a Garmin! Now, off to do some stretching. I’m making a concerted effort to improve my flexibility.


A Chariot to Cycling Nirvana

In a past post, I detailed how to get from Poughkeepsie over the Shawngunk Ridge to my immediate area by bike. But what if you want to get right to the good stuff? There are a few options. You could drive up from New York City or New Jersey, or you could take the train to Poughkeepsie and then rent a car (tough to do on weekends, especially since the car rental place isn’t open on Sundays for returns), or you could get a car service to pick you up and drop you off somewhere more pleasant.

Those of you who know me know that I travel a lot. In order to do that, I have a 2-hour car trip to and from Newark airport. We only have one car, so I use a car service (kindly paid for by my clients, thank you). I tried one car service and it was a disaster. Then I found Chariot Airport Transportation/Northeast Transport Services, and they’ve been completely reliable for the 15 trips to and from the airport and the 5 or so trips to and from various meetings in NYC and New Jersey that I’ve made since we moved here in September. Plus, their drivers are great—nothing at all like the gentlemen from Carmel or Delancy!

On my last trip, one of the co-owners, Ryan, drove me to the airport. We got to talking, and I found out that 1) they have SUVs that can accommodate up to two bikes and 2) they have a combination of two vehicles that can accommodate up to ten riders and ten bikes. So, an option would be to take the train to Poughkeepsie, and then have them pick you up and drive you to the start point of your ride. You could either return to Poughkeepsie, or have them pick you up.

I’m not a big fan of driving to ride, but I can totally see where, if you’re coming from the city, you might want to start right at the foothills of the Catskills (for example, Slide Mountain might best be accomplished from a starting point in Shokan or Phoenicia). I recommend Chariot highly if this is what you want to do.

And before you ask, I didn’t get a free ride from them in return for this–I don’t need it since I don’t pay for the trips anyway! It’s just a pleasure to give a plug for a locally owned business that I know is highly reliable, reasonably priced, and a pleasure to deal with.

Their phone number is 845-876-3000, and their website is here.



I live a fairly simple life: books, bikes, and work. The balance varies based on weather and client needs, and of course I like to spend time with my girlfriend as well. But overall, everything balances well (with the exception of this week: if I work until 9 pm tonight, I will officially have worked more than 100 hours this week!)

The one area where I might have an issue? New bikes. What can I say, it’s less expensive and a whole lot healthier than a lot of things people do with their fun money. It’s not like I’m dissatisfied in any way with my current bikes (well, except for one)…I just like ’em. And all seven bikes get ridden, last year ranging from no more than 50 miles on the vintage Teledyne Titan with fork of death to >3000 miles each on the English and Herse.

So…I have two coming this year. The first is being built as we speak, and hopefully will be arriving in early May. It’s a–wait for it: sub-15-lb 650b bike being built by Rob English. Enve rims, Calfee barstem, SRAM Red, Clavicula crank, and (hopefully) Spyre disc brakes. Of course, I’ll be using the Hetre Extra Leger. This one is going to be bright & sparkly. Grey paint with rainbow sparkle, and ENGLISH in Olde English font. And let’s not forget the infinitely tasteful top cap on the Extralite headset.

I need one bike that’s a little crazy.

Now, the second: Peter Weigle unexpectedly told me I was next on his list. I hadn’t planned on any more bikes for a few years, but how can I turn down the master? The best part: The bike he is building for me is going to be going to two shows, one in the US and one in Rome. It will be one of Peter’s usual spectacularly beautiful creations…

…but we’ll be using semi-modern 9-speed Record on it. I love French style, but I’m not going without my modern conveniences. This bike will be, perhaps surprisingly, a 700C bike. It just didn’t make sense to have another 650B randonneur when I have the Herse. I’ll be using the 32 mm Extra Legers.

I’m hoping to talk Peter into shaving a set of Extra Leger Hetres for the English, even though the bike he is building for me is going to be a 700C. I feel like my life will not be complete without having a chance to ride a pair! Yes, I have simple needs.

I will need to sell a few bikes soon. As much as I want to be a bicycle horder, the bikes that weren’t built specifically for me have to go. I have a beautiful 58 cm Boxer Randonneur that needs to go (yes, the one that was reviewed in Bicycle Quarterly), as well as a sweet 80s Moser. I could also be talked into selling my 58-cm green Toei for the right price (it’s a lovely bike, but IS NOT what I ordered…long story).

Let me know if you have any interest.


Mack Superlight Hubs

For my Lynskey.

They’re going to be built using Chinese carbon rims. They appear red here, but they are the brightest pink imaginable. The front hub weighs 83 grams; the rear 199 grams. Not bad for disc hubs!

They can be ordered from Mack Hubs, which is based on Poland. Of course, I haven’t built them into wheels yet, so I can’t comment on quality or durability.



A Review of Kettle Cycles SFL SiCCC Rotors: First Rides

I installed Kettle Cycle’s SFL SiCCC carbon-fiber rotors on my cross bike yesterday, or actually I should say my bike shop installed them because I don’t have a torque wrench. I was among the first to get them because I supported their Kickstarter.


As I was leaving the bike shop, I tried to brake and found that they had little or no braking power. I rode to the gas station next door and followed the bedding-in procedure in their parking lot, which is basically just accelerating to jogging speed and braking to a stop 10-15 times. After that they seemed to brake as well as the stock steel rotors I had on previously.


I didn’t buy these to be a weight weenie, even though they are very substantially lighter than the rotors I had on there before. I bought them because I hoped that they would solve the screeching brake problem I was having with the stock steel rotors, particularly when they got wet. It was raining heavily on the way home from the shop, and I’m happy to say that there wasn’t even a trace of screeching. Instead, there is sort of a quiet sanding noise that you can only hear if you’re really listening to it. It does make me question what is happening to my brake pads, though. The braking was fine even on 12% to 15% descents.


I don’t know how long they will last, of course, but after two days of riding and about 50 miles, I’m pleased. Let me repeat this, though, in case it wasn’t clear: you must follow the bedding in procedure or you will die. It’s simple: accelerate to maybe 10 mph, then slow down. Repeat 10-15 times somewhere where you won’t crash into something. You’ll notice the braking power become considerably better from the beginning to the end of this process. Once you’re done, you get about 80% of the braking power you’ll get with a steel rotor. After another 10 or 20 normal brakes and you won’t be able to tell the difference. I don’t know if that is because the rotors are approaching the braking power of steel rotors or if I just adapted. But the end result is the same.

Addendum: I am using Swiss Stop pads, and I installed a fresh set when switching rotors.


750 Miles on Grand Bois Extra Leger

This winter has been rough. Snow, more snow, 27,000 miles on planes, and the isolation of living in the mountains. I thought I wouldn’t mind, since I come from the country, but the contrast to downtown New York City is pretty stark. It’s worth it, though, for the glorious spring, summer, and fall. Now I understand why people buy summer homes!

One thing that did improve my winter was the arrival of several pairs of Grand Bois Extra Leger tires in 32 mm and 23 mm. Because of the snow and travel, I’ve only put about 700 miles on the 32s and less than 100 on the 23s since they arrived in late December.

Tire cropped

These are the best tires I’ve ever had a chance to ride, period. Handle one and you’ll see a clear difference in construction–the sidewalls of these tires are so pliant they actually wrinkle.The ride is spectacular–I’m riding very rough roads and a lot of gravel, and the Extra Legers ride fast and smooth through everything. Given the type of abuse I subject tires to, I was worried that they would flat faster than a pair of Parigi-Roubaix on the north end of NYC’s West Side bike path the day after July 4, but as it turns out they’ve been flat free, even after a missed turn earlier this week resulted in a 2-mile ride over fist-sized sharp gravel.

Some of my friends are going to be mad at me for saying this, but the 23 mm version makes tubulars irrelevant, and the 32 mm version is superior to any other wide clincher available in 700C.

Now, let’s see how durable they are…next review in 1000 miles. It might take a while, because it’s starting to get nice out, which means switching back to the English on FMBs.

And one last note: Give me 25s, damnit.


Best Cycling Purchase 2012: Assos Zegho Sunglasses

Ah, back from Prague. I was only home for 6 days in February. The rest of the time I was traveling: Rome, then Arizona, then Prague. The future looks bright, though–I don’t have any scheduled travel until mid-April, which means that I can get back to some serious riding. I am tragically out of shape; as I mentioned previously it takes weeks or months of work to get to the bleeding edge of fitness, but only a few weeks to lose peak form. I’ve planned a 90-mile ride with Doug H this weekend, hopefully he will take it easy on me! That said, this should be the last of the blog filler for a while, and I’ll have plenty of new routes and rides to report.

I have an agenda for this review.

I know I look like Bono when I’m wearing these, but they are superior to any other cycling-specific eyewear I’ve ever tried. I went through 3 rounds of buy-and-returns trying to find the perfect pair this time, and finally just gave in and bought these to try.


I purchased them at retail, and I have no connection to Assos or to any other cycling company. I would also note that I am no Assos fan boy. The new S5 chamois is just awful, and the fit of their jerseys is terrible, despite the fact that—at just under 6 feet and 145 lbs—I have a prototypical cyclist’s body.

That said, there are two things I love from Assos: Any shorts or tights with the old orange S2 pad, and the padless, hideously expensive Fugu bib tights. In fact, I like the S2 shorts so much that I’ve been snapping them up on E-Bay when they appear, even half shorts. Where I am going to wear yellow half shorts, I don’t know, but given the number of pairs I have to go through before I get to the yellow ones, it will be 2025 before I find out, and by then I’ll be well into the IDGAF stage of my life anyway.

It is not often that a product comes along that so clearly improves the riding experience. I honestly don’t care what people think about Assos: these designed these sunglasses from the ground up for cycling, and it shows: they are fundamentally better for this purpose than any other sunglasses, period.

1. They fit beautifully and do not cause the ear pain I often experience with glasses that hook behind the ears.

2. The lenses have zero distortion, regardless of viewing angle. All other sunglasses I have tried–even expensive ones–create at least some distortion, particularly at the margins.

3. The lenses fit perfectly over the eyes, providing a shield while allowing for airflow–not enough to dry your eyes, but enough to keep them from steaming up in cold weather.

4. The yellow tint makes everything clearer, including in the evening and at night. Almost makes me want to wear them all day, every day, except my girlfriend would leave me and I would have no friends.

5. The strap is useful as I ride rough roads that can dislodge my glasses (RIP Rudy Project!)

6. The lenses have a hydrophobic coating that sheds water rapidly. It may also just be that the shape encourages the water to run off the sides rapidly. I have worn them in multiple downpours now, as well as snow, and it is a significant change from the sunglasses I have tried.

7. The transition from tint to almost clear is abrupt. Not critical with the yellow tint, but I can see where it might be useful with the darker lenses when you are on a route with abrupt transitions from light to dark. A smart decision, and safer than photochromic lenses, which I think are inappropriate for cycling.

Now, I’ll admit I’m extra fussy about my cycling clothes, mostly because, in addition to 3 or 4 quick 20 to 30 miles rides each week, I usually take a 12-hour plus ride on the weekend. When you’re on a bike that long, everything matters. For example, on one 18-hour ride, rough seams and bad fit on a cheap pair of Pearl Izumi bibs conspired to create an open wound on the outside of my thigh. So little things, like ear pain from glasses hooking behind the ears, take on additional significance when you’re on a long ride.

These sunglasses are the best cycling purchase of 2012 for me, and probably the best cycling apparel purchase I’ve ever made. They are also available in a darker tint, and now in a clear version. The latter is unnecessary—the yellow is good enough even in the dark.

My agenda? I am trying to convince others to pony up for these sunglasses so I don’t look like an idiot. Here I am being handsome in my sunglasses on my winter ‘cross bike, what do you think?

1 on bike (Large)


My English: A Review

Since I’m not riding because of travel and now a rather unfortunately timed snowstorm, it’s time for some filler. I wrote this review about a year ago and posted it on Flickr. I thought I’d move it over here to start my series on my bikes past and present.

If you look through my Flickr, you’ll see that I’ve rarely written more than a few sentences about any of my bikes past or present, but the change in mindset that this bike has caused deserves more than a paragraph.

I’m going to preface this review with a quick synopsis of my evolution as a rider.

Setting aside all the time I rode before I got my driver’s license, I’ve been riding since moving to New York City in 1998. For the first 10 years, I was a commuter riding about 50-60 miles per week. Inspired by Rivendell, I got serious in 2008. My first bike was a 650B Saluki in full Rivendell style–high bars, racks, bags…Grant Petersen’s dream bike. I quickly found that it was sluggish and not a lot of fun to ride, plus I was not a fan of high handlebars, platform pedals, or heavy steel. After only about 6 months I purchased a Toei on E-Bay. Big improvement, and I finally discovered the joys of riding clipless. I very quickly went from riding at a rate of about 2400 miles/year to almost 8000.

The Toei wasn’t the right size, so I ordered an Herse, which was a revelation in terms of fit and performance. Not to mention that it’s a gorgeous bike. During this time I experimented with other bikes that were quickly sold.

Except for the first few months, I’ve kept close track of my miles since 2008, and I’m up to just under 34,000. Most of my miles and time on the bike is spent on rides of 50 miles or more, and when I’m not traveling I prefer rides that are much longer than that.

So…I’m not the most experienced cyclist, nor am I the fastest cyclist, but I put in a lot of reasonably fast miles, usually in hilly terrain and with as much gravel and back roads as I can find.

Why am I telling you all this? This bike, which was built by Rob English, is the product of that experience. Previously I had thought the ideal distance bike was a low-trail steel randonneur with racks, a handlebar bag, and fenders.

1 After only 500 miles, the English turned my world upside down.

This bike was built to be the ultimate long-distance bike: It’s not a racer, nor is it a tourer or a randonneur. it’s a hybrid of all of the above. I should explain the geometry: I crushed a disc in my neck about 4 years ago as a result of a cycling accident (big pothole, high speed, long story).  So I have a significant range of motion limitation that necessitates a bike with less drop than usual. My preferred kind of riding is long distance at a reasonably fast pace in all kinds of weather on backroads. It involves a lot of gravel, big hills, and really broken up pavement. For this reason, I asked Rob for a bike that would be comfortable for ultra-long distances, and relatively stable when I’m dead tired or when I’m shaking with hypothermia. It’s not regular race bike geometry. The bike as currently set up fits only up to 25 mm tires (26 mm actual), but with a change to an Enve fork I could fit up to 29 mm tires (the biggest that will fit under the eeBrakes).


The first time I rode the bike was after an 11-day business trip, during which I didn’t ride or exercise at all. I had rode hard all winter, and it was a short 20-mile ride. I felt like I was flying. My first thought wasn’t “this bike is amazing,” instead, I thought, “wow, fresh legs really make a difference! I should try to take more recovery time.”

After 500 miles, I finally realized that it was the bike, not fresh legs. I understood why some riders on 9W appeared to be passing me so effortlessly when I was riding a randonneur. Over both short and long distances, I am significantly and measurably faster on this bike and it is no less comfortable than either of my randonneurs. I descend faster and with more confidence, and I climb faster than I ever have before. I spend 90% of my time in the big ring, as opposed to a 50/50 ratio of big to small on the randonneurs.

Is it the light weight or something else? I don’t know, I’m just measuring results.


Coming to this conclusion wasn’t easy for me. I spent many years wrapped up in the randonneur mindset, and of course I spent a lot of money and time on randonneurs. The first hint that fat-tired road bikes weren’t for me was when I switched the Toei from 32 mm tires to 23 mm tires and noticed a measurable improvement in speed and handling.


I don’t regret buying the randonneurs, and I will continue to ride them–they have a place on rides that are primarily gravel or rough back roads, or when it’s pouring out and I need fenders. That’s probably 40% to 50% of my rides, anyway. But this is my go to bike when I want to ride long, fast, and hard. It is indeed possible to have a bike that is ultralight, reasonably durable, and comfortable for long distances.


What if I could only have one bike? I think it’s fair to say that it would still be the Herse. It does everything well, and there are certainly plenty of situations where a bike like the English wouldn’t be appropriate, such as really rough roads/trails, heavy rain, or any ride where I have to carry my own gear and food for hundreds of miles. Thankfully I don’t have to make that choice!

It’s 13.9 lbs as shown, 12.9 lbs with my tubular wheelset. Super Record shifters and derailleurs, Calfee integrated bar/stem, Extralite headset, Scapula SP fork, THM M3 crankset, and eeBrakes. Clincher wheels are Stan’s NoTubes with Alchemy hubs and C4 skewers; tubular wheelset is Dash hubs, AX Lightness SRT42, and (right now) Dugast 25 mm tubular tires. I now have a Enve 3.4 clincher wheelset. Keo Carbon Blade pedals.


Thanks Rob!


This Week in Consumption

I bought some (deep breath) Grand Bois Col de la Madelaine Extra Leger 23 mm tires. I won’t try them until the spring, but given that they are limited production, I wanted to get my hands on some before they were sold out.

Grand Bois Col de la Madelaine Extra Leger (Large)

Ah, Christmas. The time of year you get things you really want but wouldn’t buy otherwise.

I present to you the Assos Fugu Glove. As you can tell, I love them…they’re already covered in grime and snot. I’ll review them later but they were definitely worth Margot’s money.

Assos Fugu Gloves (Large)

Assos certainly gets an award for best font.

I’m busily working away on a new radiotherapy for castration-resistant prostate cancer (and driving Margot crazy with Einstuerzende Neubauten’s “Sabrina” on repeat) but I do have rides and routes to report. Later in the week I’ll write about my trip to Pitcairn Mountain Road, and another 50-miler including a climb up Meads Mountain Road, a famous Catskill climb that is almost–but not quite–as terrible as Platte Clove. I also still owe you a report and directions for the Brewster to New Hamburg summer classic.

All coming this week, and I hope you don’t stop reading just because I managed to use the words “snot” and “castration” in a single post.