Home  >  Magazine  >  Issue 24 : Sep/Oct 2008  > Columns  >  The X Factor  >  Gear Guide


The X Factor

By Racer X

Gear Guide


Cycling is a simple, effective way to feel good about traveling around our planet, getting to work and simply having fun outside. Here are some recommendations to make your two-wheeled life more enjoyable and safe.

Cool Shades
Cycling Sunglasses

You might call them sunnies, coolers or shades, but they protect your vision from the elements. I nearly lost an eye cross country riding when I misjudged a low hanging branch and credit my sunglasses from doing more serious damage.
The latest offerings from Smith Optics set the standard in lightweight multi-sport sunglasses. Check out the aggressive full frame design of the Interlock Spoiler model for medium to large faces, and the fashionable Interlock Prophet design that is especially popular with those who appreciate a functional yet fashionable look on the trail.
Both models offer the latest “Interlock” technology, allowing you to change lenses on the fly with a simple twist. Each pair comes with your choice of gray or brown polarized lens installed as well as an all-light condition lens called the “ignitor” and a “night owl” clear lens for those late commutes home after dark.


Keep the horizon in view
SPORTRX Prescription Lenses

For cyclists who already wear glasses and are tired of their contacts drying out after 10K, see the online specialists at SPORTRX Prescription eyewear. Their informative Website features nine brands to suit your style. Overseas shipping is US $40 but worth the money if you ride often.


Pedro has the vision
Pedro’s Bike Maintenance Gear and Tool Kit

Whether you are a “fashion city rider” on a track bike or hucking large gaps with a dual suspension mountain bike, these words could help you get from point A to point B safely and in style.

With a mantra, “Enlightenment through total bicycle care,” Pedro’s is my first choice for lubricants and bike maintenance gear. Their eco approach has won over even Birkenstock-clad riders just trying to get to their local organic café.

Check out the “Mini Pit Kit 2.0” for bikes that rarely see mud or the “Super Pit Kit 2.0” developed for cycle cross racing. Both sets include brushes, degreasers and the finest chain lubricants all in a self-contained reusable bucket.

The “Pedro’s” Master Tool Kit,” with 64 fine crafted pieces, was recently featured in Wired magazine as the benchmark for bike tools and has other more expensive makers scrambling for an answer.


“…If the horse don’t pull you got to carry the load.”
BOB Bicycle trailer

As the Grateful Dead lyrics say, sometimes you’ve got haul it yourself.

The one-wheeled BOB trailers with their patented rear axle attachment have become the world standard for carrying gear long distances or just commuting across town. With a new mono shock model “Ibex” for off-road use and the original “Yak,” these trailers will keep the weight off your back and, when you get to camp, they unhook in less than a minute. You are free to ride without the usual weight of racks and pannier bags. I use mine to carry photo and camping gear when touring around Japan.


Put a Lid on it!
New Pro-Tec Helmet (for Adults and Kids)

Wearing a helmet is the best way to survive a serious crash or untimely meeting with a Tokyo taxi driver.

I know too many riders (ladies…I’m talking to you) who think they look like a mushroom or don’t want their hair messed up when wearing a helmet. Needless to say, being alive is much cooler than being rendered vegetable stock.

Pro-Tec helmets are tough and comfortable, and I wear my mine for winter backcountry descents as well. I'd recommend the Ace Dig model for city riders and the newest in high tech fit Cyphon for those with hard-to-fit noggins. The B-2 model comes in junior sizes and offers full protection for younger riders.