Archives: Review

No Harm In Gettin’ A Garmin

imageWell… the time… has come where I breakdown and nab a Garmin. I wanted something that had more purpose than just being attached to my bicycles so I did my homework and ended up with the Forerunner 235. Now I know what you’re thinking… “um… Matt, that’s “for runners”, but really the FR235 only resembles a running watch when in reality it is a one stop shop for ANY activity.

After using the FR235 for a couple weeks I’ve found the heart rate calorie counter to be very helpful. Instead of guessing what nutrition I need each day, I can look at Garmin Connect app and know exactly what I’m working with to reach my goals. Those fun facts mixed with sleep tracking help me understand why I feel like crap during a ride and what I need to change. PLUS… I don’t have to carry my phone with me anymore!!! My rides, and yes runs, will upload directly to Strava. BAM!!

With all that being said, there are tons of less expensive options out there that will do the exact same thing, but in my opinion, the FR235 looks the best and Garmin has incorporated a great social UI with the Garmin Connect app AND you have Garmin’s supreme GPS tracking that will give you some really great options to map/track rides.

So why not an Apple Watch instead? They’re about the same price:

Great question. Although Apple Watches look amazing and I’m sure function really well, they have the worst battery life of all the smart watches I researched and no GPS. For me, that just isn’t going to fly. The FR235 is light weight with heart rate optics, and about an 8 day battery life, depending on daily activity use and setting options.

OH and… you can either create your own HR Zone training plan or just download one from Garmin that is pre created based off of your activity level. HOW KILLER IS THAT!!

If you’re in the market for a watch that will do it all and assist you with your riding, running, lifting, swimming, hiking, sleeping, etc. goals… look no further; the Garmin Forerunner 235 has you covered.



Review // Elder’s Knifeworks


So, if you didn’t know, I’m kinda into knives. Not in a weird “lets go on QVC and buy 100 knives for $19.99 but act now and we’ll double it” kind of way; more so on a handcrafted utility cutters from small business artisans… level, if that makes sense.

My Dad introduced me to the love of knives when I was young. To find out about a pal in Atlanta, GA starting is own handmade knife company with skills passed down from his father, it was a no brainer to pick one up as a solid piece that will be used day in day out and passed down to my son one day.

Sincerely In love with your work Mike!!! Although this is a little bit bigger for a daily carry, I wanted something larger to take on my 30 day trek across Romania in the coming month. I can see where I’ll be emailing you soon for something a little smaller. Until then, I’ll do my best not to gloat on how bad ass this knife is.

Go check out more on Elder’s Knifeworks IG page. So many beautiful knives for your purchasing pleasure!


Ritchey Too Good

imageNo. Brainer!

There are a ton of options out there for upgrading your rides. Ritchey is easily a go to for maximum style/function at reasonable cost. The fact that Ritchey has been doing this “bicycle thing” for 40 years is way too impressive. I know when I buy one of their low end or high end products I receive the same level of detail; and for me, Ritchey’s COMP series line is PERFECT! Simple, clean, functional and it won’t break the bank.

Go to Ritchey and check out all of their goodies. Then go to your local shop and order what you need.

Support local / Buy local/ Love errybody


Review // Crankbrothers M5

It’s simple. It’s inexpensive. It gets the job done.

“The ultimate trailside companion” per Crankbrothers, and I agree.

I’ve had a bunch of different tools from super elaborate down to the M5. Honestly… most of the other junk that comes on the larger more elaborate tools will never get used by the average consumer, in my opinion. I’ve been riding for as long as I can remember and when I’ve needed to pull out a tool, it’s typically because my grips came loose, I hit a tree and need to realign my brake leaver/handlebars, or readjust my saddle/seatpost.

With that being said, for the long hauler touring type… never leave home without something that can break down/repair your entire bicycle… you may need it 100 miles from nowhere. But, for the local trail or road ride, the M5 is perfect. I refer to it as the pocket knife of multi-tools.

Go check out more at Crankbrothers. They have a magenta / black color option that’s pretty sick.

Review // Roadrunner Bags “Lil Guy” Mini Pack

So… it’s tough to shoot a pack when you don’t have someone readily available to wear and display. But… as this pack’s name is the “Lil Guy” I thought, “ISAAC, COME WEAR THIS FOR A MINUTE”, and here we are today.

Absolutely in love with this mini pack. It’s very helpful on the trail and keeps me from either having to use a tool roll or just extra compartment space for my camera, food, beverage, etc.

This particular Lil Guy mini pack is made out of X-Pac which is waterproof and tough as nails. If I opted to bring valuables that I would prefer not to get wet and muddy (i.e. camera, film, wallet) the Lil Guy has me covered.

The Lil Guy is extremely comfortable to wear and barely noticeable when riding. There are a couple different waist compression straps that keep it in place AND with the ‘Mollee’ style webbing on the front side, it’s perfect for attaching lights or other misc. items to.

Brad is always taking simple ideas and making them great. Love his products. They have served me well time and time again.

Go to Roadrunner Bags and check out the Lil Guy Mini Pack. If you’re in need of such a device, look no further… you just found the best options.


22874709812_abb8821e3b_o_1024x1024YES!! I love that Topo has expanded to a full on Women’s line!!

Creating a brand is tough enough as it is. Most of us underground starters (Editors Note: Topo has been around for many moons, but started from something small.) do what will generate enough funds to keep the lights on while capturing the creative vision that started the entire endeavor to begin with. Women’s specific cut is typically on the back burner; not because women’s cut isn’t important, but because it’s not financially available to do it all. SO, to find out that TOPO has taken it to this level brings me joy. I personally have been IN LOVE with their new Chaco collab. as of late.

I hope you love this as much as I do. These are a few of the items that stood out to me.

Go to Topo Designs and check out more on this greatness.     22469816117_d8b1513db5_o_1024x102420561925912_48342f5580_o_1024x102420427824414_98ac3ecc77_o_1024x1024



Oh man… I still have a pair of Chaco’s from 15 years ago. I got out of the Chaco game a while ago but as soon as I saw they collaborated with Topo… it was a no brainer.

Alright, so when you’re traveling to a ride, race, or general shenanigan exploration sessions… what’s the first thing you want to do when you get done? Get those damn shoes off and slip into something comfy. Well, Topo knows this; Chaco is well aware; so they high-fived and said “LETS DO THIS” (editors note: paraphrasing) and here we are today.

As a Native of Denver, Colorado, I’ll never abandon my sandal wearing roots… EVER. Although I may leave on an extended sabbatical, my piggies will always crave the feeling of open air, dirt between my toes, and refreshing water from a cool creek after a hike through nature.

Honestly, in love with the bright colors and design of the Topo x Chaco ZX’s; well that along with supporting Topo Designs and long lost pals, Chaco. These will be used for more than expected. As of right now they will serve me well pre/post rides and hiking to local watering holes. Come to think of it… these will be the perfect companion on the upcoming Swift Campout overnight June 25-26. PUMPED!!!

Thanks for making great things Topo x Chaco!! I’m looking forward to enjoying these for many years to come.

If you’re into this collaboration, go to Topo Designs and check the Chaco Men’s ZX/1’s and Women’s ZX/2’s as well as apparel and backpack goodness!!


Georgia Ride Recap with Jake Tong

imageSo… lets start with some simple facts contrasting Portland, OR to Loganville, GA… the southeast is humid, southerners want to kill you, and there are a lot of rolling hills. K, now that that’s out of the way I want to express just how cool it was to meet up with Jake in my neck of the woods. Normally it’s me traveling out to high-five internet friendships turned to real life homies. Jake’s visit to the southeast was refreshing for me and eye opening for him on just how different the southeast can be from the Pacific North West.

Fellow southern cyclists know all too well that summer heat hasn’t really even begun yet. Yesterdays ride was in the high 70’s / low 80’s with a cool breeze; well, I thought it was a cool breeze. One mans cool breeze can be another mans “hot breath” winds. “It feels like a person with hot breath is breathing on me.” Jake said after I casually state how good the breeze felt.

Neither Jake or I knew the area of Loganville, GA so we did our best eyeballing what appeared to be safe roads; we were unsuccessful. Definitely one of the more treacherous rides I’ve done in a while. Fortunately we didn’t have any close calls. Actually everyone that passed us gave us more than enough room, they just passed us blazing fast and revving their engines. Primarily large truck owners attempting to blow as much exhaust smoke in our face as possible. The craziest thing I’ve seen in my years of riding was a car slowly pass us by, put their car into neutral, and revved their little engine as much as they could ALL while behind a cop car traveling the same speed. The cop did nothing. I shook my head and was that much more thankful that I was raised right.

I wish Jake and I had more time to ride, high-five over coffee, and take photos around beautiful areas the southeast has to offer; but our time was limited and we made the best of it. Also… I couldn’t be more pumped on Jake’s new Wolf’s Mouth kits. If you’re interested in picking one of those up, do so this week as it’s the last week for the pre-order.

Go to The Wolf’s Mouth Cycling for more fun info and all around good cycling imagery capturing by Jake with a look into the Portland, OR race scene and all around good times.

It was great riding with you Jake!