Thursday, November 9, 2017

Moloko Handlebar Bag

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A few months back I picked up a set of the highly sought after Surly Moloko Handlebars for the Pugsley and then shortly after that I ordered the even more highly sought after Moloko Handlebar Bar or as Surly refers to it the Moloko Adjunct Personal Effects Receptacle.  The bags weren't available so I had to wait on it for about a month and a half before it showed up but I figured if it was as good as the bars were then it would be worth the wait. This is not meant to be a technical review but more my initial thought on the Moloko Handlebar Bag, the interwebs are full of technical specs if that's your thing.

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As you might have picked up on already, the bag fits perfectly in the opening in the middle of the crazy looking Moloko Handlebars. The bars certainly have a look that is a bit unusual but so far they have been super comfortable when paired with the ESI Super Chunky grips. This setup replaced my flat bar and Ergon grip setup that I was running since I got the Pugsley a few years back, so far I haven't noticed any more numbness in my hands than I did with the Ergon grips so that is saying something right there. The angle on the bars is slightly more than the Jones and to me it just seems to be a good natural grip angle.

Gravel Worlds 2017

I didn't have the Moloko bag for Gravel Worlds ( if I did maybe I wouldn't have forgotten my tunes and food) but I was riding the Moloko bars for it, so I did spend a good 14 hours and 150 miles straight on the bars and never felt any worse for wear and the nubs out front came in pretty handy for stretching out and cruising; something you won't get with Jones bars if you're at all interested in a more road bike position while out on gravel or dirt.

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Back to the bag though, the bag comes with 4 straps that can be attached in almost limitless positions thanks to the multiple attachment loops on the bag. That feature comes in handy when you are using the bag in conjunction with a feed bag or other bag/device that attaches to the bars because of course they will naturally want to strap to the bar in the same exact spot. The straps themselves are rubberized on one side and a fabric type material on the other side, so far they have stayed where you put them and haven't come unfastened while riding, which is pretty important for a strap to be functional.

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The bag sits pretty low in the handlebars so it is nice that Surly put large zipper tabs on the bag, so far they have been easy to find and operate even with full finger gloves. Since it's just now beginning to get colder I don't have any experience with winter gloves but I suspect it won't be an issue with those either, now if you're a mitten or lobster glove wearer your experience might vary. One thing to keep in mind is if you wrap the bars as I did with a thicker tape, it will make the opening a little tighter than it would be on unwrapped bars so depending on how much you plan to carry in the bag you may want to leave the bars unwrapped around the opening to maximize the space available. Realistically the only part of the bar that benefits from being wrapped are the "horns" out front just as a little padding and added grip when your hands or bars are wet IMO, the rest if more for ascetics.

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The outside of the bag might be black but the inside is lined with a neon green fabric, this comes in really handy at night or low light to help find dark items against the lighter back ground. The stretch pocket on the top flap perfectly fits a cell phone and a Ziploc with a license, credit card (or cash) and Chap-stick in it. As a bonus the heft of those items helps to keep the bag closed while riding in case you forget to fully zip the zipper before taking off. Given what you might stash in the bag, credit cards, license, keys, wallet, etc. making sure those items don't fall out is pretty important.

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Another great feature that I didn't initially notice is that there is an opening at the front of the bag that allows you to feed ear phones or power cables through so that you can listen to music or recharge your cycling computer, lights or whatever other electronic gizmo you ride with without exposing either of those devices to the elements. Even though the opening is at the font of the bag farthest away from you, there is still plenty of headphone cable left to make it to your ears or ample charging cable to make it to your cycling computer or other device although a cable at least 4 feet in length might be best for charging. In the picture I show a pair of dual headphones but when riding I opt for a set of headphones with only one earbud so that I can still hear what it going on around me, there are several companies that make them now or you can do as I did for my first pair and just cut off one of the headphones from a regular pair and then use something like liquid electrical tape to close the end off.

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While the bag is pretty roomy inside, you can fit two 12 oz beer cans inside there... not that I would know that, while I haven't yet used it either I do like that they put the draw string on the top where you can carry items that might be too bulky to fit inside the bag and still be able to tightly cinch them down. In the spring or fall when layering is key, I can see rolling up a wind jacket or vest and stowing it there once the layers start coming off. If you're like me I am really digging all of the bags that they now have that attach to the bike so you can keep the bulk of the weight off you and on the bike. I suppose one drawback to the Moloko bag is that you have to have the Moloko bar first to get the most out of the bag... it might fit in a Jones bar and work just fine but since there is already a bag out there designed specifically for the opening in a Jones bar I don't see the reasoning of using this one for those bars.

Well, that's the quick run down on the bag, I'll try to get another post up in a few months when I've have more experience using the bag.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Traditionally Traditional

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Yesterday was Saturday, which of course meant that it was time for the Saturday Morning No Drop Fat Bike Ride. Cooler temps seemed to have brought with them bigger crowds, I think this was one of the bigger rides we've had this year... we shall see how those numbers hold once the chill turns into cold here in about a month or less.

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With a 2:30 pm home game, we figured it would be safe to cruise through the downtown area, it wasn't too bad but just because it was still 4 hours to kickoff didn't mean it wasn't already teeming with people. Unfortunately we didn't time it optimally and nobody had their tailgating grills going just yet, those smells are pure heaven to ride through when they are up and running.

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Ordered a new seat post clamp in lime/sour apple green to offset the purple of the Fargo and it had just come in that morning so I swapped it out quick like before we took off from the shop. Even though I used a piece of electrical tape to mark the seat height before making the change, I must have been off by a few millimeters and had to Todd it at the bridge by Van Dorn as the seat height was just a tad too low. For those not in the know, to "Todd" something means to constantly fidget with it while on a ride, especially seat height, angle or fore/aft position. Love ya Todd!

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A quick turn of the wrench and we were back on track, as the weather starts to cool down I have been noticing that the girthy tires are starting to outnumber those more svelte.

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The route for Saturday was pretty simple, head out on W. Claire Ave to 40th St and then ride that out to Sprague Road. As a bonus the winds were gentle and the temps mild for a change so it wasn't a bad day to be out in rural Lancaster County spinning on some gravel with friends.

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We weren't the only ones having a good time out there though, not exactly sure what these guys were up to but standing on a metal roof with a decent pitch, possibly still covered in morning dew sounds like a heck of a good time to me, what is the worst thing that could happen.

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42nd and Saltillo Road is a great place to regroup, grab a refreshing beverage or if you are so inclined, it's also a great place to lose your Lippy's BBQ I found out in August. I wouldn't recommend that last one but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do and that day Pablo had to do it.

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Big man with a big can.

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Generally we turn east on Martell Road and then come into Sprague via S.W. 29th and Sprague Road but Saturday we had a special place we needed to stop first so a slight reroute from the norm was in order. It's the first time I've been out to SW 58th and Sprague Road since that awful day in September and it was a little odd being there. I'm not sure what I expected to see but it remains an unsuspecting intersection on a rather ordinary county road, evil was there on 9/23 but there was nothing of the sort out there Saturday; just a stop sign and a junction box where we left a little something to remind people about Randy. Not that the cycling community will need reminding but maybe, just maybe someone driving will look at the stop sign and think about cyclists on the roads.

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Traditions Pub was the next stop on the route, we lost a few for the lunch stop but that seems to be the norm for those without the extra hour to commit to the ride. Food was good and the beer was cold as usual, even if we did get there before the bartender.

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Still need to get my thoughts out there about the Fargo but the personalization process has already begun as bits of green start to pop up here and there. Fun bike to ride and a great midwest gravel eating machine, Pugsley might have to be a little worried.

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Post lunch ride back is usually a bit slower as everyone is digesting food but that was not the case on Saturday. It took up about an hour and 50 minutes to get out to Sprague but made it back to Lincoln in an hour and 15 minutes, guess there was some extra energy in those drinks but we aren't quite at the end of the tale just yet.

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Bennet Road is one of my favorite parts about heading out to Sprague, it's a little dicey at the east end but it's almost perfect dirt on the west end.

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Took the Jamaica Trail and then the N Street Cycle Track back into Lincoln ending the official portion of the SMNDFBR.

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A few of us not quite ready to head home just yet ended up at Method, where I spotted what has to be one of the most grotesque contraptions I've seen as of late. A blue box for collecting cigarette butts, a clear box that is with a blue frame, so that you can see the nasty little things hiding out in there... eww.

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Much less gross and more interesting was this couple on a side by side tandem complete with the larges bike horn I've ever seen.

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We didn't stick around all that long though, definitely wanted to get out of dodge before the flood gates down the road let loose and all those people started filing out. 11:50 left in the game with the Huskers up 21-17 seemed like a great time to call it a day.

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Joe and I were the last two remaining souls heading back to Cycle Works. Thankfully football minutes aren't anywhere near normal minutes, I was able to load the bike up and get back to Omaha before the overtime kicked off so even I was not spared from the OT debacle.

No ride next weekend but look for us to return the following week and as always, thanks to all who made it out.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Tale of Three Rides

It was the best of rides, it was the worst of rides, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness... It's been a pretty eventful half week as far as rides go, so instead of doing all three separately let's mash 'em all together and cover them in one post. Here we go.

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Thursday was the annual Cycle Works "Hut Ride" but because it was cold, windy and not an ideal day for a ride, only 4 of us showed up.

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Not to be deterred by a little cold, we ventured out despite the low numbers. Valarie and Shelby were troopers even though they were both freezing, we did take a little break in the tunnel to get out of the wind. It wasn't half bad in there when  you weren't being blasted by 25 mph winds.

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We did make it all the way to The Hut, enjoyed a cold beverage and took in the sights before heading back. It's crazy how much light pollution Lincoln creates and you can really see it on cloudy nights, The Hut is 10.5 miles from the shop and it's visible all the way out there.

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Of course Saturday meant the SMNDFBR and even though it was quite chilly, everyone was all thumbs up.

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Since the Halloween Night Ride was later that day, we decided to do a casual in town ride instead of the usual gravel or dirt routes. While it was chilly to start, in the 20 degree range, the lack of wind made it quite a comfortable temperature for a ride.

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Stopped to for a nature break and at almost 12 hundred dollars, we also happened upon what is quite possibly the worlds most expensive 18 pack of Busch Light.

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With all the changing colors, it really was a beautiful day to be outside on a bicycle.

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Just because we didn't go out of town didn't mean we didn't find a great spot to stop for food, this time it was Cultiva and the meal was brunch or breakfast depending on your preference. Food and coffee was good as always and as always the place was packed.

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It was so nice out by the time we finished eating that we stood outside soaking up the sunshine for a bit before taking off back to the shop.

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A quick spin back to the shop ended another Saturday Morning No Drop Fat Bike Ride. I'm not sure how often we will do these kinds of rides but I have to admit it's kind of nice to just have a casual ride once in awhile.

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Saturday afternoon/evening meant the Halloween Night Ride, I threw on the costume and the purple bats and I was ready for the shenanigans to begin.

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Roy, Stephanie, Karla and I rode over to the White House to pick up The Donald and his plus one.

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We hightailed it over to Cycle Works to meetup with the other riders and check out some of the awesome costumes.

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Of course, Mr. President could not be left alone with the ladies...

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A quick group shot and we were off to Moran's.

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It was a quick spin to Moran's and as you can tell by the lack of cold weather gear, it was a great night for a ride.

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We kind of filled the place up, thankfully we weren't all sweaty and smelly yet. The two ladies at the bottom right of the picture ended up being our paid judges, along with Todd, for the costume and best bike contest... I say paid because each of them earned a cool dime for their efforts, which came out of my personal budget. No new shoes for me this month.

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The judges made their way around checking out the costumes and bicycles, since I knew most of the riders I felt that impartial judging could be done best by people that knew nothing about any of us and they did a great job.

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Sarah won best female costume, Carlos best male costume and the penguin duo of Rick and Debe won best bicycle.

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With the drinks drank, the costumes contested and the prizes awarded, it was time to move onto White Elm.

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White Elm puts out some really good beers and you can't hardly beat the location if you're coming by bicycle. Their Fluffaluffagus Stout is one of my favorites.

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Lines were a bit long but since we were the line, I suppose it was our own fault.

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We all did get a cold frosty beverage or two eventually, the two guys working were actually pretty fast all thing considered.

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The final stop on the ride was Yia Yia's for some much needed food.

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Great group for the Halloween Ride, Joe even learned that having ample cleavage can be a hindrance when it comes to drinking.

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They even had the Husker game on the "big screen" there at Yia Yia's. Monstrous thanks to everyone who came out and rode with us on the Halloween Ride, it was a great time.

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Unfortunately the evening ended on a sour note, someone cut Rick's lock and made off with his 2015 Salsa Blackborow. Not too many of these guys around in Lincoln so if you see it call the police and report it please, lets get the bike back where it belongs. Way too many of these recently, the last few images are for reference purposes so you know what to look for, the first two are Rick's bike and the last is the stock photo from Salsa.