Here’s what’s on our wish list for the last month of summer.
TRAIL TO TIKI BAR
After two mountain biking festivals (first the New England Mountain Biking Festival at Kingdom Trails then the Vermont Mountain Biking Festival at Sugarbush), we decided it was time to update our kit. That grunge baggy look works well for some, and ash race garb for others. But when we came across Kitsbow’s understated jerseys and shorts, it was a “ finally, an MTB kit I can love” moment.
Kitsbow makes a line that seems to ow seamlessly from trail-to-tiki bar. It’s not the most rugged of wear but we like the pared down styling, the super-light, stretchy (and wicking!) Nylon-Lycra fabric that go into the Kitsbow Short A/M Jersey (women’s version, $165) and Origin (men’s $150) short sleeved jerseys. Stretchy side panels connect a rib-knit fabric that stays in place without clinging and back pockets are plenty ample for stashing everything you need for a day’s ride. The only thing we might question is the zipper up the front, which is not the most comfortable. But that means you can unzip to cool down or easily change at the trailhead.
TOUGH GUY SHORTS
Also wow-ing us on the style spectrum is Louis Garneau’s Derby short ($119) for men. Named for Derby, Vt., where Garneau has its U.S. headquarters it’s tough, stylish and sort of what you might expect if a pair of Carhartts and dress pants got together and made a mountain biking baby. The fabric feels almost like a heavy denim, providing plenty of protection from branches and rocks, but it’s remarkably soft and stretchy. It’s a long short but with no seams on the inside of the leg, it doesn’t ride up or chafe. The waist is cut low in front and the wide waist band cinches together with a draw string. There are also interior fasteners so you can adjust the fit.
The Derby comes with detachable Drytex inner shorts with a comfy (but not overly padded) double-density foam Chamois cushion and is compatible with other Garneau inner shorts. Best, we love the front zip side pockets, the large cargo pocket on the leg and a third rear pocket—great for carrying pretty much everything you need for a ride or for a night out after.
A POCKET TOOLBOX
Though it’s a little big to actually fit into your pocket, Pedro’s ICM Multi Tool ($30) is like carrying around a complete tool box in a compact package. Think of it as essential equipment to keep with your car or to bring on a longer (or multi-day) ride or camping trip. The ICM Includes 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8mm hex wrenches, 3.2mm, 3.5mm, and Mavic M7 spoke wrenches, a chain tool, at and Phillips screwdrivers, two tire levers, a T25 Torx and, of course, a bottle opener. It’s steel, so sturdy, and weighs in at 235 grams. But for $30 you get way more tools than you could buy individually for that price and the best part, they all snap together so you are less likely to lose one.
WATER, ON THE GO
We love hydration packs (we hike with them and even bring them on airplanes) and we love water bottles (we bike with them and bring them to work) but there are times when you really don’t want to be sucking on a hydration hose or lugging an empty water bottle around. That’s where the Hydaway 12 oz. collapsible water bottle ($15) and carrying case come in. The bottle, made of BPA-free plastic, collapses into a 11⁄4-inch disc that can t into a pocket or a carrying case. There’s a snap-down spigot that folds closed to make it completely watertight (you can squeeze it) and a handle so you can snap it onto a backpack or a seatpost. The bottle also comes in a 21 oz. version ($20).
IT’S SUMMER (CIDER) TIME
There are two good reasons to head to Woodchuck Cider’s Middlebury tasting room this month. The first is Ciderstock. In just a couple of years it has grown to be one of the biggest parties in the state with more than 10,000 people packing the Cidery’s backyard and a great line-up of bands. This year it takes place August 19 and the line-up includes The Roots, Tribal Seeds, The Welterweights and Pepper. The other? The cider of course. You can try a wide variety of ciders on tap in the big barn- like structure, including Local Nectar (made with all-Vermont fruits) and seasonal releases like Summer Time. What’s so special about Summer Time? For one, it’s a a slightly sweet pear ginger cider (not to be confused with last year’s “Summer Time” which was made with blueberries or with Woodchuck’s regular pear cider). Summer Time has a light carbonation which makes it an easy, almost fruit-juice easy, thirst quencher. But it has an ABV of 5 percent and is plenty sweet so don’t down too many of them. All in all, it’s the type of drink we might take to a post-ride potluck or a pre- concert picnic with a chunk of sharp cheddar.