Monday, January 5, 2009

Fuzzy ear warmers

Here's something I can't recommend enough - the New Years morning bike ride. It does the following:
a) it keeps you from partying like it's 1999
b) it prevents you from learning the meaning of "coyote ugly"
d) it's better than going to a holiday sale at the mall
c) it starts the biking year off on the right foot

This year, I rode up to the top of Mt. Hamilton on New Years morning, along with a huge crowd of strangers and friends, all out for the same reasons. Mt. Hamilton is a not too steep, but very long climb, and the road has 4k feet of elevation gain. During winter, the top is frequently snowy so weather is a serious factor, but traffic is usually not. You can't do it every year, but when you can, it's great. Every part of the US (except Florida) probably has a similarly good holiday ride.

This year, I met a friendly fellow with a really neat piece of gear. Fuzzy ear warmers on his helmet. Here he is surveying the cold, foggy valley below from the warm, sunny peak:

Notice that he's also sporting a cycling cap and that the ear warmers are velcro'd on to his helmet straps. This means his noggin is dressed in layers. Take the ear warmers off when you get warm, and the hat when you get warmer. Put it all back on for the descent. He told me that you can get these, handmade by a local seamstress, at Cupertino Bike Shop. I haven't verified this yet, but I'm sure they'd be happy if you'd drop by and ask about them, or check out the website for yourself. I've been happy for several years with an Outdoor Research Military Watch Cap. It's pretty handy because you can flip up the band to uncover your ears if you get warm.

The fellow with the ear warmers also had an unusual bar mounted index shifter with double paddles:

Where did these come from?


Mr. Beattie said...

These appear to be 7 speed SunTour Command shifters, these came out around the same time (1989?) as Sachs/Campy Ergos (1992) and Shimano's STI (1990), though I don't believe Modolo Morphos and Zapp were too off the timeline either. According to Sheldon Brown's site the Command Shifters stopped being produced in 1995 though it appears they were briefly made in an 8 speed variety. They are often available for sale on a popular internet auction site.

There's a good write-up here:

If 8 speed versions were more readily available they'd be a good alternative to bar-end shifters, though in the above link there is discussion about needing a reverse pull front derailleur to make front shifting more natural due to the shift lever action.

-p said...

Thanks for the great research. I can't see them ever coming back, since bar end shifters and Paul Thumbies exist.

Brian Gatens said...

Send me an email -

I own the jersey bag and got a great idea for a bag while on the ski lifet this weekend....