Friday, October 15, 2010

A e-tailer gripe

I recently bought a new front derailer from This is the kind of thing that an experienced cyclist who does his or her own mechanical work does all the time. You know what you need, you find it for the lowest price you can get it, and you order it. I checked the specs, and really, there aren't many parameters on a thing like this. Make and model? Clamp diameter? So it arrived, lo and behold, it's a braze-on model. Not the 31.8mm clamp-on model I expected. I emailed customer service, with a PDF printout of the page from their website showing that what they were advertising was different from what they were shipping and got this response:

Performance is not responsible for printing errors or other errors appearing in our catalogs or Web site. All orders are subject to acceptance by Performance, Inc.

Rad. So, if you advertise that you're selling a pair of cycling shoes and I order them and get only one in the mail, you can blame it on a printing error and I'm just screwed?

Friday, October 8, 2010

What to bring to a cyclocross race. A rebuttal.

Many have seen, read, applauded, derided and linked to the recent VeloNews article on what to bring to a cyclocross race. Even BSNYC got in on the fun. Here is the nippleworks rebuttal:

Item #

Velonews Necessity

nippleworks Reality


Coleman™ portable stove to cook bratwurst

Nut butter and jelly sandwhiches, wrapped in tin foil so they don't get mashed by your gear


GSI™ Glacier French Press to make coffee

A paper cupful from the local café, whatever came out of the urn at the race or your beat-up thermos


53x11™ Coffee

The industrial supply coffee that the race promoter could afford


Crazy Creek™ Leisure Chair

The bumper of my pickup.


Mountainsmith™ Deluxe bike cube duffel bag

Canvas shopping bags. One for the clothes, one for the food and bottles.

6™ race noise creation device

My voice or the sheetmetal cowbell I got at as a freebie at a road race a couple of years ago.

7 ™ Belgian flag

Club tent?


Craft ZERO™ extreme base layer

A polypro undershirt that smells like campfires.


Specialized™ Equinox Glove

Any mountain bike gloves will work. Many pros race without gloves.

10™ warmup massage instrument

My thumbs?


Schlamm™ Portland Rain Suit

My yellow commuting rain jacket


Kurt™ Kinetic Road Machine wattage computing trainer

A few warmup laps and a sprint or two on the roads around the course.


Sixtus™ Start Oil embrocation from Germany

Non Belgian knee warmers. You know, the fabric kind that don’t burn you if they touch your junk.


3M General Purpose 45 Spray Adhesive for putting on your race number

Uhh, the safety pins they give you for free when you registered?


Nomad™ Portable Pressure Washer

A squirt from a water bottle, a sharp stick or the hose at my house.


Park Tool™ Four Brush cleaning set

See line item 15 – a sharp stick.


NathanSport™ Power Shower Body Wipes

A wet rag, the inside of my jersey, or if I’m feeling fancy, a baby wipe.

So, I hope this article is informative and helps you decide what to bring to your next cyclocross race. Really all that's required is a bike, a helmet and a good attitude.