Posts Tagged ‘Kask’

CycleSurgery isn’t like other bike shops

February 8, 2013

“That’s for running, not cycling. There is a difference.”

Oh dear. The large, blokey manager of CycleSurgery in Shepherd’s Bush is staring at the tub of energy drink I’m holding. It’s a small bucket of Torq. Natural Orange flavour, since you ask. I give him a meek smile, which nevertheless conveys I am ill-equipped to engage in any science-based chat, and scurry to the counter.

Every so often I pop into a CycleSurgery store to buy Natural Orange flavour Torq, or indeed one of Torq’s many other delicious varieties, because most other bike shops don’t stock them. And technically, neither does CycleSurgery: Torq is kept in the Runners Need section, which operates as a separate business – hence the store manager’s friendly yet emphatic advice to this naive cyclist who has seemingly wandered into the wrong part of the shop. I could’ve got away with it if I’d only taken off my helmet and left my bicycle outside. And not worn a pair of shorts with “quickerbybike” written across the arse area.

CycleSurgery Fulham stairway

It’s an unusual encounter, but not a surprising one, because I’ve found that CycleSurgery stores are odd environments anyway. The bijou Fulham Road branch, where a helpful lady sold me a nifty USB rechargeable front light called Moon Comet this week, has a steep-ish steel staircase (see above) which is difficult enough to negotiate when you’re clattering down it in your cleats, and presumably even more so if you’re taking your bike down to the basement workshop. At the Lower Thames Street shop, I have to pay for my Torq minibucket at the Runners Need till, then go to the main till if I’m buying other stuff, which is a bit like shopping at Foyles in the 1980s. But it’s the Shepherd’s Bush store which fascinates me the most, because it has a glass cabinet where, like a museum exhibit reminding us of a crueller and altogether unbelievable age, a pair of unsellable Lance Armstrong-branded Oakleys stares out at you. The Jawbone of a terrible dinosaur.

Oakley Armstrong Jawbone

CycleSurgerys have been springing up everywhere lately. They have a whopping range of stuff, stocking everything from kids’ bikes to the type of helmets that adorn the bonces of Team Sky, and their website has a handy function which tells you which store has your desired item in stock. They should be identikit stores like any other chain, but each one I’ve used has its idiosyncratic touches, which I find endearing, despite the minor frustrations. Just don’t go in there to buy the ‘wrong’ type of powdered drink without doing your homework.

Maybe, for the benefit of all us CycleSurgery shoppers, I should write a blogpost examining which energy drinks are better suited to cycling. And call it Performance Enhancing Glugs.

Vent frustration

October 3, 2012

Helmets have it easy. As a helmet, all you’re doing most of the time is sitting on your owner’s noggin, trying (and failing, usually) to not make them look like… well, a total helmet. Just maintain a purposeful and protective appearance, while the wearer resembles a bulb-headed alien, and you’re fulfilling the everyday functions of being a cyclist’s crash hat. And to their credit, the helmets I have owned carried out this role with a stoical pride. Until, after many long rides, one cracked. Quite literally.

The fissure on my 15-month-old Specialized Prevail was not the result of a crash or any abuse. I have no idea how it got there. I simply took the helmet off last week, and there it was: a crack right at the front, underneath the vent.

Sigma, who sold the helmet to Jen when she bought it for me as a birthday present, enquired about getting a replacement as it was still within the warranty period. Specialized told them that wouldn’t be possible, because the damage wasn’t the result of a crash. The guy on the other end of the phone told them the same thing had happened to his Prevail. I thanked Sigma for their efforts and rode off in a bit of a huff, wearing a helmet that probably wouldn’t be as much use as it should be in the event of an accident.

To improve my mood, and my level of crash protection, I pulled up at Pearson Performance, went in and tried on a Kask Mojito, a light, compact lid which apparently is the team issue crash hat at Sky. Despite the middle-aged-dad-trying-to-be-cool name, I loved it. The helmet has a leatherette strap and a low profile, both of which remind me of the early crash hats from the ’70s, although the Kask lid doesn’t resemble a hairnet or a bunch of bananas. So I am now the proud wearer of a Mojito. The Mojito’s on me, guys! (Gah! No amount of wordplay is ever going to make that naff name better, is it?)

What this black and white beauty doesn’t have is a vent at the front. And come the summer, I’ll probably miss that nice little gap funneling a breeze onto my forehead as I descend the big hill in Richmond Park. The Prevail, like all helmets, has to conform to safety standards, so I am sure it is up to the job in that respect. But if the man from Specialized is to be believed, this isn’t the first time that the thin part of its structure has inexplicably broken. Let’s see if the helmet with an uncool name lasts longer than the one that leaves you with a cool head…