Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Outsourcing Strikes The Cycle

It's about time to turn this dusty corner of the internet over to another one of my beloved (because he ain't me) guest reviewers. This time, it's long-time Internet BOB member, known cycling sartorialist, and the man who's never met a steel frame he couldn't improve with a ball peen hammer and a hacksaw, Patrick Moore. I sent Patrick a sampling of my Leg Shield booty so he could put it through its paces in the desert climate of Nuevo Mexico and see how it fared compared to here in Iowa. But enough of my mindless circling the airport... take it away, Patrick!

When I opened the package and first saw it -- bright yellow -- I laughed. It reminded me so much of the greaves of a medieval knight, or even better, of a cast for a broken tibia. Although I've often thought that puttees should make a comeback to protect one's pants while riding in dirty conditions, this thing seemed in comparison to the old fashioned metal spring "trouser clips" that used to hang by the cash register at every bike shop huge overkill, yet compared to puttees or spats they are too short to protect more than your ankles. I debated between "insufficient" and "overkill" and finally decided on the latter. You don't, I thought, need something this elaborate to keep your pants out of your chain.

But I did try it. I often ride the 7-8 miles to church in civilian clothes, and recently I've been wearing a $16 pair of Target "khakis" made  from nylon. Don't laugh; they look better than they sound, and they are much more comfortable in the saddle because they don't bind and chafe as cotton khakis do. They have 80% of the looks and none of the discomfort. The nylon is well woven and sturdy; it doesn't pill, and it doesn't bag. And they cost $16.

But the fabric has a more slippery hand than cotton twill, and my trouser clips slip off after a mile or less. The reflective ankle band supplied by the same company, which I used on my left leg, slipped off after 1 1/2 mile. But the Leg Shield stayed on. And, the Leg Shield was easier to attach: its tall and full shape helps gather the fabric when you strap it in place. 

I rode 7 miles to church via our sandy acequia (irrigation ditch) roads -- this is NW Albuquerque, where the pre-Colombian and Hispanic-era irrigation system diverting water from the Rio Grande is still very much in use, with the ancient water laws still in place under the independent water authority. The system of ditches and sluices extends the length of the state and, in the Albuquerque area, I've read that there are some 600 miles of acequias an associated paths and roads.

The Leg Shield went on easily, without having to fight to fold the fabric underneath; it stayed in place for the distance; and it kept even slight traces of acequia trail dust off my hems. It does work. I ordered a second from Amazon. Black, this time.

The company's ankle bands are wholly undistinguished; you can find those things anywhere. I didn't even bother with the wrist band, after at first trying to attach it as an ankle band and wondering why it was so short. But the Leg Shield, as risible as it is, is worth at least a look.

So there you have it, folks. Big thanks to Patrick for classing up the joint, teaching me the very apt word "greaves" (praise be to my MFA, I already knew "risible"), and making me wonder how I've thrown words at this blog for so long without finding an excuse to mention sluices.