Am I a shill for product placement?
You could make the case that I’m compromised after that statement, but the fact that no one has bothered to sponsor me yet makes that argument vacant.
In that sense, I’m free to make whatever choices please me as I accessorize the necessities for the variety of rides I frequent.
It also means there’s been a lot of error in my trials, so not every item I come across qualifies as a bona fide CiclaValley pleaser.
There are spaces in my garage that I totally avoid because I can’t stand the shame of admitting to own half the stuff in there.
My favorite products have stood the test of time and to save you the hassle, I’d like to share them below.
Unless something better comes out.
Or someone pays me.
Road Runner products are awesome, so much so that you may see another mention below.
What drew me to them initially is that their products are handmade right under my nose in DTLA.
I love supporting locally made products and am fortunate that Brad, Ester and the rest of the crew do a great job of churning out quality products.
The Burrito Supreme handlebar bag was their first product I bought which has been reliably sturdy and carries far more goods than you’d imagine.
Still, I was looking for a larger bag that could hold work clothes for a summery day along with a few extras, so the Jammer Bag was a natural.
Not only does it accomplish that, but it also has these easy to navigate front pockets which makes reaching for my wallet and phone simple.
Even fully loaded up, the weight distribution won’t affect the feel of your ride much, if at all after a couple of rides.
It’s also waterproof which rarely comes into play here, but when it does, you’re super happy for it!
Velocio Ultralight Jersey
Two of CiclaValley’s trademarks on climbs are sweating and panting in no particular order.
In Southern California, that means my jerseys become unzipped pretty fast to combat the heat.
My first experience with the Velocio Ultralight jersey came on the harsh environment riding the Old Ridge Road in the Santa Clarita Valley.
It’s a hot one offering very little shade, yet as I was riding along the exposed peaks, I was pleasantly surprised that my zipper was all the way up in 90 degree heat.
Even with the longer sleeves (which I love), the sweat was wicking perfectly which was a nice contrast to having your shorts completely soaked.
I’m all the way in on these jerseys and have already bought a second.
GoPro Hero 5 Session
I’ve often stressed the importance of riding with a camera every time you get onto a bike.
It’s a balance of finding something that’s affordable, records with high quality, is easy to charge and has a good battery.
Versatility is important too because if you ride with more than one bike, you don’t want to break the bank buying set ups for each one.
My Drift Stealth cameras did a serviceable job for a couple of years, but they could only take so much of a beating.
Phasing them out, I turned to the GoPro Session X which is lightweight and versatile to mount, comfortable enough that I’d place it on my helmet from time to time.
The battery also seemed good enough giving about 100 minutes of life, not super, but good for the price.
Sensing I needed a 2nd just in case, I ended up spending the extra $50 on the Session Hero 5 which records in higher resolution and just as importantly has image stabilization.
I’m pretty happy with this pair, but of course, they’ve been discontinued, so get your hands on one now.
Velotec Elite Sport Bib Shorts
I’m not a bona fide expert on bib shorts other than knowing you’ve gotta replace them before too much in the rear shows. I’ve been pretty happy with most bottoms I’ve worn, but typically I don’t ride more than two hours at a time.
The real mettle comes on those rides where you’re bringing along those gels and bars for those long days in the saddle.
Under these circumstances along with a hot Southern California sun, I’ve found the Elite Sport from Velotec to be by favorite choice.
At a price point around $100, I find they provide the same substantial comfort as other high end brands.
My favorite part has been the banding at the bottom that stays tight and minimizes wiggle on those sweaty rides which pays off at the end.
And at black and blue, the colors match pretty much any jersey I own.
Ortlieb 16 Litre Seat Pack
Maybe you’re sensing a theme here, but I like commuting without bike racks as much as possible.
There’s a certain weight limit we all have that makes our bike feel sloggy, but when I have to take a few more goods, there’s one item I turn to.
The Ortlieb 16L Seat Pack is spacious enough that at times I can take two days worth of clothes into work.
Even completely full, it sways just enough that you’ll keep the same feel going through turns instead of going off balance.
The double strap on the seatpost is also a smart feature keeping the bag from sliding up and the bag from keeling over on your wheel.
And while I don’t get much of a chance to test out it’s waterproof capability here in LA, it’s a nice feature to have when I need it.
Roadrunner Co-Pilot Handlebar Bag
Trying to accept that I didn’t have to be all aero all the time took some work.
I never thought I’d go as far as getting some type of drink koozie attached to my handlebars because I couldn’t accept making my bike asymmetrical and I already have two perfectly functioning bottle cages on my bike thank you very much
Landing a great Craigslist deal on a Fuji x100 did complicate matters as I didn’t want to ride with a shoulder strap, so a quick visit into Road Runner Bags gave me a whole new attitude adjustment.
Their Co-Pilot bag is designed around carrying bottles, but was just the right size to fit my camera inside as well.
It’s been pretty handy to allow me to take some great shots on the fly.
Pulling this all together, on my San Diego trip, I needed to bring a change of clothes, but also have a number of items available to me, like a camera, chargers, etc., on this 140 mile + trip.
I ended up riding with the Jammer and two Co-Pilots made possible by sharing their straps.
It felt like I was in my living room with all the accoutrements right in front of me.
Just without a TV…