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Tuesday, May 19, 2009
  Grease Monkey wipes
By Yokota Fritz 
Disposable latex gloves are one of those things you're supposed to carry on your bike for the inevitable flat tire repair. You slip them on your hands to keep them clean.

It's an obvious tip, but for whatever reason latex gloves often don't work for me. They disintegrate over time. In hot weather, the gloves get sticky, especially when they're scrunched up inside of my saddle bag.

A few weeks ago I stuffed a few packets of Grease Monkey Wipes into my saddle bag. I haven't flatted since I installed the Kevlar belted Hutchinson Fusion 2 tires on my bike, but I did snap my chain near the California Avenue Caltrain Station just as a train was (fortuitously) pulling into the station.

I ran into the train, found my chain tool and removed the damaged link. Because 10 speed chains aren't easy to link together without a master link (bah!), I gave up after a few minutes of wrestling with the chain. I keep my chain fairly clean but grease and grime is still a fact of life when handling the chain.

At this point I usually ruin my pants by wiping my hands on them, but on this day I had Grease Monkey wipes. They're small wipes in single wipe packages with a citrus degreaser (to remove the grease) and aloe, lanolin and Vitamin E to temper the harshness of the degreaser on my skin. My hands smell like oranges instead of petroleum distillates, and the wipes effectively remove the grime from my hands.

They work as expected, the packaging is handy and I can stuff several into my saddle bag. Grease Monkey Wipes are available at some local bikes shop or online.

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Monday, May 18, 2009
  Camelbak Podium ChillJacket Water Bottle
By Yokota Fritz 
The CamelBak Podium ChillJacket water bottle is my new favorite water bottle.

Camelbak Podium Chill Jacket It was pretty warm this past weekend in northern California, with high temperatures in the 90s F / low 30s C. Heat radiating from the road surface quickly warms any beverage sitting in a bottle just 20 inches from the ground in a bicycle bottle cage.

Enter CamelBak's Podium ChillJacket water bottle. When I saw the thin foam insulation built into this bottle I was skeptical, but it kept my water cool for most of my two hour ride in Santa Cruz County last Saturday. The polypropylene plastic (unlike the low density polyethylene used in almost every other bottles) doesn't impart that icky plastic taste to my water.

CamelBak brags about their no bite valve -- you just squeeze and the water comes out. I kept finding myself biting the valve and trying to pull it out. I suppose I'll get used to it.

CamelBak Podium ChilJacket water bottle.

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