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The Bivo One Bottle
The bidon has been around the block a few times and for the most part, over the last few decades, it hasn’t changed much. Sure, there are some valves and lids that are better than others, but it’s plastic on plastic and we’ve learned enough about plastic to know what that means. Plastic waste. If you look at the old photos of Fausto Coppi or Briek Schotte they carried metal bottles with cork stoppers, and they rode fast; maybe like the old saying goes, everything old is new again. Enter the Bivo One bottle, a 21-fluid-ounce stainless steel bottle coated in silicone with an incredible gravity flow valve, which was allegedly designed by a NASA engineer. Maybe you could drink Tang out of it? The bottles are not squeezable, they’re steel see, and so the valve design is key to making these work—and they did a great job with it. The silicone coating means the bottle stays put in your bottle cage, and there’s no plastic taste whatsoever, even in the first use. In the words of the great Bobby Boucher: “That’s high-quality H2O.” $29 drinkbivo.com
When I was a kid, I really wanted a particular Ocean Pacific or OP shirt, and I remember one time my father said, “You want OP? No problem kid….” and he actually picked up something from a Salvation Army store and gave it to me. “It’s OP,” he said with a knee-slap. “Other People’s.” That’s a true story. Money was tight and the old man was a bit of a jerk. I have to say though that when the new Velocio Renewed program came through my inbox it really intrigued me. I finally saw perhaps the zenith of my father’s pun come to life.
The Velocio Renewed program takes gently used or returned Velocio kit, it’s then sanitized, reconditioned or repaired and re-tagged with “Renewed” and resold. This is a part of the Velocio commitment to reducing the company’s impact and waste. It also results in some quality kit at some friendly prices. I had been eyeballing the white version of the Velocio Radiator but was honestly concerned how it would wear on me with my copious chest hair—eat yer’ heart out, Magnum! But when I saw it on the Renewed site, I picked one up at $80 along with a pair of Velocio’s top-of-the-line Concept bib shorts. (Jersey looks great on me, btw.) Both garments are spotless, and in great shape both inside and out; they are clean and show no wear. Frankly they look brand new. They smell like I left a jersey in a friend’s car, he washed it and returned it to me, it doesn’t smell like my laundry detergent, it smells like…other people’s. renewed.velocio.cc
Autumn Cocktails: the Rob Roy
When the weather turns cool and the ’cross course grows muddy, whisky-based cocktails take the podium’s top step for me. This is a Scottish riff on the American classic, the Manhattan, but of course the homage to Scotch whisky and the Scottish icon was conceived at New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel in, you guessed it folks, Manhattan. The Highland Rogue as Rob Roy MacGregor was known was memorialized in an operetta that opened in New York city on October 29, 1894, smack dab in cyclocross season, fittingly.
The cocktail itself is simple, which is where the beauty lies. It’s 1.5 ounces of Scotch, 3/4 of an ounce of sweet vermouth, 2 dashes of Angostura bitters and garnished with a Luxardo cherry or two on something like a mini sword. What else would Scotland’s Robin Hood drink? The cocktail is really the Manhattan but with Scotch rather than rye. The flavors are savory and rich, and the sweet vermouth brings it all home. I like the 12-year-old GlenDronach for this cocktail, it’s got a great sweetness and rich spicy character as well. Oh, and it comes from Scotland’s East Highlands; and while Islay Scotch is all the rage for its massive peatiness, a Highland Scotch feels more appropriate to celebrate a Highlander. $55 glendronachdistillery.com