With the holidays approaching we like to spend some time looking back at 2021 and give some of our favorite products a shout-out. In this post, we look at John’s personal favorite products of the year. Some are cycling-related, others are just solid staples John’s enjoyed using this year, so let’s get to it!
Last year I reviewed the Pelago Rasket, a sturdy bike rack and basket all-in-one, and this year, Wizard Works’ Pelagazam bag made this rack/basket all the more functional.
The MSR Guardian Filter is hands down the best filter for desert touring. Silt can cause most filters to jam up but not the Guardian. We timed a full Nalgene fill-up to 20 seconds the last time we used it in a silty/scummy spring. Be it backpacking in Canyonlands or bikepacking in Kayenta, the Guardian is worth packing.
I’m a sucker for made-in-the-USA bike gear and one purchase that I’m glad I made this year were these Chilao pedals by Yoshimura. They’re robust, feature removable pins, spin like whoa, and offer plenty of grip for trail riding or touring.
Living in an area with easy-access to rivers prompted us to buy some Alpacka rafts this year. After an introduction to packrafting clinic from our friends at Four Corners Guides, Cari and I were hooked! These rafts are unique in that you can get the option to have a zipper in the hull, allowing you to pack the raft with camping gear…
Check out a fun story using Alpacka Rafts in our 2021 Archives…
Wow. I’ve put over a thousand miles in these shoes and you’re looking at all the wear and tear they’ve endured. These shoes are a game-changer for trail riding and cyclotouring. I never thought I’d buy “riding” shoes for touring – usually, I just wear hiking boots – but here we are. They’re super comfortable, are stiff enough to pedal but not so stiff that hike-a-biking is hindered. They’re easily my favorite riding shoes and they’re on sale now…
Ever like something so much that you buy two just to have one for backup purposes? That’s how I feel about the Why Cycles Ti bars. They’re not flexy but for me, I notice less hand fatigue on long descents. They’re a very standard shape with 10mm of rise, 9°rearward, 4° upward sweep, and they only weigh 295g. They’re back-ordered on Why Cycles but numerous online outlets have them for sale. Ask your shop with a BTI-USA account to order you a pair!
Got an old vintage MTB that you want to set up tubeless with some supple and beautiful tires? Look no further – actually, scrap that, they’re sold out for at least a year+… The Ultradynamico Mars tires show that the team there cares about old bikes. It’s not cheap to develop a tire and the fact that they’re showing a “forgotten” tire platform some love warms my heart…
I’m predictable. All it takes is a nice colorway and my interest is piqued. I’ve worn this helmet (and used the shades!) just about every ride this year. It’s comfortable (I have a big head and MTB helmets that fit me well are hard to come by!) and best of all, looks great, which makes me want to wear it.
While I technically reviewed this bike back in December of 2020, I really fell in love with this bike over the past year. It’s tough, rides great, and is made in the USA by cyclists in the Rockies! Read my full review from 2020 and check out this build iteration for our San Juan Huts trip in our 2021 Archives.
Last winter, Ponderosa Cyclery stocked these Piggyback Gloves and I picked a pair up to support that rad little operation. Little did I know they’d become my go-to glove for sub 40º riding. I’ve found they work down to 20º or lower with a good set of Pogies. They’re colorful, fun, tough as, and cheap!
Save the Blundstones for the fashion crowd, when it comes to true to form, contractor-grade gumboots, only one brand reigns supreme; Redback. I’ve put these boots through the wringer and they deserve a shout-out on this list. They’re available in a few colors and in standard or steel-toe. These boots are great for bike touring, yardwork, or standing in line at the coffee shop. Made in Australia and shipping directly from their US distro at the link above.
I’ve been very open about overcoming my alcoholism and over the years, I’ve found a bowl really helps me unwind. After using many grinders, I’ve found the Flower Mill to be the best. It’s made in the USA, easy to use, simple to clean, and has the option to rebuild/upgrade the grinding screen.
What do you think of this list? Drop us a line in the comments!