John’s Summer 2024 Product Picks: Ten Items That Cause Pause


John’s Summer 2024 Product Picks: Ten Items That Cause Pause

Wow! It’s already almost Summer. On a particularly cool and wet morning in Santa Fe, John wrapped up his Summer 2024 Product Picks list, showcasing ten items he’s been enjoying in everyday life and on big backcountry rides this year…

Crust Southern-Hemi Shorts $155

Spending time in Australia got me hooked on “stubby” shorts, or short shorts worn by tradies. Stubbies feature a short inseam, are made from thick canvas, are durable, have extra leg room for added mobility, and are no-nonsense “workwear.”

Matt from Crust is an Aussie, and he was bummed not to be able to find stubbies anywhere in the States, so Cheech took on the challenge and released some Casa Verde shorts for Crust Bikes. The Southern-Hemi shorts are made in the USA from 10 oz US-milled canvas and triple stitched throughout. Some clever details that set these canvas shorts apart are the Antimicrobial Spandex panels sewn in high-sweat areas.

They run a size larger than your standard shorts. For instance, I wear a 34 in just about everything, but the 32 fits me great. They also have a slightly larger, roomier leg opening for those of you who like to wear bibs or a chamois under your shorts.

The New HydraPak Filter $35

When it comes to my riding kit, I like to evolve it when possible, and the two key “every ride carry” items I’m highlighting this year are all about weight and size savings. First up is the new HydraPak Filter that attaches to any 42 mm bladder, including the Katadyn BeFree.

What I like about this filter is that it locks closed, has a tighter-fitting lid, and fits in the palm of your hand, even with the BeFree 1L bag. I use this setup every single ride all summer, and it’s nice saving 1″ in total height over the Katadyn filter. I bought mine at Sincere Cycles.

Lezyne Pocket Drive Pro MTB HV Pump $49.99

The second space-saving item is one I luckily don’t have to use often on my personal bikes but have used it on multiple review bikes specced without tough casing tires…

Who woulda thought this super small pump would be able to easily fill a MTB tire from flat without overheating? Whatever the wizards at Lezyne have done with these new mini pumps, kudos! I don’t wanna know the mountain magick that went into the design. It weighs a scant 104 grams and is only 6″ long in total (the CNC aluminum shaft is only 5″ long.) I picked mine up from Sincere Cycles.

Supergoop! Glow Stick Sunblock $30

When it comes to sun and UV protection up here at 7,000′ in Santa Fe, I have to take it very seriously, especially after my bout with skin cancer a few years ago. Getting a new 3″ long scar on your face puts your already serious sun protection regimen into overdrive. I have used various Australian brands like Blue Iguana over the years, but the white, chalky mineral base got all over everything (and into my eyes).

Someone recommended Supergoop Glow Stick, and I’ve worn it ever since. It stays on for a 2-hour ride, and for anything longer, I just re-apply. It’s small, fits in a small frame bag like the Revelate Nook, or a hip bag, and no matter how sweaty you get, it keeps bouncing back those UV rays.

If you like to swim in salt or freshwater, use the Supergoop Mineral

Silca Chain Waxing System $99

Ok, ok. I know this is in vogue right now, but after reading Morgan’s review of Silca’s Chain Waxing System, I gave it a try. Our trails have been very dry and dusty this year and I just put a brand new drivetrain on my beloved Murmur, so it was an opportune time to give waxing a go. I spent an hour-ish from start to finish and felt a noticeable difference immediately on the first ride. I have maybe 100 miles on this chain right now and can feel the efficiency, particularly when in cross-chained climbs in the 28-tooth chainring and 52-tooth cassette.

I don’t want to sound like an infomercial here, but man, it really does make a difference. Plus, it’s cathartic to spend some TLC on a favorite bike to ensure it pedals smoothly through the summer months.

Bedrock Cairn Evo 3D PRO Sandals $140

I’ve been wearing Bedrock Sandals since the Cairn sandals launched in 2016. The Cairn Evo 3D sandals have taken me throughout the Sierra of California, Canyon Country, bike tours in Montana, and even some singletrack riding here in Santa Fe. They truly are the best “shoe replacement” for those hot summer months. The new “Block Landscape” color webbing looks like camo to me, and I love camo…

Western Mountaineering Flylite 50th Anniversary Bag 35º $485 – $520

Cari still has her Western Mountaineering sleeping bag from when she worked at Whole Earth Provisions in Austin, TX in the early aughts. That bag has been through the wringer, and it’s still going strong. I still have my 20º and 40º bags from almost 20 years ago, but I was tempted while in Tourist, our local outdoor shop, back in 2022 to buy the Western Mountaineering 50th Anniversary Flylite bag. I’ve been using it on every trip ever since.

What impresses me the most about these new bags is how lightweight they are – for a fully baffled bag, the 6′ 6″ bag tips the scale at 14.75 oz – and how warm they are when they need to be but how they stay cool when it’s hot out too. The thermoregulation is superb! Plus they pack down to nothing. I keep mine in my Outdoor Research Helium bivvy and hang it in our camp closet, ready for deployment!

Good ol’ Vans Old School $70

You don’t need “cycling shoes” to ride bikes. Good ol’ Vans Old Schools get the job done just fine. I’ve been wearing these shoes for over three years now and have taken them bike touring, MTB riding, gravel riding, and everything in between. In my opinion, I feel like the more we dress like “everyday people” on bikes, the more human we appear to motorists, and the more likely people will be drawn to riding bikes.

I will say that I upgraded the soles to Protalus insoles for more arch support…

Smith Payroll Helmet in Matte Dusk $200

It’s pink, it’s comfy, it’s lightweight, and it has great ventilation, but the reason I love this helmet is the smiles it brings people seeing a pink helmet. I’ve had so many positive interactions with hikers out on the trails: “Oh, I love your helmet!” “That’s a great color!” “Who makes that?”

Sure, it does all the safety things, too, but it’s always nice when a helmet makes you feel good.

Merlin App $FREE

Cari and I became dedicated birders in 2020 when we moved to Santa Fe. Located at the terminus of the Rocky Mountains, on the edge of the Colorado Plateau up at 7000′, we’re on a migratory bird path. As such our yard sees visitors ranging from Western Tanagers to Cedar Waxwings and hosts year-round Curve Bill Thrashers, Spotted and Canyon Towhees and more.

We’re always out in the woods, grasslands, and deserts of New Mexico and have our Merlin App on quick-draw status. While we know our favorite bird calls – for me, it’s the Canyon Wren and Spotted Towhee – sometimes, a call throws us off.

Merlin identifies birds by their calls and allows you to catalog your sightings. It’s free to use and is a great way to hone your nature ears

Being Totally Sober $FREE

Man, what a year it’s been already! Last year was a whirlwind experience getting The Radavist back. Through all the stresses of the dissolution and pressures of running the company again — in the worst possible time in the bike industry — I’ve found that being totally lucid and clear has helped me through this tumultuous time.

Perhaps I’ll write something longer about this subject (like I have in the past about alcohol,) but I wish I’d made this transition earlier in my life. My fitness has peaked, my emotions are more stable, and I wake up feeling fresh and ready to take on the day’s tasks.

Without a doubt, psychedelics like psilocybin, LSD, and DMT helped me figure out who I am as a person and my place in this world. But without weekly therapy, I wouldn’t have been able to process lifelong trauma. And I wholeheartedly need to emphasize that. Drugs don’t “fix” your issues; only therapy will do that.

I often use a car bodywork analogy that drugs (even endorphins, I might add!) simply act like bondo over rusty metal. You’ve got to cut the rust out first through therapy, or it’ll simply spread under the bondo and fresh paint.

Seriously. Go to therapy. xo