Last year The Spindle found a need to add Mountain Biking apparel to our arsenal of commuter/urban cycling gear. Yet, around every corner are baggy, very loud, vibrantly colored pieces that didn’t really fit into our style. Enter Kitsbow, a Northern Cali Mountain Bike apparel company with and eye for styling while using solid fabrics for a on the trail and off vibe.
The piece that immediately popped out to us was the Icon, a wool shirt in a variety of eye-catching plaids. But how can a shirt that looks this good fare in the trenches of the everyday cyclist? We dug deeper finding Kitsbow purchases Pendleton Wool made in Oregon, then designs and sews a well-cut, button-up shirt, fashioned it with abrasion and water resistant Schoeller patches on the shoulder and elbows for extra durability at the points bikers get slapped on most by branches and the occasional fall when hitting the trails.
The Icon can be used as a jacket or shirt, depending on the days temp. Down to about 40 degrees with a Merino long-sleeve base layer, then add my Acre Meridian and rode in 15-20 degrees very comfortably. This has become my go-to shirt least 2-3 days a week during the fall/winter, it’s just too damn comfortable and warm for me to pass up when deciding what wear.
Aside from the widely received compliments for the looks, I was eager to test it out on some gravel roads. The shirt performed as expected, albeit I over layered with a windproof jacket, it let just the right about of airflow through with added circulation in the perforated stretch gussets located on the back. Getting smacked by branches was eased by the Schoeller patches. However, I did take a mighty tumble landing on my forearm, only to find the gravel had torn through the wool, but stopped right at the elbow patch, needless to say, these well-placed patches saved the shirt from any more damage. Being a bit bummed about the holes the shirt due to my miscalculation, I contacted the good people at Kitsbow and they were cool enough to add yet another Schoeller patch onto the forearm in case things ever got squirrelly again!
For those no familiar, Schoeller is a water/abrasion proof fabric. The patches added will save you in a lighter rain, but it’s a wool shirt, anything more than that and the wool will soak it in, but it still isn’t uncomfortable to be in if it’s a little damp, it will keep you warm and it dries surprisingly quick once hung up. In cases of over-layering, the Icon packs nicley into a half-frame bag when folded properly, so can stow it away when starting to overheat, which is great for longer rides or when touring.
Quite bit of Icon’s have gone out the door at The Spindle, with customer’s coming back to us with tales of getting drenched in mud, only to easily wipe the shirt off to find it looking as good as it did before the trails. The detail in the stitching that goes into this piece just shows Kitsbow’s keen eye, while some people may not notice the work that goes into these beautiful shirts, we’re kind of suckers for this attention to detail and have been quick to bring it to light when conversing with customers.
With the Icon’s sleek design and durability aspects, along with the fact it’s made right here in the USA makes it an excellent shirt for all types of riders. The best part for us is that the Pendleton wool used is from a limited edition roll, so we’re very excited to see which color schemes will pop up year after year.
Photos by Nick Gividen @nickgividen
The anticipation of The Spindle Rides to Terrapin was pressing on the Spindleros as we geared up, making sure we dotted all the lower case j’s for our riding comrades journey. Once the worry of storms throughout the weekend passed by mid-week, we were pretty confident that not only the Spindle Team riders who were leading us would keep the crew safe, but the weather would be on our side as well!
Ride day was greeted with morning doughnuts and coffee so riders wouldn’t notice the waiver they had to sign (side note:sugar and caffeine will make people sign ANYTHING). Once a few announcements were made, the crew was ready to roll.
The crisp morning air was a nice teaser for the upcoming fall weather, as we rolled through beautiful Atlanta neighborhoods to the Stone Mountain trail, spirits were high and new friends were being made. The Spindle Team wanted to make sure we had sufficient stops planned so riders could hydrate and snack up, just so they take that same approach on their bike packing trips of the future. After a short stop at Stone Mountain, we carried on through Lawrenceville into Dacula, traffic was mild since we left on Saturday at 8am, and the drivers were keen on cheering us on.
Having a good sized break and meal for lunch will always keep riders fresh and charged, so we clamored to El Dorado Mexican Restaurant for grub and a few beers. Was mexican the best idea? maybe, but that was our only idea sooooo moving on.
After lunch we hit our first mini-gravel portion of the ride, we estimated about 3-4 miles of gravel through Dacula just to give the riders a nice little change of scenery and seclusion. Some people got off and rode with the SAG vehicle provided by Westside Bikes, and that’s OK.
Once we crept into Winder, we got an abundance of hills that slowed the pace down just a bit, once about 15 miles out we were in flatter terrain and everyone could basically taste the cold Terrapin brews waiting for us! In Athens we hit a Share highway, This was The spindle Team’s biggest concern, with Spindlero Sharif manning the car graciously provided by Free Bikes For Kids and The Westside Bikes SAG sandwiching the cyclists for safety and rollin’ them to safer paths.
We arrived at Terrapin to open arms, cold beers, music, and the Terrapin crew made sure our cups were full upon arrival. Riders got to rest their bones in a gorgeous field with college kids doin their thing while we basically took over with some games, good convos, and some relaxation with new friends. Brew tour ended around 7pm, did a quick camp set up, a lil more partyin’ was done and off to bed..
Sunday Morning, the crew from Jittery Joe’s started the morning off with some delicious, hot coffee followed right up with some breakfast provided by Lotta Frutta. Bill from Westside Bikes straightened out some gears, took a group shot in front of Terrapin and we staggered back to Atlanta. After about 20ish miles into our return, rain began, with it continuing for 4 of the 6 hours we rode back. But from the look and attitude from our riders, you would’ve thought it was a sunny 75.
Midway Lunch stop at U-Joint in Lawrenceville provided us with a little shelter from the storm, fortunately the heaviest rain was seen while we were inside sluggin beers and fillin’ our bellies with grub. Definitely more than sufficient for the remaining 40 miles.
For us, the people on this ride as well as The Spindle team volunteers made this trip go without a hitch. When you’re surrounded by good people who want to make the trip as fun and safe for everyone, it turns a great trip into an amazing one. Cheers to all those who came out and we look forward to next years trip!
Join us Saturday 10/29 at 6 pm for our 2nd Halloween Alleycat! Cash Money for the Women’s and Men’s wieners as well as special prizes for the best costume!! Come join us!
Old School vid from Chris Akrigg showin us how it’s done!!
Swrve, Based in LA, has been an incredible brand for us. Test after test their materials and stitching hold up to the most brutal tests. We’ve tested these shorts on our daily commutes, MTB shreds and adventure tours with little to no issues. Here’s GM of the Spindle, Andy Lovell, withis his take on this new addition to the Swrve arsenal.
Swerve is quickly becoming one of my favorite cycling brands. Founded in 2005 these guys have churning out durable and functional clothes. I’ve owned a few pair of their shorts and have fallen in love with the Lightweight Trouser Shorts. I was looking for a pair of shorts to wear for a 3 day bike tour from Atlanta to Asheville and a 2 day bike packing trip through the mountains of Virginia. I wanted one pair of shorts to wear both on and off the bike for the full duration of the trip and the lightweights fit the bill perfectly.
Coming in at a scant 179 grams these shorts kept the legs feeling light and airy on tour. The no stretch waistband and the low cut waist in the front kept the shorts in place and super comfortable for long miles in the seat. A sudden rainstorm was also of little concern with the DWR coating adding a nice touch of water resistance.
While a great city short, in the woods is where these shorts really shined. They transitioned seamlessly from the bike, to hiking trails, to the camp site. Triple stitched in all the right spots and a 4 way stretch fabric landed itself perfectly to pretty much any outdoor activity you could think of. Mesh pockets where a nice touch for drying out quickly after quick dips in the river. After hundreds of miles on tour with these shorts they are showing no signs of any wear and tear! The one thing that surprised me most about these shorts is that they didn’t smell after days on the bike. Even coming out of the woods after 2 days the shorts had little odor and I felt that I could of easily kept wearing them for days to come.
The Spindle has teamed up once again with the good people at Terrapin brewing for a spirited race and ride from Atlanta to Athens and back! The Terrapin team has opened their arms and are letting us camp at the brewery! Meet at The Spindle on 9/17 at 7am for sign in, racers will start at 8 and ride will start shortly after!
The race portion will be self supported, and the ride will include a SAG car provided by Westside Bikes! Once in Athens we will set up camp (or whatever other accomodations you would like!) there will be a brew tour, music and food for all to enjoy!
On Sunday Morning (9/18) we will have an amazing breakfast provided by Lotta Frutta! then head on our merry way back to Atlanta! Route to beposted up soon! Racers will be capped at 30 and riders at 50.
This is around 140 miles of riding for the weekend, make sure you a prepared rider, the ride will pace around 11-13 mph.
Early Bird Tickets are $74 for both racers and riders, cost will go up to $100 (8/12) and $120 (9/2) and include the following:
-SAG car provided by Westside Bikes (Racers are self supported but can get checked out before and once we reach our destination)
-Breakfast Sunday provided by Lotta Frutta
-Ride Tshirt designed by local artist Jeremy Ray! (Riders who register after 9/8 will have Tshirts at The Spindle shortly after the event)
-Spindle Tool Pouch