As winter settles in.

All across the country the weather is becoming increasingly frightful, and though winter in the Bay Area is considerably more tolerable than it is in say, Madison, or Chicago, or Minneapolis, or Denver, or Boston, or Canada, or central/Northern Europe, or basically everywhere besides Australia (where not only is it summer right now, but it’s like, day after tomorrow or something), and Florida, (where, though it has nothing to do with the weather, it should still be noted that one out of every five people is certifiably insane).

So since we’re all either sitting inside by a fire, a space heater, on a fat bike, in our bathing suit (Australia), or padded cell (Florida), let’s get on with it and trudge through the foul elements and knock All Hail The Black Market’s 1,405th post straight into the crapper.

First up, I came across this here little interview with Jimbo Phillips and Keith Meek;
So as a bit of back story for those who don’t know, Jimbo is probably one of the top five most prolific skateboard graphic artists is history, Novak is the owner of NHS and all of its subsidiaries, as well as one of the founders of Independent Trucks, and Santa Cruz Bikes, and Meek was, and continues to be one of the most underrated skateboarders in history. Not only that, but he’s a hugely gifted graphic artist, who I first met when I began working at SCB and he was running the art department there.

See? The degrees of separation continue to dwindle.

Anyway, it’s pretty rad to see Keith getting a little bit of recognition, because besides being a talented skateboarder, he’s a damn fine human being to boot.

Moving on to news of proper urban development, (hopefully), news has just recently dropped regarding Dallas’ plan to build a 10,000 acre nature district;

The bottom line is an urban park eleven times the size of New York City’s Central Park would be an unparalleled advancement in terms of marrying urban development and maintaining habitat for native furry/feathered/scaled inhabitants, not to mention the myriad of possibilities that would potentially present themselves for local cyclists.

Unless it’s all just golf courses, and paved paths then I take it back.

Perhaps Dallas could spend some of that dough to clone Nathan Burrell;
-And have him spearhead efforts similar to those from his previous masterpiece of Richmond Virginia’s James River Park;

If anyone in or around the Dallas area can confirm or deny this park plan, would you give me a holler and let me know what’s what?

Or, because I found the Trinity River Park story on the internet, maybe it’s all bullshit.

I swear… People have developed the greatest communication device mankind has ever known, and it seems that we’re too stupid to properly use it.

At this juncture in today’s post, because I haven’t done one for a little while I’m going to go ahead and barf out a product review.

Back at the beginning of December when I went to Portland for the SSCXWC I very wisely brought along with me my very favorite rain jacket. Along the course of the weekend while at one of our many drinking stops, someone else decided that it was their favorite jacket as well and thoughtfully liberated it from me.

Now being the creature of habit that I am, upon my return home I went about tracking a new one down, which I sold the remainder of my soul to procure;

The jacket in question is the Refuge from Showers Pass.

The qualities I love about this jacket are literally all of them.

It’s everything I want in a rain jacket, and have long hoped for a manufacturer to realize.

Sealed zippers, two front vents, and reflective bits;

A removable hood;

A breast pocket with an internal media port;

A stowable mudbutt prevention flap;

A rear zippered stash pocket;

And best of all- Like very best of all, both of the shoulders are reinforced with thin rubberized panels, preventing wear from sling bags or backpacks, which often times results in a fabric stress, and eventual leakage;

After two years with my old jacket, I feel like I have a pretty well rounded perspective on the durability and and functionality of this particular design. I’d imagine some folks might take a review like this with a grain of salt assuming I maybe got it for free, and as such feel obligated to say nice things. Rest assured I did not, and therefore am not.

I’m saying nice things because after twenty five/plus years of using everything under the sun (or as the case may be, under the rain), that I could get my hands on, the Refuge checks every single box. It stands as my forever go-to when facing foul weather either in a commute, a soggy day’s worth of errand running, or on the rare chance I engage in such a fool thing, a mountain bike ride.

Naturally, at $279.00, any reasonable person might choke and move on, but after years and years of being cold and wet, I’ve come to realize if one can cough up the dough, you just simply can’t put a price on this level of quality.

As I do only when discussing products I love the most, I give the Refuge five out of five bloody pentagrams;

If those aren’t enough to keep us warm as I drone on from one post to the next over these long wintery nights, then at least I can guarantee the jacket will be.

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9 Responses to “As winter settles in.”

  1. Kimbro January 4, 2017 at 7:38 am #

    It’s Dallas, so they’ll absolutely screw it up. It’s got the potential to be a spectacular asset, but as they do with everything, they’ll pave over all the good stuff. They’re building an equestrian park that’s already encroaching on an ancient spring they promised they wouldn’t touch, as one example.
    I hope they preserve it and just clean up the illegal dumps and just make it easier to access, but I have no faith in that city. That said, here’s a great blog by a guy who’s been exploring down there for years that you may dig:
    And here’s the facebook page of some folks trying to hold the developers/city accountable and save the aforementioned spring:

    • SSP January 9, 2017 at 12:30 pm #

      Yep, they’ll fuck it up, it’s they way Dallas works. They already cleared tons of acres of native forests, springs, and habitat for a private golf course. Soon the powers that be in Dallas politics will pave over everything green.

  2. Peter January 4, 2017 at 7:53 am #

    Is it Gortex?

  3. hellbelly January 4, 2017 at 8:02 am #

    I began riding the JRPS trails in the summer of ’90 when I moved to RVA for dental school. Back then it was not officially sanctioned as a mountain biking trail as was barely a quarter of it’s current size. There was tons of trash, doper detritus, and one would routinely come across enchanted moments b/t lovers (lusters?). Nonetheless, the trail(s) were fun, gnarly and responsible for increasing my infatuation with mountain bicycling. Nate, RVA More and many volunteers cleaned it up, increased it’s sustainability, maintained the fun and gnar that characterized JRPS way back and made it maybe the best metro inner city trail system in the US. During my tenure back in Norfolk, I used to drive up (2hrs) to ride it once (or more) a month. It’s been over 4 years since I’ve been back, but I am looking forward to returning in April doing some alumni hoo haa at my alma mater. Presenting at the school will be swell, but mostly I am looking forward to ducking out to roll with some friends.

  4. Trama January 4, 2017 at 8:50 am #

    You seem to know stuff: Any trail building or stuff going on around here? I’m ready to put in some winter work.

    • Stevil January 4, 2017 at 10:42 am #

      Trail work on Saturdays on the Tamarancho loop: Saturdays, Dec. 10 and 17, Jan. 7, 14, and 21.
      Time: Meet at 10 a.m. at the main parking lot in the camp, at the top of Iron Springs. Drive or ride your bike to the start. Trail work on Sundays on the Flow Trail Dates: Sundays, Dec. 11 and 18, Jan. 8, 15, and 22.
      Time: Meet at 10 a.m. at skills/log ride area, (B-17 Extension Trail). Drive to center of camp and ride your bike or ride up White Hill, Porcupine Trail. It should be noted that steady rain cancels.

  5. MELI January 4, 2017 at 11:49 pm #

    “purple people eater” slasher eff yes

  6. dnuggie January 5, 2017 at 1:55 pm #

    That idea for the park seems insane and awesome and because of that I’m gonna be optimistic and say I cant wait to pee in public in it.