A Checklist for Using Your Bike to Commute

Although gas prices are down somewhat, they are still a lot more than they used to be.  Since riding your bike is economical, good for the environment, and helps you lose weight, we are all about helping our customers use them.  Aside from the obvious, here’s what you need to make the economical switch to a bike:

The Absolute Necessities

1.) a Bike Lock.  It is very unwise to leave a bike unlocked for any period of time.  Even if you have your bike registered, most stolen bikes never come back.  A cable lock is the most economical choice as well as the easist to put on, but is also the easiest to cut.  A U-lock with a rectangular keyhole shape is the hardest to pick.  When you put your lock on, be sure to put it through both the tire and over the frame of the bike for maximum security.

2.) a Helmet.  A hardcore fall or a collision could leave you brain damaged or even dead.  A simple helmet is inexpensive and can make all the difference.  What makes one helmet different from another?  A basic helmet can get you covered, but the higher end helmets a.) come in different sizes, b.) are ergonomically shaped to provide less wind resistance and c.) will be more properly ventilated.

3.) Bike Lights.  Inevitably you will ride at night or in twilight.  In some states, it is mandatory to have a bike light in the front as well as the back of your bike.  Some lights are bigger and brighter than others, so consider this in your search.

4.) Bottle Cage and Water Bottle.  Your car needs fuel and so do you.  Getting dehydrated can leave you stranded somewhere and can make any ride a very unpleasant experience.

Other Helpful Accessories

1.) A Rear Frame Wrack.  If you are commuting with your bike, you’ll probably be carrying something.  A rear frame wrack will allow you to tie things to your bike, including a trunk.

2.) A Tailwind Trailer.  There’s no use in leaving the little ones at home.  Hook up your trailer to your bike and take the kids to the store, the park, or wherever you need to go.

If you’d like to calculate how many miles you’ve ridden and how much gas you’ve saved, get a trip computer.  You can also calculate all the calories you burn as you go. 😀

Are you a fan of cycling as a form of sustainable transportation?  Consider joining our Facebook group “Get Green, Get Fit, Get a Bike” for more cool updates.  Join NuRide to earn as you ride.  If you need a bike, visit one of our stores and you’ll be on your way in no time.

Ski Season is Here! Arapahoe Basin and Loveland are Now Open

Making Snow at A-Basin
Making Snow at A-Basin

Stop dreaming and start hitting the slopes.  Arapahoe Basin and Loveland officially opened today at 8:30 am MST.  Check out A-Basin’s mountain cam to check out the snow.

Now’s a great time to get great deals on tons of 2008 gear.  We are also getting a lot of our 2009 gear in, so be sure to check in before your next trip.

Sun and Ski Has the Sleepy Traveler Covered with the Burton Sleeper Hoodie

Sometimes you get sleepy when you travel.  And there usually isn’t a good napping place handy, especially if you are in the middle seat of a plane.  That’s why Burton created the Sleeper Hoodie!

Why is it a thousand times better to have a sleeper hoodie than a non-sleeper hoodie?  Well, when you get tired with a regular hoodie, you have to crawl up in a ball to sleep or pay for one of the expensive pillows the airlines charge for.  With the Sleeper Hoodie, you just blow up the inflatable pillow in the collar and pull down the light shield from the hood.  The Burton Sleeper Hoodie has integrated audio connections not to mention its nice and warm, so you’ll be well on your way to sweet dreams in no time. Travel will never be the same… just don’t forget the mix tape.

Buy your Burton sleeper hoodie while they last.

Quick Features:

  • Pit Zips
  • Sound Pocket with Headphone Cable Port
  • 80% Cotton / 20% Polyester
  • Allover Print
  • Cuff Thumb Holes
  • Custom Zipper Pull
  • Hidden Stash Pocket with Ear Plugs
  • Interior Jersey Lining
  • Removable, Inflatable Neck Pillow
  • Snap-Out Light Shield
  • Zippered, Internal Passport and Ticket Pocket

Help Us Support Cycling as Sustainable Transportation at Bike to Coworking Day

Traffic, smog, high gas prices, why bother?  Cycling is healthy and solves all three problems.  Join Sun and Ski at Conjunctured Coworking Space in Austin, Texas for Bike to Coworking Day.  Ride your bike or wear a green shirt and get one free day of coworking.  Here’s more info:

Date: Thursday, October 23, 2008, 9 am to 5 pm
Location: 1309 E 7th Street, Austin, TX 78702

Watch the crazy video I filmed with the guys from Conjunctured:

Be sure to follow us on Twitter for more updates.

Choosing a Pair of Goggles for Skiing and Snowboarding

You might feel cool skiing in sunglasses, but you could be endangering yourself. Because you sweat when you ski and this sweat can collect as condensation on your glasses, you can seriously impair your vision. Not a good thing when you are coasting down a mountain at high speeds with other people and trees around.

Fortunately, optics makers like Smith, Scott and Electric make goggles that both help prevent snow blindness and do not fog up like regular sunglasses. Here are factors to consider when picking a pair:

1.) Ventilation
It’s important that ski goggles allow the water vapor from your sweat to escape. You will often see vents on the front and top of your goggles to facilitate this. Smith also makes a ventilated helmet which further prevents this condensation from collecting in your goggles.

2.) Lens Shape
As light passes through another medium (like a lens), it refracts, causing distortion. Many ski goggle makers curve the glass slightly in a spherical fashion to prevent this distortion. These goggles will cost more, but will allow you to see more clearly on the slopes.

3.) Durability
Just like any pair of glasses you put on, ski goggles can scratch. If you ski or board a lot or are rough with your gear, look for a pair with hard coating.

4.) Helmet Compatibility
Do you like wearing your goggles outside of your helmet instead of inside? Some goggles are meant to fit around a helmet.

5.) Size
Spy offers goggles for people with smaller faces. Kids should also not wear goggles meant for adults as they will fit much too loosely. If you wear glasses, be sure your goggles fit over them. You also want to make sure the strap will fit comfortably on your head.

6.) Lens Color
All About Vision has this great guide for choosing a lens color:
* In low light and fog, yellow, gold and amber lenses filter out blue light, emphasizing shadows in the snow so you can see bumps better. They also work well in moderate light.
* Rose lenses are excellent on low-light gray days. And they’re fun to wear.
* In bright light, dark tints (especially green) will keep your eyes more comfortable.
* Polarized lenses block reflected glare off the horizontal plane and are great when it’s bright out. But they may not be ideal near the end of the day when long shadows appear in the snow, because they are usually made with a darker tint than most sun lenses.
* Mirror (or “flash”) coatings will block some, but not a lot of glare. They are usually more of a cosmetic than a practical feature.
* For night riding and skiing, use only clear lenses.

Remember, the reflection of the sun on the snow is fierce. Always make sure to protect your eyes from UV rays while you are on the slopes.

How to Choose a Ski Length

It would be nice to have a magic formula for choosing a ski length. However, there are a lot of factors that come into play when choosing the right length ski for you.

There is a basic rule of thumb to measure how long your skis should be. A beginner should see the tip of the ski falls between his or her chin and mouth with the back tip on the ground. An intermediate skier’s skis should fall between the mouth and eyes. Any advanced skier’s ski would fall between their eyes and the top of the head. Here is a sizing chart that will give you a general idea of ski size range you should be looking at.

Snow Ski Sizing Chart:

Skiing Style:
If you turn a lot to maintain speed (as a beginner would do) or like doing tricks, a shorter ski is more your style. However, if you are an aggressive skier and like creating a lot of speed and traverse less frequently, a longer ski would be better.

Type of Terrain:
A long ski would be great for an experienced skier on steeps, but not great for tree skiing. Consider a pair of fatties in slushy snow or for tree skiing, especially if you are less skilled.

Remember, length is only one facet of a ski. Skis come in different shapes, widths as well as flexes according to their function. For more info, feel free to chat with one of our associates at www.sunandski.com.

Comparing Ski Jackets by Weight

Picking out a ski jacket can be a daunting task. There are so many brands and weights to choose from. You should pick your jacket based on the temperature and weather conditions for your trip. Here are your options:

1.) Softshell Jacket: Softshell jackets are water resistant but not waterproof. This means you could fall and not get wet in most instances, but it’s no guarantee. They are meant for warm weather skiing, which is just below freezing and above. These jackets are often worn off the slopes as well, since they look the least like performance jackets.

Here is an example of a softshell jacket.

2.) Shell Jackets: Shell jackets are waterproof but do not provide the insulation of heavier jackets. These are great for skiing or boarding in melting snow, since you can protect yourself from the wet snow without overheating.

Here is an example of a shell jacket.

3.) Snow Jackets: Most ski jackets come with both an outer shell and an inner layer that could be composed of wool or synthetic materials like Thinsulate. The majority of ski jackets fit in this category.

Here is an example of a standard snow jacket.

4.) Three-in-One Jackets: A three-in-one jacket, sometimes called a “Tri-Climate Jacket”, is a shell that has a removable fleece that snaps or zips in. You can wear just the shell, just the fleece, or both at the same time.

Here is an example of a three-in-one jacket.

If you have any questions about ski jackets, feel free to visit our ski jacket buying guide or call Sun and Ski at 866-786-3869.

My Experience with the Gore-Tex Mobile Weather Station

Getting hit by a massive storm is not fun. Fortunately through the marvels of modern science, we have Gore-Tex, a fabric that keeps the elements out but allows our perspiration to evaporate out. To demonstrate the effectiveness of Gore-Tex, I met with Jody, a representative at the Gore-Tex Mobile Weather Station. Check it out:

Please visit sunandski.com to check out Gore-Tex jackets, pants, and shoes to keep you dry.

Get Pummeled by a Storm and Still Stay Dry at the Gore-Tex Mobile Weather Station

For some storms, an umbrella or a wool coat just won’t cut it when it comes to keeping you dry.  For these types of storms, there is Gore-Tex.

Gore-Tex is a weather-proof, microporous fabric that comes with a “Keep You Dry Promise”.  Each microscopic pore is 20,000 times smaller than a bead of water.  This allows perspiration to evaporate out but does not allow moisture to get in.  Since Gore-Tex is also wind-proof, you can stay warm and dry through extreme conditions.

Gore-Tex is so sure you will stay dry in their clothing, they’ve decided to bring the storm to you.  The Gore-Tex Mobile Weather Station features the “Extreme Weather Chamber”, which produces rainfall up to 22 inches per hour and creates whipping winds up to speeds of 32 miles per hour.  Watch (or experience) Gore-Tex take a pounding without letting any water soak through.  Here are the details for the Mobile Weather Station’s visit to our Austin, Texas store:

What: The Gore-Tex Mobile Weather Station
When: September 25 from 11 AM-6 PM
Where: 2438 W Anderson Lane
Austin, TX

GORE has partnered with an important international charity, Soles4Souls, to ensure those in need have the most basic protection – a pair of shoes. We encourage you to donate a pair of new or gently used shoes when you come to experience the GORE Extreme Weather Chamber.

Check out the awesome Gore-Tex shoes, jackets, pants, and boots that Sun and Ski carries at our online store.

Does Bulk Keep You Warm?

Some people may think that a bulky coat keeps you warm.  While some bulky fabrics like wool and down do prove to be very warm, technology over the past 30 years has made big strides to eliminate bulk while still keeping out the cold.

What are just a few technologies that help you stay mobile while also keeping you warm:

1.) Many polyesters such as those seen in Hot Chilly’s or Thermotech use technology borrowed from running apparel to wick away moisture.  Your body’s sweat can keep you cold, so it is key that this base layer wicks away moisture without letting cool air in.

2.) Polartec: Polartec is a tight knit form of fleece that is used by anyone from professional athletes to the military.  It has three different weights to choose from.  The colder the temperature, the bulkier the fleece you should get.

1.) Thinsulate: Thinsulate uses microfibers to create a tighter knit fabric rather than a bulkier one.  Thinsulate traps air close to the body, allowing one’s own body heat to be retained inside.  It is generally used in jackets but it prevalent in other forms of clothing as well.

Being able to move freely is important while skiing and snowboarding, so be aware that you don’t have to sacrifice comfort to be warm.