Tag Archives: RAGBRAI

I Am Going To Miss You Anna!

anna Getting Ready For RAGBRAI

Getting Ready For RAGBRAI

For the past five summers I’ve ridden with Anna, a female cyclist who lives near me, as she trained for RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa). Anna is not only a great athlete, but she has also written several product reviews for this blog as well (Lululemon Cycling Clothing, Panoptx 7Eye Briza Women’s Cycling Sunglasses, and Sip, Clip and Go Coffee). Before our first ride this summer Anna informed me that she and her husband will be moving out-of-state before long, so this would be our last year of cycling together. Even though I ride with a lot of different cyclists every year, both male and female, I am really going to miss riding with Anna!

I remember the day I met Anna quite well—I had just returned from several weeks of photographing archaeological sites in the Middle East the day before and was not only tired, but my legs were stiff from being confined to a small vehicle for a few weeks and then cramped into an airplane for the 21-hour trip back home. I was only a few blocks away few my house when I got passed by a young blonde woman who passed me like I was sitting still! No one ever likes getting passed on a bike, but getting passed by a woman was more than I could bear (sorry folks, I’m Old School). It took me a mile to catch up to her and I just said, “You caught me sleeping” as I passed her. Two miles later I stopped for some road construction and Anna pulled up next to me and introduced herself—then asked about what route I was taking and asked if she could join me. Since then we have ridden a lot of miles together between the time in mid-June when she gets out of school (she is a teacher) and the time she leaves for RAGBRAI.

I am not sure where she is moving to yet, but I am certain she will find someone else to ride with her next year as she prepares for RAGBRAI (she goes every year). Therefore, I would like to give that person a warning: Hiding behind that lovely smile Anna has a mean streak. Over the years I have learned that you should never tell her that you don’t feel well or that you are tired. When you say, “Anna, my legs are sore so let’s take it easy today,” she hears, “Anna, drop down into your aerobars and set a pace that will make me puke before we hit 20 miles!” Last year I had to spend a few months off the bike due to a medical problem and then ended up having surgery on my esophagus just a week before I met up with Anna for our first ride of the summer. A few miles into the ride I told her I was having trouble keeping up with her because of the surgery—she just smiled and said, “Just sounds like an excuse to me!” Like a gladiator in the Colosseum—no mercy expected and none given!

If you are one of the thousands of cyclists heading out to Iowa next week for RAGBRAI you can look for Anna in her “Team Big” jersey. If you see her, please tell her “Hello” for me!

Anna, I wish you well wherever you and Nate end up moving to. May the wind always be at your back!


Posted by on July 17, 2014 in Life On Two Wheels


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Panoptx 7Eye Briza Women’s Prescription Motorcycle Sunglasses

Editor’s Note: A few weeks ago Michael Spanjol from ADS Sports Eyewear asked me review a pair of their prescription sunglasses for athletes. The product he offered looked fantastic, but since I do not wear prescription eyewear I couldn’t write the review. However, Anna, a young lady I ride with every summer as she trains for RAGBRAI, does wear glasses and as she has done on several other occasions she was willing to try the product and write an unbiased review.

Panoptx 7Eye Briza Women’s Prescription Motorcycle Sunglasses

Anna And Her New Prescription Motorcycle Sunglasses

I was asked to provide a review for a pair of prescription cycling sunglasses from ADS Sports Eyewear by the All Seasons Cyclist as he does not wear prescription glasses and I do. Previous to trying out the Panoptx 7Eye Briza glasses I have either worn standard non-prescription cycling glasses, or my more fashionable, albeit not as functional, prescription sunglasses—90% of the time opting for vision and fashion over glasses designed with sports in mind. This was OK, however not ideal as I was constantly distracted by the shortcomings of glasses designed for looks rather than sports. Dealing with glasses sliding down my nose, or crushing the sides of my head, not having been designed for wearing under helmets was just part of the price of fashion. However, despite these annoyances, I was reluctant to shell out the dough for cycling glasses that I would only wear on the bike and then feel like a dork in off the bicycle.

Panoptx 7Eye Briza Women’s Prescription Motorcycle Sunglasses

Panoptx 7Eye Briza Women’s Prescription Motorcycle Sunglasses

And then I bought a motorcycle. If I thought my sunglasses were uncomfortable under a bike helmet, boy, let me tell you, they were awful under a motorcycle helmet. (Part of their fashion appeal is derived from the arms being made of teak, and wood is not particularly flexible) Problem number two, that I didn’t discover till my first ride after a weekend of classes in a parking lot, Wind. And lots of it! Sure, I tear up on a brisk morning on a bicycle, but this was more tears and more speed, and they splattered against the inside of my lenses like it was raining inside out.  As a totally new motorcycle rider I was already nervous and now I couldn’t see. We went to the Harley store to try on glasses to order prescription riding glasses, but I wasn’t very crazy about any of them. I had decided on a pair of Wiley-X only because they were the only ones that seemed to have a snug fit that were also reasonably priced.

Panoptx 7Eye Briza Women’s Prescription Motorcycle Sunglasses

Foam Insert For The Prescription Motorcycle Sunglasses

Let me say here that as a woman rider most products designed for riding, either a motorcycle or a bicycle, are designed for men. A majority of riders are men and it makes sense, but it is so frustrating to feel like you only ever have a handful of options, half of them pink, festooned with rhinestones, or seem like we might have a thorny rose tattoo and listen to country music…puleez! Quit bedazzling everything!

Panoptx 7Eye Briza Women’s Prescription Motorcycle Sunglasses

Entire Kit For The Panoptx 7Eye Briza Sunglasses

Then I was asked by the All Seasons Cyclist if I would be interested in reviewing prescription cycling glasses. When I checked out the website I looked at the styles but noticed a tab for prescription motorcycle sunglassesfor Women…well, I was hopeful. I figured if I found a pair with removable foam inserts I could use them for both sports! I clicked on the page for motorcycle glasses and was pretty pleased with the selection—I thought could it finally be possible to not only be functional but fashionable too? Yes!

Michael was the contact person that assisted me through the process via email. I was skeptical about finding a good fit and explained I have a more narrow face and many of the glasses had not felt snug, I was going to get the Wiley-X only because I had tried them on but told him of two other pairs I liked as well. Out of the other two I liked he recommended the Panoptx 7Eye Briza CV. He needed my prescription and distance between pupils (which, as it turns out, can easily be measured with a credit card, instructions are linked to their website). I opted for black frames with bronze polarized lenses, but the Briza has a variety of combinations to choose from. The base price for the frames is $89 and you can choose to add polarization or transitions lenses, and other options such as no-line bifocals and frame color are also available. The glasses that were sent to me for review would have cost $308 (frames $89; single vision lenses $119; polarization $100). A great price for the increase in safety and clarity!

Panoptx 7Eye Briza Women’s Prescription Motorcycle Sunglasses

Panoptx 7Eye Briza Women’s Prescription Motorcycle Sunglasses

I received the glasses in about a week after providing all the needed information. Even though I had Michael to guide me through the process I went through the website ordering process and found it to be pretty easy to navigate through the available choices and prescription information. Also the technology ADS Sports Eyewear uses to create their prescription lenses is unique—it is a digitally created prescription lens that simply put, lets you see wherever you’re looking, straight ahead, or peripheral vision. A full explanation of the technology they use (Free-Form Digital Lens Surfacing) is found on their website.

My first ride of the spring was in late May, with the Briza’s. Fit under the helmet? check (my helmet is a Shoei RJ Platinum). Since I had just learned to ride in late September 2012 I was pretty nervous throughout the ride and my patient husband let me ride around the side streets for about an hour before going on about a 15-minute ride to get dinner—we ate and headed back at dusk and as we pulled in the garage I thought “Oh crap, I forgot to think about the glasses!” and then it occurred to me that’s the best thing you could possibly say about a piece of equipment, especially one designed for your vision. They did not slide around, they did not hurt my head, they did not let in wind, and they were remarkably clear and wrapped enough so I did not see them in my periphery. Best of all, they look good too—the foam insert comes out super easy so I had them on sitting outside at dinner and popped them back in before riding home. I have since logged about 300 nervous miles on the motorcycle, and about 420 sweaty miles on my road bike, but am never nervous about my sight.

I also really like the Panoptx 7Eye Briza CV on the road bike too, since motorcycle riding has a few additional requirements I addressed it first. One thing unique to the bicycle that I do not encounter on the motorcycle is riding in the drops or in the aero bars.  This is where you separate the fashion from the function pretty quick.  The Briza’s have stayed in place remarkably well and we have been on some tough rides so far. A short ride is anything under 35 miles, we start in the morning when it can be cooler and go for a few hours. They’ve seen humidity (over 90% some days, I’m talking a real sweat storm), rain, heat, over 20 mph wind (I remove the foam inserts for the bicycle). 90% of bicycle rides so far have been in the 50–60 mile range and I do push them up here and there, but no more frequently than I might any other sport glasses. They’ve seen a lot of sweat and so far the pads above the ears and the nose are great. I’ve had other glasses where the sweat has loosened the adhesive and the pads come loose. I also do not use a mirror and I can see great from a slight turn of my head—no obstruction from the frames and the digital prescription is fantastic. I feel like they are the clearest glasses I own (I have 4 other pair). On a recent family trip I used them for driving, shooting trap, at the pistol and rifle range, and to race go-karts. Sorry other glasses!

The Panoptx 7Eye Briza CV glasses came with foam inserts, a hard case, cleaning cloth and lens cleaner.

Panoptx 7Eye Briza Women’s Prescription Motorcycle Sunglasses

Great Sunglasses For Motorcycles and Bicycles!

By the way, an average motorcycle ride for me is 45–55 mph and 2–4 hours in duration on a Triumph Legend 900 triple. Average cycling is 35–65 miles per day, 5 days a week. I will wear these glasses at RAGBRAI in July (my 11th year in a row!) for about 1,500 to 2,000 miles total from mid-June to mid-August on a LeMond Tourmalet.


Posted by on July 12, 2013 in Product Reviews


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Axiom Double Power Bag 2 Top Tube Bag

A few weeks ago a female friend of mine was looking for a top tube bag she could use at RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa). She wanted to be able to reach her carbohydrate bars and gels as she was riding and it seemed like every top tube bag she could find got in the way when she got off the saddle. I happened to find the Axiom Double Power Bag 2 Top Tube Bag at the local bike shop and thought it would be perfect for her—and it turns out I was right for a change! If you have a short-frame bike (most women do), or a bike with strange geometry (I have one), then you need to look at this bag.

Axiom Double Power Bag 2 Top Tube Bag

Axiom Double Power Bag 2 Top Tube Bag

The Axiom Double Power Bag 2 looks like a mini set of panniers—it slips over the top tube and is held in place by two Velcro straps (one goes around the top tube, and the other around the stem). This is actually three bags in one—it has two outer bags (6″ long, 2″ wide and 4″ tall each) and they are held together by a 2″ wide strap and on top of the strap is another compartment (only 4″ deep). The small compartment is really only big enough for a multitool, a set of keys or a couple of CO2 cartridges. The two main bags are large enough to carry a couple of Clif Bars or six Honey Stinger Waffles each.

Axiom Double Power Bag 2 Top Tube Bag

Axiom Double Power Bag Has Two Main Pockets

Even though I am a big guy, I have one bike with weird geometry and I just can’t use a regular top tube bag with it. Fortunately, the Axiom Double Power Bag 2 works perfect for me. I only use this bag on rides of four hours or more—that way I don’t have to carry all of my food in my jersey pockets.

Axiom Double Power Bag 2 Top Tube Bag

Center Pouch On The Axiom Double Power Bag 2

This bag does have a couple of drawbacks, but no major problems. First, while the bag is made of high quality 600D water-resistant polyester it is not waterproof. The mesh cover over the left bag will obviously let rain into the bag, and the bag on the right has small openings on both ends. If you are going out on a rainy day you need to use Ziploc bags to keep everything dry. Second, it is possible that the bag could rub your legs if you have an extremely short-frame bike (I had no trouble at all). Third, this bag is not very aerodynamic—but then again, if you are in a race this is not the bag you want anyway.

The Axiom Double Power Bag 2 retails for around $20. If your local bike shop does not have this bag in stock they can easily get it for you (they can order it through Quality Bicycle Products). Axiom backs this bag with a “lifetime guarantee for the quality of fabrication and craftsmanship.”


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