It’s that most wonderful time of the year when we head out to the malls and spend far beyond our reach. Like a lot of you, I find the choices baffling – there is so much to choose from how do you decide what to get the obsessive cyclist in your life? Thankfully I’m here to help you sort it all out with my own Browne Eye Buyers Guide. This post has gadgets that no bike rider should be without.
To point out the obvious, cyclocross doesn’t exist yet on the American television. We are forced to get our fix of ‘cross by streaming video off of a bootlegged European feed. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to get a live feed from a domestic race here and there. We’re often seen hunched over the streaming video on our small laptop monitors. However, the fine folks at Warpia have solved the problem of small screen watching forever. Slipping an adapter into the USB port of your computer and another into the your television’s VGA or HDMI port and you are now streaming wirelessly to the boob tube! You can now return to your natural position, kicked back on the couch with a beer. Your computer monitor is now free to look at flow charts, documents or whatever normal people do for jobs. I honestly have no idea.
Get the HDMI cable if you don’t already have one.
Speaking of cyclocross, this winter discipline begs to be filmed for many reasons. The racers bunched together in the opening phases of the race resemble NASCAR racing – rubbing is racing! Also there is the inevitable head over heels crash. Nothing like hitting the barriers at full gas to cause a collective “Oh shit!” With the Contour HD video camera you can chronicle all the action for later review. I mounted the HD unit to my Giro at the Cross Vegas race and recorded footage. I edited out my acrobatic skills on the bike and just posted my run-up to my beer hand-up. At that point I was way off the front or way off the back – I can’t remember. Either way the Contour HD does a fantastic job of capturing all the action. The camera turns on with a sliding switch, two red beams shoot out from the camera illuminating the area that will be recorded and you’re set. With USA Cycling striking down the possible ban on helmet mounted cameras I expect to see a lot of footage and carnage next season.
Contour also has a model with GPS!
There are moments that I enjoy quiet reflection next to a roaring fireplace reading a book and beer bonging my favorite brew. But who has the time to fight the crowds at the mall, wander through a crowded book store and then wait in line to buy your novel of choice. You need to get home and download those power files! Besides do you really want to disclose to the Barnes & Noble staff that you are purchasing the whole Twilight series? Somethings are best kept private.
The Kindle by Amazon lets you purchase and read books on the tablet’s 6” screen. The Amazon library is so expansive that any book you want is there. From the Game of Shadows to Shit My Dad Says (yeah I know – the television show of the same name is a major disappointment, but trust me the book is much better) it’s all there. It is also the perfect way to take all these books with you when you are traveling to races. Catch up on the book you are reading in your hotel or download a new book in the airport when your flight gets cancelled. Just remember to get a case or you’ll be buying replacements every few months.