Visit to Mission Workshop Mothership

On a holiday trip to visit in-laws in California, I had a chance to go by the Mission Work-Shop in the Mission in San Francisco. Very appropriate location, i.e. continues-to-be-funky neighbourhood, side-alley, warehouse.

I do have to say that only price tags and some internal wrestling kept me from leaving a major amount of cash here.

The backpacks with their Arkiv rail system are very clever and surprisingly light. When I picked up one of the acccessories, it seemed quite heavy because it has two metal strips that meet the rails on the pack, but the pack itself was surprisingly light. The Rambler hiking pack was also very attractive. However, I wasn’t terribly tempted by either since I’m really much happier carrying stuff on the bike in panniers given the reduction of back-sweatiness without a pack, and I would probably turn to Arc’teryx for a new hiking backpack.

Speaking of Arc’teryx, some of the Mission Workshop jackets are produced in the same facility that Arc’teryx used in the past in Vancouver. As I tried on some of the jackets, the most attractive one was the Trigger, a new softshell they have. Fancy Schöller fabric – of course -, snug fit, thumb loops, a nice collar. This is a very nice softshell bike jacket.

It’s biggest drawback – that I also discussed in regards to the Orion rain jacket – is the lack of visibility. Black isn’t my colour at all and even less so on the bike. At least the Trigger has some reflective piping on the sleeve and on its bottom seam, but black really doesn’t make sense. I mentioned this to the folks I met at Mission, so if you feel the same way, please do mention it to them as well, maybe they’ll put some more visible colouring in their offerings in the future.

I saw a reference to a limited edition light blue version of this on a website, but this seemed to be just a rumour… As soon as the Trigger comes out in a more visible colour, I will certainly be taking a very serious look at it.

All the Mission Workshop products have a feel of quality and substance to them that justify high prices in my mind. I would be very surprised if these are all not products that are truly built-to-last and will also prove their worth in terms of design and material details.

Certainly a fun excursion, and I learned that the main people behind Mission Workshop used to run Chrome which is where I was off to next.

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Happy 2013

I wish all Vancouver bike commuters and others interested in this lifestyle (!) a very happy, safe 2013 with many enjoyable hours spent in the saddle or talking about bike things.

My sense is that 2012 was a bit of a take-off year for bike culture not just locally but throughout Europe and North America, and even Japan. 2013 only likely to bring more of that, perhaps along with a real take-off for (craft) beer culture in Vancouver.

I only started blogging last Fall, but hope to continue with somewhat regular posts (2-3/week) until I run out of things to say.

Always Riding

I usually much prefer to buy bike gear and clothes locally, in part because I enjoy the experience of seeking out products and discussing products with knowledgeable sales people. I’m also old-fashioned in that I’d rather hold something in my hand before I buy it.

BUT, sometimes I get curious about brands or products that aren’t available. The most recent examples were Muxu and Vulpine.

While I ordered Muxu directly from them through their website, I gave Always Riding a try for my Vulpine t-shirt. Why this site? Well, they carry Vulpine, have a nicely organized website and there are a number of other interesting brands and products. They’re based in the UK. Ordering was simple and convenient. Shipping was free (above a certain threshold) and the shipment arrived very promptly.

When a minor flaw showed up in one of the ordered items, the customer service response was very personal, helpful, and quick. Certainly consider this a reliable source for ordering things that I can’t find locally.