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Mar 12, 2019

A look at gravel cycling clothing with Tim Clark of Kitsbow. Tim is the Director of Product Design and Development.

Episode Links:

Kitsbow Website

Kitsbow Instagram

Kitsbow Facebook 

Bike Index 

Grasshopper Adventure Series 


Automagic Translation (please forgive any errors)

Craig Dalton: All right. Tim, welcome to the podcast.

Tim Clark: Oh, great to be here. Craig.

Craig Dalton: I always like to start out by learning a little bit more about your background as a cyclist. Can give us a little bit of a brief history.

Tim Clark: Yeah. I think like many kids growing up in the 70s and southern California, and my first experience was on, , you know, I don't think it was even Schwinn stingray. It was, , it was a, it was an off branch Schwinn sting ray. , but of course, you know, every kid modified it to look like a BMX bike and you know, just riding into dirt, jping, doing skids in the gutter. , but then in junior high it was kind of a turning point where kind of what it was that Christmas, but every kid wanted a beach cruiser, you know, it's usually a Schwinn beach cruiser. And I got one and you know, it was the teenagers, , you know, sort of transportation of choice, but it wasn't till I was about ready to go to college that I realized, wow, I need a bike. And it was going off to Cal Poly.

And had a, had a good friend going, going with me at the time and we both realized we had these beach cruisers that were just sitting idle in our garages. So we, you know, kind of fixed them up a little bit, took all the, you know, any, anything that would, would rattle off and those became our bikes. And what we didn't realize is how vital those bikes were for going up into the hills. And, you know, we, we were definitely late to the party, you know, the, the clinker clunker folks from Moran. But, , we took those bikes and we just push them up as far as we could up in the hills and it just bombed down the hills. And it was really, at that point I realized, wow, this is, this is what I want to do. , and you know, about a couple of years later, I was still in college and I wanted to get a mountain bike.

Tim Clark: And unfortunately, it just didn't have quite enough, but I was able to get, , scrape up some, some funds for a nicer mountain bike, or I started a road bike. And I, that's really where I cut my teeth writing. Just learning how to ride road by, you know, riding miles in groups. , and , you know, then I realized, well, you know, that was a great avenue for getting fit, a lot of bike. And eventually I got a mountain bike and met my wife and we did quite a bit of writing, , here in the, in the North Northern California where I eventually ended up. Then kids came and a little few, few distractions. And, , I ended up moving up to Portland as well and , where I work. Pretty big road culture and a lot of a lot of folks that, , you know, had had quite a bit of race and experience, even even some prose.

Tim Clark: So he was at that point I decided to jp in and you know, take my hand or learn about racing. And , it's been about six months at least, just getting popped off the back of this, , quite experience group. , and eventually about six months in, I started to stick with the group and, , was able to, to finish the ride without, without being alone and, , started racing. And, and that went on for about probably about three, four or five years. Got to a point where I was at a spot where I was a three, but I was ready to cat up. , but I also, it was, it was also a attorney point as well because I realized I just wasn't enjoying it. I enjoyed the, I joined the training rides, I would say probably more than the actual racing. And, , I just lost the fire at lost my interest, started running, , and , you know, doing, doing trail running as well.

Tim Clark: And I just, and that's also when I started commuting, , committed. I was, I was up in Oregon and I just decided to, , commute every day. And I really started to realize that the gear that I had, the road bikes were very singular and purpose. Whereas commuting all of a sudden you have, you had different criteria that you had to look out, look out for, you know, what happens when, you know, what, what kind of bike are you going to have that does most things really well that will keep you dry, that will, you know, go through areas where there might be dirt or you know, standing water. Just a lot of different factors. And of course the clothing you know, starts to shift as well. , you know, from, you know, tight spandex to something that's easy to put on, you know, you can pop into a store and you know, I could goof and , you know, and it's something that dries quickly because you don't want it to , you know, to be wet.

Tim Clark: Mildewy by the time you, you have to turn around and go home in the afternoon. Somewhat fortuitously about this time I'd probably been commuting about five, five years or so. , I, you know, had already burned through a couple of bikes cause you just put so much wear and tear on him. And I was looking for a new bike and I found this, this bike on Craig's list locally and it was a weird looking monster crossbike. And , this was probably in 2014, 2013 something like that. And it just, it was just bizarre looking. It was just, you know, I hadn't really seen anything like it and I decided that I have to be a great, , great comedian bike. And I ended up getting it and I did a little bit of research and realized that this was really one of the first of the generation of, of gravel bikes.

Tim Clark: And that with a little bit of ingenuity on parts I could create pretty capable off road, drop our bike out of, out of it. And which I did. And at the same, that same year, it might've been in 2013 was the first Oregon outback and it just sparked my imagination. And now I had this bike and they had this Oregon outback ride that was happening where you started out in Klamath falls, basically California border and you know, through however many days you want to do it right. All the way up to the Dalles, which is, you know, the mouth of the Colbia, the northern most border of Oregon. So you basically ride the state how however long it takes you to do it all on dirt roads. And I just thought, man, this is great. And so a friend of mine whom I met doing some of these local gravel rides, he was also training for it as well.

Tim Clark: So we took it upon ourselves to, you know, really started to explore the gravel roads that were around and you know, both for, you know, training and experience and what we realize is this is really what we enjoy joy it about cycling that almost felt like we were coming back to, to our roots. So that's PR. And so subsequently, that's really how I've shifted most of my writing is now mixed use. You know, what would I think some in some circles called all road riding and, , it's, you know, sometimes it's roads, sometimes it's, it's trail. Sometimes it's a combination of both. Ideally it's a combination of both. And , it's just, it's been a blast.

Craig Dalton: That's a great backstory. Was that the same bike that I met you on a few weeks back?

Tim Clark: No, I, I think since then, I've, I've done quite a bit of experimentation, , with wheel size, you know, six 50 be in particular and also looking for bikes that more easily carries gear assets. , , to me a bike, the best kind of bike is something that is, has the performance that you need, but also does many things as possible and you know, getting away from bikes that are really very specific in their use. , but bikes that can do more than more than one thing. So that's, that's really what I've been playing around with is, you know, low trail bikes that can carry gear but, , don't have a downside or is limited downside when you're riding in a unpacked lightweight load.

Craig Dalton: Right. And do I recall correctly that you had lights on that bike that you were riding?

Tim Clark: Yeah, that's, I definitely, , have one bike that, that is fully contained with, with bike or with lights. And what's interesting about that, you know, that and spenders as well is whenever you have a bike, that no matter what the conditions are outside, if you have no reason to, you know, there's no need to think about, do I have lights, you know, do I have vendors? There's, there's basically it puts all the impediments. , it takes away all the impediments for going out, just doing your ride. And so I love having at least one bike that fits that bill. Like I've also realized that there is still the, , there's, there's still a place for that lightweight bike that is probably more of a race bike. , but I definitely do think that that tires, the bigger the tire, the better. Although there is a trade off, you know, a tradeoff and probably the, , , an extreme there as well.

Craig Dalton: Yeah, absolutely. , to bring the listeners up to speed, Tim and I met doing a pre ride of the super Sweetwater grasshopper course with Miguel, the course organizer and the founder of the grasshopper adventure series. I think Tim and I had the widest tires of anybody in that group. Ah, it was quite, quite an adventurous day out. We got hit by a lot of rain, the bottom and approach to willow creek for those of you who know the area was, was quite flooded and there were some great shots taken by Miguel that, , has appeared on his Instagram feed and on Facebook. So definitely check that out. But my time with Tim Riding, we started to talk a little bit about what he does for a living, working at Kitsbow and talking about cycling clothing in general and, and clothing for riding in the gravel and inclement weather. So I was excited to Tim to get you on the show. And could you tell the listener a little bit about Kitsbow before we Kinda dive into your philosophy as a designer and a wardrobe choices for gravel cycling?

Tim Clark: Yeah, absolutely. Kitsbow was created by Zander. Nosler. It's interesting background in small business and starting companies. He's, he was a engineer from Stanford, also a background in product design. I'm just a lover product in general. And, , he, after his first venture in the coffee business, he was doing quite a bit of mountain biking and, you know, just with the expectation of clothing, you know, his, his expectation of clothing, he wasn't finding anything out in the marketplace that, , either a fit or really felt like the outdoor technical gear that he was used to and his other pursuits, , you know, skiing, climbing, , , and even, you know, fly fishing. And so did some digging around. And of course, you know, you, you saw it on the, on the road bike or I think Rafa was, was, was doing their, , their product line at the time.

Tim Clark: And he just, he did, didn't find anything on the mountain bike side that, that past what he really wanted and saw an opportunity and started Kitsbow, , namely to create the gear that he couldn't find out in the marketplace. And I would say that the early, , product requirements were, , something that can be worn for multiple purposes, some products that fit extremely well, and we're, we're fit with the bike in mind. And you utilize technical, , technical features to an technical fabrics that were represented in, in other parts of the industry. And really we're solving some of the same problems it solved on the bike, but no one had really taken the time to, to bring those together. And I think what's interesting is as you know, the, the business grew, , another factor in probably the overriding factor, , emerged, which was gear that makes me look good both on and off the bike. And I think that's where we're starting to realize is that the huge driver for, , not only for cycling, cycling apparel and mountain bike apparel, but, , really for it, it's a, it's a big benefit, , for clothing in general.

Craig Dalton: Gotcha. Yeah. I mean, everybody's got to go over to [inaudible] dot com and check out the clothing to really get a sense for what you're talking about, but it rings true across all the designs you'll see on the site. Now, Tim, can you tell us a little bit about your role at the company?

Tim Clark: Yeah. I joined join kids go about a year, year and a half ago. , as their director of product and development. And, , I come from, , , basically a product background. I came from Nike. , I was at Nike for , quite, quite a long time. I was there about 17 years. And , you have a wide background of, of product experience more from the industrial design stamp, , standpoint. , so anything from hard goods, soft goods, , and all the, you know, the inner of those, those product types.

Craig Dalton: Gotcha. And you also, it seems like you came in on an interesting time as well. I'd spoken to Zander maybe, , in October of last year and he was telling me about the movement for you to bring more and more of your manufacturing in house here in northern California. That must be really exciting as a product designer to have all those resources under one roof.

Tim Clark: Oh, it's, it's fantastic. , I think the, you know, the, one of the biggest benefits is that, , much of the waste in the product creation cycle, we're able to completely bypass, , you know, anyone who's been around product creation, whether it's apparel or footwear or really anything on a, on a global scale, it's an, it's not unheard of for 18 months, B, two B, the product creation timeline from, you know, essentially from briefing to hit hit the market. And you know, as anyone has seen today that so much can happen and change and 18 months, by the time you've created your brief to when it actually hits, , you know, hits the floor of the store and even then that product is going to live for another two years, maybe more. , so there, you know, it, what's great for us is to be able to, to shorten that window and to, , bring the insights that are relevant today and make them into products, , are able to be, , you know, out in the marketplace, you know, six months from now.

Tim Clark: , so that's, that's a big thing. And I would say along with the waste of time, , is the waste of resources. And I think that's, you know, an overriding passion for us at, at the company is to, , is to not waste resources. And, you know, obviously there's the, , , the waste factor, you know, so that if we're able to make exactly what, what the customer base, what demand for the product will make in every size and every color, that's fewer, fewer products that, that are, that are hitting clearance, which, you know, oftentimes clearance is just a, just a euphemism for we made too much. Yep. , and you know, it also addresses the, really the unsaid, , the unsaid, , fact that the apparel industry makes at least 40% more than it than it needs to overall. And that's a staggering nber when you think about the amount of money, the amount of resources, , you know, the dye, the fabric, just that the han, just to all the han skill that, that is wasted in that process. So, , you know, the, that we can create a, a brand that really goes, you know, goes at the heart of that problem. And, , , fortunately with direct direct to customer a digital sales, it's really, , you know, all the tools are in place. It just takes a different way of thinking and a commitment to change the process.

Craig Dalton: Yeah, it's, you know, I have a lot of like manufacturers on the podcast and it's really analogous to these handbuilt frames where, you know, you have someone sitting in there in your office in Petala selling and creating these garments. And it really, I think as someone who wears clothing, if you think about how they're manufactured, kind of changes your relationship with it, both with the actual performance of the garment, but also the cost of the garment. When you think about how hard it is to sell a pair of bibs shorts, for example. , I've got a lot of respect for the adeptness of the selling crew that can pull that off.

Tim Clark: Oh, for sure. And you know, the other thing you start to realize is that, you know, obviously when you start designing, you know, the first step is putting something on paper and oftentimes, you know, in, in the usual method, it stays paper for a long time. Yeah. You know, a couple of couple of months if not longer. And you know, just the act of taking something on paper and spinning it into a prototype within a day, all of a sudden you learn, you know, from, you know, from the, those same skills craftsmen that where you have a seam here or you want it to construct it in this way, it really, you could make it a lot better if he just changed this seam or , you know, overstretch this part. It doesn't need to be to two different pieces of fabric. So you, you, you've learned so much more and you, you, you're automatically taking away some of the waste by getting it into a prototype as quickly as possible. And then from that part of the time, yeah, you move into another prototype and another and another and it's, it's, yeah, it's obviously where a lot of industries are going. You know, the, the high tech industry has been there for quite some time. , it's just taking some of the older, more established industries to start to realize the benefit of that.

Craig Dalton: Yeah, absolutely. So let's transition a little bit to talk about clothing in general for glove, gravel riding. , you know, pardon me. Certainly no one wants to prescribe the uniform for gravel. That's certainly not the purpose of the conversation and I don't think we'd get anywhere doing so because there's so many, so many different influences coming into the sport depending on where you're coming from. But in Marin county, I mean, majority of people I see on these type of bikes look like traditional rowdies. At the end of the day, we're, where do you think the opportunity is for, , you know, clothing manufacturer like kits, bow to kind of design performance cycling where around Gra the adventure of gravel cycling.

Tim Clark: Yeah. It's, it's an interesting, , thing to think about. And it's, it's Kinda funny because before I came to Pittsburgh, I was already down a path of rethinking, , the best apparel to, to ride, , ride bikes and, you know, although that might sound kind of like, why would you even read, why would you even think it, , or rethink it. And what when I started to realize is once you start going and doing gravel, , and you know, obviously you and I know that grapples just a euphemism for getting outside of, of, of the city. , you're out in some pre rural areas, sometimes you're out in wilderness, sometimes you're at Blm land and there's a lot that fit that could go wrong out there. , you're out for a much longer time and often you're in places where the culture is not used to seeing, you know, basically racer inspired roadies with, with branding then and , , , paid advertisements on, on, on their, their skin tight Lycra.

Tim Clark: And so once you start rethinking some of those, those, those factors, , clothing that you can wear either for 10 to 12 hours without, without sacrificing comfort clothing that either layers, layers well or, and probably the best case scenario, if you could take three pieces on the top and very little change on the bottom, , you know, basically have the most minimal gear possible but does the most amount of things. , and then factor that is if you had to be somewhere before the ride or be somewhere after the ride, , and you wouldn't, you wouldn't feel like you're wearing cycling apparel, but you could just blend in a crowd. And one of the examples that I have on this is that same, , that same ride that we did, , , the Oregon outback. The first time I did it was, , was really just to kind of a four or five day, , bike packing adventure.

Tim Clark: And the next year we decided, , my friend and I, Scott, , we decided to do it as a straight through and it was a pretty, , kind of hindsight. It was kind of an audacious goal. , but in doing so, you're, you're, we realized that we were going to be out on the bike probably for about 30, 36 hours or so, and we going to have to, you know, stop and some places to get food, sometimes some saloons, somewhere in the middle of, of eastern Oregon. And all of a sudden you start to think about like those parameters fall for a different type of apparel and the fact that you're going to be on your bike from, , you know, starting in the morning in the very cold, going through the heat of mid day on, in, through the evening. And it just so happened that our, our, whether it was we hit, you know, typhoon rains, we hit clear nights, , and then know a lot of mud on the, on the next day. So the apparel really had to do quite a bit. And Oh, by the way, stopping in that saloon, you know, midway in the cow town of Silver Lake.

Tim Clark: Yeah. We would have looked completely out of place and probably would have, would have been, had some uncomfortable stares as you would have been wearing your typical wife were up. , so those are some of the experiences that I've had a couple of with also the , just my community and experience and just understanding once you start playing with materials and even certain silhouettes, , sort of silhouettes have a wide range of use. , you know, temperature wise and, and also, , weather wise.

Craig Dalton: Yeah. So it's easy for me to look at the upper body and saying, okay, you know, I can wear some basic colors, some Merino wool and have a more casual look to me. One of the things I wanted to ask you about was the use of an over short when you're out for long distance riding. So I've worn over shorts in my mountain biking experiences, but I usually wear that when I'm, I've got my all mountain bike out fully suspended and I'm, and I'm not really concerned too much about friction. I'm more in it for the downhill, but I sort of noticed with jealousy on that cold ride we were doing that you had some over shorts on. So could you talk about how those fit for the rider because they're not the downhill bike over short by any means.

Tim Clark: No. And, and that was really, you know, Xander's initial frustration as, as he started, you know, at the time that he started kits, Beau was, , really the clothing was inspired from motocross. , you know, and, and the joke was is most of it was pajama outfits. They were just long flowing. , you know, since synthetic outfits and you know, what we've, we've done and, and I even did a little bit at before I went to Kitsbow is, you know, looking at shorts. , and what, what really, you know, how shorts can be made better. , but it, but also loose fitting. And what it really comes down to is tailoring for the body. And, , what we, what we experience with, with our apparel is I'm starting with a pattern that is optimized for the, on the bike position. , and without going to too many details, we literally cut the patterns so that the fit is, it is as close to the body without, as possible in the riding position.

Tim Clark: So that's probably the, the first step. The second step is, you know, with that short shit being, you know, tailored to the body, , you know, picking fabrics that move with you. , so some of our fabrics are, can be just as stretchy as as Lycra, , but they've, they move with you but don't have to be attached to you. , so that's, that's the second piece and it just, it really, it adds to the feeling of, of, of freedom because all of a sudden now also there's airflow, , between your body and it also aids in the, , you know, in, in your garments crying out a lot quicker because there's more airflow. And then the third piece is, you know, just having really smart ways to carry product. , and when I say product, meeting your phone, your keys, your, your, your necessary as your credit card.

Tim Clark: And, you know, we've done a lot of thought about how to carry a, carry those, those pieces and not having to rely so much on, you know, the three pocket Jersey is as great as that three, three pocket Jersey is for most applications. , when you're out, , on, on rides that are further out, , away from civilization, you just have to carry more. You have to carry, , you know, enough pieces that you could do some small, you know, bike repair, , you're probably going to carry more food. You might carry a little bit more water. , so having your shorts work for you and carry some of those, , those key items and carry them, carry them safely and, and carry them, , you know, keeping them away from the elements is pretty key.

Craig Dalton: And is there an element of friction to be concerned with?

Tim Clark: Yeah, although it's interesting because I think even that, , the idea of, I think you were going or young, , probing a little bit of the, you know, the chammy, the typically a compression short is really an avenue to keep your shammy place. , depending on who you are and what kind of bike you ride. , there are quite a few folks that are rethinking that the system of, of shorts as to whether they were a sham, you're not. And I, and I'm one of them. I got rid of my, , Chammy. , I actually did it on the first Oregon outback because I was concerned about riding, you know, four or five days in the same, you know, basically sponge open cells, sponge foam, a Chammy. And, , I took, I took two base layers. I took one.

Tim Clark: , I had to search high and low at the time for, , basically a base layer that was, , that was wool without, , without aligner, without a, without a shammy and one with one. And I just decided the first day to where, , the, the a wool liner without any Chammy. And I'll put a big caveat that I was riding on a leather seat and I think the seat really does make a difference. And, and also just, you know, how, how, how much you weigh and how, how your body reacts. Yeah. I found that at the end of about an eight day or eight hour ride, I was a little bit sore, but it felt pretty good. And so the next day I wore it again and I wore it again. And probably on the fifth day I wore it through all five days. And, , I really didn't feel any adverse affects for being in the saddle, sometimes up to 11 hours without any adverse affects, for just wearing a simple wine or, and I think the world was definitely helpful because it, it definitely kept things dry and, and tidy. , but it made it, it really made me rethink, , the strategy for how you dress, you know, below the belt.

Craig Dalton: Interesting. So you're finding like some of the team, a team riders, ambassadors across the board, are they, are they typically riding the shorts without, , , you know, shammy based liner underneath? Yeah.

Tim Clark: Yeah. Some of them are, , you know, and some of them, some of them aren't. , I, that's where I think the beauty of it is. There's, there's a lot of width and materials and the right materials and the right shit. , there's, and, and looking at the saddle combination, there's a lot of, , , exploration that can happen. And, , once you do that, you know, again, it, it really opens up, , the, the kind of usage that you can get out of your pieces, pieces of gear. , and, and I think that's really where the big compelling, , , opportunities are, is looking for pieces and having, you know, much like I said, you know, I'm looking at my bikes, I'm looking for pieces of gear that can do one, two, three, four different functions. , because once you, once you do that, then all of a sudden a piece that maybe you know, might be a little bit more money, it has, it has exponentially more valuable value. , then the cheaper thing that only does one thing.

Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah. I'd be curious to give it a try. It's interesting. In My, in my mountain bike life, as I mentioned before, I tend to pull on the over shorts when I'm just goofing around a little bit and I can see in my gravel life that pulling on a pair of sort of over shorts, even if they're not over anything, it really would signify for me, hey, I'm going out for a bit of an adventure. It's, I'm not lining up for a race. I'm not trying to do anything, you know, crazy performance wise, I'm out there for the adventure of it and I will rely on a performance garment, but it will be a different mentality.

Tim Clark: Yeah. And I think what's also interesting with it too is you know, typically on, on, on the rides that you know are, are more adventure oriented. Typically you're driving, you know, you're driving or are being transported, , your further, further outside, , your, your normal normal ride and you might start, you know, getting a coffee or you know, getting a bite to eat before eel, you know, you go ride and you might end up having a couple of of opportunities to either be in a restaurant or you know, in a, in a brew pub, , either midway or, or, or afterwards. And all of a sudden now when, you know, when you have more comfortable clothing, clothing that stills PR you know, performs and does the things you needed to do on the bike but also feels comfortable and it isn't quite as, , you know, uncomfortable off the bike, all of a sudden it, it just, it, it makes it for such a better experience overall.

Craig Dalton: Yeah, absolutely. To your point, I was bike packing on the Oregon timber trail last year and always had a pair of over shorts whenever we went into town is to not scare the locals with my Lycra. Right. So in the ride where we met, we took some abusive, whether I would like to get into any tips you might have for staying warm and as dry as possible in a ride like that.

Tim Clark: Yeah. , I mean I think, I think I saw, I saw your gloves as well, but, , I would say my favorite gloves are a defeat for real cold, cold, cold damn situations or the defeat will gloves. , those are definitely something that I keep a couple of pairs just in, in the waiting. , certainly, you know, wool on top and even, you know, if there could be a couple of layers of wool on top, , and you know, it can just be a little bit of world content. Doesn't have to be a now the old school rule of, of yesteryear. , but just a, a good wall, a combo on top. And, , you know, probably the biggest thing I've realized is that feet, if my feet go bad, , meaning my feet get cold, , a lot of other stuff can happen. So I tend to, you know, I tend to ride in mountain bike shoes.

Tim Clark: , even on the road, I also like just, you know, not having two or three different kinds of shoes based upon the type of riding I do. So I just have one, you know, one five issue and, , I usually throw on some sort of a neoprene tow cover. , and for me that's enough, you know, combined with, you know, the mountain bike shoes, it's tend to be a little bit more robust and have less air flow of then a typical road shoes. , and then, you know, I think also, you know, I, I know on our ride that we did with for the grasshopper prep, , just being willing to stop from time to time and, , you know, go into a, you know, a convenience store or a coffee shop and getting coffee and, and just setting aside those times to, to warm up. , because again, it's, it's, it's, it's more about like being on your bike for a long period of time and I'm enjoying the experience, even though you might be pushing yourself, you know? Yeah. At times.

Craig Dalton: Yeah. I think the other related tip to our ride is I did have a bar bag on with an extra layer and I waited til pretty deep into the day before I dug out my final outer rain shell and that made a big difference for my comfort level.

Tim Clark: Totally threw it. And it brings up a good point that, , you know, especially a couple of friends, , and myself were, you know, as we carry more, more gear, , we're starting to, you know, and yeah, we, we started with the typical three pocket Jersey Road Jersey. , we're starting to find that, you know, a backpack obviously is, is overkill, , in many, many of these situations because you're carrying a lot of water on the bike, especially if you're doing more gravel. , so you don't need to carry, , a bunch of water in the backpack, but, but you know, the hip belt pack, , those, those pieces are, are becoming more and more like, I just grab one. I have one ready for every ride. Even if it's just a real grind. Sometimes it's just the, you know, it's the extra little pack that I throw my, my rain jacket in. , sometimes it's just that quick. I had my two, I have a little bit of food and I carry my pp in there. , but those, those pieces, anything that you can, you can use that has that pack ability. Yeah. But it doesn't feel like you're wearing anything. , I've had, I've been, yeah, I've been a lot of value there.

Craig Dalton: I've got a huge smile on my face as you're talking about hip pack because it's so retro. I was having this discussion with Miguel before the ride as a storm. One of the kits, male ambassadors rolled up with a hip tack on. I was like Miguel, I think that's the future honestly. Cause it makes a lot of sense. I remember rocking it when I first started mountain biking in the early nineties and remembered how useful it was so wet. You know, I'm buying it. I do think that's going to be a trend that we start to see more and more. It's obviously quite prevalent in the mountain biking scene and has been kind of on the rise the last couple of years. But I do think to your point, like if we're, when we're out there on these long adventure days, just having a little bit of backup, whether it's food, you know, extra mechanical supplies or an extra jacket, it just goes a long way because you can stop, you can solve your problems, you can have some food and he could stop and enjoy the top of the mountain rather than freezing your ass off and you're like raw and having to get down right off right off the mountain right away just for safety reasons.

Tim Clark: Yeah. So true. Well said.

Craig Dalton: Yeah. I have to say, I have to ask you about one other garment in the kits throw lineup. It's the soft shell, a waterproof jacket, and one of the attributes of it that I believe I read about, and I've seen some guys on the mountain bike doing this, is it true that the hood will come up over the helmet?

Tim Clark: It was initially designed for that. I think what we're starting to see with, you know, both our own use of the jacket and also our ambassadors, , who are using that Jack and quite a bit is that it's more of an off the bike, , you know, peace. Okay. , and , you know, just being able to be, you know, to pack it away and get it, get it out of the, , out of the way when you ride. That's a, that's the nber one position for, for the hood.

Craig Dalton: Yeah. At that point I was out on a rainy ride up in whistler actually where I first met Zander and, , a couple of the riders up there had jackets that could go over their hoods that could go over their helmets. And because we're in such a downpour, I was just looking at them thinking that's a brilliant idea that they have that feature.

Tim Clark: I think you could wear it underneath. And , you know, I seem to, you seem to remember, you know, one of our ambassadors talking about the hood in that way. But I think most, most of the feedback we've gotten has been more of the off the bike and, and even, you know, like in this situation of, , you know, waiting for somebody, you know, you could easily take it out and you know, and not lose your body, keep while you're waiting for your, your, your, your, your buddies to meet you on top.

Craig Dalton: Yeah. That's probably another one of those sort of, this is how gravel differs than road riding, you know, and road riding obviously, like there's the opportunity to get separated and not climb or whatever, but I think everybody's different skill set in the offer at leads to it being more like a mountain bike experience where you're going to rock a section and then you're going to regroup and having an extra garment to stay warm while you're doing those, you know, waiting moments I think makes a lot of sense.

Tim Clark: Yeah. And it was, it was interesting. , I was, it was talking to Miguel, , on, on, on one of the clients or the right, we went on and he was asking me a question about that particular, , lightweight rain shell or, or the, I think you're talking to more of the, , it's, , , the rain jacket and, , you know, he was, he was asking me a little bit about, you know, the benefits of it. And as we started to talk, we started to realize that, , you know, when you're, the further out you go, the more can go wrong. And you know, like you mentioned on a road, a road ride, you know, typically you can keep moving. You can, you can, you can keep your energy level or your, you know, your kind of, your, you maintain your heat by constantly moving, constantly being, , being an active, but there's a lot that can go wrong with, , you know, when you're, when you're starting to get off road and much like, you know, mountaineering or backpacking or being in the back country, you really need that extra shell in case something goes wrong and you're, you're not able to keep moving and you're going to have to keep at least say, you know, , safely warm.

Tim Clark: You're not going to be, you're not going to be comfortable, but you can stay, stay alive if you have a, you know, a little bit of rain Shell, , you know, and it's raining and it's 40 degrees and, and you know, someone's, you know, someone's, you know, broken their chain or you know, they have to do something to their, to their bike or their, their, you know, they have to hike out. , you know, you really do have to think about those things as you start going deeper into, , into the landscape.

Craig Dalton: Yeah. I think that's great advice for everybody listening to just sort of think about being a little bit more prepared when you head out there on the gravel bike. Well, Tim, I don't want to take up too much of your day. I really appreciate the conversation. It was fun to catch up on the podcast and learn a little bit more about your background and, and certainly to dig into gravel cycling clothing in general.

Tim Clark: Well, it was fantastic and I love talking about it.