Thoughts and Feelies: Some Changes Around Here
Das Rant | By CG
Who doesn’t like the thought of reaching into their pack during a long, exhausting ride to pull out a moist, tasty cookie? Snacking to replenish calories burned is all a part of the game only one company out there says the process doesn’t have to taste like cardboard to be effective.
The Cookie Department, a Los Angeles based food company, is proving that all cookies are not all created equal. With a unique line of all-natural individually packaged fully-functional cookies, The Cookie Department offers up tasty treats containing no artificial preservatives or trans-fats.
It starts with clean ingredients and classic cookie formulations, which are then fortified with unique and innovative elements to provide riders extra benefits in every bite. Grab and go items are very popular within our sport for good reason.
According to their history, the idea of creating fully-functional cookies took shape one afternoon in 2009 when Founder Akiva Resnikoff refueled with a jolt of caffeine and a sweet snack at the original Peet’s Coffee in Berkeley, California. He noticed other patrons were also experiencing an afternoon slump. It was at that moment that he decided to combine his love of coffee and baking to create a functional treat. After creating more than 50 batches of cookies in his mother’s kitchen, the trial and error phase was over when the first fully-functional cookie, the Awaken Baked, came to fruition.
Infused with coffee and chocolate, the Awaken Baked was the jolt the Bay Area needed. The caffeinated cookies were a hit as fitness centers, cafes, college campuses and specialty markets --from Berkeley to San Francisco-- stocked their shelves. These days, The Cookie Department is a nationally distributed brand offering discerning customers five kosher, fully-functional and decadent cookie options, including:
These things definitely have a place within cycling. They provide a dedicated energy boost similar to having a cup of coffee mid-ride but do so without the associated heartburn. Taste, of course, is a subjective thing and fortunately The Cookie Department offers up enough unique combinations to where surely even the pickiest palate will be satisfied. That said, I think they were delicious. They are a really fun idea and I know that when I go out on a 4-6 hour ride this is something that I would look forward to pulling out part way through for that much-needed boost.
Aside from the caffeine hit, are they more effective at replacing calories than any other cookie or item you can buy at a shop along the way? I noticed that 1/2 of a cookie is a serving size and contains 25 grams of carbohydrates (Chocolate Chip Nookie). Personally, on a long ride I am aiming for 30-50 grams of carbs per hour. So, yes, it’s right in the hunt in that category as well.
The Cookie Department’s line of Fully Functional Cookies are available at select specialty markets, juice and smoothie bars, gyms, college campuses, cafes, sporting goods stores, movie theaters, hotels, and grocery stores throughout the country. And, believe it or not, some of the largest tech companies in Silicon Valley, Silicon Beach and Austin, Texas, keep their employees energized with a steady supply of these functional treats.
Grab one for your next ride. You won’t be disappointed.
To learn more, visit www.thecookiedepartment.com
During my tenure at a bicycle shop in the hip city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Surly was one of our most sought after brands. Renowned for the robustness of their products, their bicycles and components all seem to be produced with this quality in the forefront. Their Big Dummy cargo bike is rated to carry 200lbs of cargo alone - yes, in addition to the rider’s own weight! So, when it came time to spec a new rigid fork for my new do-it-all custom beater bike, their Surly Troll Fork was my obvious choice. Due to the brand’s reputation, I expected nothing less than something so durable, it could out-last my earthen existence.
The fork arrived at my shop in a plain, rectangular cardboard box. Its unassuming appearance hinted of the no-frills integrity that I’ve come to expect from the brand. Sliding it out of the box, I hefted it just to get a feel for the weight and was actually surprised. It felt much lighter than I had expected it would be, at least in terms of feel alone. It was by no means a featherweight, but certainly not as heavy as I had expected a bruiser of a mountain bike fork to be. The website advertises the weight to be 3.1lbs (before cutting the steerer), but when I hung it over to our official scale, it clocked in at 2.77 lbs. Overall, it felt of good quality from the start and demonstrated all the initial signs of a good product: smooth and even welds, a hard glossy paint job with no globs of enamel, and a resilient stiffness.
Performance & Features
Installation of the fork went smoothly; the crown race was set, steerer was cut, and integrated into my 1997 Gary Fisher frame with no problems whatsoever. I paired the fork with a Cane Creek 40 sealed bearing headset. After all the adjustments were made and safety assured, I took my new steed, dubbed “Arthur”, out for a maiden voyage through the rugged streets of urban New Hampshire.
This isn’t my first go-around with a Surly fork, so I had biased expectations. Before I rode the frame into oblivion, my full rigid Haro Mary had been spec’d with the company’s 29er fork (the Krampus), which had proven itself to be incredibly stiff while also being durable enough to withstand the most brutal of beatings I could throw at it. This included innumerable hucks-to-flat.
During my first few times traipsing around town with my new bike and fork, my initial expectations were met. Though the overall riding has been smooth, the big and small bump compliance is understandably non-existent and there is not an ounce of flex to be had. The full force of every big hit is conveyed up into the handlebars and directly into my rugged man paws.
I bombed long sets of stairs at the library while leaning way back over the rear tire and I aimed for every pot hole dotting these New England streets; the Surly Troll fork absorbed all these impacts as if it they had been the most inconsequential amounts of disturbance. Being paired with a sealed cartridge Cane Creek 40 headset has made the front end seem like it was a single unit of crafted metal instead of multiple components bolted together.
After a week of commuting and sporadic trials sessions, it’s pretty apparent at this point that the Troll will hold up as well if not better than the Surly Krampus I had lovingly abused for many years and still resides in my parts collection. Additionally, the paint job shows no signs of tarnish even after having layers of sand and grit wiped off it daily; so I harbor no expectation of premature cosmetic wear.
My foremost opinion is the steadfast belief that the Troll fork is a very smart offering on the part of Surly; this is the fork you’d want on your bicycle if you were going to tour through the most remote parts of the world or endure the rigors of urban New England commuting. Built out of stiff, durable, weldable steel; it accommodates what is arguably still the most popular wheel size in the world, 26ers, while also keeping the common 1 1/8’ diameter threadless steerer.
With 18 different braze-ons, the numerous bolts make the fork look as if it has tiny mushrooms garnishes. Of course the primary intended purpose of these is to allow for the mounting of both fenders and a rack simultaneously. In my case, I’ve used them as lower light mounts for casting a beam closer to the ground and further out without blinding drivers with my 1500 lumen torch.
Overall, this is a stellar fork that meets a variety of needs; it excels at trials, touring, commuting, and the occasional off-road adventure. I expect to have this in my service for many years.
Adjustable geometry, too big for carbon and where is Ellsworth round out this issue’s Q&A. You got questions. We got answers.
My friends say that buying a bike like the Santa Cruz Tallboy is the most value for the money because it’s technically buying two bikes for one price. Help me understand how one could switch between a 27.5+ to a 29er on the fly. What parts are needed to make the swap?
Well, technically that is true though there is a bit more to it than that. The most realistic way to derive at a bike where you can make the tie/ wheel swap in a reasonable amount of time (say 15 minutes) is to have a spare set of wheels wrapped in tires with cassette, brake rotors and a fork.
You could theoretically get by with just the fork, wheels and tires but keep in mind you’d be swapping the cassette and brake rotors every time you wished to transition from one size to the other. It could easily become a half day’s project.
The reason bikes like the Tallboy are able to make the transition at all comes thanks to adjustable frame geometry. Santa Cruz makes use of a flip chip- literally a piece that can be flipped and run in one of two directions at the upper rear link. This is responsible for the rear end; the fork swap covers the front. All told the difference between the 27.5” and 29” wheel is barley visible to the naked eye but requires compensation at both ends of the bike to successfully transition from one to the other.
I’m a larger rider (over 250 pounds) and notice all of the really sexy frames these days are carbon. Should I be trying to snag an aluminum build because of my stature or am I worrying needlessly?
Unless the build you’re after happen to be an XC frame with a manufacturer’s designated maximum weight recommendation, you should be good to go carbon style. Do keep in mind they make race car frames out of this stuff.
What ever happened to Ellsworth? I remember hearing about those bikes years ago and it seems they upped and vanished. Are they still making bikes?
Absolutely! In fact their new Evolution Convert with their patented ACTIVE Energy Efficient Suspension (AEES) linkage is currently making its rounds about the industry to solid reviews. It seems as though the American boutique brand movement isn’t getting the attention it once did as speccing materials and components globally has become the standard. Whereas once hand-built frames were synonymous with quality, these days its tough to argue with the output from cutting-edge Asian manufacturing facilities.
If you have a question for MBT, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org