We’re back from a whirlwind trip to the Twin Cities.  We attended two full days of Frostbike, Quality Bicycle Products‘ famous winter trade show.  We love QBP for a lot of reasons, and this show is definitely one of them.  We get to be face-to-face with a huge group of vendors and their wares, which means we get to check out product in-person and ask lots of questions.  We also come away with fresh ideas and inspiration.

Some things we’re excited about…

Pacific Outdoor Equipment is a company based in Bozeman, MT.  Their bike gear is designed for touring and commuting, and it’s really well designed stuff.  We got to inspect their dry sack style panniers, and we were impressed.  Check out their site for bags as well as a wide range of other outdoor gear.

Planet Bike is one of our long-time favorites, not just because they give 25% of their profits to bicycle advocacy, but also because they make some classic bike gear.  Not new but we’re still excited about these lights, first the Blaze Dynamo:

The Blaze LED lights have proven to be some of the best commuter lights around as well as great touring lights, especially if paired with another light for serious night riding.  I (Cody) built up a 3-watt SRAM i-Light front wheel last fall to connect to my Blaze Dynamo, and I absolutely love it.  No more batteries and the light is brighter than any LED I’ve ever owned.  If you’re interested in human-powered lights, come talk to us.  We can hook you up!

The other light is the Sport Spot:

As pictured the Sport Spot is a headlamp, which can be used for all manner of activity, including cycling, but what’s better is that it can attach to a mount on your handlebar or helmet to be a more efficient bike light.  Get to the campground, take the light off your bar, and strap it to your head.  Set up that tent hands-free!

Saris is a long-time maker of bicycle car racks, and the Bones trunk rack is their best-selling model.  The Bones is a sturdy, two- or three-bike rack that we’ve always considered the best of its kind.  For us, though, the rigmarole of renting a car (which is how we travel to Minneapolis) occasionally involves riding a bike with a Bones rack strapped to a backpack or, once, propped on my handlebar.  This is a heavy, cumbersome, and probably dangerous method (especially when jostling over the handlebar), and we don’t really like to do it.  Saris has now designed a small, lightweight yet still amazingly sturdy one-bike car rack.  The Bones Solo:

We even got to try it out when we got back into town.  Steve put this bike on the rack, so he could return the car to the rental place and still have a vehicle to get back to the shop.  The little rack is so lightweight that he just held it under his arm as he rode.

There’s lots more that got our attention, so stay tuned.  We’ll keep reporting as we inch ever closer to Spring.