Saturday, August 27, 2011

Get the gutter onto your head

Even as I nursed guilt for spending nearly $20 for a product whose function I probably could have replicated for $5 with stuff from Home Depot, I saved $38 on a Speedplay Grease Gun by using a plastic syringe I had lying about at home.

That the syringe was from a little kit that saved me much money on printer cartridges was even more satisfying, especially considering how HP changed the sponge in their cartridges so they could no longer be refilled using a syringe, those capitalist, cheapster-hating bastards.

When we were kids and fiddling around with our bicycles, I remember how we thought it a sign of excellent lubrication if pedals whirred around for several minutes when batted at with a hand. I was surprised to learn that if this happens, your pedals were probably shot about a month before. If pedals are properly greased, they should make about half a turn and stop.

If you're relatively new to being a velokundi, as I am, you might read stuff like, "Re-grease every 2,000 miles" and go, "Two thousand miles? That's YEARS away" and promptly move on to better things. So I was pretty dismayed one recent day, to find my Speedplay Zero pedals spinning freely when bapped at, especially the right-hand one.

It's still hard for me to remember that since I'm cycling regularly, maintenance tasks that are annual or even bi-annual events in my head now come up every few months. Tyres and brake pads wear before my eyes, cables sag like clotheslines every few weeks, and the chain dries up every few days (and I NEVER remember to oil it until after the creaking drives me to near axe murder while climbing a quiet state highway into national forests).

But as the title of this thread suggests, it's actually about that Sweat Gutr thing. (Image from

As I've written before, I'm a sweater, and I don't mean a sheep-based upper garment. On hot days, little reservoirs fill up above each eyebrow and every so often, the levee breaks and all that salty water comes cascading down into my eyes and onto my glasses. And since I'm a velokundi, rides don't stop for tiddly things like that, so my glasses gradually become little salt flats through which I can't see shit.

One recent day, I was pretty sure I didn't want to attempt a climb of nearly 2,000m without eyes, so I sprang for one of those stupidly spelled Gutr things. I liked it because it didn't have an absorption element to its design (though the Halo headband uses a gutter concept as well). I knew that anything absorbtive (is that a word?) would be sopping in about 30 minutes. Some people on BF talked about using one band for an hour and then hanging it on the bars to dry while they used a second. Thank you but I want to ride my bike, not be a bliddy dhobi.

It worked. There were times when my 99% perspiration overwhelmed it a little, but it worked. I took a little while working out how to best fit it, because it all gets a bit busy in the above-ear-al area if you wear glasses. Also, all the sweat it channels away runs in a little stream off your chin, so you start to look like a rabid, slavering loon. (More than is usual for a roadie, that is.)

Recommended, but note that someone on BF tied a soft rubber pipe around his head and achieved the same result for about $17 less. I just didn't have time to experiment, so my mind... ah my mind went into the Gutr.

(Could. Not. Resist.)

1 comment:

  1. Interesting piece and since I met the GUTR guys at the Hotter'N Hell 100 (TX) this year, I feel obligated to pass on my experience. I've used the Halo for years, but it saturates so I made an real effort to get to know more about the Sweat GUTR at the expo. In meeting the owner/inventor, I was pleasantly surprised how much care went into making each sweatband. He said they are made individually, by hand in order to achieve the proper feel and performance. It was clear that it takes quite a bit of effort to get it right. But forget about his pitch, what convinced me was the fact that while I stood there contemplating this important purchase before an extremely hot 100 mi ride in August, waves of loyal customers stopped by with an enthusiastic “thanks!” or “awesome product, I need to pick up a new one!”. So rather than standing there, looking like an indecisive idiot, I bought one. All I will say is that next year, I’ll be the guy saying thanks.