There have been many reviews released for the Chrome Sherman “Utility” bag. These reviews are mostly by folks riding their track bikes down to the local velodrome, swapping out wheels and gearing to race that same bike. For me this bag introduces a new look at doing business as a mechanic and ease of use for tool storage.
The spring and early summer season is always my busiest. First to Sea Otter, a couple local endurance races, a 24 hour mtb race and a handful of South East crit series to hit up. As a racer, but more importantly as everyone’s friendly female mechanic it is my job to be organized and prepared for whatever you need at the race.
Using the Chrome Sherman
At first this bag is overwhelming, so many pockets and clasps. In fact three weeks after actively using the bag I found a hidden pocket to hold my chain whip and pedal tool! The bag trifolds to easily be carried on your back, or the top flap folds back to be clasped on a repair stand, fence or whatever is close by. Once you figure out all the pockets, what zippers, what velcro’s, and what can go where is when you can start pushing the bag to its extreme.
The Chrome Sherman for Daily Use
As I mentioned, I use the Sherman for different purposes than others. I use it as my tool bag, that travels on my back from car to pits, of garage to car to races. I’ve never ridden more than 2 miles with the thing on my back, but the bag is used daily with my bike tools.
To be able to grab the Sherman from where it hangs off my bookcase or repair stand, fold up the tri-fold and head off to wherever I am going. It is amazing. I’m not repacking all my tools, questioning where I left my measuring tape or 3-way. It is where I keep it, organized and always in the same spot.
If I am doing a full overhaul in my garage I will take out most the tools I know I’ll need and put them on the bench or on the wall for their homes, but this is more for speed than anything else.
What Goes in my Chrome Sherman
A random list of what is normally in my Sherman for daily use. Each race is different, if I’m going to a road race I may pull something different than a mtb.
Full run of allen hex’s. from 1.5 to 10mm
4 main allen wrenches, 8,9,10,15
Adjustable wrench x 2
Phillips screw driver x2
Flathead screw driver x2
Small squeeze of grease
Wax based lube
Teflon based lube
Small tackle box of misc parts (quick links, headset spacers, tire boot, co2 head, pens,
Single speed cogs x2
SRAM 9 speed chain (new)
SRAM 10 speed chain (new)
Small container of Stans NoTubes
Crank tool x 2
Shimano crank tool
BB tool x 4 (outboard, octalink, square taper and Campy)
Brake cables x2
Shifter cables x2
Overall Review of the Chrome Sherman
The Chrome Sherman is a bag that makes you think out of the box. (No pun intended.) It has allowed me to expand my services as a mechanic, and be more efficient when doing so. It handles cross country trips well, being shoved in the trunk of a car, or slapped on your back to haul on a bike.
There are things I would change, pockets I would expand, tool slots I would stitch in but for a non-custom bag at MSRP of $190 the bag does what it needs to do. Now at $190 you need to utilize the thing to death to justify the cost, but keeping my tools safe and organized in all conditions is worth it to me. Chrome, please add custom colors to the mix in the future!
One concern that so many women (and guys) have with owning a bike is the basics of fixing it, or how to do basic road side repairs. I do recommend that as an avid cyclist even with some mechanical skills that you should become best buds with your local mechanic (beer or ice cream works well.) I also want women to feel empowered and to have a better idea of what they are talking about. Tech Tuesday is the remedy for common tech questions!
You’ve branched out on your own, you want to ride on your own or not be worried about basic repairs that happen on the road side.
Changing a Flat Tire
A while ago I did a basic video on how to change a flat, and boot your tire. This is probably the most crucial thing to know when you venture out on the road or trail as it is the most common issue. Someday in the future I need to update the video since I have a better camera and audio microphone.
Chain tool and quick links
It doesn’t happen too often, but you are able to break your chain. When this happens you can often trim your chain and use a SRAM quick link to put it back together. You’re gears will be limited but you’ll at least be able to ride the bike home.
If a Spoke Breaks
Another thing that doesn’t happen too often is breaking spokes on your wheel. Normally on an older wheel, or after a crash you’ll start breaking spokes. On the side of your ride you need to move the spoke out of the way. On some front wheels you can actually remove the spoke by pulling it out of the wheel. If you have disc brakes or if the spoke on the back wheel you’ll need to bend the spoke around another so that it doesn’t get in the way. Open up your brakes if you have v-brakes or u-brakes. This should make enough room for the wheel to spin freely, if not you’ll have to tighten spokes or in a last ditch effort remove the wheel and bang it against a tree. I try to avoid the last two since it is harder to repair once you get it to a shop.
Other Things to Know
Go confident on your bike ride. Things break and sometimes you can’t fix them. Bringing a multi-tool helps with many things, but if you are going to venture more than walking distance (6 or so miles) bring a friend or a cell phone until you learn more things.
The name Liz Hatch is a sensitive subject in the women’s cycling peloton . The sexy blonde has made many pro women cringe. Last year I mentioned her name during an interview with Team Vera Bradley and they weren’t happy. Why? Some call her a wanna be. Not fast enough to compete with the great girls. Some call her a sand bagger.
Nalgene On the Fly MRSP: $12.99 Size: 24 ounces Companies Pitch: Nalgene’s newest leak-proof loop-top swings open wide to reveal a contoured, high-flow drinking spout that’s easy to fill at the fountain or sink. One-handed push button for easy open/close; locking bail for ultimate insurance against leaks
From Nalgene on their OTF Bottle
Nalgene’s newest leak-proof loop-top swings open wide to reveal a contoured, high-flow drinking spout that’s easy to fill at the fountain or sink. One-handed push button for easy open/close; locking bail for ultimate insurance against leaks.
Holds 24 ounces
Silicone stopper seals off the drinking spout
Leak-proof with bail engaged
Fits standard cup holders
Molded-in measuring marks
63mm cap fits other Nalgene wide-mouth bottles
Compostable EarthFirst® bottle “shrink sleeve” packaging is made from renewable plant resources
OTF bottle is made in the USA from copolyester manufactured without Bisphenol A (BPA). OTF closure is made in China from polypropylene manufactured without Bisphenol A (BPA).
Tested and abused for the past 8 weeks. Brutal testing done by not only myself, but my testing team. The team consist of two athletic 9 and 10 year old boys. I knew when it came to testing a “leak proof” bottle they would be the best abusers.
The above bottle is one that was tested, we haven’t gotten around to taking the label off but even that has worn well. The two bottles that were supplied for review have been taking to sports practices, school backpacks, and even slept in bed with them. I’m happy to report there hasn’t been even one leak!
On the Fly Conclusion
For $12.99 and BPA free I think it is a great lifestyle bottle.
The Nalgene bottle isn’t for me. I prefer either a cycling bottle top or a drink with a straw. The biggest positives for me for this Nalgene bottle is that there are no hidden pieces to pull out or to find moldy down the road, the top design does not leak and is easy enough for kids to use well. For $12.99 and BPA free I think it is a great lifestyle bottle.
Product Disclaimer : This product was given to me at no charge for reviewing. I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out.
This morning I attended my first cyclocross race of the year, and notably the first one in over a year and a half. There were two goals going into my women’s CX4 race, first was to finish and the second was not to be lapped. Going into the race I wasn’t too sure of the latter, I knew I could pedal around slowly for 30 minutes but to keep in front of all the other ladies is another story.
Prep Work and Bicycle Builds
Never build a bicycle days before a race without being able to ride it, never make major changes like gearing or tires with out being able to test ride. I tell this to every client and I’m telling this to you, are you listening? Well, I don’t listen to myself. I built my Raleigh singlespeed on Thursday, test rode on Friday. The gearing was way too tough, and so I changed the gearing on Friday night (the night before my race.)
Singlespeed Cyclocross am I Crazy?
This will be a follow up article, but you need to know the basics – I love riding single speed and very excited to expand on riding it in cyclocross races.
Go Time at the Races
I warmed up in a thick windstopper jacket and jeans over my bibs and knee warmers. It was cold, not as cold as Minneapolis but it was cold and I haven’t been riding outside to be broken in. When the sun was shining and the wind wasn’t blowing, it was bearable but when the wind blew and the sun went behind the clouds – it was HORRID. One jacket was dropped at the finish line, and my jeans with other jacket were stripped off at the start line. Then it was go time.
The race was basic, I started at the back, ended at the back and was passed by a great amount of the juniors then lapped by the guys in the single speed class. I didn’t want to do my last lap, I was within 45 seconds of being lapped at the finish line but thankfully a good friend was there to push me along.
Achieving what I set out to, not pulling off before the last lap, pounding on the pedals or walking up the hills. I’m proud. After the last three months and what has happened, I’m proud of myself and motivated. This is the perfect way to kick off the season and I can’t wait until the next race in 8 days!
My resolutions were simple, and parallel much of my 2011 season list we touched on last week. I want to make a keynote that I want to know your resolutions and how we can make each other accountable for them!
Drum Roll Please
Start riding on the road
Start actively riding 3+ times a week
Fill in the other days with working out and yoga
Start racing as much as financially possible
Give up coffee and coke, none/zero/nada!
Breaking It Down
At the end of the day I want to make myself, sponsors and friends proud.