Sunday, December 9, 2012

Gear!! Saving the world?

Riding through a Seattle Neighborhood
Being a gear tester for the Novara brand involves riding my bicycle through chilly Pacific Northwest rainfall. The glamour of knowing, or hoping, my critical analysis and feedback of the prototype over-mitt product will be the underlying cause of a cyclist commuter's day being slightly better off that it would have been makes it worth it... even though it was just that. Glamour. Glamour without additional pay.

But that's ok. Perhaps a cyclist will be further motivated to ride to work instead of driving due the improved design of overmitts, thus reducing greenhouse emissions... and that my dear friends, is how I save the world :-)

At my REI night job, I am constantly surrounded by gear. New gear. More gear. Boxes and boxes of stock gushing in to the consumer's insatiable appetite for more. More technology. More design. More expectations! More!! More!!!!!

After years of customers buying them from me, I finally tested a pair of aggressive La Sportiva Solution climbing shoes at Seattle Bouldering Project. I was disappointed! At $170 MSRP, I was secretly hoping for mini jet engines to propel me up the wall! Granted, I haven't really climbed in over a year and half, so my whole body has weakened....(shh... I was falling off of V1s... shhhh.....)  but... isn't that what the "more" customers are looking for is? For the product to work for them instead of doing the actual work themselves?

Owning a pair of winter cycling overmitts in itself won't save the world. Really  It only works if you actually go out there in the cold rain. (brrr... suddenly saving the world seems a lot less exciting). Wearing aggressive and expensive climbing shoes doesn't make you a better climber. Only dedication will. (darn! Throwing money at something doesn't fix the problem!)

And yeah... I'm guilty. Very guilty. This past year has been a glaring example. I un-expectantly had to start my life over from scratch several times over the last year and half, and as result, I was on the downward spiral of a car-driving couch potato in need of a good kick in the arse. 

Until one day I got the memo that I would be product testing a Novara brand overmitt prototype. It didn't just save the world. Rather, it saved mine.

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