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Road Holland Reroute

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FLORIDA: Today, Road Holland announced the launch of its new website (www.roadholland.com). In addition to providing a new media rich experience for customers, the site also showcases Road Holland’s new brand identity and tagline - “Reroute."

“We saw a chance to set Road Holland apart, to uncover and communicate the brand’s underlying beliefs,” said Creative Directors Andrew Benson and Mandy Tibbert of FREE Branding & Digital. “Passion for the cycling experience, the adventure and the inevitable discoveries that come with riding on two wheels, that’s what Reroute is all about.”

The Canadian agency helped Road Holland carve a new market position among the big players. “It’s where our expertise lies, in uncovering and articulating the great ideas that make a company tick,” said Chris Bolivar, President of FREE. “That’s the difference between being just another business and having a brand that resonates.”

“From the start, we’ve always done things differently than the other companies in the cycling wear category,” said Jonathan Schneider, President and Co-Founder of Road Holland. "We think cycling is more than just about racing and suffering. It’s a highly personal sport and we all ride for many different reasons. Our new brand look and feel does justice to this idea."

Along with new photography, the site includes an expanded “peloton” section showcasing a large number of photos of customers from around the world, illustrating why they ride. In the coming weeks, the site will also include a new sizing guide to better help customers get the perfect fit.

"2016 is going to be a huge year for us,” says Schneider. “The new site is just the beginning. We’re raising outside capital for overall expansion. Along with a slew of new products beginning in April, we’re going to rapidly expand our domestic and international dealer network so more customers will be able to experience Road Holland in person. Moreover, we’re going to increase the number of events we sponsor.”

The new Road Holland brand and website can be seen at roadholland.com

In August 2015, a couple of our Ambassadors, Owen Wagner and Emily Stein, bicycled Highway 1 from San Francisco, CA to Tijuana, Mexico.

Emily was skeptical when Owen brought only ONE jersey to wear the entire trip. But our Utrecht lived up to the task at hand and performed like a champion.

Now sit back, click play, and join them on their journey.

#reroute.

Richmonders have traditionally been a modest bunch. We know we live in one of the world’s best cities but we don’t go around tooting our own horns too much. That’s just not the southern genteel way of doing things.

Yet, right now, we’re feeling pretty proud of our hometown as the UCI Road World Championships came to Richmond, Virginia last week. Kudos to the organizers who pulled off the incredible task of plotting out a race course that was both challenging for the participants and also extremely fun for the spectators. Crowds steadily grew throughout the week culminating in ear deafening roars all along the course during Sunday’s marquis men’s elite race.

The Road Holland crew took to the course on our mountain bikes to ensure we experienced all vantage points. There was a lot to see but we’ll never forget the crowds that flocked to Libby Hill.

(Nick Davis Photography)

As locals, each night we were out and about greeting the world. Our cycling community rolled out the red carpet organizing local rides, bar crawls, and southern hospitality for all who wished to participate.

For those not fortunate to make it to town, following #RICHMOND2015 certainly must have given them a longing to be here. If you’re one of those fans, come visit soon. And bring your bikes.

- Richard

UCI Road World Championships 2015 Aerial DP’s Cut
Richard MacDonald / New Media Systems, Inc.

"Let’s get one thing straight. You’re not coming to Spain. You’re coming to Catalunya.” So began my recent cycling trip with these words from Marty Jemison.  But let's take a step back first.

A few years ago, Marty placed an order with us and then followed up with a note mentioning his Dutch heritage. Through the course of an email conversation, we learned that he is a former professional cyclist having ridden for 1990s US Postal Service team. He finished the Tour de France twice and also won the 1999 US National Road Race.  Marty now operates a tour company in Europe during the summer (www.jemisoncycling.com) and he’s been ordering jerseys from us for all of his riders for a few years now.

Having just come back from Colorado in August, my body yearned for more hills than the Florida flats can provide. The day after I returned, I reached out to Marty to see if he had any openings on the last few trips of his season. Lucky for me he did. He insisted on joining him on his signature Girona trip and I took him up on the offer.

Marty has been a resident of Girona (about an hour outside of Barcelona) for more than a decade now.  While it is home to a gaggle of pro cyclists these days, it wasn't always so until Marty and a few pioneers put down some roots there.  But it's not in Spain.  It's in Cataluyna - there's a big difference.  Catalans have been fighting for their independence for ages and still bristle at the thought of their imperialist neighbors.  Whatever you do, don't call a Catalan a Spaniard.

I’m not much of a journal keeper but here are a few highlights from my trip that spanned from September 6 - 12th.

- People. Carolyn, Theresa, Dave, Tom - I lucked out with the most amicable riding crew you could ever hope to have on these kinds of trips. While I was the only solo traveler of the bunch, I never felt like the odd man out. And Dave always came back for me on the climbs.   Pow, Marty's incredible domestique, was indefatigable and made sure we wanted for nothing.

- Food. When the tour company’s logo includes a fork, you know you’re in for some good eats. Protein bars, gels, and energy drinks? Nah.  We ate real food. It works a lot better for long days in the saddle and because of its central position, Catalunya is a cornucopia of fresh fish, meat, cheese, fruits, and pastries.  By the way, no matter what they say, it is possible to safely carry a chocolate croissant in the back pocket of a Road Holland jersey.

- 10am start. Thank goodness there are still civil people in this world who don’t believe in early morning starts. 10am meant plenty of time to have multiple espressos (all three hotels had the pro-grade Nespresso machine like I have at home) and take care of business.

- Cars and drivers. When your country is great at a sport, I guess it means you're liable to be nice to those who participate in it. Over six days of riding, I never had one driver cut me off or honk at me (except in an encouraging manner). They’re incredibly courteous in Catalunya and take driving and cycling with much more gravitas. It also doesn’t hurt that there are just not as many cars on the road. As Marty likes to say, “I take you on roads where there are more bikes than cars."

- Scenery. Catalunya seems to have a bit of everything that makes Europe what it is. Castles, twisty roads, vineyards, farmlands, and breathtaking vistas over the coast.  You are never too far way from an old village which makes deciding when to stop for coffee almost as difficult as some of the climbs.

- The flies. I thought Florida was bad but the real manure on those picturesque farms just draws them in. They are everywhere. I dealt with it but the next time I go back, I am bringing my own citronellas.

There’s plenty more but I guess you’ll just have to take one of Marty’s tours to find out.  Thanks Marty!

- Jonathan

Once the 2015 UCI Road Championships are over, the world will undoubtedly recognize Richmond as a cyclists’ town. However, the Valentine Richmond History Center already has an exhibit up and running to prove the point.

In Gear: Richmond Cycles opened last night and we were there. It’s an impressive collection of period photos, advertising art, and bikes spanning Richmond’s 140 year velo lineage. Never seen a “penny farthing” bike up close – now you can.

As a hometown company, when we got the call to add our wares to the exhibit, we were honored. You’ll see one of our kits on display along with some distinctively retro corsets and long skirts for women (you’ve come a long way baby!).

One thing that really caught our eye was an exhibition featuring contemporary Richmonders, from many diverse neighborhoods. Residents agreed to share their cycling stories in a special media wall projection created by Dana Ollestad, a local award-winning multi-media artist and curator.

 

There is no shortage of bikes on display to speak to this story including a 1937-38 Western Flyer boys bike that was used by a Richmond newsboy in the 1940’s. Seeing head badges from local shops like Rowlett's and Agee's from the period hits home the how deep our cycling roots run. Fun items are also on display, such as a 1960's Richmond Federal Savings and Loan change bank encouraging area youth to save up for a new bike.

“In Gear: Richmond Cycles” runs through Jan. 3, 2016. The Valentine is open to the public on Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Sunday. 12-5 p.m. There will be special extended hours nightly until 8 p.m during the cycling events from Sept. 19-26.

Go see it.

 

One of our ambassadors, Adam Shepard has been riding bikes since the 1980s. While he is a Cat 4 racer, we can tell he knows riding is more than racing. He recently sent us this recap of a ride and we thought it so good that we wanted to share. It shows that you never know what you’re in for when you set out on a bike adventure. Enjoy.

In short – what I anticipated as an easy 200 mile weekend under supposed sunny skies turned into a rainy endurance test of will. But let’s get to the details.

“Moneymaker Mike,” my trusted companion and I started off from Austin before dawn with high hopes for a great trip to Comfort, a quaint little town in the heart of Texas.

Within 15 miles of the start, however the rain started coming down. We got wet and stayed wet for the rest of the day. Our progress was slowed by wet directions (my handlebar bag leaked) and the unexpected effort it took to push a 50 pound bike/load. We were used to 17 pound road bikes riding 70 miles on a Sunday like it was nothing.

There were multiple washed out low water crossings to navigate and paved roads that suddenly turned to dirt. I use this term loosely as the rain has muddied them somewhat.

After a long morning of rain and iPhone navigation we finally rolled into Blanco for lunch. A quick bite turned into a lingering hour and a half of bar-b-que and coffee. Reluctant to get back on the bikes in the threatening weather, we saddled up. We muttered, “It shouldn't take long to get there, we're over half way.” Ha ha! As we pedaled on the rain picked up and we came to the worst road of the trip, just as the sky got darker we found ourselves on a road with no shoulder and taillights that long since lost their charge. We slowly pushed on wondering if the next car would side swipe us. That’s the last time I take the Strava heat map as my only source that a road is rideable.

When we finally turned off the death road, we made a quick stop at the last convenience store before Comfort. A couple of candy bars and sodas were hardly enough to get us back on the bikes for the seven miles to the end. As we pressed on every distance marker seemed to contradict the previous one. Seven miles to Comfort, then it was 13. It made us nuts. After a good hour of effort we reached the turnoff for the camp ground. It was just four miles down a country road according to the web site - off we went. At about mile three, Mike looked back at the rapidly approaching cloudburst bearing down on us. It didn't take but two minutes for us to be drenched, and we had just dried out. When we made it to the end of the pavement, there was the campground and no one in sight. Only hand painted half coherent signs about camping and fees. The camping area was a stand of trees next to a muddy creek. A picnic table and more cow patties than we could count were the only amenities.

With a 20% chance of rain in the forecast, we were pretty confident we would not need tents so we didn’t bring them along. Bad decision. It was raining again.

Mike and I are pretty low maintenance but we decided we just couldn’t do it. With 100 miles to ride the next day, we needed more rest than seemed possible out there. We saddled up and headed into town.

Comfort, as lovely as it is has two types of accommodations, Fancy B&Bs or one run down motel dubbed the Executive Inn. We pooled resources and headed to the latter. After securing our room (via bike wedged against the door) Mike offered to get Dairy Queen burgers while I showered. After a few excruciating minutes under frigid water, I heard Mike come back with supper. Even with the cold water and fast food, we agreed that we were living in luxury compared to what could have been. We both eagerly crawled into our respective sleeping bags set on top of the beds and went right to sleep.

Day Two: The next morning we recalculated our route for a more direct, less hilly ride home. A leisurely start saw us first filling up on provisions at the local Chevron before heading to High's cafe. And this was certainly the “high” point of the trip. Mike had blueberry pancakes while I opted for the two egg and bacon sandwich on rye with tomatoes and cheddar-jack. It was sublime.

We lingered and then rolled out of Comfort ready to tackle the day. Of course the bad navigation put us on the interstate. We back tracked and sheepishly smiled at cars coming down the on ramp to make the right turn. The road ahead didn't do much for morale either. It was a series of undulating rollers of varying pitch, enough to make legs ache even before arriving at the climb itself. Of course, it rained again too. (I feel like it's just understood that the rain fell off an on all the time, but I thought I'd mention it anyway.) The saving grace was that car traffic was almost zero as the interstate paralleled our road. We made decent time as we rolled into Bourene, stopping only to grab a Coke and double check the route.

Off we went again...Travel time to New Braunfels was much slower. Between the rolling country road and the increased rain we had to slow down quite a bit. There were times when we couldn't see and times when the road became a stream replete with salmon.

By this time, we were no longer just wet. We – and everything we had with us – were soaked. It's lucky my phone survived. We had to stop more than once to secure the best dry bag out of what ever we could fashion. One stop to find the correct turn found me turning my handlebar bag over to dump out the water.

That's when I remembered the almost quarter pound magic bar I had purchased at High's. The graham cracker crust was damp but edible. The toasted coconut and thick chocolate layers were like spinach to Popeye. We were rejuvenated.

Pressing on we rolled wearily into New Braunfels, still 50 miles from home. Earlier, we had decided we would stop for 30 minutes at the most for some fast food or 7-eleven hot dogs. 30 minutes seemed like eons when we saw the paltry offering of the AM/PM. With a coke, water refills and some Sour Patch Kids we headed on until we found a cafe and had proper food. I charged my light while we ate tuna melts and roast beef sandwiches.

Getting back on the bike was getting harder and harder. We pedaled on heading for San Marcos, just 20 easy miles from salvation. We made pretty good time but saddles sores, wet socks and numb hands made each bump or rough chip seal road painful.

Elation rolled over us when we could see the sky line of Texas State in San Marcos – this was familiar territory. Sunday rides regularly went to San Marcos from Austin. We were practically home, albeit still thirty miles away. "But we do this all the time", I told myself, "We'll be back in an hour and a half." Yeah, not so much. We pressed on wondering why it was taking so long to cover these roads and why were we going so slow?

When we got to Kyle (15 miles to go) we stopped for our last indulgence, a DQ ice cream. It was magnificent. We took our time and enjoyed every last bite before pressing on. When we rolled into Austin and came to where we parted way, the sky opened up and torrential rains came down yet again. Both of us just laughed.

I rolled into my driveway and into the open arms of my wife, glad to be home and glad we went. This was our first bike packing trip and certainly not our last. But you can bet we'll be smarter about it next time.

"Road Holland is trying to create cycling gear that is not overly loud and garish, while hitting the high points that serious cyclists want and need. The mission is to create cycling kits that didn’t look absurd."

Read More: Odd Guys/Gals Random Enterprises Blog

"You don’t need me to tell you that Road Holland’s gear looks sharp – just check out the men’s gallery – but pictures won’t tell you how it feels. The Den Haag feels like a bespoke garment. It feels like someone took the time to consider how the chest and arm stripes should be sewn to prevent chafing. There’s even a rubberized grip strip at the bottom on the inside hem to keep the jersey from riding up your back. It feels like someone pondered the pocket placement, embroidery and neck band so that you’d feel as comfortable tipping back a post-ride Starr Hill Stout as you did peddling up some stout hill like a star. And like that sterling craft brewery in Charlottesville, Road Holland is a small company with Virginia roots but integrity and style that reach far beyond the local scene."

Read the entire article here: The Modern Gentleman

We’ve seen a lot of strange submissions to our makeover contest over the years but none as strange as the ones Jim Levi sent in. We’ve posted them below and you can judge for yourself. But, apparently everyone feels similar because Jim is the winner of the 2015 contest.

As is customary, we talked with Jim about the victory and he gave us the backstory on his cycling career and the pictures.

Jim hails from Downingtown, Pennsylvania which is about 30 miles west of Philadelphia. He’s 27 and now into his fourth year of riding after having taken up the sport to lose some weight. 70lbs lighter, Jim needs some new clothes and we’re happy to help out.

He’s also a renaissance man - bass trombone player. Wedding DJ. Past member of the Philadelphia Wind Symphony.

So what’s with the crazy camo outfit? It relates to a race Jim puts on with his buddies. It’s called the Downhill Mini Masters and it occurs at Harmony Hill Nature preserve. The event’s name provides some strong clues to its nature. Steep downhill. Kids bikes. The masters part? Older people ride the bikes and try to master the art of not seriously injuring themselves.

And the scary outfit? That’s Jim clowning around at a Haunted House frequented by the local children in town.

We asked Jim how he will use his new gear. He plans to wear them on all kinds of rides - from the A+ to the C group. He can’t wait to go to the local coffee shop sporting Road Holland. While there, he grab a cowboy cookie (Google it…) and simply look handsome.


Congrats Jim! And don’t ever wear what you wore in those pictures again.

 

To run a clothing company is to suffer the never-ending barrage of sartorial slings and arrows. Sometimes the slings are mean spirited. “Why don’t you make a jersey in mohair???!! Everyone knows it has better thermal properties than anything else…You guys will never last!”

Most of the time, however, the arrows are emblematic of the “good guys” that are our customers. They’re giving constructive feedback and desires to this still young clothing company.

Many such arrows pointed our way regard the opinions of the color “Celeste” or Italian Sky Blue. Over the years, it has danced among blue and green influences just like Bill Evans (an allusion to my favorite jazz piano player for the non jazz people out there).

Bianchi, the company most synonymous with Celeste, currently employs a very bluish Celeste. But not too long ago, the scales tipped to more green influences.

To make something in Celeste is to take a stand. We have taken one. Our Celeste is a pleasing compromise between the aqua marine blues and overly cool whitish looking greens - the part of the air closer to foamy sea than to the azure blue Italian sky.

It's devilishly sharp against black bottoms. And it looks good on men and women. Can we say “tandem” anyone?

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