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In the Drops: Pelago Rasket, Velocio's fuzziest mid-layer, bristling brushes, shiny shades and Ted Lasso

This week's kit and content highlights from Cyclist plus unmissable TV

Matthew Loveridge
31 Dec 2021

I'm writing this before Christmas, you're reading it after. Either you've had a tremendous jolly feeding pigs in blankets to the dog and arguing over whether Die Hard is a Christmas film (I wouldn't know, I've never seen it) or Christmas was more cancelled than that comedian who used to be funny before all that stuff came out, and you're about to have the most depressing New Year's Eve of your entire life, apart possibly from the one last year.

I'd say choose your own adventure, but you can't. 2022 here we come, everyone.

While you'll have to wait until next week for a resumption of normal service, I hope you've been enjoying Gear of the Year features from the team, with kit and bike highlights from Joe Robinson, Robyn Davidson, James Spender, Emma Cole, Will Strickson and me, Matthew Loveridge.

While we're looking back don't miss Joe's excellent review of the 2021 pro cycling season, and stay tuned for our 2022 predictions in the coming days. 

On with the show!

Pelago Rasket rack-basket hybrid

What do you get when you cross a rack with a basket? This. 

Finnish brand Pelago makes a glorious array of practical bike accessories, not to mention some elegant yet utilitarian bicycles. 

The Rasket combines the best features of a proper front rack with a sturdy basket. Constructed entirely from stainless steel and available in both black and silver, it'll add a bit over 1,600g to the weight of your bike depending on exactly which hardware you need. That's far from light, but it's a really solid piece of kit. 

It comes with hardware to fit various arrangements of bosses and/or front axles. The basket measures roughly 40×33×14cm and has a rated capacity of 5kg, while the rack part can take a further 5kg in panniers fitted to either side.

I've fitted the Rasket to my trusty (and rusty) On One Pompino fixie, a bike that mainly gets used for burrito runs and trips to the post office.

I'll be writing more about this setup in the coming months but early impressions are overwhelmingly favourable. I should note that my p-clip mounting arrangements are a bit of a bodge which Pelago doubtless wouldn't endorse, but it seems to work well all the same.

Velocio Alpha long sleeve mid-layer

Image: Joseph Branston

Staying warm and comfortable in winter is often about good layering and when it's really cold, you typically want a base layer and a mid-layer underneath your winter jacket.

This unusual top from Velocio is a nuclear option for when it's truly freezing. It's wonderfully cosy thanks to the ultra-fuzzy Polartec Alpha Direct material on the front, which has a loose weave that should create lots of insulating air pockets. 

Image: Joseph Branston

The Alpha really is warm – too warm, perhaps, for most UK winter riding. But it excels in freezing weather and it makes lightweight outer jackets more useful on particularly cold days. 

The Alpha isn't designed to be worn as an outer layer and it has no waterproof properties of its own, but there are three rear pockets so it adds useful cargo capacity for things you don't mind being hidden under your jacket.

Peaty's Brush Set  

Washing your bike can be a chore but Peaty's is aiming to ease the burden with its new set of dedicated bike cleaning brushes. The full set includes four different designs that aim to get in every nook and interstice of your filthy, disgusting bike.

The Bog Brush looks exactly as you'd imagine and features soft 'flagged tips' on its bristles that claim to create 'thick lathery loamfoamy goodness'. Wow, right?

The skinny Detail Brush squeezes into tight gaps, while the large Tyre Brush is for well, you know. Finally, the dinky kinked Drivetrain Brush is desiged to help you get at your cassette without skinning your knuckles.

Peaty's says it considered the environment impact of its latest product and initially set out to use fully natural materials. However this proved unworkable for the bristles as natural fibres were either too soft or not durable enough, and came with ethical concerns of their own.

Nevertheless, the Detail Brush uses bristles made from recycled plastic, and the aim is for the rest of the range to adopt these when covid-hit supply chains permit. 

  • Complete set: £32.99 / Invidividual brushes from £8.99
  • Buy now from Peaty's (currently sold out until January)

100% Westcraft glasses

Image: Joseph Branston

The convention when discussing new sunglasses is to delve deeply into their advanced technical features and make references to important sounding hydrophobic treatments and clever optical tech. One might even quote a weight, as if the weight of your eyewear is of any consequence in a world that is both on fire and sinking. 

We all know none of that stuff matters and as long as sunglasses do their job and don't fall off, what matters is how good you look wearing them and whether they reflect the flames of said burning planet in a way that looks cool on the movie poster.

Image: Joseph Branston

These are the new 100% Westcraft glasses. I think they look rad. You may disagree. They are quite reflective.

What we're into this week: Emma Donoghue and Ted Lasso

If Santa came through and you've got a juicy book token to burn (are those still a thing?), I'm going to recommend you spend it on Emma Donoghue's novel The Pull of the Stars

It's set during the 1918 flu pandemic and yes, I know that probably sounds deeply unappealing right now, but it's just so good. The book is a wonderfully observed and beautifully written account of early 20th century medicine from a writer who never seems to do the same thing twice.

Image: Apple TV+

If it's lighter entertainment you're after, I can't recommend Apple TV+'s Ted Lasso highly enough. I'm sure you don't want to subscribe to yet another streaming service, but I promise you it's worth the modest fee for this one

The show's underwhelming premise is that a drawling American football coach is drafted in to coach an English football team (different sport, yeah) and some stuff happens. Sounds rubbish, right? Well it's not.

It's one of the best things I've seen this year combining pin-sharp writing with a core of actual human goodness. Ted Lasso is as much about the value of kindness as anything else. Pretty festive, eh?

Happy New Year everyone! Don't forget to ride bikes.

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