Gear Meltdown!

21 11 2009

Gear Meltdown…

This morning I got a text from my wife that read:  “Call Matt M right now:  312-504-…”  To which I replied, “Why?”  Finally she writes back, “He needs some gear guidance ASAP.  He’s at REI having a breakdown!

Intrigued, I picked up my hot chocolate at the Coffee Studio and called Matt right away (Click on his name – he’s a great friend of ours and an amazing writer who has a witty and inspiring blog about fatherhood).  He had just left the Lincoln Park REI and was as frustrated as I had ever heard him.  His mission was to find a winter cover for their B-O-B running stroller and some winter running gear.  His frustration stemmed from the fact that he could find neither.

Let me start with the stroller.  If you have ever been to the Lincoln Park REI, you would know that walking in to that location is what I imagine would be the result of a B-O-B stroller factory explosion – I don’t know if B-O-B has the amount of inventory in their own warehouse that the L.P. REI has.  For the young, crunchy and yuppie couples of Chicago, this place is paradise; apropos since in the same building is an exclusive daycare and the surrounding area is full of families with our similar fear of fleeing to the suburbs to raise kids.  All of this to say that I would have bet my life on the fact that this particular REI would certainly have the stroller covers…and they did not…

Not having kids or any on the horizon, I had little to offer in terms of quelling his frustration.  Sorry buddy!  So I turned to his other issue of winter running gear.  Now cold weather gear can be found everywhere but because of Matt’s schedule (and utter disdain for running indoors), he runs in the evening, and by that, I mean in the dark.  His frustration was that most of the gear he found at REI was either black or otherwise dark in color.  That, and the selection at REI was limited at best.

Two thoughts immediately came to mind.  First of all, there is a running store in Andersonville (a northern neighborhood in Chicago) called The Runner’s Edge.  My wife and I were walking around the neighborhood a couple of weeks ago and stumbled in to the store and they had cold running gear that I haven’t seen anywhere else.  I fell in love with the store.  High-end and expensive but completely dedicated to running in this area only.  I will be buying my next pair of shoes there and plan to do a review post afterward.

My second (and more insightful) thought was to look in to cycling gear instead.  Cycling gear is, of course, designed to be used in the midst of traffic and is usually made in vibrant colors or with reflective strips, etc.  The idea and design is basically the same and my advice was to look at a bike shop or in the bike section of REI if he could stand going back.  There may be some slight design differences but he actually might find them helpful.  For instance, cycling jerseys have pockets in the back that he could utilize on longer runs for Clif Bars or hand warmers.  Tights and tops are basically interchangeable from running to cycling (i.e. triathlon transitions) so I immediately thought this may work.

He doesn’t know it yet, but I’m going to ask him to contribute what he finds.  Even if he decides against going with cycling gear, there may be someone else with a similar predicament that may find his solution helpful.  I (or he) will post how he was able to abate his frustration and find some “flashy” cold weather running gear.

Stay warm and visible!
Daniel

PS – Matt’s call this morning is what this blog is all about!  Please feel free to call or email me at any time if you have questions or concerns about gear.  This is the stuff I love and if I don’t have an answer, I know how to get one for you.  Thanks Matt!  Email:  DanRob5@gmail.com Phone:  312-401-9304 – DR

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