Tuesday, March 14

I'll do my best, but I'm not known for that

This has got to be my last post devoted entirely to TOGS.  It has to be.  I mean, how much can I yammer on about my tiny bar nubbins anyways?

Awhile back, I wrote a post about how much I miss these dorky things when I ride my mountain bike that doesn't currently have them.  Yeth, I've come a long way since the time I mocked them on Facebook by saying they are the "vestigial tail of the long-forgotten bar ends."  I figured I would take the By:Stickel Meatplow V.6 to Pisgah one more time without them, and if I still found that I miss them more than the scrumptious hoagies at the Dairy Bar in Linesville, PA, I'd buy another pair.

Well, someone at TOGS decided to make the decision for me.  Out of nowhere, I got an email telling me that my order was on its way.  What order?  I didn't place any order...

It just came like that.

Anyways, a couple Sundays ago, I was coming up on 50 miles of riding all over creation doing Tour duh Charlotte stuff and just letting my brain wander.  I was on the final stretch of shitty Monroe Road when I started thinking about why the hell I like these things so much.  Then the thinky part of my head figured it out.

Wrap your hand around the bar like normal.  Now, bend your thumb.

Your thumb doesn't do jack shit down there.  It's natural motion is closer to being parallel to the bars than it is wrapping around them.  Your fingers are just using your thumb as leverage, and your hand-crotch just takes the beating.

Now look at my hand on the bars with my thumb gripping the nubbin:

I'm actually able to grip the TOGS in line with my normal range of motion.  The more technical the trail gets, the more I can increase my grip pressure.  The bar isn't banging into my hand crotch either.

I feel safe and comfortable riding here, to the point where I spend the majority of my time with my thumb over the bars now.

I bought my first pair of TOGS back in May of last year after I hyper-extended my thumb in a very stupid, slow speed tip over on Trace Ridge.  Holding on to the bars like a normal person was just killing me... and I was going into the month of PMBAR, the Pisgah 111K and the Trans-Sylvania Epic.  Pretty much the most brutal month I was gonna face all year long.  I really didn't want to stick these things on my bike, but I was desperate.  I've hyper-extended* my thumb before in the past, and I know how long it takes to heal... even without pounding it for hours and hours on some of the most technical shit on the East Coast.

And the thing is, they did the trick.  Sure, I wasn't pain free, but I could hold on with a lot less pain and keep everything under control.  Dammit.  They're staying on there for good.

I do blather quite a bit about these things, but they are certainly game-changers for me.  They're just that good, and if you can get over the idea of having one more thing bolted on your bars, I think you should really try them.  There's not a whole lotta ways you can improve your ride this much for only $20.  Seriously.

Three sets of TOGS in the house, four bikes of mine own.

I tried the purple ones on my tarck bike because this:

So matchy-matchy, but they didn't work out so well on there.  My bars are very swept and a totally different width than anything else I own.

I hold on to the bars all over the place (that's why there are grips all over the place), and they just didn't feel 100%... which made my decision easier.  I literally use an infinite amount of hand positions on my work bike, thus the strange pink ESI grip extension that allows me that extra two centimeters closer to the stem...  I know, it's a bit obsessive. 

Anyways, I can put my this set on my fixed gear do-whatever machine.

Because this bike could use something bolted on the bars other than a bell.  I actually think these will be much bueno here (and was on Sunday's 40+ miles assploration ride).

The crabon ones ended up on the By:Stickel Meatplow V.6.

So, I guess I'm not gonna have to wait until my next trip to the mountains to figure out if I miss them or not... because I won't.

Hopefully that's the last time I devote an entire post to TOGS, but if you ask me what I think when you see me in person, expect more of the same.  I will talk your ear off.  Ask Scott Williams and he'll tell you.  Or Eastwood.

And if my bike is around, feel free to grab my nubbins or go for a spin (let me know you're doing it first tho).

* I've hyper-extended my thumbs more times than I can count, usually doing stupid shit.  It's been to the point where I can't use my thumb to pull the D-ring on my messenger bag to loosen the strap, take off my socks, squeeze a water bottle, or even hold down the elastic on my underwear to take a leak, because it was excruciating and also not so great for the healing process.  Strangely, I've been through it enough times that my muscle memory usually defaults to the more cautious habits I've learned to do all those things without using my thumb regardless of how my thumb feels.  Strange.


Charles Martin said...

+1 for the TOGS. I was skeptical but now I'm a convert. They're great for long rides. My arthritic thumbs thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

All I heard was sammiches.

Dauber Jenkins said...

Hyper extension bad, skier's fracture at a mtb race 2 weeks before the wedding on the left hand REALLY bad.

Ari said...

My two Mtb's have togs. My fat bike does not. My left hand hurts within two miles of riding it. There goes my third set soon. If you have messed up hands they are a relief.

Anonymous said...

road lever envy

Paul Shin said...

Wondering if this has helped hand numbness for anyone. I've tried a lot of stuff and spent a lot of money trying to figure out how to keep my hand from going numb.

rick is! said...

ergon grips solved my hand numbness issues.

dicky said...

I did try Ergons a long time ago. My thumb crotch didn't deal well with the narrower portion of the grip. Everyone is different tho.

Robrt said...

nice post

Mike said...

Is that a seal of full approval?

Anonymous said...

When cruising smooth flat ground, I'll put the base of my palms up on the TOGS... good stretch feels.

Anonymous said...

I like to wear a belt with suspenders. Is it a faux pas to rock the TOGS with Ergon GP2s? If so, count me in!