Thursday, December 3, 2009

Spotlight on Sponsors: Nau, Laekhouse, The Loin, SFBC

Now, what do you get when you combine a love for good looking outerwear with technologically advanced fabrics, minus the harm for the environment that usually comes from manufacturing anything at all, and combine all that with a wonderfully specific design aesthetic? You get Nau! Who are they? A small collective of busy designers who are creating a seriously amazing line of clothes. From basic under-layers made of silky merino wool to heavier, fully lined and insulated jackets that are articulate in every joint - Nau focusses on the fit, the function, and by the time they are done, the fashion simply falls right into place. It is a flawless little cycle, in fact. Even more, they take so many steps before a garment is even made to insure that the sources used to produce it are safe and sound, environmentally speaking. Their fabrics all trace back to eco-friendly, compassionate sources - and that, in turn, provides Nau with complete confidence in what they produce. This makes for one happy customer, who knows where his clothes are coming from. By being this picky, Nau shows how much it cares for its customers. In the spirit of giving back, Nau has kindly donated several prizes to this year's race.

This small internet-based boutique has been cranking out great looking cycling-related shirts and hats for the past couple of years. Their designs are usually simple, gritty images plucked from history: Coppi on the velodrome, Merckx reworked into Ziggy Stardust makeup, or the two gentlemen from the 1920s Jazz Age of track racing. The shirts themselves are of the soft, brushed cotton variety and are cut longer and slimmer. Now, Laekhouse has recently employed some sort of new-fangled, uber-techy sort of retro-reflective ink which they now print some designs in. The stuff is a real trip - it normally cannot be detected, but once it is dark out and a light hits it, the ink gets so bright and reflective that it cannot be missed. While this is primarily a bit of safety (visibility at night is key!) there are also some neat and artsy applications as well for this type of printing. Check out Laekhouse's website for more information on their products and their philosophy. We thank them kindly for donating several shirts/hats to our race.

A print studio based in the Tenderloin that produces high quality, highly detailed shirts and prints. Originally started on a small scale as a screenprinting operation making small runs of simple and catchy designs for neighborhood friends, The Loin grew out of a sense of local pride into a full-time gig that performs exceptionally artful printmaking. Whether it is experimenting with different inks and pigments (reflective, phosphorescent, environmentally conscious, and other technological breakthroughs) or simply turning out a pretty design on a shirt, The Loin is the go-to shop. Recently, the small shop has branched out into a more retail environment - several stores in the Tenderloin are now happy stockists of the much sought after t-shirts. What is another nice aspect about the shop is that they welcome artists, and work together to produce amazing collaborations in primarily shirt-based form. The most recent artist/designer-shirts were on display at a local gallery. The Loin has been a huge supporter of a ton of bicycle races for the past few years, and has always been a donor to our race. We are thrilled to announce The Loin as a sponsor: 94109 forever!

Surprisingly, the SFBC is not the Science Fiction Book Club. It is, in fact, our own advocacy group known around town and abroad as the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. We have them to thank for places to lock our bikes outside, for over 200 miles of safe bicycle lanes throughout the city, for getting use of the GG Bridge for cyclists, and most of all - for giving a voice to a contingent of the population that is usually not heard due to all the noise made by automobiles, their lobbyists, and the angered motorists that seem to be so vocal these past few years. The SFBC provides a bit of equality to this car-centric political structure we have by lobbying on our side, by getting issues in front of the mayor, by promoting Bike-to-Work days, and by taking a vital hand in the urban planning of this city. By becoming a member of the SFBC, you will also earn rewards at places where you probably shop already: Rainbow Grocery, many bike shops around town, and discounts on other goods and services. Your money goes to helping fund the Coalition, which in turn ends up providing the cycling population with all the wonderful benefits we all enjoy currently - it is a win-win for all parties concerned, and I strongly urge anyone who is not yet a member to become one. As it turns out, the SFBC is donating a membership package complete with t-shirt to us this year - so for those lucky few winners, you are already well on your way to making a positive change for yourself and others. We thank the SFBC for all they do, and especially for supporting our race.

(Text courtesy of Brian Raymond.)
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