The summer of 2012 was one of the hottest seasons ever throughout the United States. Whether we face the same braising this year remains to be seen, but we plan on being prepared. These relatively simple tips to increase energy efficiency should keep you cool and help your wallet stay fat and fluffy this summer season.
Keep the chills, lower the bills
Go forth and perform
Warm weather: we can’t say enough good things about it. There’s something noble about putting on cold weather gear and sticking it out all winter, but running in the summer, sweat pouring off your brow, hat and clothing looking like the Bonneville salt flats, the first sip of Heed after a 20 miles in the scorching heat, runner babes in short shorts — this is pure, unadulterated sport pleasure. Here’s the gear we’re wearing. If you’re prepping for a race or just like to hit the pavement for an hour after work, this stuff has performance written all over it.
The Spirit of Burt Munro
Burt Munro set his first speed record in New Zealand in 1938. He was riding an eighteen-year-old motorcycle that was factory built to top out at 55 MPH. Burt clocked 120.8. That sort of bump doesn’t happen on its own. When it left the assembly line, Burt’s Indian Scout was powered by a side-valved 600cc V-Twin complete with a mechanical oil pump and helical gear transmission, a very advanced system for the time. The tinkering began almost immediately, and the speeds increased. Munro would continue to chase speed on the salt flats of Utah for the rest of his life.
To the casual observer, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, with its tidy towns and the waft of manure from plowed fields on the spring breeze, is a far cry from the vaunted watchmaking regions of Europe. But there are similarities between this rolling farmland and the mountain valleys of Switzerland and Germany: a history of rural isolation, strong Puritan work ethic, cold winters, and a history of fine timepieces. Lancaster was home to the Hamilton Watch Company from 1892 until the mid-1980s and was, at one time, producer of some of the finest timepieces in the world. Today it is still a treasure trove of American watchmaking.
Starpower trumps horsepower
Weeding through Hollywood’s entire crop of iconic movie cars in the hopes of arriving at an agreed upon best of list is like trying to choose the sexiest Victoria’s Secret model — it can be grueling work, but the research isn’t exactly painful. Car guys are a picky lot, especially when looking to the silver screen: Some go weak in the knees when they hear an American V8 rumble to life slightly out of frame, while others are gaga for the svelte silhouette of a European exotic on a twisty backdrop. A select few believe the essential chase scene is the deciding factor, while yet another breed is only happy when the director has chosen an “appropriate” vehicle for the character driving, regardless of whether the movie was even watchable.
The GP Team’s collection of petrolheads put all of these variables into play, entered into
deep philosophical debate and eventually agreed to disagree so we could present you with our picks for the best movie cars ever. Gentlemen, start your arguing engines!
GP tallies the hits and misses of the season
Nowadays, no summer preview would be complete without a mention of the movies. Mother nature’s decision to crank up the thermostat and the possibility of BBQ ribs for lunch provide all the natural motivation society needs to bunker down in a cool dark room to watch
Megan Fox sweat on cars 120 minutes of explosions. We love a good superhero flick as much as the next guy, but massive marketing budgets shouldn’t be the only thing coaxing you into a theater seat this summer. This season has its fair share of CGI orgies and deep think pieces that don’t rhyme with “fan of seal” — and none of them should be missed.
Rising to the top
Another BaselWorld is in the books. Journalists, retailers and watch nerds alike are retreating as we speak to their blogs, stores and web forums to debate who the winners, the losers, the biggest surprises and the biggest disappointments were at this year’s show. Of course, all of the hype surrounding the biggest watch event on the planet is a sign of the times. Watches have become big business, and the launch of a new OMEGA or TAG Heuer attracts the same buzz as a new U2 album or Bond film. Watches are cooler now than they’ve ever been.
Our intrepid band of watch experts has elbowed past the hype and tirelessly pored over the onslaught of new watches shown this past week to distill a list of the most interesting, groundbreaking and just plain sexiest new timepieces of BaselWorld 2013.
A Photo Essay
It started with an email from my buddy.
Meet you in the lobby of the Islazul Gran Hotel De Camaguey @8am on March 18th, 2013. I will be in touch – Peregrine.
Actually, we’d talked about the possibility of a Cuba trip when Mycah — his name isn’t always Peregrine — and his wife found out the she’d been awarded a fellowship to study urban agriculture there. I had not booked my tickets. I wasn’t really sure I’d go because it was near a grand between the flight to Cancun and the next one to Havana, plus I’d been traveling a lot the past year. I told him it was 50/50. Then in early March I was offered a quick business trip to Cancun ending in mid-March. You don’t balk when serendipity tugs at your Johnson, so I shot off a quick email reply: F*ck it. Tickets booked. See you there.
See no evil
I entered the portion of the bar sectioned off for the Craft Your Senses event, handing my ticket to the hostess as I ducked behind the curtain. It was dimly lit and already teeming with a boisterous crowd surrounding each of the seven independent breweries present. Conversation starters were being poured and enjoyed at each…
The Heuer Carrera can be summed up in one word: legible. When Jack Heuer, the great-grandson of Heuer’s founder, decided to introduce a new line of chronograph watches in 1963, ease of reading was the foremost design goal. Taking inspiration from the dashboard dials of racing cars, Jack developed what is arguably one of the best-looking chronographs ever made. These were watches designed to be worn on the track and in the cockpit of the world’s fastest cars, and many of the best drivers of the 1960s and 1970s chose Heuers. This was a time before brand ambassador programs paid celebrities to wear their watches; drivers like Mario Andretti, Gilles Villeneuve, Clay Regazzoni, Jochen Rindt, Niki Lauda, and Jo Siffert wore Heuers just because they liked them.
An inside look at the insider's home of horse racing
Kentucky is the undisputed mecca of the thoroughbred industry in the U.S., both for breeding and racing. Each year since 1875 this truth has been reaffirmed on the first Saturday in May, when sport’s brightest spotlight turns toward Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. Its reputation as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports” is well-deserved. The same goes for the race’s record attendance numbers, which eclipse both the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes. But those who follow the sport beyond the Julep-fueled weekend of seersuckers and sundresses know that much of the prestigious race’s success is owed to another place a mere 80 miles east.
Knobby tires meet sleep deprivation in a sea of sand
While the vast majority of race-hungry viewers across the country watch NASCAR, Indy and the American Le Mans Series, a race of an altogether different kind occurs on another continent — and both death and destruction are almost guaranteed. That race is the Dakar Rally (a.k.a., the Paris-Dakar Rally), where professionals and amateurs alike venture out into the treacherous unknown in all manner of vehicles to see if they can claim the coveted title of one of the most skilled and hard-as-nails drivers the world has ever seen. There’s little in the way of tarmac to plant your tires on in this
rally bonkers off-road endurance race that pits man and vehicle against mile upon mile of wheel-swallowing sand, water, dirt and rocks. And if you make the mistake of thinking it’s just about driving fast, you might as well stick to your barcalounger and bouts of Gran Turismo 5 in the safety of your parents’ basement.
The relentless pursuit of accuracy
Let’s get one thing out of the way: a chronometer is different than a chronograph, though one can also be the other. We’ve heard the terms confused one too many times, and while we’ll forgive past sins, it’s time to know the difference once and for all. Read on.
The term chronometer comes from two Greek words, and roughly means “time measurer.” The word first came into use in the early 18th century with specific reference to timepieces designed for navigational use onboard ships. In those days — before LORAN, radar and GPS — getting a ship around the world, much less around a rocky peninsula, was a challenge to mariners. Two parameters are necessary to determine your exact whereabouts on the globe: latitude and longitude. Latitude, your position relative to the Poles, can be determined by the angle of the sun relative to where your boat is bobbing; that was discovered and used by sailors relatively early on.
Mr Hasemeyer tests gear, tries not to die
Scrambled eggs, Canadian bacon, homestyle potatoes, a bowl of oatmeal and two cups of coffee: when preparing to take on Squaw Valley with Chris Davenport, simply a two-time World Champion skier who recently scaled and skied Mt. Everest, one must fuel up. So I did.
Sitting on 3,600 acres northwest of Lake Tahoe near the California and Nevada border, Squaw Valley offers skiers the chance to take on wide open runs (groomed and not) of greens, blues and blacks, most of which are clean of trees (death sticks), allowing the average skier to be more daring with less severe consequences. This range in terrain, altitude and weather presented the perfect setting to test my new gear — a Bern helmet, Gordini gloves, and Obermeyer jacket and pants — while being guided by this veteran pro.
Racing for 50 years
This year, Swiss watch manufacturer TAG-Heuer celebrates the 50th anniversary of their iconic timepiece, the Carrera, so it was only natural that they throw a party in its honor. And oh what a party is was. Think champagne, vintage Porsches and models serving hors d’oeuvres and you’re halfway there. Held in the shadow of New York City’s celebrated Highline Park at a converted art studio, the bash was a fitting tribute to an iconic timepiece that has so indelibly imprinted itself on the worlds of horology and auto racing.
GP's Guide to the Conch Republic
Some people might wonder: Why would a person go all the way to the southernmost point in the continental United States for a fish sandwich? Well, the short answer is that we didn’t go to Key West just for a fish sandwich — we scoped out a hotel, went fishing, drove scooters and jet skis, and drank beer. The long answer is that the hogfish isn’t any old sea critter you can pick up at Whole Foods, and the place that serves it ranks very high on the list of best waterfront bars in America (just behind the Beachcomber in Wellfleet, MA, in this author’s black book). But we were principally after a filet of fish. Besides, if you get just one good memory in 72 hours, that’s a pretty good one, for a long weekend.
That's nothing to sneeze at
Look on your bookshelf, in your armoire, wherever you stash your toiletries. We’d bet a shiny buffalo nickel you’ve got one bottle of cologne there, maybe a second collecting dust. That one you’ve got smells like getting socked with a powdery diaper, but the the packaging made you think of white sand, bracing saltwater and azure skies. What happened? More to the point, how did you end up with that bottle? For all the energy men expend making decisions about what to buy (we should know), we put comparatively little effort into cologne. That changes now. We’re going to take some of the guesswork out by testing men’s cologne here at GP, starting with a look at five men’s fragrances from niche brands we like.
From Here to the Moon
When the Mercury program started putting men in orbit, American astronauts largely chose their own watches to wear. John Glenn strapped a Heuer stopwatch to his wrist and Scott Carpenter wore a specially-modified Breitling known as the Cosmonaute. But by the 1960s, NASA saw a need to qualify every piece of vital equipment in the capsule, and the wristwatch was one of them. Wally Schirra had already worn his own OMEGA Speedmaster on his Mercury-Atlas 8 mission in 1962, and it was included in a quiver of chronographs selected by NASA for rigorous testing. Subjected to extreme temperature fluctuations, violent shocks, vibrations, vacuum and humidity, the Speedmaster outperformed watches from the likes of Rolex, Wittnauer and Longines to be named NASA’s approved timepiece. It was March 1st, 1965.
On the slopes with ski patrol
The call comes on the radio almost as soon as Belle and her handler, Gerald, reach to top of the Snake Creek lift. There’s been an avalanche in the resort boundary. Two skiers are buried. They spring into action, the tension and excitement apparent in Belle as the two head along the Snake Creek Bowl traverse to the slide area. Within seconds, Belle has caught the scent of a victim and barrels across the snow field, letting the ski patrol members know where to follow with her eager barking. Her nose leads here directly to the first buried skier, whom she helps dig out. Read on to find out what it’s like to spend a day on the slopes with an avalanche rescue squad.
Know your espresso
By definition, espresso is a relatively simple: 1 oz of coffee beverage made from 7 grams of ground beans, brewed under 9 bar of pressure, at roughly 200 degrees F. Plus or minus. To give you some context, the highest-pressure showerheads top out around 100 psi — not quite enough pound force to make it rain crema. Espresso is both brewing process and beverage invented by the Italians (c. 1884), its name implying speed and singularity of purpose. Our friends at La Colombe Torrefaction were kind enough to meet us one morning during the Fortnight to make the battery of espresso beverages. They were as good as they look. And none of us slept that night.
Drink coffee, go really fast
Coffee and cycling go together like beer and brats. It may be because the local coffee shop is the ideal spot to hook up with your buddies for a ride, or because you want to get a quick jolt so you can drop them at the county line sprint. But the simplest explanation lies in the data, which strongly suggest that caffeine improves performance for endurance athletes — cyclists, triathletes, runners, you name it.
When Bremont offered to send their newest dive watch, the Supermarine 2000 ($5,900), for a review, I wanted to give this timepiece a fittingly rigorous program. After all, the company’s tagline is “Tested Beyond Endurance”, and some of its watches had accompanied adventurers on polar expeditions and round-the-world motorcycle journeys.
The Supermarine 2000 is arguably Bremont’s most rugged and capable watch to date. Its chronometer-certified movement is surrounded with a patented floating carrier, making it highly resistant to the effects of shock and vibration, a technology proven out in the company’s Martin-Baker watches, which have been tested on equipment used to test fighter jet ejection seat components. The movement is also encased inside an anti-magnetic Faraday cage which protects it against harmful magnetic influence. And while Bremont’s Supermarine 500 already boasted an impressive water resistance of 500 meters, the newest diver is rated to four times as deep. Of course, for a dive watch, all these features, while impressive on paper, are worthless if the watch doesn’t perform well underwater. So it was time to take it diving.
True British Muscle
Aston Martin recently decided that being one of the most prestigious and sexiest car makers on the planet wasn’t enough. They needed to be audacious. Their execution of this? Surgically transplanting the 6.0-liter 510 hp V12 from the DBS into their smallest and lightest offering, the Vantage. The Carbon Black edition adds carbon-fiber side strakes, lightweight carbon fiber and Kevlar seats, piano black accents and gloss black painted wheels, which convey the same kind of ballsy aggression as the drivetrain underneath that extruded aluminum body. Read on for a video and photo essay of this Brit stunner.
How they drink, what they think
Coffee is the 2nd most valuable traded commodity after oil, employing 25 million farmers and coffee workers in over 50 countries according to some sources. The U.S. market is worth 22 billion annually alone by some estimates, with over 79% of the population stating they’ve had a cup in the last 12 months.
Given the global nature of this precious brew, our Fortnight of Coffee has tried to address every aspect of the subject, ranging from its natural origins and the art & culture behind it to the various gear and methodologies that have evolved to make it. But there’s still one gaping hole left to fill: the variety of roles (both major and minor) it plays in peoples’ lives.
Here, we’ve gathered together a series of brief interviews with a 16 leading men, whose ranks include actors, authors, athletes, chefs, designers, editors, and founders. Chances are, you’re already familiar with some of their life’s work. Read on, and learn about their own personal coffee habits and how it compares with yours.
Despite being from Seattle, land of Starbucks, Seattle’s Best, Tully and more than a handful of artisanal brewers, I didn’t come by my coffee habit honestly. The bitter drink didn’t cross my lips during college, despite the frequent all-night cram sessions wrought of a sporadic (home) work ethic. Coffee would have certainly improved the 12-mile bike commute in the cold Seattle drizzle at 0525, timed to maximize sleep, yet arrive before NROTC drill practice.
Officer Candidate School (OCS) introduced me to new depths of sleep deprivation — short sleep periods combined with intense physical activity turned us into zombies shuffling along. Military formations became an exercise in intense concentration, especially after I fell asleep standing up, only catching myself, and the platoon sergeant’s unfavorable attention, short of smashing my face into the parade deck. It never occurred to me to get a cup of Joe at the mess hall; the Bunn was situated directly in front of the area where the staff sat, a place to be avoided for danger of unwanted haranguing from the collective hyenas bent on finding your smallest flaw.
We Don't See Nothin' Wrong With a Little Bump and Grind
You like the line at your favorite coffee shop? Ok, besides the cute barista, you can do better: start by grinding your own beans, then check back with Gear Patrol for other suggestions for stepping up to the big leagues. The journey from coffee hack to ambrosia connoisseur begins with freshly ground java in your French press, drip, or espresso machine. A quick primer first, and then on to our top 10 picks.
Dover, Rock City
The Firefly Music Festival announced its lineup Tuesday morning for the June 21-23 extravaganza, which descends upon Dover, DE this year in only its second iteration. We were lucky enough to experience the event last year, and it was an impressive first showing, indeed. Make sure to get your tickets, on sale today, and read on for our photo essay of Firefly 2012.
In Search of Higher Grounds
Where did that coffee in your hand come from? We profile the major coffee growing regions of the world, helping you make an informed decision when it comes to Brazilian versus Indonesian, Colombian versus Monsoon beans from India. Grab a cup and study up.
I believe I can fly
Most drivers with sport-tuned cars like BMW’s Ms and Audi’s S line are relegated to red light straightaways, only partially exploiting the true potential of their steeds. The pathway to higher speeds lies elsewhere. Mercedes recognized this problem and invited us to Rosamond, CA., a quiet farming town with long, unpatrolled stretches of road, to play with all their AMG
toys offerings for 2013 and to use the track at Willow Springs Raceway for their brand new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT ($200,000 Base Coupe).
An Embassy Guard Commander's nightmare, realized
Benghazi and the death of Ambassador Stevens with three other Americans reminded us that unstable frontiers are often dangerous places — places Americans live and work for years, many times accompanied by their families. The bombing of the Ankara embassy adds a fresh splash of cold water. Most tours pass without incident, and most years go by without foreign service casualties. Occasionally, the third world devolves into shit, and the thin veneer of safety and security is stripped away, leaving Americans exposed to the turmoil of internal strife or the targets or terrorism. Here, Gear Patrol offers you an account of threats faced by a Marine assigned to embassy duty in Africa, and the real costs paid by his family.