Review: Portland Leather Goods Dopp Kit
(2017) Today is the first rest day in the Tour de France. Teams have either transferred directly after stage nine’s conclusion or are using this extra day to transfer slowly. Contrary to popular belief, the first rest day can be anything but. After nine days of hard effort, the body has become used to extreme stress. A rest day to a body signifies a reprieve and it begins healing. Therefore, a Tour rest day is hardly a rest day for professional cyclists. To stave off the healing process, they will still go out and ride an absurd amount of miles compared to those who have one hour on a weeknight to get out. But there are no doubt some liberties taken on today’s rest day.
Had creakybottombracket.com been tapped for the Tour de France and made it to the rest day, the leisurely day could go something like this: a late wake-up call, some morning coffee and a larger than normal breakfast, a training ride up Alpe d’Huez a mere four times that day (remember it’s a rest day), and then some attention to the body. In an interchangeable sequence of events, we would either get a massage first or a long, satisfying shave.
Having a transfer means riders live outside of their travel bags from stage to stage. In recent years this has become a bit easier now that teams bring everything with them. Gone are the days of staying in the local hotels and eating the local food. Teams roll into town with motor coaches and chefs leaving one to wonder what impact it has for a team to now ‘middle’ the town economy.
One important bag would certainly be the Dopp kit. Named after Charles Doppelt who took credit for centralizing one’s entire toiletry needs, this bag can store every wet shaving device a traveling cyclist needs. We received one just in time for the rest day from the Rapha Rising challenge. And it came, naturally, from Portland, Oregon.
Leather in cycling is as synonymous as Campagnolo and Bianchi. Brooks Saddles are still of handmade leather. Chamois pads in cycling shorts are no longer leather but once were. Leather cycling glo...er, mitts still float around the industry. Certain cycling shoes are also still made of leather, though the ones on our shelf are made of kangaroo leather.
Combine the leather history in cycling with Portland, Oregon, and the list is just as long. The distinct buzz of Chris King hubs originate from Portland. Want to put those R45 hubs in some wheels? Head down to Sugar Wheel Works in the same town to have some wheels built around them. Thinking of putting a bike around those wheels and one can choose from Breadwinner or Vanilla. Speaking of Rapha, Portland is the company's American headquarters. This town does cycling well.
From the same town is a company called Portland Leather Goods. They created a Dopp kit for yours truly and it arrived a few days ago. The first sense stimulated was the smell of leather that wafted from the shipping box once it was opened. This is pure leather. The feel was smooth and soft, like that of a great shave. The zipper is stout and industrial. The stitching is straight and evident. There are two pull handles, one for each end of the zipper to help with closure. What sets Portland Leather Goods Dopp kit apart from many other companies is their customization.
We were able to get our initials on one side to eliminate any chance of someone stealing our proud collection of wet shaving materials. If it’s a rest day for cycling, the last thing I would want to see is a disposable razor and a can of whip shaving cream greeting me because bags were switched by mistake. On the other side is the silhouette of two pine trees and a distant mountain, all things relevant to yours truly. The ability to customize sets this bag apart from many others.
The space is remarkable, too. Easily we fit a medium shave scuttle, a tin of shave soap, an apothecary bottle of aftershave, a shave brush, and a double-edged razor. There was plenty of room for straight razors and a shave towel. Downsize the shave soap to a sample tin and the bag could accommodate more. The thick leather will protect all those wet shaving valuables in one centralized location.
If you are a cyclist who finds him/herself constantly transferring towns, this bag is perfect for all your toiletry needs. We simply opted for wet shaving articles though items such as shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, sunscreen, embrocation, or face wash would also fit in this bag. If we really want to keep it Portland, perhaps we should fill the Dopp kit with a new set of Chris King hubs to get them in the house discreetly. The only problem is, having our initials on the bag will shoot down any excuse that we grabbed the wrong bag.