Every week, we bring you five gear-related stories, from all over, that you won’t want to miss. Here are this week’s highlights:
The Birthplace of Your Boots
While much of the athletic-footwear industry has shifted manufacturing to Asia, many climbing, mountaineering, skiing and hiking boots have maintained design and manufacturing facilities in Italy—amazingly, concentrated almost entirely in the town of Montebelluna, population 30,800. Outside sent writer Christopher Solomon to check the town out, meet some of the local families responsible for boots made by companies like Scarpa, Dynafit and Asolo, then write about the historical significance of the town in the world of outdoor gear.
“After World War II, Montebelluna took off by doing what it does best, capitalizing on tradition while embracing innovation,” writes Solomon.
Can Trophy Hunting Actually Help Conservation?
This in-depth article in Conservation was published over a year ago, but in light of this past week’s controversy over dentist Walter Palmer’s killing of Zimbabwe’s beloved Cecil the Lion, it’s as relevant as ever.
“The issues here are complex and highly politicized,” Conservation reports. “There are several questions that science can’t help address, primary of which is whether or not the money raised from the sale of hunting permits is used for conservation, something often promised by hunting tour operators. But empirical research can help to elucidate several other questions, such as whether hunting can ever help drive conservation efforts.”
The Rise of Climbing
Avid climber and reformed indoor-climbing-gym skeptic Daniel Duane reflects in The New York Times on the recent explosion of climbing gyms in North America—436 of them throughout the United States and Canada now, in fact. Perhaps most interestingly, he reflects on how the sheer accessibility of climbing gyms and programs to kids “trains them hard during formative years when the human body works like a neurological sponge, and then sets them loose to shatter outdoor performance standards.”
What effects has that had on the climbing community and sport as a whole?
Unreal: Entire Mountain Biking Run Captured in a Single Shot
PetaPixel takes a peek behind the scenes of an incredible four-minute video of mountain biker Brandon Semenuk tackling a custom trail in Cambria, California—all captured in a single, continuous shot made possibly by a state-of-the-art gyro-stabilized camera system called the GSS C520.
Be sure to check out both the four-minute segment—part of the film, “unReal”—as well as the six-minute behind-the-scenes footage that explains how this segment was accomplished.
Three Fast-Growing, E-Commerce-Based Leisure-Bike Startups
Business Insider takes a look at the soaring sales in the U.S. of leisure bikes—nearly 20 percent growth from 2013 to 2014, while race-bike sales actually fell during the same period. Business Insider attributes this partially to many cities’ efforts to add bike lanes, as well as a broader societal trend toward more environmentally friendly transportation.
This week, they profile three fast-growing, ecommerce-based bike startups leading the way—Solé Bicycles (fixed-gear and single-speed bikes starting at $399), Priority Bicycles (a Kickstarter-funded company focused on low-maintenance bikes with puncture-resistant tires and chainless belts), and Villy Custom, which earned a $500,000 investment on Shark Tank with its classic-style cruiser bikes beginning at $500.