Monday, May 18, 2009

Review: Hawaii Rides trilogy

Awhile back the lemming received Global Ride Production's Hawaii Series 3DVD boxed set for review, they even generously invited me to come ride the Giro with them as a recreational ride. I had to decline that offer as I'm really picky about the SAG wagons that I ride in after the main group has dropped me and left me for dead, preferring onboard margaritas and my own climate control.

I've never really done a review, unless you consider my review of the ugliest mountain bike ever, and have to say I was a little apprehensive. On the one hand writing a review means you have the possibility of being called a sellout, on the other hand you have the danger of being so immensely enthused about getting free product that you write a gushing review regardless of actual quality and your observations, completely invalidating any future observations you may make. Neither sounded good to me.

But I thought, why not risk the identified dangers for some cool bike product, the only other time I get free product is when utilizing the Performance demo program, which as the link suggests is purchasing product from Performance, using it for a short time, and returning it, something I should never do. Perhaps the scariest part of this review is that it is for indoor trainer riding DVDs. I loathe the indoor trainer and would rather pull out my toenails with a rusty pliers than ride anywhere but outside. If I do have to ride it I usually watch Nitro Circus to laugh at the antics and keep me from bursting in to tears over the loss of my soul. But just for this I pulled out ol' faithful, dusted off the cobwebs, lovingly lubed up the roller assembly and got to work. I've included as many movie references as I can as this is for training DVDs. Bla bla bla, let's get to it....

At first glance I read the box of the Hawaii Rides trilogy boxed set. I was amused and excited at the same time to read "one complete kick ass workout" on such a professional looking box. The DVDs held promise if only for that very reason, but I needed to give them a thorough flogging to see their trustworthiness.

As I got through the menus I saw I could have the music playing or shut the music off. This was a huge plus if the music would turn out to be carnival porn like what is heard on the Spinerval videos. In truth, the music was decent, although I might become suicidal if I was riding to the DVDs every night with the same music, but that's why you can shut it off and use your own if you want. I even had a giddy little giggle when a song by Fat Bastard came up and, in a trainer-induced fog, imagined Mike Myers in the Fat Bastard suit singing "If you want my body and you think I'm sexy", which he actually did as the bagpiper in So I Married an Axe Murderer. I'm easily amused by the little things.

Past the music selection I saw that I could listen to the instructor in English, Italian, and Australian. I lauged to myself thinking about Steve Irwin yelling out commands in a spin class by cracky! Then I thought it might make for a halfway enjoyable trainer ride to envision myself as Dave in the Little 500, riding with rage after the Cinzano bastards stuck a bike pump in my spokes, causing me to ride back in to town all bloody and rip down my posters while crying, mourning the loss of my fake Italian accent. As I rode to the DVDs more I found that the Australian and Italian versions were in English simply with Australian and Italian accents, that made it even cooler and made me feel very Euro and Pro at the same time, as well as obviously giving me more ride variety.

The first disc I ended up nicknaming "Attack of the grimacing man". Like any good trilogy, the hero was missing from the second movie for all but a small cameo at the end where he smiled, and the third one I lovingly named "Killing it with the grimacing man". This DVD was by far the most fun as your point of view and the grimacing man attack and pass each other over rollers for the entire DVD. It reminded me of super fun rides with buddies where you go out and just punish each other. The first DVD, "Attack of the grimacing man" showed his major kahunas as he rode the road to Lahaina, which is always packed with rental Mustang convertibles, something that would make anyone grimace. He also hugged the cliffs on northeast side of Maui where no rental Mustang convertibles are supposed to go, and had me drooling for some of Julia's Best banana bread.

The scenery on the DVDs are spectacular, it's Hawaii. As I rode to the first DVD I realized that the Hawaii Rides trilogy is exactly how I had hoped spin classes would be before I came to the realization that they were simply glorified aerobics classes, with awesome visualization of beautiful scenery and an instructor that you could listen to or simply do your own ride. The start of the DVDs had static images of Hawaii, whereas the cooldown had static images from rides around the world, that was nice, although the same on each DVD. I found the static image below amusing as this is how I feel when I usually ride the trainer, although I had no inclination to jump while riding this time.

The only thing I might mention is that the riding seemed very slow in the first DVD. Most of it was climbing and at the rider's speed, which provided realism but sort of lost my interest at the same time. Luckily it had frequent shots of the grimacing man that helped change it up and keep me motivated. Sometimes I tried to drop the grimacing man, other times I pulled faces back at him. At the end of each DVD there were strength training, pilates, and yoga respectively, which were all very sound and cycling specific. I was able to complete it several times, but other times I kicked the video and sound up to 2x, trying to relive the days of my youth where we did the same thing for 3 Amigos and laughed after Hefe told El Guapo that the 3 Amigos called them scum-sucking pigs in double speed. The DVDs are great and highly recommened for indoor training, but go to 3 Amigos if you are looking for double speed comedy.

So the final verdict... The Hawaii Rides trilogy is $75 as of today on the link provided. Considering all of the crap many people buy for training that won't do a dang thing to make them a better rider, this is an easy purchase, skip two tubs of the 4:1 recovery drink this winter and buy this instead. It's relatively inexpensive and will pay off dividends if you can actually stomach the trainer.

Which brings me to the ever important rating system, which I've divided in to lemming points and super serious Powertap points. On the lemming system, I'm giving the Hawaii Rides trilogy 3.8 out of 5 lemmings. This might be interpreted as very good since I've never done a review before, and because I really don't like training indoors, but it held my attention quite well.

On the super serious Powertap rating, I am giving the Hawaii Rides trilogy 8 out of 10 Powertaps. If I were a serious racer type, who rode my bike all winter on the trainer, or even a non-serious racer type who has the fortitude to get on the trainer in the winter, this would be a crucial part of my indoor training plan.


Anonymous said...

nice! i just started working on my first product review for Women's Cycling Magazine. i can't help but feel like a whore with three, free pairs of sunglasses now at my permanent disposal ... but in a good way.

it really is hard to get over the initial giddyness. you're an inspiration to us all.

Anonymous said...

you had me laughing several times and IF I ever ride on a trainer, I'll be sure to get the Hawaii Rides trilogy. I am fortunate enough to have ridden a few of the routes on the islands - ah, paradise!!! Thanks for a enjoyable read and meaningful review!