When you take a serious look at the lists of broken bones our racing heroes have suffered over the lengths of their careers, it becomes obvious that cycling alone is dangerous enough without the threat of open roads, traffic, and nature taking its toll. And while we're prepared for the inherent risks of racing and training, there are other threats that make for potentially unnecessary danger.
These secondary threats are ones that you may be able to exercise more control over than, say...a sweeping, gravel littered corner surprising you on a 50mph descent. We're thinking of angry drivers who choose to get out of their cars to confront you; of ferocious dogs that won't give way; of bears who lay in wait for a once-a-year appearance on your favorite trails. There are times you don't get to choose fight-or-flight. There are times -- thankfully they're super-rare -- when you must pay dark wages for your lifelong love of cycling. And that's what the Kimber PepperBlaster II is all about.
Kimber PepperBlaster II is unlike any pepper spray or mace-like stuff you've ever seen before. Stuff like "Halt!" is a marshmallow gun by comparison. Kimber refers to it as a "less-lethal weapon", and as one of the world's premier manufacturers of 1911 pistols, they know lethality.
Unlike typical pepper spray, PepperBlaster II isn't aerosolized. Rather, each unit contains two cylinders with powerful concentrations of near-pharmaceutical grade oleoresin capsicum (OC) -- a devastatingly effective irritant. Each cylinder is driven by a pyrotechnic charge and a piston, and the solution travels at 90mph, giving it enough energy to wrap around glasses or a face mask. Unlike conventional pepper sprays, you won't get any blowback into your own face since it isn't an aerosolized mist. You don't need to worry whether you're downwind. And you get a substantially longer effective range of 13 feet. Instead of a "spray", it fires a compact stream of OC. The effect is immediate, it lasts for 45 minutes, and it allows you to extricate yourself from the situation with plenty of time to spare. And unlike sprays, it's reliable at any temperature, and won't rupture, burst, or depressurize.
What makes PepperBlaster II different from the first incarnation? The new package is more pistol-like. It has a stubby handgrip that makes it more natural to aim and fire. It will work with right or left hand grips, and it has a built-in notch sight to aid accuracy. It has a swingaway tab for a safety, so it won't accidentally discharge in your jersey pocket. But you can easily push away the tab in an instant when you need to use it. Each unit has two charges in it; i.e. you can fire it twice. Just how effective is it? When OC gets in the eyes the effect is immediate, and it causes eyes to slam shut and excruciating pain to kick in. If it gets in the nose and mouth, the effect takes 7-10 seconds and causes no small amount of gagging (caused by irritation to the respiratory system) to complement the debilitating pain induced by the OC. And while it'll incapacitate the assailant (human or canine), it won't cause permanent injury or death.
The Kimber PepperBlaster II weighs 100g. Its dimensions are 4.3" x 2.7" x 0.9" -- easy to fit in a jersey pocket along with a gel or your Blackberry. Like any good weapon it's hard to envision ever needing it, but if the time ever comes, you'll be glad you brought it along. Please Note: We are unable to ship PepperBlaster II outside the U.S. or to the states of New York, Michigan, or Hawaii.