Archive for the ‘Urban Cyclist’ Category

Ten Things To Liven Up Your Commute

June 21, 2009

Editor’s Note: Here are some fun tips from our contributor, Anthony Coley…….

Subject: 10 things to liven up your commute

1. Stop and buy your sweetie some flowers, you’ll be loved!
2. Stop mid way for something to drink and do some people watching.
3. Ride slower and check out the scenery.
4. Run an errand on your way to or from work.
5. Take a detour somewhere you’ve never been.
6. Stop and help someone with a bike problem, flat, slipped chain….
7. Ride a different bike every once in a while.
8. Ride earlier or later than normal. Riding when it’s dark changes everything.
9. Ride with a stranger and talk about something other than bikes. Easier said than done.. 😉
10. Compare gas prices at the different gas stations you pedal by.
— This was the lowest on my Friday commute: (Note: Now gas is over $3.00/gallon!)Since this photo was taken gas is over $3.00 per gallon!

 …….and two more I just thought about..

11. Count the number of traffic lights. My commute has 39. Seems like alot…
12. Take some pics to show your cool commute:
— Here are a few from yesterday:ac1

ac2ac3ac4 ac5

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Gruppo Bici N.A. Introduces Designer Bicycle Bag Collections

June 11, 2009

Editor’s Note: Another press release for your pleasure……….

 

BOULDER, CO USA (June 11, 2009) Gruppo Bici N.A. announces today the release of designer bicycle pannier, shopper, seat bag, fixie top tube protector and tube sac collections by Canditalia S.r.l.

“We are excited to introduce a collection of designer bags for bicycles under the Canditalia brand,” says Gruppo Bici N.A. company spokeswoman D’Abria Versace. The designer bicycle bags by Canditalia include the B-Berry, Doppio G and Louie V, collections resembling Burberry, Gucci and Luis Vuitton fabrics, respectively.

“The designer vinyls are remnants, not considered first-quality or replica,” states spokeswoman Versace. “Instead of ending up in a landfill as waste, we are able to upcycle vinyls that do not meet the stringent requirements of the designer. Though the materials are two- to three-times the cost of non-designer vinyls, we consider the scenario a win-win.”

Introducing the collections in the United States, Gruppo Bici N.A. is offering wholesale pricing direct to consumers for a limited time. “We recognize that consumers are making purchases with economic forces in mind,” D’Abria Versace says. “As a result, we are offering wholesale pricing direct to consumers through July 4, 2009; this offer also applies to our Atala, Carraro and Umberto Dei bicycles while supplies last.”

An example of the bags mounted on a bike.

An example of the bags mounted on a bike.

“The Canditalia designer collection for bicycles is a fabulous way to dress-up any city, commuter, cruiser, fixie or townie bicycle, regardless of condition or vintage,” statess spokeswoman Versace. Canditalia designer bags for bicycles are not authentic, genuine or replica Burberry, Gucci or Luis Vuitton articles nor is the company making any related claim.

Distributed exclusively by Gruppo Bici N.A., all Canditalia bicycle accessories and bags are made in Italy and the United States. Canditalia accessories, bags, carriers and locks are available for purchase online at http://www.gruppobici.com and should be available to consumers and retailers the first two-weeks of July 2009; the designer bicycle bag collection by Canditalia can also be seen on the Gruppo Bici N.A. company Blog at www.gruppobici.blogspot.com.

CANDITALIA S.R.L.
Founded in 2005 by two Domus Academy students, Canditalia S.r.l. is a Milan, Italy-based company specializing in the design of bicycle accessories. Translating to “Candied Italy” or Italian Bicycle Candy, Canditalia products include vintage-style bicycle racks and locks, found on many Italian bicycles as original equipment, and a collection of designer bags for bicycles. Other accessories planned by Canditalia include messenger bags and school satchels, with future designs including the use of non-designer fabrics and vinyls.

GRUPPO BICI N.A.
Gruppo Bici N.A. is a Boulder, Colorado-based distribution company dealing exclusively in Italian bicycle products and publications. Gruppo Bici N.A. is the exclusive importer and distributor of Atala, BiciSupport, Carraro, Compagnia Editoriale, La Cuba and Umberto Dei bicycles, cycling products and publications in North America. Gruppo Bici N.A. also owns the worldmark and name of Canditalia and Cicli Italia, Italian bicycle companies that blend art with function in accessories and bicycles that epitomize timeless Italian style. www.gruppobici.com

“Rocket Shower”: Commuter Friendly Product Now Distributed By Trek

June 11, 2009

Editor’s Note: This is a Press release from 10 Nine 8….

Rocket Shower® — the “Showerless” Body Cleaner — Now Being Distributed by Trek

06.10.09
Fredericksburg, Texas

 

 

The world of cycling has just gotten a whole lot cleaner, because now IBDs can conveniently get their Rocket Shower fix through Trek.

With Rocket Shower, no need to worry about shower facilities at work. A few quick sprays of Rocket Shower all over your body (yes, even “down there”) and you’re ready for the day. The spray-on, wipe-off formula quickly and effectively cleans and refreshes the body, cools the skin and helps prevent even the worse body odor. Simple. And effective.

“I’m really excited that Trek has decided to distribute Rocket Shower to its dealers,” says Linda DuPriest, founder of 10 Nine 8, the makers of Rocket Shower. “Trek’s ‘One World, Two Wheels’ program and its ‘Women Who Ride’ club are key in getting more people on bikes. I’m very happy to be a part of company that is so forward thinking and making an impact on the cycling culture.”

Rocket Shower removes one key obstacle for people looking to commute by bike: personal hygiene. Rocket Shower is formulated using witch hazel, citrus, mint, vitamin E and a trace amount of alcohol. Delivered via pump sprayer, the formula cleans by helping evaporate sweat and killing the bacteria that cause body odor. The lasting peppermint and grapefruit oils cool the skin and provide a fresh, clean feel and fragrance.

“I developed Rocket Shower after the office where I worked moved into a facility with no shower,” says DuPriest. “At first I just used the product myself everyday after riding to work, then other bicycle commuters started asking for it. Now it’s available to everyone.”

DuPriest, who worked as the advocacy director at Specialized for a decade, says Rocket Shower is very popular with women cyclists, bike commuters, and triathletes who work-out numerous times each day but don’t have the time to shower between exercises.

“I have found that once dealers try Rocket Shower they immediately see the benefits and order the product.”

Rocket Shower comes in non-aerosol spray bottle sizes of 8.5 oz., 4 oz., and 2 oz., which is perfect for airplane carryon. The 8.5 oz size is also available in a fine mist sprayer. For those who want to spare the landfill and reuse their Rocket Shower sprayers, gallon and quart bulk refill sizes are available. The Rocket Shower product line also includes three versions of the Jet PackTM, a complete clean-up kit that fits easily into a messenger bag, backpack, airline carryon or checked luggage.

All 10 Nine 8 products are available through Trek or at www.10nine8.net or 512/785-7751.

About 10 Nine 8
10 Nine 8 produces Rocket Shower, the portable shower in a bottle, and Jet Packtravel packs for those needing a complete portable “showerless” shower kit. For complete details go to at www.10nine8.net.

Lock Up That Bike!

May 28, 2009

Editor’s Note: Anthony Coley files this excellent report on how to keep your bike “your bike”.

Every year thousands of bikes are stolen and The Cyclist is here to help you keep you trusty rig right where you left it.

Some facts about bike theft:  The National Bike Registry ( NBR ) estimates over 1.5 million bicycles are stolen every year.

My guess is these numbers are much higher because I’m sure many people do not report their bikes stolen.
Source: http://www.nationalbikeregistry.com/theft.html

NBR also states “Many bikes are stolen from home (yard, porch, garage, dorm room, etc.) Store your bike in a secure place when not in use…”  My home is the only place I have had bikes stolen.  What’s up with that?
Source: http://www.nationalbikeregistry.com/proplock.html

The 2007 the FBI larceny-theft data shows bicycles accounted for 3.4% of the total larceny-theft offenses, which equates to about 210K bikes.

Source: http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/offenses/expanded_information/data/larthtable.html

Tips for keeping your bike:

Check out this “How to Lock Your Bike” video by Carlton Reid from Quickrelease.tv and author of “Bike To Work”:http://quickrelease.tv/?p=878


Carlton makes a good point stating “2 kinds of locks require 2 tools – & thieves usually carry just one tool”.  I wonder how many people carry 2 locks?  I struggle with one lock, but I’m also pretty lucky that I can just roll my bike inside my office building and keep it next to my cube.
_____________________________________________________________________
Kryptonite lock offers up the following Do’s and Don’ts:
DO keep your bike locked at all times.
DO lock your bike in a well lit area.
DO lock your bike to an object that is securely bolted or cemented to the ground, and that has something affixed to the top to prevent thieves from lifting the bike or lock over the top of the object.
DO position your lock with key mechanism facing down.
DO create a snug fit with wheels and frame so that there is little room in the U-portion of the lock for thieves’ tools.
DON’T lock your bike to itself, or to objects that can be easily cut.
DON’T lock your bike in the same area all the time.
DON’T position lock near the ground to prevent thieves from attempting to leverage or crush the lock.
Source: http://www.kryptonitelock.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/PDFs/ProperLockUp_2009_onscreen.pdf

Be Careful When The Kids Are Around!

May 21, 2009

Editor’s Note: Anthony Coley, contributor to The Cyclist, gives us a good reminder why you need to be careful when the kids are around our bicycles.

Watch those kiddies and your chain.

Tonight me and my two boys ( 4 and 2 ) were in the garage and my 2 year old got his finger caught in my fixed gear chain. Ugh!!!! They always play with whatever bike I have in the stand and I’m always telling them “watch the wheel, keep your hands out of the spokes, watch the chain…” Tonight I was preoccupied with my 4 year old when I heard my 2 year old start screaming. When I saw him I instantly knew what had happened. Luckily it only caught the tip. It could have been much worse.

Here’s a pic of his little hand:

By the way, he's going to be all right.

By the way, he's going to be all right.

 

Take care of those kids!

One Man’s Commuting Story

May 21, 2009

Editor’s Note: Anthony Coley, contributor to The Cyclist, has a story of the commuting kind to tell…………

My bike commuting story:

It’s been a year since gas was $4.50 a gallon and I started bike commuting regularly. As the price of gas climbed year after year I
kept telling anyone that would listen “once gas hits $4.00 a gallon I’m done driving, I’m going to ride my bike to work“. Sometime in early 2008 gas hit $4.00 a gallon and I kept driving and changed my tune to “once gas hits $4.50 a gallon I’ll start bike commuting“.

Last year high gas prices motivated many to commute by bike

Last year high gas prices motivated many to commute by bike (Photo by A.Coley)

April 2008 in Southern California gas hit $4.50 and I started bike commuting. I didn’t commute every day because I quickly found it was a lot of work to gather all my things and leave my house at 4:45 AM to make the 13.5 mile commute so I can be at work by 6 AM. But, the more I commuted the easier it got and I gradually increased my days. I started commuting one day a week, then two, then three and currently do four days a week.

Unfortunately, my work doesn’t have showers ( or anything bike related ) and the gym down the street is one of the super high-end places with something like $150 monthly dues. Ouch! That’s pricey for me… So, I do the bird bath thing. I actually have a more colorful name for the bird bath process, but I’ll spare you… After a year I have it down to a science. Getting to work at 6 AM has its perks because I hardly ever see any one the restroom, so I pretty much have reign to take care of business. I tried the baby wipe thing, I tried the wet towel thing, but what works best for me is to use the pink soap, a water bottle and get busy. It’s almost as good as a shower, well, maybe not as good, but it works for me. NOTE: Just to be clear, I’m not washing my business ends over the sink. Also, I make a point to leave the restroom as clean as I found it so I don’t annoy my fellow employees or management.

Since becoming a full time commuter I’ve become slightly obsessed with gas prices and I see they are creeping upwards again, which I guess is to be expected since it’s summer. I wonder if will top $4.50 this year? Everyone hears the rumors about how high gas is going to get, but we won’t know for sure until we see it at the pump, or as we ride by the pump. 😉

I used the Gas Savings Calculator and last year I saved enough money to pay for my ‘new to me’ ( it’s used ) Specialized Langster I just bought last weekend.

Daily Savings: $3.25
Weekly Savings: $13.00
Yearly Total: $676.00

That’s great! I should have used this information when trying to convince my wife to let me spend the money on a new bike that I didn’t really need. She’s a sweetie and didn’t give me too much grief. I believe she makes a game out of messing with me about the number I have bikes I have. Hmm…

Anthony makes his regular commute on this Specialized Langster

Anthony makes his regular commute on this Specialized Langster

I read somewhere that people always post how many miles they ride to justify their rider status, so for the record, I logged around 2500 commuting miles and I feel that’s a pretty darn good accomplishment for someone who just started commuting.

How about you?
Do you have a bike commuting story to tell?

Bike Commuters Need To Hydrate Too!

May 21, 2009

Editor’s Note: Anthony Coley sends us this reminder that we as cyclists all need to hydrate, no matter what type of cycling it is!

Bike commuters need to hydrate too!
 
I got my team mate at work into commuting last year and he’s doing a killer job, except that he doesn’t hydrate.  He commutes 30 miles a day, 5 days a week, and if you do the math that’s a whopping 150 miles a week, which is 40 more miles a week than I commute and I’m supposed to be The Cyclist.  That is amazing for a non-cyclist, if you ask me.  He actually did a 40 mile road ride last weekend and didn’t take anything to drink.  “Huh, that can’t be!”, you might say.  Yup, nothing!  He said at about 30’ish miles it dawned on him he didn’t have anything to drink, but since he was in the middle of no-where he had to hoof-it-out thirsty.  Nice! 
 
I’m a hydration nut and often return with liquid to spare.  Even on my 13 mile commute I carry a water bottle and take a few drinks about mid way.  I take in liquids about every 20-30 minutes of easy riding.  When I mountain bike ( MTB ) I carry either a 100oz or a 70 oz. bladder, depending on the length of my ride.  For epic MTB rides I carry 100 oz. and 1 or 2 bottles with some sort of electrolytes.  For example, Gatorade, Cytomax…  My philosophy is, you never know how long you may be out there, so make sure you’re hydrating.  Not hydrating is a bad idea and can be a mistake you make only once.  ;(

Gary Fisher Bikes and Trek Bicycles Offer Financing Deal

May 21, 2009

Editor’s Note: Anthony Coley sends us this tip for those of you looking for a new Urban or Commuter sled…..

Been thinking about buying a new bike but don’t have the cash? Check out Trek’s “Go By Bike” deal at: http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/go_by_bike/#bikes

No Interest, No Payments for 12 Months on all Trek and Gary Fisher Bicycles over $750 until the end of May 2009. ( not much time left, so don’t dawdle ) With the U.S. economy’s current state of affairs, this type of deal is pretty much unheard of. If I hadn’t just bought a new bike I’d be down at my local Trek dealer ordering a 56cm Trek District ( they only have a 60cm in stock at this time ), which happens to qualify for this deal.

If you participate in Trek’s “Go By Bike” deal, make sure to pay off the balance before 12 months so you don’t get dinged with interest!

Steel Is Real

April 22, 2009

In 2007, Wired magazine (among others) noted the resurgence in steel bikes in an article titled Cycling Purists Rejoice: Steel is Back.  Now, two years and trade shows later, the question remains: has steel finally “arrived”?

Truth be told, steel never actually went away.  But it’s market share sure did.

What has changed in the last 20 years is the inclusion of other worthwhile framebuilding materials.  As widely discussed, and beyond the scope of this article, each frame material (or combination thereof) has a it’s own positive and negative attributes.  Make a brave stand for your preferred frame material(s) on one of the more popular online cycling forums and you’ll see what I mean.

However, there is one important thing that separates steel from the competition … it remains to be the choice of artisan framebuilders.  Here are a few visuals to emphasize the point:

  • Ellis Cycles — Dave Wages might be the “new kid”, but he’s been on the block for a while.
  • Cicli Polito — Award winning handcrafted steel by Dan Polito.
  • Vanilla Bicycles — Sacha Whites’ instant legacy.

As you may already know, none of the three builders above fit into the stereotypical “retro-grouch” archetype.  Rather, they (and others like Sam Whittingham of Naked Bicycle and Design) are young, hip, savvy, and likely to write a blog or two.  More to the point, these steel bikes are a youthful stand against the bike mass-ufacturers — a symbol of individuality and appreciation of hands-on craftsmanship.  This movement against the mainstream is what has really spurred the revival in steel … especially lugged steel bikes.

The other somewhat obvious contributor to steel’s “comeback” is the fixie (fixed gear) factor.  Prior to the development of the specialty niche fixies, like Milwaukee Bike’s Bruiser, the common fixie was a used lugged steel bike with horizontal dropouts.  In other words, the vintage steel bike made the perfect platform for an affordable urban bike that could take some abuse, provide simple transportation, and allow the Mission Hipster a platform for self expression.

Of course, the growing popularity of these handmade steel and simple transport bikes is not lost on the major manufacturers.  So in an effort to expand this “new” market niche, the manufacturers have gone back to what originally brought their success … steel bikes.  The reason for the latency into the market is the slow churning cogs of mass production.  Tim Jackson, the brand manager of Masi Bicycles recently wrote / blogged / Facebooked / Tweeted that Masi already wrapped up their 2010 model line-up specifications before the 2009’s even hit the stores.  Obviously, having to anticipate trends, production, and materials almost two years in advance is a tough task.

That said, Urban Velo recently published a brief list of commonly available steel road bikes.  When combining this list with the hundreds of a custom frame builders, and the hundreds of thousands of vintage steel bikes still on the road, it is reasonable to speculate that steel still dominates the bike industry.

Three other highlights that may, depending on who you ask, contribute to the allure of steel:

  • Early versions of carbon fiber bikes are literally “coming unglued”.  Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done about frames like this, but thankfully the industry has improved and refined the carbon frame construction process.
  • Steel is both repairable and less likely to have a catastrophic failure.  Using my personal steel commuter bike as an example, I have crashed it hard AND (I can’t believe that I am admitting this) I have driven my car into garage while the bike was still attached to the roof rack.  Sure the frame has a small ding in the top tube … but I have ridden it 1000’s of miles since.
  • Steel manufacturing techniques and materials continue to improve and evolve.  While other materials currently receive more coverage from the cycling media, the makers of steel haven’t been dormant.

Steel is a great medium for creating bicycles … it is plentiful, affordable, easily welded, stunning in the right hands, and has a handcrafted appeal like Grandma’s apple pie.  Contrary to the opening statement of this article, steel has never really been in a “comeback” position, rather it has simply lost some of the mainstream spotlight.  But like anything worthwhile, consumers will eventually eschew the latest-and-greatest in favor of the time-tested favorite.

Bryan @ Renaissance Bikes bio coming..

Sea Otter 2009 : Urban Goods Part I

April 17, 2009

2Michelin Tires is offering a puncture protection, Protek, in two variants: a 1.5mm thickness foam under the tread only, or a much thicker version that also covers the bead and part way up the sidewalls.  There is said to be many sizes but we are waiting for the press release to know full details.

1Sonoma Bicycles were on display, unfortunately no one was manning the booths for inquiring eyes and minds.  From a little Google searching I learned that these shaft drive bikes start at $350 for beach cruisers up to $499 for the Urban Voyager.  Hopefully in the near future we will see a shaft drive bike that doesn’t weigh 40 lbs!

Charge Bikes are hitting the coast, and with good timing.  With the fixie-flatland taking off in the states we need something a bit tougher for those hard hitting crowd, more than a Bianchi Pista could take.

3

$1300 for a titanium Plug frame, let us know if you want to be top on the list for this guy.  (It sure is pretty though.)

4

A more reasonable $700 for a Plug complete bike made out of Tange.