BikeCommuters.com

Bike Your Drive!

Flowfold Optimist Limited Mini Backpack review

Hello Bike Commuters! Happy “Bike to work month-week-day”! So to celebrate we have a review of a neat little backpack from Flowfold. This backpack is designed for people who do not have to carry an entire storage unit worth of stuff and it caught my interest because I like doing errands on my folding bike and short hikes.

MVIMG_20180328_132330

Let’s start with the features of the Optimimist Limited Mini Backpack:

-Made in USA
-Water resistant mini backpack
-Durable and lightweight outdoor materials
-Lifetime Warranty
-10L capacity
-Different colors

IMG_20180428_082725

Although the backpack seems small, I was always able to fit everything I needed for my hikes and errands. I easily carried 2 water bottles, an extra shirt, phone, wallet and energy bars. The mini backpack was very comfortable to carry around and it was very practical.

2018-05-14_11-10-46

We also tested its water resistance; my daughter used it on a rare rainy day when we headed to Downtown LA’s famous Santee Alleys. Although it was not a downpour, all the contents inside the backpack remained dry.

IMG_20180428_111535

The backpack is also perfect to run errands; I usually go to the post office every weekend to retrieve my mail and it works as intended. I also ride to the local market to get small stuff such as bread or “cold drinks” which fit perfectly.

MVIMG_20180328_132346

We absolutely love this mini backpack, and I mean “we” as my daughter, wife and myself use it very often. I think that $79 is a good price for a high quality American made product, I totally recommend it.

To see the other colors or purchase the bag; visit Flowfold’s site at www.flowfold.com

Flowfold Vanguard Limited Billfold Wallet review

Hello Bike Commuters! As I posted before, the nice people from Flowfold sent us some items for us to review. I specifically asked for the minimalist backpack but they sent us their wallets to review as well.

MVIMG_20180328_132435

When I first saw the Vanguard Limited wallet, I thought that I was only going to be using this wallet for my road or mountain bike rides. The slim design fits perfectly inside my rear jersey pockets as well as the front pockets of my riding shorts.

2018-04-19_02-13-38
2018-04-19_02-13-14

What I did not expect was for this wallet to become my “daily” wallet. I like to carry a lot of stuff inside my wallet making it quite bulky so I thought that the Vanguard limited wallet is way too minimalist for my “needs”.

IMG_20180328_132443

I know that saying that this wallet is a “life changer” maybe too dramatic but this has been true in my case. How so? Well, since I had to shed quite a bit of stuff from my old wallet, I settled on carrying the following items on the Vanguard Limited wallet:

1. Drivers License
2. ATM Card
3. Credit Card Card
4. Health Insurance card
5. HSA Card
6. AAA Card
7. Cash

The biggest difference is that before I used to carry up to 4 other credit cards which fed my impulsive buying habits. Now I have to think about if I really need the item that I am considering buying because the money is actually coming from my bank account or if I decide to use the credit card that needs to be paid at the end of the month. Either way, my credit card usage has decreased dramatically. That was a life changer.

2018-04-19_02-29-11

Carrying a slim and light wallet in my front pocket took a little while to get used to, there are times that I check to make sure that I had not forgotten my wallet. My jeans will also thank me for carrying a slim wallet, my right pocket has the outline of my former bulky wallet.

What about the wallet itself? The wallet is made in the USA, it comes with a lifetime warranty AND it is also Vegan. The materials are of high quality, water resistant and very light. For those who like to know how big it is, the dimensions are 3.25″ X 4.25″ X 0.1″. The price for the wallet is $29 and it comes in other colors.

To purchase the wallet, please visit this link: https://www.flowfold.com/product/vanguard-limited-billfold-wallet. Stay tuned for more reviews of Flowfold’s products!

What’s the Deal with Gravel? (In a Jerry Seinfeld voice)

So I feel like the kid in the 1950s pot commercial; I rode gravel once and now I’m hooked and my whole life has been turned upside down. I just can’t see the road the same. I now see cars and replace them with trees, signal lights are now steep hills, cement streets are now dirt paths… Everything has flipped and I love it.

I had tried cross and it was plenty fun. Not like every day fun, but fun once-in-awhile-fun. I will/must/don’t want to admit how bad I am on a mountain bike. On a road bike is where I was the most comfortable. Gravel does not come natural for me even if I’ve tried most of what cycling has to offer. For me it’s not the descents because I’m not all that confident in my skills. It’s the views as I suffer and drag my 200 pound butt up these climbs that normally lead to some hike-a-bike situations. The climbing can be brutal but like the Instagram inspirational quote with a majestic background says, “It’s just a hill, get over it.” If you can, then you will get a new perspective; your eyes will open to everything you’ve missed on a road bike or a mountain bike.

On a road bike you ride with your eyes wide shut. That’s the appeal for me, a lot of it is just not thinking and just going; you can zone out on a climb and even forget about the views. On a mountain bike you are more aware but there is still a level of letting the bike do it’s job and going for it. The closest thing to riding gavel (on a rigid bike with drops), in my opinion, is riding a fixed gear bike. On a fixed gear bike you have to be aware of everything around you. From the cars to the road conditions, the signal lights to the pedestrians, you are on full alert all the time. Not having real brakes will do that to you. Gravel is somewhat like that, you have an idea of control but it’s more controlled chaos then precision.

The real beauty of gravel [(…and I get a ten-cent commission every time I type G R A V E L)- Gravel] riding is that it’s not just about riding, hiking is also a big part of the experience. On a road bike you can take another route, on a mountain bike you have a lot of gearing and a more capable bike, so when you get to a section that’s above your pay grade you either push yourself or hike-a-bike. You go on a ride and you really don’t know if you are going to be able to ride every section of it. How much of a route you can manage changes as you improve and get more confident/stronger. I tend to fall more on the climbs than the descents. I’ve also done a lot to improve my gearing.

Nonetheless, gravel is my new obsession. So much so that this summer I am planning a Summer Adventure Gravel Series (SAGS) around the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California. The adventure part is that there will be no routes given out. We will have to stay together, this will help avoid douchebagery. This is not a race. This is not about being first, fast, or better. This is about the people next to you, the landscape that surrounds you, and the route in front of you. Aside from maybe the Cannondale Slate [(with a gearing upgrade) no pun intended] there will not be a perfect bike for every situation. After, I hope we question our bikes but not our time in the saddle. I’m currently doing recon for the S.A.G.S ride- details will come.

Flowfold backpack and wallets first impression

Hello Bike Commuters and fellow minimalists! We received a few items from a company named Flowfold, if you are not familiar with them, they make “minimalist” gear for all types of outdoor activities. The items we received were the Optimist Limited mini backpack:

MVIMG_20180328_132330

The Vanguard Limited Billfold wallet:

IMG_20180328_132421

and the Sailcloth Minimalist card holder wallet:

MVIMG_20180328_132500

Our first impression of the three items was extremely positive; we liked the materials, the quality and the dimensions of each item. We also love the fact that these items are made in the USA -Unlike some red hats with white lettering.

Even though I am the type of bike commuter that likes to carry the kitchen sink in my backpack, there are times that I need something small enough to run errands. The Optimist backpack certainly fits the bill. I also carry a lot of stuff in my wallet, the Billfold will be perfect to fit inside my rear jersey pocket. My wife took the card holder right away; she liked how she can keep her driver’s license, cash and a credit card and how easily fits inside her jersey pocket as well.

We will be doing rides with all three items in the upcoming weeks, stay tuned for the full review!

Two Wheel Gear’s Convertible Bike Briefcase

Hello Bike Commuters! It is rare that we get behind a kickstarter campaign but once in a while comes a product from a reputable company that we can definitely support.

This is Two Wheel Gear’s new product: The Convertible Bike Briefcase:

The Convertible Bike Briefcase is designed for professionals that bike to work. Its smartly organized, weatherproof design features padded protection for a 17” laptop, four separate pocket sections, fully adjustable, zip-away mounting system and comes with removable padded shoulder strap and monsoon ready rain cover.

Two Wheel Gear president Reid Hemsing says, “We launched as a full time company out of my basement in 2014 with the little money I had in savings. But we’ve been at it building home-made bike bags since 1999. We are 100% privately funded and have experienced some serious growth over the last few years. But we hit a cash shortfall launching our new bag and have reached out to the kickstarter community for help.”

You may recall that we reviewed Two Wheel Gear’s pannier backpack convertible a little while ago and to this date, we totally love it.

If the briefcase’s quality and ease of use is as their backpack, there is no doubt that the product will be top notch. Here are a few pictures of the briefcase:

They only have 5 briefcases left at the introductory price of $99 CDN so hurry up and get yours! Here is the link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/857141940/convertible-bike-briefcase