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Oh Bikey friends and Internet stalkers (isn’t it funny to capitalize Ye Ole Internet?) – we have some grand news announcing an upcoming review of LED by Lite’s latest bike light system, Sol-48. Unbeknownst to you, dear (newbie) readers, Mir.I.Am reviewed the Sol-36 rig back in the day, which was a Wednesday by the way to test out version 1, which never officially “hit the shelves.”

http://www.ledbylite.com/

Oh man, Brandon and Rick from LED by Lite have WAY better photos of their product at night than I do. Note to future Mir: Must pull over and try to get a bridge photo selfie that rivals this one!

Lucky for us, and you, we received a friendly email from Rick Smith:

Hello Bikecommuters,

You reviewed and commented on our LED By LITE Version 1 back in August 20, 2012. Your article and all the comments at the end hoped for our improvements and success.

We took the suggestions of our Version 1 users and incorporated them. We are now ready to release and begin sales of our Version 2 Sol-48 and would like to send you a set for your review.

If you are interested please email your address to me and a LED By LITE Sol-48 is on its way.

Thanks,

Rick Smith
LED By LITE

If you are as excited about turn sigals for bikes as I am, let me get a secret fist pump under your desk or a jump-kick IOU, Bike Commuters. Because, here comes Version 2: the Sol-48!

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The Specky-Specs:

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

Sol-48

The LED By LITE bike light Systems include up to 48 state of the art, High Intensity LEDs to provide a cyclist with the most radiant 360 degree “to be seen” visibility. The LED bike lights are encased in  flexible polyurethane/silicone straps making them waterproof and extremely durable.

The LED bike lights are powered by our BlackBox², a 12 Volt double cell Lithium Ion Battery Pack, which produces intense lighting without sacrificing run time. The technology of the microchip circuitry includes “dimming pulsating” modes, not blinking on and off. The BlackBox² can be recharged with the wall adapter or from a computer using a micro USB cord.

The Plus of this system is our innovative LBL Wireless Dashboard.TM A wireless controller mounted on the handler bar controls both pulsation mode and directional turn indicator system. Your bicycle becomes a more relevant vehicle for the road.

QAD SystemTM is unique and allows for quickly attaching and detaching of the LBL LiteStrapsTM to help protect your lights from theft.

LBL modes of operation:

  • Hi Beam:  550 lumens run time of 7 hours
  • Low Beam: 275lumes  run time of 14 hours
  • Pulsation Mode:  Pulsating from 100% brilliance to 60% and back in one second
  • Day Mode: Pulsating rear lights only
  • Directional turn indicators

The system itself:

  • 2 white front and 2 red rear light strips
  • Lithium-ion rechargeable battery Dashboard: Wirelessly change between modes and toggle turn indicators. (4hr recharge)
  • Wire harness: Connects system together
  • QAD clips: Allows for quick attach and detaching of system in 30 seconds

*Using your arm is still considered a universal turning signal

That should keep everyone mildly curious for the REAL review to come, where I will lay down my Velvet Hammer of constructive criticism mixed with assinine accolades to give you, the readers and bike commuters, the real deal on this super-bright light system with turn (gah!) signals (gasp!).

In the meantime, let’s let this snowstorm blow through, so I can hop back on Brick the Bike with the LED by Lite rig, to be the envy the green bike lane in Somerville, seen from a mile away, blinking, turning, and salmoning up my little baby hill to my house. I can’t wait to really put this setup to the test! As Tyrese says in (can you guess the movie before clicking the link): “BRING THE RAIN.”

 

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My Somerville, MA year-round ride: Brick the Bike sportin’ the LED by Lite Sol-48!

Oh yeah, and for the record: here’s the BikeCommuters.com FTC Disclaimer.

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Hey there Bike Lovelies. It’s fall/autumn/friggin’-awesome season for commuting again! Has everyone sufficiently converted an office-mate to stick with bike commuting since the ye ole days of Bike To Work Week back in May? I hope none of you have decided that Spring and Summer are over, and fenders and rain slicks are just not your jam… But even if you are a fair-weather commuter, high five, my friends. High Frickin Five. I’m personally a big fan of the autumn season, as there are some days when you can ride up a big hill and still miraculously arrive at your destination sweat free and rain gear free. Gone are the hot hot days of summer. Bring on the apple cider themed drinks and galoshes.

Yellow Boots #cambridge #street #bikeride #bikes #ground #wet #rain #feet #boots #lowangle #2012 #downpour

photo: courtesy of David Bunting on flickr

So, enough of the rambling. And on to the musing. It’s been awhile since we’ve come up with a Friday Musings posts, but I decided to bring it back, because, well – there’s just no other explanation for why the hell this topic would be on the blog!

It all started with a recent realization that I may be a paranoid bike commuter. What the eff does that mean, you ask? I mean the kind of commuter that thinks that every living, breathing, opposable-thumb having soul is OUT TO GET YOUR RIDE. A group of visiting clients from Honolulu asked me, “So, is Seattle the type of place where people get their bikes stolen? Or no, because so many people ride bikes that no one would steal one?” I responded that I assume everyone ever wants to steal my bike from everywhere. But, honestly, I had no idea! (You can have a better idea, if you want to click on this link for bikewise.org, where people report thefts and crashes and they populate to a google map).

Then, I looked around at all the bikes parked at my office indoors, with keycard access only, at the bike lounge/loading dock area and realized that my bike had a very high lock-to-bike-value ratio compared to some of the other pickins’ in the corral. Take a looksies below…

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One cable lock, with helmet, panniers, and lights all up for the taking!

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Cannondale road bike tied up with a garden hose, lights, bike computer, saddle bag AND helmet – open season!

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Completely UNLOCKED Marin Hybrid. The equivalent of free-ballin. Just letting it all hang out there.

This was a huge leap of faith in my fellow office companions today, as I decided to leave my planet bike blinkie and front lights on the mount, instead of grabbing them and stowing away in a Golom/my precious, LOTR, creepy fashion. Trust in humanity was confirmed, when I returned 11 hours later, and my lights were still there. I’ve got to say, however, that I was still skeptical and kept a backup set of lights in my bag in case someone decided to get frisky.

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Cantaloupe, a clunker bike that’s no good for hills, U-lock on the back tire and frame, cable through the helmet straps and front wheel, and debating if someone might want my blinkie lights.

So, since I forkin’ love lists, I thought I’d write one for you.

5 Signs you may be a PARANOID Bike Commuter:

  1. No Accessories Left Behind
  2. U-Lock + Cable, Even Indoors
  3. You Lock Up for a Coffee Run/Mail Box Drop, Etc.
  4. You Think About Stealing Unlocked Bikes, Always
  5. You Get PTSD When You Think About That One Time  A Homeless Dude Stole Your Seat Post/Wheel/Etc.

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Lucky for me, there’s only been one time an unlocked (non quick release) wheel was stolen from my bike while at the movies. And I don’t act on my evil intentions of stealing unlocked bikes. And my crazy paranoid precautions have kept my bikes within my possession, regardless of how unnecessary they may seem. Any other Bike Commuters readers out there partake in other paranoid lock-up behavior? Or do you have more faith in humanity and the greater bike population? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Hey Cycle Ladies. Last fall, I received a Bikie Girl Bloomers Trio Set: a hitchable flounce skirt, a pair of wild ride bloomers, and a skitch to review. However, due to crappy weather conditions, only just recently was I able to take full advantage of this fantastic product and take the women-specific bike commuter gear for a ride.

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Bikie Girl Bloomers Wild Ride shorts colors are extra visible and attention-grabbing!

Now, I must say, upon first impression, I was taken aback by the bold pattern and color choice of almost all the Bikie Girl Bloomers “Wild Ride” options – not my first choice. However, over time, and as the weather brightened in the Pacific NorthWet, I found myself conjuring up any excuse to wear those lacy, purple, green, and teal, leopard print spandex bloomers! Definitely a cycle ladies brightest moment of a summer day: pulling on a pair of these hot pants!

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Mir rockin’ the leopard spandies with no shame.

Product Specs:

Bikie Girl Bloomers Skirt, Shorts & Skitch Trio

Be comfortable, both on & off the bike, in a lightweight, unpadded bike short and a flowing, soft knit skirt.
Bike gorgeous in a smoothly draping skirt while your underside is covered with a colorful print.
With our Skitch, you can hitch up the skirt while riding, and let it down upon arrival.
You are ready for the bike ride, ready to twirl on the dance floor, and ready for whatever blows your skirt up!

Description:

  • Flouncy and light skirt with smooth drape (no pockets or zippers)
  • Wrinkle-resistant
  • Hitch up the skirt with removable Skitch
  • Shorts feature comfortable stretch lace waistband and hem
  • Lined crotch is unpadded for all-day comfort
  • Great for cycling around town, or whatever blows your skirt up!

Fabric:

  • Skirt: 67% Modal/28% Polyester/5% Spandex; 19-1/2″ length
  • 1-1/2″ elastic waistband can be worn high or low on waist
  • Dry clean recommended (may be hand washed) Shorts: Polyester or nylon (varies with print) and Spandex
  • Hand wash, line dry recommended
  • 9″ inseam on M size
  • Made in USA

Additional Information:

No need to choose between a skirt that works for cycling and a skirt that looks nice at the office or out on the dance floor.  The Hitchable Flounce Skirt flutters just above the knees with a smooth drape and a flouncy bit of spunk.  When paired with the Wild Ride Bike Shorts, no slip is required.  Use the included Skitch to hike up the hem when you can’t resist the urge to allow a peek at what lies beneath.  Let the skirt down when you arrive and want to keep your wild side hidden.  The skirt features a decorative coconut button on the waistband for securing the Skitch.

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Mir peacin’ out with the skirt & bloomers combo – in fall weather.

My impressions: It took awhile for me to mentally break myself in to the idea of the Bloomers & Skirt combo, however, it is all about the weather! Now that it is warm and sunny out, the Bikie Girl Bloomers & skirt trio set is really a go-to for a comfy, easy, breezy ride. They are now my favorite shorts to pull on any day that you want to wear a skirt to work and naked legs.

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The spandex is comfy and is paneled nicely, so that there isn’t a seam right in down the crotch. Also, the lace keeps it from sliding around. Surprisingly, the lace doesn’t rub or itch, either. I wasn’t a huge fan of the skitch, and just preferred to ride with the skirt down. I’d even wear the whole outfit to the office, then bike to yoga after, and strip off the skirt to reveal some sweet leopard print at the yoga studio!

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Someone even said to me, as I was getting dressed after yoga class: “Please don’t put that skirt back on, those shorts are amazing!”

So, bike ladies, if you are feeling like a bold commute is in your future, I’d highly recommend you invest in a soft skirt and bloomers for your summer rides. You won’t be disappointed. The high waistline and flattering flouncy skirt looks great with a tank top or fitted dress shirt. If your office is a little on the casual side (read: no skirt suits required) you could pull this off for your 9-5. The price is pricey, but the quality is handmade and handsome for $125 for the set. If that is beyond your price point, try the shorts only for $55.

From the Bikie Girl Bloomers website – the Hitchable Flounce Skirt, Skitch, and Wild Ride Bloomers.

Check out our FTC Disclaimer.

Dear Backup Bike,

Not everyone is lucky enough to have stables full of two-wheeled steeds, fleets with a ride for every need, and extra backup bikes to lend out to friends. But for those of us who do (exclude me, but include my friends) an official round of applause for the Backup Bike on lend from a friend.

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Columbia City Bike Works – origins of the Backup Bike on loan from the Bike Doctor… Dr. Roberts… this is how you build a fleet of bikes for every need.

Oh, Backup Bike, you save my asparagus when I’m caught in a pickle. You remember when I borrowed a rear-mounted grocery rack and installed it on my main ride, Cantaloupe? Cantaloupe, she’s great and all, my main steed for sure… But sometimes Ye Olde Reliable has a bit of a breakdown and ends up in the hospital: the hardware failure left me and Cantaloupe in a giant rack/fender/brake mess that merited a trip to the Bike Doctor… Cantaloupe was down for the count. Damn those bumpy hills that can take out a pair of lock nuts like nobody’s business!

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More shout-outs to friends… it was my Seattle-local-commuter-hero, Christian Kittelson who lent me the rear-mounted grocery rack for utilitarian hauling purposes.

But then there was you: Backup Bike.  Oh, Marin comfort cruiser, light as a feather, fenderless and free… I even like that little swatch of duct tape on the smooshy saddle that says “Hey bike thief, choose a different quick release today…” With your triple crank and upright ride, it was a nice change of pace from Cantaloupe’s ten speed stand-up hill climb. You’re the universal perfect bike for a last-minute fix: a one-size-fits most that’s good enough to get the job done, and simple enough for most rides. From your cushy saddle, we had some good times enjoying nice blue skies and picturesque hilltop views of the water.

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Oh Montlake, there you are: from the saddle of the Marin comfort cruiser – Backup Bike, you saved the day!

Thanks for saving the day, Backup Bike. It’s always fun to mix it up and ride a new set of wheels. And to the friends out there with bikes on loan, you make commuting a breeze. And, on behalf of all potentially stranded bike commuters out there, a big thank you to the commuter collectors who are always willing to lend an extra set of wheels to a friend in need.

Pedal on, sweet commuters… pedal on!

Yours forever,

Mir.I.Am

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Cantaloupe with the Bike Doctor, Dr. Roberts.

Portland bike commuter. #bikecommuter #gobybike

image courtesy of Mike Bitton on flickr

Oh Bike Commuters… they say” April showers bring May flowers.” I say “several months of rainy Portland winters bring out the crazies the first sight of sun!”  If you’re not careful, you could end up sun-drunk the the first weekend the of Spring. This year, the trees were blooming, the unemployed were tanning shoulders in the park, and acro-yogis were showing off their moves down by the waterfront.

Acro-yogis.

So Portland.

Can everyone agree that Portland in the Spring is just too much fun? Let’s hope your sunshiney spring commutes are just as lovely as this one was a few weeks ago.

Friday Musings Portland Pano

So,  my local barista friend and I (yes, I am friends with my favorite barista from my favorite coffee shop … SO PORTLAND!?) decide to joy ride from NW to SW in search of kale-oriented food stands, parsnips, and cherry blossoms. Oh, and maybe stop along the way for some bike selfies and shoulder-sunning. The city may have been putting on the best Spring show ever.

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Cycle ladies in Portland, legs powered by Sterling coffee.

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Check out Couch Park by my apartment. Trees are blowing up!

On this particular day, I even decided to bike completely out of my way just to get a little hill-action in. And by hills, I mean climbing a bridge so I could scope out the cherry blossom trees down by the waterfront.

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Name that bridge, Portland Bike Commuters… 🙂

Holy lacey-flowered wonderland. Was it worth scoping out the trees from above on that little hill climb. From the bridge, I could see piles of white fluffy trees and swarms of nutty Portlanders roller blading, walking, biking, and unicycling. We rolled down to the water to capture some of the shenanigans. Portlanders were definitely out of their minds over the cherry blossom explosions! Every pale-legged individual was donning a pair of shorts or a tank top and laying out like it was a day at the beach. Check this out:

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Okay, so I may have accosted this tree to make flower showers.

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And there are those pale-legged acro-yogis… you didn’t believe me, did you?

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Oh, and then we accosted this family portrait session.

Last stop on this lovely day? How about those PARSNIPS! PSU Farmer’s market for piles of veggies is a must-do for  a sunny Saturday. I think I need to get me a Box ‘n’ Rack setup for more pumpkin soup. Parsnip Paleo spicy hummus will have to do until then. I’m not sure that anyone gets more excited about farmer’s markets and veggies and bikes than I do. It may be the ultimate combination: utility cycling, vegetables, and sunshine. My favorite Saturday agenda.

Balloon Animals ON A BIKE

image courtesy of Sharat Ganapati on flickr

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PSU farmer’s market always delivers. Giant parsnips for the win!

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And Verde Cocina – my favorite kale-oriented food stand complete with Buenos Dias breakfast and cubes of slabby bacon.

Enjoy the spring time bliss, Bike Commuters. For you year-round die hards, peel off those layers and rain slicks and get some sun in your daily ride. And for you fair-weather commuters, pump up those tires, grease your chain, and get ready to roll. Spring is here, and I hope your city is as fun to ride as mine!