BikeCommuters.com

Author Archive: Mir.I.Am

Bike monkey commuting in Honolulu, Hawaii - rain, shine, or tsunami! I don't have a car - if i did I would perpetuate Asian woman driver stereotypes.... so I stick to two wheels and bumming rides of friends, daBus, and the roomie's "Dingo" Jeep. Plus I am cheap (perpetuating other Chinese stereotypes) and green (perpetuating architectural obsession of this generation) and too lazy to work out a the gym! BIKES FOR LIFE!

Veggie Hauling with the No-Brainer DIY Box ‘n’ Rack

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Ever find yourself in a pickle like this:

You’re at the farmer’s market with your so-called girlfriend getting all carried away with sampling apples, debating pumpkin varieties, and haggling over prices of buckets of yogurt.  A mere 40 minutes of local-food perusing and $30 later, your limbs are loaded down with re-usable grocery bags like nobody’s business.  Good thing I spent all those evenings bouldering and I have tons of finger strength for lifting groceries, because lord knows there is no other reason for all that finger strength…! Oh yeah, and you borrowed your friend’s roommate’s bike and there’s a good 25 minute ride ahead of you.

What to DO, Bike Commuters?!

Not an unlikely situation if you are visiting your friend, Mo, in DC, the same weekend as the National Women’s Bicycling Forum, and you are a veteran Pike Place Market veggie hawker like me. The combination is ruthless. You end up with two enthusiastic cycle ladies in a pile of vegetables, and a rear rack with bungees is just not gonna cut it. Damn those floppy cloth bags and that pumpkin! Yes, we bought a pumpkin, hauled it, cooked it, and ate it like the good green-blooded NorCal hippies that we are.

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Anyway, the solution for the Farmer’s Market overload?

Enter the last-minute Veggie Hauling No-Brainer DIY Box ‘n’ Rack. Recipe below:

Prep Time: 20 minutes for collecting ingredients

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • (1) plastic cube/crate free from the bread vendors
  • (6) removable neon zip ties from the CVS across the street
  • (1) existing rear-mounted bike rack
  • (2) opposable thumbs
  • (1) friend, also with (2) opposable thumbs

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Instructions:

  • First, sit on your bike saddle and have a friend with opposable thumbs position the crate  with a couple inches of clearance for your bum, so you don’t end up crowding your bum with the Box ‘n’ Rack as you pedal. Center the box on the rack.
  • Second, have said friend hold the rack in place, as you zip tie the hell out of it in 6 different places from the bottom of the rack to permanently secure the crate.
  • Third, throw in your veggie bag and pedal on home, without grocery bags swinging from the handle bars!

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The DIY Box ‘n’ Rack is such a no-brainer, almost any farmer’s market/flea market-goer can pull it off in a matter of minutes. So worth the minimal effort for no dangerous swinging bags of groceries near your front wheel on the bike ride home.

Try it, you’ll like it!

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DC Events: The National Bike Summit & Women’s Bike Forum March 3-5, 2014

Holla Bike Commuters: break out your cardigan sweaters and flat-heeled boots, cycle ladies, and for you DC cycle gents, maybe your oxfords and V-neck sweaters! It’s Capital bike time… For those of you in the DC area, come check out the National Bike Summit and the National Women’s Bicycling Forum March 3-5, 2014. I’ll be there, lurking, casually… and attending related free-events as much as possible!

Don’t be turned off by the storm, see you there!

Registration is closed online, but still available on site.

I’ll be weaseling my way into the 4pm event this afternoon. If you’re in the hood and looking for a last minute excuse to pedal power before the storm hits, join us!

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Capital Bikeshare bikes at DuPont Circle

 

UNITED SPOKES: MOVING BEYOND GRIDLOCK

National Bike Summit 2014
March 3-5, 2014
Agenda

Printable Agenda Available Here 

 

Online registration is now closed. You can register on-site at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C., on March 3.

Sunday, March 2

4 – 7 p.m.

Media Training For Bicycle Advocates
Renaissance Hotel: Congressional B
Whether you’re showing off a new bike lane, drumming up support for federal bike funding, or calling attention to a safety hazard on your corner, you’ve got a story to tell about biking. Reporters want to help you tell that story — but you need to know how to work with them. Or, you can tell that story yourself! Join us for the first-ever National Bike Summit media training — hosted by the League of American Bicyclists, Streetsblog and Streetfilms — on Sunday, March 2, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Renaissance DC (999 9th St NW). Read more and register.

7 – 9 p.m.

Streetsblog party! 
We love meeting our readers and bringing together our online community in real life. We’ll be hanging out post-media training at RFD (Regional Food & Drink) in the back bar. We’ll provide some yummy appetizers, and RFD’s full menu of entrees is available if you’ve worked up a serious appetite. RSVP hereRFD back bar, 810 7th St. NW (two blocks from the Summit hotel). $10 at the door gets you a free drink.

Kickstarter Love: SHY-SPY | GPS/GSM Tracker For Bicycles

Hey Bike Commuting Ladies and Gents! As you know, the Bike Commuters staff are not about blasting you with Kickstarter bike-related paraphernalia, since gods know that there are fluffy piles of that out there in internet land… like bunnies in a pillow fight, yo. But once in a while, there comes a Kickstarter campaign that tickles our fancy. So we are throwing out some virtual Kickstarter Love for the SHY-SPY GPS/GSM Tracker for Bicycles.

Stealing bikes is mean, but real.

Short of bringing your bike indoors with you on a leash at all times (“What, you’ve heard of guide dogs for the visually impaired? This is my guide bike, and I’m car impaired, okay?“) there comes a time in every bike commuter’s life when they have to address security. Bike theft is a problem in all cities and neighborhoods, despite the cycle-owner’s best efforts. Cycle gators, in an effort to protect their bike offspring, may go so far as to register in free city-wide systems, implant smart locks, or OnStar the hell out of your ride.

What? Guide Dogs and Bikes… obvious combination.

So what’s so special about the SHY-SPY? Yet another GPS tracker for your bike… you Cycle Cynics may say, as you virtually (or literally) roll your eyes at this post. Well, let me let them tell you (because copying and pasting is way easier than reading comprehension ;):

When it comes to keeping track of our cycling activity, there are a large variety of choices:

  • Inexpensive Cycle computers: to record the distance, speed, total travel time, but no geolocation data.
  • GPS trackers: There are a lot of GPS trackers out there, in form of wearable watches, or mountable on your stem or handlebars. Professional models could have many additional functions such as power meter, heart rate and cadence sensors; And yeah… they cost a fortune. So you have to protect it as well; Mount it when you ride and take it away when you leave the bike unattended.
  • Smartphones: Using our cellphone  along with popular sport tracking apps such as Endomondo, Strava and Sportstracker is another convenient choice; There is a compromise though and it’s the risk of running out of battery on your mobile phone when you need it the most.
  • With SHYSPY however, you always have a tracker with your bike; The  long battery life of 30 hours, lets you track all the activities with no concern of any kind. Using the SHYSPY app you could monitor you activity and/or download it in GPX standard format to be later uploaded manually to major sport tracker platforms such as: EndomondoStrava and Sportstracker, so you could compare your data with other members and socialize your cycling experience.

SHY-SPY GSM is our low cost alternative to GPS tracking.

Get inside my seat tube any day, SHY-SPY!

What Mir.I.Am loves about this idea:

  1. Welcome to 2014, people: Mir just got texting, so a GPS tracker that can text me the location of my bike sounds pretty nifty and high-tech.
  2. The SHY-SPY can mount  inside your seat tube, for incognito theft-tracking action.
  3. I’m not so interested in tracking my cycling “performance” while commuting, by I am interested in making my life more like any episode of Get Smart.

Click here for the full SHY-SPY Kickstarter details, non Cycle Cynics and skeptics. Enjoy your week and keep your ride safe, however you can!

Get Outta My Bike Lane, Amsterdamnit!

Hey Bike Commuters. Do you ever find yourself cruising on your commute to work in the happily-allocated bike lanes, only to end up dodging weird obstacles and moving individuals peppered on scooters, rollerblades, shopping carts, or rolling dumpsters? I know I have… (Honolulu commuters: think Ala Wai canal bike lane towards downtown, knowhadImean?)

Scoot it, or boot it, scooter!

Well, in the flat bike-loving city of Amsterdam, it seems a similar battle has begun to unfold: Crotch-rocket scooter commuters are fighting for space in the bike lanes with, well, bicycles! How DARE they, you say? Check out this article from the perspective of a London-based bike commuter that was just released today on The Telegraph, called Battle in the Bike Lanes of Amsterdam.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/expatlife/10634524/Battle-in-the-bike-lanes-of-Amsterdam.html

The author takes a look from both sides: one day, she and her partner rent a souped-up scooter and the next day a Dutch cruiser. Only to realize that it’s every commuter for themselves, lanes and lines be Amsterdamned!

The downside is that when you’re on a scooter all you can think about is how many cars you’ve already overtaken and when you’re on a bike all you can think when you see a scooter is “don’t be an idiot, don’t be an idiot, dontbeanidiot!”.

IMHO, there should be enough room for everybody on the streets: cars, bikes, scooters, pedestrians, and public transit. Can’t we all just get along?!

Best of 2013 – Bike Commuters’ Annual Roundup!

Sweet Jesus (pronounced “HeyZeus”), Bike Commuters – the evil end of 2013 has come and gone. Can you friggin’ believe it? Well, just like all those people waxing poetic out there in facegramstaland, the staff writers have decided it’s time to give you a recap with our Annual Roundup for 2013. So, in case you were asleep for most of the game (like I am, during every Superbowl/Tour-de-Whatevs/sporting event) here are the highlights for 2013. Cue obnoxious stadium buzzer!

Commuter Profiles & New Blood: We capped off ’13 with a handful of commuter profiles, where readers shared their sweet rides, photos from their commutes, and stories of bikey conquest with the internet world. Check out Hannah Decker of Boise, ID, Christian P. Kittelson of Seattle, WA, and a related article on four hardcore riders from A Winter of Cyclists documentary. Oh yeah, and did we mention we picked up some new blood? Not like teen vampire smut, but new writers Andrew “The Doctor” Li and Emily “Shelly” Shellabarger have been welcomed to the Bike Commuters team! Look forward to more from them every week in 2014.

Christian Kittelson’s red commuter along the Olympic Sculpture Park in scenic Seattle .

Hannah Decker on her way to the Greenbelt Path in Boise, Idaho

Andrew Li combats the SoCal smog and joined the Bike Commuters staff writing team this past summer.

Read about the newest Bike Commuters staff writer addition, Bay Area cycle lady: Emily Shellabarger.

Winter Wondergoodness: No surprise that Elizabeth covered the controversial topic of crazy snow commuting in icy Chicago. And BIG surprise that Mir (yeah, that’s me, the former “66 degrees feels cold” commuter) rediscovered the joys and pains of winter commuting in rain and colder weather. Check out these posts on “anything goes if it’s clothes” layering technique and thumbhole sleeve hack if you are looking for ways to transition into year-round biking with mild winter conditions. Hey, if I can do it, anyone can!

Easy winter tips for your rainy commute!

DIY & Side Projects: Fancy yourself a new sidecar, bike rack made of wooden pallets, or a simple bicycle repair stand? Look no further than these articles written by RL, Emily, and Doc Li for your 2014 DIY and side project inspirations!

Interbike 2013 Coverage & the Electric-Assist Trend Continues: And, of course, any year-end roundup wouldn’t be complete with snapshots from Jack and RL’s coverage at Interbike 2013 in Las Vegas. Here are a couple of our favorites:

  • Booth Dudes – Jack and RL highlight some of their favorite bike dudes for their dashing good looks and straight up bike knowledge.
  • Even More Gravel Bikes – get ready to grind some gravel, could this be the new face of the ultimate commuter bike?
  • Hydraulic Brakes on the Road – Are road disc brakes in your future?
  • Axiom Performace Gear – One of Jack and RL’s favorite commuter discoveries at Interbike 2013. Axiom has a versatile line up of panniers, racks, and accessories – well-made, stylish, and readily available!
  • Electric Bicycles – You can’t deny the trend of e-bikes cruising into the commuter market. RL shot the shop with Motive Electric bikes, and even got to test ride and review the Motiv Electric Shadow at the end of this year.
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Jack takes a Motiv Electric bike for a spin at Interbike 2013!

Mobile Repair Unit: This year, Bike Commuters founder RL Policar and Andrew Doc Li spearheaded an ongoing effort to offer free bike services to the homeless in their community with RL’s Mobile Repair Unit. Contact info@bikecommuters.com if you live in the Fullerton, CA area and want to get involved with this ongoing event!

RL taking the repair to the people!

Craigslist – Love it or Hate it? And for all of you looking to sell your old ride or pick up a new one for 2014, make sure to check out RL’s WTF commentary on Craigslist… Aside from some hilarious personal experiences, he also gives some good tips on how to deal with the bike section in Craigslist, selling or buying. You’re welcome for the laughs!

Get some, Cycle Ladies!

Oh yeah, and Cycle Ladies are the Bomb: In case you missed the news, Elizabeth visited Washington D.C. for the second time this year to attend the Women and Bicycles and the National Bike Summit. It turns out, women commuters are the new dutch bike (or, the new black, or orange is the new black, or women commuters are the new safety yellow?)… you know what I mean. Check out the article to see what brings women to the forefront for bike commuting in 2013.
Well, How do you do? Sometimes it’s the comments section that generates the best information and the most useful tips. In the spirit of our light-hearted Friday Musings series, check out:
Product Reviews, of course… And, last but not least, we reviewed dozens of products this year to scope out the newest commuting accessories, gear, and bikes. Here are a couple of our favorites, click on the images below in case you missed them this year!

Always a Bike Commuters favorite – Planet Bike presents the Air Smith Mini Compact bike pump.

For the urban commuter, check out the Chrome Truk Pro SPD recessed cleat shoes.

Or for the ladies out there looking for casual summer footwear, here’s our review of the LUV Dream Flats.

If you’re in the market for an upright-style bike, read the Torker T300 Step-Thru review.

Jack even reviewed this interesting safety concept: the QRide Advanced Emergency ID tracker.

Check out Matt’s review of both the 2014 Jamis Hudson Sport bike and the Slidepad brake technology – with a setup targeted at new riders and commuters.

 And so, dear readers, we’ve made it through the first tween years of the big 2K… Thanks for sticking with us, and if you made it to the end of this blog post without clicking any links or taking a bathroom break, you must have the attention span of a squirrel in the bulk bin section at your local New Seasons market. Enjoy the ride into 2014, bikey peeps!