BikeCommuters.com

Author Archive: Moe

Mission Workshop The Vandal first impression


Yesterday was a good day to take Mission Workshop’s The Vandal backpack to work. I’m not much of a back pack person because of the “sweaty back syndrome”, but yesterday’s cloudy and cool weather gave me a chance to try this bag out.

The bag has compartments galore, the main compartment is cavernous and the materials are of very good quality. All compartments are also waterproof, I didn’t have to worry about my stuff getting wet in case it decided to rain.

The backpack was also very comfortable during my commute, I had surgery on my shoulder 6 months ago and I was worried that the shoulder straps were going to bother me.

We will be putting the backpack through its paces, and yes, we will definitely test how waterproof this bag is.

KHS Urban Uno First Impression

I’m a very big fan of single speed commuter bikes. They are simple, easy to maintain and no messy derailleur adjustments are necessary. My commute is somewhat flat, so a single speed bike is a good candidate to ride to and from work.

It has been a while since we have tested a KHS commuter bike, so I jumped at the opportunity of testing the KHS Urban Uno. I think that the Urban Uno is a good looking bike; the flat metal fenders, the gold crankset, brown saddle and the brown wrapped bullhorns give it a unique but classy look.


Check out the small detail on the fork


Gold crankset with a 44t X 16t drivetrain. Sorry, no chainguard.


KHS saddle with a faux leather look, comfy too!

I rode the Urban Uno yesterday to work, the bike felt fast, responsive but not twitchy and very comfortable. Did I mention that this bike is made out of steel? Yup, the steel frame was a joy to ride especially since the tires were inflated to 110 psi and the frame “cut the edge” of the road chatter.

The bike can also accommodate a rear rack, but it does not come with a full chainguard (chainring guard was included but I opted not to install it). The bike does not come with a flip-flop hub so front and rear brakes are included. Pedals with toe clips are also standard.

Click here if you are interested in the full spec sheet of this bike.

I will be posting a full review once I put in more miles on this bike — stay tuned.

Return to bike commuting: What to wear?

What to wear while riding your bike to work is mostly an individual choice based on weather, style and practicality.

Myself, I like practicality over style. I also tend to be a little “thrifty” on my choice of what to wear during my ride. Living in Southern California, I can get away with riding with shorts and short sleeve jerseys. I prefer mountain biking shorts or knickers over Lycra or jeans. I also like hi-viz cycling jerseys, I prefer the “house brands” (Pricepoint, Nashbar…) because they are cheaper. Here are links of clothing that we have reviewed in the past (including a cooling vest!)

Tops:
Faction Cycling Metro Flatlander Jersey
Shmaltz Brewing Co Micro Beer Jersey
Hoss Pony Polo shirt
Loeka Waterproof Shell Jacket

SWOBO Men’s Short Sleeve Merino Jersey

Arctic Heat Cooling vest
Zoic Namaste Hoodie

Bottoms:

Outlier Summer Shorts

Hoss Sienna plaid knickers
Zoic Damsel Skirt
Hoss Stallion Shorts
Bicycle Fixation Wool knickers

Shoes:


Chrome Kursk Shoes

Simple Shoes Eco S

Keen Commuter Sandals

Sette Elite Carbon Road shoes

On my next installment I will address hygiene, the #1 reason (in my opinion) why people are reluctant to ride a bike to work.

Return to bike commuting: My first ride

With my route already scoped out, my bike already picked, next on my list was to have my “must haves” installed on my bike.

I’m a pannier type of guy, so I dusted off my Minnehaha utility pannier to carry my clothes and tools.

On the other side is the Stone Cold Outdoor cooler bag , I bought this bag right before I got laid off; unfortunately it arrived once I was let go and I didn’t ride with it. I was able to carry my LC Fettuccine Alfredo box, a soda, fruit and water. I will do a mini-review on that bag later on.

The Torker T-450 comes with a big ass reflector, but I like blinkies better, the Serfas TL-ST taillights seem to fit just right.

I also like rear view mirrors, although I prefer them on the handlebars, I opted for a helmet mounted Cycleaware flexible helmet mirror. Yeah, I know, the mirror makes me look geeky but I like to see what goes on behind me from time to time.

So enough of gadgets and doo-dads, how did the bike do on its first commuting ride you may ask? The bike felt tall, but its upright position puts you in commanding view of the road and it was very comfortable. The handlebars and suspension seat post also added to the comfort. I’m not a fan of wide saddles, but the Torker’s T-450 wide saddle is one of the few that I can say I like so far.

The electric-assist function of this bike was something that I had to get used to. I rode the first part of my commute without it and I turned on with two miles to go. I was expecting for this bike to start flying right after I pushed the throttle, but… the bike didn’t go any faster. Turns out, I was “out pedaling” the bike, once I slowed my cadence and speed, I felt the motor really kick in and I was able to maintain a decent speed without much effort.

Where the electric assist function excelled was on the overpasses, even though the bike slowed down quite a bit on the uphill, the motor got me up the hill with minimum effort on my part.

The bike got a lot of of positive comments from my co-workers, although one did say that I was “cheating” because it was an electric bike. I don’t really care about that comment, the point is that I’m back to riding my bike to work and I’m having fun doing it — so what if I needed a little help?

LAPD to be trained on the rights of bicyclists

It looks like L.A. bike commuters have gained an ally from the LAPD and Councilman Rosenthal:

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck told a group of bicycle advocates that department-wide training would be implemented to highlight the rights of bicyclists on the road and ensure that officers know how to deal with incidents involving bikes.

Councilman Bill Rosendahl, chairman of the transportation committee, said it was a “historic first? to have the chief of police listening directly to the experiences of cyclists and promising reform.

“Today is the beginning of a new day with the LAPD,? Rosendahl said. “My hope is that six months from now an officer will know the rights of cyclists as well as the rights of motorists.… I think the LAPD, like pretty much the citizenry in general, has had the car culture.?

You can read the entire article here.

I’m pretty sure that the lobbying from our friends from the LACBC had something to do with it. The LACBC is a great resource for us Angelinos, check out their site at http://la-bike.org/index.html.