BikeCommuters.com

Author Archive: Noah

Teaser: Something new we’re testing

Who’s got two thumbs and a lugged steel fixie?  This guy!

The Lab-O-Ratory

The Lab-O-Ratory

For those who prefer the simpler side, fixed gear bikes offer light weight and durable drivetrains. Unless you count skateboards as vehicles, this is pretty much the smallest number of moving parts you can get and still be moving on wheels. This particular model comes from a SoCal shop we haven’t covered before. Look for the reveal tomorrow.

Review: Planet Bike K.O.K.O. Cargo Rack

This beauty showed up at my door a few days before the official release date (June 17th).  We got a sneak preview.

This rack is hot off the fab, and just hit PB’s online stores a few weeks ago. They call it the Keep On Keepin’ On rack. With all the extra hardware, packaging and whatnot, this rack clocks in at a modest 581 grams. I weighed only the stuff that went on my bike, and it was a bit less.

The K.O.K.O is designed with frequent daily use in mind. It has a rated capacity of 55 pounds. That’s some serious cargo! It’s ready for camping or grocery shopping, but works just fine for daily commuting as well. Plus, it’s got some sleek lines. It looks like it belongs on your bike.

The way it angles away from the rear wheel as it goes back took me by surprise a bit. Without a solid support on the top, this rack is definitely geared toward those of us who opt for panniers or trunk packs. Otherwise, there’s ample places to lash stuff down with twine or bungees. My guess is that the serious cargo haulers Planet Bike is catering to with the K.O.K.O will be loading bags on this rack, though.

The enhanced rear struts provide plenty of support to keep your bags from slipping into the spokes. I’ve had this problem with some of the traditional cargo racks.

I was trying to hold out on posting a review until I had gotten a nice S24O bike camping adventure in, but my trip keeps getting delayed. I’ve been using it for about 3 weeks now, and it even survived my Deer Crash incident without any problems. Just some scrapes.

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.

Critters

In 4 years and more than 12,000 miles of bike commuting, I’ve had my share of close calls with critters: snakes, squirrels, rabbits, and birds especially.  I’ve never actually run over an animal, though, until yesterday.

And what did I run over?

A 300 pound doe. Of course, I’m using the term “run over” somewhat loosely. I was on the only downhill section of my commute to work, moving along at a pretty good clip when a deer jumped out of some tall grass and skittered across the road, directly into my path. I’m not sure how fast I was going upon impact, but I flipped the bike, destroyed my helmet, tweaked the stem of my commuter bike, tore major muscles in both of my legs and lost about 10% of the skin off my body. I’ll spare you the road rash photos.

A motorist behind me saw it happen and called 911 as I crawled out of the road. I’m not big on telling people they must wear a helmet, but this makes a pretty compelling case for wearing your skid lid.

There is one tiny scrape on my scalp from the plastic part inside my helmet and two little rub burns on my forehead from the foam pads. I didn’t even notice anything wrong with my head until my wife and mother pointed them out.

What’s the strangest critter you’ve run over or had a close call with?

Things to do with old innertubes

Matt from BikeHacks (a great site for DIY cyclists) commented on one photo of mine where I had three headlights on my handlebars all at the same time. Yes, you can call me Captain Dashboard.

I was out for about 5 hours after dark, and my other two lights (a blackburn flea, and a modified NiteRider halogen) had both faded to a dim glow.  I whipped out my rigged-up mini-Maglite, which is lashed to my handlebar with a section of modified innertube.

I also frequently cut my old innertubes into thin slices to use as small rubber-bands. Here, they keep my pannier’s straps nice and neat:

I usually patch my innertubes, but once the stem goes out, they get re-purposed. In what other ways do you re-use your old tubes?

It’s Memorial Day Weekend! What do you do for fun?

During the week, I ride serious. To and from work, errands, and around town as needed. I’m generally hauling some kind of cargo, and in the case of my work-bound commutes, I leave a bit early and take it easy so I’m not a mess when I show up for my shift. When the weekend hits, though, it’s time for some fun rides. I link to my personal blog a lot here, but you’ll get to see lots of photos and get a feel for what I like to do with my days off.

Very few things are as fun for me as heading out on an S24O Bicycle camping trip, either alone, or in a large group.

A few years ago, I gave Randonneuring a shot. Imagine a cross between a century ride and a self-supported bicycle tour, but with a clock ticking while you make your way to various checkpoints.  It’s actually pretty fun, but can make for a long day (or days) on the bicycle. My first experience was a 13 hour day where I covered 137 miles on a mountain bike with slicks. These rides start at 200km (125 miles or so) and can go to 1200 kilometers (about 750 miles) or even longer.

Another thing that seems to be popular among a few bicycle commuting bloggers I know: Night rides. When the weather’s nice (and sometimes even when it’s not), some of my Kansas City area friends participate in what we call the Dark-Side Rides: 30-50 mile suburban and rural road rides that start after sundown.

I have one of these Dark-Side Rides coming up this weekend. What are you doing for fun? Does it involve bikes?