BikeCommuters.com

Author Archive: The Bike Geek

The bike geek is a dude that enjoys all sorts of bicycle riding. He has been a bike commuter, Mountain bike racer and recreational roadie. He has an affinity for gadgets, software and data, lots of data!

The Bike Geek: Challenge number three done

Where is the post about that Quad lock you may ask? It is coming up next, this weekend you get not one but two posts from your favorite Bike Geek!

Last week I posted about planning my multi-modal commute to work. One of the challenges that I had was that I had no commuter bicycle and I was going to try to score one for $150.00 from CraigsList.

clbikes

After searching for a few days and going through a sea of big box store “bicycles”, countless fixies, old ass bikes referred to as “vintage” and bikes listed for a dollar but not really selling for one (although some were worth a buck) I decided to change my search parameters.

2016-02-27_05-20-17

I really wanted a bike that could handle mild off road trails and be fast on the pavement; that meant that what I needed was a cyclocross bicycle. A search for “cyclocross” yielded few results and most of the bikes were way over the $150 price point. However, I saw this Devinci Caribou 1 bike being touted as a “touring/cyclocross” bike for $300. I’ve never heard of Devinci and a quick search yielded that this bike is Canadian and it was indeed a touring bike that could handle dirt trails.

2016-02-27_05-20-47

Long story short, I brought this bike home for a decent $338 Canadian dollars. The bike is in decent shape, not perfect but it suits my needs perfectly. I have amassed quite a bit of parts during my cycling years so this bike will inherit some carbon fiber bits such as a seatpost and handlebars, a Selle Italia Saddle and a Minnehaha rear rack pannier and Grand Bois tires that were provided by Wabi Cycles(more on those later on).

2016-02-27_05-20-31

I also placed an order for a set of Kenda King Cross knobby tires, new bar tape and Crank Brothers pedals. I don’t think that I will wait until Bike to work week, I really want to try this bike out once the time changes.

The Bike Geek: Planning a multi-modal commute

Welcome back to The Bike Geek’s weekly post. I want to thank BikeCommuters.com for letting me keep writing my ramblings. All I can say is that recycled air that they pay me with really gives me a good buzz.

2016-02-19_09-34-15

Today I want to share how I’m planning to use public transportation and a bicycle to commute to work. My daily commute round trip is only 44 miles but I average 2 hours and 30 minutes of stop and stop traffic. Ouch.

metrolink

So I’ve been thinking of doing a bicycle-Metrolink train combination to get to work. Being the Geek that I am, I had to do my research first and found a few “challenges” that will not make it straight forward to ride to work.

First challenge is the train’s schedule:

bp2tustin

The first train going to Orange County arrives at my departure point at 7:12 AM and arrives at my destination at 7:45 AM. That seems to be a good deal, only 33 minutes of transit time! (Not counting the bike portion, but we will get to that much later).

tustin2bp

Coming back is a different story. I usually get out of work at 5:30 PM so the 5:17 PM train maybe out of the question, so that leaves me with taking the 6:05 PM train. However, the 6:05PM train does not take me straight to my destination, I would have to transfer to another train netting me a transit time of 55 minutes. My other option would be to ride my bike from a further station, something that I’m really considering because of the route that I’m thinking of taking.

Second Challenge is my bicycle route:

map

Taking the most direct route (Jamboree Road) is plain suicide. This road becomes a highway with cars zooming at 70 mph and multiple entrances where cars have to merge at speed. No thanks.

The safest route would be a river trail with bike lanes but for some stupid effing reason, the trail turns into a gravel road and then dead ends at a closed gate. W.T.F.

bikelane

That leaves me with the highlighted route, it is longer and again, for whatever effing reason, Edinger goes under Tustin Ranch road leaving me to take a small side street to reach Tustin Ranch Road. I have already scoped Tustin Ranch Road, it has nice wide bike lanes I just have to be careful with butt-hole drivers driving on the bike lanes. Sheesh.

So I got the schedule planned, my route planned, what the hell am I waiting for???? Well, the train ain’t cheap:

fares

$14.50 round trip!!! With today’s gas prices, I fill up my vehicle with $23.00 and it lasts me a week and a half or 10 round trips. So the question is, is it worth paying for the sanity of not being stuck in traffic and dealing with a-hole drivers? And also…

Challenge number three: I don’t have a suitable bike to commute with. But you will have to come back as I go in a quest to score a decent commuter bike for under $150. Oh, this bike also has to be able to tackle dirt terrain as my route will involve riding parts of the World Famous Fullerton Loop. My goal is to actually try this mode of commuting on “Bike to Work Week”, and who knows, maybe BikeCommuters.com will double my salary since I’m actually going to be commuting by bike!

Next week: First impressions of the Quad Lock for the Galaxy S5.

2016-02-19_09-13-25

The Bike Geek: Cat-Ears!

Let’s get the disclaimer out of the way: I was in no way compensated nor given free stuff by Cat-ears, LLC. In fact, I spent my beer money to purchase their Classic I product. OK, now onto my observations of the cat-ears:

Have you ever said to yourself: “Self, I wish I would have thought of that and created that product and gotten rich”. That is what cat-ears remind me of; a simple idea to remedy a nuisance while riding our bikes. If you are not familiar with cat-ears, their basic product is a piece of soft faux fur type material that attaches with Velcro to your helmet straps that will significantly reduce wind noise while you are riding.

2016-02-13_01-06-23

I ordered a pair of their Classics I not only to reduce the wind noise, but to see if they would also block the cold air from my ears as I ride my bike. All I can say is that they really work! You can actually hear your buddies talking shit about you as they try to drop you on a ride! I also rode with them on the streets, and yes, you can hear the traffic around you clearly. I also rode with them on chilly mornings and nights, not only could I hear my buddies complaining how cold their ears were but my ears were not cold at all! They were totally worth skipping my 12-pack of Guinness beer for the week!

2016-02-13_01-05-46

But they look dorky you say. Yes, yes they do. My buddies were making Elvis side-burn jokes which is not a bad thing, but when I told them that they were called “cat-ears”, the pussy jokes started flying. Interestingly, the cat-ears inventors knew they were going to get shit for the look of the product and this is what they say:

2016-02-13_01-18-51

“We did not get into the Wind Noise reduction business to sell products that ‘look like they work’… It would have been easy to design a product that is more visually appealing – but the performance would have been marginal at best.”

2016-02-13_01-18-14

So why am I featuring this product? Because I like to get behind companies that support cycling. Did I mention that Cat-ears is also made in the good ol’ USA? That’s right! American ingenuity at work right there for you!

So if wind noise bothers you or if you want for your ears to not fall off from the cold air, give Cat-Ears a look.

Up next: I am considering Multi-modal commuting!

metrolink

The Bike Geek: Battle of the (fitness) bands!

Welcome back to the Bike Geek’s second post at the finest bicycle commuter blog: BikeCommuters.com! On our last post I was discussing the use of fitness bands for cycling purposes to help me out with my quest to lose the baby fat.

2016-01-29_08-52-26

I can tell you right of the bat that the Moto 360 and the Garmin Vivofit are pretty much useless for cycling. The Moto 360 is a great “smart” watch but it is cumbersome, the battery life sucks and the heartbeat sensor does not work when you start sweating.

2016-02-06_03-34-30

The VivoFit is one of the best step counters of the bunch, but since we are pedaling and not walking nor running; the VivoFit was basically useless for cycling. The Vivofit’s best feature is this little red line that “reminds” you to get off your ass and walk. It is always great to tell the boss “I will be back, I’m on a VivoFit break”

2016-02-06_03-35-07

The Misfit Shine and the Moov are more cycling friendly. Both of these fitness bands have ankle bands so they are able to gather data via the pedal stroke.

2016-02-06_03-34-51

The biggest difference between these two is the app. Moov’s app is totally awesome:

Screenshot_2016-02-06-14-49-54

The app reads your cadence, speed and your power in REAL TIME. Yes, that means that you can ditch your Garmin/Cat Eye/Sigma speedometer and use your smartphone instead. Hint: I am also looking for a bicycle cellphone mount so look for post on that really soon!

Another cool thing about the Moov app is that once you have finished your ride, it also gives you more data and geeks love data yo! The apps will rate your ride, give you elevation gain, max grades, number of climbs, etc. I didn’t care for the “coaching” since I already know that I’m fat and slow, I don’t need a stupid fitness band to remind me.

Screenshot_2016-02-06-14-46-03

Screenshot_2016-02-06-14-46-08

Screenshot_2016-02-06-14-45-53

Screenshot_2016-02-06-14-45-59

So you may be thinking, I gotta get me a Moov!!! Not so fast. If you are looking for a fitness band that will do everything, the Moov is not it, neither is the Vivofit, Shine or the 360. Yup, none of the bands are well-rounded but each band has its own strengths:

  • The 360 is a smartwatch that can give you notifications, change the face of the watch, and can measure your heartbeat as long as you are not sweaty.
  • The VivoFit is a great pedometer.
  • The Misfit Shine is great at measuring your sleep activity.
  • The Moov is great for cycling and you can find one for 24 bucks in Amazon.

Now, there are new versions of the Moov, Vivofit and Shine and there is a specific cycling band from Misfit (The Flash cycling edition) but I’m too cheap to drop over 50 bucks on these things.

On the next Bike Geek Episode:

catearsclose

Cat Ears!

The Bike Geek

thebikegeek

Before there was BikeCommuters.com and Commutebybike.com there was a little blog called TheBikeGeek.com.Unfortunately the owner (me) was a dumb ass who forgot to renew the domain only to be snatched by squatters. Screw them, I ain’t paying their ransom fees.

So I asked RL to see if I could “write” posts about that may or may not be totally about bike commuting and he totally agreed. Not interested in reading posts about geeky cycling stuff? Move on, there is nothing to see. Think you can do better? We totally welcome guest articles and if you want a full time gig that does not pay shit please email info@bikecommuters.com.

So what kind of geeky cycling stuff are we talking about? Well, here is what I’m working on:

2016-01-29_08-52-26

Fitness Trackers! Yes, these are VERY popular this time of year and since I also gained a little *ahem*20 lbs*ahem* weight I decided to try them out on my quest to lose that pesky baby fat.

The Players:
The Motorola 360 smart watch:
2016-01-29_08-53-01

Garmin VivoFit:
2016-01-29_08-52-45

Misfit Shine:
2016-01-29_08-53-32

The Moov:
2016-01-29_08-53-16

Notice that all of these are version 1.0. Why? I had them for a while and I also had to pay for them.

I’ll be focusing on how these fitness gadgets integrate with cycling and let’s see if they will help me lose the weight.

Stay tuned for the updates!