Category: Articles

Hello Bike Commuters and welcome back to your weekly dose of The Bike Geek. As y’all know, here at BikeCommuters.com headquarters we love cyclocross bicycles. We have deemed them as our ultimate commuter bikes because not only can you ride them on pavement but you can also take them off-road.

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You may also have heard of “Gravel Grinder Bikes”, they look a lot like cyclocross bikes, but the geometry of the gravel bikes is different. Although not technically a “gravel bike”, I can certainly ride my Spicer Cycles Cx on gravel roads so Shower Pass sent us their Men’s Gravel shorts to feature on this site.

I took the Spicer Cycles Cx on its first dirt ride so this was a good chance for me to try out the Shower Pass Gravel shorts. I received a large size which fit snug for my new-to-me 34″ waist. I also noticed that the shorts were shorter and not as baggy as your typical mountain biking shorts.

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The material felt soft, stretchy and durable. The adjustable waist cinch allows for the belt to stay home

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The two side pockets feature a velcro enclosure which would not let your wallet and keys fly off.

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Another “cool” feature is the zippered thigh vents and four reflective accents.

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I really like these shorts, the fit is great, the material is great, the features are great BUT… yes, there is a BUT; the shorts do not come with a liner with a chamois like most mountain bike shorts do. Not a big deal for me since I have plenty of chamois liners, but if you don’t own a liner make sure you order one, your balls and ass will thank you.

This is a public service announcement for all Irvine/Tustin California drivers.

I know that it has probably been years since you got your driver’s license but let us turn to page 39 of the California Driver Handbook. Now let us focus on the “Bicycle Lane section”:

A bicycle lane is a designated traffic lane for bicyclists, marked by a solid white line, typically breaking into a dotted line ending before it reaches the corner. Different from a simple white line showing the edge of the road, a bicycle lane follows specific width requirements and is clearly marked as a bike lane.

Treat a bicycle lane the same as other traffic lanes.
Do not turn into the lane if there is a bicyclist in the bike lane.
Do not obstruct bicycle traffic by reducing the width required for safe bicycle passage, typically 3 to 4 feet.

When you are making a right turn within 200 feet of the corner or other driveway entrance, you must enter the bicycle lane only after ensuring there is no bicycle traffic, and then make the turn. Do not drive in the bicycle lane at any other time.

Not one, but three times were drivers driving on the bike lane while I was in it!

Irvine/Tustin drivers, I know you are probably in a hurry to get somewhere, but let’s look at a video that I took from my last commute:

Notice the wrong way and the correct way of merging into a bike lane and making a right turn, there is no need to buzz by me and merge into the bike lane when you have over 200 feet to go.

Thank you.

Welcome back to The Bike Geek’s weekly post, I hope all you dads had a great father’s day. Although my father’s day weekend did not involve any cycling, I ended up doing some work on the Spicer Cycles Cyclocross bike.

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The work involved swapping a handlebar, installing new brake cables and housing, new Avid Shorty 4 brakes and new bar tape. Now, I really like my LBS but when they charge about $10 to install new bar tape and about $40 to install the brakes, I rather do it myself.

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Most of the work you can do it yourself with basic “household” tools but investing in a couple of bicycle specific tools is totally worth it. One of these tools is the Park Tools CN-10C Cable cutter, at about $34 is not cheap but this tool gets a lot of use.

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Another must have tool is a decent floor pump with a gauge, riding a bike at 50% PSI is not only prone to flats but is also inefficient. My choice of pump is a Planet Bike ALX floor pump, I’ve had this pump for over 5 years with zero problems.

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I won’t bore you with DIY videos, simply search YouTube for any type of repair and you will find quite a bit of information. Besides saving yourself money for beer or coffee, another benefit of working on your bike is that you get to know your bike quite well and you will be ready for any emergency road repair.

So now that I can actually stop (the brakes were horribly stuck on the Spicer CX), it is time to take the train again and take the CX on the dirt trails too!

Hello fellow bicycle riders! I know it is late but I had a fun filled weekend hiking and riding my mountain bike that I did not have a chance to ride my Spicer Cycles CX bike until today.

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If you visit our Facebook page, you noticed that I posted a picture of something resembling an X-men belt, it is actually the Abus Bordo Granit X plus 6500 (say that three times fast) lock.

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I had the chance to ride to the post office for a quick errand so I decided to take the lock with me for a first impression. This lock is like nothing I’ve ever seen, it folds tidily into a pouch that features a very versatile strapping system.

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Notice I was able to strap the lock to my Axiom Streamliner DX rear rack which helped counter balance my 2 Wheel Gear pannier backpack convertible. You can also attach it in lieu of a water bottle cage, but I’m a thirsty guy so I need both cages on my CX.

The Abus Bordo Granit X plus 6500 is a little heavy, weighing at about 3.88 lbs but unless you are carrying it in your backpack, the weight is not too noticeable.

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The lock features 5.5mm steel bar made of special hardened steel and Soft-touch coating on the bars and matching silicone lock body cover protects bike’s paint job. Just be careful with the links because they can pinch you.

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As I arrived at my post office, I immediately parked my bicycle with the tire inside the rack. Well, the lock was not long enough to lock the front tire and the frame so I decided to lock my bike to the side of the rack. Mmmm, not too happy about that.

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Since I was only going to go inside the post office for a couple of minutes, I felt OK leaving my bike locked as the pictures show, but no way I would leave my bike locked like that for an extended period of time. Why? I think my wheels are an essential part of my bike and since they feature quick release skewers, they would be easy to steal.

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The lock also comes with a key that has a little blue LED so you can find the hole in the dark, I think that it is a nice little feature.

The Abus Bordo Granit X plus 6500 is sort of like a flexible U-lock, but bulkier, and heavier and the price…. $179.00 which is over twice as much as a Kryptonite lock. I also did not find any guarantee if your bike gets stolen while using this lock, that is a bummer for a lock of this price point.

We will try to break this lock using rudimentary tools, will it hold up? We will see soon….

I just realized that I’ve been doing my weekly posts for almost 4 months without my smart ass getting fired from BikeCommuters.com. I reckon that is a good thing… Anyhow, I’ve been having fun writing all these posts since I got my bike mojo back and I have been lucky to have been given the chance to review some cool things.

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A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about how I like to look at Craigslist for good deals and sure enough, I found a deal that I just could not resist. As you can see from the picture above, I got this Spicer Cyclocross from Craigslist for $200, yup, $200!!!. Unfortunately that meant that I had to get rid of one bicycle because I’m a condominium dweller with no garage so we say good bye to my very trusty Devinci Caribou 2.

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Luckily the Devinci Caribou 2 will stay in the BikeCommuters.com family since its new riding partner is our beloved Editor-in-Chief RL Policar. Let’s not get mushy about the Caribou because this Spicer bike is really exciting and intriguing. I’ve never heard of Spicer Cycles so a Google search revealed that this company is an American company that creates handmade frames; mainly fixed gear and pursuit frames with the occasional mountain bike, cyclocross bike and road bike. The Spicer website does not have much about them and their history and unfortunately the seller did not have much information about the bike other than “my ex-husband bought it for me”.

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My new-to-me Spicer Cycles Cyclocross comes with a mix of interesting components:

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Campy Chorus shifters and derailleurs

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Alex Rims, Vuelta cranks, Michelin Cx Tires and a carbon fiber fork. Not bad for $200.

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Notice that I already added some of my favorite bicycle commuter accessories such as the top tube bag, handlebar mirror, dual matching bottle cages, Crank Brothers eggbeater pedals, frame pump and a rear blinkie. What is missing? The rear rack! This Spicer cyclocross bike comes with no holes for a rear rack so I ended up ordering an Axiom Streamliner Road DLX rear rack for bicycles with no mounting holes.

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The rack uses the wheel skewer to secure the rack and a securing bridge that attaches to the fender hole.

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I had to improvise on securing the bridge mount with zip ties, but this means that I can still commute with my favorite Pannier/Backpack convertible from 2 Wheel Gear.

Come back for the exciting adventures that awaits and for a full review of the Axiom Streamliner DLX rear rack.