Category: Articles

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Welcome back Bike Commuters and Metrolink riders! It finally stopped raining and I am really happy to be back doing the train/bike commute to work. It is interesting that the “comforts” of your car are forgotten once you realize that you are not stuck in traffic and you get to exercise too!

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You may remember that I launched Awnry Bikes last December; these singlespeed/fixed gear bikes are meant to be simple, efficient and really affordable. So I built one for myself to ride to work, I figured that if I am peddling (not pedaling or petaling) these bikes, I might as one ride one!

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I went ahead and built what I call a “Raw Deal” bike. Why “Raw Deal”? Because the frame is unpainted and untreated so it is basically “raw”. I also chose bullhorns on the front and switched to my Crank Brothers pedals (not peddles nor petals) other than that, the bike is “stock”.

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The bike comes with Neco and Lasco parts, I know, they are not name brand but what do you expect for $200? So how does it ride? For being an inexpensive bike, it is surprisingly smooth and comfortable. I thought that the saddle was going to be a pain in my ass (pun intended) but I was really happy with it.

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Interestingly, the bike got a lot of looks and positive comments. The person who scans the tickets in the train stopped to take a second look and nodded in approval! If there is one negative thing about this bike is that it lacks bosses for water bottle holders but I ordered this Bell Clinch Universal mount and cage from Amazon for about 9 bucks and problem solved.

I heard it is supposed to rain this week in Southern California, so stay tuned to see how those SealSkinz products held up.

Hello bike commuters and fellow rain dancers! If you follow these weekly (ish) posts you probably know that I am a fair weather bike commuter. Yes, being a Southern Californian I am not prepared for rainy weather so I just avoid it.

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Well, the fine fellows from Sealskinz thought that I should stop my whining and send me some nice rain gear to test during rainy days. The problem is that it has been over 80 degrees everyday since I got the items so I have not been able to ride with the gear they sent me. Here is the stuff that they sent, I may add that all the products seem to be well made and I can’t wait for a rainy day!

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Starting from my head, I got the Halo Waterproof Helmet Cover. The cover features reflective print as well as integrated LEDs in the back of the helmet.

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For my hands, the All Weather Cycle Gloves in Hi Vis yellow should keep them dry and cozy.

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Having cold and wet feet really sucks, so I got the Road Thin Mid Socks. These socks are supposed to be waterproof and warm.

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I Doubled down on keeping my feet dry and warm so I also got the Lightweight Halo Overshoe covers. These cool covers feature a powerful LED built into the rear.

So I guess I don’t have any excuses anymore since Sealskinz has me covered from head to toes! I will report back on how the items performed in the rain.

Hello Bike Commuters and fellow social media enthusiasts! Have you ever noticed our Facebook “live video events”? Well you should! Art and I usually head out to different cycling events that we think it would be of interest to our readers/viewers. In case you missed them, here are the videos:

From Pasadena, here is the video of my visit to URB-E:

The local Giant rep visited my LBS, here is a video of all of the new 2017 Giant Road bikes:

A few videos from the Long Beach Electric bicycle expo:

Make sure you follow us on Facebook for more upcoming live videos!

Hello Bike Commuters and fellow bike geeks! This weekend I was able to visit a company that had my interest for a while: URB-E. URB-E is a company that makes “compact foldable electric vehicles” in Pasadena California. Pasadena happens to be about a 45 minute drive so I decided to pay them a visit.

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I was greeted by Jonathan, a young associate that really knew his stuff. He was kind to explain the different models of the URB-E line up, the difference between them and I actually got to test ride two of them!

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Let us begin with their least expensive model; the URB-E Sport. The Sport starts at a reasonable $899.00 and you get quite a bit for this price. Major highlights include a 16 mile range per charge, a top speed of up to 14 mph, a basic dampener suspension and multiple USB ports. Here is a video of Jonathan explaining some of the folding features of the sport:

So how did it ride? For such as small wheelbase and small tires I was expecting it to be really twitchy. Yes, the URB-E Sport does not handle like a full size bicycle but it sort of handles like a folding bike. The acceleration of this model is gradual, you don’t get the full torque right of the bat but I actually consider that a good thing. I was also impressed by the URB-E Sport folding capabilities, the Sport -and the other models, fold as small an upright vacuum. You can either carry the URB-E with a strap or you can also roll it. The Sport weighs around 35 lbs, not bad considering that electric bikes weigh around 50lbs.

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The other model I tested was the next model up from the Sport; the URB-E Sport GT. Upgrades include a rear shock, a tuned speed controller and a front kickstand. The speed and range remain the same as the Sport’s. Here is a video of Jonathan explaining the additional features of the GT:

The ride on the GT was totally different, the instant torque changed the handling characteristics making it a little more difficult to ride. URB-E also offer two other models; the URB-E Pro and the URB-E Pro GT. I was not able to ride these models but they have a range of up to 20 miles and a top speed of 18 mph. Prices start at $1,699.

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I know that electric bikes/scooters/vehicles may be a “sacrilege” to us that love to pedal, but I sincerely think that URB-E’s products will be able to get people to leave their car at home, just wait until gas prices go up again.

By the way, I was in no way compensated or sponsored by URB-E, I just really like featuring innovating companies that make their products in the USA. For more information, please visit www.urb-e.com.

Hello fellow roadies and bike commuters! We finally got a sunny day here in Southern California and I took advantage by riding my Bianchi Impulso with the new-to-me HED Ardennes Plus wheels. There are times that you think to yourself; “self, I deserve a new pair of shoes”, but in our case; “self, my bike deserves a new pair of wheels”. In a deal that my buddy could not resist, he bought these seldom used HED Ardennes Plus wheels for his road bike. The problem was the “Plus” since these wheels are wider than the normal wheels and he was not able to make them fit on his bike.

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My buddy was kind enough to let me test ride these wheels to see if I like them. Mind you, they were a little over my budget but based on HED’s reputation I said what the heck, why not, let’s try them.

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I encountered clearance issue as my buddy, but with careful brake pad adjustment, I made those suckers fit. What is the big deal with these wheels? The rims are 25mm wide, 2 mm wider than the “normal” wheels. The HED Ardennes Plus also came with Continental Grand Prix tires which looked like big ass tires.

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I have always considered reviewing road wheels and tires very hard to do. I mean, how can you really tell the difference, right? I picked a route with small climbs and descents, rough asphalt, a railroad crossing and sweeping turns to get a feel of the wheels. The first thing I noticed was this humming noise as I rode on the flat surfaces, not a bad noise, a noise that I assume was created by the bladed spokes. Then came the angry bees, yeah, that noise the rear hub creates as you stop pedaling and coast. Some riders like that noise, some hate it. I like it. As I kept pedaling and rode the rain beaten asphalt, I noticed how comfortable the wheels were. There was no jarring when I rode on top of small cracks or loose asphalt, no “thunk” noises when you hit small pot holes it was just… bliss.

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Rear wheel weight -HED Ardennes

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Rear wheel weight -Shimano RS010

I consider my self “old school” when it comes to tires, I would not ride anything bigger than a 23 because of the minimal weight savings and the theory of lower rolling resistance. These new 25mm wheels and tires have totally changed my mind and I can’t wait to take them on longer rides.