Category: Articles

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.

Spain is a destination endlessly popular with cyclists. Its excellent climate, beautiful natural landscapes, and bike-friendly cities make it the perfect holiday location for travel hungry cycling nuts all around the world. For a truly special two-wheeled tour, though, head to the south east of Spain and the hip, hot and happening coastal regions of Valencia, Murcia and Andalusia.

And don’t worry: with some careful planning, you won’t have to go through the rigmarole of hiring once you’re there. Pack smart and you can take your own bike with you on your epic Spanish odyssey.

Picture by Martin Cox on Flickr, some rights reserved

Packing your Bike for a Flight

First things first: read the small print. Even if an airline is offering cheap flights, they may charge you a high fee to check your bike, so it’s worth shopping around for the best deals. Though it can be tempting to box up your bike and claim it’s just a regular old piece of luggage, this will prevent you from claiming any insurance if the bike is damaged during transit.

As for the actual packaging, it comes down to three options. Firstly, you could choose a soft bike case or plastic bag. Bags are cheap and flexible but don’t offer much protection from overenthusiastic baggage handlers.

Secondly, you could invest in a sturdy rigid case. This will definitely keep your bike safe, but is also the most expensive option and difficult to transport once you’re off the plane.

Your third option is a cardboard box, which strikes a happy medium between the other two, giving adequate protection to your bike without being too expensive. Best of all, you can maintain your green credentials by recycling it once you get to your destination!

City Biking

Some of the best cycling to be found in this part of the world is in Murcia. This university city boasts numerous cycling trails and fascinating sights in the centre of town, including an ornate cathedral, a large botanical garden and park, and a spectacular world-famous casino in the Sociedad Casino of Murcia.

Further south from Murcia, the coastal cities of Almeria and Cartagena provide ample opportunities for cycling. The notoriously dry Almeria is particularly pleasant for tranquil bike rides during the cooler autumn months. Meanwhile, Cartagena is the place to be if you’re into your historic architecture. The city is home to an ancient Roman theatre, the ruins of a cathedral destroyed in the Spanish Civil War, and a number of striking Art Nouveau buildings.

Cycling Disused Railway Tracks

Around the south east of Spain, there are numerous disused railway tracks, which have been converted into cycling paths. Known as “greenways” or via verdes to the locals, these paths are a secluded and truly unique way of travelling through Spain’s natural landscapes.

If you’re headed for Valencia, take a train down to Gandia and hop on the Safor Greenway, a long straight cycling path that takes you past orange groves, canals and rural villages. From Murcia, you can head west inland on the Greenway of the Northwest, a 78 km line that links Murcia with Caravaca de la Cruz, one of the Holy Cities of the Catholic Church and a place famous for its spectacular 15th century castle.

Coastal Bicycle Paths

For cyclists who want to make the most of Spain’s sandy beaches and warm waters, there are plenty of coastal routes to choose from. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, fly into Valencia and then make your way down the coast to Malaga. You’ll pass through the beach resort towns of Benidorm and Alicante (where you can get your sunbathing and clubbing fix) before reaching the Murcian towns of San Javier, Cartagena and Aguilas.

Once in Andalusia, head south along the coast to spots such as Carboneras, home of the famous Playa de los Muertos beach. Move on through the fishing village of San Jose, before finishing up in Almeria. Trust us – the journey will be tough on the legs but easy on the eyes!

The real beauty of taking a cycling tour of south east Spain is that it’s very easy to get budget flight deals, particularly if you travel off-peak. If you take your bike as well, your travel costs once you arrive will be dramatically reduced, which means more money for sightseeing, tapas and lots of cold Spanish beers.

Muy bueno!

Hello fellow bike commuters! Did you miss your Monday Bike Geek fix? Me too, but I had a very busy weekend and I was not able to write my weekly post. Let’s just hope that I still have a “job” at BikeCommuters.com (who are we kidding, I effin’ run the show here!)

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So the unofficial start of summer is here and two of the things that are on my bucket list is to do a bicycle camping trip and learn to play golf. Well Burley is one of those companies that is well known for their trailers (they did have bitchin’ tandems years ago) so they sent a Burley Travoy to fulfill that bike-camping dream of mine.

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This thing is freaking awesome, it folds so it is out of the way if you live in a Condo and it is very sturdy once it is fully erect. It comes with a tote bag with neat little tie downs, quick release bicycle attachment, 12 inch wheels and it carries up to 60 lbs. I’ve been planning a small trip to a camping ground 23 miles away from where I work so stay tuned for that adventure in the near future.

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In the meanwhile, what to do with the Travoy? Well, since I started learning how to hit that little white ball, I figured that I can ride my bike to my always crowded golf range and when the time comes, I can use the Travoy to haul my golf clubs around! Pretty neat, eh.

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We will be putting the Travoy to the test, come back for the updates!

Most of us are familiar with the famous “Blue Book” for cars. If you are not familiar with it, this little book (now a website and app) would give you an estimate of what a car is worth.

So a blue book for bikes would make sense, right? I mean, we all want to know what our bike is worth if we want to sell it. As an avid buyer and seller of bicycles on Craigslist (I’m not a flipper), I can tell you that the bicycle blue book sucks. Here is why: the prices are no where close to what the Los Angeles market dictates. This means that if you list your bike at “market value” you always get that buyer who wants to buy your bike at “blue book value”.

Here is a couple of examples of my personal experiences:

I sold a 2004 Giant TCR for $500 on Craigslist, Max Bicycle Blue book value: $300. GTFO.
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Sold a 2007 Bianchi Via Nirone 7 on Craigslist for $450, Max Bicycle Blue Book value: a ridiculous $169.
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Friends have also told me that when they try to sell bikes, the bicycle blue book value is way off.

Why such discrepancies? Not sure but here is my theory: According to the bicycle blue book site, it gathers data from Ebay and other sources but it does not cite Craigslist as one of the main sources. As far as I know, Craigslist contains more bicycle listings than eBay and it really dictates the market value of a bike more accurately.

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Sure you have idiots on Craigslist trying to sell piece of shit bikes for unrealistic prices, but that is where the art of bargaining comes in. On the other side of the coin, if you happen to be a buyer and you get that uninformed seller and throw the blue book value at them and they bite, you just scored a nice deal.

So if anyone is selling a Bianchi Via Nirone for $169, hit me at a thebikegeek@bikecommuters.com.