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And the vitriol continues

What a week! I am totally burned out from these elections, we will see what the future holds for cyclists under the new Presidency.

The vitriol between both parties reminded me of two conversations that I had with two of my co-workers regarding cyclists.

My co-workers know that I ride my bike to work and that I am also a mountain biker and a roadie. The first conversation I had was with a male co-worker when he found out that I like to mountain bike at night:

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“Last night I had an encounter with some of your brethren, I was driving home and one rider had a light that was powerful enough to almost blind me. Too bad I did not have a front bumper guard on my Jeep or I would have ran them over”

I simply responded “You are willing to commit murder because you were accidentally blinded by a cyclist’s light?” He was baffled by my response, he then went about how some cyclists are assholes and should not be on the road at night. Now, I do agree that some of the lights that we use are quite powerful, 1,000 lumens can easily blind the shit out of you when mounted on a helmet and pointed directly at you. Since I ride with both a handlebar light and a helmet light, I make sure that I keep my helmet light at a low level an only turn it up when I’m riding off road away from vehicular traffic.

Although my co-worker was partly right about being blinded by inconsiderate mountain bikers, it is the fact that he said that he was going to run them over with an anger tone and he actually repeated his statement that he wished he would have run them over.

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My second conversation was with a female co-worker who happened to see my handlebar mounted mirror. She asked me if I ride on the sidewalk or on the street, I responded that I always ride on the street because sidewalks are not safe. She asked me why is it that some cyclists ride on the middle of the lane instead of a sidewalk, I said, because we are allowed to use the entire lane when it is safe to do so. She then went on to say how she yelled at two cyclists to get “the fuck out of the way” and then proceeded to do the “punishment pass” to teach the cyclists a lesson because they were riding towards the middle of the lane.

I looked at her and asked her if it was worth killing or maiming someone who is a father, mother, son or daughter because she was inconvenienced by 10 seconds. She looked at me puzzled and I guess my statement sunk in.

I think that it is hard for drivers to understand what we go through because they have not been on our shoes (or pedals). My experience as both a bicycle and motorcycle rider has taught me that we are more vulnerable on the road and I give riders and pedestrians the space they need when I drive my car around them.

What is the solution? Education and tolerance. Cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and drivers must be educated on the rules of the road and be more kind to each other.

My 100th ride: Ride MoVal 2016

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This week’s post is a little late because it is about Sunday’s ride which happens to be my 100th ride of the year according to Strava.

I know that 100 rides may not be a lot for some of you but my 100th ride was rather special. In fact, my 100th ride of 2016 is the best ride I had so far. You have seen my posts about my Bike Friday Family tandem, if not, just do a search on Bike Friday Family Tandem and you will see all of my posts regarding this wonderful bike.

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Why so special? Well, it was the first time that my wife and I participated on an organized ride together. The event was the “Ride MoVal 2016” in Moreno Valley California. Moreno Valley is a good hour and a half from Los Angeles but this is where a good friend of mine resides and he invited us to join him and his family on the 15 mile ride.

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We shared a video of the 15 mile start on Facebook and you could see that there weren’t many of us but I can tell you that the Bike Friday Family tandem was a hit. We got a lot of questions regarding the bike and people wanting to take pictures of it including selfies!

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We also met a lot of cool people on the ride, on our haste to leave with the police escort we forgot our ride sheet so we were navigating blindly until a couple caught up to us and they were kind to ride along with us until the end.

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The ride was very well organized, we were greeted at the SAG stop by a bunch of enthusiastic teens and they were fully stocked with fruit, Gatorade, snacks and water. We also met people from the Inland Empire Biking Alliance, I was not familiar with them but they are all about getting people on bikes and this is exactly what this event was all about.

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But the best part of the entire trip was that my wife truly enjoyed herself on the ride and after the ride. Our M & M jerseys were also a hit but the Bike Friday Family Tandem stole the show. We are looking forward to Ride MoVal 2017!

In search of my winter bike

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Greetings fellow bike commuters, I hope you are enjoying what is left of summer and getting ready for those cold, rainy and snowy commutes. I know I’m not. I live in Southern California for crying out loud, it was 98 degrees three days ago! Meteorologists are predicting a dry and hot winter due to “La niña” so all I have to worry is about riding in the dark.

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But regardless of the weather, I still want a “winter bike”. But what about the Spicer Cycles CX that I rave about? Well, that bike is too nice as my “winter bike” so I am searching my favorite bicycle market place (Craigslist) for that perfect and inexpensive bike. My list of “needs” is short: must be under $200 and it must be in excellent condition. My list of wants is also short: singlespeed/fixed gear or 7 speed folding bike.

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If you are familiar with Craigslist, you know that there are sellers that are full of shit but you can also find some gems buried deep in there. In fact, if you follow us on Facebook, you have noticed that we started a WTF Craigslist post of the week on Thursdays. The biggest challenge will be to find a decent fixed gear bike or folding bike, Craigslist is littered with crappy fixies and folding bikes are hard to find for cheap.

Keep following us on Facebook and Instagram for quick updates of my search.

DZR Minna bike shoes review

I’ve been teasing shots of the DZR Minna shoes on our Facebook page and Instagram pages, what? you don’t follow us on Social Media? Now is your chance! Click here to follow us on Instabook and here for Facegram. Sorry, I don’t do twitter, it is just not as fun.

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If you have been reading some of my musings, you probably know that I tend to be on the frugal side but I do like to spend on items that are of multipurpose use. The DZR Minna shoes are such thing; they are fashionable, comfortable and oh yes they are also clipless shoes!

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Why do I sound excited about shoes? that is because these shoes allow me to ride my bike to work with my favorite Crank Brothers clipless pedals and then keep wearing them while I am at work with very few people noticing that I am actually wearing cycling shoes! I actually get compliments on how sharp the shoes look and whenever I show them the cleats, they get confused. Yes, unless you are showing the shoes to a cyclist, most people have no idea what cleats are.

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Now let’s get to one of the best features of the shoes: they are black. Yes, the DZR Minna shoes have other awesome features such as an elastic lace catch, a reflective heel badge, they are made out full grain leather, have a natural gum rubber sole and a variable flex shank, but for me, the fact that they are all black is what attracted me to these shoes.

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Why black? Because of the road grime that collects when you ride on the streets. Since these shoes are all black, a quick wipe down will get them nice and shiny again.

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My favorite feature of these shoes is how versatile and convenient they are. I wear them all the time even if I am not commuting with them and since all of my bikes have crank brothers pedals, I can use these shoes if I forget my road or mountain specific shoes.

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Any downsides to these shoes? Well, they are not as stiff as road shoes so they do flex a bit if you really want to get out of the saddle and go on a full sprint, but no biggie. How about the price? $109 is a great deal if you consider how useful and stylish these shoes are. I highly recommend them.

For more information or to purchase these shoes, please visit https://dzrshoes.com/

Disclaimer: DZR Shoes was kind enough to send me a pair of these shoes for me to test before I placed an order for them. I’m glad I waited but I would definitely spend my hard earned money for a pair of these shoes. Full FTC disclaimer here.

Riding in the dark

Aren’t you glad is Monday? Me neither but I hope that our weekly Monday post will bring some cheerfulness to your day and in case it doesn’t, drink more coffee, I do.

One of the things that I avoid as a bicycle commuter is cars, riding in the rain and riding when is dark. Rain is not much of an issue in Southern California but darkness is unavoidable. Why don’t I like riding in the dark? Well, because the most popular response by a driver when they hit a cyclist is “I didn’t see him”.

This time is going to be different, I am going to venture doing my train-bike ride when is dark but I will be preparing myself to see and to be seen by doing the following:

Light up!
Can’t tell you how many riders I see on the streets without any sort of front or rear lights. Front and rear lights vary in pricing and in my case I rather spend a little more for lights that I know will allow me to see and be seen.

My choice for a rear light is going to be the NiteRider Sentinel rear light that we reviewed early this year.

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For my front light, I will be riding with the NiteRider Lumina Micro 600 that we just received to review.

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I will also ride with “side blinkies” on my wheels. These reflectors are motion sensitive and light up as I’m riding. Unfortunately these are no longer available but there are a lot of choices out there such as the Monkey Light Bike lights by Monkeylectric and other inexpensive spoke lights.

Reflect!

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Although my Showers Pass Gravel shorts come with reflective accents, some of my “commuter” jerseys do not. A company called Brilliant Reflective happened to follow us in Instagram so I went ahead and checked out their products. They sell Iron-on and stick-on reflective strips so I went ahead and ordered their iron-on strips pack. More on that later.

Am I being a little paranoid? Probably, but I certainly do not want to give any driver the excuse that he could not see me.