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More Product Reviews Coming Soon

We’ve got a slew of new products that we’re in the midst of testing. Here are a few I’m working on:

Pedro’s Tools
Pedro’s sent us a pair of tools to test…the Vice Whip and the Trixie. The Vice Whip is a clever device intended to replace the pesky and cumbersome chain whip used to remove cassettes and some freewheels. According to the packaging, this tool was designed by none other than legendary mechanic and VeloNews technical correspondent Lennard Zinn.

vice whip

The other tool is “Trixie” — a multitool aimed squarely at the fixed-gear/singlespeed rider. Combining a 15mm axle nut wrench, a lockring spanner, a 5mm hex key, a graduated slot for metric nuts and the mandatory bottle opener, this tool is really all one might need for some quick on-the-road repairs or a fast gear change.

trixie

Bike Glow
This lighting device has gotten some traffic on other cycling blogs, and we were lucky enough to score a sample for review. Based on electroluminescent (“EL”) wire, the Bike Glow kit adds much-needed side visibility to the bike (or rider) for nighttime commutes.

bike glow

IT Clips
These clever little devices from the folks at IT Clips let you put your old inner tubes (and who doesn’t have a pile of these laying around?) back into use by converting them into custom-length bungee cords OR tiedown straps. The versatile IT clip’s design serves as both and comes with steel hooks to facilitate this. Folks who ride cargo bikes or who routinely carry a load on their regular bicycles should find these incredibly useful for strapping down some goodies for the trip home.

IT clip
(sorry about the shaky photo…I drank too much coffee that morning!)

Stay tuned for reviews of these items (and a few more) within the next couple of weeks…

New Website: Someonestolemybike.com

We got the following email from Susie Cooley on behalf of Someonestolemybike.com:

If riding a bike is a universal pastime, then having it stolen is a universal nuisance, and it is for this reason that we have created SOMEONESTOLEMYBIKE.COM; to give individuals a cathartic forum to share their own personal stories and express their distinct feelings and philosophies on the aggravating subject of bike theft. We’ll be updating the page weekly with new stories. There’s no gimmick or money-making intentions here, just the hope that people will enjoy the videos and find a place to vent.

screenshot

Having a bike stolen is something a lot of us can relate to. Since I moved to Florida in 1992, I’ve had two bikes stolen…and my wife has also had two stolen. I can think of dozens of friends here and elsewhere who have experienced this psychological “kick in the junk”, too. It’s a bummer every time it happens. Someonestolemybike.com offers videos of bike theft victims talking about their losses…and who knows — perhaps getting the word out may even help recover a few of these stolen bikes? It definitely eases the pain when you can talk about your loss, in any case.

Check it out, and if you’ve got a story to share, the folks at Someonestolemybike.com would love to hear it (of course, we’d like to hear the stories, too).

They Sure Take Those Helmet Laws Seriously…

Our friends Nick and Lynn Tucker of New Zealand let us know about a frightening news article of an incident that happened in Nelson a few days ago:

Shaun Taylor, 21, said he was riding along Rocks Rd on Tuesday afternoon when a police officer told him to get off and push the bike because he was not wearing a helmet.

Mr Taylor, a chef, said that when the officer left, he got back on his bike, but near the Tahunanui shops the officer drove up beside him again and said he was going to place him under arrest for failing to stop.

Mr Taylor said an argument started and the officer sprayed him with pepper spray, which got into his eyes and on his face, causing “excruciating” pain.

His instinct was to run, eventually getting away from the officer and back to his bike and, after briefly back-tracking towards Nelson, he continued cycling towards Tahunanui, he said.

By the Tahunanui traffic lights, the officer, who was heading in the opposite direction, saw him and did a “burnout in rush-hour traffic” as he crossed the lanes, ramming him and his bike into a bank, Mr Taylor said.

Obviously, there’s more to the story (click here to read the rest), but man oh MAN do police in New Zealand take those helmet laws seriously or what?

DeMint’s “Anti-Bike Lane” Amendment

You may have read on other cycling sites that Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) has offered up an amendment “to prohibit funds for any bike trail path in the version of the stimulus act now in the Senate.”

We urge everyone to contact their Senators immediately to let them know that you want them to support bicycle-friendly infrastructure projects in the Stimulus package and to block the DeMint amendment. The League of American Bicyclists even has a handy Senator lookup feature and talking points for you to call their offices and let your voices be heard. This lookup feature can be found by clicking here.

Talking points for calling or writing your U.S. Senators include:

–Bike/ped projects offer better direct stimulus, because labor is a higher percentage of their cost compared to other transportation projects
–These smaller projects can start more quickly, providing immediate stimulus to local economies
–When polled, Americans call for bike trails and walking paths more than for highway projects
–Better bike/ped connectivity helps the poorest members of society, by giving them transportation options that they can afford
–Bike/ped connectivity is an essential part of Safe Routes to School
–Bike/ped projects are essential in reviving troubled downtowns

(thanks to the Virginia Bicycling Federation for providing these points).

And just so you know, this isn’t just “another day at the office for Republicans”…for U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has also spoken out against using Stimulus funding for bicycle infrastructure.

Let your Senators and other elected officials know that they’re really dropping the ball if they don’t realize that investing in alternative transportation infrastructure of ALL kinds makes quality of life better for all Americans, not just cyclists, mass-transit users and pedestrians.

Special tip of the ol’ “foam chapeau” to Fritz of Cyclelicious for bringing this to our attention.

Commuter Profile: Bike Skirt’s Elisa Munoz

As promised, here is part two of our two-part commuter profiles of the lovely and talented ladies of Bike Skirt. Today I present Elisa Munoz, the other stylish mastermind behind Bike Skirt (in partnership with Anna Carrigan):

elisa
(photo courtesy of T. Scott Carlisle, www.t-photographic.com)

How long have you been a bike commuter?

4 months, give or take.

Why did you start riding your bike to work and how long is your commute?

I was part of an online contest with friends, Triathablog.com, where each had a sport (running, swimming, cycling) and I decided the best way to get rides in was to combine my commute and my rides. So, I became a bike commuter! It was something I had wanted to do; Triathablog just gave me the boost (and the healthy competition) I needed. My commute is 6 miles each way.

How does Bike Commuting help you with your lifestyle (economics, health, relationships)?

It keeps me in shape for sure. Bike Commuting saves me on gas money and a gym membership. It has also introduced me to a small group of urban riders in Birmingham that I am so thankful for. Plus, I get to meet hot guys on bikes!

What do you do for a living and in what city do you bike commute?

I am a Book Buyer for a large book chain that is based out of Birmingham, AL. I commute from the city to the suburbs. Birmingham is 87/100 of the Unhealthiest Cities for Women, with the lowest % of women riders. Anna (the other half of BikeSkirt) and I are trying to change that, one ride at a time.

What kind(s) of bike do you have?

I have one bike, Mick Jagger. He is a Lemond eTape. The love of my life.

mick
(photo courtesy of T. Scott Carlisle, www.t-photographic.com)

Any funny or interesting commuting story that you may want to share?

I was recently profiled for both the newspaper and the local CBS station for being a bike commuter. (editor’s note: Here’s another of her profiles) It makes me laugh that the fact that I do what people all over the world do daily is so foreign in Birmingham that it is ‘news’. That says a lot about the bike culture here.

What do people (coworkers, friends) say when you tell them that you are a bike commuter?

“Are you CRAZY?” and “Watch out for cars”. It makes me laugh when non-bikers try to give me cycling advice. I want to say “You know that I ride every day don’t you?” Instead I smile and thank them. I also get looks and questions when people find out that I ride most of the time in a skirt. They are so much more comfortable than pants to me, and much more awesome!! And when your legs start to look like you ride everyday, you want to show them off…

route
(photo courtesy of T. Scott Carlisle, www.t-photographic.com)

How about bicycling advocacy? Are you active in any local or regional advocacy groups?

We don’t have many advocacy groups in Birmingham, but we are trying to change that. I am in the process of starting a Bike Co-op with friends, Bici Coop (www.bicicoop.org) and we are hoping to have a large advocacy presence.

Anything else that you want to share with us?

I can’t imagine anything more fun than riding my bike. Occasionally, I want nothing more than to throw Mick Jagger off of the mountain, but most of the time I arrive at work smiling and thinking that I just had the most fun getting to work. I feel sorry for the folks who will never know that feeling.

refresh
(photo courtesy of T. Scott Carlisle, www.t-photographic.com)

We’d like to thank Elisa for taking the time to submit her profile and photographs…do yourself a favor and check out Bike Skirt — these ladies really know how to roll in style!

We’ve got a few more profiles of stylish commuters in the works…and, as always, if you want to be profiled on Bikecommuters.com, just send us an email.