cargo bikes

Russ and Laura are at it again.

Two of our favorite people in the biking world would be Russ Roca and Laura Crawford. Russ was one of our staff writers and in 2009, he and Laura set out on an adventure on two wheels. I had always admired what they have done and figured what they are about to do should be pretty darn fun and exciting. Check out the latest plans from The Path Less Pedaled.

You can read more about it on The Path Less Pedaled.

London Cycle Hire Scheme

Editorial by RL Policar: “Recently my cousin Carmelo “Mac” Tolentino was in London and took advantage of the the wonderful London Cycle Hire Scheme.

He was kind enough to document his experience so he can share it with our readership. Check it out!”

I tried the London Cycle Hire Scheme yesterday. I was with my Greek classmate. Prior to this, the scheme is for members only. Just recently they opened it to everyone. Now its available for casual users like me. All you need to have is a chip and pin type debit/credit card. You just go to any of the Barclays Cycle Hire docking stations and there is a ticketing machine.
London Cycling Scheme

You first need to buy an access. This is done by inserting your card on the machine. It will charge you £1 if you choose access for 24 hrs or £5 for a week’s worth of access. I think you can buy access for up to 4 bikes at a time. Once you have purchased the access you can be issued a release code for the bikes. You choose a bike parked in the docking stations and just encode the release code given to you. The light will turn green in the docking point and you can now take the bike.
London Cycling Scheme
You can now begin cycling. There are rental rates for the bike depending on how long you intend to use it. I took a photo of the tariff rates. Up to 30 minutes is free and up to 1 hr is £1 and so on. It will be charged to your debit/credit card. There are hundreds of docking stations scattered all over London and you can return the bike to any of those docking points. If you don’t exceed 30 mins then your journey is free. So basically you only paid £1 for the use of the bike. Now when you docked your bike , you have to wait at least 10 minutes before you request for a new release code.
London Cycling Scheme

This is quite nice because if want to go around London for sightseeing. You can get a bike then go to whatever place you want to go. Say for example, Trafalgar Square. You can dock your bike and go on do some photo ops.
London Cycling Scheme

London Cycling Scheme
After that you can go back and get a new release code and get a new bike to use for your next destination. As long as you don’t exceed 30 minutes then you don’t get charged at all. So if you manage your trips accordingly you can go around the entire city for just £1 and be healthy and eco friendly at the same time. I really loved this experience and I would like to do it every time I visit London (weather permitting). The city is bike friendly so they have designated cycling lanes and drivers are well aware of cyclists.
London Cycling Scheme

Heres the official link of the cycle hire scheme:

Are you a Bike Hoarder?

If you’re not sure what a “hoarder” technically is, here’s a definition:

Hoarding is the excessive collection of items, along with the inability to discard them. Hoarding often creates such cramped living conditions that homes may be filled to capacity, with only narrow pathways winding through stacks of clutter. Some people also collect animals, keeping dozens or hundreds of pets in unsanitary conditions.

People who hoard often don’t see it as a problem, making treatment challenging. But intensive treatment can help people who hoard understand their compulsions and live a safer, more enjoyable life.

Jack and I both know we’re hoarders, in fact we’ve each held on to bike parts for years and for the most part we think we can use those things some day. Here’s a few pictures of our hoarding activities. You may have already seen them on our Facebook Fan Page.

RL’s garage

I have a collection of 21 bicycles all together. I have 2 frames that I don’t want to get rid of because they have sentimental value to me…

More junk…This photo is actually a “cleaner” version. I had thrown out 2 trash cans full of stuff before I snapped this picture.

Jack’s shed

More of the hoard…bikes and crates full of parts, some of which he’s owned for 20+ years and move from place to place without actually opening the boxes.

Rather than trying to help you with your bike hoarding (cuz’ we’re not really convinced its a bad thing). We’d like to enable you with it. So here’s the deal. If you can submit a photo of your bike hoarding activities that tops Jack and RL’s stuff, then we’ll send you a T-Shirt.

To enter the contest, EMAIL us your Best Hoarding Photo with the subject title: “Hoarding”

Our panel of judges will decide on which mess is worthy of a new shirt!

Contest ends on February 14th.

Good luck!

Urbana Current-Electric Assist Bicycle Review

Meet the Urbana Current. This is a new Electric Assist model that Urbana Bicycles will be introducing in the near future. We had received this bike right at the beginning of November and we’ve been putting it through its paces since then. The demo unit sent to me came from another media outlet. So when it arrived at the Test Lab, the bike was a mess! Not only was it dirty, but it was simply torn up! UPS didn’t help the situation either, the box was punched in on the corners and torn all over. In fact the UPS Driver even suggested that I refuse the package because of the condition it came in.

Well after bit of time in the lab, I was able to assemble, tune and clean the Urbana Current. The front fender was damaged during transit. Even though Urbana offered to send me a new front fender, I turned it down just because it rarely rains in Southern California.

As bad as the condition of the bike was at arrival, the Current was still in working order. The electronics (which I was really concerned about) fared just fine and once I charged everything up, it all worked! That in itself is a testament to the durability of the bike. But don’t worry, I was able to beat up the Current during the testing period.


Let’s get a few things out of the way before I go on.

Suspension:The Current is a rigid frame, but you can definitely feel the “suspension” benefits of the large-volume tires.

Step-thru frame: Makes it easy to get in and out of the bike.

Rear Rack:RNR rack has to be the most unique design out there. Rated to carry 100lbs…it’s definitely beefy and I was able to utilize its hooks that allowed me to carry items without the need of panniers.

The three items I just mentioned can actually be found on a previousUrbana Bicycle Review that staffer Noah Dunker wrote a few months ago. With that in mind, I’ll won’t rehash some of the same things he’s already talked about.

The Urbana Current is equipped with a Bionx hub and battery pack. The control panel is user-friendly — so much so, a child can operate it.


While riding the Urbana Current on full pedal assist, I was averaging about 15 miles per charge (your mileage may vary depending on your riding conditions) at an average of 15mph. This is a mixture of flat and hilly terrain. Keep in mind, I’m a big boy: 202lbs.

During the testing period, I never experienced any problems with the electrical system. Charging the battery took a few hours. Basically as soon as I arrived in my office, I’d plug it in; by lunch time, it was 3/4 charged and by 2:30pm, it was 100% charged.


The Current came equipped with Avid BB5 disc brakes. I’ve always been a fan of BB5s because they provide awesome stopping power for a fraction of the cost of their hydraulic counterparts.


One thing I have to admit when riding the Urbana Current: it’s straight out fun! I’ve let about a dozen people, ranging from my kids, my wife, and all the way up to professional mountain bike racers ride the Current, and they simply loved the bike. It never fails to put a smile on people’s faces.


Durability: One concern I had with this bike was its durability. Personally, if I were to spend $3299, I want to make sure this bike lasts. With that in mind, I put this bike through the wringer. Believe it or not, Urbana Bicycles told me…“We want you to try and BREAK IT!” WTF? Were they serious? They were, because when I asked them to repeat what they just said, they said it with more confidence and with a serious tone….“We want you to try and BREAK IT!” So I obliged.

For the durability test, I had about 5 professional Mountain Bike Super D Racers TRY and damage this bike while riding it through a Super D Race course. Granted, there were no jumps, but the terrain was pretty brutal even for mountain biking standards. One thing I have to say is, the wheels are bomb-proof! Even after the Super D course, they stayed true and I never experienced a flat tire. Another note I need to add, the battery pack stayed in its place the whole time. In addition, I left the bike out in the rain and guess what? The bike works just fine. The circuitry was untouched and moisture did not penetrated the LCD control panel.


Since this was my second e-bike review, I have been asked “Which one do you like better? The OHM Urban XU700 or the Urbana Current?” To tell you the truth, they are both different in their own ways. For starters, the OHM has a front suspension fork, and a suspension seatpost which made potholes and other imperfections of the road more manageable. But the Urbana’s slack geometry was more comfortable overall. Though it lacked a suspension fork, the high-volume tires did make the ride more bearable. However, I think the Current can benefit from a suspension seat to smooth things out a tad more.


If I may, one thing I’d like to see on the Urbana Current is a front light. The battery pack actually comes with a tail light, so they might as well as add one in the front, right? If that’s too much strain on the battery, perhaps equipping the bike with a Shimano Dynamo hub to power the lights?


The items I suggested aren’t a deal breaker at all. The bike with its current spec sheet is fantastic: precise shifting, powerful braking and a wonderful geometry that allows riders from 5′ to 6’5″ to ride it without a problem. As much abuse as the Urbana Current has received, I’m genuinely surprised that it has survived this long. But what’s great about it is, the way it rides, you never would have guessed that it’s been through the wringer. The Urbana Current doesn’t disappoint and just keeps on riding!


Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.

Are you Sentimental too?

On our sister site,, we posted an article asking our readers what bicycle related item(s) are they not willing to part with.

I mentioned that I’ve had a mountain bike frame for 9 years and has switched owners during that time period but it made it back to me. One thing I do need mention would by my Xtracycle. My Freeradical kit has gone through a few donor bikes seen below:

Ibex RSR

Ibex Alpine

Now in its current state, the Sette Reken

There was a good 1.5 year time period in which I didn’t use my Xtracycle. So I had considered selling it. But on the advice of my wife and Moe, I decided to keep it.

What about you, what are you not willing to part with? Is it a classic road bike? Or a bike you had in College? Share your thoughts!