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Winter Bike Project Part One

Hello bike riders, I hope you enjoyed your extra hour of sleep, I know I did. I am excited to share with you that the search for my “winter” bike has come to an end. I shared with you 3 potential candidates on the BikeCommuters.com Facebook page; one folding bike and two single speed bikes.

Candidate #1 was a KHS Flite 200. We reviewed this bike back in 2008 and I doubt that it has changed much. The bike was $50 over my budget so I decided to wait.

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Candidate #2 was an Origami Full suspension folding bike. At $220 was just a tad over my budget but I like this bike a lot. This bike sold right before I contacted the seller.

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Candidate #3 was a fully decked out State bike. This bike had it all; fenders, baskets, bell and a coaster brake. I am not a fan of coaster brakes so I decided to move on.

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As I kept looking for my winter bike, I stumbled upon an ad that was selling a singlespeed/Fixed gear bike for $100.00. I contacted the seller for more details regarding the brand but he could not tell me what kind of bike it was but the frame was in like new condition. I was intrigued. Since the seller was close to my work, I decided to meet with him to check out the bike. The bike was basically a full blown mutt. Brandless frame, Redline wheels, SDG saddle, raceface seatpost, Shimano exage crankset and brakes, easton stem, ITM handlebar and Crane creek brake levers. Oh, it also had a carbon fiber fork. So yeah, I bought the fucking thing, it had a carbon fiber fork!!!

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Now, if you saw the pictures of this bike on Instagram or Facebook, you make have noticed that it had stickers on it:

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What the hell is an Awnry Jackson? Well, if you have not googled it yet, here is the story from a blog post on MtnBikeRiders.com:

Introducing: AWNRY Bikes N’ Stuff
March 29, 2010 – Main, Mountain Biking

Fullerton, CA, March 29, 2010 –(PR.com)– RL Policar and Moises (Moe) Ramirez have launched AWNRY Bikes N’ Stuff. “Moe and I have wanted to do this for a long time.” Policar stated. The famous blogging duo originally founded 2 very popular websites, MtnBikeRiders.com and BikeCommuters.com. Ramirez said, “When we got into the bike media business, the whole idea of becoming our own bicycle brand really intrigued us.”

Though mountain biking is in the heart of Ramirez and Policar, they’ve also launched the AWNRY-Jackson. This is the hipster friendly single speed or fixed frame. The Jackson only comes in black. Ramirez stated, “once you go black, you never go back.”

-4130 chromoly frame and fork
-Horizontal dropouts to easily adjust chain tension
-Accepts 1 1/8″ headset, 27.2mm post and 68mm BB
-Handles up to 700 x 38c tire
-Front fork and seatstay bridge are drilled to accept brakes in case you decide to add them

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Yes friends, I am living my dream of having my own brand of bikes for $115 (the rear wheel needed a spoke). I also had a bunch of decent parts on my parts bin that I added to the Awnry Jackson: Carbon Fiber ITM handlebars, Paul brake lever, Panasonic Tires from Wabi Bicycles, Selle Italia saddle and Crank brothers pedals.

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What is next for the Awnry Jackson? Get decent decals made, I suck at cutting them by hand. I will also experiment with more reflective materials since I will be riding this bike a night.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

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.