Category: Commute

I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that this week’s post will be pretty much incomplete. I have been trying to get a hold of the company that touts that they have created the best commuter bike ever but I have gotten nothing but radio silence.

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The good news is that I’ve picked up a “sponsor” who is willing to give us a discount on coffee. Yes, coffee -God’s gift to computer geeks, college students and long haul truckers. Gloria Jeans Coffee is giving bike commuters a 15% discount on coffee purchases until the end of May and let me tell you, their coffee is excellent! Simply click on the link below and enter the coupon code: “bikecommuters” at check out to get your discount.

https://www.gloriajeans.com

And now back to your regularly scheduled post:

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This ad has been peppering my Facebook feed for a while, its claim seems to be to good to be true so it had me intrigued. The Fortified Bicycle website states that the bike comes with rust proof paint and chain, security bolts, weather proof saddle, puncture resistant tires, a U-lock AND it is also Theft Proof. All for $399!, Really????

What is the catch? Well, the $399 is for a single-speed with no accessories and no theft guarantee. Aha! but the theft guarantee pricing ranges from $100 for one year to $200 for three years. It is still not a bad deal.

I wanted to get more details about their “Fine Print” but I got no “love” from their customer service email address. I will do a follow up post after I get my questions answered and maybe I’ll purchase their single-speed bike so I can do a review of the bike.

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Next Week: The full review of Two Wheel Gear’s pannier backpack convertible.

Welcome to your I-hate-Mondays-but-The-Bike-Geek-will-make-it-all-better post. No, not really but I bet a cup of Gloria Jeans coffee will make it all better (shameless plug for a buddy who works there).

So before I bore you with data, numbers and excel shenanigans, I want to share with you a couple of videos that I posted on the BikeCommuters Facebook page. If you don’t follow our page on Facebook, now it is time to do it since I will be doing a giveaway soon.

The following video below shows how things have not really changed and how people still SUCK. As I was on my way to the train station, some butthole buzzed by me while I was riding on the bike lane startling me. The driver was going to make a right turn but you can see on the video that the turn was quite a few yards away. Jerk.

The situation on the next video had me baffled… I really didn’t know what to do as I was riding the bike multi-use trail. Two joggers were running towards me on my side of the trail and at the same time two cyclists were fast approaching making it dangerous for me to pass left. I decided to slow down hoping for the joggers to either a)Go single file b)move to their left. She opted to go right almost colliding with the approaching cyclist. Fortunately no one got hurt but it just goes to show you that bike commuters are not safe even when riding a bike multi-use trail.

So now let’s play the numbers game:

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One of the Metrolink’s claims on why we should take the train is because the cost of operating a small vehicle is roughly 45 cents per mile (based on 15,000 miles per year). I thought this was a load of bullshit since I drive a hybrid and gas prices are relatively cheap, so I decided to do the math and see what the true cost of operating my car is.

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So, according to my math, the cost of operating my vehicle is roughly 31 cents per mile, but you will notice that AAA’s estimate does not take into account hybrid vehicles. On the flip side, thanks to cheap gas prices the depreciation of my car is the highest amount of the total cost to operate my car. This was a W.T.F. moment for me since I thought the Metrolink fare was expensive but it turns out that I spend almost as much per day driving my car.

So if you are on the fence of becoming a bike commuter but you have not committed because gas is cheap, do the real math and you maybe surprised.

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Next on The Bike Geek: An invincible bike?

Have you ever had a saddle that you love, but you are no longer able to ride long distances with it anymore?

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It happened to me. My favorite saddle was the Selle Italia Trans AM. I’ve ridden over 3,000 miles on this brand of saddles but the last couple of years have been literally a pain in the ass. It got to the point that 25 miles rides were really uncomfortable and I was also experiencing “numb nuts” or perineal numbness. I switched to the saddle that came with my Giant TCR SLR2 bicycle, but that made it worse.

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I also ordered a Hobson Pro-Hub X2, but not only does this saddle look out of place on a road bike, but it was not for me. The saddle did not suit my type of riding and I was not comfortable at all. I could see myself using this saddle on a hybrid or a cruiser but definitely not on a road bike nor a mountain bike.

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I decided to stop guessing and went to my local bike shop. The owner happens to be around my age, he is a racer and really knows his shit. He told me that as we age, our sit bones tend to change a bit and the saddles that we’ve ridden for a while are no longer suitable and we experience discomfort.

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He steered me towards the ISM saddles and gave me a couple to try for a couple of weeks. I ended up buying the PN 1.1, not cheap, but this saddle has been quite a good investment. It took me a little while to get used to it, but once I did, I have been able to do 50 mile rides with zero discomfort and zero numbness. No more numb nuts!

I really can’t say that the ISM PN 1.1 is the solution for all riders, but if you are experiencing serious discomfort in your perineal area, visit your local bike shop and they should have a few types of saddles for you to try.

Next on week: Doing the math.

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We have received the Two Wheel Gear Pannier Backpack convertible from the land where Americans will leave to if Donald Trump gets elected. Interestingly, my Devinci Caribou is also Canadian so both items will be rightfully immigrated just in case Trump wins the election.

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Disclaimer: The fine fellows from Two Wheel Gear noticed that I was commuting via train and bicycle so they sent us their new Pannier Backpack convertible to put through its paces.

So the big boss at BikeCommuters.com asked me if I wanted to review this thing that is supposed to be a Pannier AND a backpack. I was intrigued and I was also in need of a nice Pannier so I quickly accepted his offer.

Let’s begin with the “convertible” system:

The backpack features two shoulder straps like a regular backpack:

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There are a couple of zippers on top of the bag that if you unzip them, it will reveal the Universal Rixen & Kaul rack attachment:

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Stuff the straps in the bag opening:

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and then fold the flap inwards:

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Then simply mount the pannier to the rear rack:

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Close the bottom straps, and voila, you got yourself a pannier!

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The conversion takes about a minute, this was a huge plus for me on my last train-bike commute. I boarded the train in backpack mode and as soon I got off the train, I simply converted it into a pannier and I was ready to ride the bike to work.

Let’s move on with some of the Features:

24L of space-That is huge! I was able to fit my jeans, shirt, pump, tire levers, tube, hoodie AND lunch. Notice the nice compartments:

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This includes a padded sleeve for a 15″ laptop or a tablet!

High quality weatherproof materials– Includes reflective accents!

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And for those people who ride while it rains:

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A Fluorescent, reflective rain cover!

The guys at Two Wheel gear are geniuses; I was truly blown away with their Pannier/Backpack design. The functionality, the looks and the materials are top notch but we will see how this bag holds up to my train/bike commute. Stay tuned for a full review.

You can purchase this pannier/backpack at TwoWheelGear.com for a very reasonable $119 USD.

Next week on The Bike Geek:

Protect-Your-Nuts!

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I was really excited to get back to bike commuting but I noticed that I was sticking out like a sore thumb during my train ride. I normally don’t give a shit what people think, but this got me thinking about “Bike commuter fashion” and I was curious to see what the new trends are.

If we go back to when the fixie fad was raging, riders were all about capris, knickers, tight pants, wool shirts and snickers shoes. From what I have observed, this trend has pretty much faded and now is all about looking “normal” while doing the train/bike thing.

So my challenge was to find something I could wear on the train, on the bike AND basically at my desk. I work as an IT professional (surprised?) with a relaxed dress code; collared shirt and jeans will do.

A few searches regarding “Bike Commuter Clothing” revealed quite a few articles of what to wear and also a few companies that offer specific clothing for “bike commuters” or “urban riders”. My main focus was tops, I don’t see myself riding with pants or knickers; there is a reason why I pay through the nose to live in Southern California and that is the superb weather we enjoy year-round so shorts are my choice for bottoms.

Here is what I found:

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Zoic Jerseys-They look like Polos with a collar and no funky graphics nor ugly colors. Their prices range from $60 to $100 but I scored one from Nashbar for about $29.

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CHCB clothing by Performance Bike – Wool/Polyester polos on sale for $29? Sign me up! I purchased their VC polo jersey in brown with stripes and their Overby Hoodie.

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Club Ride Apparel-I found a casual top with no collar for $24.00, their polo shirts were over $40 and that seem a little too much for what I wanted to spend.

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Danny Shane – I went out on a limb and got one of their Jerseys for $32.00. These are supposed to be “designer cycling jerseys” made out of bamboo white ash fabric and sell for $85.00. The fabric is nice BUT the fit is way too “slim” for my non-European body. The cycling jersey that I got is not suitable for the office so this may go back to Ebay.

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Ben Hogan – Yeah, this brand is sold at big box stores and Amazon, but if I’m gonna be spending upwards of $29 per “commuter” shirt, I wanted to see what a $15.99 “performance” shirt would bring to the table.

Interestingly, none of the brands mentioned above are made in the USA. You would think they do for the price they command.

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The last piece of clothing is not a top nor a bottom; they are shoes. I’ve had my DZR GMT 8 shoes since 2011. As you can see, they still look great except for all the white material. Chrome Industries and DZR seem to be the major players with stylish shoes for bike commuters, I’m thinking that an order for the DZR Minnas is in the near future.

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Next week on The Bike Geek: 2 Wheel Gear Pannier Backpack Convertible