Category: Commute

This week was going to be my second time taking the train and commuting on my bike to work, but it was not the case. Due to the terrorist attacks in Brussels, Los Angeles was in high alert and this caused for all train service to be halted due to a “suspicious” package chained to a pole at one of the train stations. The stoppage happened one minute before my train was supposed to arrive but I waited for an hour to see if the train service would resume but no dice and I ended up driving to work.


As I arrived to work and followed the news regarding the train stoppage, it was found that the package contained clothes and all train service resumed at 10:30 AM. Now, I would think that because train service was stopped, a refund would be in order. Nope. All sales are final. So I basically wasted not only the fare going to work, but also the one returning since I bought a round trip ticket. The lesson: buy a one way ticket.


This was pretty discouraging given that $14.50 worth of gas would take me to and from work 4 times. Factor in the fact that I’m taking the train to work so I won’t have to deal with the stress of driving, this snafu pretty much negated all gains from using the train as a method of transportation.

But fuck the terrorists, I will continue to take the train and ride my bike to work at least once a week because very few things beat the freedom of riding a bike.

Walk the Talk:

1) Back up or prove what’s said with action.
2) Represent words with action.
3) Practice what’s preached.


Well, here we are, time to “walk the talk” or in my case “ride the talk”. I’ve been planning this multi modal commute for almost a month. I got my train schedule, planned my route, got my commuter bicycle and we switched to daylight savings.


I showed up to the train station armed with very little information about riding a train with a bike from the Metrolink site, so I basically followed a couple of bike commuters and observed what they did.


The train that I was going to board had a “bicycle car”, this meant that there were three stalls where you can “park” your bike and then sit down. If you are the type of person who spit shines your commuter bike or really minds getting a little scratch on your frame, this is not for you. You basically stash your bike on top of other bikes and secure them via a tie down. I’m not much of a stickler when it comes to my commuter bikes but this was a little unsettling. I was actually worried that my bike would scratch the other bikes but I guess this is what you do. You also have to be mindful to move your bike if it is on top of another bike and the person is about to disembark the train, no biggie, just simply move the bike out of the way.


Riding the train was pretty cool, I met some friendly people and learned that I stuck out like a freaking sore thumb among the train-bike commuters. I guess I’m a little old school and it has been years since I rode my bike to work.


I changed my route based on the suggestion from a person who rides to work and lives near by, he also happens to be the President of the company. He is cool in my book. The route had nice wide bicycle lanes and it was not too busy, I also took the river trail for part of my bicycle ride.


My entire commute took about 55 minutes, it sure beats an hour and 20 in heavy traffic. Is it worth the $14.50 round trip? Financially speaking it is a close no, but damn it feels good to ride a bike to work again.

Here is a little video I did of my experience, I’m not good at video editing so if you don’t like it, don’t vote for me for the Oscar.

Next week: Bike Commuter fashion

Yes, we all hate Mondays but “The Man” wanted me to try to posting on Mondays instead of the weekend. Something to do with SEO, PPC, blah, blah, blah, best day to post, blah, blah.

Stick It To The Man

So now that I have my train schedule, my route figured out, got my commuter bike, it is almost time to “Ride the talk”. One thing that always concerns me about riding my bike to work is careless drivers. The “ride as if you are invisible” is always on my mind when I ride on the streets, so to make myself more visible and ride defensively and I carry a few safety accessories:

1. Bright ass blinkies and a horn.

My new personal favorite rear blinkie is the NiteRider Sentinel that we reviewed a little while ago and I’ve been using the Orp light/horn (the jury is still out on this one, more on that later)

2. Mirrors


The Chuck Harris helmet mirror that I used to ride with back in 2008 was awesome, unfortunately I lost it and Chuck Harris passed away in 2012. However, I found a company that not only do they make Chuck Harris style mirrors, they are able to make them with your logo! Check out my brand spanking new helmet mirror:



I also ride with a handlebar mirror, but those can be tricky to adjust.

3. Hi-Viz clothing.


As I walk into the office, I’m always told that I can be seen a mile away. Good I say, now you have no excuse to run my ass over!

4. Helmet.


I do not understand why people refuse to ride with no helmet, I rather be uncool than a freaking vegetable in case of a crash.

5. “Personal Protection”

Yes, I do carry pepper spray with me, thankfully I’ve never had to use it. I carry it because people suck.“RoadId Bracelet


I love this bracelet, all your information that you choose is there in case you are incapacitated and someone needs to call your emergency contacts.

7.Inexpensive Action Sports Camera

This maybe a little over the top, but when motorists do not care about you and see you as a nuisance, better to have it on video. Oh, and because people suck.

You maybe thinking, WTF, why does he carry all this crap with him? Again, I want to get home safe to my family and unfortunately I live in a region where the car is king and pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycle riders are just a “bump in the road”.

Next Week: Time to “ride the talk”!

If you recall, on my battle of the fitness bands post I declared the Moov as most cycling friendly fitness band. The reason it bested the other bands was that the app was really good, but that left me with another issue: I needed a phone mount for my bike.


Deciding which phone mount was no easy choice, there are plenty of mounts out there ranging from $9.99 to over $100 bucks. So what made me go with a Quad Lock case system? My buddy Rocky had one and he involuntarily crash tested it and the phone fared better than his knee.


I paid $40.00 for the Quad lock or the equivalent of my monthly beer allowance (good thing I’m trying to lose weight). The Quad Lock system consists of a very nice phone cover:


and the actual Quad Lock:


This combination makes the phone very easy to mount and it feels very secure.


I’m pretty satisfied with the Quad Lock, this setup will replace my aging Garmin 305 but I do have one concern: my phone’s battery life.

Here are more shots of the Quad Lock system:



So what is coming next week? Another gadget? A bike? Nope, just my very blunt and honest opinion of Electrified bicycles.


We received the ELux Electric Bicycles Fat Tire Cruiser a few weeks ago and since then we’ve been able to put some miles on it. Rather than fill the first part of the review with the spec info and all that jazz, just go to their website to see all of it. For the most part I’ll be peppering in the spec info throughout the article. So with that being said, I’m just going to jump into it. Ok, so here we go. The ELux is a FUN electric bike! Yep, it’s as simple as that. Fun and functional. The fat tires do offer a different ride and when you keep the air pressure a bit low, it sorta acts like suspension and it also provides some extra traction on loose gravel and sand.

Elux Electric Bicycles

This bike’s 750w Bafang brushless geared motor is powered by a 48v 14Ah Lithium Ion battery. ELux says you can get up to a 30+mile range on a single charge with pedal assist. I was able to get 17.2 miles on a full charge, but that’s with me using the throttle about 90% of the time on various terrain such as steep hills, gravel, dirt, mud, bike path, street and sand. So you’re probably wondering, “17.2 miles is pretty far from 30 miles on a single charge…” Yes it is, but that range ELux provides takes into consideration that their test subject who determined those miles probably weighed about 150lbs and set the pedal assist to 3. But when I rode the bike I weigh over 220lbs and using the throttle most of the time on some steep hills. I figured if all my miles were simply on flat ground on the street, then I’m sure I could have reached that 30 mile range they had mentioned.


Yes we know that the Elux isn’t what some of you would consider a “commuter bike.” But rather than beating a dead horse and repeating myself that ANY BIKE is a commuter bike, I’ll just go into why this bike got our attention for testing. First of all those fat tires rather fascinating. But we noticed it had fenders, and a rear rack. Plus it has an LED headlight that could is powered by the main battery and switched on by the control panel. Hmm, from the looks of it, this bike would fall into that ideal commuter bike. In addition, it’s electric powered.

In this photo below, we paired the Elux with our Blackburn cooler pannier to show that you can carry bags on the bike. Two things I didn’t like about their rack was it didn’t have an anchor point and the rails were too thick.I have a Banjo Brothers grocery pannier bag that I couldn’t use because it requires it to anchored on the bottom, plus the hooks on the bag were too small for Elux’s rack. However, for the Blackburn bags you see, they worked just fine because it mounts on with Velcro straps.

elux bikes review

We’ve heard from commuter purists that an electric bike is cheating. Eh, is it really? I mean c’mon…anyway. We don’t consider it cheating. We think it’s perfect for those who normally can’t pedal a traditional bike. In this case, it’s right for me since I’ve developed arthritis on both knees. Pedal assist is a welcome reprieve from painful pedaling.

The display on the LCD screen is easy to read and super easy to use. There are 4 buttons on the control panel so you can’t mess it up too much. There’s a power, Set, + and -. You hit the + to up your pedal assist and of course you hit the – button to lower your pedal assist. A great feature on this control panel is the USB port that you can access to charge your devices! Plus the panel  has the ability to be backlit so you can see it at night.


In addition, there’s even a walking mode too. That means if you’re walking up a hill with the bike, it will give you enough power so you’re not having to lug the bike up. Mind you this is super helpful since this bike weighs 75lbs.

Components are pretty much entry level with Shimano Tourney 7 speed drive train and shifter. The bike is dressed with front and rear 180mm Tektro Mechanical Disc Brakes, which offer plenty of stopping power for this heavy rig.


The battery can be taken out for charging by unlocking it with the provided key and removing the saddle/seat post via quick release. You can actually leave the battery on the bike while charging. Elux says charging time is 4-6 hours. After draining the battery, it took us close to 6 hours to get a full charge.

Elux stated that the bike can legally reach up to 21mph, which it can on flat ground. I asked if you could hack the system and remove the limiter, unfortunately there isn’t a way. But naturally once the battery life starts to diminish, the bike can’t touch those max speeds.

During our testing period, we never experienced any mechanical or electrical issues. In fact the bike performed rather well given the fact we took in on terrain that the company probably never intended it be ridden on. Yes, it is heavy at 75lbs and if you ever have to transport the bike, it would help if you had a rear rack that could handle fat tires or a truck/van.

Overall we liked this bike. We couldn’t find really any issues, other than the rack that I mentioned above. The 750w 48v system works like a clock and is as reliable as a Japanese car. Elux gives it an an MSRP of $2250. This might be high to some of you, but that’s actually on the low site compared to other brands out there that offer the same motor/battery combo. They do offer a decent warranty; 3 Year Frame, 3 Year limited Battery, 1 year Motor. Other brands only offer 2 years on the frame and 12 months on the battery/motor.

Speaking of which, Bafang motors are used by other brands out there. The Samsung battery that Elux equips their bikes with are also a staple brand for the ebike business. That should help put you at ease since these batteries shouldn’t catch on fire like other cheaper Chinese batteries out there. All the other parts on this bike are you standard bicycle parts that you could buy at your local shop. In fact, you’ll maintain this bike just like any other bike, the battery and motor are pretty much trouble free.

Just to keep things clear, we didn’t receive any compensation from ELux Electric Bicycles for this review.

FTC Disclaimer