BikeCommuters.com

Accessories

Product feature: Xtracycle’s Magic Carpet

My DiamondBack Xtracycle serves me for 2 purposes; the first one is to do errands and the other one is to ride around with my children. When we saw the Xtracycle’s Magic Carpet at Interbike, I had to take one home. The Magic Carpet is made out of high density, closed-cell foam with a high visibility reflective strip around it.

The Magic Carpet is simple to install, just wrap it over your SnapDeck and you are ready to cruise!

Is it comfortable? Well, I wouldn’t really know since I’m the pilot, so here’s a little video of my 7 yr old briefly describing the Magic Carpet:

The Magic Carpet’s MSRP is $39, for those who carry passengers and don’t have DIY skills like myself, the Magic Carpet is totally worth it.

Mission Product Skincare — First Look

A couple of weeks ago, we were contacted by the community manager for Mission Product. He wanted to know if we might be interested in testing and reviewing their line of athlete-oriented skincare products. Of course we said a resounding “yes” (who DOESN’T love free samples?), and a few days later, the products appeared at my door.

mission

Here’s a bit about the company in their own words:

“When ultra-endurance athlete Charlie Engle came to us to talk about running across the Sahara Desert, it was clear that he was the definition of an athlete on a MISSION.

After 111 consecutive days in the most grueling terrain on the planet his plea was simple: “In my 30 plus years of training and competing, there has never been a skin care product that has met my needs.” Charlie needed products that could keep up with him, and we quickly discovered that he wasn’t alone…

Teaming up with scientists and skincare industry veterans, we’ve established an entirely new category — high-performance, athlete-engineered skincare™. Engineered in MISSION Labs, the entire MISSION Product line is designed, and has been proven, to meet the specific needs of athletes and sports enthusiasts across all sports.

By agreeing to test and review these products, the staff here at Bikecommuters.com has joined the ranks of sports greats such as NBA’s Steve Nash, pro triathlete Hunter Kemper and gold-medal Olympians Mia Hamm and Amanda Beard.

Wait a minute…what do WE have in common with world-class athletes? Well, not that much. But, even if you ride a bicycle solely for transportion and not for fitness, you’re exposing yourself to wind, sun, cold and muscular stress. Do you ever come home from a long day of work feeling tired, chapped and sore? Wouldn’t it be nice to protect your skin, your “saddle area” and your lips from the ravages of the elements?

That’s where Mission products step in. The five items that came in the pack were “Daily Offense SPF 30 Stick” sunscreen for face, ears and anywhere else, “Lip Protector SPF 20” for the lips, “Revive Gel” to moisturize sun- and wind-burned skin, “Anti-Friction Cream” for the saddle area or anywhere else hotspots appear and “Foot Synergy Gel” to soothe tired, aching feet. All of the products are preservative-free and free of PABA and parabens…and are cruelty-free (always a plus in my book). Several of the products are scent-free, too, and those with scent have a mild, pleasant fragrance — you’re NOT going to smell like the perfume counter at Saks Fifth Avenue after applying these products (another plus)!

We’re excited to try these products, and we’ll be posting some first impressions as well as long-term reviews, so stay tuned for that.

more mission

Ostrich Panniers Review

Another video review from Epicurean Cyclist that I thought might fit here too:

PROS:
-Looks darn classy
-Nice heavy material
-Good closures
-Some “overstuffability”

CONS:
-A little too small for longer tours
-Not as quick to remove from the rack, like say with an Ortlieb pannier..but with practice you get pretty fast
-Wish that the lacing was more functional…unlacing would actually expand the bag

Minnehaha Bags — Retro Flavor and Serious Style!

Our friends from Banjo Brothers sent a little tidbit of information our way today. They’re announcing an offshoot company called The Minnehaha Bag Company which will specialize in classic (and classy!) canvas and leather bicycle bags.

These bags evoke many of the styling characteristics of classic bike bag makers such as Carradice, Gilles Berthoud and Ostrich…stout canvas and harness-leather strapping. Mmmm, it’s some good-looking stuff. Details are a bit sparse just now, but the Bikecommuters.com crew will get their dirty little hands on these bags when we meet with the Minnehaha crew at this year’s Interbike. Stay tuned for more details…and in the meantime, feast your eyes on these beauties:

Small Saddlebag:
small bag

Larger Saddlebag:
larger bag

Grocery pannier:
grocery

Traditional pannier:
pannier

Shoulder bag? (not sure what this one is…but that’s my guess; perhaps the folks from Minnehaha will chime in with some additional details):
shoulder

Also, keep your eyes on the Minnehaha Bag Company website for additional details and more photos of these gorgeous bags.

Featured Product: Monkeylectric LED Wheel Light

From time to time, we get some cool and fun products to ride with and feature on the site. The Monkeylectric M132 is such product.

Here are the product’s features:

· Unique and powerful graphics synthesizer system:
generates thousands of constantly changing patterns and colors
instantly customizable colors, patterns and activity to fit any situation
· 32 Full color, wide angle, ultra-bright LEDs provide nearly 360-degree visibility
· 8 mounting options fit nearly any Road, Mountain or BMX bike wheel
· Ruggedized construction designed for daily use and frequent wet weather
· Vibration-proof 3-point mounting system
· High strength fiber composite construction withstands rough riding
· Hook & loop battery strap keeps batteries secure and easy to replace
· Lead-free, RoHS compliant environment-friendly construction
· Only 65 grams without batteries
· Clear hardcoat over all LEDs keep the lights fully waterproof for the deepest puddles
· Lasts up to 30 hours on 3 x AA batteries, rechargeables provide best performance

I installed the Monkeylectric LED on my DB Transporter-Xtracycle, I figured that the bike is an excellent candidate since I like to cruise with it in the dark.

The LED is fairly easy to use, simple push the power button, select a color, pattern and speed and you are ready to go. One of the things that I really like about the LED is that is really bright and it really attracts attention. As I rode through my neighborhood during 4th of July, I got a lot of cheers from the people that were enjoying the 4th of July festivities outside in their driveway.

The only drawback of this light is that it may make your wheels imbalanced, since I don’t ride very fast on my Xtracycle, I don’t really notice, but here’s what Monkeylectric says about how to handle such imbalance:

Our more casual test riders can’t tell the difference when riding. As with any product you attach to your bike wheel or bike – it can affect the handling especially at high speeds. We recommend that you familiarize yourself with the handling of your bike after installing the m132s.

Any imbalance is more noticeable on high-performance lightweight wheels, and at faster riding speeds. If this is important to you there are a couple things you can do: (1) mount the m132s closer to the hub of the wheel – this will dramatically reduce any imbalance, (2) remove the batteries when you are not using it. the bare unit is only 65g, the batteries usually add another 100g. (3) mount a second m132s, or similar weight, on the opposite side of the wheel.

Here’s a short video of the Monkeylectric in action (Sorry about the fuzziness, my camera is not really equipped to shoot in the dark):

At $64.95 it may not be cheap, but Monkeylectric seems to be sold out due to high demand. I think that if your commute is a short one or a slow one and if you ride at night, you could benefit from the Monkeylectric M132’s brightness making you more visible at night.