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BikeCommuters.com 2016 Holiday gift guide part 1

It seems like everyone is so excited about Christmas that stores were already flooded with trees, ornament and sales…. lots of Christmas Sales… Whatever happened to Thanksgiving? Oh, yeah, it is now called “Black Friday Eve”.

We have decided to bring back our holiday gift guide this year to help you write your yearly list to Santa Claus. Here is part one:

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Jerseys: We actually liked jerseys that were not commuter specific such as Tek Gear’s DryTek jerseys which could be found at department stores for less than $12. If you are looking for a bike commuter specific jersey, we liked CHCB wool jerseys which sell for about $30 at Performance Bike or Amazon.

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Shorts: My new favorite shorts are the Showers Pass Gravel shorts; not too baggy, not too tight, cool reflective accents. We also liked the Serfas Decline shorts and if you must use roadie shorts; we recommend Sugoi Men’s Evolution Shorts

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Shoes: It is no secret that DZR shoes have been our favorite bicycle commuting shoes. We got to review the DZR Minna shoes this year and they did not disappoint. Before the DZR shoes arrived, I was wearing Pearl Izumi Men’s X-ALP Seek VI BL Cycling Shoes. The X-alp are stiffer but they didn’t quite fit with my office attire.

Jackets/Vests: I usually ride with vests and arm warmers on cool days; the Solo Equipe Cycling Gilet vest is my choice of vest. The material is thick and it has plenty of reflective material for those night rides. I don’t really ride in the rain, but I have heard good things about the Showers Pass Hi-Vis Torch Jacket, this thing has lights!

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Gadgets: You know I love my gadgets and the Garmin vívoactive watch tops my list. The watch is a pedometer, cyclocomputer and a smart watch which met all of my cycling needs and more. I you don’t want to spend over $100, we recommend the Moov Now 3D.

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If you are one of those riders who like your smartphone in front of you and on your handlebars, we really liked the Quad Lock mounting system. The mount is very versatile and secure, your phone will not go out flying unless you eat it hard.

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Panniers/Backpacks: I like riding with panniers because backpacks will make my back sweat. But there are times that you need to ride with a backpack, like the time I was riding offroad on my Spicer Cycles Cyclocross bike. Our friends at 2 wheel gear came out with a brilliant product: the Pannier Backpack convertible. This pannier converts into a backpack in seconds and vice-versa, perfect for train-bike commuting. 2 Wheel Gear also sells the garment pannier which is big enough to carry your suit and ties without having the need to iron your stuff when you get to work. An honorable mention goes to the North St. Morrison Backpack pannier, we have not tried this bag but it is proudly made in the USA.

We will be posting part 2 on Wednesday (Black Friday Eve’s eve), stay tuned for part 2!

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.

Showers Pass Gravel Shorts Review

Hello Bike Commuters!!! This week we have the full review of the Showers Pass Gravel shorts that I featured a couple of months ago. These shorts have pretty much become my “go-to” shorts for mountain biking, bike commuting, train riding, tandem riding, cyclocross riding, hiking and drinking beer.

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Disclaimer: Showers Pass sent us the shorts free of charge so we can give you an honest and unbiased review. You can also read our FTC Disclaimer here.

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I’d mentioned that these shorts did not come with a chamois liner, turns out that this was actually a good thing because I was able use the shorts for other activities besides cycling. Cool thing about these shorts is that then don’t really look like your typical baggy mountain biking shorts and they are not as tight as lycra so they look cool on and off the bike.

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The shorts are made of breathable stretch fabric with additional cooling vents at the thighs which came in handy on hot days. Another favorite feature of mine are the pockets which are secured with velcro, I don’t have to worry about my cellphone or keys flying out when I am riding.

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Do I have any complaints about these shorts? None whatsoever, I highly recommend them.

Garmin Vivoactive review

Hello Bike commuters, roadies, mountain bikers and anyone who found this post via Google. I hope you all had a great labor day weekend, I know I did.

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A little while ago I wrote a post about fitness bands but even though I found the Moov to be the most adequate for cycling, it was not fulfilling all of my cycling and hiking needs. A few friends recommended the Garmin Vivofit Active so I bit the bullet and I plunked $179 for one.

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So what made me spend more than twice than what a fitness bands costs? The Garmin Vivoactive’s features:

-Utra-thin GPS smartwatch with a sunlight-readable, high-resolution color touchscreen.
-Built-in sports apps, including GPS-enabled running, biking and golfing plus swimming and activity tracking¹, let you view your stats even when away from your phone.
-Pairs with your smartphone to gently vibrate and display alerts for incoming calls, texts, emails and calendar items plus notifications from social media and other mobile apps.
-Customizable with free watch face designs, widgets and apps.
-Fast Battery charge lasts through all your activities with up to 3 weeks6 in watch/activity tracking mode or up to 10 hours using GPS
-Easily sends all your ride stats to Strava once your activity has been completed saving your smartphone’s battery.
-Keeps track of your indoor activities such as indoor cycling and running

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I also like Garmin’s app; the amount of data that I can have at my fingertips is quite a bit and I love data:

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I also opted for the heart rate monitor and the handlebar mount:
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Is there anything that I did not like about the Garmin Vivoactive? Yes, it is hard to see indoors unless you use the backlight and some of the faces have very small letters that make it impossible to read if you need reading glasses.

Overall, I do recommend the Garmin Vivoactive for cycling and hiking. I know that there is a newer version that eliminates the use of the HR strap but you will have to shell out $70 to $100 more.

The Bike Geek: Abus Bordo Granit X plus 6500

Hello fellow bicycle riders! I know it is late but I had a fun filled weekend hiking and riding my mountain bike that I did not have a chance to ride my Spicer Cycles CX bike until today.

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If you visit our Facebook page, you noticed that I posted a picture of something resembling an X-men belt, it is actually the Abus Bordo Granit X plus 6500 (say that three times fast) lock.

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I had the chance to ride to the post office for a quick errand so I decided to take the lock with me for a first impression. This lock is like nothing I’ve ever seen, it folds tidily into a pouch that features a very versatile strapping system.

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Notice I was able to strap the lock to my Axiom Streamliner DX rear rack which helped counter balance my 2 Wheel Gear pannier backpack convertible. You can also attach it in lieu of a water bottle cage, but I’m a thirsty guy so I need both cages on my CX.

The Abus Bordo Granit X plus 6500 is a little heavy, weighing at about 3.88 lbs but unless you are carrying it in your backpack, the weight is not too noticeable.

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The lock features 5.5mm steel bar made of special hardened steel and Soft-touch coating on the bars and matching silicone lock body cover protects bike’s paint job. Just be careful with the links because they can pinch you.

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As I arrived at my post office, I immediately parked my bicycle with the tire inside the rack. Well, the lock was not long enough to lock the front tire and the frame so I decided to lock my bike to the side of the rack. Mmmm, not too happy about that.

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Since I was only going to go inside the post office for a couple of minutes, I felt OK leaving my bike locked as the pictures show, but no way I would leave my bike locked like that for an extended period of time. Why? I think my wheels are an essential part of my bike and since they feature quick release skewers, they would be easy to steal.

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The lock also comes with a key that has a little blue LED so you can find the hole in the dark, I think that it is a nice little feature.

The Abus Bordo Granit X plus 6500 is sort of like a flexible U-lock, but bulkier, and heavier and the price…. $179.00 which is over twice as much as a Kryptonite lock. I also did not find any guarantee if your bike gets stolen while using this lock, that is a bummer for a lock of this price point.

We will try to break this lock using rudimentary tools, will it hold up? We will see soon….