BikeCommuters.com

Reviews

First Impressions: Zoic

It sure is nice to see more and more companies catering to the commuter women. Some time back Zoic sent me a little ensemble from their Streetside collection to test out on the roads. I had to wait for it to warm up a bit around here, but sunny days are back and so are my skirts! Yea! I was really blown away when I heard about this company. I love the whole earth friendly clothing line they have here. Zoic has been known for their mountain biking clothing lines, but now make clothing for the ladies that commute or just love to ride their bikes everywhere!

First is the Zoic Namaste Hoody:

I cannot express enough how GOooodd this feels on the skin. Immediately I was impressed with the feel and loose fit of this hoody. Very comfy. I have received lots of compliments on this hoody. And my favorite part about this hoody is the materials it’s made from. 62% poly, 12% spandex and 26% Bamboo charcoal. How cool is that? Bamboo!!!

I also received the Zoic Streetside Damsel Skirt:

I love how feminine and fun this skirt is. Also very practical with the removable short liner. The material is a nylon/spandex combo.

I am testing out the Cuello Tee also.

This is a really functional tee that pairs well with the damsel skirt and hoody. Perfect for a casual ride and trip to the store.

And last but not least, some sweet socks:
The womens Dazzle Socks!

These are super cute and let me just say one thing: arch support. It’s a beautiful thing!

I love how nice everything coordinated together and am looking forward to getting some wear out of these items! I’ll have my full review up in a couple of weeks. In the meantime check out some of their other adorable pieces at Zoic.com.

Biria “Easy Boarding Top 3” — Guest Review

Here’s a design straight out of Europe…Biria’s “Easy Boarding Top 3” city bike. With its innovative step-through frame and comfort features, the bike is ideal for around-town errands, neighborhood cruising and light commuting.

Biria Easy Boarder 3

Here are the manufacturer’s specs:

Frame – Aluminum 7005 – 40 cm (15.5″) and 46 cm (18″)
Fork – Hi-Ten unicrown
Rims – Aluminum
Tires – 26×1.75
Gear – 3-speed Shimano Nexus internal gear with coaster brake
Stem – Adjustable Aluminum
Handlebar – City cruiser
Brake – Rear coaster foot brake and front alloy v-brake
Weight – 31 lbs.
Colors – Red, pearl white, Satin Blue, Aqua Blue, brushed aluminum, black
Standard – Chain guard, kick-stand
Option – Rack, fenders

Biria’s wild stepthrough frame configuration — no leg-swinging required. Just step across and GO!

step on through!

I’ve only ridden this bike around the block a couple times…it was a Valentine’s Day gift to my wife. She’s the one who spends a lot of time on it, so we figured, “what better way to get a review of it than let her use her own words?” So, here goes:

This past Valentine’s Day, I was presented with a lovely Biria “Easy Boarder” bicycle by my most thoughtful husband. I wanted a utilitarian commuter bike that would serve as an errand-runner as well, but would also cater to my girlie need to wear a skirt if I damn well wanted to. The Biria delivers, baby!

This is not a bike designed for the “extreme�? sport enthusiast. It weighs approximately 622 pounds and does not at all make you look like an ass kicker. It does not inspire you to perform “sweet jumps�?. But it rates high on the Eurochic meter, with a very styling leather seat and matching handlebar grips. It is, indeed, easy to board with its cutaway frame, and the covered drivetrain makes grease stains on the hemline unheard of.

Three speeds are all I need on the relatively flat terrain of the Tampa urban jungle, and there’s plenty of room on the handlebars for pimping your sweet ride with a Basil basket. That basket comes in especially handy on account of the frame is too chunky to affix a bottle cage. Not a problem for me, as I’m sort of gawky (in the most charming and feminine way possible, of course) and fear colliding into whatever may be handy as I struggle to pull my squeezie bottle free. I’ve also got some flashy panniers on the backend, ‘cause I’m a girl what likes to accessorize.

The only source of irritation is the coaster braking system. For those who are in the habit of backpedaling whilst you coast, you could be in for a nasty surprise as you come to a screeching halt. It does, however, have a front brake that is of the more conventional handlebar variety, which I favor in order to avoid horrible 7th grade flashbacks.

All in all, I am thrilled that Jack beat the crap out of that 70-year-old couple that were eyeing my fine German-designed machine and snagged it for me first. I ride it to work every other weekend and get to feel invigorated while I’m looking all snazzy. Now if I could only master cycling no-handed so I could randomly flash the “jazz hands�? to passing motorists, I’d be the coolest girl ever!

Euro-chic, indeed…stylish and functional for those who aren’t in a hurry to get anywhere fast and who appreciate some comfort along the way.

trailer

Planet Bike Superflash “Stealth”

By now, most of you are familiar with the highly-acclaimed Superflash rear blinkie made by the great folks at Planet Bike. This blinkie is widely regarded as the best AAA-powered rear bike light on the market, hands-down.

There’s a new flavor being offered, though, for those folks out there who object to white bicycle components or who want something a little more on the D.L….the Superflash “Stealth”:

stealth

Same great light, with a 1/2 watt Blaze red LED and two smaller eXtreme red LEDs. The rubber gasket sealing the two halves of the light has been improved, too, after some rider feedback suggested that the original gasket allowed water into the case. The Superflash has a unique light pattern, and it is truly DAZZLING. Moe did a rear light comparison back in December, and his article included a video that demonstrates just how powerful this little light is. Check it out here.

superflash stealth

This light is going to look fabulous on my super-stealth weekend commuter…a flat olive-green and black Trek 460!

One thing I should mention about Planet Bike…besides their support for bicycling (donating 25% of their profits to bike advocacy), they are really nice people who care about their customers. I ordered some replacement seatpost and rack brackets so that I could fit my old and new Superflashes on my fleet of bicycles, and when I placed my order the rear rack brackets were out of stock. Not a problem…I’m patient. A day later, Chris Follmer, ordering and customer service guru for Planet Bike, sent me an email stating that he found a spare bracket floating around their warehouse, and he just threw it into my package free of charge. Last time I ordered something from them, they tossed in some free stickers, too. Awesome!

Check out Planet Bike’s complete line of products…from powerful headlights to amazing blinkies to fenders, racks and just about everything else a commuter could need!

Wool Wednesday: Basic Black with SWOBO pt. 1

This Wool Wednesday is a real treat, not only are we reviewing a killer product but Stevil from Howtoavoidthebummerlife answers some questions about Swobo and wool! First, the review!

SWOBO Men’s Short Sleeve Merino Jersey

The Look
When this jersey came in, I was all oohs and ahhs. The black version of the jersey is a no nonsense sharp looking jersey. It’s classy and low-key with subtle contrast stitching to create the lines of the jersey. Restraint seems to be the guiding principal here. No giant Reese’s Pieces on this baby.

The left sleeve has SWOBO embroidered on it and that’s it. This jersey has nothing to prove but gives you a little wink to let you know you’re wearing some quality threads.

The Wool

The feel of the wool is soft right out of the bag. No breaking in or washing in necessary. I’ve owned some older wool jerseys and some early jerseys from Portland Cyclewear that really took a wash or two to get the wool soft. Not so here. The hand is smooth and plush without being overly thick.

The weight of the wool makes it pretty flexible. I did a few long rides in the jersey in temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to the upper 70-s and it performed well. Again, it really depends on your riding style. You could probably wear it lower if you hammer and keep your body-heat up. The nice thing about wool is that even if you’re sweating in it, it will keep you warm. You could also wear it into the 80’s and 90s if you have the zipper down and aren’t completely hammering.

The Fit

For me, I ordered a size larger so the fit is a little looser. I’m not a racer. I’m a commuter and a bike tourist. This really makes it flexible. The extra room lets me wear a featherweight or midweight wool baselayer underneath and coupled with some arm warmers and gloves, I’m good to go into the 40s without the bulk of a jacket.

Does this make a great commuter jersey? Heck yeah. Its flexibility with temperature, coupled with the fact it won’t stank when you get to the office is a great mix. Plus, it doesn’t look like Photoshop vomit. You can ride in the street without feeling like a big sweaty billboard.

Am I going to bring it on my next bike tour? You better believe it. You can wear wool for several days without washing and it won’t be odoriferous like your plastic tuxedo jersey. Plus, it’s black, and it won’t stain as easily 🙂 The jersey also has pockets on the back to carry your phone or snickers for the long ride home.

Pros and Cons

Pros:
-All around great jersey for racing, commuting and touring…can’t go wrong with basic black
-Stank protection…nuff said
-Soft out of the bag…no breaking-in needed
-Performs great in a wide temperature range
-Nice, understated styling you Philistines…

Cons:
-Wool ain’t cheap…price may be a bit of a barrier, but this could be mitigated by the fact you don’t have to buy as many jerseys since you can wear it over and over

Get yours here.