Category: Security

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….

It has been a little over eight years since we wrote our non-scientific rear light comparo. Planet Bike’s Super Flash rear light was a top favorite and it is still one of my personal favorites.

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We were offered to review the NiteRider Sentinel rear light featuring lasers. Yup, lasers! In top of the lasers, this light also features a 2 Watt LED light producing about 40 lumens. Let me tell you, even without the lasers, this light is freaking bright. Another cool feature is that the Sentinel is a USB rechargeable light-a huge plus in my book.

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I’m guilty of purchasing those inexpensive Chinese laser rear lights and they eat batteries like crazy, not to mention that the quality of the lights was horrible. Lesson learned.

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We used the NiteRider Sentinel during most of our weekly nightly off-road cycling ride. Our local ride offers a variation of horse trails, small streets and big avenues; a rear light is a must for safety reasons. The Sentinel performed with no hiccups even going through some bumpy trails.

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The Sentinel was also tested during our morning rides to the beach on Pacific Coast Highway. Although the lasers were ineffective during daylight, the 2 watt LED was clearly noticeable.

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Pros:
USB rechargeable
Super bright 2 Watt LED light
Freaking Lasers!
Mount can adapt to most seatpost shapes and sizes
NiteRider Quality
Good run time
5 running modes

Cons:
Lasers are invisible during daylight
A little pricey at $50.00

What I would change:
I think that the concept of having virtual laser bike lanes is a good one, however, I don’t really think that we need a laser on the right side since most of us ride close to the curb. It would also be a good idea if the left laser would be 3-feet away from the bike since a few states have a mandatory 3-feet passing law.

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With its super bright 2 Watt LED, convenient mounting strapping system, USB charging and cool lasers; I can definitely see the NiteRider’s Sentinel being one of my favorite tail lights.
Our review disclaimer.

As most of you are well aware, visibility can make a big difference in terms of the well being of cyclists on the road, particularly at night and other low light environments.

Enter ArroWhere ™, a company based out of Canada whose specialty is to produce “quality, high-visibility apparel and accessories that help improve the visibility, safety, and control users have when sharing the road with cars and larger vehicles or trails with bikes and runners.”

What sets them apart from other reflective outerwear and gear is their utilization of super bright 3M reflective material into the shape of an arrow to indicate to drivers in what direction to move to avoid the cyclist. The simplicity of its design contributes to the efficacy of the product, in my opinion.

Bikecommuters has had a good history with ArroWhere™ thanks to Jack “Ghost Rider” Sweeney who spearheaded this relationship back in September 2014 at Interbike.

Following which, ArroWhere ™ was gracious enough to let us review a high visibility cycling jacket

Khyle from ArroWhere ™ recently reached out to us to review another 2 items in their product line. Before I knew it, a fluorescent yellow cycling vest and bag cover were at my doorstep.

In so many words, I was an instant fan. The visibility of the products was intense, to say the least. The construction of both was robust and with high quality materials. They both felt like items that would last for many years of hard use.

The backpack cover (standard size 35L) fit relatively well over my Maxpedition Sitka gear slinger (I think the design of my single sling backpack made the cover a little less of a good fit as you will read later). It folded up to a nice small volume and was easily stowed in the backpack without taking up too much space.

My Maxpedition Sitka GearSlinger

My Maxpedition Sitka GearSlinger

 

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Buttons came popped open at times.

Buttons can pop open at times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cover is held in place with elastic bands attached with snap buttons. The addition of the the upper zipper was well designed, making accessibility of the backpack pockets possible without having to remove the entire cover.

Furthermore, since it was made with waterproof fabric, it served as an additional barrier for waterproofing the bag (although I was unable to test out this feature since here is southern California, we are having a horrible drought).

But it wasn’t just a backpack cover; the versatility of the design made the cover useable on other items as well. In particular, I was able to put it onto my kiddo’s bike seat. It fit securely and did not come loose at all.

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This made riding with the kiddo feel a lot safer. We even took the cover for a trip to Catalina Island where we got around by bike 100% of the time. The cover was very reliable.

After about 4 months of use, I also noticed that it was quite stain proof and was easy to wash off. It looked like new; the visibility was not compromised one bit.

The only cons that I noticed on this cover were that the buttons securing the straps were not that strong, and during my rides they would at times pop open, particularly when I filled up my bag. I thought that a better design would replace the elastic straps with adjustable nylon straps and the snap buttons for standard plastic side release buckles. In this way, I feel that the cover could be used on bags of other sizes and would be even more versatile and secure.

Difficult to access the main side pocket with the cover was attached.

Difficult to access the main side pocket with the cover attached (note: the orientation of the cover is incorrect in this image, however difficult side pocket access still holds true in the correct orientation)

My Maxpedition Sitka GearSlinger (Easy front access)

My Maxpedition Sitka GearSlinger (Easy front access)

It would also be nice to have some molle webbing on the cover to allow for attachments of lights and other accessories, while not covering the visibility of the arrow.

And finally, I thought that an additional zipper allowing side access to the pack would also be advantageous, and a feature that I feel would not compromise the functionality of the product. I say this because a single strap backpack can be easily accessed during riding by rotating the bag from the back to the front, where a side access zipper would allow access to the bag while riding.

The vest was also a treat to use. I personally love vests as they allow for more mobility and allow for better ventilation. Despite it being a vest, it was pretty warm and windproof. It was surprisingly comfortable and was designed with a good fit.

After riding in 70 degree weather, I will say it got a little warm in the vest, at least for me.

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Overall, I would recommend the company and the products. If you like riding with a backpack, the cover is a good deal and makes commuting that much safer by making you significantly more visible. It doesn’t take up that much space when stowed away in your backpack and is very light. Being the shape and size that it is, the cover can also be placed on other things as well such as a rear child bike seat.

Do good and ride well.

About the author: Andrew is a full time physician and enjoys bicycles, both riding on and writing on. He has been commuting since 2000.

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Hey there Bike Lovelies. It’s fall/autumn/friggin’-awesome season for commuting again! Has everyone sufficiently converted an office-mate to stick with bike commuting since the ye ole days of Bike To Work Week back in May? I hope none of you have decided that Spring and Summer are over, and fenders and rain slicks are just not your jam… But even if you are a fair-weather commuter, high five, my friends. High Frickin Five. I’m personally a big fan of the autumn season, as there are some days when you can ride up a big hill and still miraculously arrive at your destination sweat free and rain gear free. Gone are the hot hot days of summer. Bring on the apple cider themed drinks and galoshes.

Yellow Boots #cambridge #street #bikeride #bikes #ground #wet #rain #feet #boots #lowangle #2012 #downpour

photo: courtesy of David Bunting on flickr

So, enough of the rambling. And on to the musing. It’s been awhile since we’ve come up with a Friday Musings posts, but I decided to bring it back, because, well – there’s just no other explanation for why the hell this topic would be on the blog!

It all started with a recent realization that I may be a paranoid bike commuter. What the eff does that mean, you ask? I mean the kind of commuter that thinks that every living, breathing, opposable-thumb having soul is OUT TO GET YOUR RIDE. A group of visiting clients from Honolulu asked me, “So, is Seattle the type of place where people get their bikes stolen? Or no, because so many people ride bikes that no one would steal one?” I responded that I assume everyone ever wants to steal my bike from everywhere. But, honestly, I had no idea! (You can have a better idea, if you want to click on this link for bikewise.org, where people report thefts and crashes and they populate to a google map).

Then, I looked around at all the bikes parked at my office indoors, with keycard access only, at the bike lounge/loading dock area and realized that my bike had a very high lock-to-bike-value ratio compared to some of the other pickins’ in the corral. Take a looksies below…

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One cable lock, with helmet, panniers, and lights all up for the taking!

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Cannondale road bike tied up with a garden hose, lights, bike computer, saddle bag AND helmet – open season!

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Completely UNLOCKED Marin Hybrid. The equivalent of free-ballin. Just letting it all hang out there.

This was a huge leap of faith in my fellow office companions today, as I decided to leave my planet bike blinkie and front lights on the mount, instead of grabbing them and stowing away in a Golom/my precious, LOTR, creepy fashion. Trust in humanity was confirmed, when I returned 11 hours later, and my lights were still there. I’ve got to say, however, that I was still skeptical and kept a backup set of lights in my bag in case someone decided to get frisky.

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Cantaloupe, a clunker bike that’s no good for hills, U-lock on the back tire and frame, cable through the helmet straps and front wheel, and debating if someone might want my blinkie lights.

So, since I forkin’ love lists, I thought I’d write one for you.

5 Signs you may be a PARANOID Bike Commuter:

  1. No Accessories Left Behind
  2. U-Lock + Cable, Even Indoors
  3. You Lock Up for a Coffee Run/Mail Box Drop, Etc.
  4. You Think About Stealing Unlocked Bikes, Always
  5. You Get PTSD When You Think About That One Time  A Homeless Dude Stole Your Seat Post/Wheel/Etc.

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Lucky for me, there’s only been one time an unlocked (non quick release) wheel was stolen from my bike while at the movies. And I don’t act on my evil intentions of stealing unlocked bikes. And my crazy paranoid precautions have kept my bikes within my possession, regardless of how unnecessary they may seem. Any other Bike Commuters readers out there partake in other paranoid lock-up behavior? Or do you have more faith in humanity and the greater bike population? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Hey Bike Commuting Ladies and Gents! As you know, the Bike Commuters staff are not about blasting you with Kickstarter bike-related paraphernalia, since gods know that there are fluffy piles of that out there in internet land… like bunnies in a pillow fight, yo. But once in a while, there comes a Kickstarter campaign that tickles our fancy. So we are throwing out some virtual Kickstarter Love for the SHY-SPY GPS/GSM Tracker for Bicycles.

Stealing bikes is mean, but real.

Short of bringing your bike indoors with you on a leash at all times (“What, you’ve heard of guide dogs for the visually impaired? This is my guide bike, and I’m car impaired, okay?“) there comes a time in every bike commuter’s life when they have to address security. Bike theft is a problem in all cities and neighborhoods, despite the cycle-owner’s best efforts. Cycle gators, in an effort to protect their bike offspring, may go so far as to register in free city-wide systems, implant smart locks, or OnStar the hell out of your ride.

What? Guide Dogs and Bikes… obvious combination.

So what’s so special about the SHY-SPY? Yet another GPS tracker for your bike… you Cycle Cynics may say, as you virtually (or literally) roll your eyes at this post. Well, let me let them tell you (because copying and pasting is way easier than reading comprehension ;):

When it comes to keeping track of our cycling activity, there are a large variety of choices:

  • Inexpensive Cycle computers: to record the distance, speed, total travel time, but no geolocation data.
  • GPS trackers: There are a lot of GPS trackers out there, in form of wearable watches, or mountable on your stem or handlebars. Professional models could have many additional functions such as power meter, heart rate and cadence sensors; And yeah… they cost a fortune. So you have to protect it as well; Mount it when you ride and take it away when you leave the bike unattended.
  • Smartphones: Using our cellphone  along with popular sport tracking apps such as Endomondo, Strava and Sportstracker is another convenient choice; There is a compromise though and it’s the risk of running out of battery on your mobile phone when you need it the most.
  • With SHYSPY however, you always have a tracker with your bike; The  long battery life of 30 hours, lets you track all the activities with no concern of any kind. Using the SHYSPY app you could monitor you activity and/or download it in GPX standard format to be later uploaded manually to major sport tracker platforms such as: EndomondoStrava and Sportstracker, so you could compare your data with other members and socialize your cycling experience.

SHY-SPY GSM is our low cost alternative to GPS tracking.

Get inside my seat tube any day, SHY-SPY!

What Mir.I.Am loves about this idea:

  1. Welcome to 2014, people: Mir just got texting, so a GPS tracker that can text me the location of my bike sounds pretty nifty and high-tech.
  2. The SHY-SPY can mount  inside your seat tube, for incognito theft-tracking action.
  3. I’m not so interested in tracking my cycling “performance” while commuting, by I am interested in making my life more like any episode of Get Smart.

Click here for the full SHY-SPY Kickstarter details, non Cycle Cynics and skeptics. Enjoy your week and keep your ride safe, however you can!