lanina

Greetings fellow bike commuters, I hope you are enjoying what is left of summer and getting ready for those cold, rainy and snowy commutes. I know I’m not. I live in Southern California for crying out loud, it was 98 degrees three days ago! Meteorologists are predicting a dry and hot winter due to “La niña” so all I have to worry is about riding in the dark.

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But regardless of the weather, I still want a “winter bike”. But what about the Spicer Cycles CX that I rave about? Well, that bike is too nice as my “winter bike” so I am searching my favorite bicycle market place (Craigslist) for that perfect and inexpensive bike. My list of “needs” is short: must be under $200 and it must be in excellent condition. My list of wants is also short: singlespeed/fixed gear or 7 speed folding bike.

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If you are familiar with Craigslist, you know that there are sellers that are full of shit but you can also find some gems buried deep in there. In fact, if you follow us on Facebook, you have noticed that we started a WTF Craigslist post of the week on Thursdays. The biggest challenge will be to find a decent fixed gear bike or folding bike, Craigslist is littered with crappy fixies and folding bikes are hard to find for cheap.

Keep following us on Facebook and Instagram for quick updates of my search.

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.

Aren’t you glad is Monday? Me neither but I hope that our weekly Monday post will bring some cheerfulness to your day and in case it doesn’t, drink more coffee, I do.

One of the things that I avoid as a bicycle commuter is cars, riding in the rain and riding when is dark. Rain is not much of an issue in Southern California but darkness is unavoidable. Why don’t I like riding in the dark? Well, because the most popular response by a driver when they hit a cyclist is “I didn’t see him”.

This time is going to be different, I am going to venture doing my train-bike ride when is dark but I will be preparing myself to see and to be seen by doing the following:

Light up!
Can’t tell you how many riders I see on the streets without any sort of front or rear lights. Front and rear lights vary in pricing and in my case I rather spend a little more for lights that I know will allow me to see and be seen.

My choice for a rear light is going to be the NiteRider Sentinel rear light that we reviewed early this year.

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For my front light, I will be riding with the NiteRider Lumina Micro 600 that we just received to review.

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I will also ride with “side blinkies” on my wheels. These reflectors are motion sensitive and light up as I’m riding. Unfortunately these are no longer available but there are a lot of choices out there such as the Monkey Light Bike lights by Monkeylectric and other inexpensive spoke lights.

Reflect!

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Although my Showers Pass Gravel shorts come with reflective accents, some of my “commuter” jerseys do not. A company called Brilliant Reflective happened to follow us in Instagram so I went ahead and checked out their products. They sell Iron-on and stick-on reflective strips so I went ahead and ordered their iron-on strips pack. More on that later.

Am I being a little paranoid? Probably, but I certainly do not want to give any driver the excuse that he could not see me.

Welcome to Monday! This means it is time for our weekly post! This post is dedicated to giving love back to our trusty steed(s), yes, they need love too after we have ridden them hard during the week or weekend.

Now, some of us do not have the luxury of a backyard, heck, there are some of us that we don’t even have access to a freaking hose! Yeah, Condo life sucks sometimes. So what do I do to clean my bikes? Well, first of all, I usually don’t clean my bikes often because “Condo Life” but this weekend I dedicated some time to clean my Mountain bike, Road Bike and my CX/Commuter bike.

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These are the three products I use: Simple Green degreaser, FastWax Wash Wax and water. Yeah, no fancy bicycle specific cleaners.

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My daughter had ordered a CoreGear USA 1.5 liter Mister to cool off during the summer but it never left her room. So I figured I could use it to wash my bikes and boy did it work like a charm! The mister is pretty cool, it has a variable nozzle that allows you to change the flow of the water from a wide mist to a stronger stream that will get rid of that nasty road grime or dirt.

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For that nasty tough-to-get-rid-off grime or grease; the Simple Green All-purpose cleaner is hard to beat. I use it to clean the cogs, derailleurs, the chain and anywhere else that needs a good cleaning. I usually spray the components, let it set in for a couple of minutes and then simply rinse.

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I usually use a microfiber towel to dry the bike and then I use FastWax wash wax to give the bikes that new showroom shine. My story about the FastWax is that I bought a couple of bottles at a gas station after a couple of pretty girls did a demo of how well it cleaned some areas of my car. I tried it on the bikes and I noticed that it really did a good job at making the bikes shiny. I’ve used bicycle specific silicone sprays but I think this product does a better job.

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So now that my bikes are all clean, this is a great opportunity to add some protection to the frames. I invested on 3M 8mil protective adhesive film and applied it to every place where cable housing or cables touched the frames.

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I really can’t stand the sight of cable rub on the frame and this tape is practically invisible and it does a great job at protecting them.

The last step is to re-lube the chain, derailleurs and other moving parts such as suspension pivots. I usually use Tri-flow bike lubricant but I can’t find my bottle so a trip to the LBS is in order.

Happy Monday Tuesday Bike Commuters! I tried finishing this post yesterday but I had a crazy Monday so here is your Monday post on a Tuesday.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my purchasing experience of a Bike Friday Family Tandem. Today’s post is about my first impression of how it rides (something that a few of you have asked), how it collapses and the overall experience of riding a tandem bicycle.

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So far the wife and I have ridden the tandem 3 times for a total of 34 miles. Yeah, that is chump change for most of us but remember that my significant other does not know how to ride a bike and this is a totally new experience for her. What is the first thing we all complain when we started riding or when we start riding again from not having ridden in a bit? Your ass gets sore. My wife’s main complaint was her rear end being sore and after 3 saddles and multiple adjustments, we found a sweet spot for her butt.

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Twenty inch folding bikes tend to be a little twitchy when you ride them due to their short wheelbase, riding a 20″ inch tandem is no different; any little input from either myself or my wife will make the bike a little unstable. I just have to make sure that I am in constant communication with my wife to avoid any sudden movements when we are about to turn or when we are riding downhill fast.

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I was a little concerned about the bike’s frame’s flex, yes, there is some due to the couplers but nothing too extreme, in fact, the frame’s flex makes the ride really comfortable. So how fast is it? Not fast, but I have to keep telling myself that I’m not in any type of competition and it is all about enjoying the ride with my wife. How well does it climb? Surprisingly good. The gearing allowed us to tackle a short 5% ascent with ease.

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One biggest reason why I bought this particular bike was because it can be “collapsed” into something that can easily be transported in my 4 door sedan. I must admit that this part kind of sucks since it takes about 10-15 minutes to assemble/dis-assemble the bike but paying the extra grand for the folding feature was not in my budget. Other than that, the bike fits in perfectly inside my car with the seats folded down since I don’t take the bike fully apart.

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Here is my favorite part of owning and riding the Bike Friday Family Tandem: I spend quality time doing something I love with someone I love. I does not matter if I’m not beating my Strava speed records or if I am not riding 50 milers, it is the fact that I get to ride to some of my favorite breakfast spots with my wife.