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My Bike-Train commute in the dark

Hello Bike Commuters, I hope you enjoyed my NiteRider Lumina Micro 600 review from last week. This week’s post is sort of a prequel to last week’s post, I want to share my experience of riding my commuter bike to the train station in the dark.

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I’ve always been hesitant to ride my bicycle on the streets during darkness and I guess I am not alone because I did not see many bike commuters during my ride. As with most of my bike commutes, I always tend to plan methodically my rides and my equipment. Did I over do it? Maybe a little, but you can’t tell me that I wasn’t visible.

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I got a few questions regarding the green light that I installed at the bottom of my bike; this is a Brightz, Ltd. Go Brightz LED Bicycle Light that I purchased from Amazon for $12.99.

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Another question I got was what the hell is that on the downtube? That is the Folding Abus Bordo Folding Lock Granit X 6500 which came in handy because I had to lock up my bike to a post while I retrieved my car from an indoor parking lot (I have a roof rack).

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Enough of product placement, how was the ride? My apprehension of riding through the streets turned into excitement; cars actually moved over to their left because they actually saw me coming on their rear view mirrors! The NiteRider Lumina 600 Micro Light was plenty enough to light my way through the streets and never worried about outrunning it.

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Riding the San Diego Creek is also part of my commute, fortunately Irvine happens to be a very safe city and the bike trail was fully lit. I still recommend using a decent light while riding on the trail, the rider on the left was barely visible in dark areas.

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My last concern was the train station, I’ve seen plenty of movies where shit goes crazy at dark, creepy stations. My concern was unfounded; the Tustin Train station is fully lit and I felt safe.

I truly enjoyed bike commuting while is dark and I plan to continue doing it… until it rains.

Three of the best cycling routes in Tenerife

It may well be a much-loved destination among beach lovers and sun seekers, but Tenerife is also perfect for pedal-power enthusiasts wanting a thigh-burning getaway. Along with its bike-friendly cities, you can also enjoy pleasant temperatures, varying degrees of difficulty, and some stunning landscapes as you pedal your way around this volcanic island.

BikeCommuters.com has previously looked at how Tenerife’s rugged terrain is well suited to mountain biking. But this time around we are going to concentrate on its superb road network, which has played host to the training camps of several pro cycling teams.
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​​Image by GanMed64, used under Creative Commons license CC BY 2.0

La Orotava Valley

  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Distance – 25 miles

A gentle introduction to Tenerife, this route goes through the island’s fertile farming area and includes an overall altitude climb of just under 2,000 feet. You should start at Palo Blanco before heading on the TF-326, which will take you to the village of Benijos. Keep going until El Camino de Chasna and then turn left onto the TF-21, which descends down into La Orotava.

Granadilla-Arafo

  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Distance – 87 miles

Winding its way along the southeast area of Mount Teide, this route contains plenty of turns and is relatively flat but reaches a height of just over 1,640 feet. From Granadilla de Abona, take the TF-28 through the quaint little villages of Chimiche, Arico, and Fasnia. Just after you pass through Guimar, branch left onto the TF-525 towards Arafano and you’ll soon be back where you started.

The Ascent of Teide

  • Difficulty – Hard
  • Distance – 47 miles

Cycling up Mount Teide isn’t easy, but this is perhaps the most obvious route to climb the 8,000 feet to the island’s highest point. You can take the TF-21 from Puerto de La Cruz straight to the base of the mountain. Along the way, you will bare witness to some stunning sights including pine forests and Teide’s famous lunar-like landscapes. If you need a break, visit the village of Aguamansa before continuing to El Portillo.

 

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​Image by S. Rae, used under Creative Commons license CC BY 2.0

Advice for cycling in Tenerife

With its consistently mild climate, you are virtually guaranteed good weather all-year round in Tenerife. But soaring temperatures at the height of summer combined with increased traffic on the twisty mountain roads will test even the most accomplished and adept cyclist to set foot on the island.

While the roads of Tenerife cater for all abilities, some prior experience is recommended if you want to ride the mountains. Don’t forget that the weather in the mountains can change quickly too, so remember to take the following:

  • 1 thermal winter jacket
  • 1 rain cape
  • Arm warmers
  • Leg warmers
  • Long fingered gloves
  • Overshoes

There is no reason why you can’t explore Tenerife on your own or with a group of friends, but if you want a little more reassurance, there are plenty of tour operators that can provide everything from bike hire to guided tours and even seminars on how to cycle like a pro.

NiteRider Lumina Micro 600 review

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Bicycle lights have come a long way, they are smaller, more powerful and less expensive. I own a NiteRider FireStorm HID light which weighs about 800 grams, produces about 400 lumens and used to sell for over $300.

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We now have plenty of choices for lights that produce over 400 lumens for less than $100. I selected the NiteRider Lumina Micro 600 because I think that 600 lumens would be enough for riding on the streets and off-road. I also chose the Lumina Micro 600 for its price point; $64.99 is affordable for a 600 lumen light.

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I’ve been taking the NiteRide Lumina Micro 600 on all of my rides; from commuting, road riding and mountain biking. Yes, I even use the Lumina Micro 600 on my morning road rides to the beach.

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Here are the Lumina Micro 600’s features:

  • 4 Light Levels plus 1 Daylight Flash Mode
  • FL1 Standard IP64, water resistant
  • Affordable, high output light
  • Ultra lightweight 600 lumen head light, weighing in at only 130g including mount
  • Easy on and off handlebar strap mount with quick release tab
  • Fits standard and oversize 35mm handlebars
  • Small compact design that’s perfect for helmet mounting (Helmet Mount Sold Separately)
  • Convenient USB rechargeable
  • Low battery indicator
  • Lock Mode, perfect for use during storage and transporting the light. Press and hold
    power button for 7 seconds to lock out operation of light.

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My favorite feature of the light is how versatile it is, the flashing mode is bright enough to be seen during daylight, the high output mode is perfect for riding off-road and dark commutes. The 300 Lumen mode is great for riding on busy lit trails so you won’t blind incoming cyclists/walkers and it also doubles the run time.

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The light beam is round with a slight bluish tint, this limits the amount of “glare” you get during those foggy nights. The Lumina Micro 600 is very compact, light and the mounting strap fits nicely on all of my oversized handlebars. There was no flickering while riding on bumpy terrain and I never ran out of juice even running at full blast for over an hour and twenty minutes. Charging took about 2 hours using my USB charger so I had plenty of time to recharge the light during work hours.

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I don’t have anything negative to report about this light, I really love it and it pairs perfectly with the NiteRider Sentinel. For more information about the NiteRider Lumina Micro 600 or to purchase this light, check out NiteRider’s website at https://www.niterider.com/

Here is a video of me riding with the light:

Holiday Gift Guide Part Two

I hope you enjoyed part one, here is part two of our Holiday Gift guide:

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Lights: The NiteRider Lumina 600 and the Sentinel rear light are an excellent combo. The Lumina’s 600 Lumens seem to be the right amount of light for bicycle commuting, not too bright and not a light that you can “outrun”. The Sentinel’s lasers are still cool in my book and are very noticeable at night. Another favorite of ours is the Planet Bike’s Superflash.

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Bells/Horns: We did a small comparo of different bells and horns and the Planet Bike Courtesy Bell was my favorite. The sound, the look and the quality won me over. If you mountain bike, the Timber! Bike bell is worth riding with if your trails are full of hikers and walkers, cool thing about this bells is that you can “turn it off” because it does get annoying.

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Safety Accessories: I always ride with my RoadID, this little bracelet contains all of my emergency information in case something happens to me, I really hope not to use it at all but “just in case”. Another product that I found online was Brilliant Reflective Iron on strips. I added the strips to shorts, shirts and socks. The strips work as advertised but make sure that you do not put the clothing in a dryer.

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Odds and Ends: Cat-ears, yes, I love those weird pieces of fur. Are they goofy looking? Yes. Do they work? Oh heck yes. Not only do the Cat-ears diminish the wind noise, they also block the cold air preventing your ears from freezing.

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Non biking stuff: Samuel Smith Organic Chocolate Stout beer. Yes, I know you caught me drinking Bud Light but Chocolate Stouts are our beer of choice and Young’s chocolate stout is also a very good one. Not into stouts? How about some Tequila? Don Julio 1942 is my choice of poison.

So now you need to go and buy all this stuff, but where? Support your Local Bike Shop! I have four around me but The Cyclery Bike shop in La Mirada is my LBS of choice. If you are in the Portland Area, River City Bicycles Outlet is the place to go.

Oh and before I forget, we will be launching our own line of bicycles under the Awnry Bikes name, stay tuned!

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!