Did you miss me? I can tell you did by the huge amount of email that I received last week. I just didn’t know that a lot my fan base was composed of Russian women, MILFS and ladies from f*ckbook.

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Today’s post is all about a very important accessory if you happen to share the riding trails with walkers, runners or hikers; it is the venerable bicycle bell. (Queue Queen’s bicycle race song). Featured in today’s post is Planet Bike’s Courtesy Bell, Timber!’s Mountain Bike bell, a cheap bell and the ORP smart horn.

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Let’s begin with Planet Bike ‘s Courtesy bell. I purchased this bell for about $16 and I really like the way it looks in the brass color, just look at it! It is so shiny! The bell also has a very distinctive sound and according to my very unscientific test, the bell’s sound is about 82.2 dB.

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Next is your typical cheap bell; the one you can get from eBay for about $2.99 or as a gift from your LBS when you purchase a bike. This little bell is not elegant, it is cheap looking but it is loud enough at 80.6 dB.

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The Timber! Mountain bike bell sparked my interest because it is unusual, just look at it… it doesn’t even look like a bell. It also does not work like a regular bell. The sound of this bell is triggered by the bike’s continuous movement, great while going down a bumpy trail without the need to use your finger to trigger it. The sound is also not as loud as the other bells at about 72.3 dB but it does the job. Another cool feature of this bell is that you can “silence” it with the use of a lever because the constant ringing will get annoying. The price of this little bell is $20 bucks, not cheap but I like it.

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And lastly, I purchased this horn for $49.99 and I have mixed feelings about it. I like the fact that it doubles as a front blinkie light, it is rechargeable and it looks sort of cool. But the issue with the ORP is its sound; people are not familiar with it and they won’t get out of the way. People think that is a ringtone coming from my phone or some sort of video game. Everyone knows the sound of a bell but not some sort of alien sound. It is also pricey, $50 bucks was a little painful to pay for what ended up being an average blinkie. If you look at the sound charts, the ORP was indeed the loudest but not close to the 96 claimed decibels.

Here is a short video of the sounds:

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A little note about my unscientific test: The Sound Meter app was used to measure all 4 items, the mic was held at about 10 inches away from each bell/horn at an ambient noise level of 52.5d dB.

Hello Bike Commuters and welcome back to your weekly dose of The Bike Geek. As y’all know, here at BikeCommuters.com headquarters we love cyclocross bicycles. We have deemed them as our ultimate commuter bikes because not only can you ride them on pavement but you can also take them off-road.

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You may also have heard of “Gravel Grinder Bikes”, they look a lot like cyclocross bikes, but the geometry of the gravel bikes is different. Although not technically a “gravel bike”, I can certainly ride my Spicer Cycles Cx on gravel roads so Showers Pass sent us their Men’s Gravel shorts to feature on this site.

I took the Spicer Cycles Cx on its first dirt ride so this was a good chance for me to try out the Showers Pass Gravel shorts. I received a large size which fit snug for my new-to-me 34″ waist. I also noticed that the shorts were shorter and not as baggy as your typical mountain biking shorts.

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The material felt soft, stretchy and durable. The adjustable waist cinch allows for the belt to stay home

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The two side pockets feature a velcro enclosure which would not let your wallet and keys fly off.

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Another “cool” feature is the zippered thigh vents and four reflective accents.

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I really like these shorts, the fit is great, the material is great, the features are great BUT… yes, there is a BUT; the shorts do not come with a liner with a chamois like most mountain bike shorts do. Not a big deal for me since I have plenty of chamois liners, but if you don’t own a liner make sure you order one, your balls and ass will thank you.

This is a public service announcement for all Irvine/Tustin California drivers.

I know that it has probably been years since you got your driver’s license but let us turn to page 39 of the California Driver Handbook. Now let us focus on the “Bicycle Lane section”:

A bicycle lane is a designated traffic lane for bicyclists, marked by a solid white line, typically breaking into a dotted line ending before it reaches the corner. Different from a simple white line showing the edge of the road, a bicycle lane follows specific width requirements and is clearly marked as a bike lane.

Treat a bicycle lane the same as other traffic lanes.
Do not turn into the lane if there is a bicyclist in the bike lane.
Do not obstruct bicycle traffic by reducing the width required for safe bicycle passage, typically 3 to 4 feet.

When you are making a right turn within 200 feet of the corner or other driveway entrance, you must enter the bicycle lane only after ensuring there is no bicycle traffic, and then make the turn. Do not drive in the bicycle lane at any other time.

Not one, but three times were drivers driving on the bike lane while I was in it!

Irvine/Tustin drivers, I know you are probably in a hurry to get somewhere, but let’s look at a video that I took from my last commute:

Notice the wrong way and the correct way of merging into a bike lane and making a right turn, there is no need to buzz by me and merge into the bike lane when you have over 200 feet to go.

Thank you.

Welcome back to The Bike Geek’s weekly post, I hope all you dads had a great father’s day. Although my father’s day weekend did not involve any cycling, I ended up doing some work on the Spicer Cycles Cyclocross bike.

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The work involved swapping a handlebar, installing new brake cables and housing, new Avid Shorty 4 brakes and new bar tape. Now, I really like my LBS but when they charge about $10 to install new bar tape and about $40 to install the brakes, I rather do it myself.

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Most of the work you can do it yourself with basic “household” tools but investing in a couple of bicycle specific tools is totally worth it. One of these tools is the Park Tools CN-10C Cable cutter, at about $34 is not cheap but this tool gets a lot of use.

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Another must have tool is a decent floor pump with a gauge, riding a bike at 50% PSI is not only prone to flats but is also inefficient. My choice of pump is a Planet Bike ALX floor pump, I’ve had this pump for over 5 years with zero problems.

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I won’t bore you with DIY videos, simply search YouTube for any type of repair and you will find quite a bit of information. Besides saving yourself money for beer or coffee, another benefit of working on your bike is that you get to know your bike quite well and you will be ready for any emergency road repair.

So now that I can actually stop (the brakes were horribly stuck on the Spicer CX), it is time to take the train again and take the CX on the dirt trails too!

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….