BikeCommuters.com

Bike Your Drive!

I’ve Been Slimed!

The folks from Slime recently sent some products for us to try — a “care package”, if you will, of goodies to keep us safe on the road.

I got a selection of pre-filled tubes to try out, a bottle of Slime Sealant and a nifty digital tire gauge.

Tubes

The tubes went in without a hitch — and they’re pre-filled with that lovely green goop, so there is no mess to speak of. I installed these tubes on my dedicated commuter bike which runs 26″ x 1.25″ slicks. Although I haven’t intentionally ridden over anything to test the puncture resistance (and subsequent sealing) properties of the tubes, I do go through some rough areas where there is a lot of broken glass and bits of metal in the road, and I haven’t gotten a flat yet!

I also got a bottle of Slime tube sealant — enough to fill two fat 26″ MTB tubes. I treated my “Bike Snob Disapproved” Patriot MTB to this treatment, since I depend on this bike to get my son to school on time.

Sealant

Getting the Slime sealant into the tubes was fairly easy — the sealant packaging even comes with a valve core remover! I did have a problem once I got the valve cores back in, though. I discovered that the cores “goop up” and prevent the tire from reinflating unless they are cleaned. To prevent this from happening, clean the inside of the rubber valve with a cotton swab before you reinsert the valve core. Luckily, I have a drawer at home full of punctured tubes waiting to be patched, so I just salvaged clean cores from a couple of them and was on my way in no time.

Again, I haven’t intentionally tried to pop one of these self-treated tubes either…but I just might one of the these days to see how the Slime works! I have noticed, though, that on these and the pre-filled tubes that I don’t have to add air to my tires as often, and I have also noticed that there is no difference in “feel” as the tires roll along the ground. I was expecting some wobbling or something, but apparently the Slime coats the tube evenly with no puddling. It pays to ride around the block a couple times just after you fill your tubes to help distribute the goop around the inside of the tubes.

Finally, I have used the digital tire gauge a few times — the tip and digital display light up for nighttime pressure checks! The gauge appears fairly accurate…the readings match both my tire pump gauge and a traditional “sliding stick” tire gauge. The Slime gauge fits nicely in my hand and has a rubbery gripping surface. Best of all, it has an auto shutoff feature so I don’t burn through the batteries!

gauge

These products are certainly worth a try, even for added peace of mind. I’ll report back in a few weeks after I devise some terrifying ways of really testing the puncture-sealing abilities of these products! Back to the Bikecommuters.com Secret Laboratory — surely there’s a box of thumbtacks in there that I could sprinkle on the street?

secret lab

Recappin’ the Tour de Fat

Well, Saturday has come and gone. Weeks of semi-anticipation are no more. I did not know what, exactly, to expect from New Belgium Brewery’s “Tour de Fat” other than bicycles and beer. As the day neared, and I told more people about my weekend plans, I got more and more excited. I figured that I would see goofy people in goofy costumes riding goofy bikes. And that I did see.

The morning kicked off with a bike “parade” – and I would estimate that nearly 500-600 individuals and their favorite people-powered pedalers took part in this celebration of transportation independence. Local police ensured that this mass of people did not have to stop at any traffic signal we encountered. Even with police escort, passers-by (whether on foot or in car) appeared stunned for the most part. Many cars would try to make left turns through the middle of our peloton…only to be denied mobility by our prowess.

It was a joyous thing – to shut down usage of the roads to those driving in their cars on a gorgeous “autumn” morning. It makes me wish that Critical Mass had a presence in Phoenix…or at least one that I knew about.

The emcee of the ride (see above) used a bull horn to greet neighborhood residents holding yard sales, pedestrians, and motorists alike with a friendly and cheerful, “Good morning! Happy Saturday folks…” or “I see the bike in your garage – come join us!”

This is the kind of cycling advocacy I can get behind. Make cyclists visible. Do it without aggravating the law. And leave all of those you encounter with a positive taste in their mouth. If all you do is wish someone a pleasant day while smiling from your bike – any bitterness they have should quickly be realized as illogical, irrational and harsh. I do recognize that it isn’t always that simple, and that sometimes – more frequently than I wish – cyclists have to stand up for themselves and get vocal. But I think approaching the issue of cycling advocacy with a pleasant, non-confrontational approach will go a long way in the end. And now for some funny photos…

Yes, those are car tires…it had working v-brakes too.

And yes, those are shoes…

I couldn’t tell if this guy was more excited to be riding his bike, or more excited to fill his stein with beer.

This kid was with a family of people riding similar style lowriders, all equally impressive.

Metro Responds

Last month we posted on an story by LAist about a cyclist and his wife being arrested by the ‘highly competent Sheriff’s office’ even though the cyclist was in the right.

Our friend and fellow commuter, Russ Roca sent me the following via Email:

Let’s hope that Metro follows through. Thank you Russ for the email.

Bike Shops that DON’T suck.

Last week I posted about Bike Shops that suck. Unfortunately, most of us had concurred that there are a lot of shops out there that suck. However, there are also shops out there that don’t suck, so here’s my top three of what I expect from a bike shop:

1. Knowledgeable and friendly stuff. – I expect for the person who’s helping me to know their stuff and answer all questions in a non-condescending manner.

2. Competent Mechanics -If I’m taking my bike to a ‘pro’ mechanic, I want my bike back promptly and the work to be done right. Nothing sucks more than to go back to the shop because the bike was not fixed correctly.

3. Bike Fit- It doesn’t matter if I’m shelling a couple of grand or a couple of hundred for a bike, the bike should be adjusted to my body geometry so riding the bike would be comfortable.

Feel free to share what is it that you expect from a shop, who knows, maybe a shop manager is reading this.