Bike to work month deserves a mid-week post, don’t you agree? Well, don’t you all answer at once please… Bueller? Bueller?
I have developed a love-hate relationship with Metrolink (L.A’s train service), I love doing the train-bike thing to work BUT Metrolink’s service is as reliable as an old Land Rover. Out of the six times that I’ve used the service, trains have been cancelled twice.
So what happens when a train is cancelled? Well, the first time I was on my way to work so I just hopped in my car and drove. The other time however, I was coming back from work and there was no train so Metrolink’s solution was to put us all in a bus. Yeah, that was fun… I got home 2 hours late.
As frustrating as that can be, I still love riding the train. Why? Because it enables me to ride my bike to work! I also don’t have to deal with traffic, I just chill in the train and take selfies of myself looking all tough.
So if you have not ridden your bike to work because of cheap gas prices, give it another try and you’ll see the fun that you’ve been missing.
You may remember a preview of the Pannier-Backpack convertible that we posted about a month ago. I was very impressed with the quality, the space and how easily the pannier converts from backpack to pannier and vice-versa.
I’ve been doing my train-bike commute with this pannier and its functionality has been a convenience that has made my commute really enjoyable. I board the train in backpack mode and when I’m ready to ride; I simply convert it to a pannier and on my way I go.
So why not just a pannier? As I stack my bike in the train with other bikes, having just a pannier will be on the way of other bikes and it may get damaged or stolen.
So why not just a backpack? The number one question that I always get as a bike commuter is: Don’t you get sweaty when you ride? And the answer is yes and riding with a backpack makes your back really sweaty so having a pannier allows me to arrive to the office a little “fresher”.
I also envision this pannier-backpack being great for students who ride to school, photographers who use their bike as a mean of transportation and short bicycle getaways such as simple overnight trips.
So let’s recap the main features of this pannier-backpack:
24 Liters of space
High Quality Weatherproof materials
Easy convertible system
Padded laptop/tablet compartment
Here is a little video of how easy the pannier converts to a backpack:
I did not find any ssues or drawbacks with this product, but I do have one suggestion: I would love to see an outside mesh that would hold my helmet when in backpack mode.
Do I recommend this product? Oh heck yes, I love this pannier-backpack and if your commute is very similar to mine and if you want a more elegant solution than a wire basket and a backpack; it’s a no-brainer.
For more information regarding this product or to purchase it, please visit: twowheelgear.com
I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that this week’s post will be pretty much incomplete. I have been trying to get a hold of the company that touts that they have created the best commuter bike ever but I have gotten nothing but radio silence.
The good news is that I’ve picked up a “sponsor” who is willing to give us a discount on coffee. Yes, coffee -God’s gift to computer geeks, college students and long haul truckers. Gloria Jeans Coffee is giving bike commuters a 15% discount on coffee purchases until the end of May and let me tell you, their coffee is excellent! Simply click on the link below and enter the coupon code: “bikecommuters” at check out to get your discount.
This ad has been peppering my Facebook feed for a while, its claim seems to be to good to be true so it had me intrigued. The Fortified Bicycle website states that the bike comes with rust proof paint and chain, security bolts, weather proof saddle, puncture resistant tires, a U-lock AND it is also Theft Proof. All for $399!, Really????
What is the catch? Well, the $399 is for a single-speed with no accessories and no theft guarantee. Aha! but the theft guarantee pricing ranges from $100 for one year to $200 for three years. It is still not a bad deal.
I wanted to get more details about their “Fine Print” but I got no “love” from their customer service email address. I will do a follow up post after I get my questions answered and maybe I’ll purchase their single-speed bike so I can do a review of the bike.
Next Week: The full review of Two Wheel Gear’s pannier backpack convertible.
Welcome to your I-hate-Mondays-but-The-Bike-Geek-will-make-it-all-better post. No, not really but I bet a cup of Gloria Jeans coffee will make it all better (shameless plug for a buddy who works there).
So before I bore you with data, numbers and excel shenanigans, I want to share with you a couple of videos that I posted on the BikeCommuters Facebook page. If you don’t follow our page on Facebook, now it is time to do it since I will be doing a giveaway soon.
The following video below shows how things have not really changed and how people still SUCK. As I was on my way to the train station, some butthole buzzed by me while I was riding on the bike lane startling me. The driver was going to make a right turn but you can see on the video that the turn was quite a few yards away. Jerk.
The situation on the next video had me baffled… I really didn’t know what to do as I was riding the bike multi-use trail. Two joggers were running towards me on my side of the trail and at the same time two cyclists were fast approaching making it dangerous for me to pass left. I decided to slow down hoping for the joggers to either a)Go single file b)move to their left. She opted to go right almost colliding with the approaching cyclist. Fortunately no one got hurt but it just goes to show you that bike commuters are not safe even when riding a bike multi-use trail.
So now let’s play the numbers game:
One of the Metrolink’s claims on why we should take the train is because the cost of operating a small vehicle is roughly 45 cents per mile (based on 15,000 miles per year). I thought this was a load of bullshit since I drive a hybrid and gas prices are relatively cheap, so I decided to do the math and see what the true cost of operating my car is.
So, according to my math, the cost of operating my vehicle is roughly 31 cents per mile, but you will notice that AAA’s estimate does not take into account hybrid vehicles. On the flip side, thanks to cheap gas prices the depreciation of my car is the highest amount of the total cost to operate my car. This was a W.T.F. moment for me since I thought the Metrolink fare was expensive but it turns out that I spend almost as much per day driving my car.
So if you are on the fence of becoming a bike commuter but you have not committed because gas is cheap, do the real math and you maybe surprised.
Have you ever had a saddle that you love, but you are no longer able to ride long distances with it anymore?
It happened to me. My favorite saddle was the Selle Italia Trans AM. I’ve ridden over 3,000 miles on this brand of saddles but the last couple of years have been literally a pain in the ass. It got to the point that 25 miles rides were really uncomfortable and I was also experiencing “numb nuts” or perineal numbness. I switched to the saddle that came with my Giant TCR SLR2 bicycle, but that made it worse.
I also ordered a Hobson Pro-Hub X2, but not only does this saddle look out of place on a road bike, but it was not for me. The saddle did not suit my type of riding and I was not comfortable at all. I could see myself using this saddle on a hybrid or a cruiser but definitely not on a road bike nor a mountain bike.
I decided to stop guessing and went to my local bike shop. The owner happens to be around my age, he is a racer and really knows his shit. He told me that as we age, our sit bones tend to change a bit and the saddles that we’ve ridden for a while are no longer suitable and we experience discomfort.
He steered me towards the ISM saddles and gave me a couple to try for a couple of weeks. I ended up buying the PN 1.1, not cheap, but this saddle has been quite a good investment. It took me a little while to get used to it, but once I did, I have been able to do 50 mile rides with zero discomfort and zero numbness. No more numb nuts!
I really can’t say that the ISM PN 1.1 is the solution for all riders, but if you are experiencing serious discomfort in your perineal area, visit your local bike shop and they should have a few types of saddles for you to try.