Yes, we all hate Mondays but “The Man” wanted me to try to posting on Mondays instead of the weekend. Something to do with SEO, PPC, blah, blah, blah, best day to post, blah, blah.

Stick It To The Man

So now that I have my train schedule, my route figured out, got my commuter bike, it is almost time to “Ride the talk”. One thing that always concerns me about riding my bike to work is careless drivers. The “ride as if you are invisible” is always on my mind when I ride on the streets, so to make myself more visible and ride defensively and I carry a few safety accessories:

1. Bright ass blinkies and a horn.
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My new personal favorite rear blinkie is the NiteRider Sentinel that we reviewed a little while ago and I’ve been using the Orp light/horn (the jury is still out on this one, more on that later)

2. Mirrors

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The Chuck Harris helmet mirror that I used to ride with back in 2008 was awesome, unfortunately I lost it and Chuck Harris passed away in 2012. However, I found a company that not only do they make Chuck Harris style mirrors, they are able to make them with your logo! Check out my brand spanking new BikeCommuters.com helmet mirror:

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I also ride with a handlebar mirror, but those can be tricky to adjust.

3. Hi-Viz clothing.

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As I walk into the office, I’m always told that I can be seen a mile away. Good I say, now you have no excuse to run my ass over!

4. Helmet.

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I do not understand why people refuse to ride with no helmet, I rather be uncool than a freaking vegetable in case of a crash.

5. “Personal Protection”
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Yes, I do carry pepper spray with me, thankfully I’ve never had to use it. I carry it because people suck.

6.www.Roadid.com“RoadId Bracelet

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I love this bracelet, all your information that you choose is there in case you are incapacitated and someone needs to call your emergency contacts.

7.Inexpensive Action Sports Camera
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This maybe a little over the top, but when motorists do not care about you and see you as a nuisance, better to have it on video. Oh, and because people suck.

You maybe thinking, WTF, why does he carry all this crap with him? Again, I want to get home safe to my family and unfortunately I live in a region where the car is king and pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycle riders are just a “bump in the road”.

Next Week: Time to “ride the talk”!

Our friends at BikeBug.net who helped us build the Cotton Candy Trike, just let us know that their business is growing. They announced a new website called CargoBikeStore.com where they’re offering remarkably affordable cargo bikes. Take a look at these fine specimens.

Look at these Bakfiet style cargo bikes called the Boxter. Prices start at $800…which is pretty competitive if you ask me.

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We’ve had some inquiries about the Cotton Candy Trike build and what’s going on with it. Well I’m happy to say we’ve been busy making cotton candy for various fund-raising events. We’re also stepping up our game by acquiring a generator to pull on a trailer in the near future. That way we can be a fully mobile cotton candy trike. No that doesn’t mean we can make cotton candy while we’re riding, but that means we can be self sufficient, we don’t have to be plugged into a wall socket to produce the sweet stuff! Stay tuned!

The fine fellows at BikeCommuters.com have given me the opportunity to post whatever I want (bicycle related) unfiltered and uncensored. So when I told them that I was going to give my blunt opinion of electric bikes, they were second guessing if my raise in the form of recycled water from water bottles was worth it.

I share the opinion of many of our readers, electric bikes are not for us. Yes, I know that I’ve personally reviewed a few bikes, heck, I was an early adopter of the technology. In fact, here is my first electrified bicycle from 2005:

It was an entry level Giant Boulder with an EV Kit. Since I was going to start commuting 32 miles round trip, I figured that an electric bike was going to be the best solution for my commute. Nope. This effing thing weighed 80 pounds, had a range of about 20 miles, the top speed was like 15 mph and it handled like a dried turd. Here is why an electric bike is not for me: I’m a roadie at heart. That meant that I found myself pedaling this monstrosity most of the way because of “range anxiety” and I also easily outran the motor’s top speed. I ended up using the bike for about a week and ended up selling it.

Fast forward to 2010 and the technology advanced quite a bit and I reviewed the Torker T-450 Hybrid bicycle:

Lighter, better looking but same top speed and about the same range. I really tried giving an electric bike a chance, but my inner roadie just kept telling me “pedal damnit”.

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The technology has advanced some more as you can see from the E-lux Fat tire review.

Just look at that controller, that thing is sweet!

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So yes, technology keeps getting better but and a BIG but; these freaking bikes are expensive. There is no way in hell I’m paying over $3,500 bucks for an electric bike when I can spend less for a decent road bike.

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So why review them? Well, they are free to review first of all, they are actually fun to ride at full blast and it does wonders for SEO. I went ahead and interviewed a salesperson from a bike shop that sells electric bikes and found out that there is actually a decent market for these bikes. The buyers are usually around their 50s, have lots of disposable income and they live near the beach.

So to answer the question if riding an electric bike is cheating, ask Femke Van den Driessche.

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Next week: One of my favorite safety accessories and an update on my commuter bike

We took delivery of the Rad Power Bikes RadWagon for testing. After a 45 minute assembly session, we were on the road. Yes, you read it right, this is an Electric Cargo Bike. Reminiscent of my old Xtracycle, but electrified.

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This bike is powered by a brushless direct 750w drive motor,  48V 11.6Ah Li-Ion With 30 Amp Continuous BMS Samsung 29E Cells. Battery life, depending on mode ranges from 15-50 miles. They say top speed is is 20mph, but I got it up to 21.5mph on the flats.RadWagon

It’s a steel frame with entry level Shimano components. The electronics give you 5 pedal assist modes and a walking mode. The RadWagon weighs 75lbs, but handles really well. Comes with Tektro Mechanical disc brakes with 180mm rotors. Oh yes, it does come with fenders and a rack, which makes it a strong candidate as a “commuter bike.” To read more tech/spec info, simply go HERE.

My favorite feature on this bike would have to be the rear cargo area. It has a wood deck and floor boards so you can carry passengers or cargo. Check out the fender skirts on this bike, that’s in place so your fingers, legs, dress or anything that could get caught in the rear wheel…doesn’t. I like how they made it clear so it doesn’t take away from the look of the bike.

The total payload, that includes rider and cargo is 350lbs. I’ve yet to load it up with cargo, but I know when I had my Xtracycle there was some twisting that could feel. So I’m going to make sure I look out for that on the RadWagon.

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This is the control panel. You can set your pedal assist, check your speed, ODO and max speed as well as battery life. The panel also has a built in USB charging port, just in case you want to plug in your device while riding.  IMG_5640

As you can see on the control panel, there’s ZERO miles, that’s because we just finished putting the bike together and we’ll be testing it out in the next few weeks. So stick around for the review.