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Tag Archive: bicycle commuting

Review: Lululemon – Pedal Power Commuter Threads!

Alright, Cycle Ladies, after a brief stint of testing, here’s the Mir.I.Am ASAP review on Lululemon’s Fall Commuter “Pedal Power” threads!  As previously mentioned, the collection is only available for purchase online for a limited time – so I tried my best to make this review a quickie!  I posted as-soon-as-I-could-cajole-others-to-take-photos-of-me-in-the-clothes, essentially translates to a week or so.  Here’s a quickie overview of each of the pieces I was tasked to scrutinize:

Lululemon Pedal Power Wind Shirt in Dense Purple

Pedal Power Wind Shirt (in dense purple) - $128.00

Pedal Power Wind Shirt

why we made this

This shirt is as easy to throw (on) as Jennifer Grey, only it’s better suited for commuting as opposed to dance routines. The lightweight shell is made of Cire fabric to repel wind and rain and the back gathers so we can make adjustments for a perfect fit. Reflective details mean that even in low light we feel comfortable pedaling with gusto.

key features

  • wind and water-resistant finish helps us battle the elements
  • not one but two continuous drawcords make fine-tuning the fit a cinch
  • be bright – reflective details help with low light visibility
  • stow your phone in the secure zipper pocket
  • mesh panels let your arms breathe
  • long in back to keep your rear covered
Lululemon Pedal Power Pant in Black

Pedal Power Pant (in black) - $128.00

Pedal Power Pant

why we made this

We created these lightweight cycling pants to give us room when we’re busting a move during and after our commute. Transformable reflective details help keep us bright when we need it and inconspicuous when we don’t.

key features

  • button the pocket flaps open and switch over the ankle tab for added reflectivity
  • durable Commuter Stretch Woven fabric is treated with DWR to help keep you dry on the fly
  • stretchy denim luon side panels allow you the freedom to move
  • the articulated rise keeps you covered
  • store your stuff in the secure back pockets

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Lululemon Pedal Power Longsleeve in Currant

Pedal Power Longsleeve (in Currant) - $108.00

Pedal Power Longsleeve

why we made this

Leisurely rides call for comfy gear. When we’re pedalling at our own pace, we want a layer that keeps us warm and lets us breathe. This long sleeve is the perfect fit – it’s cut long to keep us covered and has mesh paneling for us to let off steam. Let’s ride!

key features

  • the loose cut of this shirt gives you the freedom to move
  • thoughtfully placed Circle Mesh panels in high sweat areas help to keep you dry
  • reflective details help with visibility in low light
  • the drop hem with drawcord keeps you covered so you can tuck and ride
  • just say, “no,” to chafing with flat seams
  • thumbholes help keep your hands warm and makelayering easy

First Glance vs. In The Pants Impressions

Back to my first glance/first impressions/internal brain vomologue (vomit+monologue):

Whoa, these materials are slinky and sexual.  How the crap do they make this stuff… spin the golden saliva of Aphrodite!?  Maybe I should have ordered a size down, they seem flowy and scarfy.  Wait, is this a SCARF?  Must make extra efforts not to choke myself with scarf while cycling… Need scarf guard for rear wheel.

And in the pants/shirt/longsleeve impressions:

Finally! It’s actually cold enough to wear frickin PANTS!  Oh yeah, these Pedal Power Pants could use a little more snugness in the butt for my taste, but they are comf-tastic on the ride.  Correction: threads are spun from the Lorax’s truffula trees – silky smooth and still breathable and stretchy.  Oooh, I like adjustability of the wind shirt at the bust and waist…  Successfully executed getting dressed for rides on bike without playing scarf wheel hangman.  And I like thumbholes.  And Red.  And Reflective Fabrics!

More Details and Opinions… If you must.

Enough quickie overviews and product data from the Lululemon Pedal Power website.  So let’s get serious, velodactyls! (Or not.)  The Lululemon Pedal Power line is definitely a quality product suitable for real autumn weather – I’m talking crisp mornings and falling leaves, windy winds, and maybe a touch of rain.  This stuff may be pricy, but I would for sure put it on my back-to-school (grown-ups get those too, right?) wish list, since I’m “funemployed” at the moment.  Overall, everything looks chic, can take a bit of rain/muddy water, and is definitely passable attire in a business-casual work environment.  Me thinks some photo-narration is in order… good thing I have bikey friends with cameras and smahtphones!  Ready… set… GO:

Pedal Power Wind Shirt1Pedal Power Wind Shirt2

For the Pedal Power Wind Shirt, it definitely cuts out the wind and did the trick on an overcast day, but – per usual Hawaii weather protocol – it did make me sweaty from the inside despite the lightweight material.  The shirt is a bit shiny, and does pass for a great looking “elegant” women’s commuter blouse – but not passable if your workplace is a skirt-suit and heels type of gig.  Reflective detailing on the cuffs can be unrolled during the commute for extra flare and reflective visibility!  The shirt zips up and has two pull cords – making a very flattering fit, but they can dig into the middle of your back at times.  It also comes in black or white.

Lululemon Outfit1

Lookin' comfy and snazzy!

Lululemon Outfit2

Relfective ankle bands built in!

Lululemon’s Pedal Power Pants and Longsleeve were perfect for comfy “fall/winter” cruising about town.  Here I am before taking off for a 15 minute ride to my part-time day job at the local Unicorn Petting Zoo.  The Pedal Power Longsleeve was definitely comfy, very long (no instances of people shouting “crack kills!” on this commuter) and very red. It comes in black, white, red, and purple – and the sizing was a bit large for my taste.  I followed the Lululemon Sizing guide, but it seems comfort is the keyword with this piece.  The floppy collar buttons all the way up to protect your neck for those speedy morning downhills and I loved the thumbholes!  Again, despite the breathable panels installed from elbow to armpit to ribcage, I still found myself needing to wash this shirt after one day of warmish fall commuting in Honolulu.  When I wore this shirt, guys in the office said, “You look very cozy today!”

Pedal Power Longsleeve1

Thumbholes and button sleeve details

Pedal Power Pant1

Clever disco-reflective ankle strap

Pedal Power Pant2

Highwaisted in the back, and peekaboo pocket reflectors!

Pedal Power Pant2

Yay for button pockets and butt shots!

Awww, Pants! The pants were definitely my favorite and most useful.  Even though they were loose in the butt (compare model from Lululemon site with bunchy-butt Mir) they fit in the hips and waist.  The inseam was not too short since the leg opening is tapered at the bottom, no dragging hems for Shorty McMidge Legs over here!  And I even got compliments on these threads at the office from the women and men – passable as business casual!  Some funny things about the Pedal Power Pants included a seam that runs along the middle of your knee cap allowing for a gusseted stretchy knee panel and a seam going right through the crotch like a normal pair of jeans.  Works well on a hybrid/upright type of commuter bike, but I don’t think I would last long on the seam on a road bike!  My favorite disco-bling was the reflective panels at the ankle strap and pockets – both can be buttoned into either stealth office mode or flashy night-time ride mode!  Personally, I left it bling-side out all. the. friggin’. time!

So there you have it – for the fashion-conscious commuting ladies out there, if you’ve got cash to spend on some high-quality threads, hit up the Lululemon Pedal Power line for some fall fancies.  Hope you enjoyed the review… cross your fingers for more butt shots from RL and Hermes at Interbike 2012!

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.

Friday Musings – Baggage Claim and Bicycles

Summer Bike Love

Summer Bike Love - courtesy of Oh Shoot

Cycle ladies and gents of the planet, let’s talk about summer travel and bikes, and how you get it done!  Friday means it’s time to muse, and I’m wondering how everyone’s summer has been so far… have you caught some extra rays, enjoyed commutes home sans blinky lights, and pedaled to destination  both near and far during balmy evenings?

I Miss My Bike

Vacation withdrawls... Bike Commuting Addiction?!

After spending quite a bit of time in the airports this summer (Dad’s wedding, teaching assistant programs, Eurail passes, and waaaaay too much MSG consumption with my family) I got to missing my bike quite often!  And don’t get me wrong, doing air cycling (like air guitar, but I do it lying on the couch instead) and borrowing ill-fitting bikes from friends has gotten me through my moments of withdrawls.  “Hi everyone, my name is Mir.I.Am, and I am a Bike Commuting addict.  I snort chain lube, always carry a backpack with a rain slick, wear zebra spandex, and get impatient while walking anywhere.”  Sometimes, when you’re away from home, you just want YOUR bike, because a commuter and her bike are bonded like an Avatar’s braid and one of those flying dragon things.

Flying Avatar

Commuter attachment issues: I braid my hair into my bike, just like this guy.

Elizabeth and I met up in Chicago last summer, and I rented a MTB from Bike n Roll – which allowed for scenic views along the Lake Front path.  Marion and I hit up the streets of Paris on the “best” fit we could claim out of the three working bikes in her garage.  And, while testing out the Xootr Swift, said Xootie and I hit the baggage claim and Pualani Platinum club so I could enjoy a week of car-free goodness between Venice Beach and Santa Monica over the winter hell-a-days.  And of course, there’s always the endless bike share options that I still have yet to straddle…

Paddle Bike

Oh yes, this will get me from Waikiki to Belize, easy!

But, there is a part of me that wonders if it’s worth it to make MY bike into a baggage-claim-friendly-beast with custom installed couplings from S and S!  Since I live in Hawaii, the challenge is to fly with my bike, since it’s the only way to get off the island (no trains, no road trips, and definitely no bike touring to other states).  Unless I get me a floating paddle bike and pack an enormous bag of shrimp chips.  What’s your best advice for bike commuting and jet setting? Anyone out there rocking a custom frame with renovated with S and S couplings, packable travel bikes, a folding MTB, or a chainless folder with teensy wheels?  Do you have a bike away from home that you rely on?  Would it be worth the $350-$700 extra and baggage claim hassle to make your bike more airplane-friendly?  Or are you down with renting bikes, borrowing two wheels, or resorting to transportation dogs?!  Bring on the comments, bike setters!

Commuter with Couplings

Holy Sexy Chocolate Espresso Moly - I'm pretty sure this commuter set up is outta my price range, but look at those S and S couplings, and what a rack!

First Impression: Kona Project 2 Messenger Bag

First Impression.

I like it.

After using it for a couple of weeks, I’ve found the bag to be quite useful.

Regarding it’s look, it’s stylish–the main zipper streamlines a clean-looking design. The Kona logo is visible along with the 2 buckle-harnesses that keep the contents of the bag secure.

Upon opening, three separate compartments are visible. One being a “divider” where it has a velcro flap to secure the contents from the rest of the bag. The inside of the first compartment has more pockets and zippers similar to an inside of a backpack to put in smaller items.

Opened

When closing, one can see that there are magnetic flaps that secure to make sure that the sides stay closed.

On the sides are the magnetic flaps

The adjustable strap has a cell phone holder, and an accompanying buckle that couples with another strap to make sure the bag secures to the wearer.

Cell phone holder, adjustable strap and additional strap for stability.

Here are the specs from the manufacturer. It should be noted that Kona tapped the talents of Brenthaven in order to create this bag.

  • Name: Kona Project 2 Messenger Bag- Blue
  • Model #: 6102
  • Weight: 3.2 lb.
  • External Dimensions: 21.5″ W x 16″ H x 8″ D
  • Fits laptops up to 16″
  • Built in safety light with replaceable battery compartment
  • Bomber, water-shedding 1000D Cordura fabric
  • Waterproof internal compartment for laptop, electronics
  • Comfortable shoulder strap with quick release phone pocket
  • Large capacity, expands to 1300 cubic inches
  • 100% lifetime guarantee and then some
  • Patent pending magnetic Hydro FlapsTM keep your gear dry

I’ll upload some photos of me actually using it when the review is done!

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.

Commuter Profile: Brad Palm

We put out the call for commuter profiles…. and Brad responded, sharing with us his “HOT Commuter Bikes“. Thank you, Brad.

Name: Brad Palm aka @spitt0110

How long have you been a bike commuter?

I’ve been a commuter for 5 Years.

Why did you start riding your bike to work and how long is your commute?

I found it fun and it took just as long to get to the same places by bike.
My ride has changed as I moved around, but now my commute is .2 or .3 miles. It’s crazy short, but on a narrow aggressive road.

How does Bike Commuting help you with your lifestyle (economics, health, relationships)?

Biking has helped me get out and pedal almost every day. And I’ve found myself spending more money on nice bike parts and not gas. Unfortunately telling a girl you will pick her up on a tandem is unattractive.

What do you do for a living and in what city do you bike commute?

I’m a Freelance Hippie and I bike in Sheboygan, Wisconsin

What kind(s) of bike do you have?

I currenty have a Fixie with 32/16 ratio. And a single speed cross bike. And I’m currently building a touring bike with gears.
I used to have an old Schwinn mountain bike, that got me started into winter riding. And I used to have a cross bike with gears and I restored a 3 speed cruiser bike. That was a fun project, I miss that bike. I have a soft spot for cruisers.

Any funny or interesting commuting story that you may want to share?

I try to follow the rules while blasting by cars waiting at stop lights. And leading the pack. It’s a good feeling.

What do people (coworkers, friends) say when you tell them that you are a bike commuter?
Co workers are always amused by my dedication to cycling in winter. Lots of blank stares are had at me.

How about bicycling advocacy? Are you active in any local or regional advocacy groups?

I actually volunteer at what we call the ReBike Program where we take donated and impounded, is that the right word, lost bikes from the sheriff dept and police dept. and build them up for less fortunate people and boys’ and girls’ clubs.

And ask any of my friends, I get really angry when I see people biking at night without any lights or a helmet. and when grown men ride BMX bikes.
Or when people bike on sidewalks or the wrong way in the bike lane.

Anything else that you want to share with us?

Bike Safe! :3

Thanks again, Brad, for sharing your commuting story with us. Brad bikes 365 days a year in Sheboygan, WI. In his first email to us, he described his route as “less than a mile each day but it’s an all narrow busy road so some days it can be very aggressive traffic weaving and there’s some days where I can race and pass up to 3 cars while obeying street laws. Ride hard, ride safe!”

If you would like to be profiled on BikeCommuters.com, just drop us a line anytime (at elizabeth {at} bikecommuters {dot} com) and we’ll send you the details to submit your own bike commuter profile.

Guest Article: My evolution as a cyclist:Thoughts of a bike commuter By Hermes Pagulayan


Beach Cruiser to Hipster to Weekend Warrior

I have been riding seriously and commuting now for about two years but before I took it seriously I was given a 15 year old Huffy beach cruiser that a friend was no longer using. It had: a dark blue frame, a wide seat, white-walled fat tires, fenders, chain-guard, and a huge handlebar that reminded me of Harley Davidson motorcycles instead of my childhood BMX bike. This Huffy, with its faded paint and rusting body would soon change my life. At first, I only used it for very quick errands like going to the grocery store to get soda. But it broke down which made me want to replace it. A year after that, I started commuting using a bicycle which led to riding with friends as a hobby. Because of this Huffy, I was introduced to experiences that only a fellow cyclist or few would ever know about.


How I got the Huffy

In the last year of college, a friend had asked me if I would like to tutor someone who lived on my street. I accepted it considering that I was still looking for a job. The tutoring sessions were about three times a week and since it was only a couple of miles away, I thought that I would just use the Huffy. A few months had passed by and I no longer was tutoring that same child when a similar opportunity came up. It was similar in distance so I thought I would use the Huffy again to commute. But a couple of weeks into it, the aging tires on the Huffy had given way to a sidewall tear puncturing the inner tube. The cost to install and replace the tire and tube was around 40 dollars so I thought, “Why not just put that towards a new bike?”. I didn’t care for bikes at the time and so I thought, “I’ll just get another one that has wheels–it’s that simple.”

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My Wal Mart Experience

I went online and saw plenty in my price range–which was under a hundred. I know, I know…foolish of me to think that it was going to turn out okay but I was a “noob”, all right? I bought this cool shiny chrome mountain bike. It was 79.99 plus tax and it was the last one they had. I even called several Wal-Marts to see if they had it in stock. Lucky for me, there was one close by and even had them set it aside. But as soon as I took it home, I found the sprocket slipping! So I returned it. I thought spending more would get me a better purchase so I spent a little more and got a road bike, the GMC Denali for 169.99 plus tax. It had 21 speeds with Grip Shifters installed on the drop bar (not the prettiest thing to see). That one also had a problem but I liked having a road bike so I returned it for another. Unfortunately, this one also had a problem. Frustrated, I spoke to the Wal-Mart bike mechanics (Can you call them that since they just put bikes together?) and one recommended this mountain bike called the Genesis V-something if he were to get anything. Well I got it and within a week the front hub had loose bearings! I don’t even know how that happened since I rode it on the street. At this point, I had completely lost faith in department store bikes.

Craigslist

While doing some research for a bike, I had read that Craigslist is how someone should buy a bike if they’re on a tight budget. I found a Raleigh Grand Prix with a Reynolds frame, 7-Speed 105 groupset on some beat up wheels for $200 from a reseller. I miss that bike and I wish I still owned it. It was light, fast and quite a looker. I loved that bike and didn’t want to replace it but as I rode more and more, I realized that the bike was too big for me (It was a 57 cm; I should have gotten a 55 cm or less). A couple of bikes later, I decided to try a fixed gear bike. It was great but I soon had knee problems from skid stopping and a high gear ratio. I had bought a total seven bikes purchased from Craigslist. All of them I wanted to keep but all of them had problems that were too small, large, or hurt my knees.

PicMonkey Collage1


Riding with friends

Because of my new found interest in commuting, a few of my friends took interest in road cycling. Having owned a few bikes, I became the “expert” amongst my friends and a year later, we had a little group that rode on the weekends with a team name and everything. It first started out as something fun to do–nothing serious. Some of my friends borrowed bikes from others while some found bikes on Craigslist for $100. The rides were about once a month but slowly it became something more serious. People bought new road bikes and along with it cycling clothing–this was something even I wasn’t prepared for. The biking I was doing at the time was more in line of a hipster not a weekend road warrior. But a friend bought me a jersey, padded shorts, shoes and pedals for Christmas and as much as I felt weird wearing the clothes, I was soon a weekend warrior myself.

PicMonkey Collage2

A lot has happened since I decided to accept my friend’s bike as charity. This past weekend, our group, dubbed “The Cyclers” finished a self-promoted charity ride with funds going to churches in South America. What started out as a temporary solution became a lifestyle that I can’t see myself giving up. If you had asked me that a rusty, faded, beach cruiser would do all of this, I would have laughed at the impossibility.

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