BikeCommuters.com

Tag Archive: bicycle

Review: Dual Action Bike Seat Test Ride

My fellow contributors were more than happy to let me take a crack at the funky Dual Action Seat #400 as my first equipment review.  When I pulled the funny looking Dual Action Seat out of its box, I thought, “this is definitely newbie hazing.” The aptly named seat has two independently moving butt flaps that rotate up and down as you pedal, and the whole thing swivels right to left with the movement of your hips. This is definitely unlike any bike seat I’ve encountered.

Dual Action Bike Seat

The Dual Action Seat is designed as an alternative for riders looking to relieve issues associated with the traditional horn-shape bike saddle. The roomy five-inch-wide seat pads are separated by a two-inch gap intended to reduce pressure on the tailbone and groin area, and the rotating action to limit hip pain. I read up on Dual Action’s website about perineal pressure, and dudes, penile paralysis associated with a traditional saddle is scary stuff!  If this seat helps minimize or eliminate damage to fella bike riders’ delicates, I don’t care how funny looking it is.

Dual Action Bike Seat 2

Dual Action Bike Seat 1

I may not be the target user, but I do love a wide, cushy seat, so I was stoked to give the Dual Action a little, uh, action. Though the seat is geared toward touring or stationary bikes, with a few minor tweaks of an Allen wrench, it can be swapped in for any bike with a straight stem 7/8″ diameter seat post. Including my trusty steed, Roy the Roady.

Emily allen wrenching DAS

It was relatively easy to install. And by easy, I mean it is literally just adjusting two Allen bolts. A little too easy. I didn’t trust the simple directions included with the seat, so I managed to put it on backwards my first go.

DABS Instructions

The movement of the butt flappers seat pads is a bit strange at first and I spent a while finessing the proper installation angle.

Dual Action Bike Seat 3

Roy with DABS

Roy with DABS 2

Once I had Roy all geared up, I took him for a spin. The seat felt more precarious than I had anticipated. While the up-and-down movement of the pads felt natural with my pedal movements, the swivel action along the vertical axis was disconcerting. I felt like I was constantly falling off the seat. It didn’t help that I was slipping from the slick fabric of the seat itself—fyi, yoga pants and gel seat coverings don’t work well together (and I imagine a snazzy pair of spandex bike shorts might have the same issue).

Emily on DABS

The more I rode, the more comfortable I became with the seat’s movement; however, I just couldn’t shake the precarious feeling of the swivel motion. I felt like I was fighting the side-to-side motion, having to bring my hips back in line after each pedal rotation. Rather than enhancing my natural movements, I was having to work to stay on my seat. As for comfort, I wish the pads had been more naturally contoured—rounded or tapered toward the front. The squared edges tended to poke and rub uncomfortably for me. Also, the seat itself is heavy, adding weight to my fairly light road bike and making it more difficult to haul up and down stairs (which I have to do to board the train on my commute).

After putting in quality time with the Dual Action Seat on Roy, I realized it wouldn’t be a permanent seat swap for me, but I wanted to get a second opinion. So I mounted the seat on our office spin bike and persuaded my boss (yep, my boss), Jim to give it a try and let me know what he thought.

Jim Dual Action Bike Seat 2

Jim Dual Action Bike Seat 3

An avid road cyclist and fellow bike commuter, Jim gave the Dual Action Seat a trial run. After getting accustomed to the seat’s movement, Jim had a similar discomfort with the swivel motion of the seat. He suggested that if the seat resisted or sprang back to neutral after each pedal stroke, the rider’s hips would still have the benefit of natural motion without strain of realigning the seat back to a centered position. Sounds clever to me. Overall, I think he’ll stick with his current saddle too.

I have no doubt that the Dual Action Seat design will continue to improve and serve as an alternative to the traditional bike saddle. While this inventive seat might not be right for me, if it can help riders keep riding without pain or medical complications, I am all for this wonky seat. And if you happen to be looking for a bike saddle to reduce pain while riding or said medical complications, you can purchase the D.A.S. Model #400 for $239.00 with free shipping. A bit pricey, but it does come with a 30-day money back guarantee.

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

Review: Cleaning products from Finish Line and White Lightning

I hope everyone has been enjoying their winter commutes…and I hope everyone has been staying on top of winter bike maintenance!

As many of you in colder climates know, road conditions can take a real toll on our bikes at this time of year: from sand to slush to salt and snow, there’s a lot of nastiness we have to contend with on our routes around the city. Regular (meaning at least weekly, or sometimes DAILY, depending on conditions) maintenance makes a huge difference in how our bikes ride over the winter and could mean the difference between pedaling to work or having to catch the bus.

In my neighborhood, I have salt to contend with — as I live near a very high concentration of U.S. servicemen and women, the roads in our area are heavily salted. After all, the military needs to get to work on time in any weather! All that salt is brutal to bike drivetrains, though…a day or two of neglect and you’re looking at a frozen, rusty mess that may not be salvageable.

In the interest of keeping things clean and functional, the good folks at Finish Line and White Lightning both sent cleaning products for us to try out.

DSC_0027

First up is the Finish Line “Starter Kit 1-2-3“, consisting of a small bottle of multipurpose degreaser, a small bottle of Teflon-based dry lube, and a handy cleaning brush. The degreaser is mixed with water and the stiff-bristled brush is used to scrub the chain, cogs and chainrings. Finally, the lube is applied and allowed to set.

DSC_0035

The brush and diluted degreaser made short work of the chain and gears…the bristles on one end of the brush scrub three sides of the chain at once and also get both sides of the chainring, while the long, stiff bristles on the other end reach down into the cogs and derailleur bodies to scrub out embedded grime. The degreaser itself seemed to work quite well in dissolving caked-on crud:

DSC_0036

I should add at this point that I rarely clean my chain in this manner during more temperate months — I’ve long been a user of “homebrew” (1 part synthetic motor oil to 3 parts mineral spirits), which both cleans and lubricates the chain. In the interest of cleaning off the salt and creating a bare, clean chain to try out the Finish Line dry lube, I strayed from my normal maintenance routine. The lube provided in this starter kit seemed to do an adequate job in keeping my chain quiet and smooth, and also seemed to attract less grime than the wetter solution I usually use. That’s a plus when the streets are covered with grit and salt crystals. I could get about 75-100 miles between applications with the Finish Line lube in these miserable winter conditions, so I’m suitably impressed.

Next up is the White Lightning Bamboo Cycle Wipes. I got the single-use packet to try out. Inside the packet is a woven sheet about 5″ x 7″…made of waffle-textured bamboo. It’s saturated with a mild solution to cut grease and grime. Here I am starting with a really yucky bike:

DSC_0032

I gave the bike a good once-over, and it came out quite nicely. These Cycle Wipes were especially effective at cleaning tire sidewalls and the brake tracks on my rims…where so much grossness accumulates after a wet, slushy ride. Here’s what my baby looked like after a good wipedown:

DSC_0042

I was pretty amazed at these Cycle Wipes — they cleaned the whole bike and got snagged repeatedly on teeth and other pointy bits, yet never tore or shredded. The single wipe simply kept on absorbing dirt. Still, I would have liked to have another one on hand to really pretty things up, but hey, my bike’s just going to get dirty again in a day or two!

Here’s the long-suffering wipe after a hard workout. You can see that it survived some pretty rough treatment:

DSC_0039

The Finish Line degreaser and the White Lightning Bamboo Cycle Wipes are both 100% biodegradable, a plus in my book. The Finish Line starter kit retails for around $20.00 — with 3 to 4 degreasings and a whole season of lubing possible with the amounts provided, that’s a decent deal. The White Lightning wipes come in a variety of packages, from a 6-pack box of single packets to a 25-wipe canister. I believe the single packets retail for less than a dollar apiece, and other reviewers report that they can be washed and reused for general purpose cleaning (although I didn’t try that). Keep a packet in your saddlebag for quick roadside cleanup or in your shop toolbox to keep your bike shiny and fresh…the cleaning solution is gentle enough for skin and tough enough for grimy parts.

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

Bike Lust Eyecandy… yum!

Okay kiddies,

Since we’ve been BEGGING for your commuter profiles and only get a slim response back after you have been emailed the template of questions, all we really want to see is some pictures of HOT Commuter Bikes!  So, lacking an enormous response from our readers… maybe a little “You show me yours, then I’ll show you mine” is in order.  For the record, here are the commuter profiles of all of our Bike Commuters staff writers, and our very own Bike Lust Eyecandy to tide you over until the day comes for our next Commuter Profile from readers like YOU!  If you are interested in submitting and proclaiming ultimate love for your commuter city, your lovely two-wheeled steed, and your awesome bikey sauceness – please email mir{at}bikecommuters{dawt}com.  It’s so easy, even Danny can do it.  We send you the q’s, you send us the response and hi-res photos of your bike, custom add-ons and ghetto-hacks, your scenic/treacherous commute, and your beautiful face.  We edit, publish, and make you an internet icon!

Let’s see if you loyal readers can guess which bike belongs to which rider-writer! Elizabeth, Mir.I.Am, RL, Ghost Rider, or Matt?  Click the photos to find the answers.

Commuter A:

Redline MTB

Rugged Redline MTB - who rides this BEAST in the streets?!

Commuter B:

Eggplant and Bumblebee bikes

Which writer rides the Bumblebee (right) with their friend, Eggplant (left)?

Commuter C:

Toro and Po Campo

An all-season rider, this staff writer's commuter bike was recently stolen! sad face for Toro.

Commuter D:

Redline 925

No official profile on this Bike Commuters staff writer... maybe it's time to get into it!

Commuter E:

Fixed Gear Machine

Whose get'er done is this? - a fixed gear machine!

Bring on the Commuter Profiles!

So what do you say, velomonsters, can you tell a lot about a rider from their bike?

May 2012 – Hawaii Bike Month Happenings

Aloha readers on Oahu (okay, and you other readers too)… There are several awesome updates to announce as part of the glorious Bike Month known as “May” in this year, 2012.  Here’s a wrap up for anyone interested:

Oh yes, more ukuleles for Safer Streets in Hawaii!

  • Farmer’s Insurance sponsors May as Bike Safety Month – Take the PLEDGE! Click this link and sign the pledge for safer roads in Hawaii.  For each signature, Farmer’s Hawaii will donate $1 to Hawaii Bicycling League.
  • Ride of Silence May 19, 2012 at 4pm –  Informally hosted by Nick Blank, former HBL Volunteer of the year, this will be Honolulu’s first Ride of Silence.  Here is a note from Nick on the ride:

Yes we can. On Saturday the 19th, at 4 PM, meet at the Hawaii State Capitol Building.

It will be a short one, about 6 miles, and on a different day than the rest of the planet, but hey, this is Hawaii.

ROS Honolulu Map May 2012 - click to enlarge

We plan to ride Beretania to Bishop, turn left, down to King, turn left and take it to University. There we will have a moment to honor the location of a fatal cycling crash on University, just below King Street. (If more locations of fatalities come forth, we will honor those as well.) We will then return to the Capitol on Beretania.

WE WILL follow the rules of the ride, wear helmets, obey traffic laws, and have a discussion of bicycling safety before departing.

If this is beyond your personal boundaries, please respectfully decline to ride with us and reconsider your choices.

There will be release forms to sign to participate.

This is to be a slow, silent, funeral ride. Please wear a black armband to carry the thoughts of one who was killed and a red one for one who was injured.

( An old sock is good for this, if you make one for your self, please make extras for sockless others. ) Feel free to attach a photo or name to yourself, or your bike, of the person(s) you are honoring.

Be Safe.   It is a funeral ride, but please wear bright clothing to be seen. Blinky lights are always encouraged.

Be Respectful.  Of yourselves, the fallen, the public, and the rules of the road.

Be Silent.   This is a ride for reflection of those who have fallen, and thoughts of how we can make Hawaii safer to ride in.

Much Aloha to those who can make it, and those who cannot yet would like to.

More about the ride here, please take a few moments to review it.

http://www.rideofsilence.org/main.php

  • Bike To Work Week May 14th-18th, 2012 – contact Chad Taniguchi at chad(at)hbl.org  or 808-255-8271 if you want to help make this year the best ever for bike commuting on Oahu.  Get your workplace involved by encouraging more commuter mentors and by publicizing this week.
  • Bike to School Challenge Tuesday May 15th!  – The Green Machines are hosting an event in honor of Bike To School Day.  Here’s the scoop:

Please come join Green Machines in a celebration of healthy alternatives to petroleum-dependent vehicles for getting around. We attract lots of bicycles of all types, but also want to showcase walking, Electric Vehicles, and more. If you can come, please email Jonathan Lott at lottj001@hawaii.rr.com or call at 561-9020:

This poster is hilarious.... anyway, grab the teens and hit up Farrington High if you're into it!

Green Machines is holding this on the same day as the “Bike to School Challenge.” Friday of the same week is National Bike to Work Day (BTW). On Thursday evening, the Eve of BTW, there will be a big gathering for the Thursday Nite Cruise Ride to Waikiki, so please join us for that too (details still being worked out). We will have a sound system, live music and prizes, and informational booths at the show in the center of Farrington’s campus. Visitors will need to check in at the front office for an ID badge.

  • Need A Bike, On a Budget, Check out KVIBE!

If you’re all spirit and smiles but still lacking a working set of two wheels to help you enjoy the lovely Bike to Work Month festivities in Honolulu, check out KVIBE –  “Kalihi Valley Instructional Bicycle Exchange is a nonprofit bicycle education program/shop that promotes bicycle-related activities for the youth of Kalihi Valley. KVIBE provides the community’s children with positive pursuits, mentoring, and role models. Ride a Bicycle.”  Their shop is open the following days and times: Wednesday, 12 – 5pm; Friday, 12pm – 5pm; Saturday, 10am – 3pm.  KVIBE is located at 1638 Kamehameha IV Road Honolulu Hawaii 96819.  You can make a suggested donation for a used bike or, if you have a lot of time on your hands, work to complete your own bicycling with the help of the KVIBE instructors and volunteers.  Check out their website to learn more.

Get out there on your steeds and enjoy Hawaii’s Bike to Work Week/Month/Year activities!! Questions? More events? Post ’em in the comments, Cycle Peoples.

Bike To Work Week: Rookie Commuter Resources

I love my Bike in all the months.

Hello enthusiastic readers – year-round cyclists, beginner cyclists, or future bike commuters!  Like the title above says, next week is Bike to Work Week! May is also the only month where you can cycle to work and get loads of freebies – safety tuneups, swag, blinkie lights, bike maps, and bike buddies.  Check out Jack’s article for handy links. For the bike-commuters-to-be and fledgling velodactyls, the staff writers at Bike Commuters wanted to share some tips, inspiration, and motivation to make May’s Bike to Work Week the best. week. ever. Everyone remembers the first time they rode a bike, and our readers have told us how they got started pedaling to work, and it turns out Bike to Work Week is a great starting point!

Here’s a list of some great articles I call the Rookie Commuter Resources. Hand selected and gleaned by yours truly… and don’t forget to read the comments, sometimes you guys are the ones with the best tips for bike commuting!  Enjoy:

  1. Let’s Bike – This year, Elizabeth presented the basics on bike commuting at her job.  She asked our readers to give their advice to newbie commuters.  As Ghost Rider says, “the comments are GOLD” in this one.
  2. 10 Bike Commuting Myths Dispelled Jack’s buddy Alan Snel shines truth on all myths related to bike commuting.
  3. My Conversation with a Cop about Bikes, Traffic, and Safety TipsRL hashes it out with his friend “Officer Ben” to discuss the legal stuff and how to bike commute safely within the law!
  4. Out of My Way, Boys!This article is by Dottie from Let’s Go Ride a Bike.  A funny read for Cycle Ladies getting pumped to tear up the streets!
  5. Commuting in Style (Pint-Sized Edition) Matt gives some tips on how to bike commute with tiny humans (a.k.a. children).
  6. Friday Musings – Top 3 Must-Have Bike Commuting AccessoriesReaders share their thoughts on their favorite commuter accessories.

We know there are more out there, on our site and others, so please share more links in the comments box for any Rookie Commuter Readers out there getting pumped for Bike to Work Week: May 14th through 18th!  Pedal Forward, Cycle Ladies and Gents!

Lookin' fly, Priscilla! Bike to Work Week with your DOG!