BikeCommuters.com

Tag Archive: bicycling

A Look Back at 2010

Well, whaddya know…only three weeks late with this one. What can we say — we’ve had a lot of stuff to report on!

2010 was a good year for the staff here at Bikecommuters.com. We got to test a lot of great products, we were able to attend a number of wonderful events and we met a few new faces in the bike-commuting community. Let’s take a look back at some of the highlights, shall we?

We got to test a pair of e-bikes in 2010, namely the OHM Cycles Urban XU700 and the Urbana Current. As the e-assist market and its attendant technologies mature, we’re going to see a lot more of these kinds of bikes in the commuting realm. A lot of folks are up in the air about bikes that offer electric assistance, but regardless of how you feel about them, they’re getting folks out of cars and onto two wheels, and these bikes are here to stay.

RL got his hands on the Soma Double Cross DC frameset to test…and it’s fair to say that he LOVES this frame. The frameset won one of our coveted Editor’s Choice awards at Interbike 2010. RL has ridden this bike in every conceivable condition, and it asks for more abuse. Good stuff!

soma

Speaking of Interbike 2010, that was my first trip to the big bike throwdown held in the Nevada desert. “Overwhelming” is the word I’d use if I had only one word to describe the experience. In addition to going to Interbike, I experienced a couple of personal “firsts” with the trip: first visit to the West Coast, first time seeing (and touching) the Pacific Ocean, and the first time I got to meet RL and Moe in person. Yep, you heard that right — while we’ve talked on the phone and emailed each other many times a day, I had never actually met them face-to-face. Needless to say, it was ten times better than I even hoped! We had a blast together and I look forward to traveling with them (and the great staff at our sister site Mtnbikeriders.com — Art, Khoa, Priscilla, Joe and all the others) again in the future.

boys

In our recurring commuter profiles, we got to meet Evan, Miriam (Miriam’s going to do some guest articles for us…stay tuned for the hilarity!), Peter, Hilary, Gene, Andrea, and John. Nice to see more women in the mix — you’re woefully underrepresented on too many bike blogs — and happy to learn more tips and tricks from all of our profilees. Thanks again, everyone, for submitting yourselves to the harsh light of Internet celebrity.

We dropped our old Facebook page and started a new “fan page” in 2010…and the thing grew like gangbusters! There’s some exclusive content over there, some interesting discussions and the occasional contest. If you are an FB user and haven’t done so, swing on over to our page and say howdy.

We printed up a run of t-shirts…our first tentative steps towards our goal as a bike-apparel juggernaut…and shirts are still available to order. You too could look like this:

shirt

On a final, personal note, I was chosen as one of Ergon USA’s 2011 Ergon Commuter Team — one of 12 North American riders selected out of an applicant pool in the thousands. Thanks Ergon! I’ll be testing and reviewing a number of their commute-friendly products right here and also on our Facebook page.

Thanks for sharing 2010 with us, and we look forward to meeting more of you in 2011 and having some interesting conversations here. As gas prices keep rising, there are going to be a lot more folks ditching their cars and hopping on bicycles, and we should all welcome them with open arms!

What is your “Dream Bike”??

Most of us commuters are your average, everyday “Joe or Jane”. Riding our bikes out of LOVE and necessity. Necessity to get to and from work and /or school. This usually means that we are working & learning to survive. You don’t usually hear about the independently wealthy commuting to work by bike. But what if…? If money were not a limiting factor, what would YOU ride?

The choices are limited only by your imagination. What material would you go with? Wheel size? Gearing? Flat Bar? Drop Bar? Geometry? Electric assist? Internal drive train? Chain or belt drive? Rim brake or disc?

OK…Now that your wheels are spinning…. wipe that drool from the corner of your mouths…

The most important question is left to answer:

????

Let’s hear about it in the comments area below…

New Blood at Bikecommuters.com

Meet our newest writer here at Bikecommuters.com, Vince Rodarte. We’ve known Vince for a few years and we’re VERY excited he’s joining us…he has a lot of practical hands-on knowledge to share and I think he’ll make a great addition to our team. Check him out:

Staffer Profile:

(image courtesy of  ‘THE MOE’)

Name: Vince Rodarte

Age: 35

Weight: 215lbs

About me: Husband and Father, Bike Junkie, Bike Industry Lifer. I’ve worked in shops, in bicycle manufacturing shops, I’ve done some CAD for bicycles, I’ve wrenched on them for years, I’ve worked for an international manufacturer/distributor as an adult-day care supervisor, I’ve worked for regional sporting goods chain stores, I’ve worked for national chain bicycle stores… You name it, I’ve probably done it…. relating to bicycles, that is.

Riding Style(s): I am a reformed mtn bike racer. I love the simplicity of a single gear. Fixed or freewheeling, one gear is all you need. I can mash a gear to death or gingerly spin a comfortable 110 rpm pace.

Good Day! My name is Vince Rodarte and I am the newest pedal spinner on the Bikecommuters.com staff.

I began bicycle commuting when I got my first bike shop job in 1993 at Hacienda Bikes in Hacienda Heights, CA. Every shop I worked at since then, I have ridden to. My furthest one-way commute was to Rancho Cucamonga, CA (42 miles).
These days I am commuting to work at The Missing Link Bicycle Shop in beautiful NE Portland, Oregon.

My commute is a whopping  .8 miles from door to door, but I run all of my errands by bicycle. I even rode out to the local Target store to finish my Christmas shopping and carried back a load which was too big for my Timbuk2 bag… in the rain!

I do own a car, but don’t drive it very much. It likes to play school bus for my 3 kids (when they aren’t riding their bikes to and from school!)

My current ‘whip’ is this incognito Trek MultiTrack 730 that I have modified to my style…

Rise bars & Shifters : REMOVED / Replaced with Cinelli 42cm drops

Front & Rear Derailleurs: REMOVED

Chain rings: REMOVED

I removed the high-rise bars and mounted my trusty drop bars .

For lighting I am using a ‘mature’ Sigma Mirage EVO w/ a NiCad battery.

There is also a small TORCH flasher (sample from Taiwan from a previous life) on the bar that I use for all-the-time visibility.

I run the proven Planet Bike SuperFlash tail light.

***I am a FIRM believer in running your flashing head/tail lights at all times. The more visible you are the better***

Shown here is my modified front chainring setup. I removed the stock 44/32/22 chainring assortment and mounted an ENVE Alloy Bash Guard w/ matching ENVE 34 tooth 104 BCD ring.

I removed the 7 speed cassette and in its place I am running a ‘prototype’ Q2 Carbon Single Speed Cassette Spacer Kit with a 15 tooth cog. Notice the lack of any chain tensioner… I was able to cut my chain to the perfect length and not have to use a half-link with my selected gearing paired with the 17? chainstay.

It’s been pretty good so far, but I’ll see how my longer rides do with that gearing.

When I got this bike, it had some badly dry-rotted Bontrager hybrid tires on it.

I popped for the Hutchinson CrossTown in a 700c x 37 size.

I decided to try a tire with Hutchinson’s Protect’Air for my flat-proofing… We’ll see how they hold up!

As you might have noticed, this is a bit of an urban cyclocross bike. My goal is to try a few ‘cross races on this sled. It jumps great and has some good snap from a dead stop.

At my current weight of 215 lbs, I will be putting this bike through some serious stress testing.

As a Bikecommuters.com staffer, I plan on putting the same effort into testing and reviewing products for you, the readers!

Sangre’s “Lightcycle”

Now that TRON: Legacy is opening in theaters on Friday, this signals the perfect time to show you a wild and wonderful creation reader “Sangre de la Cruz” sent in for us to share:

SAM_1451

Here’s some of the details as provided by the creator:

Anyway. what started as a project to eliminate headphones from my bike ride,

Evolved into an Ipad stereo / GPS mapper / performance monitor

Added better speakers

And finally framed it with el wire to make it a bit more visible.

I’m riding with my Ipod and headphones for about a year, when I swerve into the lane to prepare to take a left turn, without shoulder checking. There was a vehicle there that had to slam on its brakes to not hit me. Totally my fault. Believe me, I didn’t lean without checking my blindspot after that. But it still nagged me that I couldn’t hear traffic coming up behind me.

I get an Ipad. I decide to build a mount for it, and use the built-in 2watt speaker. Woot, no more headphones.

The Ipad is protected with a “Zagg Shield” a vinyl wrap that cusions and protects it from scratches.

The Mount is simply a hard shell ipad case that the ipad snaps into, sitting in a second soft silicon ipod skin to protect the underside from spray, (both from bestBuy)Fixed to a GPS motorcycle mount. I ended up building it on a lark, because although I knew Ram-Mounts was coming out with an Ipad mount in 3 weeks (from then, its out now), I wasn’t willing to wait. Drilled some holes into all of it, to line up some countersunk machine screws and locking nuts with caps

So, I’m totally in love with this thing. I’m using Motion-X GPS-HD app. which is a sport GPS. It’s designed especially for bikers/hikers/skiers, pretty well anything that isn’t driving. They also have an excellent driving app that’s separate. I got tunes rocking all the time with its built in itunes player. But I’m not happy with the 2 watt output.
Another thing: with the GPS app giving me performance metrics now, (distance traveled, avg and top speeds, altitude and speed charts) I find myself biking farther every day, my 6k commute, becomes 10k, and then 15k as I circle my town to get to work. And I find I’m doing 30-40k on the weekends too.

SAM_1448

So, speakers.

A little research turns up http://xm-i.com/en/stereo-speakers/x-mini-max-ii?page=shop.product_details&flypage=coddii_fly_default.tpl&product_id=1&category_id=1 . These speakers have internal battery, great sound, 10hrs of play time on a single charge, and recharge via USB. An important consideration, because the whole unit pops off as a single piece, and plugs into a USB hub to recharge.

I add a T shaped piece of aluminum (grabbed from Home Depot, the kind used to frame 2×4’s in construction) between the hard case and the GPS mounting plate, and use a 60 minute epoxy to glue the speakers to the plate after roughing both surfaces to allow the epoxy to better grip.

Now I have 5 watts of power or 2.5 times the volume of the ipad alone. Its actually ear splitting at max volume, In traffic, in high winds, I keep it at 70%.

Now, I found I had to make a playlist that was public friendly. One day on the way home, I was at an intersection, beside a family of pedestrians, when the Violent Femmes singing “Dance Mother******* Dance” came on at near max volume.

*****************

As for the El-wire. I simply wanted to add more visibility to my profile. And look as stunningly cool as possible while doing it. I sincerely regret not getting the cobalt blue. I faltered at the last second and went with red as I wanted to match the Kona Fire mountain frame. But I regret that decision. The red just isn’t as sharp as the blue would have been.

The 5mm elwire runs about 1.33 a foot, and it took about 40 feet to do the whole bike. I soldered the connectors and drivers myself. each wheel has its own inverter and 9v battery. The bike itself runs on a 12v 8xAA battery pak under the seat. I used some simple plastic zip ties to affix it to the frame, and epoxied the wires to the rims of each wheel.

I run with the el wire solid on, but the drivers also give me strobe and slow flash and various blink options.

You’re welcome to share as much or as little as this as you like. Im thrilled that anyone would be interested. Everyone at my work is mostly sick of me talking about it hehe, although they were pretty darn impressed with the ipad stereo.

Now, you know we love some DIY around here at Bikecommuters.com…and the funkier, the better. Hope you enjoyed this creation too!

SAM_1445

We’re a checkpoint in the Yehuda Moon/Cyclelicious Virtual Alleycat!

We just signed up this evening to serve as a “checkpoint” for the Kickstand Cyclery Virtual Alleycat Powered By Cyclelicious. Here are details straight from the source:

Announcing the Kickstand Cyclery Virtual Alleycat Powered By Cyclelicious. Race begins Monday, December 6 2010.

Cyclelicious and the Kickstand Cyclery have teamed up for a winter race: The Kickstand Cyclery Virtual Alleycat. When the race begins next Monday morning, you’ll race other participants from Internet checkpoint to checkpoint as you visit various bicycle websites. Prizes will be awarded for speed, agility, and creative comments left at each checkpoint.

Prizes include:

◦GT ZuM Commuter Bike from Performance Bicycles ($550 retail value). This aluminum hybrid design features low standover height, 8 speed drivetrain with a single chainring, and Kenda Kwik Trax tires for use on pavement or dirt.

◦Pedaler Clothing Trinity Hoodie ($125 retail value). Practical streetwear for use on and off the bicycle features reflective trim and back pocket.

◦The Lost Cyclist book by David Herlihy.

◦Yehuda Moon merchandise including shirts and prints (winner’s choice).

Watch for the race to start next Monday, December 6 at 7 AM Pacific / 10 AM Eastern time. You may pre-register here for free.

More details to follow on our end — we’ll be setting up our “checkpoint” over the weekend and may even have clues to help you find it!