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Product Review: Leg Shield

A couple months back, the brains behind the Leg Shield contacted us to see if we’d do a review. Never one to say no to anything, RL promptly agreed and a few days later, the Leg Shield arrived at my door.

SO… what is this thing FOR? I’m so glad you asked! The design intention is to keep grit, grime, bugs, small children, and anything else that may come in contact with your lower leg (most often by way of your chain or chainring) from getting your snazzy work clothes all dirty. With the exception of the small children (they can get anything dirty no matter what you do), it works exactly as intended – over several commutes and rides around town, my pants didn’t get a single smudge on them. So far so good!

Unfortunately, however, the Leg Shield doesn’t do so well in other categories, like comfort and (personal opinion here) not looking like you’ve been recently injured and are riding a bike against doctor’s orders. The photos will make my case (or not) on the style, so I’ll talk about comfort.

The Inner View

First thing you need to know: this is made of neoprene – the same stuff used for wetsuits, laptop sleeves, and those fancy bags to carry wine around in. One of the properties of neoprene is that it is insulating: it keeps hot things hot and cold things cold. In the case of someone riding a bike, this means that on cold days the lower half of your right leg will LOVE the Leg Shield – it’s nice and toasty (your left leg may be jealous, but that’s not the right leg’s problem!). On warm days (which I’ve through trial and error determined to mean “over 60 degrees”) it will cause your leg to sweat, which in turn means your pants leg will get damp, which will make it wrinkled… which kinda defeats the purpose of protecting your pants, since instead of looking grimy they now look like you forgot to wash them. Depending on your pants material, this could happen even without sweating, since of necessity you have to bundle the pants leg under the Leg Shield.

So… in the end, I can’t really recommend the Leg Shield for everyday use – particularly in warmer climates. Does it keep grease off? Absolutely. However, I kept finding myself thinking wistfully of either a simple velcro strap (like this) or a chaincase. Failing that, I’d at least like a material option of something vaguely breathable.

Friday Musings: Leaving Things at Home

I swear I've got better style

Everyone leaves stuff at home sometimes – their lunch, their wallet, their jacket, etc. Us bike commuters are special though, because – especially if we change at work – we have the option of leaving even more things at home!

For example… yesterday I forgot to pack a pair of work socks, and spent all day wearing bright white/red socks with my dress pants and shoes. I usually keep a spare pair of socks at the office for situations like these… but had already used them on another forgetful day.

I’ve frequently forgotten to bring my bike lock or the keys to my bike lock. A few months ago, I did this in reverse… arrived at work only to discover I had taken both sets of house keys AND the car keys… and my wife needed the car keys! I had a nicely doubled commute that morning… and a workday that started closer to 10:00 than the usual 8:00.

And for the worst thing I’ve left at home… last year, I took out my change of clothes only to discover I’d forgotten to bring underwear! And let me tell you… padded bike shorts under dress pants are not particularly comfortable. Fortunately my wife was coming close by on some errands and (once she stopped laughing at me, which took a lot longer than I’d have liked) she agreed to drop by with the necessary item.

So, fellow bike commuters… am I the only forgetful one here, or have some of you done similar things? What were the consequences?

So why aren’t more people doing it?

On Monday I read this article (and what an appropriate post for Green Tuesday):

Bicycle Commuting is green, healthy and cheap — so why don’t more people do it?

It’s May, which means it’s Bicycle Month. Cities and cycling clubs around the country are promoting bicycle riding by sponsoring group rides and bike commuter events , culminating around Bike to Work Day on May 21. But the presence on the American calendar of a designated month to encourage bicycle transportation underscores the fact that most people in this nation get around by driving cars, not by riding bikes.

Public transit and bicycle commuting are gaining ridership, but it is estimated that only 0.05 percent of Americans use a bike as their primary means of transportation — even though 40 percent of our daily trips and errands require less than 2 miles of travel, according to the National Household Transportation Survey. Continue reading full article

In March I had the pleasure of meeting Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists, and Chris Phelan, founder of the Ride of Silence, at the Michigan Bicycle Summit.
andy clarke and chris phelan
Both men had valuable insights about safe riding to share with the group.

What’s your response to get more people on bikes? I think the answer is that more and more people ARE riding bikes, commuting by bike and rediscovering the joy and functionality of the bicycle! THe League of American Bicyclists’ report on Bicycle Commuting Trends shows the increase since 2000. But, I also think that the infrastructure – and road sharing – has lots of catching up to do to truly make the roads “complete streets” and safe for all users… so that every month and every day is bike to work day!

Fall Launched last night in Chicago with De Fietsfabriek and Po Campo Party!

My commute home last night amidst the cool 50 degree weather included the perfect detour for a warm up – a stop at the De Fietsfabriek and Po Campo fall launch party! The De Fietsfabriek storefront is located along my daily route, so my biking buddy and I just pulled over and walked in to join a great party on the way home.

Bikes outside the shop beckoned to us

And inside, the accessories and bikes on display welcomed us

We even met up with Dottie (and Mr. Dottie) from Let’s Go Ride A Bike.

All hosts (from left to right – Co-Founder Maria of Po Campo, Jon of De Fietsfabriek, and Alex of West Town Bikes) agree the night brought an impressive turnout and a great show of support

According to Jon of De Fietsfabriek, “By all accounts it was a great night, turnout was better than expected and everyone had a great time. Reactions to the new bags and bikes were extremely positive and a lot of great conversation and catching up amongst the Chicago biking community was going on. Sales were pretty good and we’re happy to be able to pass 10% of the proceeds to support WTB.”

Fall Launches in Chicago with De Fietsfabriek and Po Campo Party!

It’s that time of year — fall — and the weather reflects the season. I woke up today to 30+ mph wind gusts and temperatures in the 50s (after mid-70s yesterday)! But to help warm up the fall commuting season, two Chicago-based cycling companies are teaming up to launch their new fall lines this Wednesday, September 30! RSVP to attend this free event.

De Fietsfabriek Dutch bikes and Po Campo stylish bags bring functionality and style to commuter cycling. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the founders of each of these companies and even sampling their products. In fact, at Chicago’s Bike Commuter Challenge awards luncheon, I won a Po Campo rack bag in a raffle. Best of all – 10% of all accessory sales – including Po Campo’s new fall line – will be donated to the educational non-profit West Town Bikes. (Reviews on the bag and the bikes to come soon!)

po campo
pink oma

Now for the party details:

De Fietsfabriek and Po Campo have joined forces to celebrate their new wares, available just in time for the choicest of all Chicago biking seasons – fall! We’ll have our newest products on hand for you to check out and some light food and drinks.
We are pleased to welcome De Fietsfabriek’s newest shipment of bikes from Holland to their new home. All new styles in all new colors means that there’s probably one just perfect for you and your family.
Po Campo, Chicago’s own stylish yet highly functional bike bag company, is thrilled to roll out its fall line, which features their popular handlebar bag and rack bag in all new, limited-edition fall fabrics.
Plus, we’ll be donating 10% of all accessory sales – including Po Campo’s new fall line – to West Town Bikes. WTB’s overreaching goal is to promote bicycling in the city of Chicago, to educate youth with a focus on underserved populations, and to foster and serve Chicago’s growing bicycling community. We’re happy to help them with their worthy cause!

Hope to see you Wednesday at the party!