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Tag Archive: commtue by bike

Fyxation Loop EVA Bar Tape-Review

A few months ago Fyxation sent us a package of Loop EVA Bar Tape to test out. I’ve installed this on my Soma Fabrications Double Cross DC cyclocross bike.

After a few hundred miles of riding, I figured I’d show off the condition of the tape. Below is a photo taken during one of my CX bike rides through the Fullerton Loop of Fullerton, Ca. This shows you that there has been no tearing, slipping, or fading in color.
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Specs:

LOOP EVA BAR TAPE
Inspired by the famous loop in downtown Chicago our Loop EVA foam bar tape offers a great blend of comfort and grip. Avaiable in 5 colors, Loop bar tape lets you customize your ride with other matching Fyxation gear.
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SPECS
– Material: EVA foam with adhesive backing
– Includes 2 rolls of ape, end plugs and end tape
– Available in black, white, orange, green and pink
Price $13.95

The bar tape is easy to install and very comfortable. It wasn’t too thick for my hands and it did a great job in absorbing some trail chatter.

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One of the things that stood out to me was the tape’s adhesive backing. When I first installed the tape, I was using a pair of brake levers that I really didn’t like. I eventually replaced them and thought that if I removed and reinstalled the tape, it wouldn’t be sticky enough to stay put. Well after 3 times of removing and resinstalling, I was pleased to see that the tape stayed in place, it never shifted or slipped. Fyxation also provides you color choices; Black, White, Pink, Green and Orange. I’m a big fan of Pink, and I think pink tape would have looked killer on my bars.

Overall, would I recommend the Fyxation Loop EVA Bar Tape? Yes I would. The quality, durability, low price and color choices make it a great product for any bike commuter to use.

FTC Disclaimer

Not your average commuter bike

For those of you who are weekend warriors, or bike commuting athletes, do you use your “race bikes” to commute with? Take for example this beautiful machine; it’s the Ridley Dean RS.
RID Dean RS
The intended use for this bicycle would be triathlons, and time trials. But I know a person who uses it to commute with. His reasoning for using the bike, “I want to be comfortable on this bike in any riding condition.” He’s taken it to work, the grocery store and for beer runs.

I actually had the same type of mentality when it came to my downhill bike, though it was cumbersome to pedal around. I made sure I rode it as much as I can on the street just to make sure I was familiar with the bike in every way possible.

I can only assume there are some of you out there that do this type of riding. Maybe you don’t do it all the time, but at least a few days a week? Perhaps the whole race bike as your commuter just isn’t for you. For the longest time, my daughter and I used our tandem to commute to and from school. We even used it for mountain biking.

What about you? Do you use a commuter bike, that is somewhat unique like the Ridley Dean RS, a unicycle or even a tricycle?

**By the way, if you plan on using your race bikes or any bike for that matter, make sure you have a decent lock with you. There are some lock brands out there that have some sort of anti-theft guarantee up to a certain dollar amount.

My conversation with a Cop about bikes, traffic and safety tips

The other day I was having coffee with one of my friends who happens to be an Officer with a very large metropolitan police department. We’ll call him “Officer Ben.”I had some questions for him regarding laws that apply to bicyclists as well as safety tips. I figured he’d be a great source for this info since he’s on the streets. Some of the items listed below are things you might get a ticket for or suggestions on keeping you safe while riding.

1. Don’t ride the opposite direction of traffic.


2. Front head light.
This must be at least 300 feet visible. Rear red light that is visible at 500 feet.
-Reflectors are not sufficient
-Wear reflective clothing or high-visibility vests/shirts. Don’t wear dark clothing when riding at night.
-Pedals must have yellow, wheels/spokes with white, rear red and white front reflectors.
-Officer Ben recommends blinking lights to make you more visible to cars on the road.

3. Brakes
-All bicycles MUST have some sort of braking system. Fixie riders, if a cop pulls you over and your bike does not have some sort of brake setup, you will get a ticket. The argument that you can stop the bike with your legs or skip stopping will not fly.

4. Tall Bikes-As a bicyclist, you must be able to come to a stop and put one foot down.

5. Cell phone
-Remember, a bicycle is considered a “vehicle” and if you’re caught on your phone, it will yield the same fees as if you were driving a car while on the phone.

6. Traffic violations
-If you don’t stop at red lights, stop signs, erratic lane changes or any thing that shows you broke a law, a cop will pull you over.

7. Hand signals
-Remember to use your hand signals. A cop can pull you over if you aren’t using them. I may add that if you’re riding your bike, you make a lane change or turn and you don’t use the signals, which causes a car to swerve from hitting you, you could be cited.

8. Stereo
-If you’re one of those riders that like to blast their stereo while riding a bike and the noise volume can be heard 50 feet away, you can be cited.

9. Riding on the sidewalk without “due care.”
In California a law recently passed where it is permissible for a bicyclist to ride on the sidewalk with due care. This means if conditions on the street is unsafe to ride a bike, the person can use the sidewalk, but they have to be careful and be mindful of the people on it. You can’t be doing sprints on the sidewalk while there are hundreds of people walking on it.

10. Hands-You have to at least have ONE HAND on the handlebar at all times.


11. If a cop sees you’ve got a gun, you will be pulled over.


12. Look suspicious
-If you or your bike fits a description of a crime, you will be stopped.

13. Record your bike’s serial numbers.


14. Have pictures of you with your bike on your cell phone.
Have serial number(s) of your bikes on your phone.

15. Carry pepper spray on you or on your bike…you never know!


16. Have the number to PD’s Dispatch Department for each city you are commuting through on your cell phone.


17. Headphones
-If you have both ear buds in, you will get stopped. Best thing to do is either not ride with it or just have one ear bud on. It’s important that you hear emergency vehicles approaching.

18. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Be cautious.


19. Don’t start fights. It’s not worth it.


20. Don’t do anything stupid.

Well there you have it a list of 20 different things to help you avoid getting tickets and keeping you safe. I’d like to thank Officer Ben for taking the time to talk with us. Keep in mind, quite a bit of the things we mentioned has much to do with the individual Officer that pulls you over. Your attitude will also make a difference. I also have to mention, laws in each city and state are different. Some of the things I mentioned here could be totally legal in your city/state and vice versa. It pays to become familiar with the applicable laws in your locale — most are available online through your city’s/state’s government website. Be safe out there!

Lube it or Lose it

I had a chance to hang out with Mike Kaelon, who handles Rockshox Service, as well as Quality Control and Research/Development for KHS Bicycles. We got to talking about chain lube. Check out what he had to say…

Mike Kaelon (left), Vince Calvillo (right)
KHS Visit 2011

BC: Which type of lube is best for chains?

Mike:As long as they are used regularly, most lubes work great. The only exceptions that I’ve seen are wax-based lubes, like White Lightning. Those will work OK, but you really have to work at keeping the wax from building up on the outside of the chain, which can prevent any new lube from getting inside the links. If you use wax lubes like most people do, which is to just apply the lube and forget it (which is why most people use those lubes, because it doesn’t get dirty), the wax starts to build up, and eventually all you end up doing is putting new lube on top of the old build up, instead of getting it worked down inside the links.


BC:Is there a brand you prefer?

Mike:I prefer lighter lubes for most road and dry off-road conditions. I usually use TriFlow, mainly because its cheap, and it also works really well for cables. Other chain lubes don’t work as well on cables, so its just more convenient for me to have one bottle that does both. For wet/muddy conditions, I like thicker lubes that stick to the chain better, and form a barrier that helps to prevent water from getting inside the chain. Finish Line Wet works really well, but most “wet” or “extreme condition” lubes work just as well. Those also work well for dry conditions (and actually make the chain run quieter), but tend to attract more dust, so your chain may get dirtier. So I prefer to match the lube to the day’s expected riding conditions.

BC:How often should we lube our chain and how often should we clean/degrease our drive train?

Mike: For road, I lube my chain every 100 miles or so, while for off-road I lube it every single ride. The best method is to first wipe the chain down, and get it as clean as possible just using a rag. Then put a drop of lube on each link, then spin the crank backwards a few revolutions to work the lube in, then wipe the chain down. If the chain was really dirty, I’ll do this a few times. Its best to do this after a ride, rather than right before a ride, as that will give the lube a chance to flow into all the gaps in the links, and excess can run out. Then before the ride, wipe down the outside of the chain to get rid of any excess. If you do this regularly, the chain never really gets too dirty or gunked up, and removing the chain to clean it, or having to use solvents isn’t necessary. In fact, many of the chain manufacturers recommend never removing the chain to clean it, and to never use strong solvents. Most chain lubes have mild solvents in them, and can be used to clean the chain if it isn’t too gunked up. Nothing except chain lube ever touches any of my chains, and even when they’re almost worn out, they’re almost as clean and shiny as when they were brand new.

BC: What are your thoughts on WD40? Should that be used for chain lube?

Mike: WD40 actually isn’t a lube, its a solvent, and breaks down lube (The “WD” stands for “Water Displacement”). Its best used for cleaning up really dirty chains, but its best to never let the chain get that bad in the first place. If you do use it to clean up a dirty chain, you should immediately use a real chain lube to finish the job. Instead of WD40, I prefer to use TriFlow in a spray can, and spray it onto a rag until its soaked, and use that to clean up the chain. That works almost as well as a regular solvent, but lubes the chain at the same time as it cleans it, instead of removing all the lube.

First Commute of the Year

I’m not much for New Year’s Resolutions, but one thing I did promise my self was making sure I rode my bike more than I did last year. My first commute of the year will be tomorrow to my office. I’m really looking forward to it and take all the steps to prepare my stuff for my maiden voyage.

1. Charge battery pack for lights
2. Have change of clothes picked out
3. Check over my bike and make sure its in good working order.
4. Pack tube, pump and water bottle
5. Get all my hygiene stuff packed
6. Set my alarm!

So that’s about it, I’m thinking of getting into this wool stuff that Russ Roca so avidly supports. I also like the classy/vintage style commuter bikes that I’m seeing more through people’s comments and emails that we get. I may just have to slowly convert one of the bikes into something that sorta accentuates the Russ Roca-ish style of bikes. I’ll start off by saving up for a Brooks saddle…

Wish me luck!