BikeCommuters.com

Tag Archive: commuter

Review: Velo Transit Module 25 Women’s backpack

We here at BikeCommuters.com have been busy reviewing some Velo Transit – waterproof packs and panniers – all Made in Seattle. As you may have seen, our writer Matt reviewed another of the Velo Transit – waterproof backpacks and the Velo Transit Metro 20 Pannier. Velo Transit also makes women specific packs and sent me a women’s Module 25 Waterproof Commuter Backpack to review; they sent me a size ‘small’ in orange.

Per their site, the specs on this women’s specific waterproof bicycle commuter backpack are as follows:

Module 25 has been significantly upgraded for 2012. We improved access with the new “Slick” Roll-Top, making it easier to get in and out without compromising waterproofness. All day comfort is guaranteed with improvements made to both the 3D Mesh back panel and ergonomic shoulder pads.

Like the 2011 version, this is the base unit of a modular bike pack. Various attachment pockets and accessories let you outfit the Module 25 for your needs and wishes. Look for these accessories to be rolled out over the coming months.

Bike specific features, like blinker mounts, reflective tape and a lock pocket are standard on the Module backpack.

This Slick Roll-Top Pack has an RF-welded liner, giving it the STORM-PROOF seal.

A 3D Mesh-lined back panel helps to dissipate sweat and along with an HDPE Frame sheet to maintain its shape and stability under load.

The Front U-Lock/ Zippered Stash Pocket gives you quick and easy access to your lock and supplies.

We are sure this will be the most comfortable and useful waterproof backpack you have ever owned.

This commuter backpack retails for $159.95 – midrange between their panniers and their urban backpack line.

Velo Transit lists the Module 25 as one of their three waterproof packs and panniers in their women’s specific line-up.

I asked the folks at Velo Transit what the difference was between the Module 25 and the Module 25 Lite bags and they responded:

“The Module Lite 25 does not have the side pocket attachment system and the D-Ring attachment points for accessory front lash straps.”

For this review they sent me this pack with the optional mesh side pocket already attached – very useful for stashing items on the fly.

Accessory Mesh side pocket

I’ve been rolling around town with this pack intermittently over the past few months and can honestly say that I like it. Despite it’s overwhelming size (even the small seemed too big for me), its voluminous capacity and ease of carrying made it a winner. For me, the width of the bag at the shoulders sometimes obscured my view when I would try to glance over my shoulder; this only occurred when I did fully load this pack. (It can haul a lot!)

Velo Transit Women's Module 25 Specs

Me with the Module 25 Backpack

Side-by-side with a pannier, this backpack has about the same hauling capacity:

Module 25 & pannier

Plus, a messenger riding in the opposite direction one morning hollered at me “Nice backpack!” (“Thanks!” as I pedaled on with a smile on my face)

For me, I appreciated the bright orange color of this pack and the reflective accents and blinker mounts (yes – multiple attachments available). This pack does come in eight different colors – so there should be a color to suit nearly everyone’s preferences (if neon orange isn’t your thing).

Reflective tabs on pack

I also liked the sleek profile of this pack. Despite its ability to carry a lot, the weight remains evenly distributed and I never felt like I was carrying too much or unbalanced. With normal backpacks I’ve used in the past, I felt like the bag just kept expanding outward…causing awkward carrying issues and shoulder pains. I was able to travel light with this pack OR load it up without any weight distribution issues. On a few occasions, I enjoyed stopping by the market on the way home for a few items without worrying about having enough space for my goods.

Profile view of the Module 25 backpack

The front zippered “stash pocket” is a great place for a U-Lock and other necessities you might need to grab on the go.

Stash front pocket

And the mesh padded back and straps further eased carrying a load and limited sweating.

Module 25 backpack straps

Best part about this Velo Transit waterproof backpack? It’s actually waterproof! (at least it was for the few times I was out in the rain with it). I used it in the rain on a day when I carried my laptop in it and the interior remained bone dry. The liner is a bright yellow – which also makes it easier to find your stuff – and it’s described as “stormproof”.

"Stormproof" Interior of Module 25

The top of this backpack rolls closed and cinches tight – so there are no seams for water to sneak in. The water just beads up on the fabric.

Beads of water on the roll-top closure

I was skeptical of riding with another backpack, after suffering from neck/shoulder pain for the past several years. This backpack never me feel like I was carrying a load and never caused me any pain. There were some days I chose to ride with this pack instead of a pannier just for the ease of on/off bike mobility with the pack.

Bottom line: the Velo Transit Module 25 is a quality backpack that can rival the carrying capacity of a pannier and is waterproof too. It gets my vote.

My only suggestion – consider offering an even smaller size pack for the “light” travel days.

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

Commuter Profile: Danny Abalos

Howdy Bike Commuters… We put out a call to arms for Commuter Profiles back in the day, and we had some lukewarm responses.  Since none of the velo monsters who initially emailed us have responded with a completed questionnaire, I have decided to cajole my friend Danny from NYC into submitting his Commuter Profile!  We hope the photos inspire you to share your commuter profile story too.  Get ready for more silly sarcasm and major hipster points… without further ado, Danny Abalos’ 15 minutes of Bike Commuter Internet fame:

Danny Abalos and his red single speed Schwinn in a white spaceship (a.k.a. his office)

Name: Danny Abalos


How long have you been a bike commuter?

5 years since college + 5 years at college before that. So, 10 years!

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

I hail from California, but I hate driving and traffic, so I got a job in NYC which is super bike friendly and it’s totally extra hipster points when you ride your bike everywhere. The subway is cool too, but bikes rule. My ride to work is a pretty easy 3 or 4 miles of  the beautiful bike lane-lined Brooklyn waterfront.  It only takes about 20 minutes, allowing me to get to work only 20 minutes late every day!

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

I already mentioned the extra hipster points right? So you can assume that I have five hundred friends on facebook because I ride a bike.  Also I never buy an unlimited metro card because they are lame, so I save about a hundred dollars per month to spend on things like… not gas.

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

I work at an Architecture firm in New York City.

What kind(s) of bike do you have?

I have a lovely minimal shiny red single speed Schwinn with an awesome “ratio” that I know nothing about.  Editor’s side bar: one time Danny g-chatted me telling me the story of how some guys were admiring his bike on the way to work, and they kept asking him what his ratio was.  I told him they meant his GEAR ratio, but that I also did not know an easy way to answer the question! HA.

The red single-speed Shwinn with street cred and something about "ratios"

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

Sure, but it’s more of a photo thing. I see lots of public art (or maybe it’s wannabe graffiti) during my commute that is pretty cool!  Plus, check out the dope view of the city I get twice a day over the Pulanski Bridge as I ride from Long Island City to Brooklyn to and from work.

Clever stencil...

Does this count as public art?

Along the bike path.

More art on the bike path.

Scenic Waterfront views.

What do people (coworkers, friends) say when you tell them that you are a bike commuter?

Nobody is phased, come on this is Brooklyn!  Honestly though, I’m just a regular guy like everybody else.

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

I try to get my friends to bike everywhere by saying that we are in a bike gang, but I still don’t have a name for it yet.  Editor’s side bar: this is actually true and not sarcasm.  Our other friend, Justin, was bummed that he doesn’t have a bike yet so he can’t join the unnamed architecture bike gang.

Anything else that you want to share with us?

Sure, check out my ghetto fender I made out of an aluminum foil box today cuz the roads were a little moist in the pictures over there.

Danny's bike on the way into town- check out the killer view (I'm obviously talking about the view of his Aluminum foil box "fender"!)

Thanks for sharing, Danny… All the readers out there must be jealous of your separated bike path and green painted bike lanes – I know I AM!  So, if there are any other Cycle Ladies and Gents interested in submitting their commuter profiles, please email us at info{at}bikecommuters{dot}com.  It’s so easy and fun, even Danny can do it.

Friday Musings – Women on Bikes are Just Plain HOT.

That’s right!  I said it!  Women on bikes are just plain hot.

From Milwaukee Pedal Pushers via FYGB.

Now, before anyone gets on their feminist high-horse (or double-tall feminist high-bike) please note that this article is mere speculation, meant to entertain and bubble up chittah-chattah, as part of our Friday Musings series.  I was talking with my local Cycle Lady coworkers and amigas about bike dates, bike friends, or just saying “hello” to others during your commute! I remembered an article that RL once posted a while back about meeting singles while bike commuting around town… While we still weren’t too sure about the direct correlation between a girl on a bike pedaling off to work and scoring a date on the way, we all agreed that being a woman on a bike just might be the easiest form of everyday bike advocacy!  Because if you’ve ever seen a Cycle Lady on her way to work, campus, the grocery store, the county prison or the junkyard, you’ll have to admit that women on bikes are just fan-fracking-tastic.

I don't crash my tall bike accidentally

Thanks to Dingo Dizmal's flickr stream

Whether you’re a Cycle Lady donning a bright yellow safety vest or cruising in a workdress, women with pedal power are sexy and exotic like the such-n-such orchid that blooms only once every three years and smells like rotting flesh!  (Hmm, somehow that simile didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped.)

What is it about a woman on a bike that just makes cycling to work that. much. better?!  I’ve seen some Red Hot Ladies around time that are KILLING IT up Tantalus and they just make my day.  And these ladies are hitting their 60s, putting young bucks to shame on a daily basis.

At this year’s national Bike Summit in Wash D.C., the buzz was all about women as the key to growing transportation cycling.  Apparently, the hypothesis is that the number of women on bikes is a measure of success for a city’s cycling culture.

I always tell my single friends in search of a mates or new buddies a surefire way to meet some new people would be to get on a bike!  (And that goes for Cycle Ladies and Gents.)  Trading tips with the other bike commuters at your job, or starting up a convo with the homie locking up their ride at the bike racks… there’s just something about riding bikes that’s so fun it’s contagious!  At least in the cities where I’ve commuted (San Luis Obispo, CA; Seattle, WA; and Honolulu, HI) I’ve felt an automatic sense of belonging when you pass another bike commuter in town… that little nod to the cyclist heading in the opposite direction, checking out each others rides or maguyver rack set ups, and high-fiving at red lights.  You know what I’m sayin’?

Women on Bikes - exotic and beautiful like the rare "corpse flower"

And I’m not just talking about the Mary Poppins Effect – where all girls in skirts on upright dutch bikes get more respect in the road.  No matter what kind of bike you ride, what you’re wearing, or how old you are, I’d like to go on the record to say that all women on bikes are HOT.  Don’t you agree, lovely readers?  So, let’s celebrate this unique group of individuals (the minority’s minority in the world of commuting) with some spicy photos!

From Dmackintosh Flickr stream - Roadie!

From Chicks on Bikes - Summertime BMX and sandals.

Cycling Taiwan - Day 5

Mamachari style bikes are HOT in Taiwan!

Marilyn Monroe - Keepin it real on two wheels!

Too much FUN - cruiser with a surf rack

Amendment! I've received a personal request from friends to post a photo of the RED HOT LADIES of HNL

Hipster pin-up status

And for all you mntbikeRiders - making spandex look GOOD.

Whew! That’s enough hot mamas on bikes for me for one weekend.  Catch you later, cycle gators!

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.

Confessions: Wish I Were a Bike Messenger!

Okay, okay… you caught me!  Daydreaming AGAIN on my way to work.  I wouldn’t consider myself a particularly fast, sneaky, or agile bike commuter (and by fast I mean speedy, Cycle Ladies and Gents), but the commute through shady downtown where bikes are faster than cars is often the best part of my day!  And although I’m not the archetype (I am an archiTECT, does that count?) of the tattooed, pierced, just don’t give a crap, badass hipster with an iphone type, I have a confession to make:  Sometimes I wish I were a BIKE MESSENGER.

Maybe not Third Rock from the Sun status bike messenger, or Robin “Lost Without You”  Thicke stunt messenger status because – let’s be honest – I would be as fast as an old lady crossing the street with a wire wheely cart full of ong choi and daikon radishes.  And who would hire a messenger who gets the package to its destination as-soon-as-I-feel-like-it instead of ASAP?  Plus, obeying traffic signals, using brakes, multiple speeds, and not smashing car mirrors with a gi-huge chain fist could be considered weaknesses in my resume.  Not everybody can rock the aerospoke/turquoise Bianchi look:

My buddy Sau used to bike message. Now he is the coordinator for non-profit KVIBE - building bikes with young'uns in Kalihi!

But you gotta admit, hasn’t the thought crossed your mind when you are pedaling through downtown or the financial district…?  How fun would it be to ride all day/every day!  If only I could get paid to cruise on the Bumblebee from 9-5 instead of sitting in the same position for 8 hours a day like an office cheetah.

Office Cheetah - we're out of staples.

Anyway, who knows – maybe one day I’ll start my own bike messenger freelancing organic raw vegan cooperative called SlowBike!  My slogan could be “It’ll get there, when I feel like it.”  A girl can dream, can’t she?