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Do Bike Commuters Really Need First Aid Kits?

We generally accept that it is simply good sense for mountain bikers and competitive cyclists to carry a basic first aid kit attached to their bike frames. But what about commuters?

Do people whose primary cycling activity is commuting on a daily basis really need to have a first aid kit on hand? No. No one absolutely has to carry a first aid kit. But it is still the smart thing to do.

Accidents do happen. Bike commuters hit the streets every single day just assuming they will get where they are going safely. Most do, but most are not equal to all. Every single day cyclists are injured on their way to wherever. Those whose bikes are equipped with basic first aid kits tend to be better prepared when those injuries do occur.

What Is in a Good First Aid Kit?

Assembling a good first aid kit is not hard. If you don’t want to do one yourself, there are plenty of top-rated UK approved first aid kits available for sale online. The point is to buy a kit you always take with you on your bike. A good first aid kit contains the following:

  • Wound pads
  • First-aid packets
  • Gauze bandages
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Plaster strips
  • Tube bandages
  • Dressing bandages
  • Tweezers and scissors
  • Rescue blanket.

A first aid kit is not meant to carry everything you might need to handle a serious trauma incident. First aid supplies are intended to temporarily treat things like abrasions, lacerations, insect bites, and broken bones.

What Should the Carrying Case Look Like?

You are going to need something to carry all of your first aid supplies in. Perhaps the best way to go is a waterproof nylon or canvas bag. Both materials will do an adequate job of protecting your supplies while still remaining fairly lightweight and flexible.

If nylon or canvas is not your thing, consider parachute fabric or even a hard-plastic shell. Whatever you choose, it is going to have to be mounted on your bike frame with some sort of bracket or hooks. Keep that in mind as you shop around.

Does It Have To Be Waterproof?

It is not absolutely necessary that your first aid bag be waterproof, but why would you choose something that isn’t? Using a bag that is not waterproof is just inviting trouble. A heavy rain shower could soak all of your bandages and render them useless. Water inside your first aid kit could cause scissors and tweezers to rust. Nothing good can come of choosing a bag that isn’t waterproof.

Why the Rescue Blanket?

Nearly every commercially available first aid kit includes a rescue blanket that may appear as nothing more than a thin piece of fabric covered with aluminium foil. Also known as space blankets due to their association with space travel, rescue blankets serve a vital purpose in first aid scenarios. It is all about something known as shock.

In the aftermath of an accident – even a minor accident – the body can go into shock. The medical condition known as shock is one in which the body attempts to preserve internal organs by reducing blood flow to the skin. This is not good in that it prevents the body from maintaining its proper temperature.

A rescue blanket helps keep an injured person warm. As such, it is a life-saving piece of kit that should be in every first aid bag.

How Often Should My Kit Be Restocked?

You may put together a bike commuter’s first aid kit and never use it. Hopefully, that’s the case. It is better to spend money on first aid supplies you will never use than to be caught unprepared without them. At any rate, your kit should be restocked every time you use it. You should also check your supplies every few months to ensure their integrity. Any items that no longer appear up to the task should be replaced.

Is There Anything Else I Need to Know?

Keeping a basic first aid kit on board your bike is a smart idea. If you do not mind adding a little bit of extra weight, consider stocking your kit with a few additional items not listed here. These might include splints, eye wash, burn cream, and an antibiotic ointment. The more prepared you are, the more effective your first aid kit will be.

One last thing to note is that it’s wise to have a basic understanding of first aid procedures. In other words, knowing how to use your kit appropriately is smart. You can take first aid classes in your local community, perhaps even free of charge in some cases. The combination of the right first aid supplies and a solid understanding of first aid procedures could someday prove invaluable.

Can Bikes Really Innovate More?

Can Bikes Really Innovate More?

Riding a bike is referenced as an example in a saying that signifies skills you don’t forget once you’ve learned – it is that popular. Riding a bike is an amazing way to get places… it’s a great workout; easy to park and go; cheaper than most other forms of transportation; and let’s face it, way more fun than riding the bus. It is also perfect for the environment as no exhaust is involved!

With the advances we see every day with every little item we use in our lives, bikes are no exception. Innovation never sleeps, and in this article we will take a look at some of the most advances biking technologies that are being developed right now.

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Smart bikes

With the reign of electric and solar cars, smart bicycles are also becoming a thing of the now. Smart bikes or e-bikes might look like regular bicycles, but they come with a small electric engine powered by a rechargeable battery. In addition to the convenience of getting a muscle and cardio workout on the go, commuting with electric bikes is made even more convenient as many models now come with features that allow for smartphone integration.

E-bike locks

Landing the perfect lock to go with your trusty bicycle can be tricky, since there are loads to choose from. Needless to say, making the wrong lock decision can have some awful consequences. You will want to pick a lock (pun intended) that’s both secure enough to protect your bike, and easy enough to use on a daily basis. With smart bikes on the market, we now observe innovation in locks, away from the standard bike lock with heavy chains and clumsy designs. The market now offers futuristic locks operated through protected wireless features; a point for ease, efficiency and security.

e-bike locks

Anti-theft features

In addition to e-locks, bikes today come complete with various anti-theft features for your peace of mind. From sirens and alarms to theft indicator maps, your security options are anything but scarce. And with the ongoing advancements in the realm of digital features, bikes just get smarter; many smart bikes today are equipped with GPS or other forms of invisible tracking devices for theft incidents.

Customization

Finding the perfect bike with the right frame size is a dream come true; not only are bikes available in different shapes and sizes, but many manufacturers now offer a customization service for the perfect biking experience. We seem to live in a brave new world of frame design, and the industry is booming as bike builders are creating custom rides to fit their clients’ preferences, needs, and body types.

Choosing a bicycle for transportation is a great idea for many reasons; fitness, cost, convenience, and the planet! But before you make your purchase, you must identify your individual needs and what you want out of your bike. Industry innovations offers a plenty of options to choose from, from smart bikes to advanced security features and customization. Choosing your next bike may not be as simple as it was in the past, but if the your requirements are met, it will make your life that much easier for years to come.

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So I bought a bike from Amazon

Hello Bike Commuters! It has been a while since I posted, but things have changed quite a bit. Unfortunately I am no longer doing the Bike-Train commute thing, I am really bummed about that. I used to take the train so I would avoid spending up to an hour and a half stuck in traffic but now I have a carpool buddy and that has reduced my commute time to about 40 minutes.

This meant that I no longer needed my Giant Expressway folding bike so it was sold to a person who travels by plane and needed a bike to get around town. I gave “Gravel” riding a try with my old 26″ Hard tail mountain bike but I was not able to keep up with riders with fancy Gravel/CX bikes and 29rs. New Gravel/Adventure bikes start about $900 so I started perusing Craigslist to see if I could score a cheap gravel bike.

CL-Preston

And there it was…. a Raleigh Bikes Preston Classic City Bike, a vintage looking bike with modern parts and a copper finished handlebar! So I started searching for a local bike shop that may have it in stock -No Dice. I noticed that Raleigh was selling this bike in Amazon.com for about $395 (cheaper than their own site and around the same price as a used one). I did not buy it right away, my budget was about $200 so it was over my budget.

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Amazon does this thing that if you leave an item in your cart it will tell you if an item has gone down or up in price if when you go back to your cart. I checked my cart periodically and lo and behold the Raleigh Preston was selling for $295! That was still $95 over my budget but I remembered that I had an Amazon gift card and points accumulated on a credit card. I went ahead and pulled the trigger, the gravel bike will wait.

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I also purchased a few accessories for the bike such as the a leather tool bag by Projekt Bikes, the Retro Front Vintage Bike Light,

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and the Portland Design Works Sparrow Cage, Copper

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So how was the Amazon experience? The bike arrived 3 days after I purchased it and assembling the bike with the tools that Raleigh provided was a breeze. You don’t have to be a bike mechanic to assemble this bike so save yourself the $80 assembly fee if you consider purchasing a Raleigh bike from Amazon. The only thing that was disappointing was that the bike arrived a little scratched up, this is not Amazon’s fault but if the Raleigh folks are reading this; please put extra padding on the top tube!!!

So far I’ve done errands on this bike and it gets a lot of looks and thumbs up, I can’t wait to take this bike to the beach!

Flowfold Optimist Limited Mini Backpack review

Hello Bike Commuters! Happy “Bike to work month-week-day”! So to celebrate we have a review of a neat little backpack from Flowfold. This backpack is designed for people who do not have to carry an entire storage unit worth of stuff and it caught my interest because I like doing errands on my folding bike and short hikes.

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Let’s start with the features of the Optimimist Limited Mini Backpack:

-Made in USA
-Water resistant mini backpack
-Durable and lightweight outdoor materials
-Lifetime Warranty
-10L capacity
-Different colors

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Although the backpack seems small, I was always able to fit everything I needed for my hikes and errands. I easily carried 2 water bottles, an extra shirt, phone, wallet and energy bars. The mini backpack was very comfortable to carry around and it was very practical.

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We also tested its water resistance; my daughter used it on a rare rainy day when we headed to Downtown LA’s famous Santee Alleys. Although it was not a downpour, all the contents inside the backpack remained dry.

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The backpack is also perfect to run errands; I usually go to the post office every weekend to retrieve my mail and it works as intended. I also ride to the local market to get small stuff such as bread or “cold drinks” which fit perfectly.

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We absolutely love this mini backpack, and I mean “we” as my daughter, wife and myself use it very often. I think that $79 is a good price for a high quality American made product, I totally recommend it.

To see the other colors or purchase the bag; visit Flowfold’s site at www.flowfold.com

Flowfold Vanguard Limited Billfold Wallet review

Hello Bike Commuters! As I posted before, the nice people from Flowfold sent us some items for us to review. I specifically asked for the minimalist backpack but they sent us their wallets to review as well.

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When I first saw the Vanguard Limited wallet, I thought that I was only going to be using this wallet for my road or mountain bike rides. The slim design fits perfectly inside my rear jersey pockets as well as the front pockets of my riding shorts.

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What I did not expect was for this wallet to become my “daily” wallet. I like to carry a lot of stuff inside my wallet making it quite bulky so I thought that the Vanguard limited wallet is way too minimalist for my “needs”.

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I know that saying that this wallet is a “life changer” maybe too dramatic but this has been true in my case. How so? Well, since I had to shed quite a bit of stuff from my old wallet, I settled on carrying the following items on the Vanguard Limited wallet:

1. Drivers License
2. ATM Card
3. Credit Card Card
4. Health Insurance card
5. HSA Card
6. AAA Card
7. Cash

The biggest difference is that before I used to carry up to 4 other credit cards which fed my impulsive buying habits. Now I have to think about if I really need the item that I am considering buying because the money is actually coming from my bank account or if I decide to use the credit card that needs to be paid at the end of the month. Either way, my credit card usage has decreased dramatically. That was a life changer.

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Carrying a slim and light wallet in my front pocket took a little while to get used to, there are times that I check to make sure that I had not forgotten my wallet. My jeans will also thank me for carrying a slim wallet, my right pocket has the outline of my former bulky wallet.

What about the wallet itself? The wallet is made in the USA, it comes with a lifetime warranty AND it is also Vegan. The materials are of high quality, water resistant and very light. For those who like to know how big it is, the dimensions are 3.25″ X 4.25″ X 0.1″. The price for the wallet is $29 and it comes in other colors.

To purchase the wallet, please visit this link: https://www.flowfold.com/product/vanguard-limited-billfold-wallet. Stay tuned for more reviews of Flowfold’s products!

What’s the Deal with Gravel? (In a Jerry Seinfeld voice)

So I feel like the kid in the 1950s pot commercial; I rode gravel once and now I’m hooked and my whole life has been turned upside down. I just can’t see the road the same. I now see cars and replace them with trees, signal lights are now steep hills, cement streets are now dirt paths… Everything has flipped and I love it.

I had tried cross and it was plenty fun. Not like every day fun, but fun once-in-awhile-fun. I will/must/don’t want to admit how bad I am on a mountain bike. On a road bike is where I was the most comfortable. Gravel does not come natural for me even if I’ve tried most of what cycling has to offer. For me it’s not the descents because I’m not all that confident in my skills. It’s the views as I suffer and drag my 200 pound butt up these climbs that normally lead to some hike-a-bike situations. The climbing can be brutal but like the Instagram inspirational quote with a majestic background says, “It’s just a hill, get over it.” If you can, then you will get a new perspective; your eyes will open to everything you’ve missed on a road bike or a mountain bike.

On a road bike you ride with your eyes wide shut. That’s the appeal for me, a lot of it is just not thinking and just going; you can zone out on a climb and even forget about the views. On a mountain bike you are more aware but there is still a level of letting the bike do it’s job and going for it. The closest thing to riding gavel (on a rigid bike with drops), in my opinion, is riding a fixed gear bike. On a fixed gear bike you have to be aware of everything around you. From the cars to the road conditions, the signal lights to the pedestrians, you are on full alert all the time. Not having real brakes will do that to you. Gravel is somewhat like that, you have an idea of control but it’s more controlled chaos then precision.

The real beauty of gravel [(…and I get a ten-cent commission every time I type G R A V E L)- Gravel] riding is that it’s not just about riding, hiking is also a big part of the experience. On a road bike you can take another route, on a mountain bike you have a lot of gearing and a more capable bike, so when you get to a section that’s above your pay grade you either push yourself or hike-a-bike. You go on a ride and you really don’t know if you are going to be able to ride every section of it. How much of a route you can manage changes as you improve and get more confident/stronger. I tend to fall more on the climbs than the descents. I’ve also done a lot to improve my gearing.

Nonetheless, gravel is my new obsession. So much so that this summer I am planning a Summer Adventure Gravel Series (SAGS) around the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California. The adventure part is that there will be no routes given out. We will have to stay together, this will help avoid douchebagery. This is not a race. This is not about being first, fast, or better. This is about the people next to you, the landscape that surrounds you, and the route in front of you. Aside from maybe the Cannondale Slate [(with a gearing upgrade) no pun intended] there will not be a perfect bike for every situation. After, I hope we question our bikes but not our time in the saddle. I’m currently doing recon for the S.A.G.S ride- details will come.

Flowfold backpack and wallets first impression

Hello Bike Commuters and fellow minimalists! We received a few items from a company named Flowfold, if you are not familiar with them, they make “minimalist” gear for all types of outdoor activities. The items we received were the Optimist Limited mini backpack:

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The Vanguard Limited Billfold wallet:

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and the Sailcloth Minimalist card holder wallet:

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Our first impression of the three items was extremely positive; we liked the materials, the quality and the dimensions of each item. We also love the fact that these items are made in the USA -Unlike some red hats with white lettering.

Even though I am the type of bike commuter that likes to carry the kitchen sink in my backpack, there are times that I need something small enough to run errands. The Optimist backpack certainly fits the bill. I also carry a lot of stuff in my wallet, the Billfold will be perfect to fit inside my rear jersey pocket. My wife took the card holder right away; she liked how she can keep her driver’s license, cash and a credit card and how easily fits inside her jersey pocket as well.

We will be doing rides with all three items in the upcoming weeks, stay tuned for the full review!

Two Wheel Gear’s Convertible Bike Briefcase

Hello Bike Commuters! It is rare that we get behind a kickstarter campaign but once in a while comes a product from a reputable company that we can definitely support.

This is Two Wheel Gear’s new product: The Convertible Bike Briefcase:

The Convertible Bike Briefcase is designed for professionals that bike to work. Its smartly organized, weatherproof design features padded protection for a 17” laptop, four separate pocket sections, fully adjustable, zip-away mounting system and comes with removable padded shoulder strap and monsoon ready rain cover.

Two Wheel Gear president Reid Hemsing says, “We launched as a full time company out of my basement in 2014 with the little money I had in savings. But we’ve been at it building home-made bike bags since 1999. We are 100% privately funded and have experienced some serious growth over the last few years. But we hit a cash shortfall launching our new bag and have reached out to the kickstarter community for help.”

You may recall that we reviewed Two Wheel Gear’s pannier backpack convertible a little while ago and to this date, we totally love it.

If the briefcase’s quality and ease of use is as their backpack, there is no doubt that the product will be top notch. Here are a few pictures of the briefcase:

They only have 5 briefcases left at the introductory price of $99 CDN so hurry up and get yours! Here is the link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/857141940/convertible-bike-briefcase