Best of 2013 – Bike Commuters’ Annual Roundup!

Sweet Jesus (pronounced “HeyZeus”), Bike Commuters – the evil end of 2013 has come and gone. Can you friggin’ believe it? Well, just like all those people waxing poetic out there in facegramstaland, the staff writers have decided it’s time to give you a recap with our Annual Roundup for 2013. So, in case you were asleep for most of the game (like I am, during every Superbowl/Tour-de-Whatevs/sporting event) here are the highlights for 2013. Cue obnoxious stadium buzzer!

Commuter Profiles & New Blood: We capped off ’13 with a handful of commuter profiles, where readers shared their sweet rides, photos from their commutes, and stories of bikey conquest with the internet world. Check out Hannah Decker of Boise, ID, Christian P. Kittelson of Seattle, WA, and a related article on four hardcore riders from A Winter of Cyclists documentary. Oh yeah, and did we mention we picked up some new blood? Not like teen vampire smut, but new writers Andrew “The Doctor” Li and Emily “Shelly” Shellabarger have been welcomed to the Bike Commuters team! Look forward to more from them every week in 2014.

Christian Kittelson’s red commuter along the Olympic Sculpture Park in scenic Seattle .

Hannah Decker on her way to the Greenbelt Path in Boise, Idaho

Andrew Li combats the SoCal smog and joined the Bike Commuters staff writing team this past summer.

Read about the newest Bike Commuters staff writer addition, Bay Area cycle lady: Emily Shellabarger.

Winter Wondergoodness: No surprise that Elizabeth covered the controversial topic of crazy snow commuting in icy Chicago. And BIG surprise that Mir (yeah, that’s me, the former “66 degrees feels cold” commuter) rediscovered the joys and pains of winter commuting in rain and colder weather. Check out these posts on “anything goes if it’s clothes” layering technique and thumbhole sleeve hack if you are looking for ways to transition into year-round biking with mild winter conditions. Hey, if I can do it, anyone can!

Easy winter tips for your rainy commute!

DIY & Side Projects: Fancy yourself a new sidecar, bike rack made of wooden pallets, or a simple bicycle repair stand? Look no further than these articles written by RL, Emily, and Doc Li for your 2014 DIY and side project inspirations!

Interbike 2013 Coverage & the Electric-Assist Trend Continues: And, of course, any year-end roundup wouldn’t be complete with snapshots from Jack and RL’s coverage at Interbike 2013 in Las Vegas. Here are a couple of our favorites:

  • Booth Dudes – Jack and RL highlight some of their favorite bike dudes for their dashing good looks and straight up bike knowledge.
  • Even More Gravel Bikes – get ready to grind some gravel, could this be the new face of the ultimate commuter bike?
  • Hydraulic Brakes on the Road – Are road disc brakes in your future?
  • Axiom Performace Gear – One of Jack and RL’s favorite commuter discoveries at Interbike 2013. Axiom has a versatile line up of panniers, racks, and accessories – well-made, stylish, and readily available!
  • Electric Bicycles – You can’t deny the trend of e-bikes cruising into the commuter market. RL shot the shop with Motive Electric bikes, and even got to test ride and review the Motiv Electric Shadow at the end of this year.

Jack takes a Motiv Electric bike for a spin at Interbike 2013!

Mobile Repair Unit: This year, Bike Commuters founder RL Policar and Andrew Doc Li spearheaded an ongoing effort to offer free bike services to the homeless in their community with RL’s Mobile Repair Unit. Contact if you live in the Fullerton, CA area and want to get involved with this ongoing event!

RL taking the repair to the people!

Craigslist – Love it or Hate it? And for all of you looking to sell your old ride or pick up a new one for 2014, make sure to check out RL’s WTF commentary on Craigslist… Aside from some hilarious personal experiences, he also gives some good tips on how to deal with the bike section in Craigslist, selling or buying. You’re welcome for the laughs!

Get some, Cycle Ladies!

Oh yeah, and Cycle Ladies are the Bomb: In case you missed the news, Elizabeth visited Washington D.C. for the second time this year to attend the Women and Bicycles and the National Bike Summit. It turns out, women commuters are the new dutch bike (or, the new black, or orange is the new black, or women commuters are the new safety yellow?)… you know what I mean. Check out the article to see what brings women to the forefront for bike commuting in 2013.
Well, How do you do? Sometimes it’s the comments section that generates the best information and the most useful tips. In the spirit of our light-hearted Friday Musings series, check out:
Product Reviews, of course… And, last but not least, we reviewed dozens of products this year to scope out the newest commuting accessories, gear, and bikes. Here are a couple of our favorites, click on the images below in case you missed them this year!

Always a Bike Commuters favorite – Planet Bike presents the Air Smith Mini Compact bike pump.

For the urban commuter, check out the Chrome Truk Pro SPD recessed cleat shoes.

Or for the ladies out there looking for casual summer footwear, here’s our review of the LUV Dream Flats.

If you’re in the market for an upright-style bike, read the Torker T300 Step-Thru review.

Jack even reviewed this interesting safety concept: the QRide Advanced Emergency ID tracker.

Check out Matt’s review of both the 2014 Jamis Hudson Sport bike and the Slidepad brake technology – with a setup targeted at new riders and commuters.

 And so, dear readers, we’ve made it through the first tween years of the big 2K… Thanks for sticking with us, and if you made it to the end of this blog post without clicking any links or taking a bathroom break, you must have the attention span of a squirrel in the bulk bin section at your local New Seasons market. Enjoy the ride into 2014, bikey peeps!




Mobile Bicycle Repair Unit: Helping again

Just this past Sunday we gathered some volunteers to help out with the Mobile Bicycle Repair Unit. We had a mix of mountain bikers and bike commuters.

We had a total of 4 work stations.

From left to right, Andrew C., Seth, and Jon A. Sometimes repairs were a team effort.

Officer Ben was on site to help out. He was our translator for the day.
Officer Ben.

We welcome volunteers of all ages. This is Little Andrew C. He was very helpful in doing whatever we needed him to do. From lubing chains, to pumping tires, he would put in 100% for each task. In fact, he was showing Gabe Thunda how it’s done. This is actually Gabe’s second time coming out; he’s got a great heart in wanting to serve. Much like Andrew C., he puts so much effort into any task given to him.

One of our other young volunteers is Joey H. Though he hasn’t had much experience in working on bicycles, he was out there willing to learn and to serve.

Andrew “Doc” Li (wearing bandana) was there again. We call him Doc for the mere fact that he’s a real life Doctor. I really should ask him about a clicking sound that my jaw makes while I’m eating… Doc is working on a rear wheel that belonged to the gentleman on the left of the photo.
doc li

This is Super Dan, He’s part of the Race Team.

One of the services we do provide is wheel truing. The story behind this wheel is the owner said that someone inadvertently locked his bike at a rack. So he kept pulling and yanking on his bike to see if he could break the lock free. He did, but it messed up his rear wheel. When he came to us, the rear wheel was pretty bad. But I was able to true it enough where he could safely use his rear brakes.

Little Andrew showing the tires and tubes we replaced that day.

By the end of the day we had serviced quite a few bicycles. The most common repairs remain to be brake pads, chain lube and cables. I can’t even recall how many bikes we replaced shifter/brake cable and housing. So all those donations we received — from anonymous sources to the ones that were donated by people/companies we know — thank you! Your donations helped tremendously. We’re hoping to get more items like brake pads, tubes, some chemicals and possibly a new work stand.

I know that we have the manpower each time with ample amount of volunteers, but we just need more support via monetary donations and hard goods. There are several ways you can help and I’ve written a guide showing you how to do so: Help Mobile Bicycle Repair.

SOL Republic Master Tracks Headphones Review

Now I’m sure you’re wondering why is reviewing headphones. Typically it’s frowned upon to wear earbuds and headphones while riding your bike, in fact in some cities it is illegal and not to mention, potentially dangerous since you can’t hear your surroundings. But we decided to review them for mere fact that we like music. This review touches the lifestyle aspect of bike commuting. Simply put, once we get off our bikes we’re listening to music in the office, school and at the coffee shop.

Sol Republic sent us the Master Tracks headphones. The MSRP is $199.99.

Unboxing reveals the Master Tracks. It comes with the headband, drivers, cord, and carrying case.
What’s interesting about the Master Tracks is that the drivers(speakers) slide onto the headband for a custom fit.
They fit over my ears perfectly and the drivers have a soft cushion to provide comfort. The cord has a three button remote that allows you to adjust the volume, skip music tracks and answer/hang-up calls.
Once the Master Tracks are on your ears and they are plugged into a device, then the magic happens. Immediately I was hit with a sound quality that I have never heard before! Deep bass, perfect mids and high treble are combined to produce a sound that is just like putting of set of studio grade speakers to your ears. The noise cancellation effect of the drivers help reduce any noise that may be present around you.

To my surprise the Master Tracks still had some amazing power and sound even if it was just getting its music source from this small iPod Shuffle. I was able to compare the Master Tracks against the Beats by Dre HD, Sony X headphones and the Skull Candy Avaiator headphones. None of these other brands came close to the sound quality that Sol Republic’s Master Tracks produced.
So if you’re looking into getting a pair of headphones so you can listen to music while relaxing or at work, then you may want to consider SOL Republic Master Tracks for the mere fact that the sound quality is way better than those of the other leading brands like Beats, Sony and Skull Candy. I’ve been genuinely impressed by its performance as well as the styling.

FTC Disclaimer

Handmade with Love By Ana:Bicycle Necklace

One of my dear friends Ana C. owns a small business called Handmade with Love By Ana. She makes handmade jewelry. What’s great about her business is that she takes her profits and puts it towards her benevolent work with Hope World Wide as part of the Community Service Brigade that serves Guatemala.

Her most recent creation was a gift she gave my wife. I loved it so much that I wanted to feature it here because I know our readers would appreciate such an item.
handmade with love by ana bicycle necklace
Here’s a close up. Did you notice the hubs are heart shaped? The pendant is silver plated and the chain can be between 12″-24″
handmade with love by ana
The price for the necklace is a very reasonable $12.00 plus shipping. For more information about the bicycle necklace, please reach out to Ana on her Facebook Fanpage:

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.

  • Bike To Work Week May 14th-18th, 2012 – contact Chad Taniguchi at chad(at)  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 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.