BikeCommuters.com

Accessories

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!

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!

Review: Leg Shield’s Reflective ankle and wrist bands

Hello Bike Commuters and fellow night riders! The fine fellows from Leg Shield sent us their ankle and wrist bands to review. If you are familiar with this site and with my “modus operandi” you will certainly know that I love safety products and I really love stuff that makes me visible. I like reflective stuff so much that I plastered my Giant Expressway with reflective stickers!

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Needless to say, I jumped at the chance of reviewing Leg Shield’s reflective ankles and wrist bands. Let me start with saying that I am very impressed with the quality of the bands. These bands are made out neoprene fabric (the same stuff that wetsuits are made out of) with a very large reflective area. The ankle bands are 13.5 inches long by 1.9 inches wide and the wrist bands are 11 inches long by 1.9 inches wide. Both the wristbands and anklebands were wide enough to accommodate my rather average size wrists and ankles.

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Most of my night riding happens to be offroad so I am happy to report that the bands never fell off even when riding on rough terrain. As you can see from the pictures, the bands are super reflective.

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To be honest with you, I rarely ride to work with pants on, it is just not my style but do ride my bike to the post office, local burger joint or the liquor store with pants on. Check out how well the ankle bands wrapped around my pant leg preventing it from touching the chain.

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So how much of this reflective goodness will set you back? Both the wristbands and the anklebands sell for $10.95 per pair at Amazon.com. Now, I know they are more expensive than your typical reflective plastic band, but let me tell you that there is really no comparison in comfort and reflective area. I have lost at least 5 of the cheap reflective bands in less than 10 rides.

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Are these perfect? Well, no. The only drawback is that they are not visible during the day but you can still use them to guard your pant legs from the chain.

For more information check out Leg Shield’s site at http://www.bikelegstrap.com/

Ravemen PR600 Review

Hello Bike Commuters and fellow night riders! Dark afternoons have descended upon us so it is time for us to start using our lights for us to see AND to be seen. It is unbelievable how many cyclists are riding in the dark with no lights, no reflectors and dark clothing! There is no excuse for riders to be riding in the dark, lights have become more compact, more powerful and more affordable.

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A great example is the Ravemen PR600 rechargeable light which sells for about $55.00 in Amazon. Ravemen sent us this light for us to test during our dark commutes mainly because of its DuaLens design which features a low and high beams. In my opinion, the low beam is one of the greatest features of this light. The “low” beam’s output is a generous 400 lumens and it is quite wide.

This picture shows the Ravemen’s wide beam:

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This picture shows a NiteRider’s beam:

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The wide beam is perfect for bike commuting; powerful enough to see the road yet it will not blind incoming vehicles or pedestrians. Need more power??? Enter the high beam which can be used in conjunction with the low beam and it produces 600 lumens of light:

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Yeah, this thing is powerful. In fact, I decided to test the light in a mountain bike ride to test it in total darkness and to test if the light would handle all of the bumps of a dirt trail. The light did great, it did not slip, flicker or died. Using the low beam and high beam was great while riding single track, the wide beam allowed me to see better on tight corners and the high beam let me see way ahead. There was one drawback with using both beams at full 600 lumens; the battery only lasted about an hour:

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Another cool feature of the Ravemen PR600 is the “remote button”. I thought it was kind of gimmicky but once I started using it I totally loved it. The button allows you to keep your hand on the grip and change modes without having to mess with the button on top of the light.

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The last feature that I also really liked was the pulsating mode. The Ravemen PR600’s wide beam pulsates so you can ride during daylight and be seen by traffic and pedestrians.

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So in summary, here are the Pros of this light:

The light is a good deal for bike commuting at $54.95
The Wide beam is excellent for bike commuting and riding singletrack
Remote button allows you to maintain your hand on the grips
Pulsating mode for riding during the day.

No product is perfect so here are the cons of this light:

Battery only lasted one hour running at full blast
Light is a little on the heavy side if you are a weight weenie
The light mount is “old school” so it takes time to remove and install on another bike
The darn nut from the mount is easy to misplace

Overall, the Ravemen PR600 is great for bike commuting and I would definitely recommend it.

For more information, please visit www.ravemen.com. To purchase this light in Amazon.com for $54.95, click here.

Disclaimer: Ravemen sent us this light to review at no charge because they felt that this product would benefit bike commuters. We were not compensated to write this review.

Insulated water bottles, are they worth it?

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My wife dragged my ass to a big box store and as I always do, I hit up the bicycle section to see what kind of crap they sell. Well, this time an insulated water bottle caught my attention and for about 8 bucks I said why not. So then it occurred to me to do this extremely unscientific test to see if the bottle actually works:

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I grabbed 20 ice cubes (chips?) from my fridge and placed 10 in the insulated bottle and 10 on a non-insulated bottle, I then proceeded to fill both bottles with water and placed them outside in 80 degree heat.

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It took 40 minutes for the ice to melt in the non-insulated bottle, I also checked the insulated bottle and it still had plenty of ice left.

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The ice lasted 18 minutes longer in the insulated bottle and it kept the water cool another 20 minutes, not bad! There is one drawback though; if you notice, the insulated bottle is significantly bigger than the non-insulated bottle yet they both hold the same amount of water.

A damp commute

Greetings fellow bike commuters and super bike commuters! You are considered a super commuter in my book if you ride five days a week rain or shine. Well, I am not a super commuter by any stretch BUT I did try commuting on the rain this past week.

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You may remember that Sealskinz sent me some products for me to ride while is raining so I went ahead and grabbed my trusty Spicer Cycles CX and slapped some “fenders” and headed off to work.

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Although the meteorologists predicted about a half inch of rain, my morning commute to work was just cloudy and breezy but no rain.

Rain came and went throughout the day and when it was time go home it was just drizzling. Armed with my Sealskinz gloves, helmet cover and rain socks I headed to the train station. So how did the Sealskinz gear do?

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Sealskinz waterproof helmet cover: The cover fit perfectly over my Cannondale helmet and it kept my noggin dry the entire time. The LED lights were visible on my cloudy commute.

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Sealskinz All weather Gloves: My hands were dry and toasty during my ride. The gloves grabbed really well and did not slip from the hoods or brakes. I also love the bright color and the reflective accents, my co-workers were teasing me on how bright they were.

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Sealskinz waterproof socks: OK, so when I first grabbed the socks they felt weird. The socks felt stiff and had a rubbery feeling to them. I was really concerned that my feet were going to sweat and chafe as well. To my surprise, the socks breathed well and they were really comfortable and kept my feet warm and dry.

I was not able to use the Sealskinz shoe covers because my DZR Minna shoes were a little to big for them but the covers fit perfectly on my road shoes.

So how was the ride? Riding with the right gear makes a huge difference. All of my previous rides on the rain sucked because I was not expecting for it to rain and I was not prepared at all. If I had something to complain about was the visibility because my sunglasses would get wet and it would be hard to see at times. Does any one have a trick for this?

Again, big thanks to Sealskinz for the rain gear, check out their site at https://www.sealskinz.com/US/bike for more information and for more of their waterproof stuff.

Let it Rain! Sealskinz has me covered.

Hello bike commuters and fellow rain dancers! If you follow these weekly (ish) posts you probably know that I am a fair weather bike commuter. Yes, being a Southern Californian I am not prepared for rainy weather so I just avoid it.

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Well, the fine fellows from Sealskinz thought that I should stop my whining and send me some nice rain gear to test during rainy days. The problem is that it has been over 80 degrees everyday since I got the items so I have not been able to ride with the gear they sent me. Here is the stuff that they sent, I may add that all the products seem to be well made and I can’t wait for a rainy day!

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Starting from my head, I got the Halo Waterproof Helmet Cover. The cover features reflective print as well as integrated LEDs in the back of the helmet.

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For my hands, the All Weather Cycle Gloves in Hi Vis yellow should keep them dry and cozy.

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Having cold and wet feet really sucks, so I got the Road Thin Mid Socks. These socks are supposed to be waterproof and warm.

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I Doubled down on keeping my feet dry and warm so I also got the Lightweight Halo Overshoe covers. These cool covers feature a powerful LED built into the rear.

So I guess I don’t have any excuses anymore since Sealskinz has me covered from head to toes! I will report back on how the items performed in the rain.

BikeCommuters.com 2016 Holiday gift guide part 1

It seems like everyone is so excited about Christmas that stores were already flooded with trees, ornament and sales…. lots of Christmas Sales… Whatever happened to Thanksgiving? Oh, yeah, it is now called “Black Friday Eve”.

We have decided to bring back our holiday gift guide this year to help you write your yearly list to Santa Claus. Here is part one:

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Jerseys: We actually liked jerseys that were not commuter specific such as Tek Gear’s DryTek jerseys which could be found at department stores for less than $12. If you are looking for a bike commuter specific jersey, we liked CHCB wool jerseys which sell for about $30 at Performance Bike or Amazon.

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Shorts: My new favorite shorts are the Showers Pass Gravel shorts; not too baggy, not too tight, cool reflective accents. We also liked the Serfas Decline shorts and if you must use roadie shorts; we recommend Sugoi Men’s Evolution Shorts

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Shoes: It is no secret that DZR shoes have been our favorite bicycle commuting shoes. We got to review the DZR Minna shoes this year and they did not disappoint. Before the DZR shoes arrived, I was wearing Pearl Izumi Men’s X-ALP Seek VI BL Cycling Shoes. The X-alp are stiffer but they didn’t quite fit with my office attire.

Jackets/Vests: I usually ride with vests and arm warmers on cool days; the Solo Equipe Cycling Gilet vest is my choice of vest. The material is thick and it has plenty of reflective material for those night rides. I don’t really ride in the rain, but I have heard good things about the Showers Pass Hi-Vis Torch Jacket, this thing has lights!

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Gadgets: You know I love my gadgets and the Garmin vívoactive watch tops my list. The watch is a pedometer, cyclocomputer and a smart watch which met all of my cycling needs and more. I you don’t want to spend over $100, we recommend the Moov Now 3D.

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If you are one of those riders who like your smartphone in front of you and on your handlebars, we really liked the Quad Lock mounting system. The mount is very versatile and secure, your phone will not go out flying unless you eat it hard.

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Panniers/Backpacks: I like riding with panniers because backpacks will make my back sweat. But there are times that you need to ride with a backpack, like the time I was riding offroad on my Spicer Cycles Cyclocross bike. Our friends at 2 wheel gear came out with a brilliant product: the Pannier Backpack convertible. This pannier converts into a backpack in seconds and vice-versa, perfect for train-bike commuting. 2 Wheel Gear also sells the garment pannier which is big enough to carry your suit and ties without having the need to iron your stuff when you get to work. An honorable mention goes to the North St. Morrison Backpack pannier, we have not tried this bag but it is proudly made in the USA.

We will be posting part 2 on Wednesday (Black Friday Eve’s eve), stay tuned for part 2!

Garmin Vivoactive review

Hello Bike commuters, roadies, mountain bikers and anyone who found this post via Google. I hope you all had a great labor day weekend, I know I did.

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A little while ago I wrote a post about fitness bands but even though I found the Moov to be the most adequate for cycling, it was not fulfilling all of my cycling and hiking needs. A few friends recommended the Garmin Vivofit Active so I bit the bullet and I plunked $179 for one.

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So what made me spend more than twice than what a fitness bands costs? The Garmin Vivoactive’s features:

-Utra-thin GPS smartwatch with a sunlight-readable, high-resolution color touchscreen.
-Built-in sports apps, including GPS-enabled running, biking and golfing plus swimming and activity tracking¹, let you view your stats even when away from your phone.
-Pairs with your smartphone to gently vibrate and display alerts for incoming calls, texts, emails and calendar items plus notifications from social media and other mobile apps.
-Customizable with free watch face designs, widgets and apps.
-Fast Battery charge lasts through all your activities with up to 3 weeks6 in watch/activity tracking mode or up to 10 hours using GPS
-Easily sends all your ride stats to Strava once your activity has been completed saving your smartphone’s battery.
-Keeps track of your indoor activities such as indoor cycling and running

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I also like Garmin’s app; the amount of data that I can have at my fingertips is quite a bit and I love data:

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I also opted for the heart rate monitor and the handlebar mount:
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Is there anything that I did not like about the Garmin Vivoactive? Yes, it is hard to see indoors unless you use the backlight and some of the faces have very small letters that make it impossible to read if you need reading glasses.

Overall, I do recommend the Garmin Vivoactive for cycling and hiking. I know that there is a newer version that eliminates the use of the HR strap but you will have to shell out $70 to $100 more.