Archive for the ‘General Cycling’ Category
I’m not sure if you remember, but my bike mirror broke last season.
I was never a mirror user, until I actually tried one. After talking to a few folks and listening to some opinions, I decided to get a the kind that attached to my glasses, instead of my helmet or bike. I chose the Third Eye mirror which was available at my local bike shop. Overall, I was pretty happy with it.
There were only two things that disappointed me about it. The first was it’s limited positioning. I’m sure it was user error, but I could not get the Third Eye positioned right on my glasses to keep the mirror from creating a blind spot when I was actually scanning for oncoming traffic. My solve for that was to mount the mirror on the right side so that my left side scanning would be obstruction free. The other disappointment was that it only lasted a year before breaking.
After it broke, I began shopping around for a better solution – with no promising results. My goal was to find something more durable, not very expensive and not look so geeky. That led me to look into making my own, as suggested by my friend, Mike. The problem with making my own is that I never have the right parts or tools and it always ends up costing me more in time and resources – plus, it never comes out right. For now, it’ll just be one of those projects that I’ll complete later.
So, I’ve been mirror-less until a few weeks ago, when a man named Patrick McMahon, who runs the Etsy store, ReBcycle, contacted me. He stated that he might have what I’m looking for and provided a link to his store that offered mirrors that were very similar to the DIY project that I was looking into. The only difference was that his were already made.
I looked at his options, which were all nice, but I really wanted one made from the bottle cap of one of my favorite beers, Left Hand Milk Stout. We exchanged messages, and I found out that not only was he nice, but also very accommodating. He did have LHMS bottle caps available, as well as one that was older, and a bit more rare, than what they are currently using. Of course, I chose that one.
Within a few days, he had it made and shipped to me – a custom, hand-crafted, made-to-order mirror that cost the same as his other mirrors. Also, compared to other standard, retail mirrors or anything that I could have made on my own, it was pretty reasonable.
When I got the mirror, I was really impressed as to how well it was packed. The product, itself, is well-made and much more durable than it’s plastic predecessor. Being mostly all metal – both bottle cap and bicycle spoke attachment – I can already tell this is going to last longer. What really impressed me about the Beer-View Mirror is how well it fit my glasses. ReBcycle offers both long and short attachments, and I opted for short. Not only does the short attachment fit firmly on my glasses frames, it keeps the mirror far enough out to prevent that scanning blind spot. I am really impressed with this new mirror, and it was well worth it.
If you are thinking about getting a mirror for safer riding, I recommend that you take a look at ReBcycle.
This post starts with a little rant and ramble about cycle clothing, so feel free to skip ahead.
For many years, I’ve been wrestling with the idea of looking the part of a cyclist. My general philosophy with cycling is that you shouldn’t have to wear special clothes to ride a bicycle. Looking the part is just another barrier – both in stereotype and cost – that keeps folks from wanting to get back into, or trying out bicycling.
That being said, I’ve also come to some realizations about cycling that have convinced me that bike clothes SHOULD become part of my wardrobe. There are times when clothes designed for cycling, simply, just work harder and feel better. Comfort and visibility have become key factors in my clothing choices. However, for the record, you will never see me wearing a complete race kit – but, that’s a topic for another post.
For now, let’s talk about PANTS.
Riding in the summer is not a problem since I have enough shorts and padded liners to keep me covered. Winter is another story. Until recently, my cold weather riding attire has consisted of jeans, jogging pants, cargo pants and an old pair of stretchy leggings that I picked up during my mountain bike days. Back to my point above, a good pair of fitted cycling pants is expensive – so instead of having it as a barrier for cycling in the winter, I just use what I have.
Why I Think Street Clothes Don’t Work As Well:
I love the idea of just jumping on my bike with whatever I’m wearing, and I do it quite often. You shouldn’t have to get ‘outfitted’ to ride down the street. However, I’ve discovered that when you are commuting or taking long rides, street clothes aren’t always the best solution.
In my case, my jeans and cargo pants are not fitted well. I don’t have the body type to wear skinny jeans, nor am I young enough to pull it off. Sometimes, I wish other people exercised that same restraint. Because my street pants aren’t fitted, I need to roll the leg up or ‘peg’ it so that it’s not getting caught in the chain.
The cut, material and stitching of street pants are another issue. Most of them are cut low and droop in the crotch area, which always catches on my saddle as I mount. When I ride, the back end isn’t high enough to cover the lower back side – which makes it a bit breezy and some might mistake me for a plumber. Jeans and cargo pants don’t seem to flex very well, either, which makes it harder to get my cranks turned. Finally, the stitching at the crotch of street pants isn’t ideal for resting on a saddle for an extended period of time. You start to notice – even through padded liners.
Why I Don’t Like Typical Bike Pants:
Bike pants, although very expensive, are great. They’re cut and fitted for cyclist to optimize the best comfort for long rides. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find the right pair that fits well, but doesn’t look like yoga pants. Again, I’m too old and not fit enough to “pull them off” – literally and figuratively. The biggest problem I have with typical bike pants is that even when you are off the bike, they scream CYCLIST!, LOOK AT ME, I’M A CYCLIST!
Rozik, The Best Of Both Worlds:
Since cycling has become more trendy and less of a sport, there is a new category of non-traditional bicycle clothing that has become more available. Some call it cycle chic, while others call it urban. I call it brilliant. It’s well-design cycling clothes that don’t look like cycling clothes. The styles are more like street clothes, without all of the fit and discomfort issues associated with street clothes. Still a bit pricy, like most bike clothes, but you are no longer just limited to only wear them when you ride.
Rozik Wear is a new brand that makes this kind of urban cycling clothes. Based out of north Texas, Rozik clothes are all made in the U.S.A. and designed to “go in any direction that life take you.” Since I was in need, I got a pair of their black Analyzer pants from Richardson Bike Mart. So far, I’ve been pretty impressed.
Here are some features about the Rozik Analyzer pants:
- Reflective back pocket for safety that hides when not needed
- Gusset crotch for all-day comfort
- Slim fit, Euro-style cut – not ‘Skinny’
- Raised back for increased coverage
- Leg tabs for a secure pant roll-up
- Coin pocket that fits a cell phone
- Fabric that moves “every wear” you go
- Fabric: 97% Cotton 3% Viscose
- Colors: Black | Olive | Khaki
- Inseam: Regular: 32″ Long: 34″
- Shrink: expect the fabric to shrink approximately 1/2″ to 1″ in length; the waistbands are made so that they will not shrink
- Made in the USA
The size of the waste was pretty accurate. I chose the size that I wear in jeans, and they fit nicely – loose where it counts for flexibility and fitted where it was needed for optimized riding. No drooping crotch or low back, here. Since I have a 32″ inseam and they state that the length will shrink, I opted for the long (34″). If they don’t shrink to fit, I can always roll the cuff up once (as seen in the pics below – before their first washing).
Although I haven’t taken them on a really long ride, I can already tell the difference between these and my street pants. The Analyzer seems to fulfill all of my riding pant needs – from comfort to style. With the reflective flap, safety gets a nod, too. They’re well made and I expect them to last a long time.
The only thing I would change is the zipper for the back, right pocket. When closed, the pull-tab for the zipper is towards the middle and rubs on most things that I sit on. It’s even gotten caught in the crack of a bench seat. Flipping it so that the zipper pull is towards the outside when closed, might help this.
Move over Silverado and F-150, there’s a new truck in Texas, and his name is The Clyde!
He’s a work horse with a truck style box to quickly haul heavy cargo anywhere it’s needed. Railings offer a quick and easy way to tightly secure your important items for the journey. Open air conditioning and a comfortable saddle, make any work day seem a breeze! Also, a custom made head badge gives it a great finishing touch.
Furthermore, the bicycle isn’t left hanging without great components under the hood.
It’s rear Sturmey Archer, 8 speed, internal gearing engine can take on any hill, and a classic internal drum break helps to slow you down with ease. This steed provides the durability and ease-of-use you want with any front loader.
Furthermore, alloy rims and spokes, along with a strong, durable frame provide the strength to load up your Clyde for a full days work!
The Clyde offers pure hauling ability with the Dutch front loading experience you’re seeking in a great cargo bicycle! To start your new build, submit an order inquiry today!
No, it wasn’t a race.
Local bike shop, Richardson Bike Mart, known for it’s connection to the local cycling community, had their first ‘Coffee Crawl‘ last month. Having one of the largest inventories of road, race and mountain bikes in the area, their stores appear to cater to more experience riders, athletes and aspiring racers. However, Richardson Bike Mart hasn’t forgotten the fun side of bicycling and makes efforts to encourage other cyclists to get out and ride. The Richardson Bike Mart Coffee Crawl is the perfect example of that.
The idea was to get us cyclists out on our own schedules and pace, to explore the city - something I totally embrace with Suburban Assault - and visit local coffee shops or breakfast destinations. We had the entire month of November to accomplish as many rides as possible, taking photos at each stop.
Since I love coffee and riding, I fully embraced this challenge – riding and drinking coffee as often as I could. It totally paid off, because I was the winner of the very generous $100 gift certificate from Richardson Bike Mart. Believe me, I’m going to put it to some good use.
Thank you, Richardson Bike Mart!
Here are some of my pics from my coffee crawl rides:
Last Friday, my local bike advocacy group, Bike Friendly Richardson, hosted our 5th annual Black Friday Bike Ride. The event isn’t a race, a charity ride or even an advocacy statement. The Black Friday Ride is just a nice, alternative way to spend the country’s busiest shopping day by riding a bike, instead of dealing with mad rush of crowds fighting over flat screen TVs. Unlike shopping, the ride is a relaxed, low paced, no-drop cruise around town.
This year’s group was amazing as always. On bikes ranging from mountain to road, a little over a dozen riders gathered at the new Alamo Drafthouse in Richardson. As a group ride leader, this is a good amount. Fewer is ok, but once the group gets over 30 riders, it becomes difficult to manage.
The cruise took us through some remarkable neighborhoods in Richardson. I always hear comments from folks that didn’t know these areas existed. As we rolled into the north part of town, past the University of Texas, Dallas campus, we stopped at the Pearl Cup for a nice little break.
On the ride back, we had to make a small emergency stop. One of our riders got a flat. The group waited patiently as the repair was made, which gave us a chance to visit with each other a little more – something you don’t get waiting in the long lines at Wal-mart.
At the end of the ride, which totaled a little under eleven miles, a few of us grabbed a beer at the Glass Half Full Taproom, which is connected to the Alamo Drafthouse. They had an amazing selection of brews on tap that would impress any craft beer aficionado. It’s great to have places like this and the Pearl Cup in Richardson.
Overall, the ride was great and the riders were happy. We hope to continue the tradition of the Black Friday Ride for years to come. Here are some pics:
We took a trip to Oak Cliff last weekend to check out M’Antiques. As you can guess, instead of the vintage lace doilies, mismatched tea sets and creepy porcelain dolls, M’Antiques is an antique store geared more for men. They have cool stuff, like army surplus, old radios, school lockers, vintage copies of Playboy, and bikes.
Unfortunately, most of the bikes were rusting, outside in their yard – which was more like a bicycle graveyard. Happy Halloween!
I’m in this weird place with my cycling gear. Part of me wants to remain anti-spandex/synthetic and wear just my everyday clothes when I ride. I don’t want to be one of those guys in the ‘kit’, screaming to others, “I’m a cyclist.” However, everyday street clothes are pretty uncomfortable for riding anything more than a few miles. Plus, given how your body changes it’s core temperature while riding, and sweat kicks in, street clothes aren’t very practical.
I’ve looked into the cool cycling gear that looks like street clothes and I’m highly interested. I love the styles and the usefulness, bringing cyclist-friendly cuts and fabrics into a look that I can appreciate. Unfortunately, that stuff is really expensive for a guy on my limited budget.
Visibility is another issue. When I ride around town, I want drivers to see me, so I’ve been seeking clothes with some brighter colors or reflective accents. There are some great options at my local bike shops, designed for cyclist – still very expensive.
I like when I run across alternate options that are within budget. I found this Starter brand running jacket at Walmart for $12. It may not be cut for a cyclist, but properly layered, it will deflect cold, wind and light rain well enough to get through winter. The high-vis yellow on top (although I wish it were lower) is a bonus.