The Great Commuting Debate: Backpack vs Pannier
How do you carry things when you are commuting? Backpack. Panniers. Frame bag. Handlebar basket. Trailers. Sherpa?
For this first week of my new 20 mile round trip bike commute I used a pannier 100% of the time. One day I used my Chrome Niko camera bag in addition to the pannier, but a pannier was always used for the past week. Yesterday, I switched it up to my trusty Mission Workshop Vandal backpack as I was carrying a laptop and more expensive camera gear.
Granted, I was carrying some heavier gear (an extra 4 lbs for my laptop with charger) with my backpack but it changed many things riding up my 20 mile roundtrip commute. Some good and some bad, I won’t do too much talking on this until I do some more testing. For the month of September I plan on experimenting more on the backpack vs pannier debate. At the end of the day I believe it will depend on what you are carrying and for how far. Having a go to “setup” that I don’t have to think about too much will be ideal.
What do you prefer? Backpack, pannier, front basket or something else?
Meet the New Commuter Rig: Surly Ogre
A couple shots from the test ride of the stock Surly Ogre I recently put a deposit down on. Off the bat, I’m switching out handlebar, grips, saddle and pedals. Additional photos to come once I pick it up for it’s first ride!
Pedal MN ‘Bike Mom’ Project
Photo credit: Pedal MN
There is something special about empowering moms on bikes. It takes the awesomeness of women on bikes and amplifies it about 10x! Pedal Minnesota, is embracing that awesomeness and rolling out a ‘Bike Mom’ Project over the next 8 weeks.
Review: Trek Lexa SLX Women’s Road Bike
3-4 years ago Trek launched a women’s aluminum road bike model line up called “Lexa“. Since, the Lexa has become a widely popular road bike in the US as Trek has offered many different model levels and a variety of colors to appeal to any woman. Additionally, the WSD fit of these bikes is a hit with women of many proportions. I’ve had the opportunity to test ride many Lexas and finally was able to snag an SLX model for a long term review to see how it really will last for women looking to invest in a new road bike.
Review: Road Holland The Delft Long Sleeve Jersey
Details: 100% poly mesh that is wicked breathable, fast drying, and non-conforming. 2 pocket design, 1 with a zipper to hold your smartphone
This jersey looks great and feels even better. The poly mesh was warm enough with a wind vest on a 50′ day. Personally, I would classify this as a long sleeve light weight “spring” jersey. It also wears well with a pair of jeans.
How to Dress for a Cold Bike Ride to a Concert
This guest post is by Lindsay Piper of QBP.
Man, my boyfriend is the coolest. Me: doot doot doot, working away. BF: Guess what? I got tickets to Polica tonight. Me: Whaat? OMGAWESOMEYAY
Here’s the thing, this conversation took place in early December in Minneapolis. The concert was to take place at a concert venue called Mill City Nights, which is in downtown Minneapolis. Well on a weekend, parking is a pain, and there’s the whole problem of not wanting to drink & drive, but well YEAH I’m going to have a cider while I watch Polica.
So what’s a gal to do? Ride her dang bike, that’s what a girl’s to do.
That’s a bit easier in summer of course, but that night was expected to be in the range of 20-30 degrees, and the roads & paths were covered with a bit of snow/ice slop. So this brought up the obvious question – what on earth do I wear to stay warm & dry on my bike, but still look concert-worthy? I set to work a-wardrobing.
It is Crucial to Layer
Layer 1 – The concert layer
Key #1: Toasty legs- I accomplished this by layering Patagonia midweight Capeline pants under my Outlier Women’s Daily Riding Pants. The Outlier pants are super stretchy, so it’s easy to add the layer under them without becoming immobile. And they look like jeans, so style.
Key #2: Warm & dry tootsies- Nobody likes cold soggy feet while trying to take in awesome music. To fix myself up here, I layered some DeFeet Wooleator socks (Minneapolis Bike Love Edition) under my Stella McCartney for Adidas high tops. They’re made entirely of shiny synthetic leather and cover my ankles; both factors keep my feet dry & stylish at the same time, in a slightly Marty McFly kind of way. Where’s my hoverboard?!
Key #3: Warm but not sweaty core- I snagged a delightful tee shirt, complete with printed sassy phrase, and layered it under my numero uno, all-time favorite piece – my Surly long sleeve merino jersey. It’s comfortable, keeps me warm & sweat wicked, and looks feminine but not girly. Disclaimer: I manage Surly and a few other brands’ clothing offering- this is one of my babies, so I might be biased, but it really and truly is awesome & indispensable.
Layer 2 – The outer layer (as watched over by my late dog Baxter, who was not thrilled that I was about to leave him home alone)
Key #1: Dry & Windproof torso – My handy OR Mithrill softshell- another indispensable piece, does the job with panache.
Key #2: Warm, safe extremities – On the paws, my 9,000 year old Swix lobster mitts. They’re a little sad looking at this point, but they work. I’ve yet to find a bike-specific pair of gloves that I like as well. My 45NRTH Greazy merino cap. It’s warm, fits nicely under a helmet, and has plenty of ear coverage. Same disclaimer as above, and also in this case the Brand Manager is also the aforementioned boyfriend, so there you go. Anyhoo popped on top of that is my Lazer 02 helmet. The high-vis yellow is nice for night riding, and the one-size-fits-all adjustment means it’s easy to fit it over a hat. The finishing touch is a pair of photosensitive Optic Nerve glasses to keep the crap & wind out of my eyes.
Key #3: ID & money required- The tiniest of Timbuk2 messenger bags, the Catapult, is so handy. Plenty of room to stuff my gloves & hat once I arrive at the venue, without excess bulk. And it rides high & tight to the body, which is really nice for riding.
Striking a pose in my concert getup at home
About to roll out. Note the front & rear lights. Safety, people! I’m riding my All-City Macho Man with 45 NRTH Xerxes studded tires to cut through slop & ice. You can tell this is still early winter, because my neighbors & I had still been taking snow removal much more seriously & thoroughly. We’ve since given up on the prospect of seeing actual pavement.
Success! Opening act Marijuana Death Squads, and headliner Polica. Love her pants!
BikeHack Tandem: As Seen in Boulder
Walking to my office on Pearl Street in Boulder, CO the other day, I did a double take. This bike has so many clear call outs of awesomeness, how many can you spot (click to enlarge image)?
Cinelli and Moleskin Team Up
Take two of my favorite things, bikes and Moleskin, and you have the Hobo Moleskin. A nod to the Hobo biker lifestyle, and a pairing for Cinelli’s Hobo bike model.
Unfortunately, only available in Europe currently this little Moleskin will surely be on my wishlist for when I need a new Moleskin next month!
Calling all Bikers:
Now’s your chance to win a custom-made Moleskine Cinelli notebook. Share your bicycle experience with us: photographyour ride, send us a bicycle selfie, or show us some writing or sketches from your last trip. Upload your entry to myMoleskine
with the tag #bootleghobo and if yours receives the most votes a notebook could be riding your way soon!
Velorbis Introduces Danish Styled Kids Bikes
I have to admit, I opened this press release early today and was simply giddy. Being state side it has been difficult to find great kids bikes that will last, aren’t 45lbs and don’t cost $1500+. Hopefully Velorbis will deliver in the US and live up to the Velorbis name!
Velorbis believes that cycling is an activity that all family members and friends can partake in to enjoy quality time together or use to simply get from A to B, regardless of age, as an important and enjoyable element of everyday life. Now children can cycle in Velorbis style too.
Function and Style for Your Children
Available in 20″ & 24″ wheel sizes priced 595-650 eur and available in boys and girls styles.
Main features: front drum brake, leather grips and saddle made for kids, lugged steel, powder coated rims and rear rack.
Learn more over at Velorbis.com
Intro: Review of 2014 Raleigh RX 1.0 Women’s Cyclocross Bike
This past summer Raleigh Bikes released photos and spec of their 2014 cyclocross line, including the RX 1.0 Women’s bike. The bike didn’t change too much other than paint and some small part upgrades. I was excited about the bike (mainly due to the paint job and price) for women and thought it would be a perfect do-all bike for my better half. So here we are doing a second review of the women’s RX 1.0!
This second review of the Raleigh RX 1.0, in the 2014 model, is to look at it as an all purpose bike. This is how most women are looking to purchase a cross bike in this price range as a do all, fun finder. There could be road rides, green-ways, Rail to Trails, commuting, baby hauling and maybe a cyclocross race thrown in there to say you did it.
A refresher of spec and pricing can be found here. The original review over here.