31 October 2014

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween! 
How 'bout a skeleton pennyfarthing/freakbike from Tommy Atoms for today's post. This is a seriously cool freakbike.
Go put on a costume, and ride your bike!

28 October 2014

Product Review: Pinhead Locks

One of the main concerns - at least for me - about commuting by bike is making sure that you have a ride home at the end of the day. 

To assure that, you want to either keep your bike somewhere where you can keep an eye on it at all times, such as next to your desk (which my work does not allow), or securely lock it to something immovable. But, locking it to something secure isn't always going to guarantee your bike will be rideable when you leave the office...

I'm sure the only reason there are still crank, pedals, and a seatpost is the theives did not have a crank puller or the right size of hex wrench with them.

To make sure your bike remains intact, you could use multiple locks and chains...

Or, you could invest in a system that secures the individual components on your bicycle. Pinhead Locks is one such system.
I met with the folks from Pinhead Locks at Interbike, and they sent me their Total Bike Protection package, as well as a saddle lock for review. The Total Bike Protection package comes with front and rear locking skewers, headset lock, seatpost collar lock, their frame lock, and two keys.
Unlike some other locks, the Pinhead system replaces your skewers, headset bolt, seatpost collar, etc... with their uniquely keyed bolts. The design of the bolt heads make it extremely difficult to remove except with the correct key.
Installing the new locks is as easy as performing any regular maintenance on your bike (be sure to note your saddle height). Replace your existing hardware with the Pinhead locks, tighten them down with the key, and you're good to go!
Headset lock.

Wheel skewer locks.
 Seatpost clamp lock.
This carbon post is the only one I have that has a single, downward-facing bolt - which is needed for the saddle lock to be effective, as it restricts access to the hex bolt.
Frame lock.

The shackle shape on their gold-rated bubble frame lock is designed to be more resistant to jacks and crowbars. It is made from hardended steel and has a double bolted shackle. It also has a hidden key entry for additional security.

The keys have a unique serial number in case you need to replace them, or order additional locks and have them match your existing set.

And an added bonus, the key works as a bottle opener!

I haven't tested out the effectiveness of the locks as I don't feel like putting my bike up as "bait", but I won't be as paraniod with leaving my bike out of sight when I'm downtown with my bike now. 

The only suggestion I would have is if Pinhead could include a mounting bracket for their frame lock. I found the bag it came with bulky, and as for now, the lock resides in my backpack when it isn't securing the bike - which means I have to bring my bag, or use another lock for quick trips.

The Pinhead locks start at $39.99 for the seatpost or saddle lock, and go up to $149.99 for the Total Bike Protection package. Check out www.pinheadlocks.com for additional information.

17 October 2014

It's Friday. How 'bout a Video?

I for one am ready to be done with this week. It hasn't been horrible, but there has been enough stuff going on to make it exhausting.
To cap off the week, I give you a video that has been making the rounds on the innerwebs recently. Called The Comedown, it is basically a scaled-down version of the Human Powered Roller Coaster from the late 90's. It is currently installed in Glascow, Scotland, and unfortunately only there for a limited installation, from October 11th to November 1st.

I couldn't find any more information about it except it is the creation of artist, sculptor, and cyclist Stephen Murray
 This looks insanely fun!

10 October 2014

Food Friday: Justin's Nut Butters

What do you look for in on-the-bike food?
Well, for starters, it has to be portable, It also should provide some nutrition and energy, and it should taste good - not only at mile 10, but at mile 100. 
Justin's nut butters cover all the bases. 
Developed in 2004 by mountain biker and skier Justin Gold in his kitchen armed with a simple food processor. He developed a line of nut butters that used simple, all-natural ingredients and avoided many of the high-processed ingredients found in similar products available.
Plus, they just taste great!
My favorite is the chocolate hazelnut butter.  It's like a better, healthier version of that popular Italian hazelnut spread that doesn't have any dairy in it (yep, it is vegan!). Really, all of them are fantastic!
You can find single serving squeeze packs - which fit nicely into a jersey pocket - in almost every grocery store (I've seen them at the local Wal*Mart). Each 1.15oz packet provides about 190 calories, and 4-6 grams of protein.

Think of that popular European hazelnut spread, but with 50% less sugar, no skim milk, and in my opinion, better tasting.  Yes kids, this is vegan!

Who's hungry?

29 September 2014

Product Review: Torch T1 Helmet

Two years ago, during my first visit to Interbike, I came across a startup company who was showing a pre-production model of a helmet that had integrated front and rear lights. I was completely impressed by the potential of this helmet, and couldn't wait till they were available.

Fast-forward two years, and the Torch T1 helmet is out in the market.

I talked again to the Founder/CEO, Nathan Wills at this years Interbike, and he said that after 2012, they took the next year to refine the product, and get it ready for production so they could show the production model, and be ready to ship by 2014. 
I was able to get a helmet for review, and I am still as impressed as I was when I saw that pre-production model in 2012. The helmet has 5 lights each front and rear, protected by a frosted polycarbonate lens, which does a good job of difusing the light across the entire lens. The four modes (high and low steady, slow and fast flash) are accessed by a button on the side of the lens. The button has a good, positive click so you know when it is on or off, and is easily used while wearing gloves.  The lights are individually powered, and run times are estimated at 2 hours for high steady up to 12 hours for the slow flash.  I have been running the front on low steady, and have been getting about 4-5 hours. The front and rear have their own power supply, so one will not affect the run-time of the other.

The helmet doesn't throw off enough light to be used as a primary light source (there was mention of a mountain helmet in the works that would have that feature). It's more of a "hey, see me!" light, but it does illuminate the surrounding area enough to see something on your bars.

The only thing on the helmet that causes me some concern is the charging system. As I said above, each light has its own power source, and the helmet comes with a y-cable that will charge both batteries at the same time via USB. my hesitation is that this cable is fairly product-specific, and if you were to lose or break the cable, well... I would be happier to see a more standard USB/miniUSB charging system used on future models, because who of us doesn't have a bazillion of those cables lying around?

That being said, I love this helmet. It is a perfect helmet for early morning/late night commuting where any extra visibility is a plus.

The helmet comes in 3 colors: red, white and black.  The black also comes in their "Midnight" color scheme with smoke-tinted lenses front and back.  The msrp is $140 for the helmet, and $150 for the Midnight edition.

24 September 2014

Interbike - The Finale: Mobile Social

Yes, the last of my 2014 Interbike posts.

It's not an official part of Interbike, but it is one of the events that I look forward to the most. The 9th annual Bike Hugger Mobile Social, presented by New Belgium Brewing and Tern Bicycles left the convention center Thursday night for a leasurely ride up the strip to Freemont Street where libations and screen-printed coozies could be procured.

This year, instead of riding my own bike, Tern let me ride one of their folding bikes. The only down side to that is they collect the bikes at the end of the ride. From there, you are on your own to get back to your hotel via bus, taxi, or a very understanding wife who came downtown and collected you and a couple of friends.

The route. It doesn't jump back on the strip until just past the Palazzo on Sands Blvd.

As always, a good sized crowd showed up. Since it isn't an official Interbike event, it is open to anyone who shows up. There were a couple of local "bike" gangs that rode along with us.

The guys from Green Guru once again provided the musical accompaniment to the ride.

Selfie (x2)!


She is surfing on the back of an xtracycle. Yes, this is a fun ride.
Freemont Street, the end of our ride.

Hammer & Cycle. One of the local bike gangs.

Next year I'll bring my llama.

Finding a taxi can be difficult in Vegas.


23 September 2014

Interbike 2014: Photo Dump

I decided instead of carrying the Interbike posts on longer, I would just dump some of the pictures from both days in one post. Comments and links will follow some of the pictures.

Along with their trainers and rollers (the latest model of roller folds for easy storage and portability), Kinetic is also introducing on-the-bike goods, such as bottle cages that have offset holes so you can adjust your cage to make up for tight frame clearances.

The paint job on this reminds me of the splatter paint jobs from the early 90's.

The IKEA of bicycles, SandwichBikes. It comes flat packed in a box, with all the tools you need to assemble it. No idea how it rides, but a novel concept.

One of the more head-turning bikes at the show was Virtue Bike's Pedalist Velomobile. Seriously. People were lining up to get a picture inside the fiberglass-covered cargo bike.  

Dear Santa, please consider the above two photos as my Christmas wishlist.

I don't know what it is, but the chainring is bigger than the wheel.

Brooks Cambium line.

Helmets by Carrera. The style harkens back to the old "leather hairnet" helmets of days gone past. Also interesting that they can be compacted for storage.

Fun custom kit from Sugoi.

Hiplok wearable bike chain. Expect a review soon.


Bluetooth compatible speakers from Boombotix. For those who like to ride with their tunes, but are smart enough to leave the earphones behind.





T-Shirts, t-shirts and more t-shirts. click on the pictures to go to the respective companies.

Ellsworth bikes newest ride, the Dare.

Tern Bicycles' accessory company BioLogic is introducing this slick seatpost/tire pump.

Chrome is no longer just a messenger bag company, Along with their clothing line (see my review of the Cobra Merino hoodie), they have a line of shoes. The City SPD line is SPD compatible and has a great style and all-day wearability.

Todd Standish

Ray Moore standing in front of Sandra Ramirez's work
To promote their Unframed line, Nutcase brought the artists responsible for the helmets to re-create their artwork large-scale.

"BlackJack" by Nutcase. From their upcomming Metroride cycling-specific helmet line.
Some doof standing directly in front of the Interbike sign while I am trying to take a picture. Actually what to notice in this picture is the Club Ride Cog jeans that I am wearing. Review forthcomming

It's nice to see some bike companies still producing the old-school styles. KHS bikes.

Carbon goodness from Reynolds.

One of my favorite t-shirts is Handlebar Mustache's Pulp Fiction homage. I was stoked to see that Brett and Ashley did the same design in socks!
Next up, to complete my Interbike coverage, the Bike Hugger Mobile Social.