Farmer's market strawberries in the helmet purse.

The Versatility of the Bike Helmet

Whenever conversations about bike helmets begin, controversy is seldom far behind. Today I’d like to take an opportunity to redirect the conventional helmet discussion and instead explore its versatility. Continue reading “The Versatility of the Bike Helmet”

Nuu Muu run

Running In a Dress: Nuu-Muu Review

Over the last year, one piece of workout gear has firmly inserted itself into my closet– the Nuu-Muu exercise dress. I use them for commuting, running, and even ran a marathon in one earlier this spring. Continue reading “Running In a Dress: Nuu-Muu Review”

Tikit at American

Switching It Up: Bike Friday Tikit Commutes

Photo courtesty of @sharrowsDC
Photo courtesty of @sharrowsDC

Last week someone asked me how many bikes I own. I generally deflect this question because anyone who is surrounded by bad influences (I’m looking at you, Felkerino) and has the money can purchase multiple bikes. So I have more than one bike, but do not consider it any sort of accomplishment.

That said, the question was a good prompt to look in the Dining Room Bike Shop and switch up my commute steed. If a person owns multiple bikes I do think they should, you know, ride them.

Continue reading “Switching It Up: Bike Friday Tikit Commutes”

Bike Commute Hoarder

Quickbeam commute

Lifehacker recently posted an article called the Cycling Commuter’s Daily Bag that essentially emptied out a bike commuter’s pannier. Curious, I looked through the items listed and the accompanying photos. The number of items this person carried to her job was shocking.

The article did not go into the mileage of the woman’s daily commute, but during my own review I concluded she was carrying way too much unless she was heading out on a multi-day trip.

Then I started considering my own commute. Taking the short route, it’s two miles one-way. Not far at all. I bring clothes to the office and then leave them there, and have the additional benefit of an on-site dry cleaner’s.

How much stuff could I possibly need, especially on days where I only log four total miles by bike? Continue reading “Bike Commute Hoarder”

Commute Essentials: Klean Kanteen Cages

Quickbeam at the grocery. Klean Kanteen on the ground.

A few years ago I began commuting with steel Klean Kanteen bottles. I liked using the steel bottles, but because Klean Kanteens are narrower in circumfrence than a standard plastic water bottle and I use stainless steel cages almost exclusively, the metal on metal made the Kanteens rattle away on city streets like nobody’s business.

I suppose I could have put some kind of fabric covering over the bottles to diminish noise, but instead I purchased a plastic cage specifically designed for the Klean Kanteen bottle. I installed one on my Surly LHT and another on my Rivendell Quickbeam.

Continue reading “Commute Essentials: Klean Kanteen Cages”

Bike Commute Guide Part 1: The Essentials

Today I’m talking commute basics, as somebody recently asked me what to keep in mind when making the transition to bike commuting. It took me back to when I dusted off my old Ross mountain bike and said to myself, “Metro no more. I’m going to make this bike commute thing happen.” Happily, it wasn’t a tough transition to make, but it was a change to my personal transportation system that took time to refine and become routine.

Now that I’ve adjusted, it’s hard to imagine a time when I relied on metro or car more than my bicycle as my primary form of transportation.

For those considering bike commuting, this post discusses the the basic gear I purchased and the adaptations I made to bike commute. Everyone develops their own systems over time, and this is my basic rundown.

Continue reading “Bike Commute Guide Part 1: The Essentials”

BikeWrappers: Review and Giveaway

With the arrival of fall, night creeps in a little earlier to push out the daylight. Time to think about nighttime riding and making yourself even more visible to traffic.

While a head- and tail-light are critical for rides after dark, there are other accessories worth considering for your bike, too. A couple of months ago, the people at BikeWrappers asked me if I’d be interested in reviewing their product. I agreed, and they sent me a set to test out.

BikeWrappers are three fabric panels that affix via Velcro to three different sections of your bike: the top tube, seat tube, and the down tube. BikeWrappers are two-sided. One side of the BikeWrappers is for decorative purposes and has a pattern or is mono-color. The other side is made purely of reflective material.

Continue reading “BikeWrappers: Review and Giveaway”

Getting Comfortable in the Saddle

One of my blog readers, Trish, recently asked the following question about comfort in the saddle:

I searched your blog to see if I could find your thoughts on comfort in the saddle, which is my biggest obstacle to long rides. I’ve been doing metric centuries every weekend, but beyond that I think my rear end would be in too much discomfort.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

I know the saddle itself is highly personal, but do you have a favorite chamois? I like the Castelli Kiss chamois, not crazy about my Pearl Izumi, but haven’t tried all that many as experimentation is an expensive undertaking! Do you use Butt Butter or the like?

Obviously the position each rider finds comfortable varies by person, but the methods we use to achieve it are generally the same. Here’s what goes into making my saddle setup the best it can be.

Continue reading “Getting Comfortable in the Saddle”

Summer Days with the Surly (and a view of the Nitto Campee rack)

The Perfect Commuter Bike: my Surly Long Haul Trucker

Recently, I took a break from riding my Surly Long Haul Trucker because it was just too dirty to ride. Every time I touched the bike I deposited dirt somewhere on my person. I washed it over the weekend (OK, Felkerino washed it over the weekend) and now it’s too clean to ride.

Surly Long Haul Trucker
Surly Long Haul Trucker

In the interim, I dusted off my Bike Friday Pocket Rocket and have been tooling around on it instead. I really like my Bike Friday, but spending the week on the Pocket Rocket made me realize why I hop on my Surly LHT almost every day for my commute.

Continue reading “The Perfect Commuter Bike: my Surly Long Haul Trucker”

Utilitaire Curiosities: How We Light Up the Night

In order to officially complete the Utilitaire 12, at least two rides must be completed in the dark and thus, require lights.

What do people use to ride in the dark? Some people, not part of this challenge, use nothing. Boo. Bike ninjas are all over. At least, I think they are. I have a hard time picking their silhouettes out of the darkness.

Most people who commute and utilitaire, however, end up adopting some type of front and rear lighting system to get them through dark times. Literally dark, I mean.

Continue reading “Utilitaire Curiosities: How We Light Up the Night”

Utilitaire Curiosities: How We Carry What We Do

Boop bee doop. Reading through the utilitaire posts and tweets got me thinking about the various “bike and haul” setups people have chosen, and also prompted me to analyze my own.

I have two primary systems and bikes I use for hauling stuff around. For riding in the city, I generally use one of two bicycles: a Rivendell Quickbeam (single speed); or my Surly Long Haul Trucker (many speeds).

Setup 1: Rivendell Quickbeam with the Carradice College Saddlebag

Continue reading “Utilitaire Curiosities: How We Carry What We Do”

Century Ride, Burley Trailer, and Santa Hats

Even though the holidays are quickly closing in on us, Felkerino and I made a joint escape from our chores on Saturday to do a century ride. We then made up for our day at play by doing car-free errands on Sunday, including a few with the Burley trailer.

Crofton, Maryland, Century Ride

Saturday, Felkerino and I met up with Mike B., fellow D.C. Randonneur and Severna Park Peloton member, for a 97-mile jaunt out of Crofton, Maryland. Course description: rolling; no mountains; a few busy suburban roads; and several quiet, rolling, wooded sections. Overall, it was a great ride considering it started from such a built up area.

Continue reading “Century Ride, Burley Trailer, and Santa Hats”

Carradice Cheesecake, Weekend Cycling, and Mechanicals

How was your Thanksgiving? In the D.C. area, we were not only treated to a holiday, but also some spectacular late November weather. Sun, light wind, and temperatures in the mid-sixties. At least not all the good weather happens while I’m at work. Here are the weekend highlights from this neck of the woods.

Continue reading “Carradice Cheesecake, Weekend Cycling, and Mechanicals”

Ride for your Life: Grocery Shopping

Felkerino and I recently acquired a bike to share, the Bridgestone MB-4. To-date, the sharing has consisted of me letting Felkerino ride it. That’s ok. My day will come.

We realized that the Bridgestone is perfect for hitching up the $40 mint-condition Burley trailer that Felkerino got a few years ago from Goodwill. He’s been threatening to use it for years, and with the Bridgestone in our possession, he finally got his chance. Continue reading “Ride for your Life: Grocery Shopping”

A Bike Ride, a Burley trailer, and a new Nishiki mixte frame

Wow, this week went fast. Felkerino and I are off to join our D.C. Randonneurs friends for a little bike ride. This is one where reflective gear and lights are required.

Wear the vest, randonneurs!

Before we go, though, I would like to share that we are putting the Bridgestone MB-4 to work. This morning, Felkerino hitched the Burley trailer to it and rode off to retrieve a 1980 Nishiki mixte frame that someone gave us.
Continue reading “A Bike Ride, a Burley trailer, and a new Nishiki mixte frame”