RSS

Tag Archives: bicycle

The Weatherneck Quick Release Bandana

weatherneck

Over the past five years I’ve pledged money to help bring several new cycling products to market by way of Kickstarter. For those who are not familiar with Kickstarter, it is a “crowd funding” website that allows individuals to pledge money to bring films, music, video games and other creative projects to fruition—those who contribute often get “freebies” such as a sample of the product or a piece of memorabilia. A few of the cycling projects that I’ve helped support turned out to be fantastic products, like the Fix It Sticks by creator Brian Davis (click to see my product review). Brian also invented the BackBottle, a specially designed water bottle that slips into the back pocket of your cycling jersey. His latest project is the Weatherneck, a quick release bandana for outdoor enthusiasts. While I have pledged money to this project, Brian Davis was also kind enough to send me a prerelease version of the Weatherneck to review.

The Weatherneck is a face and neck warmer that is held in place by two powerful magnets. The product is made of a lightweight technical fiber and is not intended to take the place of a full balaclava—the Weatherneck would be the first layer of protection I would use when the temperature drops. The Weatherneck is long enough to cover me from my nose down to about mid-chest level (I tuck mine under my jacket). The fabric is also highly breathable, which is very important to those of us on bikes!

The main reason I love the Weatherneck is that it is very easy to take off—in fact, I can take it off with one hand while riding and stuff it into a jersey pocket without looking (and still have plenty of room left in the pocket). I own at least a dozen balaclavas and face masks and they all force me to stop my ride and remove my helmet and sunglasses to take them off—not so with the Weatherneck!

weatherneck-colors

The Weatherneck will be available in nine different color combinations (the pink one is being worked on). I am really glad Brian is offering such a wide color selection since I always like my kit to match (I haven’t seen any studies on the matter, but I am certain that color-coordinated kit will increase your average speed by at least one mile per hour). The Weatherneck is not just for cyclists—any outdoor enthusiast would like it (runners, skiers, snow boarders, hunters, etc.).

This product is going to retail for $20 each. However, those who back this project on Kickstarter can save a few dollars by buying in bulk. For example, if you pledge $72 you will get four Weathernecks in your choice of colors (with free shipping in the USA; International orders are also available).

 

Tags: , , , ,

Niterider Sentinel 40 Taillight Winner

Eric-Overton

Eric Overton

We recently held a contest to give away a Niterider Sentinel 40 Taillight to some lucky reader. The rules for the contest were simple: just pick a number between 1,000 and 1,500 and leave it in the comment section for the review. The contest ended at midnight on Monday, December 28, 2015. The winning number for this contest was 1250 and Ohio resident Eric Overton hit the number exactly.

Eric is the organizer of a cycling group in the Cleveland Ohio Area called Long Distance Cycling Cleveland. The group has a series of long distance rides that prepares the group for events such as Calvin’s 12 Hour Challenge, the National 24 Hour Challenge and other organized tours. Eric has been doing the 12 and 24 hour races for 15 years.

1250As usual, we used a random number generator to select a number between 1,000 and 1,500 and that is how 1250 was selected as the winning number. The rules to state that the winning number has to be the number closest to, but not over, the number selected by the random number generator. However, since Eric guessed the number exactly it saved me a lot of time sorting through the comment section to find the closest number.

 
 

Tags: , , , , ,

Niterider Sentinel 40 Taillight with Laser Lanes (Product Review and Giveaway)

NiteRider_LifestyleIMG_SentinelTail_URBAN

Over the past twelve or thirteen years I’ve purchased at least a two dozen taillights—some were brighter than others, but the new Niterider Sentinel 40 Taillight is in a class all by itself. I am not one to gush over new cycling gadgets, but this taillight is the coolest product I’ve ever put on my bike! The folks at Niterider sent me one for review and now I am going to give this awesome light away to some lucky reader (see the details at the end of this article).

The Sentinel 40 has a super bright 40 lumen output (and thanks to a well-designed lens it actually looks much brighter than that). The taillight has four modes (two flashing, plus high and low steady). I never use the steady (always on) mode because a flashing light is so much easier for cars to see (plus it saves battery life). In the fastest flash mode the built-in 1000mA LiPo (lithium polymer) battery on this unit will last an amazing seven and a half hours. The charge time for this light is only four hours and uses a USB cable which is included with the light. As for size, the light is approximately 3.5 inches tall, 1.5 inches wide and 1.5 inches deep. For the “weight weenies” among us, it weighs a mere 2.5 ounces (73g).

niterider-sentinel-40I’ve saved the coolest feature for last: the Sentinel 40 has Laser Lanes which project two parallel bright red lines onto the pavement to give you your own personal bike lane. I honestly don’t know how far back cars can see this feature at highway speeds, but in town it a obviously helps. One warning: you are going to have to be ready at every stoplight to tell motorists about the lights since it seems like everyone is curious about them. Did I mention how cool these Laser Lanes look? By the way, the Laser Lane lights are real lasers, so don’t look directly into them.

Like most bicycle taillights, this unit can be mounted to either the back of most saddlebags or attached to your seatpost with the included clamp.  While the clamp seems more robust (sturdy) than most clamps, I prefer to mount mine on the saddlebag so the light will sit up higher on the bike. I used to lose a couple of taillights every year because they would fly off my bike the first time I hit a big bump on the road (but I wouldn’t notice it until I got home). The simple solution is to mount your taillight on the saddlebag as usual, then wrap a zip tie (cable tie) around your light so it extends behind the clamp (I haven’t lost one since I’ve started doing this).

The Niterider Sentinel 40 Taillight retails for $49.99 and is available at your local bike shop or online for a couple dollars less (but be nice and buy this from your local bike shop).

I never keep the products that are sent to me for review, but I am going to really hate giving up this taillight! To enter the contest for the Niterider Sentinel 40 Taillight all you have to do is pick a number between 1,000 and 1,500 and enter it in the comment section below (you don’t actually have to make a comment). The contest ends at midnight (CST) on Monday, December 28, 2015. After the contest closes I will use a random number generator to pick the winning number. If no one guesses the exact number the person with the number closest to, but not over, the winning number will get this slightly used taillight. In case two or more people chose the same number the first person to pick the number will be the winner. This contest is for U.S. residents only and only one entry per household allowed. When the contest is over I will publish the results in the comments section of this article. I will send this product to the winner via U.S. Mail.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

ReplaceSR Electrolyte Tablets Winner

lectrichead

The winner is “lectrichead”

We recently held a contest to give away six bottles of Replace Sustained Release Electrolyte Tablets to some lucky reader. The rules for the contest were simple: just pick a number between 500 and 1,000 and leave it in the comment section for the review. The contest ended at midnight on Friday, October 30, 2015. The winning number for this contest was 876 and the entry closest to that number was given by “lectrichead”, or, as he is known to his family, Marc, who guessed 874.

Marc describes himself as a “middle-aged web site designer, who has always had an interest in biking but through years of sitting at my job I gained some weight and got pretty out of shape, and my biking decreased over time. Until one day my wife and I decided to lose weight and get healthy, and now I bike like crazy, as much as as far as I can possibly go and my interest in biking increases exponentially as time goes by, it seems. I also cross-train also. I live in northern New York, nearly as far north as you can go without falling into the St. Lawrence and reaching Canada.” You can follow his articles at the Random Bits & Bytes Blog.

Random Number GeneratorFor your information, we used a random number generator to select a number between 500 and 1,000 and that is how 876 was selected as the winning number. Apparently a few folks did not read the directions since they entered numbers that were outside the range of the contest. In addition, I normally word the rules to state that the winning number has to be the number closest to, but not over, the number selected by the random number generator.

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Replace Sustained Release Electrolyte Tablets (Product Review and Giveaway)

Replace Sustained Release Electrolyte Tablets

Replace Sustained Release Electrolyte Tablets

For the past couple of months I have been using ReplaceSR (Sustained Release) Electrolyte Tablets on my bike rides. I haven’t taken a bike ride in over twelve years without consuming some form of added electrolytes—usually in the carbohydrate drink mix I use (I make my own). However, having the electrolytes in a sustained release tablet opens up a whole new world! The folks at Endurance Products sent me a rather large supply of their new product, ReplaceSR, for me to sample and I still have six unopened bottles of the tablets I am going to give away to some lucky reader (see the details at the end of this article).

ReplaceSR is a 4 to 6 hour sustained release electrolyte tablet designed for cyclists, triathletes and other endurance athletes. If your normal bike ride is under 90 minutes you don’t need this product. Each tablet contains five active ingredients: Sodium (175mg), Potassium (65 mg), Chloride (211 mg), Phosphorus (103 mg), and Magnesium (10 mg). The ReplaceSR tablets are about the size of a regular Tylenol tablet.

The manufacturer suggests that you take one to three ReplaceSR tablets with a full glass of water thirty minutes before beginning to exercise. I realize those directions are not too precise, so I just took one tablet for a short ride (two to three hours), two tablets for a medium ride (three to four hours), and three tablets for a longer rides (four to six hours). If you are interested is a detailed study of the science behind ReplaceSR, I would strongly suggest you read this article on boosting performance in endurance athletes.

Separating my electrolytes from my liquid intake was rather liberating. For years I’ve timed my liquid intake to match my presumed electrolyte losses during a bike ride. In my case that meant 20-ounces of a carb drink for every hour on the bike. Unfortunately, that meant that sometimes I was drinking when I wasn’t thirsty and on really hot days I was so thirsty that I was consuming far more electrolytes than needed. With ReplaceSR I was able to drink plain water when I wanted and get my carbohydrates from my gels. For distance cyclists like myself, you know it is a lot easier to find a bottle of water on the road than a decent carb drink!

While most people associate electrolyte loss with sweating on hot and humid day days, winter sports have the same effect. I live between Chicago and Milwaukee and normally ride all winter long. When the temperature drops below 20 degrees Fahrenheit I switch from my normal carb drinks to hot tea and honey. I pour boiling hot tea into a Klean Kanteen Wide Mouth Insulated Water Bottle and then add a generous amount of honey for my carbohydrates. While this process keeps my drinks from freezing, hot tea and honey offer no electrolytes! Now with ReplaceSR I will be able ride all winter without worrying about electrolyte loss! By the way, I only ride in temperatures down to -20 Fahrenheit (-29 Celsius). I am not like those crazy folks up in Minnesota who will ride in temps down to -50 Fahrenheit (-45 Celsius).

ReplaceSR tablets come in three package sizes. The cheapest way to buy them is in a bottle of 90 tablets for only $20. However, they also come in a 20 tablet bottle for $10. They also have a new 3-tablet convenience packet—it is 72 tablets but they are packaged in sets of 3, and this package retails for for $24. You can order this product directly from the Endurance Products Company website.

To enter the contest for six free bottles of ReplaceSR (20 tablets per bottle) all you have to do is pick a number between 500 and 1,000 and enter it in the comment section below (you don’t actually have to make a comment). The contest ends at midnight (CST) on Friday, October 30, 2015. After the contest closes I will use a random number generator to pick the winning number. If no one guesses the exact number the person with the number closest to, but not over, the winning number will get the six bottles of ReplaceSR. In case two or more people chose the same number the first person to pick the number will be the winner. This contest is for U.S. residents only and only one entry per household allowed. When the contest is over I will publish the results in the comments section of this article. I will send this product to the winner via U.S. Mail.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The 2015 Trek Domane 6.9 Endurance Race Bike

2015 Trek Domane 6.9 Endurance Race Bike

The 2015 Trek Domane 6.9 Carbon Fiber Endurance Race Bike

Two years ago I purchased a Trek Domane 5.9 Carbon Fiber Endurance Race Bike and after just one ride I thought there was no way possible for Trek to improve on that bike! One of the biggest selling points for the bike was that Fabian Cancellara (a.k.a. Spartacus) used this bike for the most painful pro bike race in Europe, the Paris–Roubaix (a.k.a. The Hell of the North). The Paris–Roubaix is a 157 mile race that takes place in northern France and large sections of the race is over cobble stones—making it a ride that can tear apart both cyclists and their machines. Trek developed the Domane as an endurance bike—it is a race bike that can help you endure rough roads, even cobble stones, with ease. I live between Chicago and Milwaukee and the roads in our area are horrible (like most of the upper Midwest). Our brutal winters cause even a new blacktop road to crack, crumble and disappear during the spring thaw—and the Trek Domane is the perfect road bike to ride over this mess.

As I mentioned in my last article, my 2013 Trek Domane frame was damaged by a component failure and Trek was kind enough to give me a new frame under their fairly generous warranty program. However, since my frame was two years old Trek did not have that exact frame available, so they upgraded me to a much more expensive 2015 Domane 6.9 Disc frame (thank you Trek!). I rarely take a stock bike home from the local bike shop—so in this article I would like to tell you about some of the upgrades I made. All of these changes were suggested to me by Grant Mullen, mechanic extraordinaire at Zion Cyclery in Zion, Illinois.

grant-mullen-zion-cyclery

Master Mechanic Grant Mullen From Zion Cyclery

The most expensive part of this project was the new wheelset (rims, hubs, spokes). Since the new frame was designed for disc brakes I was going to have to buy a new wheelset. I would have been very happy with the standard Bontrager Affinity Elite Disc wheelset (142×12 rear, 15mm front), but unfortunately it was out of stock. In fact, at this time of the year it was rather difficult to find anyone who had a compatible wheelset in stock. Fortunately, we were able to obtain a much lighter (i.e., more expensive) wheelset from Industry Nine Components. Their i25TL Disc wheelset comes with Torch Road system disc hubs laced with 24 Sapim CX Ray straight pull spokes. For the “weight weenies” among us, this wheelset weighs a mere 1455 grams!

Spyre SLC Dual Piston Mechanical Disc Brakes

Spyre SLC Dual Piston Mechanical Disc Brakes

Since my new frame was designed for disc brakes we decided to forego the standard Shimano RS785 hydraulic disc brakes and go with the Spyre SLC dual piston mechanical disc brakes (with a 160mm rotor). This set has Carbon actuation arms for maximum weight savings (156g per caliper). I wanted disc brakes for two reasons: First, I often get caught out in the rain and standard caliper brakes don’t stop too well when wet. Second, I am a big guy (borderline Clydesdale) and a fast descent from the hills can be downright scary—disc brakes provide a lot more stopping power for larger cyclists!

My two-year old bike had the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electronic groupset (front and rear derailleur, shifters, crank) were still in great shape, so we kept them. This groupset provides the smoothest shifting you’ve ever experienced on a bike—even while climbing. In addition to smooth shifting, this unit also provides automatic trimming on the front derailleur. Since the bike was in the shop anyway, a new cassette sprocket (11-28T) and chain were also installed.

I live in an area where there is a lot of broken glass on the road so I had a new pair of Continental Gatorskin tires installed (700x25c with a 180 tpi carcass). However, Grant suggested I use their hardcase tires for even better protection. These tires offer triple flat protection: a Kevlar belt provides puncture resistance, anti-pinch ribs stop pinch flats, and bead to bead woven construction dramatically reduce your chances of cutting your sidewalls.

Bontrager DuoTrap Digital Speed And Cadence Sensor

Bontrager DuoTrap Digital Speed And Cadence Sensor

The Trek Domane has a cut-out in the frame so you can add a Bontrager DuoTrap Digital Speed And Cadence Sensor—since the sensor fits into the frame there is no added aerodynamic drag (and no ugly cable ties). Two years ago I bought the older DuoTrap sensor which was ANT+ compatible, but a few months ago I upgraded to the new Bluetooth model (I will review this product in the near future). The Bluetooth model is compatible with the Wahoo RFLKT Bike Computer and the Cyclemeter iPhone app (the greatest iPhone app ever made).

Duwayne Moss

Duwayne Moss Putting The Finishing Touches On The Bike

It took Grant nearly four hours to put my new bike together, but before he was done he had fellow mechanic Duwayne Moss wrap my handlebars. Duwayne has a reputation for turning bar tape into a work of art (when I try to wrap my handlebars it always looks like it was done by a three-year-old with ADD who had been drinking Red Bull). My favorite tape is the Lizard Skins DSP Bar Tape—this 3.2mm tape is made with DuraSoft Polymer (DSP) and provides a comfortable surface for your hands even on Century rides. It also allows you to keep a grip on your handlebars during a rainstorm!

The 2015 Trek Domane 6.9 Endurance Race Bike with disc brakes retails for around $8,300 and is only sold by authorized Trek dealers. I know that is a lot of money for a bike, but if you ride on rough roads you will never regret buying one.

As I left home to watch Grant put my bike together my dear wife suggested that I wear a T-shirt that she had bought me at Christmas (but had not yet worn). The front of the shirt, in very bold type, says, “I promise honey, this is my last bike.” The back of the shirt has a photo of a hand with the fingers crossed. My wife knows me very well.

 

 

Tags: , , , , ,

The Trek Frame Warranty—Good As Gold

Trek Domane 6.9 Bike Frame

A Trek Domane 6.9 Bike Frame

Fourteen years ago I wondered into the local bike shop, Zion Cyclery in Zion, Illinois, to purchase my first “shop built” bike. The owner of the shop, Don Daisy, showed me several entry level bikes, but he suggested that I get a Trek bike because it was well built and had a great warranty. Well, I took his advice and bought my first Trek bike, a 4300 Alpha Mountain Bike. A few years later I bought a Trek 1200 Road Bike, then a Gary Fisher Big Sur mountain bike (made by Trek). In 2007 I bought my first Carbon fiber road bike, a Trek Madone 5.2. When my youngest son came back from Iraq I bought him a new road bike to help him adjust to civilian life—a Trek bike, of course. Two years ago this month I dropped a major chunk of change on a Trek Domane 5.9 Carbon Fiber Endurance Race Bike. Due to family medical problems and two brutal winters this bike has only been on the road for a total of eleven months (but I was able to get over 6,800 miles on this bike alone during that time). Unfortunately, last week a faulty component damaged the frame and the local bike shop told me  the frame was going to have to be replaced!

Replacing a bike frame is not something any cyclist looks forward to, but this experience has really caused me to appreciate how Trek takes care of their customers! The local bike shop shipped of my damaged frame to Trek for inspection on a Thursday and by the following Friday I had a new (and improved) bike frame. I’ve had friends who’ve had warranty repairs with other brands of bikes and their experience was not nearly as pleasant as mine (their replacement took several weeks to arrive).

The Trek Care Limited Warranty gives the original retail purchaser of nearly all Trek bikes a lifetime warranty on the frame. This warranty is against factory defects, not accidents or stupidity (misuse, abuse, or neglect). However, if you damage your bike frame by trying to do a somersault off the roof of your house (obviously not a factory defect), Trek has the Trek Care Loyalty Program that will help you replace a non-warranty damaged bike frame at a discount.

The damage to my bike frame was caused by the BB90 bottom bracket—either the ball bearings were faulty or the bottom bracket was incorrectly installed at the factory. Regardless of the original cause, the bottom bracket got chewed up and damaged my Carbon fiber frame. I am convinced that what happened to my bike frame was a fluke—I’ve searched a lot of bike forums trying to find someone else with the same problem and couldn’t find one. Technically, this problem is not covered under the warranty—the bike frame did not have a “factory defect.” Here is where having a good local bike shop pays off! Grant Mullen, mechanic extraordinaire at Zion Cyclery, spent a good deal of time on the phone with Trek pleading my case. While the frame damage was not due to a factory defect, it was caused by a factory installed part. I was on “pins and needles” waiting for Trek’s decision. Thankfully, Trek went above and beyond what most companies would be willing to do and sent me a new bike frame (and fork to match). Since my damaged frame was two years old Trek could not give me an exact replacement, so they graciously offered to send me a much more expensive frame at no charge—a 2015 Trek Domane 6.9 frame (a much more expensive fame).

I think it is very important to point out that your local bike shop does not make any money while they are on the phone talking to the factory rep about your bike. Any extra time on the phone is pulling profit out of their business—they do it to provide customer service, not to fatten their bottom line. This is one of the reasons that when I need a new bike I never shop around for a lower price—I always go directly to Zion Cyclery because I know that they take care of their customers after the sale (and that can’t be said about a lot of bike shops).

In my next article I will tell you more about the 2015 Trek Domane 6.9 and how I had it spec’d out.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

 
The Seeds 4 Life

Plant seeds of inspiration, positivity and happiness within your mind and watch as your best life grows!

The Shameful Sheep

shit storms, shame, and stories that make you cringe

Varied Style

inexpensive, unexpected fashion

Grow With Me, Child.

My Journey of Being a Stay-At-Home-Mom

Les Posen's Presentation Magic

It's time for a paradigm shift in how presentations are performed. One presenter's blog on how to present as if all your audience members had a brain.

Mommyfriend

...finding perfection in imperfection daily.

ragtime cyclist

cycling, pro cycling, and the bits inbetween

Bike Like Crazy

whatever the weather

Ferrell's Travel Blog

Commenting on biblical studies, archaeology, travel and photography

ἐκλεκτικός

Steve Wolfgang's view of the world from suburban Chicago -- or wherever he may be on any given day

It's A Marathon AND A Sprint

And a 10K and a 200 Mile Bike Ride and an Obstacle Race and Anything Else We Find!

SmirkPretty

Eyes ten degrees above the horizon

BikeHikeSafari

Cycling and Hiking the worlds most amazing places

fatbeardedandtattooedcyclist's Blog

A great WordPress.com site

the drunken cyclist

I have three passions: wine, cycling, travel, family, and math.

Cyclerist

Cycling and weightlifting, mostly

Long Distance Cycling Cleveland

We host a series of long distance preparation rides each weekend from February - June in the Cleveland, Ohio area

Jasmine's Vision

Embracing the Darkness. Finding the Others.

Kerrie Is Running

Started with the C25k and now we're here!

Intentional Twenties

Fitness. Food. Finance.

foodbod

healthy tasty food that I love to make and eat and share

grayfeathersblog

Diabetes, Cancer Survivor, Cycling, Photographer, Exercise, College Parent, High School Parents, Teenage girls, Twins, Boy Scout Leader, Life

Travel Tales of Life

Travelers. Adventurers. Storytellers.

Kite*Surf*Bike*Rambling

KITESURFING, CYCLING, SUP: ramblings, idiocy and not much more

Fatbike Brigade

Exploring the world on fatbikes

A Sierra Fatty

A Dyslexic Journalism journal about downhill, fatbike, cyclocross, dual slalom, snowbike, adventure, bikepacking, xc, dh, enduro, ridebikeswithfriends, paddleboard, snowboard, ski, cross-country ski

Adventure before Avarice

Andrew Bain: travel writer, author, adventurer, photographer, blah, blah

PaleoHikerMD

REAL FOOD, REAL HEALTH, REAL ADVENTURE, REAL FAMILY

The HSD

What happens when a medical doctor becomes a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom

The Jordan Project

Teach. Cook. Explore.

Tinkerbell adventures

A home for my adventures - hiking, climbing and occasionally cycling

Scott Silverii, PhD

Dad, Husband, Cop & Author

Fat Girl to Ironman

My five year journey to awesomeness...

Corrie Anne

A girl without freckles is like a night without stars.

Christov_Tenn

Always Thinking, Reading About, and Up To Something

20,000 Miles of Experiences, Adventures and Thoughts

Thoughts, views and opinions of a northwest cyclist and adventurer

Midlife Moments

Leaning in to a Magical, Mystical and Miraculous Time

Sports Bras And Sippy Cups

This Mama Lifts More Than Just Babies!

The Right Side of 50

Stories: true, real, funny and inspiring, and getting life right!

happy~TRI~girl

...from TRI's to TRAILS and everything in between

A Promise to Dad

"You don't have anything if you don't have your health"

Triathlon Obsession

Triathlon, Sport and Healthy Living

XPLORE

"Baz - The Landy" Out and About having fun

Serendipities of life

Taking the road less travelled

The Chatter Blog

Living: All Day Every Day: Then Chattering About It

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,328 other followers

%d bloggers like this: