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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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BiKase DriKase Smartphone Holder Contest Winner

This past Tuesday we held a contest to give away a BiKase DriKase Smartphone Holder. As usual, the contest winner would be the person who best explained why they needed the phone case. While there were several people I thought had wonderful entries, I finally decided on Jennifer (tvjencook in the comments section). Jennifer said she needed the BiKase DriKase Smartphone Holder because she rides her bike in the “random Florida rain showers” and uses the Road ID app as well.

Adventures with Jen Cook

Contest Winner Jen (tvjencook)

I asked Jennifer to write a short paragraph about herself, so here it is: “I hail from Chicago, which is the greatest city in the world. I now live in Orlando, which is mainly great because it doesn’t snow and we have Disney World. I love to bike—right now I have a mountain bike that I ride on the trails with. I also off-road, but not as much as I’d like. Working on getting a road bike in the near future. Until then, I hit spin class every morning at 6am then off to work. I work at a television station, which greatly helps feed my obsession and addiction to TV and all things pop culture. I have two boys, 10 and 7. Not only do they keep me busy, they also compete in triathlon’s—proving at a young age that they can already kick my butt. My husband and I enjoy beer way too much.”

I can’t imagine why anyone would want to leave the high taxes, crime and endless snow in Chicago to live in Orlando! By the way, Jennifer also has a blog, Adventures with Jen Cook.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on August 25, 2013 in Life On Two Wheels

 

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BiKase DriKase Smartphone Holder (Product Review and Giveaway)

The main reason I own an Apple iPhone is because I am a distance cyclist and I try to travel as light as possible. The iPhone allows me to record my workouts with the Cyclemeter App (my absolute favorite app for the iPhone) and it allows my wife to track me with the new Road ID App (my second favorite app). I also take photos on off-road trails and always use the iPhone to check on the weather before I leave the house. On rare occasions I have actually used the iPhone to make a phone call. However, carrying a smartphone is sometimes a challenge because I don’t want to permanently mount a phone holder to any of my bikes. A few weeks ago the folks at Alt-Gear sent me a BiKase DriKase Smartphone Holder to review and it is probably the best smartphone holder for cyclists available on the market today. If you would like a chance to win this smartphone holder just keep reading!

BiKase DriKase Smartphone Holder

BiKase DriKase Smartphone Holder

The BiKase DriKase Smartphone Holder is made of urethane and is highly water-resistant (in my opinion your phone is safe in a thunderstorm, but don’t use this holder when you go scuba diving). The sealed construction on this holder makes for a very durable phone case. This holder mounts to your bike with a sturdy Velrco strip—you can attach it to either your handlebars or the handlebar stem. While the Velcro is very secure it is still easy to remove it when you want to.

The clear window on the back allows you to still use your camera

The clear window on the back allows you to still use your camera

Unlike most of the other iPhone (or other smartphone) holders on the market, this one has a clear window on the back so you can use your camera with having to take the phone out of the holder. I shot a few photos through this window and was pleasantly surprised at how well the photos looked! Photos shot in full daylight were nearly perfect, but I could see a bit of blurring in low-light situations. Another surprising thing about this smartphone holder is that you can still use your phone when it is in the case—the sound is slightly muffled, but still good enough to use.

BiKase DriKase Smartphone Holder

BiKase DriKase Smartphone Holder

By the way, I keep my iPhone 5 in a very thin polypropylene case and it fits in the DriKase holder with ease. This case will also hold a Samsung Galaxy 3 or 4 and several other smartphones. BiKase also has holders available that will accommodate larger phones and even an iPad Mini or Kindle. The BiKase DriKase Smartphone Holder retails for $25 and is available from the Alt-Gear website , CambriaBike.com, OutsideOutfitters.com, and Amazon.com.

Regular readers know that I seldom keep the products that are sent to me for review. If you would like a chance  to win this BiKase DriKase Smartphone Holder then leave a comment below telling me why you need it. The contest ends at midnight (CST) on Friday, August 23, 2013. After the contest closes I will read through the comments and choose a winner based solely on my subjective mood at the time. I won’t respond to the comments left below, but I promise to read and consider every one of them. This contest is for U.S. residents only and only one entry per household allowed. I will send this product to the winner via U.S. Mail at my expense. Good luck!

 
15 Comments

Posted by on August 20, 2013 in Product Reviews

 

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Serfas CK-1 Combo Kit Contest Winner

This past Monday we held a contest to give away a Serfas CK-1 Combo Kit 1, a bicycle repair kit that includes a saddlebag, air pump, tire patch kit and multi-tool. While there were several folks I would have liked to have given this kit to, I finally decided on Cat (the cyclist behind the My Life In Gear blog).

Cat (according2cat) and her son, Chad

Cat (according2cat) and her son, Chad

Here is Cat’s winning entry: “I’m getting back into cycling after walking away from it in my mid-20′s (I didn’t intentionally walk away, life just got busy). I just purchased my first road bike in March, since then I’ve put 800 miles on it. At the same time I purchased my bike, I purchased a bike for my son so he could ride with me. I have a kit for bike repairs on my bike, which is fine when we ride together, but more and more recently he is riding on his own. I’d love to win this kit for him to have on his bike. As a single mom, trying to get ‘geared up’ in the cycling world, can tax the budget (I don’t operate on credit). This would be a windfall for me, and my son would be absolutely ecstatic over it. Plus, his birthday is coming up on September 1st.”

According to her blog, Cat lives in Oregon with her son Chad. She is 49 years of age and is trying to lose 50 pounds by the time she is 50 years old (you can do it Cat!).

This past Friday afternoon I received a phone call from my best friend, a cyclist in Florida. He has never entered one of the contests, but he does read the comments and I often discuss my choice of winners with him. When he called he asked who was going to be the winner (barring a last-minute entry that might surpass the current entries). I told him that “according2cat” looked like the winner at the moment and he said he agreed, but he also liked the entry from “Chris” who was writing on behalf of his friend Dante—a poor guy whose 11-year old Hyundai broke down and now he has to ride a bike to work. According to Chris, Dante does not have the money to keep his bike in good repair, let alone his Hyundai, but he has lost 27 pounds since he took up cycling to work. I only had one Serfas CK-1 Combo Kit to give away, but I did go to the Man Cave (my garage) and rounded up a decent selection of tools to send to Dante (saddlebag, air pump, multi-tool, tire repair kit, cycling glasses, etc.). The gear I am sending is all used, but still functional. The only reason I am telling you this part of the story is to let you know that I do read every and give serious consideration to every entry. You might not have won this contest, but try again the next time!

 
13 Comments

Posted by on July 7, 2013 in Life On Two Wheels

 

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Serfas CK-1 Combo Kit 1 (Product Review and Giveaway)

Even if you don’t have a clue about how to repair a flat tire or make minor adjustments to your bike, you really need to carry a tire repair kit, tire pump and mini-tool with you on every ride. You might not know what to do with the tools, but usually someone with offer to help you—but without the right tools you might have a long walk home. The folks at Serfas recently sent me one of their basic repair kits, the Serfas CK-1 Combo Kit 1, to review. This kit includes the items needed to repair about 90% of the problems you are likely to have on a normal bike ride. If you would like a chance to win this kit just keep reading!

Serfas CK-1 Combo Kit 1

Serfas CK-1 Combo Kit 1

The tire pump in this kit is the Serfas BS-1D Big Stick Pump and it normally retails for $18. This pump is 11″ long (17″ with the handle extended) and works with both Presta and Schrader valves. The pump should be able to inflate your tires up to 110 psi, but, like most air pumps, anything over 100 psi requires a bit of work. This pump weights just a little over 7 ounces (205 grams) and will easily attach to your seat tube with the included mounting bracket. The handle on this pump folds out and makes it very easy to grip.

Serfas BS-1D Big Stick Pump

Serfas BS-1D Big Stick Pump

This kit includes a small mini-tool that includes seven Allen keys (2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm), a Phillips screwdriver and a Torx wrench (mainly used for disc brakes). If you are in need of mini-tool with a with a wider selection of tools I would strongly suggest the Serfas ST-17i CO² Inflator / Mini-tool (the best all-round mini-tool I’ve ever seen).

Bicycle Mini-Tool

Bicycle Mini-Tool

The tire repair kit is rather generic—a lot of companies sell nearly identical kits. This one includes two tire levers, four patches and a small tube of patch glue. There is also a small piece of sandpaper that is used to scruff up the area around the puncture before you apply the glue. The only thing missing here is a small piece of chalk (I don’t know of company that includes it with their tire repair kits, but they should). When you are trying to find the puncture in a deflated tire you first need to partially inflate the tube and then feel your way around the tube until you find the leak—and once you find it a piece of chalk makes it real easy to mark the location (if you don’t mark it well when the tube is inflated it will be very difficult to find once you let the air out).

Bicycle Tie Repair Kit

Bicycle Tie Repair Kit

Also included in this kit is a medium-sized saddle bag (6″ long x 4″ wide x 4.5″ tall). This bag is also expandable—just unzip the bottom zipper and the bag becomes a whopping 6″ tall! Even with the expandable bottom closed there is enough room for the tire repair kit, mini-tool, one MTB tire (or two road tires), your ID and a bit of cash with room to spare. This bag also has a key ring holder inside so won’t risk loosing your car keys every time you open the bag. The bag attaches to your bike with two Velcro straps—one strap goes around the seat post and the other around the rails of your saddle. One more thing: there is a piece of 3M Scotchbrite Reflective Trim all the way around the saddle (something I wish all saddles had).

Serfas Medium Saddle Bag

Serfas Medium Saddle Bag (Note The Key Ring Holder)

Serfas CK-1 Combo Kit 1 retails for $40 and is available from the Serfas website or from an authorized Serfas retailer (most bike shops and REI stores).

Regular readers know that I seldom keep the products that are sent to me for review. If you would like a chance  to win this Serfas CK-1 Combo Kit 1 then leave a comment below telling me why you need it. The contest ends at midnight (CST) on Friday, July 5, 2013. After the contest closes I will read through the comments and choose a winner based solely on my subjective mood at the time. I won’t respond to the comments left below, but I promise to read and consider every one of them. This contest is for U.S. residents only and only one entry per household allowed. I will send this product to the winner via U.S. Mail at my expense. Good luck!

 

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