Showing posts with label practical things for your bike. Show all posts
Showing posts with label practical things for your bike. Show all posts

25 May 2012

more rack love: PAUL's Flatbed

image via PAUL
I recently spotted one of these flatbed racks by PAUL locked up in front of my gym - and the owner was raving about it to me. What a functional beauty!  

California-based bike component company PAUL makes these tubular anodized aluminum racks -- which I can't help compare it to the GAMOH front rack by Minoura of Japan. While similar in, here is how the two racks compare:

Disclaimer: I have never tested a Paul rack though have owned a GAMOH for a couple years and wrote this review in 2010
 PAUL Flatbed rack  
  • 18" x 14.5" x 2.75" platform
  • 6061 Aluminum Frame w/ anodized black or silver
  • Poplar hardwood slats
  • Max load 25 lbs.
  • rack weighs 3 lbs.
  • mounts on fork eyelets and stem
  • Fits 700c wheels
  • $199 (here)

GAMOH front rack
  • 18" x 12.5" x 4.25" platform
  • steel tubing with black powdercoat finish
  • wood slats
  • Max load 40 lbs. (Ben's Cycles recommends no more then 25 lbs.)
  • rack weighs 5 lbs. 10 oz (2550 grams)
  • mounts on fork eyelets and front breaks 
  • Fits 700c wheels
  • $114 (here)    

In this case I feel you get what you pay for. Yes, Paul's rack is nearly twice the cost but weighs 2 lbs. less due to the aluminum frame. Another important difference with the two is the way they mount onto your bike, though each with a three point connection. PAUL's Flatbed mounts to the stem and fork eyelets. The stem clamp is adjustable for different frame sizes and works with threaded or threadless tubes. With the GAMOH the rack mounts to the front brakes with a steel mounting bracket -- which makes for a cleaner look BUT I had an issue with the bracket snapping in half.

Either rack you go with -- they offer a nice large surface to lug around stuff. Just don't forget to protect those nice wood slats. I opt for regular applications of tung oil!  
my GAMOH rack with bungee around stem to help keep some weight off the bracket

19 April 2012

making NCY bike friendly: air stations

Two nights in a row this week I helped out people on the West Side Greenway with flat tires -- yes, I always carry a bike pump. But it got me thinking back to visiting Stockholm years ago where they have 'cykelpump' stations scattered around the city offering free air to all since after all, lots of flats are a result of low air pressure.

With the growing number of cyclists (including the upcoming launch of NYC's own Bike Share) and the city pumping $$$ (no pun intended) enhancing its waterfront with an eventual continuous bike path around the island... incorporating some free air filling stations would be nice!!! Here's my dreamy scenario of installing air pump stations along the waterfront every 2-3 miles around the city since gas stations and bicycle shops are few and far between...
Additional pump station add ons that come to mind: presta valve adapter, PSI control so you could fill up your road bike tires to 100+PSI(!), and attached wrench and set of Allen keys.

11 April 2012

Minimergency (tiny care) Kit

I came across these tiny (measuring at just 3.5" x 2" x 2") emergency kits 'for her' in a gold pouch at JCrew today. The Minimergency® Kit are made by Ms. & Mrs. and include these seriously small -- yet totally practical -- items that I admit to often finding myself needing in a bind: Clear Elastics, Sewing Kit, Double-Sided Tape, Stain Remover, Deodorant Towelette, Pain Reliever, Tampon, Breath Freshener, Dental Floss, Adhesive Bandages, Hairspray, Clear Nail Polish, Nail Polish Remover, Emery Board, Earring Backs, and Lip Balm
The little kit would be at home next to my bike commuting pouch...

19 December 2011

sweet little holiday packages

A colleague gave a couple of us in the office who bike these beautiful little bird adorned bike-centric packages. So sweet!

Thanks, Laren!

04 November 2011

at home: bike storage using IKEA and DELTA racks

Over the years we've had a number of bikes come and go in our apartment but all in all there have never been fewer then five at a time -- hence the need for super compact bike storage. I am finally getting around to posting some photos of the set up in our living room for three of our nicest (as well as lightest)...
Fortunately we have a doorway we don't ever use which turned out to fit three of those super minimal Delta Leonardo Single-Bike Racks side by side! As for the assembly... using a 1.5" thick board which spanned the entire door frame, I screwed each hook 15" apart (center-to-center) which is the closest you'll likely get away with -- though partly depends on your handle bar style/width. Once the hooks were in place on the board, I pre-drilled the holes into the board, and used 4" long screws to anchor it into the wood framing of the door. Drilling directly into the wood door framing created a super secure attachment. 

And to deal with the all the bike tools which were previously spread amongst two different toolboxes and under the sink storage bins -- I was able to consolidate almost everything into one of IKEA's "ALEX" drawer unit! It has six shallow drawers and comes with casters so you can easily wheel over your tools to wherever you please. Little enhancements I made included lining some of the drawers with industrial felt padding to help keep them in place and used some old petri dishes to keeps tiny parts organized. One thing I'm considering doing is reinforcing some of the drawer bottoms which are holding lots of tools since they began to bow a bit.

Spending the $161 ($14 (x 3) on hooks + $119 on drawers) was well worth it for space saving benefits!!! If you've come up with a crafty indoor bike storage option - do share!

For those of you who know me well, I know what your thinking... what happened to the Bike Utility Bench you designed? What can I say, there is really that much stuff to store at home -- and use the bench for larger items like extra helmets, gloves, accessories!

01 November 2011

tuft love - DARGELOS' new reflective tassel

DARGELOS (my awesome sister) recently added the sweetest accessory to their inventory... reflective Tufts which come in Antique Brass, Gunmetal or Rhodium hardware! They measure 3" in length and would make any zipper pull - be it on your jacket, sweatshirt, bag or purse - that much more special ♥

14 October 2011

a minimal Bicycle Purse Rack

When it comes to women and biking in the city, it's difficult to escape the issue of what to do when carrying a purse. I recently wrote about this very topic on Oregon Manifest's blog... and was very excited to come across this super simple spring loaded rack to keep your bag safe and secure! The Bicycle Purse Rack is an exclusive product of CycleChic in the UK and their sister site The Bicycle Muse in the USofA. It attaches to your handlebar stem with just 2 screws and bolts and is chrome plated steel to prevent rust. Pretty simple.

Now I haven't tested it out myself but I wouldn't go overboard and throw on my largest/heaviest bag (after all the rack itself is W: 22cm, H: 21cm, D: 13cm) but a medium sized one with the necessities should do fine. Plus, carrying an extra little bungee cord would not hurt!

12 October 2011

a DYI bike light in a pinch

When leaving the office last night I realized I had not one bike light with me! Panic I did. Sure, I could have ran to the nearest bike shop but with a drawer full of bike lights at home and honestly do not need to add to that collection. There are a few things that I REALLY hate doing and one of those is biking (at night/dusk/dawn or in the rain) without my bike lights -- thus I started combing through my filing cabinet of oddities and fortunately found... a small yet powerful LED flashlight!

One light is better then none and since my commute route is hardly speeding car free I decided to rig up a rear red light with supplies around the office...
1. small flashlight
2. red film (which I used, but you can also turn any piece of white paper bright red with a red Sharpie)
3. clear tape
4. electrical tape
5. scissors

The clear tape helped secure the red film and electrical tape to secure the light onto my frame. Would have been awesome if the flashlight had a blinking mode -- but I'll be returning to my fav light set up tonight.

26 September 2011

Knog light bliss - a Boomer Rechargeable and Wearable review

Knog, the Australian-based bicycle product company, sent me over some of their new bike lights to test out -- and they did not disappoint! Since it's (already) that time of year when the sun starts setting before I leave the office, I've been able to use them this entire month... 
The Knog Boomer Rechargeable comes as both a front white light and a rear red light - and doesn't require a single battery, hence the name 'Rechargeable'. I just plugged it directly into a USB port -- more on that below. The lighting quality is superbly bright and was particularly impressed with the front light which reflected every street sign half way down the block on my commute home through Brooklyn  ('up to 55 Lumens' as noted on their website). They also have 4 modes of lighting from HYPER blinking to solid. Although twice the price of their popular Frog Stobes you get more then twice the power ♥ hence more visibility ♥ and don't have to buy another bike light battery.

ready for my commute home
The Boomer comes in a silicone body which fits varying handle bars/seat tubes sizes and doesn't require permanent hardware -- once locked up I could easily grab them off my bike in seconds. The front light easily attached but I was a bit apprehensive with the way the rear light has a smaller fastener you have to make sure slides in - yet it never slipped off or loosened.
rear light recharging / lite up green when finished
So, more about the recharging process... these lights are smart little things. They have a built in warning system to let you when you are soon in need of a recharge and the USB plug is built into the light itself so you just have to slip off the silicon casing and plug it in vertically (I used my MAC desktop). I did notice that once plugged in, I had to push it side to side to make sure it maintained contact and make sure it was recharging. The rear light was easy to remove from the casing which peeled out like a banana while the front light took a little work to remove -- the best way was to push on the bottom to slide it up.

It just so happens that last year I bought another brand's rechargeable light but ended up pretty unhappy for two reasons: 1) in order to recharge it you needed to use a separate USB plug attachment that came with it but was so tiny I misplaced it for weeks; and 2) the bike attachment's Velcro strap, which I thought was nice and minimal, broke in half. I mention this since Knog's design doesn't have either of these issues. For weeks they've been reliable and easy to use + come in six colours so you can accessorize - and who doesn't like to have that option?! Silicone is a sticky material though I had no problem cleaning off grease (along with remnants from the bottom of my bag) by wiping them off with soap and water - after all, they're waterproof! 
Also tested out their Boomer Wearable with an integrated clip ALONG with a removable magnetic plate which attaches to your clothing/bag (similar to my Flower Power reflectors) -- pretty freakin awesome! The magnetic strength was strong I was able to wear it on my canvas bag and would work great on a jacket. I actually ended up using the clip on my belt (mostly out of habit) but still found it to be one versatile light.

16 May 2011

Bike meets ICFF 2011: 44steel, geekhouse bike + mint

At ICFF last year I spotted MIO's flat pack bike basket... and during my first (quick) visit to ICFF 2011 yesterday I (naturally) gravitated to the geekhouse custom built bike on display...
The bike hanger is by Cleveland-based Jason Radcliffe of Forty Four Steel and is one minimal and elegant fixture.  Jason's design keeps a bicycle hung vertically by simply resting the front wheel into the top of the frame -- similar to (but more visually appealing) then the Leonardo rack I'm fond. This is his first prototype and there are plans for some minor revisions -- but the final will be available shortly and  will some in a variety of powder coated colours as well as the raw steel. 

So nice seeing bikes represented at ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair) since, after all, bikes make it into our home life for many of us!
Marty Walsh of Boston-based geekhouse bikes / Jason Radcliffe of Forty Four Steel

Also spotted this clever little 'KEY CHAIN' by MINT, designed by Scott Henderson -- which makes one perfect holder for your bike key. It's brand new to the market but soon available at the MOMA Design Store. You can read about Scott's own love of bikes in this interview from 2009!

15 May 2011

Hiplok's US debut @ Mission Bicycles via London

Minimalism is essential for lots of urban cyclists who stick to bikes without baskets and racks -- but really who doesn't want to carry less, travel light, and streamline. The fantastic SanFran bike shop, Mission Bicycle, held a Bike to Work Fashion Show last Thursday at which they debuted their exclusive US product release of Hiplok: the world’s first bike lock designed to be worn on the body by London-based designers John Abrahams and Benjamin Smith.
Hiplok is the first bicycle lock developed specifically to be worn around the waist.  Hiplok's integrated and fully adjustable belt fixing allows the rider to tighten the lock around the waist without actually locking the device, offering a level of portability, comfort and versatility never seen before. Due to it’s unique design, Hiplok is never locked into a loop while it is attached to your body, and it remains fully adjustable and quickly removable at all times when being worn.

and my favorite colour combo (love that white buckle detail) but comes it lots of options...

Available for US purchase [here] on Mission's site + watch the Hiplok video [here]

Thanks, Jefferson!

02 May 2011

straight up

How I loved spotting this rigged up headlight (i.e. flashlight) - so old school. The fact that it takes at least a couple D batteries is just awesome. Also sweet to see Trek's Belleville has those (front + rear) racks making it one ready to roll utilitarian set of wheels...

24 January 2011

Ciao Biciband! via Molletta Design

Melissa and Ignazio are a (husband and wife) duo dedicated to the things they - design and bikes.  They are also the engine behind Molletta Design and the Biciband!

Originating from Milan, Italy - Ignazio recently shared the origins of the Biciband with for the LOVE of bikes...
The first Biciband I made was a year ago and was just a rudimental strap I designed and built for my bike as I could not find anything I liked on the market. I don't like cages as when I to do tricks (or better, attempt to) they scratch the ground, and I didn't like other straps because they came just in black and I'm an "orange" type of guy.
I began making some for me and my wife Melissa, then since friends started asking to make them some I decided to let them available to anyone. I bought a bunch of webbing, manufactured the metal parts and started making some in my garage...
Prototypes developed and tested to achieve the final design - love seeing the progression over time.
Thanks for sharing these with us, Molletta!
The Biciband is currently available in 14 different colours! And even though they may have been designed with the fixed gear cyclist in mind, they can be practical to any cyclist who wants stay connected to their pedals.

Molletta Design on the streets of Las Vegas
Photos via Molletta Design
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