Fix-A-Flat Video Series Part 1

Leading up to this Spring it’s been very busy for me. The shop I work for invested in many marketing projects, preparing for a large Spring sale, doing purchasing to get our store fully stocked for the Spring/Summer rush, and staying busy with a full repair load.

Then COVID19 hit. Oddly enough our shop has remained busy with us offering pick up/drop off repairs and we’ve been selling bikes, but it means we had to cancel all in store events.

I’m no stranger to teaching fix-a-flat clinics and had a few on the calendar for the Spring. We wanted a way to still engage with our customers, so I took it upon myself to start a filming project, starting with a fix-a-flat series to be able to share with our customers and their friends!

All of the content included in our videos is what I go over in my clinics. Please feel free to like, share subscribe, and I’m looking for content suggestions as well!

Have a burning question about something related to cycling? Looking for some video content to cover a technical repair question? Please share!

You can DM me via Instagram: @spokehaven or shoot me an e-mail: info@spokehaven.com to share your ideas.

Thanks to everyone who has viewed the video thus far and provided some great feedback. It’s appreciated!

Go wash your hands, keep your distance, ride solo, ride a trainer, tip your bike shop employees well, buy a gift card from a shop, and stay safe!

Good health to you all!

Cassandra

Planet Bike Rojo 100 Tail Light First Look

Planet Bike is synonymous with bike lights. If you live in the Midwest and ride, you’ve very likely owned at least one Planet Bike (PB) product, if not several like myself.

In all honesty I had moved away from using many of their products due to the changes in the landscape when it came to light offerings. Companies like Light & Motion and NiteRider were coming out with USB rechargeable lights that could handle extreme weather. You could also drop them and not have them explode into a mash up of plastic and batteries on the bike path.

My experience with PB had primarily been with their inexpensive, battery powered lights that were often very disposable due to the fact that most didn’t last a season. They either ate through batteries like crazy, broke if dropped, would die if the weather got too cold, or succumb to some other awful fate. (Usually getting nicked off my bike when parked downtown.)

To be fair, they had other products that weren’t as disposable. Their full coverage fenders and their ECO racks can still be seen on many bikes commuting across Madison.

At some point I noticed Planet Bike was playing catch up. They started coming out with newly designed lights that competed with some of the other light players in the industry. They had a line up of USB rechargeable head an tail lights.

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Rated for day and night time use.

Many of their lights use the same name, but have been upgraded with better casings and more power. The Blaze, Beamer, Spok, and Superflash have existed in multiple iterations.

It’s been a number of years since I have used a Planet Bike light, so I was happy when I showed up to work and saw the Rojo 100 sitting on my desk. Per my perusing on social media, I had seen that Planet Bike was sending samples of this light to lots of bikey influencers and shops alike to try them out.

I think Planet Bike is trying to regain their space in the lighting world by sharing new product and showing that they can compete on price/lumens and features.

My initial thoughts on the Rojo is that it looks like a Planet Bike light. It has a full plastic casing around it, with it’s traditional rear clip on the back. The nice thing is that I didn’t feel like I could pop the top cover off. I have not done a drop test with it yet to see how it survives. I’d like to ride with it for a bit before beating up too much.

There were a few things I noticed that I think gives PB an edge over the competition. The first being the amount of mounting brackets included in the packaging. There’s the traditional seat-post mount, a rear rack bracket to slide on the light, and a rear chain stay mount as well. Many brands often include one mount option and you have to purchase additional mounts, that is if there even is one. They also offer two additional stretchy strap style mounts that are sold separately. If you can’t find a way to mount this light to your bike, then I don’t know what to tell you!

The second thing I noticed is they ditched the micro USB charging for a USB-C! Yes! U-S-B-C. Why is it taking so many companies so long to adopt USB-C? Honestly I love it and had an Android phone that used USB-C before I made the switch back to iPhone and it was one of the best features. The plug is beefier, the hole is uniform so no having to squint and flip the cable over and over to make sure it’s positioned the right way, the charging is much faster, and it’s just oh so awesome. Kudos Planet Bike, whoever on your team got on board with USB-C is my new friend.

The third thing that I really like about the light is it has a TON of different mode options. I particularly like the courtesy mode, for those who want to have a blinking light option in a group ride or bike path setting. It’s not seizure inducing flicker that blinds you. It’s a very slow pulse with the light getting slowly brighter before blinking to the smaller under light. Here’s a video the company did to showcase the modes:

Now it’s not all butterflies and rainbows. I do have some reservations about the longevity of the light. For one it is made fully out of plastic, casing and all. Traditionally that usually signifies inexpensive and disposable in the world of bike lights. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on this though as I have other lights that also have full plastic casings that have lasted a fairly long time.

Another reservation is that while it’s listed as the Rojo 100, the steady lumen listing on this light is only 25 lumens. It’s only when you use the Pulse or Turbo modes that you actually make use of all 100 lumens. As a fan of using just a steady red rear light on my bike, I’d prefer to have a brighter steady lumen output. Particularly for when I’m riding on the road with cars. If I’m riding on a protected path, it’s not that big of a deal to me. I just prefer steady light as it can be distracting to drivers and riders around me to have something flashing. Personal preference, everyone is different.

The lumen count is also questionable on many bike lights. The brightness and directional visual output can vary greatly from brand to brand. Some brands actually get their lights tested and certified to a standard like ANSI (look it up if you aren’t familiar) in order to ensure their lumen count is accurate. I wasn’t able to see anything listed on the product page for the Rojo 100 on Planet Bike’s website, but I see they use CREE LED’s, which are a trusted leader in LED lighting.

The light is rated IP66 which is better than some of the competing lights on the market and worse than others. The $35 price point tail light is a tough market to compete in. You can purchase an 80 Lumen NiteRider Sabre, so a brighter light offering which offers a full 80 lumens on steady. You can also purchase the Blackburn Dayblazer 65 which offers a 50 lumen steady, 65 max lumen on high flash, has ANSI certification, and is IP67 rated. The difference between IP66 and IP67 is the ability of submerge the actual item that is rated vs. being able to withstand a jet of water.

The Rojo 100 has a lot of competition, but I think for folks who have liked and used Planet Bike’s lights and other products in the past that this would be a great upgrade to a more modernized light.

Planet Bike’s headquarters is based here in Madison, WI and they participate in 1% for the Planet. They donate a lot of time, energy, money, and product to our local cycling community. So there’s something to supporting the homegrown company.

While I have not run this light through testing as of yet, I’d still say that it’s a good contender if you need to upgrade to a USB rechargeable option or need a spare for a 2nd or 3rd bike. The mounting options alone are a killer bargain for the $35 price point. I can confirm that most lights in that price bracket don’t offer that many accessories.

If you’d like to purchase the Planet Bike Rojo 100 please hit up your local bike shop OR you can order directly from Planet Bike’s website.

Thanks for reading as always and I look forward to putting the Rojo 100 to the test!
Thank you to Jereme and the crew over at Planet Bike for continuing to evolve their products and being such a driving force for our local cycling community.

Disclosure:
I received this product free of charge, but was not contacted by anyone at Planet Bike to write a review for this product, nor did my employer ask me to write this for any sort of financial game. Currently my home shop does not actively stock Planet Bike’s lights, but we do stock other products from their line.

If you like this and other content please feel free to follow Spoke Haven on Instagram @SpokeHaven or on Facebook.com/spokehaven

Spoke Haven is also on YouTube.com/spokehaven

 

Pearl Izumi Pursuit Thermal Bib Tight Overview

Please check out my video on the Pearl Izumi Pursuit Thermal Bib Tight.

I apologize for the actual video quality on this one. My camera battery died prematurely because it was out in the cold weather and I really wanted to get some content out. I shot on my iPhone and of course YouTube compressed the sh*t out of it.

ANYWAY…

These bibs are such a well thought out design. Everyone questions me on why I love bibs so much, well they are extremely comfortable and these make it super easy to be able to use the bathroom without fully de-robing. The drop-tail is a game changer and now rivals my favorite halter style design on competing brand’s bibs.

The fleece lining is soft and cozy, the outer layer of the tight has a water resistance and just the right amount of bio-viz reflective hits for when the sun sets early. The mesh is also soft and finished nicely with the right amount of stretch, yet snug compression for the bibs to stay in place.

I’ve had some qualms with PI’s quality on some of their entry level clothing in the past, but the Pursuit Thermal Bib Tights have thus far won me over. I’m looking forward to putting in some proper miles in these and reporting back with a full review of how they’ve performed.

For more content like this, please follow on here. There should be blog follow button on the page. Please also consider subscribing to the Spoke Haven YouTube channel and following on social media at @SpokeHaven on IG and FB.

Thanks for reading and as always, see you on the path!

Fitchburg Cycles Partners with Spoke Haven Cycling Club

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We are super excited to announce Fitchburg Cycles as a new club supporter. The shop is providing us with a start/end location for rides twice a month as well as in store discounts for club members. Fitchburg Cycles is also lending the club space for future workshops and clinics.

Owner Edwin Benet has spent his life in the cycling industry and works to create a welcoming space for all who want to ride. He, along with his wife and kids, opened the shop nearly three years ago and aimed to make the space warm and inviting. With its bright green walls, handmade wooden displays, and large bike themed  paintings (all created by his wife Mary Benet Treleven) the space is unlike any other shop in the area. Customers are offered free coffee, tea, or hot chocolate while they browse or wait for service repairs. Not to mention there’s always free treats for humans and pets alike at the front counter.

Fitchburg Cycles carries bikes from brands Giant, Liv, Momentum, Linus, Cannondale, and Borealis. The Liv brand is a dedicated women’s line of bicycles from the parent company, Giant bicycles. One of the largest and most revered women’s bike brands in the world.

Accessory lines from Pearl Izumi, Bell, Giro, Cat Eye, Topeak, Continental, Yakima, Thule, Saris, Brooks, Light & Motion, Knog, Blackburn, kryptonite, GU, Tifosi, Feedback Sports, Park Tool, Fizik, and Selle Royale offer a range of products that are well known by customers and trusted by Edwin and his staff alike. Benet stresses the importance of carrying products that are made well, have a good reputation, and he refuses to carry brands or products that he himself wouldn’t use.

We look forward to calling Fitchburg Cycles our home shop for the 2016 season! A huge thanks goes out to everyone at Fitchburg Cycles for opening their doors to us and supporting women’s cycling.

For more information on rides, please check our ride info page.

*full disclosure: club manager Cassandra works for the shop. She does not, however have any financial gain by promoting the shop or its products and services.

Po Campo’s Midway Weekender: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Every so often I receive a holiday gift that I absolutely love and can’t stop talking about. As of December of 2015 that gift has been the Po Campo Midway Weekender (MWW) bag.

It’s a bag I have lusted over since its existence and I was beyond thrilled when I had opened my holiday gifts and discover it was now in my possession.

The classic styling, vegan leather trim, and plethora of storage space makes it a great option for anyone in need of a versatile zippered tote.

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The Midway Weekender cozying up to the fire along with a bunch of snowboard gear. 

Some of my favorite features of the Midway Weekender Include:
-Waterproof outer material
-Bright colored liner
-Lots of interior pockets
-Internal and exterior storage pockets
-Vegan leather (animal friendly!)
-Yoga mat straps
-Zippered underside shoe storage
-Reflective hits on bag and shoulder strap
-Zippered roller handle pocked for air travel

My MWW was first utilized as a snow gear bag. I used it to carry snowboard pants, extra layers, socks, gloves, balaclavas, goggles, snacks, and other essentials. It is a great gear hauler. I was able to fit more than enough gear for a day trip to the ski hill.

It then morphed into my daily bag. I toss in an extra shirt, lunch bag, make up, magazines, and use the handy zippered under compartment to bring a spare set of shoes.

The zippered compartment also comes in handy as a dirty compartment for clothes worn after a workout or dirties during a trip.

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I’ve put a number of different shoes in this compartment. Cycling shoes, hiking boots, fashionable boots, tennis shoes, and several pairs of Toms. You can easily fit two pairs of shoes if you know how to utilize the space. Shown: Keen Springwater Cycling Shoes Size 7.5

The bag especially shines as a carryon for air travel. I was able to fit books, a change of clothes, extra shoes, snacks, an iPad, chargers, earbuds, and other essentials on my trip to United Bicycle Institute. The bag fits right under an airplane seat and makes it easy to grab anything out that is needed during flight.


One feature of the bag I have yet to use, but can fully appreciate is the yoga mat straps. You simply roll up your mat and slide it through the two black, elastic straps. Fitting yoga clothes, a block, a strap, toiletries, and a yoga towel would be no issue for the Midway Weekender. Po Campo even markets it as a gym bag for fitness buffs.

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Maybe they should have named this bag the Namaste. Dad joke aside, any yogi could appreciate this bag. 

The only use that this bag isn’t practical for is on the bike. Po Campo is a brand synonymous with cycling, but this bag would not be a great choice for someone needing a bag for commuting. The shoulder strap, while adjustable, is going to make the bag hang too low off the back and can get caught on a saddle. Even worse is that when the bag is filled to the brim, it swings to the front and can cause some steering issues mid ride.

I know the bag is not intended for cycling use, but I decided to test it out while I was attending UBI. With two heavy duty binders, food, and other daily essentials it was a little too much bag for riding with. The reflective hits however were appreciated as the sun started setting shortly after class had ended.

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Reflective hits are something I wish more companies would use on casual goods. I felt safe knowing cars could see me as I was crossing the street or if I was walking down a dark driveway. 

I ended up making the bag work as it was the only one I brought for schlepping my study materials to and from class. I got a little creative with how I wore the bag and it worked swimmingly.

Obviously the bag is an overall winner in my eyes and for $94 retail it’s a great buy with some great features. If I hadn’t received the bag as a gift I would 100% buy it for myself, a friend, or anyone in need of a cute and functional bag for the daily grind or for jet setting.

For more info on the Midway Weekender and other lovely products from Po Campo please visit their website!