Choose to Commute Summer Series

choosetocommutesummer

The Wisconsin Bike Fed, Sustain Dane, and Planet Bike Present:
Choose To Commute

A bicycle commuting workshop for beginners
Sponsored by Planet Bike and Sustain Dane
The first Tuesday of every month at 7pm
at Redamte (449 State St, Madison)

*Every participant receives a FREE bike light from Planet Bike*

Have you ever thought about commuting by bike, but didn’t know where to start? This workshop is for you.

Learn the basics – Safety, rules of the road, gear, and more
Find out tips and tricks from guest speakers
Get your FREE bike light from Planet Bike
Join us on a GROUP RIDE after every class!

Find out more and RSVP –> http://bit.ly/choosetocommute

OUR SPONSORS:
Planet Bike –> http://www.planetbike.com/
Sustain Dane –> http://www.sustaindane.org/

About The Wisconsin Bike Fed:
http://www.wisconsinbikefed.org/
http://www.facebook.com/bike.fed.wi
http://www.twitter.com/bikefed
http://www.instagram.com/bikefed

Civia- The Beautiful Life

Civia bikes have been hot on our radar with their new line of bikes for 2013. Their bikes are clean, simple, functional, and priced really well for what you get (full racks and fenders included?!). We stumbled upon this branding video that portrayed what we love about urban city riding and how bicycling can be beautiful. So much about mainstream cycling culture focuses around racing and sport. While we enjoy that aspect of cycling, sometimes it’s just nice to get out and explore the world at a slower pace.

We give the Civia brand managers 2 thumbs up for portraying pleasure and joy of cycling!

What’s that? More Winter Gear!

I apologize for anyone living in a land of warmth and sunshine because we won’t be covering much of that kind of riding until the end of May. Wisconsin winters as of late have been starting in December and last until at least April.

Last week we got 16-20″ dumped across the southern region of the state and expect 4 more inches today!

We haven’t been able to ride our bikes much of anywhere because the snow and ice is so packed down on the roads that it’s damn near impossible NOT to crash out. The awesomely wonderful Vittoria Randonneur Hypers rule in the summer months, but make for quite the crappy tire for winter.

Luckily the pagan gods/Santa Clause dropped some extra cash in our laps so outside of fixing our main computer at Spoke Haven HQ (the one with all the important design suites on it, doh!), we get a little extra to buy some winter commuting goods.

Today we ordered up a set of 45NRTH Polara Studded Tires. The tires are size 700x35c, have 110 studs, and feature nicely spaced knobs to shed snow. They retail at about $50 a piece. It’s kind of pricey, but most people get several seasons out of studded tires when treated right. There are some folks who spend more on slick roadie tires that last less than a season, so I’d say the price is fair. 45NRTH is a part of the QBP family. Designed in the land of ice & snow, the Twin Cities, so you know they are going to be functional.Product_Studio_PolaraBoth Keri and I will take a stab at trying these bad boys out on our respective commuter bikes. It’ll be exciting to start 2013 out with some sweet snowy rides. The goal for 2013 is to ride the distance from Portland, ME to Portland, OR…3000 something miles! That may seem like a lot to some folks or it may sound like nothing to others who ride everywhere, all the time. For us, it’s a satisfying goal and can’t wait to start working to reach it!

The next item purchased was an Ibex Merino, Made in the USA balaclava. Keri already has one, but Cassandra doesn’t.

ibexbalaclava

It’ll keep us from growing ice beards 😉 $30 for an awesome piece of wool made in the USA that will last years to come and won’t make your head stink.

The last item we’re pretty stoked about aren’t items we purchased, but that we’ve re-discovered in digging through a box of ski/snowboarding goodies…GOGGLES! We’ve laid off using goggles since sunglasses are usually the top choice for riding, but with it still being fairly dark in the morning and on the way home, goggles work best. They are also ventilated and don’t fog up quite as much, or so it seems. As women who have smaller faces, we both use kids sized goggles. The Spy Targa Mini goggles are fairly inexpensive, but still a nice option.

spyminitarga

We’ll be sure to do an overview of each item as we commute with them. As always, experimentation is fun and necessary! No two rides are ever exactly the same for us here at Spoke Haven. We’re constantly trying out new gear and new ways to make being on the bike more enjoyable!

PDW Origami Fenders

origamifenders

Fenders. Love them or hate them, they are necessary when the rainy/snowy season approaches. We’ve tried a few different versions of fenders over the years. The Planet Bike Hardcore fenders, PDW’s Soda Pop fenders (which we would totally purchase again, but wanted to try something different), and D.I.Y fenders made with random items.

This time around the PDW Oragami fenders are getting the call. These fenders seemed most ideal because of their small overall size on the bike. They are also recyclable and you can get replacement parts directly from PDW should you break or lose anything.The latter tends to be quite important as most of our full coverage fenders have suffered ill fates. Toe overlap and crashing out seems to be a common theme in their demise.

The actual assembly of the Origami fenders is quite genius. You punch each fender out of the hang card, bend it a little at the score marks, attach the hardware (all it takes is a small Philips head screwdriver and a 4mm Allen key- the Allen key is included). Viola! You have fenders! (Oh yeah, they snap in place)

Step 1
Step 1
Step 2
Step 2
Viola! Fenders
Viola! Fenders

Portland Design Works also has really great videos on their website showing how to assemble all of their products.
http://vimeo.com/15140615 <–Rear Fender
http://vimeo.com/15110663 <–Front Fender

There’s no photo of them on the bike, yet. We’d like to test them out a bit for a full review with photos. Mounting on the bike was super easy though and the hardware is crazy easy to set up.

It should be noted that the fenders are not sold as a set. They are sold separately with the front retailing for $20 and the rear for $25. I’d say the simplicity of installation alone is worth the money. We’ll see how they hold up after a few months use. One of the best things about them is they work on road, hybrid, or mountain bikes. If you want one set of fenders for each bike, this is the route to go. They seem like they’d be easy to transfer from bike to bike.

Ride On!