Thursday, December 3, 2009

Transportation Cyclist Christmas List

What are you asking Santa for this year? Santa told me he's FLAT BROKE, but maybe something modest might come my way.

These are some relatively inexpensive items that I have and enjoy, and perhaps you, or your favorite road-going bicyclist might enjoy. Enjoy!

Rearview Mirror

I've got a couple suggestions.

The CycleAware Reflex mirror sticks onto a helmet. (An eyeglass-mount model is also available.) It's relatively sturdy - an important consideration. I've tried mirrors with hard plastic components, and have snapped off the mirror, rendering them useless. The Reflex is built of "Gumby" stuff - a wire enclosed in rubbery plastic.

The "Take a Look" mirror is my current model. It can mount either on eyeglasses, or on a helmet visor. It is constructed of metal - stainless steel and brass - and should be durable. The mirror itself is excellent - better than the Reflex. Mine is on my helmet, and I've got to figure out some way to make the attachment more permanent. If I bump it, it falls off. So far I've been lucky and have quickly noticed. (I'm thinking I might drill a small hole in the helmet visor, so I can zip-tie it in place.)

Both should be available online, or at your LBS (local bike shop). Expect to pay $15 or so.


I've been VERY pleased with my Planet Bike SuperFlash. It's more expensive ($25) than other models, but is extraordinarily noticeable... and ain't that what it's all about? Runs in blinky mode or on-constantly mode. Uses 2 AAA batteries, included.


I blogged recently about my Akoray flashlight, from DealExtreme. It is awesome. I'm on the 2nd AA battery now. I might start using rechargeable batteries, but when a 30-cent battery lasts for 2 weeks, you can't complain. (Bob T uses rechargeables, but he rides with his light on, both night and day.) Mine cost about $14, including shipping.

Be sure to get some kind of mounting device - several are available at DealExtreme.

NOTE: Order now for Christmas - and HURRY! (DealExtreme ships from Hong Kong, so it takes a couple weeks to arrive.)

Winter Wear

I've got a balaclava and gloves, to keep my extremeties (fingers and ears) from falling off on those really brisk days. You don't need expensive bike-specific stuff, but find something that isn't so thick that you can't squeeze your helmet on over it. Mine is "open face" - the "Jackson's Convenience Store robbery" model tends to trap condensation and cause fogging on glasses. My gloves aren't too thick, either, and have a rubbery palm for good gripping.

I also have some yellow-lens glasses for riding when lighting conditions are marginal. Light yellow or clear works fine. (You want to protect those eyes - replacements are hard to come by!) I tried a set that has interchangeable lenses - dark, yellow, and clear. But for me, it's more hassle than it's worth to change the lenses, clean the fingerprints off, store the lenses, etc., when you can buy separate glasses for $6 or $8.

Seat Bag

I have a permanently-attached seat bag, to carry a spare tube, patch kit, light batteries, chap stick, and a couple small tools. I got the Avenir Bigmouth in size medium, for the new ride. It's quite nice. May not be totally waterproof, but looks very water-resistant. Opens without removing. And it has a zip-open expander, so you can stuff your cellphone and a couple granola bars in. (I ordered it online. $12 and change.)

Fanny Pack

I carry my sack lunch, checkbook, pocket planner, a couple pens, glasses, and a big ol' freakin' knife (just in case!) in a fanny pack. Some folks use a messenger bag, but I prefer to economize on what I need to carry.

My choice is the Kelty Cardinal, for
a very specific reason... it can expand into a little daypack! So if I end up needing additional carrying capacity along the way, I'm not stuck. It has a little MP3-player-size zipper pocket, and stretchy nets for 2 water bottles. (I use the bottle holders for my digital camera, sunglasses, gloves, etc. The pack comes with 2 bottles, however.) If you shop around, you can find it for around $40.

(I plan on writing more extensive reviews of some of this stuff... just wanted to slap together a Santa list while it still matters...)


Clancy said...

Where is the FTC blogger disclaimer?

Bikeboy said...

Gotta hide, Clancy - the jack-booted thugs are at the door!!!


bob t said...

Even though I use prescription glasses enough cold air gets to my eyes that they start to water once the temperature drops below freezing. To prevent this from happening I have found that these safety goggles work well.