All posts in Bike Commuting

  • Volata Cycles – Italian Design Meets Innovative Technology

    volata cycles urban
    volata cycles

    In this day and age, digital technology has found its way into nearly every aspect of our lives. Love it or hate it, the fact is that it’s here to stay. Might as well embrace the digital evolution, right?

    Just when you thought you’ve seen it all, another invention, integration or innovation pops up and blows your mind. Take toothbrushes for example. A few weeks ago I was shopping for my first electric toothbrush and came across a model from Oral-B that’s outfitted with Bluetooth and has it’s own app to help improve your brushing habits. I was blown away at first, but then realized that this is something I desperately need. A hundred bucks later and my brushing habits have become gamified, graphed and greatly improved.

    Anyway, forget about the toothbrush and all that; this post is supposed to be about Volata Cycles, a San Francisco based group of product designers, creatives and coders who are taking their extensive expertise to the cycling industry. With a R&D office in Milan, Italy, Volata Cycles is merging the creativity and heritage of Italian design with the innovative spirit of the Silicon Valley to get more people riding a bicycle as their primary means of transport.

    In short, Volata is creating a bicycle embedded with a 2.4″ app-based computer that will track your performance, give you the upcoming weather, assist you with turn-by-turn directions and is also equipped with front and rear lights to help you stay visible. The bicycle is also going be outfitted with a GPS-based anti-theft system which uses a motion detector to sense attempted thefts. The bicycle will then relay this information as well as a GPS location to the user.

    Pretty rad concept, right? Be sure to learn more at Volata Cycles and check out the press release below.

    Continue reading “Volata Cycles – Italian Design Meets Innovative Technology” »

  • Brooks England’s 150th Birthday Celebration: Dashing Bikes


    This year, Brooks England is celebrating their 150th birthday…which is incredible if you ask my. There aren’t many companies in cycling that have been around that long, especially without changing too much.

    To celebrate their 150th anniversary, Brooks has teamed up with a number of bicycle builders from all over the world to work on their interpretation of “Brooks Bicycle”, creating a project called Dashing Bikes. These bicycles will be produced in limited numbers and sold worldwide.

    The theme uniting all these bicycles is “copper”. Copper is elegant, versatile and is almost synonymous with the Brooks name.

    Pictured here is a Canyon Bicycles commuter. Learn more about this project on the Brooks England Blog.

  • Brooks Femto Lights

    brooks femto light

    The Femto light is latest product from Brooks. It’s a set of front and rear LED lights that sit in distinctive copper-colored housing and are easily installed or removed with the help of a durable rubber band and clip. These lights are small enough to stash in your pocket, yet bright enough to ensure you’re seen at night. Produced in part with Lezyne, you already know these are gonna be quality. Stay tuned as I’ll be putting a Femto light through it’s paces here in Shanghai in the coming weeks; review coming soon.

  • Vanmoof Boncho Bike Poncho


    As a year-round commuter for nearly 10 years now, I’ve come to embrace the crappy weather, rainy days and unpredictability that comes with bicycle commuting. Over the last decade, I’ve pretty much dialed-in my gear; waterproof or high top shoes, rain pants, a rain jacket and some gloves.

    Until moving here, I’d never seen people in ponchos like these…but here, they’re the norm. On a rainy day, you’ll see countless people on scooters and bicycles with ponchos similar to this one from Vanmoof, navigating the roads and bicycle lanes looking like Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde from Pacman.

    The Boncho Bike Poncho is a sure upgrade from the ponchos you’ll find in Family Mart or Lawson’s…I mean, that should go without saying. The extended cut allows you to cover your handlebars, helmet and rear-end, while still folding to a packable size. Head on over to the Boncho Kickstarter for more info.

  • DUCKSINAROW Commuter Backpack


    Every now and then there’s a Kickstarter campaign that really catches my attention. With so many people out there abusing or taking advantage of crowd funding, it’s easy to tune out after hearing  “we just launched our Kickstarter…”,  am I right?

    As someone with an entrepreneurial spirit, lacking the “bootstrapability” some startup folks posses, I can totally stand behind genuinely good ideas like this one being crowd-funded. The gals over at DUCKS IN A ROW are onto something good here.

    Despite looking a bit like a turtle-shell, this bag’s design and construction appear to be top notch. I mean, would you expect anything less than a couple industrial designers who used to work for Manfrotto? I especially like that you’re able to easily strap it to your handlebars. Now that it’s the winter, I don’t mind riding with a backpack so much, but during the hot, sweaty summer months, getting the load off your back is ideal. I mean, the main reason I’m such a huge advocate of the Cetma 5 rail is simply due to the fact that I can strap my backpack or whatever to it (among much, much larger items). Twenty kilometers worth of daily commuting with a backpack gets old, really fast.

    Back in Vermont, I’d often commute with panniers – either on my Soma or Van Dessel. While panniers are amazing for 90% of my riding/commuting, they’re slightly inconvenient when you need to take them off and walk around; this is where the DUCKSINAROW commuter bags come in. Simply un-strap these badboys and you’ve got a backpack, perfect for waltzing around the market or whatever.

    While I’m not much of a leather guy (I like stuff I don’t feel bad destroying), I can really appreciate the look these backpacks have as well as the fact that they come with a rain cover. The transparent touch screen phone pocket is also great! This commuter backpack is chock-fulla details like this. So, if you’re liking what you see, head on over to the DUCKSINAROW Kickstarter and toss ’em a few bucks.

    Check out the bag in greater detail below.

    Continue reading “DUCKSINAROW Commuter Backpack” »

  • DZR H20


    Damn, I need to get me a pair of these.

    The past few weeks it’s seemed like we’ve been hit with endless rain here in Shanghai. I think we’ve had rain at some point throughout the day for the last 12 days straight…not that I’m counting or anything. Back in the states I was spoiled with a dedicated commuter bike, outfitted with full fenders, a super long mud flap and mechanical disc brakes; so I would wake up and welcome the weather with open arms.

    Out here in Shanghai with a brakeless track bike, 20ish kilometers of daily commuting and a missing Ass Saver (where’d I put that thing?), venturing out in the pouring rain takes a bit more pre-prep. So, instead of buying a set of Raceblades and wearing a rain jacket, I’ve decided to further assimilate myself and wear a full-on fredsuit on the rainy days.

    The fluorescent orange suit is amazing in terms of staying dry and visible, however, my feet still get soaking wet. It’s not really an issue since I have a nearly endless supply of thrashed skate shoes, it’s more of an inconvenience carrying extra shoes and socks everyday.

    So, seeing the latest waterproof shoes from DZR got me pretty excited. I’m hoping to give these guys a go (if only I could find them available in China), as I’ve loved the last couple pairs of DZR shoes I’ve tried. Anyone out there already using the DZR H20‘s?

  • Randonneur Mobile Mechanics – Montreal


    About a week ago, an old classmate of mine from way-back (high school) reached out to me about his new business he and his buddy have going in Montreal: Randonneur Mobile Mechanics. Think of them as AAA, but for bicycles.

    Started by a couple ex-mechanics and messengers, Randonneur Mobile Mechanics is prepared to get you back up and rolling should you have an emergency while out on the road. So if you’re in Montreal, ride a bike and need some help, be sure to give these guys a ring!

  • Faraday Porteur Bike

    faraday bike

    The new porteur bike from Faraday looks great! Designed by Adam Vollmer, it’s got everything you need in a city bike and nothing you don’t. Okay, well maybe you don’t need disc brakes or an electric bike in general…but if it gets more people to ditch their cars then I’m all for it. This is the best looking electric bicycle that I’ve seen. It comes standard with a porteur rack, sleek wooden fenders and a Gates carbon belt drive. Head on over to Faraday Bikes for more info on their electric porteur bike!