Bike T-Shirt Collection

SONY DSC

The other day my co-worker and I were joking about how we only own bike t-shirts, and after I went  home I rummaged through my dresser to confirm that it’s true. I more or less own two types of t-shirts: bike t-shirts and plain shirts with very few exceptions. And within that my bike t-shirts more or less fall into three categories: bike polo, bike feminism, and Bikes Not Bombs. I clearly have very specific interests. It’s also sort of funny to take these photos and blog about this now considering that I threw out/donated a bunch of my t-shirts a few months ago, and these were the shirts I decided I couldn’t part with.

I’m also now realizing I missed a few that are at work/in the laundry/in that drawer of my dresser that I always forget I keep my overflow t-shirts in. This is at least a good sampling.

SONY DSC SONY DSC

Must-have Biking Accessory: BSkinz Spandex

 

Yesterday I got my most important spring/summer biking accessory in the mail – a grab bag of BSkinz spandex. These are hands down the most important bike clothing I own.

SONY DSCI’ve had two pairs of BSkinz shorts since college when my whole frisbee team wore these as our team uniforms (pursesnatchers das wassup!), and they have since become irreplaceable for wearing under skirts and dresses while biking around town. After four years of use, it was time to replace my old pairs, and I ordered from BSKinz again without hesitation. These spandex are well-made, the perfect length for biking, and LOUD (I’m not one for subtlety…).

Normally one pair of these shorts costs about $20 (and it would still be totally worth it), BUT you can get a grab bag of 3 random overstock ones for the low price of $15! I took my chances with the grab bag and got these three beauties in the mail.

If you’re looking for a fun alternative to bike shorts for just riding around town, these are a great option. Check it out!

 

DIY SPD Shoes

Step 1. Find some sweet pumps.
Step 1. Find some sweet pumps.

I bought these sweet kicks at Buffalo Exchange a few weeks ago and immediately knew that they were destined to be SPD shoes. I had been waiting for springtime to make the switch over to clipless pedals on my polo bike and my spacehorse, and then this weekend temperatures rose above 30, and I decided to fully commit to the project. So Saturday morning I anxiously hung around the apartment waiting for my roommate who has all the good tools to wake up so that I could bother him to lend me what I needed. I might have overwhelmed him a bit because he was hungover and I was overly enthusiastic about this project, but that’s besides the point…

Step 2. Rip out insole of old SPD shoes.
Step 2. Rip out insole of old SPD shoes.

I read a few tutorials online and the basic process is pretty simple – find an old pair of SPD shoes, rip out the insole, cut a hole in the bottom of the shoes that you want to turn into SPD shoes, put in insole from the old shoes, and thats about it.

Continue reading “DIY SPD Shoes”

I Heart Backpacks

You know what’s one of my favorite things? BACKPACKS. You know what I haven’t had in a long time? A backpack. I’ve been rocking an old TimBuk2 messenger bag for the last few months since moving to Boston, and it’s been alright because my commute is only 3-4 miles. I’ve also been very conscious of not putting much in my bag. But now all this is changing. I got a gift in the mail this weekend of a new Banjo Bros Metro Backpack. And let me tell you. I’m pretty excited.

SONY DSC
It’s all about the bag straps people.

Do you know why I am personally not a fan of messenger (one-shoulder) bags?

1. Boobs.

2. One-shoulder.

3. Boobs.

If you are a large-chested person there is no way to get a messenger bag to sit right. It will always squish/crunch/be generally uncomfortable. It’s slightly better if you have the second strap that attaches from the hip to the cross-strap, and it really helps out with the weight, but still – the boobs. My current bag collection, as shown above, includes 1. the TimBuk2 bag with no extra strap and therefore the most uncomfortable, 2. my new backpack – the most comfortable, and 3. a BaiCyclon bag by BagJack I got from Mallet Dolorosa last year. In general, I like the BagJack bag because it has a second strap to help distribute weight – and mostly for sentimental reasons because anything that reminds me of Mallet Dolorosa makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. I normally use it as my polo bag because I could probably crawl up and sleep in that bag it is so big. Since I purposely chose my apartment based on its distance to the polo court live pretty close to the court, the weight doesn’t bother me too much either.

But now that I have a backpack again, I wonder how I survived so long without one. Sorry messenger bags, I have a new bag in my life.

Backpacks. How I love thee.
Backpacks. How I love thee.

Bluegrass Helmet Review

SONY DSCI bought this Bluegrass helmet 7 months ago in Berlin, and so far it has treated me very well. Especially now that winter has begun, I have a new level of appreciativeness for this helmet.

I am a fan of skate-style helmets. I like putting stickers on my helmet.. and that’s the entirety of the reasoning behind my preference. I think that the more you like your helmet, the more committed you will be to wearing it. I’ve had a few scares where helmets have made a big difference, and so I wear mine everywhere and so it’s important to me to like how it looks. I like to personalize things, and the stickers on my helmets tell a story of where that helmet has been with me.

The one thing that I was not thrilled with when I ordered this helmet was that there weren’t any plain color options. All of the helmets had pre-fab designs. I picked the red one with a monkey on it because it was the least egregious. I still think it’s weird, but compared to the other options its tame.

SONY DSCBut what sold me on the helmet, and the reason why I like it so much, is because it has an adjustable dial in the back. This has normally been the one drawback for me about skate-style helmets – you couldn’t get that same tight, dialed in fit like you can with road style helmets. Given my constantly changing length and width of hair, and wearing different hats for different seasons, being able to dial in has opened up a whole new world. Now I don’t have to give myself a headache by stuffing a too thick hat underneath, and it doesn’t bounce around on my head when my hair gets patted down.

And for a skate-style helmet it’s surprisingly light and breathable. Much more so than the Bern helmet I was wearing before this one.

Overall if you can get past the crazy designs, this helmet is awesome, and I’m highly satisfied with my purchase.

 

New Winter Biking Attire

On Monday I rode over a frozen puddle and heard the ice crack under my tires. That is when I had to face the truth – winter is coming. And I’m sort of excited (even though I’m not entirely willing to admit that fall is over, because this has been an especially warm, beautiful fall). I didn’t experience winter last year, and so I am probably over romanticizing winter biking in my mind – but nonetheless I’m preparing myself.

Now I’m new to Boston and New England winter biking, and this entails scaling back my winter biking wardrobe from living in Minnesnowta. After a couple of winters biking in Minnesota, I had gathered clothing to prepare myself for the winter apocalypse – or more appropriately – consistent sub zero temps, wind chill you felt in your bones, and snow, ice, snow, ice, and some more snow on top of that ice. My typical winter attire looked a bit like this:

My old Minnesota Biking Clothing
My old Minnesota Biking Clothing

I’d wear a thick dry-wick base layer, a wool/cashmere sweater on top, and a rain jacket shell. I also wore a helmet insert of fake fur to cover my ears, ski goggles, a face shield (or whatever you call those things), a scarf (not pictured), and really warm mittens. And depending on the day 2-3 layers on my legs.

And as you can imagine, if I tried to wear that here in Boston I would be sweating within two pedal strokes. Slowly but surely I’ve been gathering new clothing and accessories for the winter, and so far it looks something like this:

Boston Winter Biking Attire
Boston Winter Biking Attire

The jacket/wind breaker has reflective patterns (that are pretty ugly, but reflective) and so far it’s been a little too warm, and so I think it’ll be good when the temperature drops a little more. I picked up the hat recently at the Bikes Not Bombs bike shop, and it’s awesome. It’s light, and covers the back of my neck so if it’s not too cold I don’t need a scarf. But so far my favorite thing I’ve picked up are these garden gloves. I saw a lot of friends using these gloves for rainy bike polo in Germany, and they’re awesome. The backs of them are breathable, and the insides are rubber so they really stick to your grips, especially in the rain. And the best part – I got them for $3. That’s a deal.  I’m not sure if they’ll be good enough when it gets really cold, but for now it’s working well.

New Winter Biking Gloves
New Winter Biking Gloves

I’ll update as winter progresses about new things I pick up, and any good clothing tips I come across.

If you’re looking for more winter biking resources you can check out all the articles on winter biking on Grease Rag. They are super informative and helpful.