Posts Tagged ‘bicycle’

Having had my Nitelights for a few weeks now I thought it was about time that I gave you guys some idea about what I think of these lights using them on a daily basis.

Up until recently I had always tended to use cheap LBS lights that were around 20 bucks and gave me as a cyclist the confidence that I will be seen by motorists, other cyclists and pedestrians. I have, over the last few years gone through more sets of these cheap lights than I care to remember. Recently my needs changed and my commute changed from mostly road commuting to local cycle track commuting. This meant as well as being able to be seen by other people I know also needed lights that were going to enable me to see ahead of me on a pitch black cycle way.

I pondered this decision for some time, maybe get a few more el cheaper lights from Wiggle, and replace them as and when needed or splash out on a set of rechargeable high-powered bicycle lights that would last me some time. I decided on the latter.

Thus the research began. I scrolled through all the usual suspects Wiggle, Chainreaction Cycles and Probike Kit. All of these stores offered a large selection of high quality, high-powered lights that would fit the bill. I then remembered that a few guys I know swear by a brand called Ayup. Australian manufactured, high-powered lights. I thought these would be the go for sure. However I was instantly put off by the price, after delivery etc would have been over $330 Australian.

FInding the urge to get these lights dampened by the cost I set about seeing if any other Australian company had an equivalent product without the hefty $$$$ attached. I then after a bit more research came across Nitelights, an Australian company, offering lights much brighter than Ayup at a much lower price, after reading the specs I was about to order $220 a steal compared to other costs out there.

I trawled eBay just incase I could get them cheaper and surely enough for $150 I found a set from a Australian buyer, $170 delivered to my door. Ordered.

The lights are awesome, so very bright, great battery time and also very quick charge. All in all they tick all the boxes of what I required in a light. The lights illuminate the ground in such a way that I can easily navigate my way through the paths in the dark mornings.

The fitting solution to the bike is also very good, a simple set of rubber hoops that go around the base and then clip back on themselves is very intuitive.  As is the helmet mount that is also included.

They would also be a great aid for any mountain biker that regularly does 24 hr enduro or night rides. I was happy. I managed to pick up lights in the price range and specs that I wanted. Another plus was my business was kept in Australia.

As you will know I am a big advocate for buying on-line, usually out side of the country as far better deals are to be had. So this really was a win.

However it’s here that my happiness will take a turn for the worse. Firstly I must point out that I am still happy with the lights.

Whilst doing more research for these lights after a bought them, to see what other people thought of them I stumbled across a website called Dealextreme. A US-based site offering electronics of all kinds, including torches and bike lights.

I quickly went to the Bike Light section, what did I find, the same lights, although packaged with a different name for a fraction of the price available in the Australian Market. Sure this had a US plug not the Aussie one mine did, something that could be rectified for a few $ in my local electronics store but apart from that Identical.

The lights retail in Australian Bike Stores for a$220, I paid $150 plus $20 postage. They are available from Deal Extreme for US$78.48 ( at today’s exchange rate a$90.20) delivered free of charge.

Am I pissed off, a little.  I love the lights and am happy to pay what they cost in my country, however as I have said before and will again.  Why buy things in Australia when we simply get ripped off time and time again.  In this case someone with foresight has had the initiative to import and market lights that can be purchased for MUCH less than half the price from an overseas store with free delivery.

I will send the owner of Nitelights a link to this post and invite him to explain how he arrives at the a$220 figure assuming as he is buying in bulk he would purchase for lots less that the us$78.48

UPDATE

I have recieved a response from the Australian Supplier.  It seems that he has had issues with a company ripping off his design.  This is very unfortunate for them.

Although I still find the price difference disconcerting this sweetens it a bit.  Although I guess the level of service cannot be confirmed unless I need to make a claim under warranty.

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This afternoon I had a few jobs to do whilst Heidi was out, one of them being dropping some DVD’s back off to the DVD store in Como.  The ride is short, quite enjoyable and for the most part very safe.  The main reason for this is that it is mostly on bicycle specific paths and/or bicycle lanes on the road.

However you can imagine my surprise when I got to Thelma St on my way to the DVD store when I found countless cars parked blatantly in direct path of the bicycle track.  The reason was that there was a football game on.  Ok not enough spaces, fair enough I hear you say.  How ever it was just down to plain laziness by the most part.  There were lots of parking spaces available in the car park adjacent to the oval, but as usual people take the lazy, closer option.

The reason I decided to pop a quick post on this subject was due to a guy out riding with his 2 young children that I witnessed having to dangerously ride out into the road to get past these parked cars.  Obviously nothing happened and they made to obstacle safe.  But why should they have to.

These people who make these decisions to park dangerously, illegally and annoyingly really do deserve to be fined.  I will pass on the details of the vehicles that were causing the obstruction to the local police, I will also get in touch with the committee at the Oval on Thelma St, maybe they will also be able to have a word with the guilty parties.

So there we have another example of the cyclist, the underdog having to adjust his or her behavior to accommodate the masses, the motorists.

As mentioned before countless times, I have tried to offer some tips on how to save money whilst purchasing cycling specific equipment. However I have been trying to think how it might be possible to save even more money buy getting stuff that works perfectly well for cyclists, but is not cycling equipment.

Here goes, thus far I have found 2 very competent replacements, both ultra cheap and as good as if not better than the cycling specific products they have replaced.

1 Gloves.

I have always been a bit take it or leave it with gloves during the hotter months I have no blister or rubbing issues and I think they offer little or no advantage to a fall, however there is no ignoring the fact that winter riding means that gloves are a necessity. Bitterly cold morning’s are enough to make your fingers literally feel like there falling off.

I have tried many gloves over the years most recent of the cycling gloves were manufactured by Netti and similar to these. They are sold as waterproof and they do an OK job, water gets in naturally after a while but all in all there ok.  RRP is around 50 bucks and you’ll get them for 45 if you shop around.

Ok my alternative for these are also waterproof, offer far far better padding and comfort than the above Netti’s and cost just a$10 bucks.  They are anti-vibration gloves, designed for working outdoors with a jack hammer or other tools that could cause issues with prolonged use due to vibration.

They look just as good to, so there is no letting yourself down when your out riding in your crazy coloured lycra.  These can be picked up from most tool shops, Bunnings and other places like that.

2. Eye wear.

There is no need to explain the importance of a good pair of protective glass’s.  The sun beats down hard, stones and water gets spat out of a rider in front, all of these things are protected by a pair of good sunnies.

Sure cycling specific specs offer great versatility, the ability to swap out lenses as weather suits, clear lenses for the night time rides and tinted during the day, however these are the one of the most over priced  things I have ever purchased for riding.  Plus to be perfectly honest they weren’t even that good.

What do I wear now?  Well I have stuck with a good brand, Bolle in this case, but I have gone for safety glasses.  Sure 1 pair one tint, so no swapping lenses on these baby’s however at a$9 bucks each I have bought 2 pairs.  They still look cool and are very very comfy.

So there you go, 2 ways you can save money by not buying the over priced glasses you find down your local bike store.  If anyone has any other alternative products I would really like to hear about them.

Ok I love cycling, I mean really love it.  I ride lots, I ride to work, the shops and around to mates houses for beers.  You could say I am an addict.

Some of the sexiest bikes I have ever seen are singlespeed or fixies, there totally awesome.  You can imagine how pleased I was today when around 50 singlespeeds went flying past my work today, there were all different colours and sizes and some pretty funky people riding them.  Awesome.

Then the lights changed to red, I thought I might get a closer look.  However I have never seen such a bad example of road manners and illegal riding as I witnessed today.  Every single one of them, I really do mean every one of them went flying straight through, running the red.  Motorists were gobsmacked, as was I.  People were beeping, motorists had no idea what to do or were to go.

The cyclists were laughing and joking as they caused chaos on the road.

I managed to capture a bit of it on video from my phone, it’s not great quality but it gives you a small idea as to how bas this actually was.  It’s little wonder I find it difficult to justify cycling to my non cycling friends when we are witness to this behavior on an all to regular basis.

I would be interested to hear your view’s on this.  From cyclists and non cyclists alike.

So I have had my Tioga Panniers for some time now, they have been awesome.  Putting up with daily commuting, day rides in all sorts of weather and have lasted really well.  These panniers are good looking, low price and for the best part pretty waterproof.

However there time has come for me to retire these units and move onto something new with the winter rapidly approaching.

Its time to order the daddy of all Paniers, manufactured by Ortlieb, these are considered one of the best brands of panniers in the world today.  They have seen many a world trip and have held strong throughout for lots of people.

They also look pretty nice which is a big plus.  I have decided to order from UK website Wiggle.  Which as lots of you know I love shopping at.  The savings that can be made ordering online with free delivery over the standard purchase price here in Australia is staggering.  I managed to secure this set for a$130 including postage. The cheapest I could find locally were over a$200

The order has been placed for yellow, mainly due to visibility during commuting in the dark and wet weather of a Perth winter.

If your keen to find more details on these panniers you can check the link for Ortlieb

4000km on the Surly

Posted: April 16, 2010 in cycling
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Today I clicked over the 4000km mark on my beloved Surly LHT, by far the favourite of my current bikes.  I thought I would just share a few thoughts with you guys after spending a fair amount of time on the bike over the last few months.

If you want to read a very early initial review it can be found here.

The bike remains the same component wise as when I first picked her up, the only thing I have done is de-badged it.  IMO it gives the bike a much more dignified presence than the tacky Surly decals.

I have run the bike in all weather conditions, from severe storms to heat over 42’c and she has never let me down.  The fenders keep lots of the water away from my shoes and clothes in wet weather and the frame geometry works a treat for both comfort and longevity during a ride.

The brooks saddle has settled down over the time I have owned it and altough initially it was not that comfy on extended rides I am happy to say that it now fits like an old pair of shoes that you do not want to throw out.

The components have behaved exceptionally well, wheels have remained true and run freely even after carrying some large loads, gear’s shift and behave as they did the day it left the bike store.  The only noticeable sign of wear is on the bar tape, which although I probably shouldn’t change what works well I am looking to maybe get some moustache bars for the bike, which I hear are very comfy.

The bike mainly gets used for commuting to and from work, thus it takes a fair amount of luggage on a daily basis, work clothes, plus food and drink.  Doesn’t sound like much but when you add up the weight on a few diet cokes and your lunch box it is.

I have also done a few metric centuries on her with no issues.  I find the bike adapts really well to how YOU want to ride her, I can average 30km/h  on a morning commute loaded up, with no issues.  However its equally at home on a 18km/h average ride down the coast.

All in all a great purchase and a great bike, the add ons although not much take the machine to the next level and I really look forward to many many more thousands of KM on my great Surly.

How safe are our shared paths

Posted: September 26, 2009 in cycling
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I little while ago I posted about the lack of care and attention that pedestrians were giving whilst out walking, running etc.  i tried to make points both for and against both sides of the arguments.  In summary I thought it was about time pedestrians made more of an effort to make themselves seen and heard on the shared paths of Perth.

tdf4

Riding safely

However today I find myself having a dig at cyclists, I am a cyclist, I ride on the shared paths daily to work and also on the weekends.  I ride usually solo or with 1 or 2 friends.  I know that there are lots of bike stores that run rides from there respective stores, however I have to say that the safety aspect of some of these rides leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

Today I went for a quick 40k around the river, the weather was great and I’m sure this brought out lots of fair weather cyclists, it was awesome.  What I did not find awesome was the lack of care and attention that was being displayed by some of the large peleton’s they were riding big packs travelling at very fast speeds around a path that really is not designed for this kind of use.  The paths were full of kids and parents doing there daily walks etc.  I have to ask myself what people are thinking when they travel in large packs on a small dual use path.

There are also the packs that run red lights, ride more than 3 abreast and generally cause a lot of trouble on the road.

How would you feel if you hit a pedestrian ? How would you feel if you hit a fellow cyclist ? How would you feel if you killed someone ? There have been cases of people getting killed whilst crossing a road that a cyclist felt the need to run a red light in Melbourne, it’s just not worth it.

This article from the Age back in 2006 reminds us how bad things can get.

Although this feels like a whinge, I also have to say that the vast majority of cyclists really are very careful and obey the rules of the roads and paths.  I encourage everyone to stay safe and obey the rules of the road.

I would appreciate your thoughts in the comments field.