Category Archives: Gear

Bike Repair Stations Now Have Adjustable Wrenches

Guest article by former board member, Kyle Hord:

Last year, I joined an Oaks and Spokes ride to Anderson Point Park to celebrate the installation of the second Dero Fixit bike repair station. For those who aren’t familiar with these, they are fantastic resources that can allow a handy person to fix most minor issues they would encounter on their bicycle. They come equipped with a complement of common tools, an air pump, and a place to hang your bike while working.

When we started our ride to Anderson Point Park, a young man joined us as he get off of work downtown. This very tall young man rode the whole way there on a very small bike with a very low saddle. After we made it to the park, some other riders offered to help him raise his saddle, so he could ride home more comfortably. We put his bike on the stand and soon realized that the repair station didn’t have the right size wrench. Undaunted, we came up with a crafty solution and were able to adjust his seat, but I knew immediately what would have solved our problem, and solved every future problem like it: a simple adjustable wrench.

Later that month I went out and bought materials to add adjustable wrenches to Raleigh’s two bike repairs stations at Anderson Point Park and Marbles Kids Museum. About one year, three house moves, and one hurricane later (sorry for the delay), I am happy to announce that I have finally finished the job. Both repair stations now have an adjustable wrench hanging along with their standard assortment of tools. If you stop at a station in the future, there should now be no bolt or nut up to 31 mm wide that you can’t turn.

Product Review: Chrome SPD Shoes

Chrome SPD compatible bike shoes in the wild.
Chrome SPD compatible bike shoes in the wild.

Last year, we talked about some SPD compatible shoes that you can wear around town without looking like you just finished taking part in the Spring Classics. After many months of wearing our DZRs around, we began to look for other options for stylish clipless shoes, and Chrome Industries has delivered with a redesigned urban shoe line. Featuring two distinct models, the Kursk Pro and Truk Pro, the Chrome shoes emulate classic styles (Chuck Taylor lowtops and Vans Classics, respectively) which you should find suitable for most casual attire. So how do they hold up on and off the bike?  Skip past the break for some short reviews from several of our contributors, going over their experiences!

Continue reading Product Review: Chrome SPD Shoes

How to Bike Commute in the Summer without Sweating on Your Coworkers

Even horse ladies rock the bike shorts and dress combo
Rockin’ the cotton shorts and dress combo…horse masks are optional

It’s that time of year again, when you step out of the shower and are immediately drenched in sweat. July feels like an oven set to 350 degrees on broil. So what’s a bike commuter to do? Look no further; these Raleigh women have a few tips on how to stay dry, stylish and comfortable while riding despite the summer heat.  While your specific situation will depend on your office and the distance and terrain on your commute, these ladies will get you thinking about how to stay dry and comfortable at work.

Keep a Few Outfits in Your Cube

Kristy, researcher at North Carolina State University, bikes to work each day with the peace of mind that she has several backup outfits at her office. Kristy keeps a few pairs of heels, several belts, about five dresses, and a couple of cardigans on hand so she can change into them when she gets to the office. She has solid colors on hand that are easy to mix and match and keeps a towel on hand. Though she rarely uses it, she is fortunate to have access to a shower for those really hot days.   Over the door hooks with 4-5 hanger spots work great.

“At first I thought I would have to hide the fact that my office doubles as a dressing room, but I think my colleagues respect my decision to bike to work and have better things to worry about than how I get presentable,” says Kristy.

Underpants! How to Stay Dry…Everywhere

Tired of sweaty underwear after your ride? Willamina O’Keefe kissed sweaty undergarments goodbye by opting for quick-drying shirts with built-in-bras and cycling tights. Her clothes sometimes get a bit sweaty so if she does need to hang up any clothes in her cubicle to air out, she takes advantage of her coworker’s curiosity by encouraging them to try biking to work if they inqure about her garments.

The One-Outfit Wonder

You’ve lucked out if you have a shower in the office, but many bike commuters aren’t that fortunate. Or, it might feel like too big of a step to keep your work outfits to the office. Michelle Wilcox, software developer with Ipreo, doesn’t want the hassle of swapping outfits so she picks clothes that are flexible and breathable.

“Jeans can get sticky with all the humidity, and I frequently find myself biking in a summer rain shower so I invested in some Outlier pants,” says Michelle. “It’s hard to avoid wearing cotton, but the Giro New Road line has some nice shirt options that are made of mostly Merino Wool.”

Michelle also wears Chrome City SPD shoes almost every day. She says that DZR offers a few more casual SPD shoe options, and Oak City Cycling Project is a dealer for Giro, Chrome, and DZR.

For the Post-Work Bike Ride

For some folks, it’s tough to bike to work due to the lack of safe routes, busy roads or long commutes out to Research Triangle Park and beyond. Julia Garland, marketing coordinator at WSP USA Corp, says her office is too far to bike (17 miles!) but she has functional and fashionable cycling fashion down to a tee for the post-work hours riding to and around downtown Raleigh. Julia enjoys biking after work and on the weekends in bandanas or a cute cycling hat to hide sweaty helmet hair. You can always find her biking in cotton dresses year round since they offer room for movement.  She’s stocked up on $5 shorts from Forever 21 which work well as biking shorts she can wear under her summer dresses.  In the colder months she opts for leggings and a cardigan.

Keep a spare change of clothes at the office!
Keep a spare change of clothes at the office!
Beat helmet hair with a hat or bandana!
Beat helmet hair with a hat or bandana!

Bundle Up: Cold Weather Clothing

Now that winter finally has us in it’s icy grasp, I think it may be a good time to talk about some of the gear that can make riding in this weather more comfortable. I’ve been hearing a lot of “I don’t have the right clothes” or “It’s too cold out to ride my bike”, and I think with a little advice we can help to change that! Check out the rest of the article below to keep warm and toasty during those cold winter commutes.

Kristy ready for her bike commute to the office during the "polar vortex."  She uses two pairs of gloves in very cold weather due to poor circulation in her fingers and needs an extra layer in addition to wool tights to insulate around hips and thighs.
Kristy ready for her bike commute to the office during the “polar vortex.” Temperatures dipped down into the teens so she used two pairs of gloves due to poor circulation in her fingers. Experience also tells her she needs to put on an extra base layer in addition to wool tights to insulate around hips and thighs.

Continue reading Bundle Up: Cold Weather Clothing

How do you like your DZRs?

DZR offers a stylish, subtle way to take advantage of your clipless system with their SPD-compatible shoes. They offer several different styles, in both men’s and unisex formats. While they are designed for use on the bike, they come with a bolt-on plastic piece that you can leave on in place of the cleat, if you just happen to really dig their style and want them for off the bike use.

In this review, we cover a few different models, and their performance as a cycling shoe, a  casual sneaker, and a “transition to work” shoe.
Continue reading How do you like your DZRs?