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For some of us, there is an undeniable call to immerse ourselves in fun moments, in outdoor activities like mountain biking,

Fun moments mountain biking and the gadgets to keep us connected

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

For some of us, there is an undeniable call to immerse ourselves in fun moments in activities like mountain biking, that gets us out in mother nature’s natural settings. As we experience the thrill of off road trail riding we search out stunning vistas while enjoying the feeling of life around us, craving the type of solitude only found in wooded areas and rocky terrains. Now, as the explosion of mountain biking continues there is a wide array of new bicycles, gadgets, gear and trails that we want to share with you.

Fun moments for a mountain biker

When an outdoors person is introduced to life on two wheels, fun moments are had and a mountain biker is usually born. In fact, the mountain bike revolution began 35 years ago by road riders who loved to be in out in nature. That group of riders from the San Francisco Bay area quickly shared their passion which spread across the globe.

With Mountain Biking’s explosion, we have seen the development of, bicycles that offer better control, clothing that keeps us comfortable, helmets to protect us in our moment of need, countless gadgets to keep us informed,  and all types of trails.

Tuesday morning and this mountain biking chick finds a dry trail to enjoy. In Minnesota, check MORC trail conditions before heading out

The latest in mountain bikes for better control

As Mountain Biking developed as a sport, people developed different interests and capabilities which have developed into different types of bicycles. Most commonly, people begin on a cross country bike, which is usually a bike with a suspension fork and a rigid frame.

The Norco Challenger is a great example of this type of bike, with an aluminum frame, Shimano Disc brakes, RockShox Suspension fork and Highly versatile WTB tires. It’s ready to explore any trail a budding mountainbiker could imagine.

Mountain bike gear

Now that you have found yourself on the back of a two wheeled wonder machine, the real fun starts. I remember my first rides in jean shorts and a t shirt, just blasting through creekbeds and rocky trails at what felt like breakneck speeds. In retrospect, I realize that my relative speed was substantially lower than it felt, but fun was had. What wasn’t fun was how I felt on the bike. As an example, my propensity to rocket through creeks in jean shorts resulted in a lot of time pedaling in wet denim (uncomfortable and bordering on masochistic). In time, my clothing transferred into more traditional bike gear, and my body loved the change. I learned that something like the Endura Singletrack short and BaaBaa jersey made long miles more comfortable.

When comfort stops being the factor limiting your ride time, you start doing whatever is necessary to ride with greater efficiency. With that in mind, no accessory offers more efficiency than shoes and pedals. As an example, Lintiman Adjust Comp shoe offers a stiff sole to transfer more effort to the pedal, while reliving strain on your foot.

Couple those shoes with a pair of Egg beater 2 pedals and you can now drive force into the pedals throughout the entire pedal rotation (both pressing down and pulling up).

Mountain bike gadgets to help determine when to ride

I will admit, after a few fun moments and the mountain bike bug bites pretty hard. In fact, it can become difficult to find time in the day to fit everything you have to do with riding your bike. As a result, you can either slough off all responsibility and ride your bike (not too likely), or start riding at night! Ride at night you say…. yes! Night riding is one of the most fun parts of mountain biking. In fact, if you have traversed your local trails ad nausea during the daylight, they will look and feel completely different at night. Simply strap a light like the Nightrider Lumina Oled to your helmet and enjoy all the features night time trails have to offer.

https://www.niterider.com/product/lumina-oled-1100-boost/

Where to ride for fun moments

There are plenty of places to learn where to ride. For instance, if you live in the State of Minnesota, I would recommend paging through the Have Fun Biking Minnesota Guidebook . Regardless of how you find the trails, knowing where to go can be a concern. That’s why many riders are taking to using GPS cycling computers like the Wahoo Element.  With a GPS computer you can track where you are going as well as where you have gone.

If you are headed out of town, a great way to ride unknown trails is through organized rides. An annual pilgrimage to British Columbia for the BC bike race is the highlight of thousands of riders seasons. Additionally, you can ride at many of the same locations you ski at, as lift service for bicycles is a growing attraction to mountains around the world.

 

The Patrol 672 mountain bike was well worth the ride

Testing mountain bikes at Interbike’s Dirt Demo: Review Patrol 672

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking,com

I have to admit it, Interbike was more fun before the internet. The reason for this is that you would walk isle after isle and see all the new, awesome products. In the age of digital media it becomes a lot harder to find something new and even harder still to find something new and awesome. Well, I’m happy to report that I did find a diamond in the rough (more specifically desert) while I was out there. That diamond was Patrol bicycles, specifically the Patrol 672.

The Patrol 672 bike

The Patrol 672 is a 160mm travel mountain bike, equipped with 27.5” wheels. In the landscape of today’s bike market, it is relatively normal. It uses the tried and true Horst link suspension design and an all aluminum frame. Throughout the build kit you will find Rockshox and Shimano parts. What all this means is that Patrol hasn’t cut any corners. Overall the bike felt light and roomy in the cockpit with the suspension easily adjusted through air pressure.

Patrol 672

The Patrol 672 I rode in Bootleg Canyon

The Patrol ride

By the sound of the spec and design this bike should be unremarkable. That couldn’t be further from the truth. This bike just begged to gobble up rocks and loose sandy turns. While the top tube (and by extension wheelbase) isn’t as long as some other bicycles on the market, it was still sure footed and stable when things got hairy. I think that shorter overall wheelbase is what lends to this bikes snappy handling and playful demeanor. With any long travel bike like the 672, climbing is almost an afterthought, so I really didn’t expect much. Fast forward to the first loose climb and I was taken aback by this little goat. With the suspension set into its “full open” position (meaning that the suspension moves freely and is not stiffened to make for more efficient pedaling) there was some slight pedal bob under hard effort, but nothing that would be considered inefficient. With the suspension set to its climb mode, the bike shot up hill. My feeling is that for loose climbs, this bike works best in full open, but for extended smoother climbs, the climb mode eliminates any loss of effort.

Patrol 672

The Rocky and loose trails of Bootleg Canyon, served as a perfect test track for the Patrol 672

The Patrol 672 components

For this category of bike, short stems, wide bars, and single chain rings have become the standard. The 672 checks all these boxes with some really nice house brand aluminum bars and stem. For the drivetrain, they use a Shimano SLX group which will perform flawlessly for a long time.

Value

At $2,900 the Patrol 672 is really reasonable by comparison. If this were a bike from a larger name, you could expect it to cost well over $3,000 dollars. Now, why do you ask does this bike justify what seems like a hefty $2,900 price tag? Let’s start with the frame. Patrol uses sealed ball bearings and oversized hardware throughout all of it’s suspension. These features lead to better performing suspension that will continue functioning smoothly for seasons to come. Additionally, the 672 uses carefully manipulated tube shapes, created through a process called hydroforming, that allows the bike to be stiff, durable, and exceedingly light. Finally, Patrol has equipped this bike with parts that are as durable as the are functional, This ensures a lifetime of happy riding (even if you crash a few times along the way).

Why is it a diamond in the Rough?

Simply put, this brand is considered rough only because of their distribution. Take a look at their website and you will see Patrol offers bicycles across all categories, and at affordable prices. The bikes themselves are as polished as anything you will see coming out of a major brand. The only difficulty is you probably won’t see them at your local bike shop. But, I have a feeling as more people discover this diamond, it will become more available. In the meantime, if your interest is piqued, contact them directly and they can help you out.

The Minnesota Ironman is now less then two months away. If you have been reading and following our Ironman preparation articles, then congratulations, you are well on your way to earning those well deserved bragging rights for the 15, 45 05 100-mile route.

The Minnesota Ironman Bike Ride: How to Start Preparing 60 Days Out!

By John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

The 51st Minnesota Ironman is now only two months away. If you have been reading and following our Ironman preparation articles, then congratulations, you are well on your way to earning those well deserved bragging rights. However, If you are just now starting to get ready, don’t fret, you have plenty of time to get prepared for a great ride through Waconia’s beautiful landscape. Wherever you feel comfortable on the preparedness spectrum, read on for helpful tips to get you ready.

You Need to Believe that You can Complete the Minnesota Ironman

No matter if you ride 15, 45 or a 100-miles, no swimming or running is required and bragging rights are always guaranteed at the end at the Minnesota Ironman.

No matter if you ride 15, 45 or a 100-miles, no swimming or running is required and bragging rights are always guaranteed at the end at the Minnesota Ironman.

Thousands of riders test their meddle every spring in the Minnesota Ironman. The first (and, for some, the greatest) challenge is committing your mind to complete an Ironman. The easiest way to get your mind on board is to register. Countless peripheral excuses to not complete go away once you register. Even if the weather is poor or you feel less than 100% that morning, as a registered rider, the chances of you going out are a lot higher. Once registered, Make a plan to get ready. The plan should include getting your body, your equipment, and the details of the event day ready.

Get Your Body Ready

Minnesota Ironman

Ride, Ride, Ride, wherever you can!

As the weather here in the Twin Cities is breaking, we are beginning to see signs of a spring thaw. Periodic warmer days give you the opportunity to check out the local trails or riding routes in your immediate area. If they are clear, take advantage of every nice day and get out to ride. In addition to sporadic rides as the weather permits, sign up for a spin class once a week, or go to a trainer class.

The Minnesota Ironman team realizes that undertaking an event of this difficulty can require help. For that help, they have partnered with Coach Bob McEnaney at Total Cycling Performance. Bob is available for individual coaching services and also runs bi-weekly indoor trainer rides (Monday & Thursday) at Penn Cycle’s Woodbury location. He publishes weekly workouts on Wednesdays that are a great way to stay motivated.

If riding is not in the forecast for you right now, try to focus some time on fitness. Getting your heartbeat up for an hour or two a week will pay deep dividends once the spring weather rolls in for good.

Get Your Equipment Ready

Minnesota Ironman

Knock the cobwebs and dust off!

If you haven’t done it yet, pull your bike out of mothballs. Lube the chain , put air in the tires, and take a ride. Taking a ride will give you a good idea of how far out of adjustment your bike may be. If the weather is poor, going for a ride will also give you the chance to test if your riding gear is comfortable in poor weather.

Cold weather gear like jackets, shoes, and tights are in ample supply at your local shop now, but if you wait until just before the Ironman, pickings may be slim. Also, waiting until the last minute to have your bike serviced might not be possible based on your shop’s schedule.

If your bike needs to be serviced, that’s a great time to think about making sure your bike fits you properly. A good bike fit will lower the chance of repetitive motion injuries, and make you more comfortable and efficient. You can have a friend help you check the basics or have your shop take a professional look. Both Eric’s and Penn Cycle are Ironman sponsors and certified bike fitters.

Start Planning for the Day of The Minnesota Ironman

Minnesota Ironman

Riding as a group is fun!

At 60 days out you should feel comfortable encouraging family and friends to do the ride with you. Counter potential poor weather with good vibes by riding with a group who all ride at a similar speed. If your friends and family don’t want to ride, encourage them to come out and cheer you on at a set destination on the course. Your own personal cheer squad can be all the motivation you need to conquer those last 5 miles. After the ride you can all meet for dinner (giving you a chance to test out those newly earned bragging rights).

Speaking of food, 60 days out is the perfect time to see how your body handles different foods while exercising. Start testing foods like sports gels, power bars, and sports drinks to see how your body reacts as you ride. Knowing what your body prefers ahead of time will ensure you can maintain your energy the day of the event by eating foods your body is used to.

60 days is all that currently stands between you and your bragging rights. Be proactive and start to prepare for the 2017 Minnesota Ironman now.

Tern is launching the Vektron*, a folding bike on Kickstarter that combines the best-in-class compact cycle technology with a leading electric drivetrain.

Folding Bike Being Launched with Leading Electric Drivetrain Technology

The folding bike market has been offering a great combination of collapsible bikes for both the commuting and touring cyclist over the past several years. And now, Tern Bicycle Company is launching a new electric bike on Kickstarter that combines best-in-class folding technology with the world’s leading electric drivetrain, the Vektron*.   Watch the Vektron launch video here.

The Tern Vektron*, a folding bike on Kickstarter is great for packing in a car or storage unit.

The Tern Vektron*, a folding bike on Kickstarter, is great for packing in a car or storage unit.

Two Companies Team Up to Make This New e-Folding Bike

The Vektron* is designed by Tern in collaboration with Bosch. Together these two companies have been pushing the envelope of electric bike design by solving three critical shortcomings of conventional electric bikes: portability, storage, and theft. The Vektron is a Bosch-powered electric bike that you can take anywhere. Additionally, it folds in under 10 seconds and easily rolls aboard buses, subways, and trains. It goes into elevators, so you can easily park it under your desk at work. Plus, a pair of these folding bikes easily are convenient to stash in the trunk of a car for weekend getaways.

“Electric bikes are fundamentally transforming the way people get around in cities,” stated Josh Hon, Founder and Team Captain of Tern. “They flatten hills, make headwinds disappear, and shorten commute times. That is why people love e-bikes. The problem is that most e-bikes are really hard to put in a car or take on public transport. And most e-bikes are difficult to store in downtown apartments leaving them vulnerable to theft. The Vektron solves these issues.”

A Folding Bike with Low-Step Frame

With a low-step frame and a patented adjustable stem, the Vektron is great to share among family and friends. That is, as long as it’s  anyone from 4’10″ – 6’5″. Adjusting the bike for a custom fit takes only seconds, so a single bike can serve many people. Thanks to the rear rack and an optional child seat, it’s perfect for smaller passengers.

A Folding Bike That Flaunts Small Wheels and More Distance

While small wheels flaunt conventional bike design, they’re a game-changer with an electric drivetrain. With every Bosch motor calibrated to a bike’s wheel size, the 20″ wheel Vektron cruises at the same 20 mph speed and accelerates even faster. The exceptionally low center of gravity makes the bike extremely stable and easy to ride. And thanks to Bosch’s best-in-class power efficiency, riders can expect a remarkable range of between 40 and 80 miles on a single charge.

“There’s a reason a Vespa motor scooter is designed with small wheels,” says Joakim Uimonen, Design Director of Tern. “With small wheels you get punchy acceleration, a more maneuverable ride in traffic, and plenty of space between the wheels and rider for cargo-carrying. The Vektron brings together all of those benefits, plus it folds, so it fits anywhere. Try putting a Vespa under your desk.”

The Tern Vektron*, a folding bike on Kickstarter is great for multi modal commuting and touring.

The Tern Vektron*, a folding bike, with a Bosch Electric Drivetrain is ideal for multi modal commuting and touring.

The Vektron Folding Bike Kickstarter Campaign

With the help of Kickstarter, the Vektron is available for customers throughout the U.S. at a special backer price from October 19th until mid-November. For many Kickstarter campaigns they usually deliver the bike un-assembled in a box to consumers. Not Tern. Tern will be fulfilling orders through its network of more than 125 dealers across the United States. That means bikes can be picked up from the shop, tuned-up and ready to go. Most importantly, they’re covered by Tern Care. Tern care is a 10-year warranty and rider-support program, so buyers have the assurance of a decade of reliable service. Additionally, service for the drivetrain can be provided by Bosch’s extensive service network. Because this network consists of highly certified electric bike technicians throughout North America, you don’t need to worry.

Side Note To Kickstarter Folding e-Bike Campaign

Looking at the 100% fulfillment rate of last year’s Kickstarter’s Cargo Node bike, there’s no hint of vaporware in Tern’s campaign. Final stage prototypes were tested in the field for more than three months. Tern recently debuted prototypes at Eurobike, the world’s largest bicycle trade-show. More than 500 bike dealers and designers from around the world test-rode this bike.

Information for this Kickstarter Campaign provided by Tern Bicycles.

More bike handlebar real estate for all of your accessories

Kaddy Rack Expands Bikes Dashboard For More Accessories

This new bicycle holder easily clamps onto the handlebars of your bike and has an adjustable width to fit different handlebar types and styles. Introduced last year to make the annual 400-plus-mile RAGBRAI trip a bit more bearable. This new handlebar rack makes it easier to expand the amount of fun accessories a person can fit on their bike when commuting or touring.

Bicycle handle bars with front bag mounted.

Bike handle bars with front mounted bags does not leave much surface for other gadgets

For the staff at HaveFunBiking.com, we found this extended bar surface the perfect way to Add accessories. This could include a handle bar bag, room to mount camera gear and still have room for the latest gadget (headlights, bike computers, GPS units, mp3 player, phone, mini speakers, bell/horn, etc.) that we are checking out. There is even room to add a couple water bottle cages so your main hydration supply is right in front of you.

The “Kaddy Rack” is made of 6061 extruded aluminum. When fully assembled it weighs approximately 20 ounces (1.25 lbs) and is anodized in various colors. Retail price is $80 and can be order through your local bike shop or online at: http://www.kaddyrack.com/

Bike Highlights at the Minnesota State Fair

If you plan to go to this year’s “Great Minnesota Get Together” here are some of the highlights, interesting things for bicycle minded individuals, along with all the great food and entertainment that we found on a recent:

Plan to ride your bike to the fair? You will find three secure bike corral locations to park your bicycle while visiting the fair. See our recent article for more information on commuting by bike to the fair.

Looking for bicycle themed jewelry? In the West End Market we found a wide selection of unique ear rings, necklaces and pendants made by Velo Bling Designs, in their Bicycle Inspired booth.

Bicycle inspired jewelry at the MN State Fair.

Bicycle inspired jewelry at the MN State Fair.

Need a headband that can open up as a bonnet under your helmet to keep the sweat out of your eyes and the sun’s rays off the top of your head? In the Merchandise Market Building we discovered a vendor who is offing all types and styles of fun headbands.

A wide selection of headbands were offered here at the MN State Fair.

A wide selection of headbands were offered here at the MN State Fair.

In the Education Building we found the new Minnesota Bike Map, print version, is free of charge in the Minnesota Department of Transportation booth

Get your free Minnesota Bike and road maps here at MnDOT's booth at the MN Fair.

Get your free Minnesota Bike and road maps here at MnDOT’s booth at the MN Fair.

At the Minnesota State Fair Parade, running each day at 2 p.m. on Cosgrove St. you can enjoy watching some of the Twin Cities Unicyclists Club.  These single wheeled bicyclists will preforming tricks as they pedal and balance their bikes along the parade route. Where you will also many floats and marching bands.

Unicyclists a part of the daily parade doing tricks in between floats and marching bands at the MN Fair.

Unicyclists a part of the daily parade doing tricks in between floats and marching bands at the MN Fair.

As the parade ends near the Eco Progress Center check out the “Life on a bike simulator” inside. On Thursday, September 3rd. at 9 a.m. and again at 9 p.m. Mr. Michael Recycles Bicycles will have demonstrations in the Eco Building as part of ReUse MN. Also in the Eco Building check out how easy it is to take your bike with you when using a bus, at the Metro Transit Exhibit.

Metro Transit demonstrating alternate transportation options and how to put your bike on a bus.

Metro Transit demonstrating alternate transportation options and how to put your bike on a bus.

Up in the X-Zone, on Machinery Hill; watch some BMX’ers preform some high-rising stunts on the amazing exhibition course there.

BMX'ers demonstration many high adrenaline stunts at the MN Fair.

BMX’ers demonstration many high adrenaline stunts at the MN Fair.

A couple blocks south of the stunt riders, we found a bike shop promoting the growing sport of fat biking. Out of Little Canada, The House Outdoor Gear was there with a wide assortment of fat tire and road bikes. They are also offering some great deals on accessories to check out.

The House Outdoor Gear was at the MN Fair showcasing a wide assortment of fat tire and road bikes along with some great deals on accessories.

The House Outdoor Gear was at the MN Fair showcasing a wide assortment of fat tire and road bikes along with some great deals on accessories.

If you ride your bike in the colder months, here in the Upper Midwest, at one of the Grand Stand exhibits we found had Green Heat brand reusable heatpacks. They just, may be the ticket to keeping your hands and feet a bit warmer this winter. Offering several cold and heat packs, these handy reusable heat-packs can be slipped into a glove or boot. Once activated, the heat packs last for about 30 min. and then need to be rotated. However, after your outing you can place the used packets in boiling water and they rejuvenate and ready to be used again.

These are just a few of the bike highlight we found at this year’s fair. Along with all the unique food and fun entertainment we enjoyed did we miss something? Please let us know! We would like to add it to our preview article for next year. Send to editor@HaveFunBiking .com.

P.S. John Szurek writes:

Don’t forget to check out the 4-H building. Several youth from around the state are demonstrating their knowledge about bicycling through projects and posters with the Minnesota 4-H Bicycle Project.

Thanks and Have Fun!

New Bike Turn Signals Offer Added Awareness

by Ben CoxworthGizMag

As any dedicated bicycle commuter will tell you, it’s important to let motorists know when and in which direction you’re turning. At night, however, drivers might not always see your hand signals. Using illuminated gloves is one solution, but British startup Cycl is now offering another: LED turn indicators that attach magnetically to the ends of your handlebars. They’re called WingLights, and I recently had the chance to try them out for myself.

Gizmag checks out a set of WingLights magnetic turn indicators (Credit: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)

Gizmag checks out a set of WingLights magnetic turn indicators
(Credit: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)

First of all, there are indeed other bar-mounted signal lights in existence. What’s different about WingLights is the fact that they can be easily pulled off when not in use, keeping them safe from passing parts-thieves when the bike is parked.

Additionally, users won’t have to bother with the extra inch-and-a-half (38 mm) of bar width that each unit adds, when riding during the day.

Each WingLight consists of a handlebar plug that replaces one of the bike’s existing plugs, and a corresponding waterproof LED module that fits into the end of it (Credit: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)

Each WingLight consists of a handlebar plug that replaces one of the bike’s existing plugs, and a corresponding waterproof LED module that fits into the end of it
(Credit: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)

The idea behind WingLights is simple.

Each one consists of a handlebar plug that replaces one of the bike’s existing plugs, along with a corresponding waterproof LED module that fits into the end of it. Powerful magnets in both parts keep the two stuck together even when riding over rough roads, yet still allow them to be pulled apart by hand when the bike is left unattended. The two LED modules can then be magnetically stuck together end-to-end, to form one unit that can be tossed into a bag or hung off a pack using an included carabiner.

To activate either WingLight, you just press the rubber power button on its end – no silly Bluetooth smartphone apps, or anything like that. This causes front and rear LEDs in the module to start flashing, which they continue to do for 45 seconds before automatically shutting off. If you want them off before that, you just press the button again.

Each one is powered by two CR2032 coin cell batteries, that should be good for up to 2,000 uses before needing to replaced.

Each WingLights plug equipped with a rubber ring that can be expanded by twisting the plug once it’s been inserted, ensuring a snug fit. (Credit: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)

Each WingLights plug equipped with a rubber ring that can be expanded by twisting the plug once it’s been inserted, ensuring a snug fit. (Credit: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)

According to the instructions, the plugs will fit in any straight bar with an inside diameter between 17 and 19 mm. They’re each equipped with a rubber ring that can be expanded by twisting the plug once it’s been inserted, ensuring a snug fit. In the case of the 17-mm handlebar on my city bike, however, the steel washer at the end of that ring would not fit inside the bar.

I could just manage to shove the plug in by taking the washer off, although a plastic collar built into the end of my wonky handlebar grip still kept it from sitting flush. So … I mounted the WingLights on my full-suspension mountain bike, instead. I know, it’s not the sort of bike that can really “relate” to turn indicators, but it sufficed for testing purposes.

Once I got riding, the WingLights worked great. They were bright, easy to activate, and the plugs stayed securely in the bar while the LEDs stayed firmly attached to the plugs. In fact, if you pull on one of the lights without holding onto the parked bike, the whole bike will tip sideways with it before that light comes off.

I also appreciated the sturdy aluminum construction of both the plugs and lights. Even when you’re not using using them, the two LED modules are kinda satisfying to hold onto.

The two WingLight LED modules can be magnetically stuck together end-to-end, to form one unit that can then be tossed in a bag or hung off a pack using an included carabiner (Credit: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)

The two WingLight LED modules can be magnetically stuck together end-to-end, to form one unit that can then be tossed in a bag or hung off a pack using an included carabiner
(Credit: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)

Should you be interested in buying some WingLights for yourself, they can be ordered from Cycl for US$50 a pair. Just be sure to measure the inside of your handlebar first, and remember to use them along with hand signals, not instead of them.

Product page: WingLights

Bike Rack Folds Small For Travel

By Ben Coxworth, Giz Mag   

A lot of cyclists like to take their bike with them when traveling by air, or they’ll rent one upon reaching their destination. That said, they may still need a way of transporting it once they get there. Using a folding bike or renting a large vehicle are a couple of solutions, but Allen Sports has now announced another – the AL01, which is billed as being the world’s smallest folding bike rack.

The AL01 on a sedan or SUV (photo: Allen Sports)

The AL01 on a sedan or SUV (photo: Allen Sports)

Although no exact dimensions have been provided, the 6061-aluminum-framed AL01 is reportedly small enough to fit in a shoebox when folded down. This means that users could carry it in a suitcase, then put it onto the back of a rental sedan, hatchback, SUV or minivan as needed. Using three cinching straps, it can be installed within a matter of seconds.

The AL01 features dual-compound cradle beds with individual tie-downs (photo: Allen Sports)

The AL01 features dual-compound cradle beds with individual tie-downs (photo: Allen Sports)

Some of its other features include dual-compound cradle beds with individual tie-downs, wide pressure-distributing padded feet, and an included carrying bag.

The AL01 is available now on Amazon, for the rather precise price of US$43.02. There’s also a two-bike model, the AL02, for $90.

You additionally might want to check out the portable, inflatable TrunkMonkey bike rack.

BMW’s New Limited Edition Mountain Bike

By Stu Robarts, GizMag 

BMW has announced a new limited run bike. The Cruise M-Bike Limited Edition is a tribute to the company’s M Series of cars and uses what BMW calls the “characteristic Austin Yellow Metallic” of the BMW M division. Only 500 models will be made available.

Each of the 500 Cruise M-Bike Limited Editions comes with a specially made plaque and a certificate

Each of the 500 Cruise M-Bike Limited Editions comes with a specially made plaque and a certificate

BMW has been producing bikes for over 60 years and releases a new range each year. Its 2011 range included the Carbon Racer that was designed by the M division.

The Cruise M-Bike Limited Edition is a tribute to BMW's M Series of cars

The Cruise M-Bike Limited Edition is a tribute to BMW’s M Series of cars

Although the Cruise M-Bike Limited Edition isn’t designed by the M division, it does have features inspired from BMW’s heritage. The “Bullneck” at the front of the top frame tube, for example, is borrowed from motorcycle design and echoes the fuel-tank position.

BMW says the Cruise M-Bike Limited Edition makes use of modern design and lightweight construction elements. Its frame is made of hydro-formed aluminum frame and carbon components, which are said to make it both light and stable. The frame is also said to be very rigid, which BMW says helps to ensure maximum power transmission from the lowest possible effort of the rider.

The frame of the Cruise M-Bike Limited Edition is made of hydro-formed aluminum frame and carbon components

The frame of the Cruise M-Bike Limited Edition is made of hydro-formed aluminum frame and carbon components

Elsewhere, the bike has individually adjustable handlebars aimed at providing a more comfortable ride and hydraulic disc brakes from Shimano. Each model is provided with a specially made plaque and a certificate.

BMW hasn’t made any more specs available, but a listing on Germany’s ProcarShop shows a SR Suntour XCR 100 mm fork, Continental Cruise Contact tires on Rodi Airline rims, Shimano Deore gears and a Selle Royal Seta S1 seat. The listing gives the retail price at €1,400 (about US$1,500).

Source: BMW

Bicyclists Can Now Wirelessly Control Their Lights

By Ben Coxworth, GizMag

Headlights, tail lights and even turn indicators certainly make cycling safer, but reaching around to operate all those devices at once could be a bit awkward. That’s why Bontrager has announced its new Transmitr system. It allows multiple lights to be controlled from one handlebar-mounted remote, via the ANT+ wireless protocol.

Along with the remote, the system currently includes the 700-lumen Ion 700 RT headlight and the 65-lumen Flare RT tail light. Both lights are USB-rechargeable, and can be turned on and off plus set to different operating modes via buttons on the remote. They can also be operated directly, using controls on the lights themselves.

Additionally, if two of the tail lights are used side-by-side, the Transmitr system allows them to serve as turn indicators. In fact, a single remote can control up to seven (!) lights, along with displaying their battery status.

The Transmitr Remote is priced at US$70, with the Ion 700 RT headlight going for $160 and the Flare RT tail light for $80