Tag Archives: Bike commuting

The Classic Garment Pannier is a practical bag for all your gear.

A garment pannier that will keep clothes presentable on the ride

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

The Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier may be the perfect travel bag for a bicyclists. Especially when packing dressier clothes for the commute to work or touring. If your next trip requires posher duds for that special event or evening attire, Two Wheel Gear has you covered. This pannier is roomy, with a universal attachment system that fits any standard bike rack. When space is needed for a suit this pannier works perfect for both the touring cyclist and the business professional. If dress attire is not a prerequisite the space is flexible enough to keep all your gear neat and organized.

The content in this carry-on luggage will fit into the Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier.

Here the content in this carry-on luggage all fits into the Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier below.

The items in the luggage case above comfortably fits into the Classic Garment Pannier , with room fr a sports jacket and a laptop.

Items transferred from the carry-on luggage and comfortably lay in the Classic pannier with a sports jacket and  laptop included.

For me the pannier works well when exploring a new destination to write about or biking to a power meeting. See the video on this multi-functional pannier. With this bag there are less chances of the clothes wrinkling when secure in the pannier. For meetings, with the Two Wheel Gear’s Classic I can safely pack my laptop, presentation boards and promotional material. As the perfect all-in-one luggage bag this pannier also meets airline carry-on requirements. Plus, in the satchel position with the shoulder strap, it’s easy to carry.

The Classic Garment Pannier in its satchel position meets the the airline requirements for carry-on..

The Two Wheel Gear’s Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier, in its satchel position, meets airline requirements for carry-on.

The key features of the Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier 

For the daily commute or a multi-day bike trip the Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier is a great addition to any cyclist’s inventory of gear. With several compartments in the bag, organizing everything you need to shower and change for a productive day at the office or on a trip is a breeze.

The Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier comes with a clip on bag with a highly visible waterproof cover.

This Classic Garment Pannier comes with a clip on bag to store the highly visible waterproof cover.

The Two Wheel Gear universal mounting system

With the universal mounting clips on the bottom side of the panniers makes it a snap to clip the bag onto the rear rack. That is all that is required to easily mount the Classic Garment Pannier (see video).

Here the Classic's highly visible and waterproof cover protects the pannier from wet weather and road slush.

Here the Classic’s highly visible and waterproof cover protects the pannier from wet weather and road residue.

Waterproof, high visibility cover

In a clip-on pouch, the Classic’s cover will keep your gear dry in wet weather conditions. Using the neon green cover with reflective silver accents over the panniers also adds additional visibility to the bike. A helpful tip: If the pavement is wet and the bike lacks wheel fenders consider using a  sheet of plastic material over the bike rack before securing the bag. This will act like as a guard helping to repel moisture away from the underside of the pannier.

The panniers exterior offer reflective material and straps to attach blinking lights for more visibility.

The Two Wheel Gear panniers exterior offer reflective material and straps to attach a blinking light for more visibility.

Plus a padded sleeve for a laptop

Everything about this Two Wheel Gear bag is durable and high quality. Even the zippers to several compartments will help keep things organized. The bag also has a 15″ padded sleeve compartment designed for a laptop. This allows me the opportunity to leave my computer bag at home and use more of the Classic’s all-in-one features.

What started as way to get more people active, the "30 Days of Biking" campaign has grown in popularity and show added heart-health value.

Have fun and stay healthy with 30 Days of April Biking

What started as way to get more people active, the “30 Days of Biking” campaign has grown in popularity and shows added heart-healthy values as the drive moves forward. For many, April biking, unless it is a above normal spring conditions leaves much to be desired. But it doesn’t have to be a major ordeal. With 30 Days of Biking you sign up with your own set of rules on how far and where you want to ride each day. It might be as little as a spin around the block, a few laps around the underground parking garage or spinning at the gym, depending on the weather. Then as May approaches you will not only have bragging rights, you will feel a lot better and be at your peak ready for the summer bike season.

The only rule, dress to meet your own bodies comfort level no matter if its in April any any other time of the year.

The only rule, dress to meet your own bodies comfort level no matter if its in April any any other time of the year.

Cycling can improve your health keeping you on top of your game.

 Did you know that just 20 minutes of cycling in a day can cut in half your risk of dying from a heart related disease? You will also feel better and may help improve your muscle for walking, general balance and climbing stairs according to a recent study conducted by Purdue University, in Indiana. The study concluded that regular cycling can cut your risk of heart disease by a whopping 50 percent. Let’s see, besides bragging rights, if I turn my bikes crank each day, in April, I will feel better – where do I sign up?

Sighing up and pledging to ride 30 Days in April biking, its free!

The 30 day campaign is a pledge to ride your bike every day in April, any distance, any destination and share your adventures online at  #30daysofbiking.  So tell your friends, sign up and ride together and make sure your bike is ready to roll.

Join 30 Days of Biking through April, wearing this tee-shirt and feeling good about yourself.

Join 30 Days of Biking through April, wearing this tee-shirt and feeling good about yourself.

30 Days of Biking  is a spring time tradition founded in 2010 by two avid cyclists in Minneapolis. Last year over 10,000 bicyclists from St. Paul, to San Diego, to Düsseldorf, Germany, join this “community of joyful cyclists.” Will you join them?

Very simply, it’s a pledge to ride your bike every day in April, no matter, what the weather or if it is one or thirty-miles each day and trainer bike miles count too!

Join 30 Days of Biking biking, April 1 through 30 and be a winner.

Join 30 Days of Biking, April 1 through 30 and be a winner with better health and more friends.

Sometimes you have to bike in the rain as spring arrives

Depending on the weather, you sign up and set your own rules as to how far you ride. It might be as little as a spin around the block.Depending on the weather, you sign up and set your own rules as to how far you ride. It might be as little as a spin around the block.

Staying dry is the most important and difficult part of riding. The best way to keep dry is to wear waterproof clothing. While most synthetic fabrics still insulate when wet, being wet diminishes their ability to keep you warm. Therefore, a waterproof jacket and pants are a great way to start, but waterproof socks and gloves make the outfit complete. While a lot of materials are naturally waterproof, once perforated with stitching, zipped closed with generic zippers, and left to be loose at all the cuffs, their waterproofing goes out the window. Before you go out and buy anything labeled “waterproof,” read on to understand that all waterproofing is not the same.

Quick and easy bicycle maintenance tips for 30 Days of Biking

Like any other mechanical device, routine bicycle maintenance and cleaning will keep your bike in optimal condition when riding 30 Days in April. Additionally, routine bicycle maintenance will make your bike safe to ride whenever you need it. Where do you start? What do you use? Well, here are a few tips to put you on the right track!

After finishing your daily 30 Days challenge here are a few more tips to prepare your bike for the next day.

So make a pledge to 30 Days of Biking today!

 It’s easy and no monetary costs to you at: 30 days of biking

Then you share your adventures online with #30daysofbiking and have fun while supporting a good cause, your helth!

Here in today's bike pic this bold north biker dude commutes to work on his fatty, through the channel from Lake of the Isles to Lake Calhoun, into the Monday morning sun, in Minneapolis.

Bike Pic Feb 26, riding into the Monday morning sun

Here in today’s bike pic this bold north biker dude commutes to work on his fatty, through the channel from Lake of the Isles to Lake Calhoun, into the Monday morning sun, in Minneapolis.

What better way to continue your riding season fun and to plan your #NextBikeAdventure for 2018, then a ride in the Monday Morning sun. View all the great ideas and bike destinations in the latest Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of the HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Monday Morning Sun’ Bike Pic of the Day  

Now rolling into our 11th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While highlighting all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more destinations you can have fun at we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger, to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the latest  Bike Guide, mobile friendly as we enter into our 9th year of producing print and digital guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. Please share all our pic’s with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the next corner with a HFB camera ready to document your next move while you are riding and having fun. Capturing you in one of our next ‘Pic of the Day’ posts.

Have a great week!

No matter your level of bicycle riding skills, bike lights are essential to make sure you have a safe ride, day or night. Bike lights aren't only needed when the sun goes down.

With more darkness then daylight the zen and the art of night biking

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Seasons change and eventually we are left with more darkness than daylight, thus night biking. day. This annual march to the darkest day of the year was the inspiration Robert Frost needed to write Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.  On occasion my “Little Horse” asks if “there is some mistake”, but of course Frost was talking about the animal and I the machine. The draw of the dark and cold is the same though, snow muffles sound and darkness can be beautiful. If you haven’t tried night mountain biking, I encourage it!

mountain biking at night

Snow, dark, and silence make mountain biking at night great.

Night biking, who turned off the lights?

You will need a good light to mountain bike at night. I recommend to start with something around 1000 lumens, but more if you can get it. Be aware of the beam pattern when you buy a light because while a wide and dim beam would be great to alert passing motorists of your presence. When mountain biking, you need all the light in front of you, so for that reason try to find a light with a rather narrow beam. Another consideration when buying a light is if it can be mounted on your helmet. Many riders prefer to sync their light with their sight line, so they can look around corners and up the trail if needed, while pointing the bike where it needs to go. By contrast, bar mounted lights only point toward where you are going at that moment.

Buddy system is best for night biking

Night riding is not a time to go it alone. It’s not as if the actual riding is any more dangerous or difficult, but if there is an issue, you are far less likely to run into a helpful passerby at night. Therefore, bring your helpful passerby along with you. The only issue I have had riding with others at night is the shadows that more than one light will produce. This issues is easily remedied by spreading out a bit further than you would in the daytime.

Night Riding in groups is fun and safe.

What to expect when night biking

The greatest part of night riding is it’s ability to surprise you. As an example, I find that trails I know by heart take on new dimensions when my light is focused but limited. This change of visual often directs me to take new lines and approach areas differently. Also, you see totally different wildlife in the woods at night. Coyote, owl, and bats are some of my more favorite night time friends. Finally, mountain biking at night gives you the feeling that you are going faster. I don’t exactly know the psychological reasons, but when you can only see 20-30 feet in front of you, those feet seem to accelerate faster than if your vision was unlimited.

Quiet

Riding a mountain bike at night is also a chance to enjoy the quiet. Fewer riders and less commotion helps me eliminate one more distraction and just enjoy the trail. Add in snow to muffle any sound that is there, and you have the recipe for a Zen like mountain biking experience.

mountain biking at night

Surroundings melt away leaving only the trail ahead.

“But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep”

We all have a life outside of our bike, and far too little time to live it. Riding your mountain bike at night is a way to find hours you might not normally have to ride. After the kids are asleep, the dishes are done, lunches are packed and laundry folded, consider mountain biking an alternative to turning in for the night. You might just love what you find!

 

Some of the best “Pics of 2017” at HaveFunBiking!

As we wait for the new year, page through some our posts here and in the HaveFunBiking Blog, on Facebook or Instagram. You will find plenty of fun pictures of cyclists enjoying 2017.

Enjoy the pics we captured below

winter riding

Fun is fat bike riding in the Minnesota River bottoms in Bloomington, MN, through the winter.

Fun Riding the Saint Paul Bicycle Classic.

Considering a bike commute as part of your routine, it might add a bit of brilliance to your next story as you share some of your successes.

Considering a bike commute as part of your routine, it might add a bit of brilliance to your next story as you share some of your successes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family fun riding across the U.S.

Bike touring season is in full swing here in Minnesota, Fergus Falls bike advocates line up dinner, accommodations and warm welcome to Ziemer Family.

Bike touring season is in full swing here in Minnesota and the Fergus Falls Bike Advocates arrange dinner, accommodations and warm welcome to the Ziemer Family this summer.

Lakeville Minnesota’s new mountain bike trail is a sweet ride!

If life were a mountain bike trail and Wheelie Wednesday helped smooth out your day-to-day ride or aided you in dropping into your sweet spot,

If life were a mountain bike trail and Wheelie Wednesday helped smooth out your day-to-day ride, have fun dropping into your sweet spot.

Ice Cream smiles from AAA Auto Club staff.

Its Ice Cream Smiles Sunday and here a couple AAA staff members tip a cone after spending the day introducing their new Roadside Service program for bikes, in Iowa

Its Ice Cream Smiles Sunday and here a couple AAA staff members tip a cone after spending the day introducing their new Roadside Service program for bikes, in Iowa.

Most agree that home-made country fresh pie is one of the best delicacies on a bike trip.

These lucky biker chicks found some desert samples at this table on the Root River Trail.These lucky biker chicks found some desert samples at this table on a Root River Taste of the Trail ride.

Winter fun is only a bunny hop away!

There are tons of exercises, drills and products to help you keep your fitness through the winter riding months.

There are tons of exercises, drills and products to help you keep you shape through the winter months, but we think some fat bike fun is still the best!

Sharing the road with another mode of transportation!

Fun biking in Southeast Minnesota's Amish Country on the Root River Bluff & Valley Bike Tour.

Fun biking in Southeast Minnesota’s Amish Country on the Root River Bluff & Valley Bike Tour.

Biking opportunities around the world

It is fun to take a European bike vacation to explore the Netherlands and their 100's of bicycle routes that follow the picturesque canals and rivers there.

It is fun to take a European bike vacation to explore the Netherlands and the 100’s of bicycle routes that follow the picturesque canals and rivers there.

Happy New Years, share your fun pics with us at [email protected].

With below normal temps snow is sticking throughout the upper half of Minnesota making it perfect for some fat bike fun as this biker chick demonstrates.

With below normal temps snow is sticking throughout the upper half of Minnesota making it perfect for some fat bike fun as this biker chick demonstrates.

View the new  National Bike Guide and view all the fun rides coming up in 2018.

Thanks for viewing some of our 2017 Pics

Now rolling into our 11th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While highlighting all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more destinations you can have fun at we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger, to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the latest  Bike Guide, mobile friendly as we enter into our 9th year of producing print and digital guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. Please share all our pic’s with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the next corner with a HFB camera ready to document your next move while you are riding and having fun. Capturing you in one of our next ‘Pic of the Day’ posts.

Have a great day and a memorable new year!

Bike commuting is an easy way to increase fitness, jump start your energy level, and enjoy nature. Read and learn about what you need to commute in comfort.

New Year’s Resolution: make 2018 your best bike riding year ever!

By John Brown, HaveFunBiking

After all the presents are opened and the last of the cookies disappear many of us turn our attention to the year ahead. More specifically, many of us begin the annual task of developing new year’s resolutions for ourselves. This year, why not resolve to make this year your best year of bike riding ever!

Get ready for the bike season

For most of us, the season doesn’t begin in earnest until April 1st. Coincidentally, April 1st is also the first day of the 30 days of biking pledge. Therefore, why not take the next three months to get ready for April’s goal of 30 days of riding!

best year of riding

A happy rider having completed his 30 days of biking!

It’s been proven countless times in history – the mind drives the body! I find a great way to get my mind ready for a goal is to share that goal with others. For me, once I tell others about my goal, I am making a deal with myself that it is a real thing. Once your goal is real, begin clearing your schedule for it.

Get your body ready for the bike

Make a training plan now. Your plan can be as simple as committing to ride two times a week or as detailed as planning the mileage, date, and time. Just be sure that plan matches with your goal (example: riding for only one hour a week wouldn’t give you the fitness you need to ride two hours a day through April).

Minnesota is currently locked in a winter freeze, so conditions may not coincide with your availability to ride outdoors. But keeping yourself physically active is paramount for this time of year and it’s especially crucial for your training. You can go snowshoeing, running, swimming, cross country skiing, indoor riding (on a trainer), take spin classes, or anything that raises your heartbeat.

best year of riding

Indoor rides can be fun with the right group.

To ensure you have on-bike fitness there is no better indoor exercise than riding a bike trainer. There are spin gyms, training centers and bike shops that run classes a few times a week. Look into what programs are available and you will stick to in your community.

How to fit riding into your daily routine

Most people don’t have time to do the things they need to do (like that home project you swore you would finish last summer). So how do you fit in time to train? To start, try not to add too much separate riding time to your schedule. Instead, commute to work by bike. Drive part of the way and ride the rest. A normal 30 minute drive could turn into a 15 minute drive and the rest on your bike with a little planning. That way, you only add a 15 to 20 minutes to your schedule and still get a ride in. Do it in the morning and the evening and you bought an hour of riding while only adding up to 40 minutes to your daily schedule.

I find that I make a trips to the grocery store for a handful of items a few times a week. Try to ride your bike to the grocery store, rather than drive once a week.

Also, try adding a ride to your normal downtime. If you have an indoor trainer, ride for one hour a night while watching TV rather than sitting on the couch. It may seem counter-intuitive, but being active is a great way to wind down from a busy day. You will find you sleep better and generally feel more relaxed.

Get your bike equipment ready

Bring your bike out of hibernation and put air in the tires. Take it for a spin around the block and check to see if it’s functioning properly. April 1st is smack dab in the middle of when many people begin to think about riding their bike. If you wait until the last minute to drop your bike off for service, chances are, you will be waiting longer than you like for you bicycle. Click the  (link) here to read about some of the benefits of servicing your bike in the winter.

best year of riding

This rider is looking for speed, but a good bike fit can benefit any rider!

If you bring your bike in for service, think about making sure your bike fits you properly. A professional bike fit will lower the chance of repetitive motion injuries and make you more comfortable and efficient. While you’re having your bike serviced and fit you can also find the right clothing and accessories for the year ahead. The weather in April can be a mixed bag, so make sure your clothing options include something to keep you comfortable in the sun,rain, snow, wind, or cold.

The First step

The longest journey begins with a single step and that step should be taken on January 1st. Making the time to ride or exercise on new year’s is easy considering most of us are off of work. Getting started right away is a huge moral booster, for the goal of having your best year of bike riding ever!

I have seen many people put off using a commuter bike because they felt they didn't have the right bicycle, not realizing it was already in their garage.

Building the ultimate commuter bike with what’s in your garage

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

I have been using a commuter bike almost exclusively for the past twenty years. In that time, I have seen many people put off commuting by bicycle because they felt they didn’t have the right bike. While the right gear is important, many don’t realize that the right equipment is closer than many think. Take a look at how I would built the perfect bike for commuting, it may surprise you how close it might be to that bike hanging in your garage.

The ultimate commuter bike

For the sake of this article, we will start with a bike that is similar to what most people already have hanging in their garage. The Marin Farifax SC1, an aluminum hybrid with V-brakes, 24 speeds, and a flat handlebar. This bike is comfortable and efficient for most riders and durable enough for the rigors of daily riding. Additionally, the tires use a puncture resistant layer to fight flats.

commuter bike

The Fairfax SC1 is similar to bikes you will find in garages everywhere.

Bare minimum to be a commuter bike

As a bike goes, the Fairfax SC1 is pretty much commuter ready out of the box. If I were to add one thing it would be lights. Being visible as a commuter is job #1. While commuting, you typically share time and space with cars, so it is important to let them know where you are. I like to use a good tail light and a strong head lamp. The tail light is kept on blink mode while the headlamp shins bright and steady. This way, vehicles approaching from behind can see me easily, and the light from my headlamp allows others to see me and me to see them.

I would also recommend the basic tools necessary to fix a flat tire. That includes a spare tube, pump, tire levers, patches and a 1-$ bill. If you have never changed a flat before, practice once or twice at home before heading off on your first trip.

commuter bike

Being visible is a must

Next best thing

If I were to make another suggestion, it would be for a rear rack with bags, or a good backpack. While both options are designed to carry your stuff, they do their jobs slightly differently. A rack a bags work well to keep the weight of your gear on the bike and off your back. This option is far more comfortable than a backpack, but can be more jarring to the gear you carry (a real concern if you lug a laptop around). The backpack is not as comfortable, but is better for your gear, and easier to use if you have more than one bike. For either option I look for something waterproof. Eventually you will get caught in the rain, and keeping your gear dry is a necessity.

commuter bike

A rack and this bag from twowheelgear make carrying your gear easier.

On the subject of Dry

While not a necessity, fenders are a welcome addition to any commuter bike. I prefer the permanent, bolt on, style fender. I find they keep you dryer and stay in place better than the clip on variety. The fender does an amazing job of keeping you dry when the road surface is wet.

commuter bike

Fenders round out the commuter bike build.

The ULTIMATE commuter bike

Ok, I know “the ultimate” gets thrown around a a lot and it’s probably a better headline to grace the cover of cosmo than HaveFunBiking. So This is an overview of My ultimate commuter. As a base, I will start with the Marin Fairfax SC6 DLX. This commuter ticks a lot of the boxes for my ultimate bike and is not the only one on the market. Look around to see what is available in your market, and test ride to see what you like best.

commuter bike

Marin’s Fairfax SC6 DLX is a fully loaded commuter.

I like the Fairfax SC6 DLX because it uses a generator front hub, Internally geared rear hub, belt drive, full fender set, hydraulic disc brakes and a full carbon fork. The things I would change to make it even better is to use lighter rims (light weight wheels make a bike ride easier), and a Carbon handlebar to quiet some of the road noise. Other than that, I would probably loose the rear rack (as I prefer a backpack) and install some egg beater clipless pedals

Everything else

Beyond the bike there are lots of other topics that arise when you start commuting by bike. Things like what to wear, how to care for my bike, rain riding, etc. Rather than focusing on those concerns, I encourage you to think about how you are going to enjoy your increased fitness, what are you going to feel like when you loose those extra few pounds, and what amazing things will you create after you kickstart your mind aboard two wheels.

Rotllicht "red light" off the bike is great for visibility.

Rotlicht: Out of the box review for a one of a kind rear blinker

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking

Along with Lupine’s SL-A7 we received a smaller package containing the Rotlicht (German for “red light”). While on the exterior it looks t be a normal red blinking light, this little package houses big features. With the brightness of 160 lumens (higher than some front lights) and an internal rechargeable battery, this light might just be the best rear blinker ever made. Read on to see what else is hiding inside.

Unique blinker light features

One thing this light does that is totally unique, it gets brighter when you stop. Thanks to an accelerometer inside, the Rotlicht can sense when you are slowing and increase its output. Additionally, you can preset one of 20 different output settings (4 blink modes with 5 brightness levels).

Construction

As far a blinking lights go, this light is in a class by itself. Most lights are injection molded plastic, with poorly fitted o-rings designed to keep everything water resistant. How the Rotlicht differs is its CNC aluminum case. The lens and electronics are bolted into place and all the seals are snug and sure to be waterproof (although their site doesn’t give specifics as to how waterproof it is?). Also, the USB charging port is located on the back of the light, well protected from the elements, it uses a custom rubber plug to keep it dry.

How it fits

One of the best parts of the Rotlicht is how secure it mounts. The aluminum case acts as a great foundation for the lights long rubber pads. Those pads keep the light nearly immovable when mounted with the included rubber strap. I have ridden this light for a few weeks without it slipping down or twisting on the seatpost.

Moving forward

Like any product tested here in Minnesota, I am really excited to see how it handles the cold and wet winter ahead. So far the Rotlicht has shown remarkable promise even after being subjected to a cold, wet, salty ride. Stay tuned for a complete review.

The Lupine SL-A4 Road Light is by far the brightest, clearest, and most capable 900 lumen bike light I have ever used. Read on to learn more.

Lupine SL-A7 Road Light, out of the box and amazing first impression

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

I really didn’t know what to expect when I heard we were going to be reviewing Lupine’s new SL A7 light. You see, Lupine is a brand I always hear excellent things about, but until now have not had the pleasure of trying one myself. This is by far the clearest and brightest 900 lumen light I have ever seen. It turns out the light uses a custom reflector and lens to focus the light exactly where you need it. Hearing amazing things about their quality and durability as I researched the light. My first experience with their product reinforced everything I have heard and more. Read on to learn more.

Lupine road bike light out of the box

What I did know as I opened the box, Lupine is a German based company. They do all the development and production in house and the light comes in a robust box with ample foam padding. The padding is precisely cut to fit the components and hold them firmly in place. based on their excellent packaging, I would say it’s unlikely your light could arrive damaged due to shipping. In the box you will find the lamp, battery, charger, two straps, mounting hardware and a pair of small wrenches. Overall, the light looked great and was rather light weighing just over ½ a pound. After reading about the light I was saddened to see its output was only a 900 lumen. Typically,  I find most lights below 1000 lumens to be rather dark for my commute. Turns out, I was way totally wrong as you will see.

Lupine

The SL A7 mounted to my handlebar.

My first impression

Like I said, 900 lumen lamp isn’t usually a lot of light. What I have learned with the SL A7 is that the amount of light is not as important as how that light is used. Turns out the light’s lens is as important as the light’s final output number. We will touch more on this later.

First, I mounted the light to my bike. The light uses a handlebar mount that appeared to be delicate. That elegant mounting system is easy to use and surprisingly holds the lamp firmly in place. I then secured the battery with the shorter of the two supplied straps and it showed no signs of moving.

Lupine SL A7

Detail of Lupine’s SL-A7 elegant mounting hardware

First Ride

Upon kicking off for my first ride with the SL A7, I could not believe what I saw. This is by far the brightest, clearest, and most capable 900 lumen light I have ever seen. The light uses a custom reflector and lens to focus the light exactly where you need it and not waste any of the beam.  It is difficult to explain, but the beam almost appears to be a solid bar of light, running horizontally, across your field of vision. In addition to Lupine’s mastery of the beam location, they seem to also offer a better color than I am used to seeing. Again, it’s hard to explain without seeing it, but the light has a color that seems to eliminate excess glare and shadow. I was able to see more than I typically can, and see it clearer.

The battery run time is published to be 3 hours. In my initial test, received every minute of that 3 hours before recharging. The battery itself was really keen with a push button charge indicator that worked well.

Lupine SL A7

Detail of the 6.6 Watt Hour battery included with the SL A7

Future tests

Although designed for on road purposes, I plan to take this SL-A7 light off road for a test. Our trails are pretty smooth, so I don’t think vibration will exceed the lamp’s mounting capabilities. Additionally I want to see exactly how much light this thing can throw in the woods. Another big concern of mine is to see how the light handles cold temperatures in the upper Midwest. So expect a lot of sub-freezing rides comments in my next review. All in all, if this light continues to perform like it did initially, I see a very good final review coming. Stay tuned.

First look at an amazing new bike light, the MagicShine MJ-900B

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

MagicShine might not be the first name you think of when going out to buy a bike light, but maybe it should? The company’s beginnings were humble. In 1999, Minjun Electronic (Magic Shine’s parent company), opened for business in Shenzhen, China with the intent to produce LED light components. As a result of the need for a high quality/low cost light, in 2008 MagicShine was created, bursting onto the scene with the MJ-808 light. In fact, that light produced a startling 2000 lumens at a cost less than ½, of its competitors. Now, almost 10 years later they continue to produce cutting edge lights at approachable prices, like the MagicShine MJ-900B.

What makes this Magicshine Light so unique?

The MJ-900B is a 1000 lumen, single beam, rechargeable LED light. This Smart Light mounts to your handlebar and it recharges with a USB cable. At maximum brightness, the MJ-900B has a runtime of over 2 hours. Overall, these stats aren’t unique to the MagicShine, what is exciting is that this light can connect via Bluetooth with an app on your phone to manage light power and mode. On top of that, it retails on MagicShine’s website for $79.99 (well below any of its competitors).

MagicShine

Out of the Box for the first time

Out of The Box

The MJ-900B comes in a sturdy box, with a clean, die-cut foam packaging so you shouldn’t expect any damage from shipping. In the box you will find the lamp, lamp strap, battery, battery strap, USB cable, and instructions. The lamp is exquisite in design, and uses what appears to be only super durable materials. The lamp in held in place via a rubber strap that hooks the lamp’s steel baseplate. Whereas the rubber strap isn’t unique, the fact that they use steel rather than plastic for the base is special. Additionally, the Lamp has large cooling fins cast into the back of the light which are both elegant and robust.

Lamp details front and side

The battery is well sealed and sports a large, soft, rubber base that should hold well against any type of surface. The 18” battery cord is removable for storage and watertight once installed. There is a rubber cap on the backside that can be opened to expose the charging port. Next to the charging port is a USB port you can plug into to charge other devices and a power button that displays the batteries current charge.

Detail of the USB charging doc, power indicator, and removable battery cable

Bluetooth app functions for MagicShine

I downloaded the MagicShine App to see just how well it worked. The first thing I noticed was that the App started without asking for access to any of my phone’s files (it’s a major pet peeve of mine when apps need access to unrelated parts of your phone). Once the app opened, you add your email address and receive an activation code through e-mail quickly. With the code in, the app connected to my light automatically. From there, it was super easy to navigate. Changing light settings or functions is as easy as tapping the icon and if you find settings you like, they can be saved for later use.

The Bluetooth app is really easy to navigate and expands the amount of control you normally have over your light

Moving forward

I am excited to see how long the light runs and how quickly the battery takes to recharge. As a point of reference, the light came out of the package with a full charge. Considering that package was most likely sealed months ago, it’s a good indication the batteries are pretty stable. Keep an eye out for the extended review coming up soon.