Urban Velo

About Urban Jeff

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Surly Pants Installation and Modification

pants9From Surly:

As I began looking at sizes I quickly realized that I was pretty hosed in the inseam department because I, like many other Midwestern Americans, am built like a door. The Surly pants seemed to taunt me, saying; ‘Oh, your waist is 36, but your inseam is 32?! Look elsewhere fatty.” Undeterred, I was absolutely gonna cover my shame with our sweet, sweet pants. What follows will be important information for those door shaped people also wanting to cover their respective shame with our nifty trousers.

Read more.

Fix It Sticks Replaceable Edition Kickstarter

Fix It Sticks Replaceable EditionWell, that didn’t take long… The latest Fix It Sticks Kickstarter project surpassed its funding goal with 29 days to go. It’s not really surprising, though. The original product (which we reviewed in July 2013) was pretty good, and they decided to improve it, and offer more options. Kickstarter supporters get a solid deal on the new and improved version, and everyone’s happy.

Fix It Sticks Replaceable EditionThe new and improved version that landed in our mailbox is the Replaceable Edition (there’s also a new T-Way Wrench). It looks a lot like the original version, but it’s made of steel and features magnetic bits. The expected MSRP is $36. Stay tuned for a review down the line.

Check out www.fixitsticks.com

WOHO Ninja Ninja Deluxe Gloves

Woho Ninja NinjaI don’t know of too many cycling gloves that are truly designed with the urban cyclist in mind, so WOHO’s Ninja Ninja gloves may be the first of their kind. They’re simple, functional and good looking.

Personally, I like simple gloves, especially for city riding. I don’t like tons of logos, nor do I need rubberized “armor” on the fingers. I just want something that keeps my sweaty hands from slipping off of the grips. And unless it’s below freezing, I prefer lightweight, breathable gloves. These fit the bill.

DSC_1054The Ninja Ninja gloves feature smooth, breathable Lycra shell with a synthetic suede palm material. The palms feature a non-slip silicone coating and SBR foam padding which feels thin until you grab the handlebar, then it feels quite substantial. Overall they’re a very comfortable pair of gloves. I also like that these don’t use a Velcro wrist closure—unless it’s a compression strap for wrist support, it just seems unnecessary.

DSC_1053One of the major features of the long-fingered Ninja Ninja gloves is the use of touch-screen friendly fabric on the index finger tip and thumb. In fact, this may be my favorite feature. It’s a simple convenience that’s probably going to be ubiquitous in a few years. Another interesting feature that’s only on the fingerless version are small pull tabs on the middle two fingers. This seems a little less necessary to me, personally, but might make some people quite happy.

DSC_1055I do feel that the Ninja Ninja gloves run a tiny bit small. So you’ll want to double check with WOHO’s size chart, and perhaps order one size up if you feel that you’ve got rather large hands.

The Ninja Ninja Deluxe gloves come in a variety of solid colors, all accented with color-matched elastic bands with a subtle silicon logo. The long fingered gloves retail for $31 ($28 for short fingered) and come in sizes S-XXL. Check out www.wohobike.com

Do you love “I Love Riding in the City”?

Do you love I Love Riding in the City?The number and quality of ILRITC submissions has dropped significantly. Some people don’t take the time to write very much. Most people don’t send a high-resolution photo. We’ve already scaled back the number of ILRITC pages in the print edition, and unless we start to receive more quality submissions, the section will be totally relegated to web content or dropped entirely.

If you do love the section and want to see it continue, please click here.

NiteRider Lightning Bug 100 USB

NiteRider Lightning Bug 100 USBThe Lightning Bug 100 USB is NiteRider’s idea of a high-quality light for the practical commuter. Meaning that it’s affordable yet powerful. It features trickle down technology from their Lumina and Mako lines, yet retains the simplicity of the original Lightning Bug.

As the name implies, it features a 100 lumen maximum output. There’s also a 50 lumen mode, as well as a flashing mode intended for daylight safety. The 800mA battery charges in 2.5 hours via USB, and provides an equal amount of runtime on high (6 hours on low, 26 flashing).

NiteRider Lightning Bug 100 USBThe simple, tool-free silicone mounting system is convenient and easy to use, even with gloves on. You don’t need to stretch the band terribly tight to make the light stay put, which bodes well for it not snapping after extended use. The whole unit feels like its built to last, which is generally the case with all NiteRider products.

DSC_1051The beam pattern is pretty soft and wide, which I personally appreciate. Of course in this day and age of 1000 lumen commuting lights, the humble Lightning Bug isn’t nearly the brightest light on the road. But many of us remember when 100 lumens was considered super bright, and it’s still enough to get you around town safely at night.

The Lightning Bug 100 USB retails for $39. Check out www.niterider.com

Growler Cage

Growler CageIn a word, “Wow!”

It’s a bottle cage for a growler.


Natooke Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

natookeCongratulations to Ines Brunn and her Beijing-based bike shop Natooke on their fifth anniversary. They’ll also celebrate in Chengdu, where she opened her second shop in October 2012.

Click here to read more about Ines Brunn, or visit www.natooke.com

Polar Bottle ThermaLuxe

Screen shot 2014-03-04 at 10.38.14 PMThe Polar Bottle ThermaLuxe is a vacuum insulated stainless steel bottle. Made from food-grade 18/8 stainless steel, it’s intended for both hot and cold beverages. Polar Bottle claims it will keep a hot beverage warm for 5 hours, and a cold one cool for 24. In my experience they’re not far off the mark, and it definitely keeps hot tea steaming hot for hours if you keep the lid closed.

Speaking of the lid, it still utilizes the same Half Twist cap that I wrote about in 2012. After further use, I still stand by my past criticisms, but I’ve simply become accustomed to it and now I don’t mind so much.

The ThermaLuxe retails for $40, but at the moment Polar Bottle has it on sale for $20. Check out www.polarbottle.com

Zoic Highland Fleece Jersey

ZOIC Highland Fleece JerseyZoic’s Highland Fleece Jersey is a rather interesting take on the winter cycling top. The 100% polyester long sleeved shirt is way thinner than what I typically consider a fleece top, and it has a texture that’s somewhat similar to old-school thermal underwear. But it’s way softer, with a definite “technical fabric” feel.

It’s surprisingly warm when combined with a windproof shell, and it breathes and wicks moisture just as well as you would hope. For added ventilation you have a 6″ zipper, and if this is going to be your outermost layer, you can take advantage of the rear zippered pocket as well as the left sleeve pocket.

Available in four colors and sizes S-XL, the Highland Fleece Jersey retails for $65. Check out www.zoic.com

Lezyne Steel Digital Drive Floor Pump

Lezyne  Steel Digital Drive FLoor PumpA good floor pump is an essential equipment for any cyclist. Lezyne offers an array of pumps and they chose to send in their Steel Digital Drive for review. It’s a solid pump in the middle of their Digital range, of course named for the use of a digital pressure gauge.

The 26″ tall pump features a steel barrel and piston, a wooden handle, an aluminum base and a nylon-reinforced braided hose. It’s a classic looking design with a few modern touches.

Lezyne Steel Digital Drive Floor PumpAs you would expect from a full-size floor pump, it takes care of business in a flash, easily achieving 100 psi. Lezyne claims it’s rated to 160 (11 bar). They also claim that the digital gauge is accurate to within 3%. My ordinary analog gauge seems to confirm that it’s in the ballpark, noting that every time you check air pressure you invariably lose some.

Lezyne Steel Digital Drive Floor PumpThe digital gauge is relatively simple with no backlighting, just a simple pressure reading in either PSI or bar. It uses a standard CR2O32 battery that’s easily accessed from the face of the unit. The lack of backlighting makes it a bit difficult to read in my shadowy basement, but said feature would probably drain the battery pretty quickly. As it is, Lezyne claims the battery should last at least one year. I always wish more floor pump designs would bring the gauge closer to the handle, but alas I’m sure if it were easy then more companies would do it.

Lezyne Steel Digital Drive Floor PumpThe Steel Digital Drive is available with one of two pump head configurations—dual valve or ABS Flip-Thread Chuck. We received the latter of the two, which is probably the more interesting of the two designs. The chuck is reversible for Presta or Schraeder, and it threads on to the valve. At first I found this a bit inconvenient, but I came to appreciate it. If that’s just not your cup of tea, they do include a L-shaped slip chuck adapter which also makes the pump usable on disc wheels.

Lezyne Steel Digital Drive Floor PumpThe chuck also features an air bleed system. When used in Presta mode, the small button releases pressure from the hose, making it easier to remove the chuck. For Schraeder valves, the button releases pressure from the tire.

The Steel Digital Drive retails for $90. Check out www.lezyne.com

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