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RoadAir Mini-Pump Review

Written by Boston Biker on Jan 26

Sometimes people are nice enough to send me products to review.  So just know I got this for free, and that might bias me in ways I can’t consciously know about.

I was sent this pump a while ago, and have been playing around with it for a couple of weeks.

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Mini-pumps are the ones you toss in your bag, and rely on when you get a flat out in the middle of nowhere and need to push enough air into your tire to get you home.  It obviously is never going to work as well as a floor pump, but you need them to get enough air into your tire to roll home gingerly.

The RoadAir mini-pump is certainly small enough and light enough to carry around with you, and if you want  you can even mount it to your bike (I just tossed it in my bag).  It feels sturdy when you grab it, and doesn’t bend of flex in strange ways when you use it.  The all metal frame helps with strength, and the plastic grip isn’t too bad (my hand didn’t slip off when pumping).

The metal body does get crazy cold in the winter, but if you are unlucky enough to get a flat in the snow I would suggest going into a store with your tire and waiting until the whole works warm up…or put a glove on to grab the aluminum part.  This isn’t really a problem I think a lot of people will run into.

The pump has a clever way to get around the number one problem with mini-pumps, the pressure put on the valve stem when filling.  Most mini-pumps attach right to the valve stem, and because they offer little to no mechanical advantage when pumping a tire, putting 100 psi of air into a tire, requires a herculean amount of force to be applied to your tiny little valve stem.

If you have long valve stems the force from the pumping can easily bend or break them.  You end up putting your leg up against them, or trying to figure out a way to brace it on something, this pump comes with a long rubber tube that pulls out of the end allowing you to bend and flex the body of the pump without putting too much pressure on the valve stem.  The longer hose also allows you access those hard to reach valve stems on strollers, and other non-bike inflated tires.

9146A02FW9L._SL1500_

The rubber of the tube is very “aromatic” (it absolutely stunk of vulcanized rubber) when you first get it, so I recommend letting it hang out open in a well ventilated area for a day or two to let the rubber smell wear off before putting it in your bag.  The contents of my bag had a lovely rubber smell until I let the pump “air out” (bike pump pun!) for about 12 hours.  After which the smell was gone.

All the accessories tuck into the back of the pump, and are easy to loose if you don’t carefully remove the back when emptying them out (they flew all over the room), but really the only thing you will probably want is the presta-schrader valve adapter, which is small and easy to loose, so I just leave it permanently attached to the end of the tube, even though it keeps the dust cap from closing.  It would haven been nicer to have a more elegant way to switch from presta to schrader, or perhaps just a bigger dust cap, but this is not a deal breaker for me.

The pump puts air in your tire, it does it without weighing too much, or damaging your valve stems.  It doesn’t feel like a cheap plastic piece of crap, and I feel like it could take a beating before it broke.  All in all not a bad little pump.  I would recommend this pump if you are in the market for one.  The price put’s it above the average for these sorts of things, but its a quality product that isn’t too pricey.

Verdict: good pump, buy one if you want a good mini-pump that wont break your valve stems off.


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Posted in Merch, reviews | 1 Comment »

Get Your Light On!

Written by Boston Biker on Mar 15

Even though the light is better, you still need a red back light, and a white front light. Not only is it the law, it will save your bacon. Today I ran across an amazing, comprehensive, one stop shop review for all things bike light related. Check it out here.

Here is a taste:

Choosing a light can be a difficult task though – there are countless options to choose from ranging from cheap $3 flashers to blindingly bright $200 powerhouses. The internet already has some good comparisons of bike headlights, but there’s a surprising lack of comprehensive taillight comparisons, so I decided to make one. For science.

In total, I reviewed 16 different taillights from 8 of the top light manufacturers. I chose which lights to review based on a survey I conducted on the parent site for this blog – Bicycles Stack Exchange, a Q&A site for everything about bicycles, and also asked on Reddit’s /r/bicycling. The incumbent in this race is the Planet Bike Blinky Superflash. Everyone has this light (myself included). Not only is it the light most people own, it’s also the most-loved – 20% of respondents said it was their favorite. In terms of what people wish they had or are considering buying, the Planet Bike Superflash Turbo, Portland Design Works’ Radbot 1000 and Danger Zone, and the Niterider Cherrybomb were all high on the list. Many people expressed an interest in DiNotte’s lights, but unfortunately we were unable to acquire one for this review and the company declined to loan a light for the review.

I’m sure you’re all dying to know which light is the best, but first, let’s take a look at the contenders.

This review is so good it comes with a table of contents, check it out here.


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Posted in Bike Business, Commuting, reviews | 6 Comments »

Product Review: Clean Bottle

Written by Boston Biker on Mar 17

One of the secret perks of starting a blog about cycling is that every once in a while you get free to stuff to review.

A couple weeks ago I got my hands on a Clean Bottle.

The Clean Bottle’s claim to originality (because lets face it we all have a million water bottles) is it’s unique second “lid” on the bottom. This allows for super easy cleaning out of all that nasty goop that seems to form in the bottom of your water bottle (especially if like me you never clean your water bottles ).

I was a little skeptical when I got the bottle. I mean really does anyone need another water bottle, even one with a fancy removable bottom? So I determined to give it a good testing, I threw it in my bag (with and without liquid in it), tossed it in the bottle cage, drank from it at my desk, drank from it while riding, tossed it on the ground, etc.

I was pleasantly surprised by its rugged nature, and was also pleased that it didn’t seem to have any trouble with leaking. The mouth bit is nice and rubbery so you can open it with your teeth while riding without chipping a tooth. The top seals well so there is no dripping when you drink from the bottle (something I hate about cheap water bottles). The bottom part provides a nice seal on the bottle even when you squeeze the life out of to get that last drop of water out. And yes its a breeze to clean.

The only thing I found wrong with this bottle is that it might be a little too solid for some. I think they had to make the body plastic a little tougher than a normal water bottle so that the threading of the bottom cap would provide a watertight seal, this means you have to squeeze it a little harder to get the water to come out.

I also found that just sucking on the mouth part didn’t get enough water out because my mouth wasn’t able to get enough suction to bend the tougher plastic. Both of these are very minor issues, that got better as the plastic got a little worked in from me using the bottle.

Overall I would recommend this product. Especially if you regularly drink non-water (Gatorade, Cytomax, etc) in your water bottle, as these tend to cause the most nasty to form.


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Posted in reviews | 2 Comments »

Lovely Bicycle Visits Geekhouse

Written by Boston Biker on Dec 06

I nearly had to perform rescue breathing on Greg from Geekhouse the other day, but luckily for all of us he is immune to cars, and bounced instead of splatted. Lovely Bicycle has a wonderful blog post up about her recent visit to the shop.

Greg. The mans mustache makes him immune to car attack, and gives him +2 charisma

Today I had the pleasure of visiting Geekhouse Bikes in Allston, Mass. A region of greater Boston that’s just across the river from Cambridge, Allston is notorious for how dangerous it is to cycle there and I was fully prepared for a journey fraught with peril. Instead, I found myself pedaling along a bike lane followed by a series of quiet streets – at the end of which was Geekhouse, nestled picturesquely between a white picket fence and a rusty chainlink fence, amidst rows of family homes with tidy back yards offset by a sinister-looking warehouse in the distance.

Read the rest here.

If you are in the market for an awesome bike made by a local check out Geekhouse, and you should really be reading Lovely Bicycle, its a great blog.


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Posted in Bike Business, reviews | 2 Comments »

Book Review: The Spring Classics, Cycling’s Greatest One Day Races

Written by Boston Biker on Nov 14

From time to time I get sent books to take a look at, I guess running a bike blog has some small perks. Usually they are pretty formal stuff, weight training, repairs, stuff like that. Once in a while however you get a real gem.

The Spring Classics, Cycling Greatest One Day Races is a fantastic coffee table book full of amazing pictures of time of yore. With todays heavy focus on a few big flashy races, and tours we sometimes forget that cycling has a long history of one day “classics.” Sure a lot of die hard cycling fans love the start of classic season, but your average biker has never heard of most of these races.

And races they were, this book is resplendent with amazing black and white photos of old time bike racers showing their all. Through snow, over cobbles, in the wind, rain, you name it these guys just kept pushing (and none of them had helmets either). This book is a treat for anyone who likes cycling, or old pictures of cycling, or both.

Seeing a couple guys from the 20’s pushing fixed gears through a blizzard, or seeing Eddie Merckx DESTROY people in the way only he could while his face looks like someone just punched him in it, gives you a real sense of the heroics of cycling.

It was a real joy watching some of the old school races (which look like a lot of alley cats I have ridden), and to see that even back then they understood that if you want to win you have to suffer. Seeing people covered in muck riding the Paris Roubaix, or even some of the colorful pictures from modern times, really makes you want to go ride your bike a couple hundred miles over cobble stones in a blizzard…really. This is a great gift for the cycling enthusiast in your home.


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The Word On The Street

  • RSS Here is what people are saying

    • The Inman Square Peanut Proposal December 2, 2016
      TweetI have posted comments about the proposal for a “peanut roundabout” in Inman Square, and other proposals for the Square, on the Cambridge Civic Forum blog. I think that the City’s “bend Cambridge Street” proposal — with a minor modification … Continue reading →
      jsallen
    • An Alternative to the Inman Square Peanut Proposal December 2, 2016
      TweetI have posted comments about the proposal for a “peanut roundabout” in Inman Square, and other proposals for the Square, on the Cambridge Civic Forum blog. I think that the City’s “bend Cambridge Street” proposal — with a minor modification … Continue reading →
      jsallen
    • The Inman Square Peanut Proposal December 2, 2016
      TweetI have posted comments about the proposal for a “peanut roundabout” in Inman Square, and other proposals for the Square, on the Cambridge Civic Forum blog. I think that the City’s “bend Cambridge Street” proposal — with a minor modification … Continue reading →
      jsallen
    • The Inman Square Peanut Proposal December 2, 2016
      TweetI have posted comments about the proposal for a “peanut roundabout” in Inman Square, and other proposals for the Square, on the Cambridge Civic Forum blog. I think that the City’s “bend Cambridge Street” proposal — with a minor modification … Continue reading →
      jsallen
    • The Inman Square Peanut Proposal December 2, 2016
      TweetI have posted comments about the proposal for a “peanut roundabout” in Inman Square, and other proposals for the Square, on the Cambridge Civic Forum blog. I think that the City’s “bend Cambridge Street” proposal — with a minor modification … Continue reading →
      jsallen
    • A Sign Of The Times December 2, 2016
      Made this brass knuckle bookmark for a client and they wanted “Civility” stamped on it.  Thought it fit perfectly into the world of 2016.  No reason we can’t be civil while we fight the power! Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • We Can Still Ride Our Bikes! November 14, 2016
      Tweet I was having a conversation with a friend on our ride to work after Trump was elected, and it was pretty grim. We talked about all the many many bad things that are likely to happen to our state, … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Insane Truck Commercials November 5, 2016
      Tweet I stumbled upon these two videos for Nissan’s “Titan” truck line.  If you are not familiar with these behemoths the titan gets a shocking 15 mpg…which I guess makes it pretty standard mpg for “male overcompensation” size trucks these … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Action Alert: Call Cambridge City Councilors by Monday for Protected Bike Lanes! November 5, 2016
      TweetThe group of citizens in Cambridge pushing for safer streets is on a roll! (more, here and here) From the email: Thanks to all of your support, we have motivated the Cambridge City Council to pass 8 policy orders requiring … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Newton Wont Install Bike Lanes To Make The Roads Safer Because The Roads Are Too Dangerous In Newton November 5, 2016
      TweetThis is sort of what I used to hear about kids walking and biking to school…”We can’t let our kids walk and bike to school there is too much traffic near the school.” Why is there traffic near the school…because … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker