Monday, April 23, 2012

Great, But Overlooked Bike Products

Here’s a short list of some awesome bike products that are often unknown, overlooked or may not be ‘main stream’……….. yet!   These are great products created by individuals vs. mega athletic companies.

First up:
Fiks reflective bicycle wheel strips
Ever see Tron and the light cycles that are used in the grid? Part of what makes the light cycles so cool are how the wheels are illuminated.

Fiks strips are pieces of reflective stickers that are attached to the non-braking portion of bike wheels to form a circle. Fiks are available in six colors for 700c and 29” wheels (smaller wheel sizes are coming soon). For the price, it’s another one of the cheap things you can do that will drastically increase your riding safety at night on in poor weather. When light hits the wheels from the side, the wheels take on a light cycle look. Nick has a great product and incredible service out of Pittsburgh. Subscribe to his Twitter feed for sporadic coupon codes.

Next up: RoadID
RoadID is a suite of products designed around the concept of being able to provide critical information about yourself to first responders in case of an emergency while in participating in an outdoor event. How often do you go out running, biking or hiking and carry your driver’s license or health insurance card? What if an accident occurred that rendered you unconscious? Do you have any life threatening allergies to drugs? Do you have a rare blood type? Do you have a specific medical history that a doctor would need to know about prior to performing emergency procedures? Would you want your family notified immediately?

RoadID offers necklaces, anklets and wrist bands with a stainless steel tag which can be engraved with any information that you would deem important if an emergency were to occur. Commonly engraved items would include: name, date of birth, city + state, emergency phones numbers, allergies, medical conditions, insurance # and provider and motivational phrases. The tags come with a lifetime warranty. There is also an interactive version which still has some engraved text, but also includes a website and toll free number that first responders can use to get even more information that the user specifies like health insurance and policy numbers, exact medical history, etc. The company is in Kentucky and operated by Ed and Mike Wimmer.

If you’d like to get one, here’s a coupon code for you: ThanksJon13862645 The code can be used 20 times in the next 27 days starting from today. The code is good for $1.00 off any order.
Another nice thing that the RoadID guys do is donate a portion of every single order to charity. There is a drop down in the ordering process for you to pick one (or leave it blank and one will be randomly selected). How cool is that?

Next: JerseyBins
JerseyBins are basically zip lock bags on steroids. Anytime riders are doing long distance rides or tours, they typically protected their gear by using bags of some kind. Zip locks are handy, but don’t hold up well to the elements. Prior to getting JerseyBins, I was using going through a lot of zip lock bags in a year to hold stuff like my wallet, keys, cell phone, etc.

JerseyBins are constructed of fairly thick vinyl and the seams are double sealed. The bags also support using touch phones while in the bag which works quite well. There are four sizes that all fit within the rear pockets of a bike jersey. Bike clubs, sponsors and businesses can order bins with custom designs printed on the front side. Despite the bins costing more than zip locks, they last a very long time. This is yet another “made in the USA” product with great service. These bags would also be great for people who hike or camp.

Last up: Gomadic
Gomadic offers a variety of chargers for electronic devices. The chargers can run off small batteries like AAs. Great, but who needs that Jonny Rando?

A great example of when it’s needed: you are out doing a long distance ride or tour with a Garmin Edge which typically has a battery life of around 10-12 hours; at which point you are either riding without GPS or stopping some place to recharge it; and hopefully you remembered to carry your 110v charger too!  With a Gomadic, you can put the charger in a stem bag, plug the USB mini-B cable into the Garmin while still on the handle bar and it will recharge while you are riding. Your ride time is basically indefinite, assuming you carry some AAs with you. One set of batteries will last a very long time.

Gomadics also support switchable tips on the chargers. Older electronic devices typically use a mini-B port, newer phones use a micro USB port, tablets vary across the board and Apple has their own thing going. Gomadic offers a plethora of tips. You can use all the tips with the same charger eliminating the need to have five different chargers with you on a trip.

Since owning my Gomadic, I’ve had one tip go bad. This is due to the fact that pretty much every long distance ride I did last year was in the rain and the tip got corroded due to moisture exposure. I replaced the tip and everything is dandy again.

Despite not being a true ‘made in the USA’ company, they have a great product, lifetime warranty and awesome customer service.

Disclaimer: I do not receive compensation nor have I received any freebies from the above companies. However, if someone would like to send me any sample or test gear – I would happily accept and review it accordingly (with a disclaimer stating such).

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