Cycling Gear

I bike commute 28 miles most workdays year-round and have been doing it now for more than six years almost entirely on the same bike, a 2010 REI Novara Randonee touring bike. At this point I estimate that my go-to ride now has somewhere north of 20,000 miles on it, so it needs some regular…

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I bike commute year-round on a 28-mile round-trip journey just outside of Boston, much of it on the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway. In winter, when snow and ice coat the bike path, I switch from my regular commuting bike to a 29er mountain bike with fully studded tires. And it’s this bike that takes the brunt…

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Fat bikes draw attention. Tricked out with bulbous tires measuring 3, 4, even 5 inches wide, they’re more dune buggy than mountain bike. And while those tires allow cyclists to roll over just about any terrain, they also elicit comments from bystanders. Which means I’m more than a little self-conscious as I adjust the seat…

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Fat bike tire pressure operates slightly differently from the average bike. Fat bikers roll with much lower air pressure in their tires than mountain bike or road riders. In loose snow or sand, cyclists typically aim for tire readings of less than 10 pounds per square inch (psi). But many tire gauges fail to accurately measure pressure at such a low range….

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Biking on trails and other unpaved surfaces can cause significant damage, especially if the terrain is muddy or easily disturbed. While fat bikes can cause less impact than mountain bikes due to wider tires and broader weight distribution, that doesn’t give you an all-season pass to ride when conditions are poor. Always check local regulations…

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Fat bikes are hard to miss. Their giant balloon tires stand out like circular blimps and make other bikes look positively waifish in comparison. For a species of bicycle that barely existed a decade ago, fat bikes have since become one of the hottest (fattest?) new trends in the industry. So is a fat bike…

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Protecting your brain should seem like a no-brainer. According to the Federal Highway Administration, bike helmets are 85 to 88 percent effective at preventing head and brain injuries. But “helmets are very similar to seatbelts,” says Erik daSilva, the education and outreach coordinator for the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. A helmet won’t help you in…

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I love high-visibility gear for cycling. I also support cycling advocacy efforts that make streets and roads safer for all users. A new set of products from Respect My Lane does both at the same time. Respect My Lane is a small local operation based in Boston (the same traffic-tough cycling area that brought you one of…

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If you’re a regular REI shopper, you’re almost certainly familiar with the company’s regular “garage sales.” At these one-day events, individual stores clear out—for cheap—all of the returned gear that has accumulated since the previous garage sale. They’re hugely popular, with dozens of people typically lining up before the doors open. So it’s no surprise that REI has now…

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Part of an ongoing series on Northeast-based gear companies. There was a period in my life when I sold sunglasses. I helped hundreds of people try on thousands of different pairs of shades to find the best-fitting options and styles for their face. Which in turn required carefully phrased feedback to help them find the…

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