Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Weatherneck: The Bandana Evolves

Brian Davis, the guy behind Fix-it-Sticks is back with another clever, well-designed product. It's that little bit of wind protection and warmth you may need while starting out on a cold ride but what makes it smart is how easy it is to take on and off and adjust. Brian explains it well in the Kickstarter video I've embedded at the top of this post.

Unlike many Kickstarters, Brian's project is a real thing, well-thought out and BS-free. He's going the Kickstarter route so he can bulk-buy supplies and get a sense of demand for his product.

I tested the Weatherneck out last weekend but it wasn't cold enough here for me to use it as a face mask.

Brian also sent a Weatherneck to my pal Hughie at the Bicycle Center. I told Hughie that I thought his partner Yvonne would be a better model. She sent me a picture where it looks like she's going to hold up a stagecoach.

Dillon is an ex-California dog so he's always cold. The Weatherneck made a nice little jacket for him.

Hughie started out serious.

Then he got creative.

Then he started channeling his inner Axl Rose.

OK, we've been having fun with the Weatherneck, but the bottom line is that this is a cool product. The magnetic clasp system is very versatile, you can take the Weatherneck on and off in seconds and as you can see, you can wear it in various ways.

So  if you live somewhere where it gets cold some times, check it out. I think it's well worth the reasonable price Brian is charging and I hope he sells a bunch of them.

Monday, January 11, 2016

How to Occupy Public Land

Sunday, January 03, 2016

The Blackburn 2'fer Bike Light

The Blackburn 2'fer is a lightweight, USB-rechargeable bike light. Its most unique feature is that it can serve as either a front or rear light.

The light weighs 18 grams. It can clip onto clothing or a pannier and it also comes with a stretchy rubber bracket so it can mount to a seatpost or handlebar.

The light also comes with a short (about 20 cm) micro USB cord for charging. That's a pretty damn short cord but these days darn near every device I own charges with a micro USB cord. After opening the package, I charged the light with the 10 foot USB cord I use for charging my phone and Kindle.

The light is bright. It has 4 modes: White Steady, White Flashing, Red Steady & Red Flashing. The white light is rated at 60 Lumens while the red is rated at 20 Lumens.

A long press turns the light on and off. A quick press toggles the light through its various modes.

Here is the light shining as a tail light at dusk.

And here it is working as a head light. It's quite effective as a be-seen light.

The rubber bracket holds the light securely to the handlebars.

The bracket also works fine on the seatpost.

As a front light, the 2'fer really only works as a be-seen light. The light really doesn't really cast a beam, so you can't really ride at any speed.

Used in conjunction with my Cygolite Dash, it's fine. The Dash lets me see where I'm going while the 2'fer increases my conspicuity.

As a tail light, the 2'fer really shines (pun intended!)

On steady, the 2'fer runs for 1.5 hours, while the strobe mode is good for 5 hours. The light has a super tiny red/orange/green power gauge LED. It takes about 3 hours to fully charge. The short battery life may be a deal-breaker for some but for my relatively short commute it's fine. I just keep and eye on the gauge and charge it at home or work as needed.

The 2'fer is a great be-seen light for the urban commuter. For dark trails or long rides, you'll want something more, but it's a good little versatile light. You can buy it as either a single light or save a bit and buy it in a two-pack.