I admit it. I’ve always lusted for the latest and greatest bicycle and gear. Even though I thoroughly enjoy riding my current bicycle, I’ve always wanted the latest and greatest gear as soon as I see it. Sure derailleurs, disc brakes and tubeless tires were great improvements and justified upgrades to improve comfort, safety and performance. However, in reality there have been only a few truly breakthrough technological innovations in cycling in the past several decades. As cyclists we are like a child that only wants what’s advertised on the TV Saturday morning cartoon show for Christmas.
A brand-new bicycle can cost you anywhere from the hundreds to several thousands of dollars, depending on style and brand. Yet, with a fresh coat of spray paint or just a tune-up, an older bicycle can be made new at a much lower price point. By getting into the “Buy Nothing” group online you might just snag a bike for free. Especially kids’ bikes, which they outgrow so fast that it’s worth investing in a used bike to save money. But you can even buy adult bikes online at sites like eBay, Craigslist or checkout your local bike shop. Many bike shops take trade-ins. For example, as part of Trek’s sustainability objective Trek will begin selling used bikes through its Red Barn Refresh program. Spend the money you save on a brand-new helmet, which you’ll need to be safe.
I’m not the first person to think about concealing an AirTag on my bike to help in its recovery if it is ever stolen. As a result, there are many commercial products on the market for this purpose. There are products to hide AirTags in the fork, under the saddle, in a bike bell, in a reflector, under the water bottle, etc. The sky is the limit for possible hiding places. In my case, I believe in keeping things simple so I just found my own place to hide my AirTag.
Since using AirTags to find stolen items is becoming more common, some people suggest hiding a second AirTag on your bicycle. Hopefully, if the thief finds one AirTag they will feel safe and stop searching, leaving the second AirTag to help in locating and recovering your bike.
Think about recovering your bike before it is stolen. Many bikes look the same and law enforcement will want to make sure that the bike you claim was stolen from you is indeed your bike. If your bike has a serial number, write it down now. I keep a photo of my bicycle serial number on my phone so that I have the serial number with me at all times. In addition, I keep a copy of the sales receipt at home just in case I need it to prove ownership.
According to the latest FBI Crime in the United States Report, 162,547 bicycles were reported stolen in 2016. While this number is shocking, I’m sure it only represents a fraction of bicycles actually stolen, since many bike thefts go unreported. Fortunately for cyclists, devices like the Apple AirTag and the Android Tag can assist cyclists and law enforcement in recovering stolen bikes quickly.
I pulled the tab to activate the battery. The AirTag played a sound to indicate activation.
My phone detected the AirTag and I simply tapped connect on the phone screen.
I gave my AirTag a custom name, chose an emoji and registered the AirTag with my Apple ID.
Just to make sure everything was working, I checked the FindMy app to ensure the app showed the location of my AirTag. More details on setting up your AirTag can be found at this link: AirTag – Apple Support
The final step was to place my AirTag on my bike where a thief would not quickly locate and disable or discard my tracker.
Now if my bicycle ever goes missing, I can track its latest location on a map in the app. For less than $30 for an Apple AirTag or an Android Tag, it is a good investment for recovering your bike if it is stolen. Will it really work? Checkout Catching a Bike Thief with AirTags on YouTube.
I rarely do product reviews. When I do, it is always of a product that I chose for my own use and paid for with my own money. I do not benefit in any way by a product review. I share my opinion of a product with the visitors to this website so they might benefit from my experience with the product. With that said, let me tell you about the Magicshine SeeMee 200 taillight.
If you’ve read my blog post BE EYE-CATCHING FLASHY you already know that I am a big advocate of cyclists making themselves more visible to drivers by using lights on their bicycles day and night. Unfortunately, a good set of lights can be very pricy. However, there are some very good lights available at very reasonable prices. One of these lights is the Magicshine SeeMee 200 taillight. So, what makes it a great light?
The Magicshine SeeMee 200 taillight features are:
Small – 32x28x43mm
Light – 1.4oz
Very Bright – 200 LM Output
Highly Visible – Up to 2 miles
Waterproof – IPX6
Smart – Motion Brake Sensor 200LM
Rechargeable – Micro USB cable included
Battery level indicator
Multiple lighting modes – 3 constant (30, 70 and 140 LM), 4 flashing (all 140 LM), and 2 smart modes
360 degree visibility – Innovative auxiliary tracing light that shines a beam on the ground for visibility in all directions.
Runtime – 2.5 to 50 hours depending on mode.
Low Power Mode – When battery reaches 5% chare, it automatically goes to economic flashing mode(30LM).
Inexpensive – MSRP $44.99
This is a great light at the MSRP $44.99, but luckily I was able to purchase one on sale directly from Magicshine for $38.24 with free shipping, customs and tax included. But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself. Pictures speak louder than words.
The innovative auxiliary tracing beam of light on the ground adds a level of visibility that I’ve never seen before with any other taillight.
When I first learned about AliExpress I was really excited about the bargains. However, there are several drawbacks to buying directly from sellers in China.
I’ve experienced all of the following:
Very slow deliveries.
Hefty foreign transaction fee.
Complicated and expensive import taxes.
Low quality and counterfeit items.
For example, with my most recent purchase the saving seemed to outweigh the risks. Besides, AliExpress had a MONEY BACK GUARANTEE, “We promise your money back if the item you received is not as described, or if your item is not delivered within the Buyer Protection period.” Since I wanted to buy a Magicshine Seemee 200 Bike Tail Light, I ordered one. The seller estimated that the delivery time would be between 20-38 days. After waiting 80 days I requested a refund under the Buyer Protection period. Although the seller would not honor the guarantee and refused to give me a refund, I submitted a dispute with AliExpress and they quickly refunded my money.
When the item finally arrived the seller immediately sent me a message asking that I return the item but refused to pay for the return shipping. In retrospect, the minimal savings about 10% was not worth the hassle. In fact, I have since found the light from local sellers cheaper, delivered the next day and will pay the shipping for returns.
So if you are looking for bargains with Aliexpress sellers, buyer beware! The real cost in time and aggravation may be much higher than you think.
I’ve used Thule racks for years. They proved to be a reliable product for me, especially when it comes to transporting my heavier e-bikes. Unfortunately, while Thule has focused their attention on carrying bikes they’ve neglected safety. With my bikes in the carrier my tail lights are blocked by the bikes. As you can see from the picture, although the tail lights on my vehicle are lit they are barely visible. However, Thule has woefully neglected this safety issue in North America.
To correct this safety shortfall I felt it was necessary to add supplemental lights to my Thule carrier. Now in low light situations or inclement weather I feel more confident that tail lights can be seen. If you would like to see a post on the details of this do it yourself project please leave a comment below.
Mounting a water bottle on an e-bike can be challenging. Many e-bikes mount their battery on or inside of the down tube making it impossible to mount a water bottle there, as is the case with my wife’s Trek e-bike. Instead, Trek placed the water bottle mount under the top tube making it awkward to remove and replace a water bottle in a standard cage. Fortunately my Cannondale e-bike has a water bottle mount on the down tube on top of the battery and another on the seat tube. However, if a water bottle cage is mounted on the seat tube, there isn’t sufficient room to remove the battery. I guess Trek and Cannondale don’t use their bikes or they would have recognized these shortcomings.
Struggling to find a solutions for our water bottle dilemma, I found the Fidlock water bottle system. While it seemed insanely expensive, it looked liked the perfect solution to your problem. So I paid the premium price for the system and one purchase one for each of our e-bikes. about $80. Boy did I make a mistake!
The Fidlock water bottle will only release from one side, so when it’s mounted on the down tube it is righthanded and releases with a twist to the right. When it’s mounted under the top tube or on the seat post it’s lefthanded and releases with a twist to the left, as pictured on their website. Since I am righthanded, it is unnatural for me to reach down with my left hand and twist a bottle to the left to remove it from my seat tube. Compounding the problem for me is drinking from a bottle in my left hand and returning it to the holder with my left hand. Cycling is dangerous enough, without trying to become ambidextrous while grappling with a water bottle on my bicycle.
Bottom line: I cannot recommend the Fidlock Water Bottle.
Emergency responders are not universally trained on where to look for emergency medical information. Their goal is to do as much investigating as possible to figure out what is wrong with you so they can provide the emergency care you need.
For this reason, I try to cover every place they might look for my information. I wear a wristband, carry a card in my wallet, and have it displayed on my phone’s lock screen. Getting your emergency medical information in the hands of emergency responders quickly could save your life.
If you don’t already have this information on your mobile phone, I would recommend that you do it NOW! Here are the links on how to get it done.
In the event of an accident, an emergency medical information card is invaluable. Being able to provide first responders with a ready source of your medical needs could save your life during the “golden hour” of a medical emergency. If you can’t speak for yourself, your emergency medical information card will.
An emergency medical information card should include:
Chronic medical conditions
Emergency contact names and phone numbers
An emergency can happen at any time, so I keep my emergency medical information on me at all times, not only when I’m cycling.
As we already know, it’s getting a lot more dangerous on the roads for cyclists However, there is some comfort in being able to provide our family and friends with our live location information while cycling. As I mentioned in my post DIY Garmin Charge Power Pack Hack, I use Garmin’s Live Track function while I’m cycling. However, you don’t need an expensive bicycle computer/GPS for live tracking.
The makers of ROAD iD offer the free ROAD iD – Live GPS Tracker App that can provide a real-time eCrumb trail of your location and an optional Stationary Alert if you are inactive for a set amount of time. Your loved ones can have peace of mind while they monitor your status when you’re out on your next cycling adventure.
I use this app when I am cycling, walking my dog, hiking or any time I want someone to know my location. It has worked faultlessly for me. And you can’t beat the price . . . FREE!