When I was at MEC recently, I bought some bike lights. I got some cheap ones for the front and they seem bright enough to be seen. I usually use my headlamp, but I put these on the front forks and am using just them right now for the front lights.. I'll see how long they'll last! I taped down the buttons though so they don't fall off, as one did. I put it back on and it still works. Maybe it was a waste of my $8, but I just couldn't resist. According to reviews at the MEC website they were a waste of money. I've always wanted lights for the forks, I wonder if there are better ones out there as I have no room for a light on the handlebars.
On a side note, I can't believe that's it's dark when I ride to work now, it changes so fast!
I also bought a rear light that has a lithium battery that you charge by plugging into a computer! There are no reviews of it yet, but I am hoping that it'll work for me. It wouldn't work on a bike tour where charging it would be an issue, but for around town, it should work fine. It was a little more expensive, ringing in at around $9.00, but it seems to work well. And it fits on my rack, which my other good light does not. It's more brighter then my Knog. I haven't used my knog as the battery is low and so the light is not bright at all. That one would be worth changing the battery, but I am not sure if the cheap Turtle ones would be worth replacing as the batteries probably aren't much cheaper. I suppose that I should research about it.
That's the thing about MEC (or similar REI in the US), it's easy to spend money on little things like these...it's my favourite place to shop!
I would like to say that I am happy with my Continental Touring Plus tires. I don't know if I posted about that already, but if I did, I am sorry for the repeat posting. They seemed to handle both dry and wet conditions with ease. They had a very good grip on the road. Even though they are heavier then normal tires, you don't really notice when your bike is loaded with gear. I didn't have one flat during the trip (although I think it's good to bring a spare along just in case).
Ironically, I did have a flat after the trip, as I broke the valve while pumping air into it with the pump! As I discovered the leak at work, I borrowed a pump from Ruckus Bike shop and tried to pump enough air into it to make it home. But the valve was totally shot and the air leaked out as fast as I was pumping it in. I had to walk the bike home in the pouring rain!
Anyone have that problem? I break a valve every once in a while. One of the bike shops that I deal with (Koop's) said some of the pumps cause the problem and that there are some better pumps that don't wreck the valves.
Even though I didn't buy them at MEC, I did feel like I should review them there because I like them so much. I'd still be glad that I had bought them even if I hadn't ridden on a bike tour this Summer as they haven't caused me any problems.
You can find the review by clicking here. Schwalbe makes a comparable product called the Marathon which seems to be the most popular touring tire.
As I've show interest in purchasing a Brooks saddle for my bike, Koop's Bike Shop has been tempting me! I can even borrow one for a few days to try it out. I'll have to take them up on the offer. It might make an excellent Christmas present. As I've worn my current seat out in 2 yrs and 1/2 (holes and cracks in it already), a leather saddle under $180 might be a good investment as it'll last for many years! I didn't want to replace it when I got it though as it was adequate for riding around town and I wanted to get my money's worth out of it!
While bike touring though, I found my current seat not really as comfortable as it should be, I still was sore after riding on it for days. Jim has a Brooks that's broken in and he had no problems during the tour! I do know there are other good saddles out there, so is it an indulgence? I've already spent good money on tires, what's a similar amount on a good seat? As I have been replacing parts, the new parts are of better quality.
|Jim's Brooks Saddle on his Surly touring bike|
The one the bike shop has is the B67S . Many use the B17(S) but some use this one too which has a bit wider back end for me to sit upon. Getting this seat means that I'd have to take the quick release off. It would be a pain to change height on it. Jim had problems adjusting his when he had to take it off while we were staying at the hostel in Lake Louise. He had to adjust it with tools while riding to Golden many times before getting it just right! And you got to make sure that it doesn't get wet as that will wreck it. You keep it covered when you are not on it. I read too that you can't wear light coloured pants as the colouring of the saddle will rub on to your pants.