Pedals for Urban Rides

“Oh, lovely… A pair of tibia crushers”, was what my friend and colleague Franjo told me when he saw these vintage pedales that I’ve bought coincidentally at a bike store at the beach. They look nice, stylish, and are working perfectly. But, be careful! They might not have the best grip… This is the reason, why my friend gave them this charming nick name.

Vintage Pedals.jpg

The “tibia crushers“, restored vintage pedals

Personally I still use the original MTB padels, that came with my bike. They’re doing a decent job, and yes… They have developed a pretty nice patina.

Macro Pedals
My MTB pedals – shot with a MI Note 3 and a macro lens 

So what kind of pedals are the best for fast and dirty city rides? 

Having good pedals – and corresponding footwear – is one of the most important thing for fast and fulfilling rides. Your pedals will have to have to fulfill the following needs:

  • Give you a good grip in all condition
  • Preferably not destroying your shoes
  • Look nice
  • Have a good visibility

Searching for the best alternatives for urban bike rides, I’ve found the Moto Urban Pedals. They are really nice, made of one piece, flat and stylish.

These pedals have a premium wood version (maybe not suitable for commuting areas with a high theft risk) and a lower priced plastic version.

If you want an extragrip, MTB flat pedals proved to be a good choice…

Enjoy the ride!!

Axel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cycling & Shoes: Five Ways to Look Sharp and Move Fast

Most office jobs require, at least to some degree, decent footwear, epsecially  leather shoes. While these shoes look pretty good, they might not be the best fit for cycling. Leather soles don’t get good grip on bike pedals. And yes, if the bike pedal gets a good grip on your soles, they can get destroyed in a few in rides. So what to do?

1. Adapt your shoes

 Just in case you can’t change your shoes and want to protect your leather soles, your local shoemaker will gladly help you to protect your leather soles with extra protection, for example a thin rubber sole.

2. Keep a second pair of shoes at the office

If you have the necessary space at the office, an acceptable solution is to change your shoes when you arrive. Just leave your nice leather loafers or high heels at the office  closet and you’re ready for the ride.

3. Changes your pedals

But what to do, when you can’t (or don’t want) to change your shoes? Many pedals are equipped with sharp teeth, which provide great grip for downhill rides, put bite ugly holes in even the best leather soles. We discuss some interesting options in this post.

Changing bike pedals is also easy to do. We will include a Tech and Maintenance section in our page, so stay tuned 😉

4. Business shoes with rubber soles

A few years ago, I made a discovery that would greatly increase my well-being. During the lunch break of a rainy day I went for a walk. My leather were still wet from my morning commute and I had cold feet. Coincidentally I’ve entered a shoe store to check out their sales.

This day I’ve got my first pair of Barratas 1890 shoes with XL Extralight® soles, like these. These shoes proved not only highly comfortable for long days at the office, but also a great choice when you have to sprint to catch a train or are out for a bike ride.

The best part? You won’t distinguish them at first sight from genuine leathersoles. This is true mastery of invisibilty.

The art of invisibility is a key principle of Ninjutus and allows us to remain “true to ourselvs but blending so effectively with the prevailing ways of society that we remain almost unseen, leaving no footprints in the sand, while still achieving our purporse”, as Ross Haven (The Spiritual Practices of the Ninja) points out.

Barratas 1890
Barrats 1890 – Great for cycling 

5. Cycling shoes

Modern cycling shoes can also be a great option, when you don’t have to hide your cycling self. These ones are the favorites of a good friend of mine: The Five Ten Freerider Pro. 

Five Ten
Five Ten shoes – A comfortable choice for tough rides

What’s your favorite choice for a good ride? Please leave your comments!

 

How to Choose: Finding the Perfect Commuting Backpack

You’ll soon find out that a professional backpack is the best choice for bike commuting.

But wait… Yes, the amount of options seems endless. But here are some key features to find the best fit for you.

Basically you have two options on the market. Backpacks made for cycling purposes and these made for office work. Both have their advantages. So the first step is do define closely the purpose of your backpack. 

Ninjas hide their equipment… They don’t carry their swords at sight, as the Samurai do. They carry it on the back.

When I first started to bike commuting, my needs were basically centered on cycling stuff and food. I started with a basic hiking rucksack…It didn’t work bad. But it didn’t fit my commuting needs completely. While it had enough space and was light, It wasn’t designed to carry working equipments or documents. It wasn’t made either for carrying cycling equipment like a bike helmet. And its bright colors didn’t fit too much in a office environment.

I soon changed to a slim, black cycling backpack. This one had a pretty nice feature: The helmet could be stored in special outside pocket.

Cycling backpack I
One of my commuting backpacks – This one has a pocket for bike helmets 

This backpack was pretty nice, but over time one of the zippers got broken. I also was a bit worried about traffic safety, so I started to research about intersting alternatives.

My choice?

A Proviz Reflect360 Cycling Backpack…

Proviz full
My cycling and commuting backpack – Proviz Reflect360 Cycling Backpack 

It material is incredibly reflective in the darkness, but a decent fit for formal meetings!  And it adds some pretty nice features for commuting ninjas: 

  • Lightweight
  • Water tight zippers
  • Washable
  • Posibility to put extra leds on it
  • Comfortable
  • Pockets for the small stuff
  • Compartments for PC / documents

The fabric works perfectly fine… Just a few bruises and scratches due to heavy duty use. The strap for the led light broke of when I got stuck with the led light on a door…So if you want to fix an additional LED light just use the second handle of the backpack. The LED light won’t stick out.

I use one of two small extra LED-lights. They are small, rechargeable vía USB, and have a powerful light that does not glare.

The backpack has a huge packing capacity, that I’ve fully used One afternoon I’ve had to transport spray cans…

Proviz content
This is not what I carry usually 😉

Yes! Urban Bike Ninja loves urban art. It is great to explore and enjoy urban art on bike commutes. 

Spray can
Rufo Milfuegos at work

The backpack surprised me once more… A carry capacity of … spray cans is awesome and way big enough for most demanding office days. And yes, your gym stuff also fits in. The backpack also has external pockets to store your wet shirts…

And it was comfortable to ride with the backpack even at full load.

A great choice!