Brooks England: B66, Brown

The B66 and B66 S are among BROOKS’s most loved products, having been on the market since 1927. Classically sprung with double rails for supreme comfort, B66 and B66 S are the ideal all-rounders for daily city or touring use in a rather upright posture. They are most appropriate for cyclists who set their handlebars higher than their saddles. In general, the more upright your riding posture, the wider, and more heavily sprung, the saddle you should choose.

Brooks England: Cambium C15 Carved, Slate

The Cambium C15 Carved shares the same narrower shape as the existing Cambium C15, but with an ergonomic cut-out to provide relief from discomfort in the perineal area, experienced by some cyclists.
This “registered cutting, a sure preventive to all perenial pressure” is also to be found in the saddles of the Brooks Imperial line.
Made from vulcanised natural rubber and organic cotton top, combined with a die-cast aluminium structure and tubular steel rails. For performance, a distinct dampening effect is delivered by the classic Brooks “hammock” construction keeping the rider in unparalleled comfort mile after mile.

new wheel for converting your bike to an e-bike

As both Pierre and I wrote after Stockholm Bike Expo, e-bikes are all the rage. But what if you already have a bike you love, don’t want / can’t afford to shell out for another but like the idea of an e-bike?

Well maybe the FlyKly wheel could be the answer to your problems. An electric wheel that you can attach to pretty much any bike. Not only that but you can also control it via your smart phone to lock it and track it if stolen (you should know why I’m in favour of that!)

FlyKly Smart Wheel

I still don’t see myself as an e-bike owner and, at the moment, it’s at the Kick Starter stage but it’s a fantastic idea that deserves to get some support. Watch their Kick Starter pitch here.

bike basket lid

By going to a bike expo you probably couldn’t tell that the largest cycling crowd out there just wants to go from point A to point B and has no or very little interest in carbon frames, electronic shifting and power meters. Too few manufacturers try to innovate and spend time and money on designing accessories for casual riders. So when I saw the bike basketlid booth at Sweden Bike Expo and after I talked to guys for a couple of minutes I knew I had to write about their fantastic product.

The bike basketlid is the modern storage solution for active bikers and can easily be fitted on to any bicycle model. It has an easy open and close lid equipped with a lock that enables you to leave your belongings in the basket.

The bike basketlid is (surprise! surprise!) a basket with a lid that can be locked. The idea and realisation is so simple that one could wonder why bicycles (the ones with a basket) aren’t equipped with such a thing already.

And, the company behind the product being Swedish (Solna), I could not leave Sweden Bike Expo behind without mentioning this brilliant accessory. The wife already loves it and she’ll be a first adopter, for sure. For more information, feel free to visit their website or Facebook page.

Haglöfs Courier 15″ review

I’m one of those who read reviews on the web before I go and buy a product at a local store but between the copied/pasted manufacturer description and the go-to-youtube-and-watch-me-open-the-box-of-this-brand-new-product-I-will-never-use-but-still-I-bought-it-because-I-am-cool-and-I-look-great-on-video there is not much room left for real reviews from real people who really have actually used the product.

Long story short I did not find a proper review of the Haglöfs Courier 15″ but I decided to buy it anyway because it looked nice, waterproof, solid and Haglöfs rarely failed me in the past. That was in August last year.

The goods

Not only did the bag looked waterproof but it actually is. I ride every day no matter what the weather is and trust me I reached the office completely soaked (as in “thoroughly wet or saturated by or as if by placing in liquid”) a couple of times last autumn and winter: the bag has always kept my clothes and other things dry.

It’s big enough to carry a fresh set of clothes, some tools for on-the-road repairs, a wallet and a mobile phone and I don’t think I have ever felt the need for a bigger bag. The front pocket comes in handy for storing things you need more often like a lock key or an access card to the bicycle parking facilities at the office.

The bads

The bag sits rather comfortably on the back but the waist belt (you have to use it in order to keep the bag from slipping to the side) is quite tricky to clip in when the bag is loaded: either you’re a 5th Dan in flexibility yoga master and you’ll manage on your own or you’ll need to ask your partner or a friend to help you with the strap.

Haglöfs Courier 15

The biggest issue I have with the Courier 15″ though is in the front pocket. To be fair to Haglöfs the internal key ring is a pretty idea but it was not really well executed. With the key ring too close to the zipper it gets stuck into it easily. I usually get mad, pull back and forth like a maniac until the pocket is closed: it did not take very long for the zip to break.

Do you have a Haglöfs Courier 15″? Have you experienced the key ring zipper battle too?

With the front pocket always open the bag is now a bit less attractive and practical and so I need a new bag. Only this time I’ll make sure I find a proper review before I swipe the credit card.

Chrome Kursk Pro

Spring is on its way (I can hardly remember last time I rode on asphalt) and, even though it still is a bit chilly in Stockholm (between -10°C and 0°C), it’s time to think about warmer rides.

I ride clipless all year round and finding the right shoes, commuting shoes especially, is not that easy. “Standard” clipless shoes are usually designed for lycra-clad roadies and, the fact of not being warm enough for winter aside, don’t do any good to the everyday cycling community. No I don’t want to look and sound too much like an idiot when I’m at the museum after a short after-work ride.

For the cold and wet winter rides I use my Five Ten Cyclone shoes which I find water and windproof enough but more importantly warm even when it’s -10°C and below.

But those shoes are a bit heavy and look rather massive so I wanted something lighter and more casual for summer. There are basically two brands that make casual (sneakers like) clipless shoes: DZR & Chrome Industries. I tried a couple of DZR models but did not really feel comfortable in them. Instead I found the Chrome Kursk Pro to be exactly what I needed.

Be careful if you’re going to order on-line because Chrome’s sizing is a bit off: my Five Ten are 7.5 (US) and I had to order 6.5 (US) for the Kursk Pro. I ordered the shoes from Tokyo Fixed (in London) last Friday and they were delivered to me yesterday (pretty quick).

I could not resist and took them for a ride this morning. They are a bit stiff compared to the Cyclone but they’re new and the Cyclone are already a year old so it should get better. They are light (so much lighter!), well finished and mounting the Crank Brothers cleats was very easy.

One remark to myself though: spring is on its way BUT has not yet arrived and those shoes are definitely not warm enough for sub-zero temperatures! I guess I’ll have to ride with the Five Ten Cyclone for a while longer.

Blackburn Flea 2 USB Front Light

If there is one pair of accessories a cyclist really does need it would be a front and rear lights set. Whether you are a daily all year round bike commuter or just a casual rider lights are an essential – required by law in many countries – element to both see the road and to be seen.

There are plenty of bicycle lights available on the market and one should carefully choose according to the riding conditions. In “the dazzling bike light epidemic” Andreas (the author behind writes about London’s cyclists using lights (mainly front lights) way too bright for night cycling in a city and the problems they may cause to fellow riders (but also car drivers). The issue is not limited to London and I have been blinded a couple of times by cyclists coming from the opposite direction here in Stockholm by devices that shone like stadium floodlights mounted on the handlebar.

I ride pretty much every day (winter, spring, summer & autumn) in this beautiful city and – even if the days are rather short half of the year – I must say I have never felt the need for a 1200 lumen front light in the city. Ever.

There are plenty of street lights in Stockholm, they work fine and the snow makes the streets even brighter most of the winter.

For my commuter bike I opted for a Blackburn Flea 2 front light (40 lumen) which is bright enough, has a descent runtime and is USB rechargeable (a USB rechargeable light is a must have if, like me, you ride an hour daily with the lights on). I have no complaint so far on the product and only regret that the hook loop strap must be removed in order to position the light on the USB charger.

All in all I’d like to repeat myself and say that a 40 lumen front light more than suffices in 90% of the situations and that number is probably very close to 100% in urban environments. If I were you I’d keep the MagicShine MJ-816E (1800 lumen) for dark rides in the forests around Nacka. Please.

H&M to release urban biking collection

In a month from now the Swedish multinational retail-clothing company H&M will release an 11 piece men’s collection of cycling wear in collaboration with Brick Lane Bikes.

Inspired by vintage clothing and the latest sports performance wear the collection has been designed by H&M and tested and approved by Brick Lane Bikes. It will be made from more sustainable materials – organic and recycled cottons, recycled polyester – as part of H&M’s Conscious work.

H&M for Brick Lane Bikes

The products will be available in 180 stores worldwide (but also in the webshop) on the 7th of March.

Looking forward to it? Will the quality be good enough for daily bike commuters?

Schwalbe CX Pro, a week later

A week ago I was mounting Schwalbe CX Pro tires on my commuting bike a few hours before the first snow falls hit Stockholm. Not sure it really was a wise choice at the time I’ve now been riding them for over 100 kilometers and I’m still in one piece.

I took it very easy during the first ride on snow as to get used to the tires and deflated them a bit for a softer steering (it was really bumpy and a bit slippery at 6.5 bars, no kidding!) and better grip after a couple of kilometers. I think I now have a pretty good setup and I’ve not found myself in a delicate situation so far.

Schwalbe CX Pro on the fixed gear bike

Those tires sure do a very good job on fresh and packed snow (no difference whatsoever with summer tires on asphalt even when breaking hard) and are pretty stable on an icier surface (but I’m more careful then as one should be riding studded tires or not).

All in all a very positive first impression and I’m looking forward to the 30 centimeters of fresh snow promised for tomorrow (according to TheLocal). Please stay tuned for more feedback on those tires later.

Schwalbe CX Pro it will be

According to the weather forecast I will soon know whether I took the right decision or not but I finally decided to go for cyclo-cross tires (non-studded) to commute to work during winter.

Weather forecast, Stockholm, Sweden

I’m sure riding non-studded tires might not seem as safe as riding studded tires during the days when roads and bicycle lanes are covered with a thin layer of black ice but non-studded tires will do most of the time.

First of all there are usually only a few days with ice as the streets are cleaned pretty quickly in the city and most of the winter rides will be either on asphalt, fresh or compacted snow. Secondly, studded tires are heavier and harder to drag. I commute by bike because it’s faster and funnier and this would be kind of a “fun killer”. And last but not least I am not really sure studded tires are safer than non-studded tires. Even on ice.

Riding studded tires (would that be on a bike or on a motor vehicle) gives a feeling of safety that lowers the attention one would pay to the road. Studies have shown that there are as many accidents involving studded vehicles than with non-studded vehicles the only difference being the speed (higher for the studded vehicles). Sure I am referring to motor vehicles here but let me tell you something: the first and only time I broke a rib was last winter on a mountain bike… with studded tires.

I put the Schwalbe CX Pro (700×30) on last Monday (I bought them at Fix My Bike in Hammarby Sjöstad and can really recommend the place if you’re after good advice and service). Let’s ride them and be careful on ice then.