Category Archives: Shop Local

Wonderful, Pretty Good, So-So, and Not So Good . . .

CAUTION: Never rely on your mirror(s) when pulling into traffic or changing lanes. Use you mirror to “keep an eye” on the situation to the rear. Before changing lanes (or turning), scan … and then scan again.

The need for mirrors … With increased age comes decreased head/neck rotational ability. The remedy is good bicycle mirrors.

The hands-down best for flat-bars is the THIRD EYE MIRROR ($10-12 Amazon). Key features of the Third Eye Mirror are ease of adjustment, resistance to going out of adjustment, and lifetime guarantee – even if your mirror breaks from a fall or other incident. This is a quality glass mirror with plastic mountings, so a tip over is likely terminal.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor “North Road” bars, a modified SUNLITE HEAVY DUTY MIRROR ($11.77 – 2013) works well and looks great – giving that “king of the road” feel. (Be certain of the model you are ordering as there are a bunch of poorly engineered (i.e., lower quality) “Sunlites” out there.) OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA For drop bars, the MOUNTAIN MIRRYCLE ($12-18 Amazon) which is oddly marketed for flat bars – wrong choice) works well. This is a drop-bar mirror. It has good optics and holds its adjustment well. A 3 mm hex wrench (included) is needed for installation and basic adjustment.

Now the catch – what about a bicycle with bar-end shifters?

Here’s a report on some options:

  1. BIKE-EYE – THE BICYCLE MIRROR
  2. ULTA-LIGHT BIKE MIRROR
  3. BLACKBURN ROAD MIRROR.

The BIKE-EYE mounts at the head tube/top tube junction using zip ties. Since the entire mirror body is fixed, the only adjustment is up and down meaning that the rear view is a narrow slot between the bicycle frame (and whatever accessories extend beyond the frame and the rider’s left leg (assuming a roadside mounting). The optical quality is good and the vibration minimal. And that summarizes the good points. Unless you are interested in a long-term study of your inner thigh, calf and knee, this mirror has little value. In a pace line, a rider could keep track of those to the rear. For an assist in keeping track of traffic, not so good. Relying on this mirror to monitor on-coming motor vehicles in the near lane would be a dangerous error.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The ULTA LIGHT BIKE MIRROR ($24 Adventure Cycling) is, in fact, light (2 ozs.) and has a parabolic lens for a nice wide look of goings on to the rear. Set up is a series of experiments consisting of adjustment to the hose-clamp-style mounting clamp and the ball-and-socket mirror adjustment. The ball-and-socket has about 80 degrees of adjustment but it entire mirror has to be moved back and forth and around the drop bars to get the basic position – lots of tweaking required. For drop bars (the point of this article), the clamp chews up the bar tape while doing adjustments at the ball joint (e.g., a mid-ride tweak of the mirror). Both screw heads take some hunting for a screw driver tip that fits. For on-the-road adjustment, a screwdriver is generally required. (The ball-and-socket 4 mm screw dropped off somewhere between Albany and Buffalo, so the mirror went into retirement.) For an Ortlieb product, it seems below standard.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The BLACKBURN ROAD MIRROR ($18 Amazon) mounts on the brake hood with a hook-and-loop strap – unique. The mirror has good optics and is easy to mount and adjust. It’s not a “bolt on” so it’s more theft prone than most. This was the mirror suggested by the bicycle manufacturer and, of the three, it’s the best. The downside is inability to hold a setting. No matter how hard one cranks on the lock ring, it needs almost constant re-adjustment – say, every 15 minutes. This complaint was voiced by reviewers on Amazon. Maybe someday, it’ll stop moving out of adjustment …OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Helmet Mirrors – if that’s your thing fine but they are fragile and require your wearing your helmet all the time. A benefit is the need to buy only one as opposed to many bicycle-specific mounted mirrors.

SOURCE: Except for the ULTRA-LIGHT and the SUNLITE, all the above mirrors are available at local bicycle shops. The Amazon price notations are for reference only.

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Where’d it come from … ?

  • 130,000,000 bicycles produced worldwide (2007)
  • 67% of the worldwide production of bicycles comes from China
  • 56,000 bicycles were produced in the USA (2014)
  • 99% of the bicycles sold in the USA were imported (16.2 million bicycles)(2013)
  • Top global producers of bicycles:

1 – China

2 – India

3 – EU

4 – Taiwan

5 – Japan

SOURCE: Momentum, May-Jun 2015

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Resolutions for People on Bicycles

Resolutions for people on bicycles who want to make cycling safer for all by promoting a positive image of cycling …

  • I will – Smile and say “good morning,” “good afternoon,” etc. to everyone I meet while riding.
  • I will – Remember that the one certain way to increase safety for people on bicycles is to ride my bicycle as often as I can. All the bicycle lanes, tickets, smart traffic lights, “share the road signs,” blinkie lights, and reflective clothing will do little if not accompanied by MORE PEOPLE riding MORE OFTEN – so that all road users get used to each other being on the street.
  • I will – Shop locally at locally owned businesses who hire local people and pay a fair wage.
  • I will – Obey the traffic law. I will stop for signs and signals especially when people in cars or on foot can see me, and I will stay off the sidewalks.
  • I will – Lube my chain and check my tires (for wear and correct air pressure).
  • I will – Check that my brakes work (lever is a thumb’s distance or more from the handle bars when full “on”) and the pads contact the wheel rim braking surface.
  • I will – Be deferential to all pedestrians no matter how crazily they act
  • I will – Speak out on behalf of people on bicycles in a polite and non-confrontational manner.
  • I will – Signal my stops, scan and signal my turns, and make eye contact with people in cars and on foot.
  • I will – Speak out and write in on issues facing cycling. I will keep up to date on developments that affect safe use of the streets by people on bicycles.
  • I will – Support my local bike rescue and bicycle shops. I will buy on the internet only when my bicycle shop does not stock or cannot order what I need.
  • I will – Wave and smile to those in cars who are bothered by my presence on a bicycle on my streets (no “one finger waves,” s.v.p.)
  • I will – Be Kind.bicycle-friendly-america-fall-2016-001

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Crisan Pastry Shop – Alive and Well in Albany

Your life is not complete until you experience Crisan pâtisserie for some “edible art” (their tag line). This bright and cheery Albany venue recently re-opened (see earlier post) in the Albany Institute of History & Art, second floor.

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Crisan at AIHA

Crisan had been a busy mainstay on Lark St. for six years. It offered the best pastry in the area, delicious coffee, and gelato in a courteous, welcoming atmosphere. It was common to find all three tables fully occupied and a long line at the counter. In all but the coldest months, the three outside tables were a great spot to “see and be seen” and enjoy the goodness of Crisan. Crisan Bakery & Edible Art Gallery is still at 197 Lark St. Albany 12210, (518) 445-2727, e-mail cafecrisan@gmail.com. Hours: Monday: Closed, Tuesday – Friday: 9-3, and weekends: by appointment. There is no table service at this location.

If you have not been to Crisan, you have not lived a full life. Now located on the Institute’s second floor adjacent to the Museum Shop, come for a selection of European pastries, flaky croissants, creamy gelato and refreshing sorbets (in season) as well as soups, salads, and sandwiches made by Crisan Bakery. Enjoy special drinks including Harney and Sons’ fine teas, espressos and Italian affogato. Eat in or take away.

Café Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday: 10:00 to 5:00, Thursday: 10:00 to 8:00, and Sunday: 12:00 to 5:00. Closed Monday and some major holidays.

After (or before) your visit to Crisan, be sure to visit the exhibits at the Albany Institute of History & Art.  The Museum – a local treasure – is celebrating its 225th Anniversary in 2016. It is New York’s oldest museum and will be celebrate with special exhibitions, events, and admission rates all year! Admission: adults: $10, seniors: $8, and students: $8 (with ID). There is no charge for visiting Crisan or the museum shop in the Institute.

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