Archive for the Cycling Category

Be Amazed By The Fiber Flare Bike Light

Posted in Cycling on March 16, 2010 by thereandbackgalleria

Fiber Flare attached to bike

I introduce to you the Fiber Flare Bike Light, the new lighting option hailing from the crafty folk over at A.L.L. Innovations. Consisting of a LED bendable tube, the Fiber Flare gives cyclists something they rarely see (literally) side visibility. Typically, most safety lights only produce a visible light projecting straight back from the rider. What Fiber Flare aims to change is the way drivers see our vulnerable rear ends. By illuminating a fiber optic tube the light is seen all around. This advantage mean drivers will be able to spot you from the side (adjacent traffic at an intersection) and when next to you (car passing you). All of this is achieved without sacrificing light intensity. This light will be noticed in the dark streets.

Applying Applications Appropriately

Another feature of the Fiber Flare that gives it so much appeal is it’s mounting applications. Being about as versatile as Batman’s utility belt this light will challenge you to figure out new places to put it. Two clips attached to the end tubes provide a basic mount. It can be clipped onto the back of a backpack, on the waist with belt loops or along the pocket of a jersey vertically. In addition to the end clip the Fiber Flare comes with removable rubber slings. These can be used to lash the light to pretty much any place on a bike frame. Seat posts, forks, down tubes whatever… Use it where you need it the most.

Personal Thoughts
(and only the clean ones)

As a lifelong commuter I am always looking for new, innovative toys that will keep me from being bounced on hoods. The Fiber Flare has effectively impressed me. I rode with this for about three weeks and gave it the full gambit of tests. It passed with flying colors. I really enjoyed the mounting possibilities of this light. Typically I used it in conjunction with one of my standard rear taillights, having the fiber flare lashed to my left chain stay. I liked this combo because passing cars were aware of how close they were to me and also caught two lights when coming up on me. The light performed great in multiple snowstorms and sub zero temps. Not to mention it looks cool, come on lightsaber anyone? The price is a little much for a light but if you take in consideration the versatility it’s totally worth it. All in all, a fantastic product.

Quick Stats

•$35-$45 for a single tail light

(two packs are available for $70)

•Estimated 70hr burn time

(2 AAA batteries)

•Steady and Strobe program

•11.5 inched long

Final Score: 4.5 out of 5

Pro: Versatile, durable, innovative and safe

Con: Pricey,
not readably available

Who & Where:

A.L.L. Innovations

PO Box 5325 Mordialloc Victoria 3195, Australia

Read more about Cool stuff at


Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro

Posted in Cycling on October 15, 2009 by thereandbackgalleria


Close Up

Example Run

If Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome had taken place during winter, they would have been riding mountain bikes with studded tires.

Winter is the season when many cyclists store their bicycles and find other means of transportation and recreation. Every year up until now I followed suit; I’d hang my bicycle in the garage and set up the stationary trainer just as the last leaves of Colorado’s long autumn withered and fell. I was content to take a break from my two-wheeled stead and wait for the spring thaw. This year, however, I braved the cold. I decided to ‘buck up’ and keep riding through ice, snow, and freezing temperatures. With a few extra layers and some specialized rubber, it hasn’t been hard to transition into winter riding.

Before putting myself at winter’s mercy, I prepared for the most extreme conditions. I outfitted my full-suspension mountain bike with the Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro HS 379. It’s the second most aggressive model Schwalbe offers, and it’s made for serious off-road adventures. The price of the Ice Spiker Pro may be steep, but quality justifies cost. And, made with 361 durable tungsten carbide-core spikes, the tire doesn’t weigh much more than a regular mountain bike tire.

In total, Schwalbe sells four different versions of spiked tires for both on- and off-road journeys. For singletrack junkies like me, the Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro is the answer to the winter I-can’t-get-out-to-ride blues. This winter, bike equipped with the Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro, I’ve accomplished my daily errands (grocery store, post office) and navigated the frozen, snow-covered trails near my home in Littleton.

The performance of the Ice Spiker Pro has been impressive. During a recent ride at Bear Creek Lake Park, I encountered a wide range of frozen terrain including glare ice, frozen snow, and powder. On pure ice the tires gripped well and I was able to accelerate without spinning; on packed and frozen snow the tires were stable and I felt like I was riding on dry trail. Powder was the greatest challenge. While plowing through six inches of the fresh stuff, I spent the same amount of time going sideways as forward.

Lateral slipping was, however, an occasional problem throughout the ride, powder or not. I slipped sideways a couple times when standing up to pedal or banking through a turn. Fortunately, such slipping was relatively rare, and, I think, inevitable given the conditions. I finished my early-morning ride in Bear Creek Lake Park before the temperature rose above freezing. As one could imagine, studded tires and mud do not mix well. Picture Fruita after it rains…

Winter riding has proven practical (all those chores!) and liberating. This year, I’ve explored Colorado’s winter landscape in a more intimate way, and I now have a great alternative to indoor workouts. With twelve months a year to explore, the prospect of new riding destinations excites me. Think of all the terrain—sun-baked and frozen—I’ll discover!


Durable and lightweight

Great traction in a variety of winter conditions (ice, packed snow, minimal powder)

Rides like a standard mountain bike tire

Keeps you riding through winter!



Break-in period of 25 miles on pavement

Challenging to ride in deep powder conditions

Tire Specs:

Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro HS 379 26 x 2.10, folding bead, 695g, 361 tungsten carbide core spikes


The tires require a 25-mile break-in period on pavement. It’s best to avoid rapid acceleration or hard braking during this time.




Schwalbe North America

105 – 536 Herald Street

Victoria, BC V8W 1S6


Toll Free: 1-888-700-5860


Writing & Photography By:

Leslie Kehmeier