Eco Friendly Cycling Kits + Gear

Happy Earth Day! I'm sure you've seen the slew of posts on why cycling is great for the earth and green products that have you thinking about turning a new leaf in becoming an all around eco friendly bike warrior. But when it comes to cycling gear and kit, even with new products like cardboard helmets and organic cotton bike seats, cyclists are more interested in performance and function than eco-friendly cycling products. As a culture, we want to be difference-makers, but don't know how our products impact the planet when we dispose them. So where are we supposed to begin? Luckily for us, many cycling manufacturers out there are taking steps on our behalf to create products that will keep our planet a bit more sustainable and ethical for the generations to come.

In honor of Earth Day, I’ve rounded up six eco friendly cycling products for your world-saving pleasure. Learn more about them and consider incorporating at least one or two into your ride. Swapping in products like these is a great way for us to show solidarity with this beautiful planet of ours.
Vegan Athletic aims to develop and distribute the highest quality, ethically made and sourced athletic apparel in the world. They use ethical and sustainable practices throughout the entire manufacturing process and have teamed with a number of best practice companies from around the world to help them achieve this standard within their business. From jersey's, bibs, base layers, arm warmers and more, they'll have you looking sleek and riding with confidence knowing your kit is pushing cycling fashion forward to a greener future.

BRANDT-SORENSON Luxury Sport Apparel is proud to offer world-class sustainability for athletes. Americans on average discard approximately 80 lbs. of clothing into landfills prematurely each year due to poor fit, quality or changing trends. Every garment is made-to-measure in their Los Angeles atelier and shipped directly to the athlete. Fit, quality and durability are the key components of a sustainable garment. A single, well made piece can take the place of a dozen fast fashion garments, which often are discarded prematurely into landfills. The greatest social and environmental impact BRANDT-SORENSON can make is through quality. There are no magic sewing robots, and clothing is labor intensive.

Klean Kanteens products are designed to replace a single-use alternative or improve on an existing solutions in the market that may not have considered end of life, recyclability, disassembly, versatility, modularity, easy cleaning and materials safety. By replacing plastics with their steel lifetime products, you're making a difference that directly (and positively) impacts the planet. Not only do they create the highest quality reusable products, they work hard to bring benefit to the people and places they touch—and do everything they can to keep single-use waste from trashing the world.

Thousand knows that helmets are an age-old industry with limited planet-friendly options—and they want to change that. They use environmentally-friendly alternatives, track the origin of their materials, and use manufacturers with integrity. With direct-to-consumer packaging, they've managed to reduce cardboard usage by more than 50%. Fun fact: one way they were able to do this is by designing helmet boxes as shippable cartons- helping minimize waste and deforestation. Their program focuses on 3 main areas - US Renewables + Energy Efficiency, Amazonian Basin + Brazil Avoided Deforestation, and International Wind Energy focused in East Asia.

Giro's Silo Helmet is completely recyclable, composed of E-PLA foam within the shell, offering the same measure of protection in a compostable form. The straps and webbing are made from coconut fiber. When it comes time to retire the Silo, break it up. No part of it will end up in the trash bin. A very good, eco-friendly, helmet. 

Pixio by  Rydon; these little illuminators are solar-powered, meaning every time you go for a daytime ride you're powering up for after hours. On top of that, a little solar panel on top is constantly collecting energy, and apparently it just takes five cloudless days to power up again. Once they're on, you need a special, Pixio-specific tool to take them off, meaning that you'd have to get super industrious to steal them—and after all, most thieves are looking for an easy get. Definitely beats having to replace batteries or usb chargers that are impossible to recycle.
Green Oil bike cleaning products do exactly what it says on the tin, it is 'green oil.' Where most lubricants and cleaners are petroleum based and use many different man-made chemicals for varying applications. Green Oil products are 100% plant-based and PTFE free. All the products are made in the UK, use recycled bottles, and are 100% biodegradable. There's lots of interesting information on about the oil based products we use on our bikes and how we can protect our water ways from polluting oils. And while others may claim to do the job of keeping your bike clean and well oiled, these products actually do the job just as well as other high rating bike cleaning and  bike lubricating products.

Do you have a favorite eco-friendly cycling brand? Tell us about them in the comments!

Earth Day: 5 Ways To Go From Bike Warrior To Eco Warrior

I've got a serious crush on Mother Nature, but whenever April 22 comes, I am always stumped as to the best ways to get my Earth Day on. While cycling is one great way to reduce our carbon footprint, I'm always looking for more ways to do some good at home for the planet. With the thought of living an eco-friendly lifestyle, I've incorporated some practices into my lifestyle that I've practiced over the years. So, to help us craft an eco warrior game plan off our bikes, I've turned to some do-gooder secrets that I've implemented over the years that will have you thinking of living a more green lifestyle. Here are 5 ways to get your Earth Day on.

1. Reusables:
Plastic bags and bottles account for a drastic amount of oceanic and public waterway pollution across the globe. Help keep the ocean and your city clean by curbing your single bottle and bag use all in one swoop. Some grocery stores even reward you for shopping with a reusable bag. Yay rewards! But you’re probably already someone like me who has a long-life water bottle in their bag and takes canvas totes to the supermarket. However, you're probably thinking about ways to do more. I myself am no eco-warrior or green saint but I am keen to reduce my plastic consumption if I can, and I know food shopping and packaging is where the most one-use plastic gets wasted. Here are the guidelines I set for myself: Carry a reusable coffee tumbler for that daily cup of coffee. Carry a reusable water bottle around with you everywhere. Stuff reusable produce bags and  reusable tote bags into panniers, kit pockets, backpacks, desk drawers and the car, so there’ll always be one handy for shopping. Carry snacks and other food in reusable steel containers. Bye-bye, plastic zipper bags! Keep a set of metal cutlery — fork, spoon, knife and chopsticks — at work.  Reuse plastic takeout containers at eateries. I like to reuse plastic containers for food storage for meal preps or leftovers. The next time you’re out shopping, grab a few reusable bags to place your items in.

2. Shop Local and Organic
Whenever possible, try to eat local, in-season organic produce. Sticking to foods that are grown locally, in your own city or surrounding area, helps to reduce the carbon footprint created by shipping foods from elsewhere. A general rule for where something is grown? The closer to you, the better. It’s equally important to eat organic produce, which hasn’t been sprayed with toxic pesticides and other environmentally detrimental chemicals. Don’t forget to avoid processed foods: processed and packaged foods are often bad for your health, not just the environment. Processing plants are major polluters, and their products contribute to health epidemics like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Choose whole foods that are better for the planet, and better for your own longevity.

3. Alternative transit
Choose to bike, walk, or take the bus or train– leave the car at home, and you’ll be making an easy decision with immediate results. Many people are opting to bike to work, especially when the weather warms up and with initiatives National Bike Month and Bike To Work Day. With bike lanes becoming more prevalent, cities are investing in the necessary infrastructure to make it easier not to own a car. There are over 65 million cyclists in the United States, a number that has risen dramatically over the past five years. Increasing populations have made effective public transportation more necessary than ever, and options like subways, trains, buses, and rapid transit continue to grow. Many new bus routes are even turning to hybrids, solar power, and other eco-friendly alternatives. In the U.S., public transportation saves 37 million tons of carbon emissions every year. Cities are also increasing walkability, with architects incorporating more outdoor and green spaces, and new buildings focused on green infrastructure and community engagement.

4. Switch To Natural Beauty Products
Switch to natural beauty products that you likely use every day from deodorants, shampoo's  + conditioners, body cleansers, sunscreens, moisturizers and fragrances. Here's how you can Build Your Natural Beauty Routine. Don't forget to wash and recycle your empty containers when you are done. Just remember the bleached coral reefs and all the damage our beauty products are causing in these eco systems.

5. Clean With Eco Friendly Products
We might all know that cleaning with chemicals isn't the best for us, yet we still do it. But, it's not too hard to go over to the light side. Say goodbye to your commercial cleaners, and you’ll be saying goodbye to alkylphenol ethoxylates, ammonia, chlorine, lye, formaldehyde, petroleum solvents, and synthetic fragrances, as well. Fortunately, Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Liquid Soap, is great for all cleaning bike related things from your kit to your bike. If you're not using this already, you should be! For cleaning products, I like to use MRS. MEYER'S house hold and laundry cleaners. Everything we wash down the drain comes back to bite us in the butt, especially at my house where we have a septic tank and water well.

Anyone can make these simple changes: they’re easy to implement, and are immediately effective in reducing your carbon footprint. Our actions and choices ultimately make a difference, and we all share the responsibility to do whatever we can to address climate change, big or small.

Bike To Work: Tips To Get You Started

So, want to hop on the bike-commuter trend? With warmer weather coming, it seems like this weekends upcoming celebrations of Earth Day (April 22) and May as Bike Month, you couldn't ask for a better time to get your commuter game on. Whether you’re in New York or somewhere else, now is the perfect time to skip the subway or car ride and head out via bike. Before you get started, here are some safety and bike style tips to ensure a safe and fun bike-commuting ride.

Be Prepared 
Before jumping on your bike, make sure you know a safe route. Look online for bike lanes and low-traffic streets to get you to your destination. Check to see where you can put your bike once you’re at work. Some offices have bike rooms, which is ideal, but if your office doesn’t, see if there is a safe place to lock your bike up outside (and invest in a good bike lock!). Some offices won’t allow you to bring your bike into the building so make sure you figure out exactly where your bike is going to go before you ride to work.

What To Carry
Can you leave your regular shoes or a change of clothes at work? Little things like that will make your ride more pleasant. As you pack, make sure you have a flat tire kit just in case (and learn how to change one). Check out the Uptown Bike Trunk Bag by Po Campo, where you can fit tools, work attire, laptops, lunch, makeup kit, a bike lock and more.
Pick Your Ride
There are hundreds of bikes to choose from, so make sure you end up with one that works for your route. Public Bikes M8i mixte commuter, Linus Bikes Scout 7, Brooklyn Bicycle Co's Willow 7 are my favorites! Each bike allows you to ride in a more upright position and has a 7-8 speed drivetrain, styled for comfort and performance up those hills. Bike share programs are also popping up in various cities so if you aren't ready to commit to buying a bike yet, see what your city as to offer (here is New York's program).

Cycling Essentials 
Cycling accessory companies are starting to cater to more fashion-conscious cyclists — not just the gearheads and die-hard commuters. Even when form has to follow function, you can still end up with some really gorgeous creations. We're talking handcrafted classic bike baskets, chic commuter bike bags, and bike bells. And if you're going to end up with helmet hair, the culprit might as well be an awesome-looking helmet, right?
Dress Appropriately
Biking in a skirt? Think about your outfit ahead of time and figure out what will work as a biking outfit and an office outfit (depending on how formal your office is, this will vary). Layering pieces is key. So if you want to wear a skirt to work, throw on a pair of leggings underneath for the ride (or put the skirt in a backpack and change once you're at the office). Keep in mind the weather might change from morning to evening so be prepared with a jacket. Mia Melon Commuter jacket is stylish and functionally perfect for keeping you warm but breathable on your ride. If you want a sportier look with a little hi viz, go for Sugoi Lightweight jacket, it's super light and packable so you can stash it in your bag if it gets too warm. 
Safety Tips 
Always obey traffic laws. Always ride with a helmet. Worried it's going to mess up your hair? Use the Cannondale Teramo helmet, which is pony-tail friendly and provides lot of ventilation to keep your head cool. Or check out Nutcase's complete helmet line which offers a wide range of styles and pricing. For a super chic helmet, check out Sawako's chic cycling helmets. Not sure when you'll be leaving work? If it might be dark, add Bookman's Curve Bike Lights to your bike and wear light colors. Always keep an eye on the weather. If there's a chance of storms, perhaps skip your ride that day. 
Biking to work can make for a relaxing start and end to your day, just make sure you're prepared and enjoy the ride!

Image: Refinery29

Basic Bike Maintenance Every Woman Should Know

When I began first cycling, I was totally clueless about how to take care of my bike. I found myself taking my bike in every 6 months for a tune up and spending hundreds of dollars replacing parts. Knowing how ridiculous some of the costs where to repair, I started reading more about bikes and aimed to become self sufficient when it came to maintaining my bike. Knowing how to maintain your bike will not just keep your ride running smoother and maintained longer, it will also keep you safe on the road. With just a bit of knowledge, you can help keep yourself safe while keeping your bike in good working condition. So with a bit of a bike maintenance 101, here are some tips to empower you to care for your ride.
Bike Maintenance 101: 
1. Tune-ups and regular bike shop visits are a good way to ensure that all the tricky parts of your bike are checked, serviced, and adjusted by an experienced mechanic, but there is also plenty you can do at home.
2. There are certain steps you should be taking every time you ride, including a visual inspection of your bike’s main components. This will only take about a minute and will ensure a safer ride. Make it a habit!

TiresCheck that your tires are properly inflated and look for cracked or worn spots and embedded debris that could cause a flat. Most bicycle tires have a pressure rating stamped on the wall along the lines of “Inflate to 65 PSI Max” (PSI is pounds per square inch). Use a floor pump at home and keep a mini-pump with you on long rides.

Wheels: Confirm that your wheels are securely fastened and that the nuts or release mechanisms that hold your wheels in place are secure. Spin your wheels. If your wheel wobbles you should have your wheel trued at a bike shop.

Positioning: Check that your seat post and handle bars are set at a comfortable height and fastened tightly.

Brakes: Squeeze your brake levers to make sure that they apply enough pressure to stop your wheel from turning. Brake pads should hit only the rims and not the tires.

Cables and Bolts: Confirm none of your cables are frayed and that the screws, nuts, and bolts that hold your bike together have not worn down or loosened.
Chain: Make sure you chain turns completely through your front and rear sprockets and doesn't rub against the derailleurs. Is your chain dry? Does it squeak? If so, you should add lube. The more frequently you spot-lube your chain, the less likely you’ll need to take your chain off to clean or replace it.  Does your chain need cleaning? It's a good idea to clean your chain after every 4-5 rides.

Drivetrain: Check that your drive train is free from excessive grime and doesn’t need lubrication.

Helmet: Put it on your head. No excuses.

Gears: Once you're on your bike but before you hit the road, run your bike through its range of gears to make sure there are no problems shifting and that there is no chain slippage. It's better to be stranded in your driveway than six miles down the road.
3. New cyclists have lots of options for educational information online. REI can teach you how to fix a flatJim Langley can explain how to clean your chain and drivetrain, eHow shows you how to properly inflate your tires, and Sheldon Brown has an indispensible glossary of bike terms and projects.
4. A clean bike will keep you from wiping grime all over your favorite pair of pants and extend the life of your bike. With a toothbrush and a rag, clean the pedals, brakes, tires, rims, frame, chain, cassette, derailleurs. Use as little water as possible and a bike specific cleaner such as Muc Off's bike cleaning kit. Use cleaning time as an inspection time—look for cracks and signs of wear. London Cyclist offers a good overview of how to clean your bike.
5. One last tip, when you buy your bike write down your manufactures serial number! If your bike is stolen this number offers the best chance at recovery because police can use these numbers to track bicycles across America. The majority of serial numbers are located under the bottom bracket where the two pedal cranks meet, just turn your bike upside down and record the number. 

I hope this empowers you to know your bike more. The more you practice caring for your bike, it become easier to maintain and instead of spending more time in the repair shope, the more time you have to be riding. 

Image Courtesy @ Liv Cycling

Spring Into Cycling

Spring is in the air! Well, at least in some parts of the world. While it's becoming brighter and warmer in NY this week, I'm ready to take my sunny winter cycling travels outside to celebrate Springs arrival. I'm also excited for this time of year for group rides, new kit, and cute gear. To welcome April showers for May's Spring flowers and Bike Month, I  thought I'd do a series of posts to help build up your Spring dreams of riding with some tips for cycling from commuting to roading this season. While you're dusting off your bicycles and boxing up your winter layers, get ready to head out with a little spring in your pedal with these sunny cycling tips.

Get Your Bike Ready
Clean and tune up your bike. If you're not familiar with how to do so, got to your nearest bike shop to ensure that the jobs will be done right. It's important to make sure your tires, brakes, gear, and chains are cleaned and well lubed for your adventures ahead. For all seasons, adorn your ride with some of my favorite bike safety gear like an Knog Oi Bike Bell and Blinder MOB Bike Lights.

Get Fit
If you haven't been riding as much, you're going to need to work harder to get fit to cycle. Never force yourself to cycle when you don’t feel like. If you're just starting back, it's not a good idea to plan long uphill cycles, instead, build your stamina and muscles. If you find yourself at the gym, try doing a couple of these stationary bike workouts. Be careful though, Spring knee is real and the results from increasing too many miles too quickly is sharp pain across the top of the kneecap, painful.

Layer Up
Spring is full of unpredictable weather and the worst is getting caught in rain without proper wear. The most crucial items to own are arm warmers, leg warmers, and a packable waterproof jacket (highly recommend Co-op Cycles Packable Hooded Jacket). A good base layer is also good in keeping out moisture when you start warming up and sweating. Either way, best to play it safe when the weather is still cool but not warm enough.

Set Goals
If you have not cycled for a while start off by doing a few laps of your local park then graduate to routes that you know, to shops, the gym, a local café, to work, then maybe weekend warrior it up with some serious miles when you're feeling good about your abilities. You can set yourself a goal in kilometers (or miles) a week and work your way up using Strava while measuring your progress.

Map Your Ride
When you feel ready to cycle all the way to work or to a night out, check your route. Use Google Maps or Map My Ride, select the cycling option and type in your starting point and destination and it will recommend a route on quieter, more cycle friendly roads. You should also check the weather so you're not surprised by Spring showers, nothing's worse than arriving to your destination soaked.

National Bike Challenge May - Sept 2018
National Bike Challenge is a great way to get back on the saddle for motivation and join a team (of up to 8 riders) to have some fun 
riding and encouraging friends and others to ride too. The National Bike Challenge is an online platform, free for everyone to use to log their miles and celebrate riding, while finding inspiration to ride more often. The Challenge brings together tens of thousands of people who bike across the country who share a love of bicycling. You can sign up for free at to compete as an individual, or sign up your workplace, school, or team. For years I have joined friends in my local community and around the country to inspire and motivate myself and friends to ride. It's definitely helpful to have friends challenge and inspire you so if you would like to join, I built my own team to give you a place to start at Team Presta.  You don't have to be an athlete or serious cyclist, you can be a beginner, a weekend warrior, or commuter. This is just a space to give you the motivation to get your spring in your pedal.

Photo Courtesy: @TokyBike_NYC 
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