"Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more."
- Robin Sharma
As all of the LOYAL SUBSCRIBERS (LS) to MILES PEDDLED (MP) know, November is the Month that Management at MP helps its LS figure out what gifts to give to the cycling enthusiasts in their orbit. Hence, the November 2023 Edition of MP will be entitled: THIRD ANNUAL GIVING GUIDE. Playlist suggestion: KIND AND GENEROUS by Natalie Merchant.
Before we get to the subject matter of this Month’s Edition, Management has a follow-up to past editions of MP; and, the results of a new study conducted by MILES PEDDLED INSTITUTE (MPI). Past editions of MP can be accessed at: https://www.milespeddled.com.
First the postscript. Management has consistently taken the position that cyclists are “very good people.” A recent study by MPI, in conjunction with the Journal of Environmental Psychology, confirmed this conclusion. Specifically, the study concluded that cyclists are more interested in the common good than drivers of automobiles. The study used 4 factors to determine the common good – political participation, social participation, neighborhood solidarity and neighborly helpfulness. Cycling, rather than driving, was positively associated with orientation towards the common good in all of the aforesaid areas. As it turns out, drivers are less interested in all four of these things. Essentially, cyclists directly interact with the environment, while drivers are almost entirely isolated from their surroundings.
The results of this study provide empirical evidence that cities should invest in walking and cycling infrastructure, not simply because it lowers air and noise pollution, but also because it would be better for society in general. Political participation, social participation, neighborhood solidarity and neighborly helpfulness are all obviously good things that must be encouraged. Ride a bike and make your neighborhood better. Playlist suggestion: MOVE ON UP by Curtis Mayfield.
The second issue to discuss before moving on to the subject matter of this Month’s edition is another new study conducted by MPI in conjunction with StreetLight data which used GPS and other location data to measure urban transportation patterns. (Please note that these studies conducted by MPI do come at a cost. Accordingly, any contribution that the LS could make to MP would be greatly appreciated particularly during this wonderful gifting season.)
This new study concluded that the pandemic era cycling increase appears to be continuing. During the pandemic era, nationwide cycling grew 37%. While the growth in cycling has slowed, it is still increasing. In 2022, cycling activity increased by 25% in metropolitan areas with 5 million or more residents.
The study concluded that several factors contributed to the increase in bike activity with the top 3 being the following:
During the pandemic urban cycling took off largely because people were looking for ways to get around or exercise without potentially exposing themselves to infection.
· Bike Share Programs:
Bike share programs such as Citi Bike in New York City; Divvy in Chicago; and Capital Bike Share in Washington, DC have all contributed to the popularity and ease of biking.
The surge in ebikes has also contributed to the increased number of people taking up cycling.
The two studies conducted by MPI clearly establish that cities should invest more in their cycling infrastructure due to its increased popularity and the simple fact that cyclists are nice people. Playlist suggestion: HEY BROTHER by Avicii.
Now to the GIFT GIVING.
Management will be making bike and accessory recommendations. As previously mentioned, the November 2021 and November 2022 Gifting Guides made numerous recommendations in these areas. All of these recommendations are still good choices.
Bike recommendations will be broken down into 4 categories: hybrid/gravel; road bikes; mountain bikes; and ebikes.
A. Hybrids / Gravel Bikes
Management is combining these 2 categories due to the fact that a quality hybrid can be outfitted to operate as a gravel bike and vice versa. These bikes provide a somewhat upright cycling position that is ideal for a daily commuter bike but can also handle choppy pavement and light gravel trails. Past recommendations in these areas included the Specialized Sirrus; the Trek FX Sport; the Kona Libre; and, the Trek Checkpoint SL. Joining this list of great all around bikes is the following:
Giant Fastroad AR2:
Technically, this is a road bike, but given the fact that it comes with a flat handlebar, integrated mounts, and high volume tubeless tires (up to 42 mm), it becomes a lightweight agile bike that can ride roads, bumpy paths or gravel. Go anywhere with confidence. All of this at the MSRP of $1,000.00.
B. Road Bikes
Road bikes can become expensive very fast. If you are going to spend more than $3,000.00 on a road bike, consult an expert. Otherwise, stay with MP and we will provide you with some very reasonably priced excellent road bikes which are as follows:
1. Specialized Allez:
This is an entry level road bike that has been ridden to the top of the podium. The relaxed frame geometry allows the rider to sit in a more upright position that is perfect for all day adventures on a race proven platform. Approximate price $1,200.00.
2. Trek Domane AL2 Disc:
Investing in a bike that you can grow with and not outperform after its first year is something that everyone should be conscious of regardless of your level. To that end, this Trek is a great option. It has a relaxed geometry, capacity for higher volume tires, and the ability to add racks and fenders all with a premium build. Approximate price $1,200.00.
3. Giant Defy Advanced 2:
This smooth riding carbon endurance road bike is made for long distance rides on all types of trails. The DD-Fuse seat post and handlebar absorb road shocks and vibrations. When coupled with the added tire clearance, it allows you to take on a variety of roads and conditions. Approximate price $2,800.00.
C. Mountain Bikes
Mountain bikes come in several different configurations including hard tails (front suspension no rear suspension); full suspension (front and rear suspension); and even mountain ebikes with a full suspension. The recommendations in this issue will be limited to the quality hard tails at reasonable prices. Please note that Canyon, Specialized and Trek all make excellent reasonably priced hard tails, but this issue will concentrate on the following two:
1. Giant Talon I:
This aluminum hard tail gives you the feel for the trail with balanced, confident handling and a plush front suspension fork. It will not break the bank at the very reasonable price of $900.00.
2. Kona Kahuna:
This bike is the king of the Kona classic hard tail lineup. It has progressive geometry, 29 inch wheels, 100 mm suspension fork and the option for a dropper post. These features when coupled with a 12 speed drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes make the price of $1,499.00 very reasonable.
As all of the LS know, Management is constantly making ebike recommendations. Before this year’s recommendations, a little refresher is in order. Please recall that ebikes are broken down into three classes which are as follows:
· Class 1 Ebikes
A Class 1 ebike, has a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour and is equipped with an electric motor without a throttle. The motor will only work when the rider is pedaling which is known as “pedal assist.” Most ebikes fall into this category.
· Class 2 Ebikes
A Class 2 ebike will have both pedal assist and a throttle. The specifics of the pedal assist and throttle will vary from brand to brand, but generally speaking the throttle will propel the bike without any rider assistance up to 20 miles per hour. The pedal assist component on this class of ebike will assist the rider up to 28 miles per hour.
· Class 3 Ebikes
A Class 3 ebike features pedal assist only and tops out at 28 miles per hour.
NOTE: Some local ordinances restrict the use of Class 2 ebikes with a throttle; and Class 3 ebikes with pedal assist up to 28 miles per hour. Management, however, consistently uses a Class 3 ebike and there has never been any issue on any trail.
This year the recommendations in the ebike category will be limited to: cargo and commuter/trekking. As stated by the great Chicago architect Louis Sullivan:
Whether it be the sweeping eagle in his flight, or the open apple-blossom, the toiling work-horse, the blithe swan, the branching oak, the winding stream at its base, the drifting clouds, over all the coursing sun, form ever follows function, and this is the law.
1. Cargo Ebikes:
· REI Co-op Cycles Generation e1.2:
Complete all of your errands with a smile on your face. This Class 1 pedal assist 20 mph ebike comes standard with a front and back rack, wide tires, lights, kickstand and much more. At the time of publication, it was on sale for $1,499.93 a savings of 21% off of the MSRP at $1,899.00.
· Specialized Globe Haul ST:
The editors at Bicycling Magazine named the Globe Haul ST the bike of the year for 2023. This included all types of bikes both electric and non-electric.
The editors at Bicycling Magazine were not alone in their praise for the Globe Haul ST. Electric Bike Report called this one of the “best performing ebikes they have ever tested.” They went on to state that Specialized entry into the cargo bike category was a “home run.”
What is all the fuss about? This Class 3 utility ebike comes fully loaded with front and back fenders, a back rack, a 700W hub motor and can comfortably fit any rider from 4’5” to 6’4” tall. With a 420 pound payload capacity, pack mounts and an MIK rack, this bike can be taken anywhere and everywhere. Replace your car for the price of $2,800.00.
2. Commuting / Trekking:
This is Management’s favorite category of ebikes. They can be used for daily errands, commuting to work or for long cross-country treks. Common sense tells you that the longer the trek, the better that the components will need to be on the bike. This will result in a higher price. The recommendations in this category are as follows:
· Aventon Pace 500.3:
This is a Class 2 ebike with throttle up to 20 mph and pedal assist up to 28 mph. It comes standard with a back lit LCD display that can be synced to your smartphone; torque sensor; integrated front and rear lights; and puncture resistant tires. Racks and fenders are optional add-ons. All of this at the very reasonable price of $1,799.00 on sale as of the date of this publication for $1,599.00.
· Ride 1 Up Prodigy V2 LS and LX Frame:
This is a Class 3 pedal assist ebike which comes with a German made mid-drive motor from Brose, and Enviolo internal gear hub and a Gates carbon belt. It also comes standard with a front suspension, integrated front light, rear and back fenders and a rear rack. This is an incredibly equipped smooth riding continuously variable transmission ebike at the un-heard of low price of $2,695.00.
· Gazelle Ultimate C380+ HMB
Gazelle has been making bikes for over 130 years. On Gazelle’s 100th anniversary, Princess Margriet of the Dutch Royal Family bestowed the “Royal” title onto Gazelle. They are now known as “Royal Dutch Gazelle.” Playlist suggestion: DANCING QUEEN by ABBA.
The Ultimate C380+ HMB is a Class 3 ebike that provides pedal assist up to 28 mph. When combined with the Enviolo internal gear hubbing and the Gates carbon fiber belt, not to mention the mid-drive Bosch performance line speed motor, the results are a fast maintenance free ebike. Add to this the standard front and rear lights, front suspension, front and rear fenders, and a rear rack that can hold up to 65 pounds, and you end up with a bike that allows you to go anywhere and do anything. The normal MSRP is $4,999.00, but at the time of this publication the bike is on sale for $3,999.00 which is a steal.
Management has been very busy over the past few months performing research in anticipation of the Gifting Guide. Their recommendations with respect to helmets, sunglasses and a luxury item are all set forth below.
If you are caught riding your bike without a helmet you will automatically lose your subscription to MP. Always keep in mind the third rule of biking which is SAFETY FIRST.
The key to a good helmet is that it must be MIPS rated, fit well, and have good ventilation. You do not have to spend a lot of money to meet these requirements. For example:
· Specialized Echelon II:
This is a value-priced ($67.00 at Specialized) MIPS helmet that is unisex but for women features the “hairport fit system,” which accommodates ponytails.
· Lazer Coyote Kineticore:
This is a lightweight, well-ventilated mountain bike helmet that comes with a visor and is MIPS certified at the price of $110.00.
· Specialized Mode:
This is a great helmet for ebikes. Not only is it MIPS rated, but it comes with an additional ebike certification. Protect your noggin’ at the very reasonable price of $90.00 at Specialized.
Management contends that biking glasses are a safety component when riding. Obviously, when sunny they can block the light, but the right pair of glasses will also block dust, debris, wind and cold. Management is a strong proponent for polarized photochromatic bike glasses. Your choice will depend upon your style but most importantly the size of your head. Oakley makes some very high end polarized photochromatic bike glasses in several different styles and sizes. For less expensive options, check out Tifosi.
Management recently came across a new option from TriEye. They make a polarized photochromatic cycling glass with an integrated and adjustable rear-view mirror. Cost-$149.00.
C. Luxe Item
Who does not want to listen to MP playlist while taking their daily ride? The MILES PEDDLED playlist can be accessed via YouTube Music. If you use earbuds, then this limits your ability to hear the traffic around you and becomes a safety issue. How do you resolve this dilemma? Management recommends that you consider the following product: SHOKZ OpenRun Bluetooth Bone Conduction Sport Headphone. This open ear design goes around but not into the ear and transmits the music through bone conduction technology. The sound quality is excellent, but you can still hear your surroundings. They are waterproof, Bluetooth compatible, and on a full charge will run for eight hours. Sizes mini and standard for $130.00. Playlist suggestion: HAVE MY CAKE AND EAT IT TOO by Caroline.
Now to the Trivia/Quiz section. Did you know that 68% of people consider gift giving a “love language.” See if you know the answers to the following gift giving questions. The answers will be in the postscript section.
1. The first recorded instance of gift giving was in which ancient society? Egypt, Greece, Samaria, or Rome.
2. The Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania do this to items that they intend to give as a gift? Hide the gift; spit on the gift; wrap the gift; only give the gift with their left hand.
3. In what present-day society is it a required “social obligation” to bring back a gift/souvenir to family members or a co-workers when returning from a vacation? Philippines, Vietnam, China, or Japan
4. Which of the following items should not be given as a wedding gift in an Asian culture? Mirror, cash, kitchen items or any un-wrapped gift.
5. For the celebration of Día De Muertos (Day of the Dead) it is not uncommon for families to spend the following on gifts and decorations: 1 months’ income, 2 months’ income, 3 months’ income, or 4 months’ income.
TEASE TIME: As noted in the outstanding October 2023 Edition of MP, the MAD VIKING (MV) has requested the opportunity to be a guest author for the December 2023 Edition of MP. Hold onto your saddle, this will be an interesting journey. Playlist suggestion: FUNKY RIDE by OutKast.
Time to go, but please remember: “Kindness is a gift anyone can afford to give.” – Anonymous. This Holiday season, remember to give the gift of “kindness” and to R, R & R!
Answers to Trivia/Quiz Section:
1. Gift Giving Origin:
Gift giving is as old as animal and humankind. The first recorded instance of gifts being given was in ancient Samaria where gifts were exchanged between family members and friends as a sign of affection.
2. Maasai People:
The Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania spit on items they intend to give as gifts. They do this out of respect for each other. Spitting is intended as a blessing, not as an insult.
Omiyage (the Japanese word for souvenir) is taken so seriously that it is actually a social obligation to bring gifts back to family members and co-workers when returning from vacation.
4. Wedding Gift:
Giving a mirror as a wedding gift is to be avoided in Asian cultures. Marriage is supposed to last a lifetime and due to fragility of a mirror and the resulting bad luck if one is broken, it is considered to be a risky gift.
5. Day of the Dead:
Some families will spend more than 2 months income on gifts and decorations in honor of their dead relatives, hoping their spirits will bring protection, good luck, and wisdom to their lives. Play list suggestion: DON’T FEAR THE REAPER by Blue Oyster. “Guess what, I have a fever and the only prescription is more COWBELL.” Check out the SNL skit “More Cowbell.”