REVIEW WEDNESDAY: TIMBER MOUNTAIN BIKE BELLS

THE BEST LITTLE TRAIL BELL EVER
THE BEST LITTLE TRAIL BELL EVER

TRAIL AWARENESS

Have you ever been on your local trails and you’re coming around a blind turn and suddenly you have hikers or horseback riders.
Both hikers, horseback rider, and you have your eyes bugging out of your heads like Large Marge from “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure”.
Hopefully yelling doesn’t start from the hikers, horse riders. You’re fast on your feet with the apologies for the surprise you may have caused.

Being heard on the trail can be a hard thing when on a multi-purpose trail. You have to take into consideration that others are so into nature, enjoying the outdoors like yourself they could not be paying attention. We all share a responsibility while being on the trial.
So, don’t believe that because you’re on your bike and you can hear the noise you produce that it could be heard down trial as well.

With so many enjoying the local outdoors these days, the trails are getting a little more crowded.

Being heard before being seen is important and what mountain bike riders have done in the past was to get mini cow bells or small fishing bells from your local Big 5, then attaching them to their hydration packs or bikes. You may find that one rider that wants to be heard so much that they sound like Santa Claus and his sleigh.
Whistles are another good way to be heard, but trying to put one in your mouth as your riding is not an option when bouncing all over, I once saw a company that made water bottle air horns. Now these were cool, but talk about loud and scaring the crap out of someone, got to say they were pretty cool, but wouldn’t last long.
So, you have some quick choices out there, from the little fishing line bells you get from the local tackle store, to the small to medium Velcro mini cow bells you can order online, however there is a better choice.

THE BELL

In comes TIMBER Mountain bike bells and they have taken mountain bike bells a step above the rest.
I met Chris an Liz Lacy at Interbike one year just prior to releasing the BOLT ON bell. I saw this thing and right away had to talk to Chris from TIMBER about it.
So, I wondered how a bell could be better, it’s a bell! Big deal! WRONG!!

This is a big deal, why? TIMBER Mountain Bike Bells mount to your handle bars in one of two ways.
MtnBikeRider.com tested both bells with countless hours of riding in all conditions and areas to see trail users’ response and the response in a high public use area. The results were unbelievably great.

The first is the TIMBER Quick Release bell that comes with two rubber straps that allow you to mount to the narrow part of your bars or the wide part of your bars.
The second is the newest addition Bolt-On model that allows you to bolt-on to bars 31.8 to 22.2.

THE QUICK RELEASE BELL IS A SMALL PACKAGE WITH GREAT CONSTRUCTION.
THE QUICK RELEASE BELL IS A SMALL PACKAGE WITH GREAT CONSTRUCTION.
PULL TAB O-RING ALLOWS YOU TO ATTACH TO YOU HANDLE BAR WITH NO PROBLEM AND THE RUBBER SHIM KEEPS YOUR QUICK RELEASE FROM UNWANTED SLIPPING.
PULL TAB O-RING ALLOWS YOU TO ATTACH TO YOU HANDLE BAR WITH NO PROBLEM AND THE RUBBER SHIM KEEPS YOUR QUICK RELEASE FROM UNWANTED SLIPPING.

Rubber shims included.
The Quick Release model has a partial nylon body and comes with two sized rubber rings for mounting.
Each ring has a tab to help you pull it onto the body’s hook. When you find the right spot the Quick Release bell holds great. Mounting is really super simple and what is great about this particular bell is it allows you to remove it and mount it on any of your bikes.
Let’s face it we never know which bike we want to take out for a ride in our quiver and being able to put this bell in your Hydro bag and pull it out at the ready is awesome.

THE BOLT ON TIMBER BELL AS YOU CAN SEE IS NICELY MADE. NYLON TOUGH BODY AND LEVER, BEAUTIFUL BELL, AND INCLUDED SHIMS FOR A GREAT FIT.
THE BOLT ON TIMBER BELL AS YOU CAN SEE IS NICELY MADE. NYLON TOUGH BODY AND LEVER, BEAUTIFUL BELL, AND INCLUDED SHIMS FOR A GREAT FIT.
MOUNTING IS EASY, YOU DON'T HAVE TO REMOVE ANY GRIPS, OR CONTROL SYSTEMS ON THE BARS. PULL IT OPEN A TAD AND SLIP IT ON.
MOUNTING IS EASY, YOU DON’T HAVE TO REMOVE ANY GRIPS, OR CONTROL SYSTEMS ON THE BARS. PULL IT OPEN A TAD AND SLIP IT ON.

The Bolt-On TIMBER Bell has a full body made with tough flexible nylon that tightens with a 5mm bolt. Use the proper shim, tighten it up on the handle bar and forget about it. You also don’t have to worry about the TIMBER Bell moving. Once it’s on, it’s on.
Now I do like this setup a tad better because I know it won’t be liberated by someone who thinks he deserves it more than me. It sucks while you’re in line ordering your Big Bear Yogi burger with Boo Boo fries after some hard riding only to come out and get your ride on and you see someone swiped something off your bike. Just not cool.

HOW IT WORKS

Now what has this beat over other bells, horns, and baby rattles is the fact that you can turn it on and off. Yes, this is the only mountain bike trail bell that allows you to use it when you want.
You don’t have to take you thumb off the handle bar to ring it or push a button to make it ring.
Sure using your thumb to flick a ringer or push a button may not sound like a big deal, but think of it this way. You flick the lever downward and the bell starts to ring.

This is what’s so ingeniously simple about the TIMBER Bell. You push the lever down and it will lower what TIMBER call the “internal Clapper Cable”, the ball will ring as you are moving.
After you pass those you wish to alert on the trail, simply use your thumb to move it to the up position and the bell is then turned off. EZZY PEEZZY!!

NOISE TIME!!!!

This is the other great thing about the TIMBER Bell. The noise it emits is very pleasing to the ear.
If you have ever used say one of the mini cow bells on your bike or on your hydro pack, you know this constant ringing is load and you will be heard a mile away, yes good and all, and I know this is what you want. At some point, I know you hate hearing this bell during your whole ride. It just kills your ride to the point of taking it off and tossing it in the pack to never be heard again, plus the noise has pretty much scared of all wild life within a 10 mile radius, and pissed off anyone around you.

SIMPLE TO USE AND A PASSIVE BELL SOUND WHEN YOU WANT IT.
SIMPLE TO USE AND A PASSIVE BELL SOUND WHEN YOU WANT IT.

TIMBER’s Bell sends out a nice (in their words) passive sound. It can be heard in a
200 + meter radius, which is great for all on the trail without waking the dead.

RIDE TEST

Using both the Quick Release and BLOT ON TIMBER Bells proved to never be any kind of issue when you needed to turn it on or off.
Of course, the Quick Release is easier to take on and off, this could be a plus to those with multiple rides.
Left or right side it worked well. I never experienced any movement when I used it. It didn’t slip when I pushed the lever up or down, thumb up there.
The Bolt On TIMBER Bell I like as you know due to not having to ever worry about it ever disappearing.
After you find the place where you want it on your bar (like the Quick Release close within thumb reach is best if you could) it was always a snap to operate.

ONCE YOU HAVE THAT GREAT SPOT, YOU'RE READY TO GO.
ONCE YOU HAVE THAT GREAT SPOT, YOU’RE READY TO GO.

I found that any time I would turn it on when I saw someone down trail, they had no problem hearing me coming. I even had one hiker thank me for not having an obnoxious sounding bell.
I don’t mind using it when I’m riding. I feel good about using it because it isn’t loud.
I wanted to see what kind of response I would have when riding the crowded boardwalk path at my local beach. Any time I turned it on, people would not be startled and move with no problem.

Just another plus using the TIMBER MOUNTAIN BIKE Bells. You can say this isn’t just for the trail.
No movement, super easy to install, fast to use on the trail without loss of control, and great construction.
Oh and one more thing, the Bolt On models threaded insert is made in the USA with a lifetime quality solid brass that won’t strip or wear out. Sounds good to me.
I have to tell you what the best part about the TIMBER Bell is, that’s the price.
These little babies will only set you back a whole whopping $20.00 bucks, yeah just $20.00 smack-A-Roos!!!

This is a super value if you ask me and I will be getting a few more for my other bikes as well.
Our hats off to TIMBER MOUNTAIN BIKE BELLS. Thank you for letting us review your products.

You can get one of these nifty bells by going to their website at mtbbell.com.

AIR MOUNTAIN BIKING- “THE LATEST CRAZE TO HIT SOCAL?”

RL HITTING IT BIG AIR STYLE
RL HITTING IT BIG AIR STYLE

So Friday night I’m sitting in the living room brain dead, contemplating all of life’s interesting paradoxes, enjoying a nice piece of beef jerky, while having a bowl of Tamalitos, chasing it down with a Lavern (that’s a Pepsi with milk all), trying to think of a way to get out of helping the wife clean the house when I’m saved by the bell or phone ringing. “Hello!” “Yes RL I would love to meet you at Aliso for a ride. Should I bring my Enduro bike are we going to go for it? No! The XC bike, are we going for a long ride then, I need that. What no bike, really?”
So He begins to tell me about this new Mountain bike discipline that’s all the rage and that the discipline is very precise in how you do it, plus you’ll get in great shape. RL begins to tell me that the other riders out there may not approve of us and look down at us. Well I’m in for losing a few pounds, besides I like going against the grain.

ART AGUILAR DOING THE CLASSIC "FLYING W"
ART AGUILAR DOING THE CLASSIC “FLYING W”

SATURDAY MORNING COMES
We meet up and this Saturday morning is like no other. The crowds are out in abundance, more so then usual. Large groups of hikers, Mountain bikers, and runners. I’m dressed to the Teee’s as RL is. Lady P looking at us thinking, they think they are so pro (always in our minds, lol).
RL goes over everything with me; I’m cool with it, so let’s do this thing. I know it will be the greatest thing ever. It makes me feel like I have new blood in me. We set up our rides, dial in our gear, go over our riding styles and how we will hit the jumps and ride the rough.

RL WHIPPING IT OUT SIDEWAYS ON HIS SECOND RUN
RL WHIPPING IT OUT SIDEWAYS ON HIS SECOND RUN

HITTING THE TRAIL
As one may expect, it came to know surprise that the main stream riders gave us looks of discuss, crazy, stupid, and even wonderment ( yeah Lady P did think we were crazy, but she went with it).
RL and I hit the trails “MTN AIR BIKING”, that’s right, you heard me, “MTN AIR BIKING”!
And why not Air Bike, the cost is low (only gear, and chances are you have that already) .If you plan on AIR BIKING good safety gear if monument. If you go down hard you can break a leg, twist an ankle, or worse hit your head on the ground.
We were having fun catching big air, riding rough rock sections, and hitting fast switchbacks. What an awesome feeling!!

ART PULLING OFF ANOTHER CLASSIC "DEAD MAN HANG"
ART PULLING OFF ANOTHER CLASSIC “DEAD MAN HANG”

At the end of the ride I was invigorated, though a little wiped out, as was RL.
This made me think of the guy who invented the wheel. I bet all his buddies thought he was a nut, next thing you know you have the Flintstones.
One must embrace change with vigor; after all we may owe Air Mountain biking to the great legends of the Air Guitar and let me tell you this, it’s big now, competitions, videos, the works
Just think what could be next, Air Mountain Bike racing Big Bear perhaps???

Product Review: BTB Sunglasses

A couple months ago, we got an offer from BTB Sunglasses to test out a pair of their sport-oriented glasses. BTB stands for “Be The Ball” – personally, I don’t WANT to be the ball since usually the goal is to HIT the ball, but I agreed to try the glasses anyway!

I chose the BTB 500 glasses, which have a 3/4 black frame with smoked lenses and according to BTB fit “medium to large” faces – a guess on my part, but one that turned out to be accurate.

When they arrived I wasn’t terribly impressed – the packaging was a bit rough and they just came in a soft liner, not even a box. However, they looked good and fit, so I started wearing them. As time went on, I found myself not only reaching for them when I went mountain biking (where I thought they functioned well), but also commuting, walking, running, and even driving (even though they’re not polarized!). They’ve quickly become my favorite sunglasses I’ve ever had, despite the modest $39.99 price tag – and actually, given my history with sunglasses (I’ve lost sunglasses in multiple states), that price tag is a big point in their favor, as I can actually afford to replace them. I liked them so much that I even returned the last pair of (more expensive) sunglasses I bought.

So what makes these so good? Well, the fit is good – but obviously that’s going to be different for every person, so I can’t count it as a plus for everyone. I will say though that they stay put really well – no movement on my face whatsoever, even over rough stuff. I like the light weight – yes they’re plastic, but it’s sturdy plastic. I also like the lenses – they’re dark enough in bright sun, but not so dark that going in and out of shade or biking early or late in the day throws me off. The lenses are also supposed to be ballistic grade – I haven’t tested that personally, but I haven’t damaged them yet! The frame design allows for a small amount of airflow across the back of the lens to ward off condensation – there was a small amount of fogging a couple of really warm, humid days when I wasn’t moving, but even walking-speed air movement is sufficient to clear them. I’ve also worn them for multiple hours at a time and still been pretty comfortable.

In sum: I can’t claim to speak for every pair of glasses BTB offers, but this model does everything it’s supposed to do. These were provided for test at no charge, but I would buy them again if anything happens to this pair (probability: moderate to high). For those of you unsure of buying glasses online, BTB offers a 10-day exchange/refund guarantee, so check out what they’ve got to offer next time you need sunglasses!



FTC Disclaimer

Vigilante Justice, Anyone?

not that I am promoting this or anything like it…

A financial manager for wealthy clients will not face felony charges for a hit-and-run because it could jeopardize his job, prosecutors said Thursday.

Martin Joel Erzinger, 52, faces two misdemeanor traffic charges stemming from a July 3 incident when he allegedly hit bicyclist Dr. Steven Milo from behind then sped away, according to court documents.

A must read article from the Vail Daily in Vail, Colorado.

Its not even a question of if Erzinger hit Milo. Erzinger is “willing to take responsibility and pay restitution“. The issue at hand is that District Attorney Hurlbert is dropping the felony charge and instead, Erzinger will face two misdemeanor traffic charges.

“Felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger’s profession, and that entered into it,” Hurlbert said. “When you’re talking about restitution, you don’t want to take away his ability to pay.”

WHAT!?!?! Felony convictions will have serious implications for ANY job.

EDIT: Some closure to this: http://www.summitdaily.com/article/20101109/COLUMNS/101109774/1026&parentprofile=1058

Mark Hulbert explains the Plea Deal:
Over the weekend, I have received over 1,000 e-mails from all over the country regarding the Erzinger case. Because of that I feel the need to explain why I am offering the plea bargain proposed in the Erzinger case. Either through the bent of the Vail Daily article or my own inartful comments, I feel that the reason for the plea bargain was not properly conveyed.

First, let me say that from the start I feel for Dr. Milo and sincerely hope that he has a complete and speedy recovery from his injuries. So, why did I offer two misdemeanors on such a serious case?

Despite what is implied in the Vail Daily, Dr. Milo never asked me to plead Mr. Erzinger to a felony. Dr. Milo asked that I plead Mr. Erzinger to a felony deferred judgment and sentence. What this means is that Mr. Erzinger would plead to a felony leaving the scene of an accident and the judgment would be set aside. In either two or four years, as long as Mr. Erzinger met certain conditions, the case would drop off his record and he would be allowed to seal this case. Since there was no alcohol or drugs involved, the only conditions I could legally ask for were that he pay restitution and stay out of trouble. Given that he had a clean history, Mr. Erzinger would essentially have been able to write a check and the case would then be dismissed. On top of that, while Dr. Milo was still probably recovering from his injuries, Mr. Erzinger would be able to say that he had no criminal history and even deny that anything had happened. That is not something I could stomach.

I therefore offered Mr. Erzinger plead guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and careless driving causing serious bodily injury. This means that for the rest of his life, Mr. Erzinger will have on his record that he carelessly drove, caused another human being serious bodily injury and left the scene. He will lose his driver’s license, face potential jail time as determined by the judge and still have to pay restitution, which as I said in the Vail Daily is important to us, but not an overriding objective in the plea.. Obviously there is a benefit to Mr. Erzinger on taking the misdemeanors — he keeps his job. If he were to plea to the deferred he may or may not lose his job, but either way, as mentioned above, in a couple of years he would be able to tell any prospective employer that he had no criminal history.

There has been much made about Mr. Erzinger’s wealth. That is of no concern to me other than as it pertains to restitution to Dr. Milo. I have not asked Mr. Erzinger for any money either to myself or to the district attorney’s office and he has not offered. Both of us understand that would be highly illegal.

Finally, I appreciate the constructive comments I have received. And even if I have not responded, I have read every single one of them. If after reading this, you still feel that I am wrong for the plea bargain, I take full responsibility and welcome any constructive comments. But be forewarned, that there is not much I can change at this point. I made the plea offer months ago and the defense has accepted. This means that even if I wanted to change the plea offer, I could not. The only person that can reject it at this point is the judge. Again, I welcome any constructive comments in this case.

Mark Hurlbert, District Attorney

Fifth Judicial District

Review: Gorillatorch Flare


Gorillatorach Flare: The most flexible and adaptable hands-free flashlight.

The Gorillatorch Flare is an easy to use hands-free flashlight taking the proven attributes of the Gorillapod tripods and applying it to a flashlight. The three flexible legs of the Gorillatorch Flare make it easy to mount anywhere the legs can be wrapped but Joby, makers of the Gorillatorch, Gorillapod and Gorillamobile, did not stop there. Joby added magnetic feet that makes the Gorillatorch useful in places where the legs can not wrap. The Gorillatorch Flare’s plastic can taking a pounding as it was played with… I mean was tested by my three boys: 5, 3 & 8 months old. The Flare’s CREE Led produces a nice white light in three different levels plus a white strobe. The three red leds emits a strong red light or red strobe.


OK, so its not THAT dark in my garage, but the Gorillatorch Flare is that bright in its middle level.

Where have I used the Gorillatorch Flare? I started off using it in my garage. The previous owner who installed the florescent lights in the man cave (does it still count as a man cave if it is occupied by a minivan?) forgot to consult me prior to installation. Because of this, he left the large area above my repair stand sans lighting. When I am wrenching on small parts, I found the light in that area to be lacking and rather than moving the bike and repair stand to a location underneath some good lighting, I pulled out the Gorillatorch Flare and used the magnetic legs to attach to a convenient metal file cabinet. Voila! I had plenty of extra lighting that I did not have to hold. I could point the Flare directly at the area I was working on, in this case the front brakes as I was changing the brake pads.


From repair stand light to front commuter light. Gorillatorch Flare’s versatility RULES

Next, I decided to see if I could take the Flare out for a quick commute on the bike in the dark as my primary light source. The Flare, with its three levels of white light along with its strobe feature means that it could easily be used as a handlebar mounted light on my short commutes around the neighborhood. After finding a sturdy way to wrap the Flare around the handlebar/stem the Flare quickly went from focused spot repair stand light to a commuting light. With the strobe feature, I knew that I was definitely going to be seen by Southern California drivers. Even better, if I already had a front light mounted to the bike, the Flare could wrap around my seatpost and with its red light and red strobe, I could use it as a rear blinkie instead.


Nothing to wrap around, no worries. The powerful magnets in the foot of the Gorillatorch Flare opens up another venue to mount the Flare

I could go on and on about the different uses I have had for the Gorillatorch Flare, but I think you get the idea. It’s very useful and versatile. I will, though, bring up an unusual way I came to use the Flare: as a model light. One afternoon, I was messing around with the Gorillatorch Flare when I stuck it on the back of a folding chair. I grabbed a shot of it on the chair and seconds later, my 6 month old son came crawling over and instantly the Gorillatorch went from the model to model light.


Little J staring up at the Flare. Yes, thats spit up on his bib.

Joby got it right when they came up with the hands-free, versatile and durable Gorillatorch Flare. The Flare has suffered some abuse at the hands of three boys and their father. We have put the Flare through its places and the articulating legs and LEDS are, as expected, still running strong. The versatility of the Gorillatorch Flare really sets it apart from other flashlights, even hands-free flashlights. Having the Flare be durable with 6 different light settings are icing on the cake.

For more information on the Gorillatorch Flare, click here.

Our review disclaimer required by the FTC.

A bit off topic…

A little off topic but it is biking related. I purchased a cheap commuter through bikesdirect.com. It came with a little dent, 3/4″ by 1/2″, on the seat tube about 6 inches up from the bottom bracket facing forward. The dent does not affect the structural integrity of the bike but it is ugly. The bike was packed properly but these things happen. A quick email to bikesdirect and they offered two options:

1. take the bike back, no charge

2. credit me $50

I understood “credit me” as they’d give me credit towards another bike which I wasn’t keen on. However, they meant “credit me” as they would return $50 back to my credit card. That is good customer service and my wife is going to be sooo happy when she finds out about this.

A lot of times I worry about dealing with internet only businesses. They’re faceless and many times, out of state. Bikesdirect, however, did a great job standing behind their product and promptly responding to my correspondence. If you’re worried about purchasing through an internet only bike company I would confidently recommend bikesdirect.com.

Date Ride on the Loop

The family that plays together stays together. Least that’s what I’ve heard. So last week I finally got to take the other half of the fam(wife) on our first ride ever. She on her Ibex and me on the Nirve Night Owl. I thought the trail was level enough that my wife wouldn’t need her helmet but she was quickly riding better than I’d hoped and I was kickin’ myself afterwards for not bringing them. No one fell though, and we had some nice green scenery thanks to the recent rain.

We sure not much for the night scene(clubs, etc.) so we like to find excuses to hang out together. This was a great one. While racing and rolling great singletrack is fun, I loved taking it easy and found it more relaxing and laughed more on a ride like this. Besides, it was a good excuse to show off my stoppies in front of the wife. Sure helps get her in the mood for late night activities. 🙂

It’s also fun teaching the basics. You forget that all those shifters and brake levers can be a little confusing when you first start. If you look hard(first pic) you’ll notice my wife put on her Specialized BG gloves on upside down, with the palm padding on the top of her gloves. I noticed half way through the ride and had to force myself not to laugh too hard.


Leavin’ me in the dust

We went into some pretty skinny singletrack, further along these railroad tracks and she had no problems whatsoever. Most importantly she had a smile on her face the entire time. I’d been reading RL’s tips for getting your wife into biking and made sure I was positive and didn’t push her or make her ride anything more than a novice was ready for. Still, it’s really encouraging and I can only hope that one day she’ll be out riding epics with me. Baby steps first though. Baby steps.