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Lightweight Portable Pocket Bike Lock: Knog Milkman Review

Published on 18 October 2013 in Kit Reviews

Bike security is massively important: we all know this. If you tell me that you’ve never seen a post from someone you know who’s had a bike stolen, then you don’t use the internet enough. People who don’t care how hard you work or how much you love your bike, want to take it from you. Some of these evil people (let’s call them thieving scumbags) are professional bike thieves, whereas some thieving scumbags are opportunists.

For long trips and periods where my bike is left in view, I do two main things:

  1. make it massively visible in public and
  2. fasten a heavy chunk of 8mm hardened steel chain with a chunky padlock around it.

But what about those times when you’re out for a ride, maybe alone, where you don’t want to take a big heavy lock along? What about popping inside the cafe with your bike left in your eyeline? How do you stop the opportunist thieving scumbag from simply grabbing your pride and joy and riding away?

Say Hello To The Knog Milkman

I have no idea why Knog call this magic little product the Milkman, but that’s not important right now. The Milkman is a lightweight, small, simple, pocketable bike lock which you can take with you on EVERY ride. It’s the first bike lock I’ve owned which I could honestly say that about.

A 90cm length of PVC-coated steel wire is wound inside a reassuringly solid aluminium case, with a snap-shut locking mechanism and 3 supplied keys (one to take with you, one for your spare keys and one at home just in case). You just take the Milkman out of your pocket, pull out the cable, wrap it around your frame and something immovable then snap it shut. You can go get your cake/coffee/pint/pee. It’s as simple as that.

Pros:

  • Genuinely pocketable
  • Lightweight
  • Simple to unlock with a good old-fashioned key
  • Excess cable is wound back in, so no flapping lengths of wire
  • Choice of colours (mine’s green, I’m an Autumn colours kinda guy)
  • Inexpensive – expect to pay less than £20

Cons:

  • Will not stop the more determined type of thieving scumbag. It’s a lightweight lock
  • Cable recoil spring may cause knuckle bruising

Why Should You Buy A Knog Milkman?

This little lock will just give you the freedom to nip somewhere while your beautiful machine is locked outside, as long as you keep an eye on it. It will buy you the time to do what you need to do. It will not stop a determined thieving scumbag, but it will enable you to go and buy that all-important mid-ride coffee and cake.

You could also use to garotte baddies in spy movies. Only in spy movies, mind!

You should probably get one. In your favourite colour.  Check out these links to find the best deal for you:

Tell ‘emPhill sent you ;)

 
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Lezyne M-Caddy Saddlebag Review

Published on 16 June 2013 in Kit Reviews

Backpack or Saddlebag?

I like to travel light. Most of my rides are about 1 hour’s riding in the evening after work, usually with a cappuccino stop around halfway.

Because of this, it’s not feasible to take a pack out with me… Well, it’s not sensible anyway. So, I take a 750ml bottle with Nuun or High5 Zero in it, a fiver for a brew and a few essential bits.

The essential bits go into my saddlebag. For some years I’ve had a basic bag from Decathlon which has served me well but has always been a bit too big if I’m honest.

When the guys at ProBikeKit sent me the Lezyne M-Caddy saddlebag I thought: ‘Ideal, just what I need!’

Was It Just What I Needed?

The M-Caddy is one of a choice of saddlebag sizes that Lezyne offer. ProBikeKit sell the smaller S-Caddy too, along with a whole bunch of other bike accessories. This M-Caddy is big enough to hold:

  • a spare road inner or a puncture repair kit (my choice as MTB inners are a bit chunkier than roadies);
  • multi-tool;
  • gel;
  • 2 tyre levers;
  • house keys;
  • cash for mid-ride cake
  • … Plus there’s a loop on the back for your rear light.

Colour options are basically Ninja black or Shiny silver for the more visibility-conscious rider. As a mountain biker and fan of cheap Japanese gameshows (have you SEEN Ninja Warrior?!), obviously I went for the Ninja option.

I really like the way Lezyne think things through at the design stage. This bag is no exception: neoprene & velcro pouches are put to good effect to hold your major bits and pieces, meaning that it will be easy to find them again when you do eventually have a road-or-trail-side emergency to sort out. Fastenings are simple & secure velcro meaning that the bag will fit snugly to any stem/saddle combo.

The Good Bits:

Ideal size to hold the essentials but stow away nicely

  • Specific pockets for your bits of kit
  • Rear light loop
  • Great price

The Bad Bit:

The zip, whilst it has a great rubberised loop to make it usable with gloves on, tends to pull at the bag when it’s being zipped open or closed. I’m worried that this will damage the zip or bag with heavy use. I’ll let you know if this turns out to be a problem but to be fair, there’s no sign of damage after a few weeks of use.

Should You Buy the Lezyne M-Caddy Saddlebag?

If you’re an MTB rider who dons a 3 litre Camebak every time you go out then you don’t need a saddlebag. If, however, you’re like me and like to travel with the minimum of tools, or if you use a very small hydration pack, a saddlebag like this is perfect. No unpacking every time you ride, just a simple space to keep the essentials in.

At this price (under £17 as I write this but click here for latest prices) for a nicely-designed piece of Lezyne kit, I’d certainly recommend it.

 
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Oakley Straight Jacket Sunglasses – Prescription – Review by Stuart McGregor

Published on 10 May 2013 in Kit Reviews

Oakley Straight Jacket Glasses Reviewed

Hi,

For my sins I wear glasses (short sighted) –  I have tried contacts but didn’t really get on with them.
My regular glasses are Oakley, normal looking with metal arms and a thin frame. I chose Oakley after trying various different type including the specsavers/vision express cheapies/2 for 1 and have found them to be superb, my current Oakley frames are 4 years old and I’ve never had a problem with them.

Now, with this in mind I wanted something a bit more, well, shall we say “cool” ? Because that’s what I wanted! Something I could wear on the bike, obviously sunglasses are an option but I ride at night, so that was a no no.

I wanted the wraparound style so my eyes wouldn’t water on fast descents… I wanted some sort of shading for sunny days and something that looked a bit better than normal glasses….

After much deliberation and internet browsing I settled on some Oakleys as they seemed to meet all my requirements. I went to an opticians that was an Oakley dealer (Andrew Care ) to try a few styles and decided on the ‘Straight Jacket‘. Mine are the smoke grey frame with grey tinted lenses and transitions shading (they change with the sunlight). Oakley claim to have a unique way of making the lenses so they can make prescription lenses in the wraparound style…..

So… ordered on a Wednesday, phone call the following Tuesday to say they were in, quick service! (Oakley make the glasses to order in Ireland)

So, my impressions?

Excellent, money well spent (£240). They fit great, nice and snug to my face meaning not much light gets in the side and the wind doesn’t make my eyes water on fast descents – this was tested on a mile long 14% gradient on the road bike!

The shading is just right, not as aggressive as a proper set of sunglasses but I’ve never found myself walking into a room or shaded area and not able to see. The beauty of the transitions is it makes these more than just prescription sunglasses, they can be used as normal glasses for everyday use (I have).

The wraparound lenses were the biggest surprise, regular glasses wearers probably don’t realize how much peripheral vision is lost, this was made very clear to me once I’d got these Oakleys! I was amazed at how much easier looking over my shoulder etc was with these glasses, I have a genuine full range of vision now.

The lenses are supposed to go from 15% tint to 90% tint, to be honest you don’t notice the 15% inside but I have yet to see then go fully black, although they warned me it takes a few days full sun for the chemicals to work properly in the lenses.

Note, they can only make wraparound style for prescriptions of up to +4.00.

So, fuller range of vision, no watering eyes, shades as well as normal use and they look pretty good when shaded (unshaded is a matter or personal taste….) for the price of a decent pair of glasses. Yes, I’m happy!

The opticians I used also do mail order and are running 20% off making them fairly competitive.

Apologies for my ugly mug! The image of them shaded with the light blue backdrop is after 10-20 seconds in the sun, gives an idea of the speed they change.

Find me on Twitter @StuartMc1

Note – the Amazon link is non-prescription. Use the optician’s link above if you want prescription lenses! :)

 
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