Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bellevue, WA: Immaculate, cool bike racks, and jackets in the summer.

Just got back from a quick business trip to Bellevue, Washington. Bellevue is an outlying suburb of Seattle. A resident of Bellevue told me that Bellevue has always been a bedroom community of Seattle, but with higher property values. Well, I asked: shouldn’t it be called a ‘master’ bedroom community, ha-ha.

Anyway, I didn’t take an extra day so I could go riding (sorry Brompton), but I did walk around after my daytime meetings were over. First, the downtown area was surprisingly clean. They must run those street sweepers all night because nary a fast food wrapper or plastic water bottle was seen in the curbs.

2nd, they had these cool looking bike racks (men’s and women’s versions). Didn’t see a lot of urban riders, though. I saw 2, and they were both riding on the sidewalk. Bike racks were unused, too.

Finally, the temperature was a nice respite to the humid hot DC weather. I guess highs were up around the mid 70s. Mornings were cool (60s), but not cold. Yet, there were a lot of people wearing performance fleece as they jaunted around town. We’re talking Marmot, Mountain Hardware and TNF Denalis. I’d hate to be out here when it gets cold (like 50 degrees). I’d probably see some heavy parkas and such. To be fair, I did see people with flip flops, shorts and tshirts. They were probably from out of town.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Review of the Laken ISO 70 Insulated Water Bottle

I’ve been looking for a water bottle that is stainless steel and that can keep my water cold when I take my long rides. (Soapbox time: Steel and other BPA-free water bottles are reusable and great for the environment). All of the steel bottles I’ve seen are single walled and only keep water at room temperature. My plan would be to use this bottle in my water cage, throw it in my bag and maybe take it into the office.

There is a Polar bottle ( that is squeezable and has some sort of flexy insulated material that keeps liquids cold, but I don’t like they way it looks. I’m also afraid that the kind of abuse that I would put the Polar bottle through may cause it to leak or maybe even tear. The Polar bottle looks like it’s made of some flimsy rubber/plastic material.

I thought I had found the perfect candidate in the Laken ISO 70 water bottle. It felt as lightweight as a regular steel bottle because it has some sort of insulating material (aerogel) to keep water cold. In addition, it had a “wide mouth” so I could easily drop ice cubes in there. I picked it up at my local hiking/camping store and the price was $30 (ouch!). For that price it should work.

I tested it out this past weekend by filling it halfway with ice cubes and the rest with water. It kept the water cold for about 2-3 hours. That’s it. I was expecting more like 8-10 hours. Very disappointing.

Bottom line: Save your money and don’t by the Laken ISO 70 bottle. Looks promising, but does not deliver.