Gear

What We’re Loving This Week: Customer Service, Superfood Mixes, and Bike Adapters

What our editors and staff are using in their regular lives right now—new, old, and random.

Our editors spend a lot of time living the triathlon lifestyle—and facing all the same problems and annoyances our readers face. Here’s what we’re loving this week.

Competitive Cyclist’s Customer Service

I had such a positive customer service experience that I have to share it. My almost 10-year-old daughter outgrew her bike months ago, but with the bike supply shortage that has resulted from the pandemic we had put off trying to buy her a new one. After weeks of research, we finally found this Prevelo bike on competitivecyclist.com. I placed the order and, based on our experience of trying to find a bike over the last few months, I figured a) they would call me and tell me that it wasn’t really available or b) it would be weeks (or months) before it would arrive. (We had several bike stores tell us they couldn’t get us anything for about a year.) I ordered the bike last Friday, got an email on Saturday from them saying that it was being built and would ship soon, and then we received the bike yesterday. She’s now, one week after I ordered it, outside riding her bike as I type this. I am blown away by the customer service and overall speed (and availability). If you’re in the market for a kids’ bike and are struggling to find anything decent, give them a try.

– Liz Hichens, senior digital editor

Your Super (no typo) Superfoods Mixes

I’m not a huge nutrition products person, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that I’m a lazy nutrition person. I like my food right away after a workout, and I typically don’t care what it is. These smoothie add-ins act as awesome boosts to the fruit or veggie smoothies I’m already making and help sub in those fancy ingredients that I never seem to have, I can never find, or I don’t even know how to pronounce. Right now I’m super into Super Green and Chocolate Lover powders, while my wife loves the Matcha Power blend for smoothies and her homemade matcha green tea lattes that don’t cost an arm and a leg at the fancy coffee shop. So far these blends have helped supplement the times when my diet is less than complete, and I don’t have the time (or energy) to even feel guilty about it.

– Chris Foster, senior editor

Thru-Axle to Quick Release Adapter

OK, I know this may be an issue that not that many people identify with, but bear with me: If you have a mix of older bikes and very new bikes in your house, then you’ve likely realized that all the “innovation” happening in the bike industry in the last few years has resulted in a situation where you may end up with a lot of bikes with nothing compatible. My husband and I used to be able to swap wheels when we needed to, but now it’s 11-speed v. 12-speed, disc brakes or no, quick release v. thru axle—and then I found out the hard way you also have to worry about axle width and type and thread size. And let’s not even get into the fact that you still may not be able to swap two 12-speed, same width thru-axle wheels, with the same cassettes, because the disc brakes are different sizes and makes. It can get, uh, frustrating.

My frustration peaked trying to ride our wheel-off trainer. My husband needs it to be set for one thing for his bike, and virtually all my bikes are a different thing. I got sick of trying to swap cassettes and adapters (or, trying to ride my one bike that was the same set-up but had different sized wheels). I ended up just reverting to our standard wheel-on Saris fluid trainer. (Our’s is actually so old it’s really a Cycleops fluid trainer, but it gets the job done.) All my problems were solved, but—and this is a big BUT—you can’t fit a thru-axle bike in a standard trainer without a quick-release adapter for the trainer to have something to clamp on to. After a week of Googling axles widths and thread count, scouring over manufacturer specs, asking my colleagues at VeloNews, and even using a ruler to try to measure the axles and threads, I found The Robert Axle Project. It turns out I’m not the only one who has hit this problem. A wide range of kid trailers, cargo racks, and trainers require some kind of thru-axle to quick release adapter, and the Robert Axle Project has taken out the stress of figuring out which one. All you have to do is enter in your bike, model, make, and what you want to use it for; it spits out the right adapter for your needs and mails you the piece. I’ve never been so happy to hand over $40. At least most of my problems have been solved!

– Kelly O’Mara, editor-in-chief