Nite Ize in the Dorms

Posted by Dave Taylor

Sep 10, 2018 10:39:00 AM

After eighteen years of the frequently challenging daily task of parenting, I reached a milestone in my son’s life: He headed off to college. And he's not staying close to home. We live in Boulder, Colorado but he chose Pitzer College in Claremont, California, almost exactly 1,000 miles from home.

I lived in the dorms when I went to college many eons ago, but the increase in technology and electronics coupled with more participatory and attentive parenting has changed the dorm life experience quite a bit. College kids expect nicer housing amenities and parents demand it.

Still, dorm rooms are fundamentally small rooms where two kids who don’t know each other are stuck sharing the space and learning how to get along, even as they both figure out that college thing too.

Fortunately, Nite Ize had some great ideas for making the most out of those small dorm rooms and navigating the college experience. We pulled together a College Dorm Move-In Kit that contained lots of great products to help out with cable organization, bike safety, and recreation. Here’s a photo of my son on his dorm bed with the Kit spread out:

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Look closely and you’ll see Gear Ties® in both 6” and 12” lengths, a pack of CordCollars™  a Wraptor™ rotating phone holder for the bike, a pair of Radiant® 125 rechargeable bike lights, an INOVA® XT flashlight and a Flashflight® LED flying disc.

It wasn’t until he started trying to plug in his computer, phone charger, music speakers, voice speaker, lamp and other gadgets that he suddenly realized the great benefit of organizing all his cords. The Gear Ties worked great for that and ensured that he’d never accidentally unplug anything while sitting at the desk doing homework (or surfing the internet while not doing homework as it may be.)

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We decided not to take his bicycle to campus on move-in, but it turns out that his dorm mate is a triathlete and has spare bikes, one of which he generously loaned to my son! The Radiant 125 bike lights are going to work great to keep them safe while biking around campus and the community at night, one on each of their bikes. And since they're rechargeable, there's no batteries to buy.

Of all the Nite Ize products, however, there’s no question that the one he was most excited about was the Flashflight. Being based in California means that the evenings are delightful, the students are outdoor minded, and everyone’s already good at tossing flying discs. With its light-up colors and smooth flight, Gareth’s sure to be the most popular guy on campus in no time with his Flashflight!

Move-in is done. He’s set up in his dorm room, wires organized and flashlight sitting by the bed in case of emergencies. His bike will be well illuminated and his charging cables now sport collars to make them more reliable. He’s even ready for late night outdoor recreation. Now the hard part: classes, studying and working towards his degree. I’m confident he’s going to do great!

 

 

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Topics: Organization, Gear Ties, Commuting, DIY

Road Team Tested: Hitting the Road with Gear Ties

Posted by Live Outside & Play Road Team

Sep 5, 2018 10:25:59 AM

Ben and Roxy are more than road warriors. They spend all day, every day traveling the country out of a custom van as part of the Elevation Outdoors Live Outside and Play Road Team. While taking the road less traveled, these two have developed clever ways to keep their rolling home organized, accessible, and ready to handle whatever bumps come their way.

Roxy and her dog Henry

The versatility of Gear Ties® have made these Reusable Rubber Twist Ties™ a vital part of their everyday lives. Colorful Gear Ties can be spotted throughout their van, illustrating numerous ways that Ben, Roxy, and their pup Henry have discovered solutions on the fly. From securing their refrigerator to creating impromptu storage, Ben and Roxy have a variety of ways that these everyday items have proved essential.

Whether you're traveling across the country or going for a short family road trip, check out the Live Outside and Play Road Team's favorite out-of-the-box ways to make long days in the car easier with Gear Ties.  

Click here to discover Ben and Roxy's "SIX OUT-OF-THE-BOX WAYS TO USE A GEAR TIE."

*Nite Ize is a proud sponsor of the Live Outside and Play Road Team.

 

 

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Topics: Organization, Gear Ties, Commuting, DIY

Cycling Croatia With the Field Team

Posted by Field Team Member Heidi Kumm

Apr 11, 2018 1:24:03 PM

I am a trail runner, not a cyclist or mountain biker. The one time I did own a bike it was a mountain bike + it lived on the trails with me. Riding a bicycle in traffic is terrifying to me -- I don’t trust that the people behind the wheels of all the cars will be paying enough attention to guarantee my safety. Not to mention the fact I don’t necessarily trust myself atop a bike. I’m far more comfortable in my running shoes with only thin rubber between me + the ground.

All of these fun facts were ignored when I decided to cycle the coast of Croatia...in July...for nearly a month...on a cobbled together bike...with my life strapped to the frame.

My game plan was to cycle from northern Croatia to southern Croatia over the course of about four weeks. I needed to venture out of the Schengen Region of Europe to stay within the regulations of my visitor visa + I wasn’t about to just hang out on a beach. I wanted something more, something exciting + something hard. So when it was suggested I cycle the coast of Croatia I jumped all over the chance to take on adventure.

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Instead of thinking about how much was stacked against me I focused on how much fun it was going to be. Not to mention how miserable it was going to be. I was looking at about 400 miles of cycling in the heat of a coastal country’s humid summer sunshine. Needless to say, I’ve had better ideas.

 

Nite Ize to the Rescue!

I mentioned this idea to the crew at Nite Ize about two months before I took off + they were even more stoked about it than I was! They asked how they could support my crazy. Nite Ize specializes in outdoor gear gadgets + some pretty spiffy bicycle accessories. Of course I wanted their help + support! It was a perfect fit! They supplied me with some awesome gear that came in incredibly handy when I was packing up my gear + decking out my new-to-me bike.

The bike lights were amazing + made my bike incredibly visible, which alleviated a lot of my stress about being visible on the highways. I strapped the INOVA STS Reachargable Headlamp to the front of the bike + the LED TwistLit to my back fender. This covered the basic requirements for bike safety, but I wanted more. I love color + what’s more colorful than multi-colored SpokeLits to spice things up?! Yea, no one was going to miss me on the road! But for good measure I packed along bright colors + reflective gear, because safety first!

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Another great product that Nite Ize has created for cyclists is the HandleBand mount for your GPS/phone. It straps to your handlebars + keeps your phone right in your view. I quite literally depended upon this gadget! Since my route was created as I went it was integral to have my phone with Google Maps in front of me at all times. I even rigged up some Gear Ties to hold a battery pack to my bike frame so I’d always be able to check my route.

The Gear Ties also came in handy to strap my tent poles to my bike frame + keep all of my cords intact [yup, I took along electronics -- that’s the life of a digital nomad!]. I also found nearly a million uses for the CamJam XT Cord Tightener, which could be paired up with paracord to become a bungee or clothesline or...whatever else you could possibly need with adjustable paracord. We washed our clothes in campground sinks, so we put the CamJam clothesline to good use!

They were also kind enough to send along a cycling jersey to make me feel legit! I am not a cycling short convert, but the jerseys are rather incredible with their back pockets! It’s the little things in life I tell ya.

Adventure Bound // Cycling Coastal Croatia

I arrived in Rovinj, Croatia via bus after more than 24 hours of travel. I drug my bagged up bike over to a tiny park near the bus station, unpacked it + put it all together. Within about 30 minutes of getting off the bus I was on the road, following my phone’s GPS toward a campsite about 10km away. The sense of accomplishment I felt when I arrived at the campground + managed to set up camp without incident was glorious. I did it! I rode a touring bike + didn’t fall over [at least not entirely!]. I had remembered enough of my gear to at least set up my tent. Boom...I had this! I was going to do this!

This all changed the next day when I spent the entire afternoon sprawled out in the shade, willing myself not to vomit everywhere. In my excitement to ride I had forgotten to eat or drink for the entirety of a very hot, very sunny 20km/13mi jaunt. By the time I arrived at camp I was trashed. My ego was crushed...I am an ultra trail runner, I was supposed to be smarter than this!

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Later that day my friend, Sophie, arrived via plane with her touring bike in tow. We were planning to spend the next few weeks cycling together. She knew cycling, I knew suffering. It seemed fool proof.

It definitely wasn’t a fool proof plan. It was a plan made by fools. We knew we were pushing our limits, but we were optimistic. Over the next few days we learned exactly what our limits are + how unprepared we were. Phew. Did you know Croatia is crazy hot + insanely humid in mid-July?! Well, it is. Heat + humidity are brutal, especially for a mountain girl [me!] + a girl from the United Kingdom [Sophie!]. The conditions ate us alive + eventually we gave in. Or, in my mind at the time, we gave up. We rented a car.

 

The car was barely large enough to fit our tire-less bikes into it, but it came with air conditioning + a motor. That’s exactly what we needed in that moment. It took some time for me to accept the feeling of failure that came with this tiny European car, but in the end it was definitely a worthy decision. The car took us inland where we were able to explore Plitvice Lakes National Park + Krka National Park. Both were incredible + would not have been possible with our bikes + schedule.

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We spent a week in the car, then returned it for a few more days of cycling once we arrived in southern Croatia. It actually felt good to get back on my bike as I rode along a nearly empty road leading from Dubrovnik, Croatia to Hercig Novi, Montenegro. It was freeing + calming. I loved it more with every pedal turn. After a few too many days of wishing my bike tires would just fall off I was now plotting how I would take it back home with me.

 

I will always identify as a trail runner first...but at my core I am happy to get outside, however I can. Even atop a bicycle that I learned how to put together in the days before a four week adventure.

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Between the bikes + the rental car we were able to visit Pula, Zadar, Split, Makarska, Plitvice Lake NP, Krka NP + Dubrovnik in Croatia. From Dubrovnik I head to Herceg Novi + Kotor, Montenegro while Sophie ventured north to Munich, Germany. I closed out my Croatian adventure with a stop in Zagreb, then met up with Sophie before we both returned to the mountains of Switzerland.

You can read up on more of the adventure over on my website: Heidi Kumm // Oversharing Life. You’ll find the full story, a run down of the logistics + the details of how I packed my life into a few pannier bags. I learned a lot while roaming + exploring on a bike...so much so that I’m fairly certain I will be acquiring a new bike this summer. While the bike I used in Croatia did come back to Colorado with me there’s a very high chance I’ll be popping my colorful SpokeLits on another new-to-me bike. One created for trails, to mesh a bit more with my trail running ways.

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Topics: Bike, Adventure, Commuting, Visibility and Safety, Field Team, "travel"

Back to School Survival Guide

Posted by Kristin Butcher

Aug 14, 2017 3:47:48 PM

 

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It feels like yesterday that I watched my oldest son exit the bus as a second grader for the last time, while I explained to my five-year-old son that he was still a whole summer away from starting kindergarten.

“That’s, like, a year away!”

And in kid time, he’s right. But in adult time, summer goes by in seconds. I must have blinked a little too fast, because it's already time to shift from sunscreen and summer camps to books and backpacks. Transitions are hard for kids and adults alike, but here are solutions that help my family get back to school smoothly (while retaining some semblance of sanity).

MOOOOOOOM, WHERE IS MY…

Children’s ability to learn is almost as impressive as their ability to forget, which makes S-Biners a lifesaver for keeping easy-to-lose items secure and accessible. With a variety of colorful clippable solutions that can be connected to backpacks, gym bags, lunch boxes, water bottles and more, S-Biners keep the chaos (relatively) under control.

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FORGET FIDGET SPINNERS

Kids are programmed to keep their minds and bodies active. By keeping a handful of brightly colored Gear Ties stored in their backpacks, kids can use them for everything from fixing broken lunch box handles to sculpting Gear Ties into their favorite creatures. Our new Gear Tie Key Ring is both fun and functional, offering busy bodies a perfect way to fidget quietly.

Sometimes fixing a lunch box is a lot easier than convincing a five-year-old that his Twilight lunch box (don't ask) isn't the best lunch box ever.

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BIKE FOR BETTER GRADES

A recent Danish study that followed 20,000 school-aged kids determined that bicycling to school impacts concentration more than eating a healthy breakfast. Outfitting bikes with SpokeLit Disc-O Select and See'ems for side visibility provides safety through fun and colorful lights kids love. For walkers and riders, magnetic TagLits are super bright and easily attach to bags, jackets and more.

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FAMILY TIME, FUN TIME

After sitting in school all day, kids need to move their bodies—a feat made more difficult by shorter days. Closing out each day tossing around the Flashflight Jr. or playing catch (with or without Fido) is a great way to combine family time with fun time.

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GOODNIGHT MOON

When it’s time to crawl into bed, the BugLit makes for a perfect reading light that kids can enjoy while they rest up and get ready to do it all over again the next day.

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Topics: Back to School, Visibility and Safety, Fun & Games, Commuting, Bike

The month of May is National Bike Safety Month, are you prepared?

Posted by Brian Dekle

May 4, 2016 9:14:26 AM

Have you ever been out for a night ride and had a car pass by too close for comfort? Do you ride with a repair kit at the ready to handle any setbacks or quick adjustments on the go? Do you and your love ones, practice good habits when riding or sharing the road? Whether you’re a casual cruiser, the competitive cyclist, or a considerate motorist it’s always great to double check that you’re prepared and knowledgeable for any misadventures that the road or trail may throw at you. May is National Bike Safety Month, and I’d love to share some thoughts to keep you out and keep you safe.

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For an easy tip, here’s rule one… wear a helmet! I’ve seen this first-hand, wearing a helmet can save your life… no matter how slow you’re riding it’s only to your benefit. There’s a ton of options out there, so if you want a casual or a high performance life saver you’re going to be covered, literally. Here are a few great brands to consider: Nutcase, Bern, Smith, Giro, and Poc. The key to a great helmet is all about fit, as well as making sure it’s appropriate for the level of activity at hand. Be sure to pop into your local bike shop and try on several options to ensure you get the best fit possible.

Safety is a necessity in our lives, though the concept of the word doesn’t exactly inspire joy or fun I’ll admit.To explore that a little further, you may believe bike lights aren’t as necessary during the warmer seasons ahead. To some degree you’re right; however, you may be interested to learn that most cycling accidents occur during daylight, as well as low-light times such as sunrise or dusk. So how do you add safety and a little character to such a dry subject? Easy, you add LEDs. Thanks to LED lighting you can ride with a little extra personality. It’s always important to BE SEEN & BE SAFE… but you don’t need to be bland about it. For front & rear visibility I’d suggest a simple solution, like the TWISTLIT - LED BIKE LIGHT which is an easy “on-the-go” item. It’s a small, simple, and easily stowable form of visibility that can give you that extra bit of attention to others on the road. Another safety item with a bit more color for your night ride is the SPOKELIT - LED SPOKE LIGHT. The SpokeLit is a quick and easy install to your wheel spokes, and greatly increases your side to side visibility. There are a ton of color options as well. But that’s just the bike… what about keeping you seen? This is where one of my favorite Nite Ize products comes into the fold... the  SLAPLIT - LED SLAP WRAP.

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The SlapLit takes me back to my youth and the days of the Slap Bracelet. I mean come on, we all had them… and how do you make that better? Yep, you add LEDs. What was once a toy from my early days is illuminated to keep you visible in the dark, and it’s completely bike friendly as well. Most riders wear the SlapLit around the ankle for visibility and to keep your pant leg away from the chain. I personally prefer wearing it on my wrist, which enables me to use the light as a turn indicator to motorist that may not be able to see my arms clearly on dark roads.

There’s more to safety than visibility though, you also need to be prepared. It’s great to have a general knowledge of your bike and how to maintain it. A great resource for this is your local bike shop or REI as most will offer free courses in basic bike maintenance. These resources keep you connected with your local cycling community and are a great way to pick-up the skills to keep your bike in proper form should you get a flat or need to make some basic adjustments. Before every ride I suggest checking that your brakes are working properly, and that you have good tire pressure. To that effect, you should always be ready to tackle these issues when you ride. I highly recommend carrying:

  1. A new tube/patch kit
  2. A bike tool
  3. A tire lever
  4. An air pump/CO2 system


Having these items with you, as well as the knowledge to put them to use can be the difference between a ride and the dreaded “hike-a-bike” home. One of my favorite ways to keep your repair kit organized is to keep them together with our new BETTERBAND™ 5" ADJUSTABLE STRETCH BANDS. This is an easy way to secure your tools together, and keeps them easily stowable in a jersey pocket.

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So let’s do a quick recap: now you have a great fitting helmet, you’re ready to illuminate the day or night to be seen and safe, and you have some basic tools and bike knowledge to keep your rig rolling. That’s a great start, but be sure you know the rules of the road and how they keep you safe in your area. Here are a couple good resources to consider: bikeleague.org, safekids.org, as well as peopleforbikes.org. You may also be able to find some great programs in your neighborhood. Local to Colorado, I’ve had the great fortune of working with two programs that are reaching out to increase bike awareness and safety for children. Both are actively engaging youth communities to be safe, knowledgeable, and courteous riders. Our very own Boulder Valley School District is working with various age groups to develop good fundamentals early, as well as put these techniques to work on the road. It’s pretty inspiring to see a local education program coach student health and safety at such a priority. Another great program is tripsforkidsdenver.org which works with at-risk youth to foster life skills of personal empowerment. They focus on kids who have had no experience on a bike, while all the way creating achievement based programs in which these young participants can even earn a bike.

The important thing to remember on the road is to be safe, be courteous, and always remember to enjoy the ride. I can still remember when my Dad took the training wheels off my bike. For me it was a day of accomplishment and triumph… I found a new sense of exploration and freedom. For my family it was a sense of trust, a belief that they had instilled the proper knowledge and respect in their son to keep him alert, safe, and happy. I can say first-hand that this passion is still alive inside me today. I hope that you too have the same smile on your face during every ride.

Stay safe - Rubber side down,
Brian

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Topics: Emergency Preparedness, Visibility and Safety, Commuting, New Products

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