Chicago Bike Blog (Who’s Behind This)
Hi there! I’m Justyna, the creator of the Chicago Bike Blog and The microESCAPE, and co-owner of Cosmic Bikes, an independent local bicycle store based in Chicago, IL. As a life-long bicycle retailer and advocate, I have spent almost 30 years putting people on bicycles of all kinds, including basic transportation bikes, touring bikes, Brompton folding bikes, recumbent bikes and trikes, and more!
In addition to being an amazing personal transportation tool, bicycles are also one of the best vehicles for outdoor adventures. Over the last decade, I’ve been discovering ways to incorporate short, meaningful adventure outings into everyday life, and exploring compact, functional and reliable gear to enhance those small adventures.
Commercial Disclosure (How I Earn Money From This Blog)
Some of the content on this website includes links to various products pages. If this is a product that Cosmic Bikes carries, such as a Brompton bicycle, or other gear, the link will take you to my own online store, where you can complete your purchase. Since I own Cosmic Bikes, any such purchase is made directly from me.
Many other product links on this site are affiliate links to companies I have partnered with. If you purchase gear through those links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale. This does not affect the price that you pay. I participate in affiliate programs including Avantlink and several other individual sites.
I do not get paid by any company to write about any gear item. All the products I recommend, whether sold through my own store or through affiliate relationships, are products I have personally used and can strongly recommend. I have not and will not do any sponsored content.
My goal is to provide content that is honest, based on first hand experience with the product, and presented in an informative, non-distracting way, which is why I have chosen not to accept any display ads.
In short, I want the information presented here to give you no-BS insight and help you choose the right gear for your needs.
Gear Recommendations (How This May Differ From Other Review Sites)
I know from decades of selling bikes, that customers can get easily overwhelmed with technical details. Yes, some people can spend hours “talking shop”, but most simply want a bicycle that fits well, and can handle for the type of use they envision.
When I first began learning about outdoor products for my own use, I had a similar sense of overwhelm. I found online product reviews more confusing than informative. Reading product roundups sometimes left me even more bewildered than before I started. Many reviews were geared toward people interested in expedition-style outings, and were brimming with technical details.
I didn’t need stuff that would withstand months of hiking through remote reaches of Mongolia, but I did want gear that was reliable, durable, simple to use, and above all –compact. I wanted good stuff that works.
Through trial and error I’ve whittled my own gear to some key favorites, and the coverage of those items I present here is less a review, and more a first hand account of my experience with a particular piece of gear, used in the real world on short, but sometimes quite demanding trips.
I will let you know if the particular gear item works in the way it’s intended, is it serviceable, what are the drawbacks (if any), and is it enjoyable to use. From this, I hope you will be able to determine if the particular item will work for your intended purpose.
My adventure arsenal is by no mean complete. Over time, I will be trying more ways to enjoy the great outdoors more often. Not just biking, hiking and camping, but also paddling, XC skiing, maybe snowshoeing. So this is all a work in progress. And as I learn, you can too, if you follow along. In the meantime, don’t let not having the perfect piece of gear keep you from enjoying adventures starting today.
Unless you are in fact going on global expeditions or facing extreme weather conditions, you don’t need to get lost in the technical details: you simply need good stuff that works.