Blogging for The Discerning Cyclist

In amongst everything else I’ve been doing, I have written a few product reviews for the UK bicycle style website, The Discerning Cyclist. The first two product reviews I did for them were products I’ve written about here, the REI Novara Whittier Bike Dress, and the Natril Gear Handlebar Bag. But after my honeymoon, I wrote a product review just for the Discerning Cyclist – about the lovely NOMONRO Dress Clips I bought in Amsterdam. You can read it here. I enjoy seeing my writing elsewhere, and I’m happy to share my opinions on bike fashion!

NOMONRO Dress CLip 3

However, with the publication of this review, I am now faced with a quandary – what else can I review for them?! Although I have many bike-y fashion things, most of it has now either been reviewed already and/or is no longer available. My cool North Face reflective shirt? So last year. My Cole Haan reflective shoes? Awesome, comfortable, cool, sassy – except they are no longer in stores (although I heard a few months ago that they were still in the outlet store in Leesburg, VA, so check that out, if you are nearby). Everything else I’ve made myself, and since I’m not at a point where I want to consider sewing for other people, well, I don’t think it would make any sense to “review” that.

Four reflective fashion projects lined up, yippee!

Four reflective fashion projects lined up, yippee!


So what can I review next? What should I review next? What can I afford to buy so I can review it?! I really want one of the several bike skirts out there (Iva Jean, Iladora, etc.), but I just spent a fortune on fabric and patterns, so it will be a while before I can do that. Any other ideas? I need some suggestions – or maybe donations? Think of The Discerning Cyclists and their need for more reviews of women’s clothing…

Product Review: NatrilGear Purse

I am supposed to be on a shopping freeze until I get to Europe, unless the purchase is somehow directly related to the wedding. So the reason why I bought a new bag at the Women’s Bicycling Forum is because I will need it on the honeymoon, of course!


Natril Gear had a stand set up showcasing their brightly colored and fun print panniers, purses and wallets. The panniers come in a range of colors, from “Pink Lemonade” to “Hero” to “Summit Sky“, while the purses come in matching fabrics, as well as the prints such as “Spring Rain” and “Sunny Bamboo.” Honestly, I didn’t look at the panniers as closely because I love mine and wanted something small enough for my wallet and lip balm, that I could just throw over my shoulder after we check into our hotels during the bike tour part of our trip. I picked the “Aquarius” purse.

This small handlebar bag has sturdy Velcro straps on the back that attach to the handlebars, plus a detachable shoulder strap. I naturally love the reflective strip on both the outside flat and inside pocket, which means that no matter what, there is a reflective strip on the front of your bike! The inside has a zip pocket as well as mesh sides so nothing falls out if it’s opened all the way. The double zipper pulls are brilliant to let you zip around any item that might stick out awkwardly out the top, or you want to grab something (treats!) from time to time.

What really sold me on the bag is the way the top flap opens up and can fold over the handlebars towards you, with a clear pocket for maps, a phone, notes, or whatever. I’m not sure what sort of cue sheets or maps we’ll get from the bike company, but hopefully they can go in this pocket.

This clear pocket has two Velcro closures as well, to keep things from falling out

This clear pocket has two Velcro closures as well, to keep things from falling out

Natril Gear founders Nathan and April were inspired by their own long trip (4146 miles!) to create durable yet fun colored bags, so when I mentioned that I was thinking about taking the bag on my honeymoon bike trip, April was very enthusiastic. That helped win me over – after thinking about it, I decided that I should get the bag, and help out the small company. If all I shove in that clear pocket are Swiss chocolate wrappers, it’s worth it!

Their panniers seem well thought out, with bright color linings, key chain clips, inside zip pocket, and a plastic backing. I have no doubt that they worked out all these details on their long journey, so they know from true experience what works best. I wish them all the luck with their company! I think they are already succeeding in the “improve and enliven the world” part of their mission!