By Don Lindich
Week 45, 2021
Q. I’ve fallen in love with my e-bike! I ride it everywhere and need to stay in touch with my work responsibilities at all times. Do you have any recommendations for a Bluetooth single earpiece headset with microphone I can wear while riding? I don’t trust an earbud in such an active environment, and figure I should get something with a headband to hold it in place.
-D.P., Minneapolis, MN
A. Riding a bicycle while wearing headphones is not legal in all states, and is regulated in some states. To learn more visit bicyclelaw.com.
I do not have a specific recommendation beyond the type of headset, and emphatically ask you exercise caution when using any kind of headset while riding. Start by searching Amazon for “Bluetooth cycling headphones” and look at bone conduction models that do not block your ears. You should also consider the $49.99 Tribit StormBox Micro, an excellent Bluetooth speaker that has a microphone and a sturdy strap for affixing to bicycle handlebars.
Heated clothing from iHeat: An electric blanket can provide a comforting, warm feeling on a cold winter’s day. What if you could take that feeling with you wherever you go? Heated clothing from iHeat and Aunroaa (iHeat for women) allows you to do exactly that.
Aunroaa and iHeat heated clothing uses high-tech, lightweight graphene heating elements and a removable, rechargeable battery pack to power them. The pack can be charged via MicroUSB and USB-C, the latter also working as a charger for connected devices that support USB-C charging. Two ordinary USB ports are also provided, one for powering the clothing and the other to charge your phone. This built-in charging can be extra-useful as phones deplete their charge more rapidly in cold weather. I tried a heated men’s jacket
and the unisex vest, and also had an Aunroaa women’s jacket on hand to examine and compare to the other items.
The jackets and vest impressed me as quality garments and not just a gimmick, with premium YKK zippers and fabric that could seemingly support the price even without the built-in heating and phone charging. There are three separate heating zones with three separate heat levels each, each controlled by soft-touch buttons inside the left breast of the jacket. When warmed up it feels very, very nice and really makes the cold around you seem far away. The jacket fit true-to-size for me, but only if I was not layering clothing underneath. That would have required the next size larger, but I am not sure how relevant that is given that making layering unnecessary is a main selling point of the product. The selectable heat levels pretty much guarantee you find perfect warmth with the jacket alone.
The iHeat and Aunroaa heated clothing would be especially appreciated by winter sports enthusiasts, outdoor workers, those attending sporting events outside in cold climates, anyone who dislikes dressing in layers (like me) and those who simply love to stay nice and toasty warm all of the time. If they were used with suitable camouflage I imagine hunters would appreciate the products, as well. This brings me to the only caveat as I see it, the limited color and style options. For now, it’s a lot like the original Ford Model T in basic black.
It’s a great idea that is well executed and affordable, and given the cost of a typical winter coat the price is very reasonable. The Aunroaa heated women’s jacket and iHeat men’s jacket are each $139.99, and the unisex heated vest is $89.99 on amazon.com.