BikeCommuters.com

Tag Archive: bikes

The Ultimate Commuter Bike

Road Bike Action Magazine built their “Ultimate Commuter Bike”. Here are the main specs on their bike:
Sycip Java Boy Frame, SRAM force Grouppo, Conti Tires and FSA wheels. I’m guesstimating a couple of G’s for that bike. So I started thinking, what would be my ultimate commuter bike? Let’s see, my bike has to be comfortable, reliable, fast, nimble, a little stylish and not too expensive.

So here it is:

My KHS F20-R

What is your “Ultimate Commuter Bike”???

When I Build It, I Will Ride…

The BikeCommuters.com Secret Lab, Phoenix division, is now open and the adventure of building my own commuter is finally upon me.

I like tinkering with bikes and have even had a few opportunities to take apart, paint and reassemble bikes. All of those projects never resulted in anything much – none of the bikes are even in my possession any more. But I am always on the look out for a good “project bike.” Once I started bike commuting, I felt the desire to build a custom commuter – spec’d exactly for what I needed. My road bike is too nice for the crummy roads and my mountain bike is too slow and too relaxed (geometry-wise) for the distance. I like the feel of lugged steel (who doesn’t, really?) and have been on the lookout for a frame for building my franken-bike. And, alas, I have found it.

While making my first visit to the Tempe Bike Saviours – a local bike co-op (aka HEAVEN) – I found this sweet ol’ gal amidst a pile of rusted out Schwinn’s and Huffy’s. I have yet to decipher all of the serial numbers so I can figure out the exact model and year of manufacture – but I do know that it is a pre-1973 Japanese model of the Sekine road bike.

Sekine’s were originally manufactured in Japan until 1973, when they opened a plant in Manitoba, Canada to avoid certain duties and tariffs on importing bikes. Sekine was one of those brands that really profited off of the 70s bike boom – they were self-proclaimed as the “World’s Finest Bicycle” (note that the actual frame decal says “World Finest Bicycle…”).

The head badge has a signature rhinestone at the top – which I actually thought was something added by whoever owned this bike before.

For now, all I have is the frameset: frame, fork and crankset. This merely means that I have a blank canvas to work with and I get to hand pick every piece. I will write periodic updates as the project moves along.

Two-wheeled Paramedics

A lot of skeptics and naysayers fight against the build-up of cycling infrastructure in our cities because they say it is a waste of funds that could be spend on more important infrastructure. I have had a conversation about this with many a friend, and have read blog posts, editorials, etc., about the subject. One of the favorite arguments I see being made against cycling infrastructure: “What about hospitals? You can’t carry a patient in critical need on a bicycle.”

There is a great deal of truth to that point, and until now I have simply accepted it as a practical truth. I would never promote cycling as more important as saving a life in need, which, until now has meant that we need roads and we need ambulances. But no longer is the realm of life-saving solely in the hands of automobiles and helicopters. There is a real-life example of bicycle paramedics in the UK: a fully functional unit of paramedics that ride bikes and still comply with governmental regulations for response times. While this may be old news to some, it is new to me – and provides a much-needed burst in excitement about bicycles being viable alternatives to automobiles.

I came across this story on the TreeHugger website. To me, it is a testament that there is wide-spread hope in the bicycle as a viable alternative to the automobile. While a bicycle paramedic cannot necessarily carry a patient to a hospital on a bike, they CAN respond to an emergency – often arriving sooner than an ambulance, especially in crowded metropolitan areas – and stabilize a patient until a larger transport vehicle can arrive on the scene.

Whether or not you think bicycle paramedics have a practical application in our cities, you have to admit: this is a pretty cool story and a hopeful day for cyclists.

[a more traditional journalistic story can be found on the BBC news website, where the image above was taken from.] 

What is it with people in luxury cars…

So the other day I was in an affluent area of the OC, Newport Beach. Think of people driving Hummers, BMW, Land Rovers and Benz’. I’m at the light waiting for it to change green and I see this guy in a benz next to me. I made eye contact and waited for the light to turn green. Light changes, I start to pedal, he lunges forward, stops, looks at me, then punches the gas to cut me off!

So I yell like crazy to him and throw my hands up in the air out of indignation for his actions…I then ride along the street to see if I can find him lined up in all that traffic he just rushed into. I see him, I yell to him, “Why’d you cut me off? I had the right of way!!!!”

The douche looked at me and then quickly turned his head away to ignore me. Aye…what a jerk.

Then this morning when I was dropping off the kids at school, another benz driver was pulling out of the school parking lot. There are two clearly marked signs that say, “Right Turn Only, Buses Exempt.” So what does she do? Yup you guessed it, a left turn. As she’s doing that, she nearly rams another car that was right in front of her!

D-Tour Safety Flag Update

Last month, we posted a first impression of the D-Tour Bicycle Safety Flag. For those of you who missed the article, the flag itself is made of highly reflective nylon — fluorescent yellow-green for the body and silver for the stripes and trim. This fabric flag and “sock? fit over a springy metal arm. The flag “arm? appears to be made of stainless steel, and the attachment bracket is machined aluminum with plastic frame clamps. The flag comes with two pairs of two different sizes of Cateye plastic frame clamps and very clear and concise instructions for mounting the assembly. Once assembled and deployed, the flag device sticks out about 24″ to the side of the bike. It then folds straight back when not in use.

It’s really a clever and simple device. Better yet, it seems to work! We’ve ridden with these flags on the streets of California and Florida, and can honestly say that it seems motorists WILL give you a bit of extra room when you have this flag deployed. Another phenomenon I noticed while riding around the mean streets of Tampa is that motorists seemed to be less likely to turn left in front of me when the flag is extended. Apparently, the bright yellow flag captures more motorists’ attentions than a cyclist rolling full-tilt towards them! It was certainly a nice phenomenon to experience…I don’t know if it was the “placebo effect? or something, but I did notice it.

I must admit — intially, this is not something I would have bought for my bike. To be honest, I prefer less hardware and gadgets on my “fast commuter? bike…a couple of lights and a rear reflector are the only safety equipment it has on it. But, now that I have experienced the benefits of this flag, I am forced to reconsider. The flag retails at $20.00 + shipping — is that worth a couple extra feet of passing room from motorists? I think so!

Overall, this seems to be a great product — solidly constructed, reasonably priced, and surprisingly effective at its job. For more information or to purchase a D-Tour Safety Flag for yourself, please email developer Glenn Hanson at dtourltd(at)aol(dot)com.