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Tag Archive: commuting

At What Point Do You Replace Your Bike?

I was talking to my buddy today about his bike. He had told me that he was experiencing some mechanical problems and considered parting out his bike. As I dug deeper, he was able to describe the problem. Basically his freewheel isn’t grabbing anymore. During the conversation he talked about buying one of my old road bikes from me. I reassured him that it wouldn’t cost more than $30 to fix the problem on his bike and recommend he go that route. But somehow I think he has it in his mind to buy a new/different bike instead.

Personally I would only replace bike if:

1. It was stolen.
2. If the frame cracked.

Otherwise, I’d fix things as they broke. What about you, when is your breaking point having to buy a new bike?

Make a difference

My tandem racing daughter Breanna entered this contest at school called Reflections. Basically the kids have a theme, “I can make a difference” and they have options on how to participate by submitting an essay, photo or video.

So after encouraging her to enter, she started getting to work. She got the facts on her own and with the help of her loving daddy (that’s me!), she was able to complete her entry.

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.]