Bicycle Commuter Profile: Steve Butcher

Name: Steve Butcher
Location: Stockton, Missouri
Started bike commuting: About three years
Commute distance (one way): 3 miles

Describe your commute: I live and work in a very rural county in southwest Missouri. My usual route starts me down our short gravel lane to an asphalt two lane highway. After about 2.5 miles of this, I change to a town street which is quite wide with plenty of shoulder space. An alternate route takes me over about 1/2 mile of gravel road that parallels part of the highway. Overall, there are only a few mild grades to climb and pretty good visibility. My route will change some in August when we move to our new clinic which is another 1/2 mile south of our current location. It will also afford me a longer route with more opportunities for gravel travel and less highway conditions.

Describe your bike and accessories: My usual commuter bike is a vintage 70’s Schwinn Super Le Tour 12.2 with original Schwinn front and rear touring racks. I re-purposed the bike as a commuter by changing to Harris cycle 700c front and rear wheels, Michelin 700 x 28c City tires, VO upright handlebars, friction thumb shifters, Tektro quartz brake levers, VO sprung saddle and MKS Sylvan touring pedals. It has Planet Bike mudguards, Planet Bike 2 watt front light, front blinky light, and Superflash rear light. On the front rack is a Wald medium basket with cargo net and on the rear rack is a Wald basket with a Wald insulated bag. I have two reflective triangles on the back; one of which is on a two foot long arm sticking out to the left (it is from Flashback products out of Canada). I have left the drive-train mostly stock. If the old Shimano 600 rear derailleur breaks down, I may turn it into a single speed. When my office location changes, I may switch to my old hardtail Peugeot mountain bike turned touring bike.

What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: The nature of my work requires I use an automobile at least half the time. I commute by bike the days I don’t have to drive and when conditions permit. The roads over which I ride aren’t very safe in very rainy or snowy weather; there being no shoulders for at least a mile and a half. My point is, safety first, then ride when you want/can and because you enjoy it. Start by riding a day here and there, then increase as your confidence and desire build. Have fun putting together your bike and accessories. Be prepared to be amazed at the benefits reaped by both the body and the mind.

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