Here’s a video showing the output from Calhoun Cycle’s three most popular dynamo headlights.
I thought I’d share some pics of my “new” bicycle. This is a Craigslist purchase I picked up over the summer – a 1980 Schwinn World Tourist five-speed. I wanted something I could have fun setting up as my ideal commuter/carrier/city bike without spending a fortune, and I’m quite happy with how it turned out.
I haven’t found much info on this bike, but it was evidently intended as a successor to the ubiquitous and indestructible Suburban after Schwinn began moving production to Taiwan. Given that it’s about to turn 32 years old, I’d say it’s proving every bit as solid as its predecessor.
It’s an absolute joy to ride. The bike itself is entirely stock: Giant-built lugged frame (mine is 23.5″), a mix of Shimano/Sugino components, 27″ wheels, fenders, chainguard, sprung saddle, tourist bars. It weighs in at a pretty reasonable 33lbs. It’s an incredibly comfy ride, and surprisingly fast.
I added Velo Orange racks front and rear. Though the geometry is not low-trail, I was encouraged by articles here and elsewhere to try a front porteur rack anyway, and I’m very glad I did. Initially, I thought I’d use it as a secondary rack on those occasions when I need to carry a little extra to/from work, for errands or shopping, etc. (and I do). But even when traveling light, being able to throw a regular old backpack or messenger bag on the front and strap it down is incredibly convienient. It hasn’t seen really heavy-duty loads yet, but thus far I haven’t experienced any issues with handling. Naturally, having the front rack was the perfect excuse for a Pletscher two-legged kickstand, and I added the wheel stabilizer for good measure.
Planet Bike flasher in the rear, and a USB CygoLite in the front – via the Gino Light Mount, which accepts the handlebar clamp (I have to mount the CygoLite upside-down, but the beam is uniform, so I don’t think it matters much). The bag is a Minnehaha Utility Pannier, which has D-rings for a shoulder strap, and is generally non-descript enough to be mistaken for an ordinary canvas messenger bag.
The tires are Michelin World Tour gumwalls, which – although labeled/spec’d as 27″x1 1/4″ – are considerably beefier than any other tire of this size. Anyone riding an older road bike with 27″ rims who’d like a slightly wider, more cushy tire would do well to give these a try. (Just be prepared to spend an extra few minutes wrestling them onto your rims.) They hold up well over city streets, have a classic look, and are quite inexpensive.
Speaking of which, after tallying up every dollar spent here, I’ve arrived at a grand total of $405.00 (excluding the front headlight and the bag – which I already had – but including absolutely everything else, from the bike itself down to the straps on the racks). In other words, over a single summer/fall of bike commuting whenever possible, the project has essentially paid itself off with respect to the cost of car/bus/train alternatives.
Name: Criss Rosenlof (Papa Bear)
Location: West Valley City, Utah, USA
Started bike commuting: About 6 years ago, faithfully for about 1 1/2 years (year – round)
Commute distance (one way): 11.9 miles
Describe your commute: I ride the gamut. I have heavy traiffic roads with next to no shoulder, bike lanes and even the option of a dedicated bike/hike trail along the Jordan River in Salt Lake City. I have about 400 feet of elevation gain, but it all happens in a 1 mile space at the end of my ride into work.
Describe your bike and accessories: I ride a Cannondale Quick hybrid bike with trekking handlebars and a rear rack with trunk and panniers. I use 700 x 25c slick road tires during good weather and 700 x 28c commuter tires when it’s mucky out. I also have front and rear fenders to keep the skunk stripe to a minimum and I use a Night Rider 300 lumen helmet mounted light for riding in the early morning.
What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: Just turn the pedals. It isn’t a race. You don’t have to be fast, and you don’t have to wear any special gear. I wear cycling shorts/tights because they are comfortable, but if you’re not comfortable in lycra, wear what you want! Get a good headlight/tail light for the dark times, and get comfortable riding on the shoulder of traffic. Also, if you’re worried about the distances involved, ride part way, and take a bus or train the other part.
Among rim brakes, my favorites have always been high profile cantilevers. I cut my teeth on this style of canti back in the early days of mountain biking. Sure, they can interfere with some panniers, and heel clearance can be an issue with certain combinations of bike/rider, but there’s no other style of rim brake that performs so well while also providing nearly limitless clearance for tires and fenders.
The Paul Neo-Retro is a modernized — and much improved — copy of the classic Mafac “Tandem” high-profile cantilever produced in France up until the early 1980′s. The geometry of the Neo-Retro closely matches the Mafac, but it’s been totally updated with adjustable V-brake style pads; sealed, stainless steel pivots; self-contained springs; and, a simple, but effective spring adjustment mechanism.
These are high performance brakes. Powerful, crisp, snappy, and with excellent modulation; the best cantis I’ve ever used. This particular set replaced the already very nice Tektro CR720s on my Rivendell. The Pauls are a clear step up in performance, quality, looks, and ease of use.
Like all Paul components, these brakes are made in their small shop in Chico, CA, USA, using only the highest quality materials. You absolutely will not find brakes with a better fit and finish; if you’re a canti devotee, these are as good as it gets.
Location: Burlington, Vermont
Started bike commuting: 1981
Commute distance (one way): 11 miles
Describe your commute: I am currently a reverse commuter, leaving the city in the morning for a ride southward to my workplace in the country. It is on 3 miles of bike path, but mostly narrow country roads. The last mile is on a dirt road. I do not commute from November to March, mostly because of the darkness and northeast road conditions.
Describe your bike and accessories: For years I used a Trek 830 mountain bike with narrow tires. For the past two years I ride a Miyata 610 with mustache handlebars. I use small rear panniers to hold a change of clothes, lunch, a trusty camera, and other essentials.
What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: Ride when you can: to the grocery store, with your children to the park. Ride a bike that you like. Forget the fancy gear. Use a backpack or whatever bag suits your fancy. Regular bike commuting doesn’t happen in a day, but rather as your comfort grows.
As part of their 10th Anniversary celebration, Soma is hosting a photo contest. Prizes will include handlebars, saddles, tires, racks, and the Soma 10th Anniversary poster. Get all the details at the Soma Blog.