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03/23/2012

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Aaron Graff

bravo!

Chris

I got a folding bike last year for the same reason. I used to take the bus every day, now I ride. And if I get caught in weather or whatever, I can just fold the bike up and take it on the bus and still get home ok. I was really surprised at how quickly it all added up.

Disabled Cyclist

AWESOME,and that rack is sweet!!!

The Disabled Cyclist

Matt

Great story and hack... how do you use the bars/brakes when they're flipped up at such a crazy angle though?

Jay

Matt - I generally only use the front brake to stop, which means that I can squeeze it with my left hand while my right hand braces on the bars / steers. It is still surprisingly controllable and responsive.

And I only leave the bars up when I know that I'm single speed commuting... which means I'll be staying under 15 mph most of the time. If I plan on going faster and using more gears, In less than 10 seconds with my multi-tool I can have the bars back to normal.

John h

Simple and brilliant. Guess I need to get cracking with something similar as a grocery-getter.

Lebron James 9

so nice it is.this is helpful to the environment,too.it is a good post. i like it so much.thank you for your post.

Sean

Brilliant! I've put together a few commuter bikes over the years in similar fashion and or price. Those old Chicago Schwinn's are wonderful. Most times people will give them to you for free.

I save 1 gallon of gas every time I ride to work instead of taking my truck. With gas creeping up to $4 a gallon again, it's a no brainer. $20 a week in my pocket? Why, yes!

Jay

I ride to school almost every day of the week, which means I save about $25 a week in fares for the metro; and I save 2 hours of commuting time; and I gain 10 hours of exercise every week! I can't say that I've lost weight since I ride a road bike everyday and have been since I was 10, but 10 extra hours on a bike is 10 extra hours on a bike and I am beginning to see a gain in endurance because of it... from commuting! Awesome!!!

I do have a car and I chose to use public transportation at the beginning of the year to save money there as well. If I count the money saved from not having to pay for gas or maintenance (Sadly I still need to pay for insurance in order to have the car in DC), that's another 65$-ish a week on top of the 25$ from cycling (I have a '72 Opel GT which I restored in high school, so getting any better than 25 mpg in the city is a miracle... and it likes high-test golden liquor!)

I love this old bike. I break it down every weekend, clean, degrease, and re-lube everything. Its all so simple and easy. Why did they ever make 'improvements'? Re-packing the hubs and bottom brackets takes an hour at most on the Schwinn. On my 07 Fuji Roubaix-Pro, I'll be happy if I can break down, clean, and re-assemble (very little to re-lube because of the sealed bearings) in less than 2 hours. New stuff is annoying and fiddly. I'll gladly take a few extra pounds for a big chunk of metal that wrench can grab a hold of instead of funky spline / twist / snap / press / whatever connections.

TurbineBlade

You break down everything every weekend? There's no reason for that much maintenance on that bike...or any bike. Other than occasional chain lubrication and "checking" pads and cables, I hardly do a thing and I commute every day of the week to work here. I get probably 20,000 miles on a bottom bracket (modern sealed unit) and I pack wheel hubs probably every 1-2 years....and this is with constant, heavy riding.

I'm with you on the reliability of steel frames (most of my bikes meet this criterion), but you may be OCD ;).

Are you riding direcdtly into the Anacostia River on your way home each day?

TurbineBlade

BTW - for God's sake trash the old drop bars if you need to tilt those things up like 2 spitting cobras to ride comfortably. I know you say you can brake with one hand while using the other to hang on for dear-life, but it's not worth it man. Grab a set of cheap short-pull mountain levers and swap the drops for a flat bar or something.

You can even put them aside and keep them so you can "touch" them whenver you need to at home if it helps with the OCD, lol. ;)

Jay

Ok, you got me... I probably break the bike down every other weekend (Or about 500 miles - 400 from commuting and 100 from weekend exercise). What else is a mechanical engineering student supposed to do while watching a F1 or LeMan race? I call my preventative maintenance routing 'being prepared', but OCD has been used to describe my approach to mechanics before...

Spokes relax, water washes away grease, brake pads magically drift, chains magnetically attract dirt; I think an hour or two of going over every weekend isn't too much to ask for something that gets used for 25 to 30 hours per week.

I like my topsy-turvy drop bars. I use them in the drop position probably 90% of the time, but there are those days where I just want to sit up and slowly cruise to my next destination. My plan for brakes is to add cross levers to the flats and splice them to the standard road levers. That way, I can use the roads when the drops are normal, and the cross levers on the flats when I am taming my spitting cobras.

But first, TIRES! These old puppies that came with it aren't enjoying 250 miles a week and will soon need replacing. Any suggestions? I'm looking into Schwalbe Marathon tires.

SkiptoRenew

Nice job Jay! That's quite the cost-effective commuter bike you put together there! A buddy of mine had a similar project, where he took an old donated frame and outfitted it to run single speed for not much money.

mattyfu

I'm in a very similar situation. I went back to school full time for my last year of my diploma and the sticker shock of the parkade at my school or taking public transit got me started riding in the fall semester and then as winter approached I built up a winter bike using a kona mtn bike I picked up for $15 and added a coaster brake wheelset. Saved a fortune and was consistently the most awake person in class. -25 Celsius (-15 Fahrenheit) is pretty typical for our winters and I was amazed how little effect the cold had on me and my ride, I know I would have arrived colder if I had stood around waiting for a bus or warming up my car.

Sean

I'm a huge fan of the Bontrager Hard case tires for commuter bikes. However, they can get on the spendy side.

Are you hitting up your used bike store? there is one in my neighborhood and they have bins and bins of used parts. Saddles, cranks, pedals, handlebars, cassets, brake calipers, etc. all on the cheap. Great resource for a person on a budget.

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