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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 10-05-08, 12:20 AM   #1
toegnix
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Riding a 20 yr old clunker to work

I have a cool story I thought I'd share.

I ride a ~20 year old Nishiki road bike to work. Just 3 miles round trip, but it's commuting.

Some of the parts have changed (for example, I put some old 105 brake levers on it), but it's still the original Nishiki frame. The coolest thing is it used to be the bike my brother rode to junior high and high school. It had some time off, but it's back to work getting me back to work. I'm glad we kept it around.

I love bicycles.

[Edited 14 MAY 2009 to include a photo of my commuting beauty!]
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Old 10-05-08, 06:21 AM   #2
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Unlike cars, there's not a damn thing wrong with a 20 year old bike. Or a 50 year old one, for that matter. If I still had the old Firestone single speed I grew up with, I'd still ride it.
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Old 10-05-08, 06:27 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by toegnix View Post
I have a cool story I thought I'd share.

I ride a ~20 year old Nishiki road bike to work. Just 3 miles round trip, but it's commuting.

Some of the parts have changed (for example, I put some old 105 brake levers on it), but it's still the original Nishiki frame. The coolest thing is it used to be the bike my brother rode to junior high and high school. It had some time off, but it's back to work getting me back to work. I'm glad we kept it around.

I love bicycles.
I still have access to my '79 or '80 model Raleigh bike (you can see it here: My predicament)

I would love to get back riding it. To me, an older bike which shares a history with you is something special. You are a fortunate man. :-)

-Jon
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Old 10-05-08, 07:08 AM   #4
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I cycle though bikes like crazy just.......because ?!?!?
I ALWAYS end up with the 25-30 year old stovepiper(cheepo) and
wonder why I keep bothering with other stuff.
My current 28-30 year old Ross feels like an old friend.
Comfortable, strong as Festus Hagens Mule and parts available
at K-Mart. What more could you want !
Old bikes are GREAT !
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Old 10-05-08, 09:34 AM   #5
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My mom doesn't use it for commuting, but back in May I restored her old Motobecane Grand Jubile Mixte. It's a 1982 model. It had probably been ridden 100 miles and then put in the basement. It was covered in gunky, sticky, nastiness, with hardened grease in the chain and whatnot. after an afternoon with Ben, the bike turned into this: (the guys in C&V were drooling when I posted these)





It could be ridden around today just like it could 26 years ago when it was new. Old bikes are great like that. Awesome values. I see them all the time on CL for $75-$150. For cheaper than an X-mart bike, you get a bike that will last the next 100 years.
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Old 10-05-08, 09:49 AM   #6
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I love my '89 Trek 520. Just need to find a backup bike now...
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Old 10-05-08, 10:51 AM   #7
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Here is my 1982 Bianchi that a just did a half-century on this morning. I bought it in 83' as a leftover when I was 14. It is now my daily (good-weather) commuter. I wouldn't sell it for a thousand dollars.
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Old 10-05-08, 11:00 AM   #8
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I still occasionally ride the bike my dad gave me from the late 70s or early 80s. An All-Pro 10-speed.



I swapped out the old hard plastic grips for some nice new foam handlebar tape, and adjusted it to fit me better. It rides pretty nicely, but I only take it out occasionally because my Giant Kronos is a much faster and smoother ride. This bike is fixing for a good overhaul of the bearings, new tires, and a better seat and it'll be smooth as day one.
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Old 10-05-08, 11:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
Unlike cars, there's not a damn thing wrong with a 20 year old bike.
There's not necessarily anything wrong with old cars either. If you're going to have one, might as well have one that's beautiful and a pleasure to drive. My only car is a 40 year-old Italian convertible.
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Old 10-05-08, 04:50 PM   #10
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My 31 year old Schwinn Le Tour II. Built the year I graduated high school, rescued from a dumpster earlier this year and now my commuter for my 10 mile round trip to work and back.
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Old 10-05-08, 04:54 PM   #11
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On Friday and Saturday I rode my 1948 Rudge Whitworth Roadster and my 1933 CCM Rambler to the shop... they are everything a decent commuter should be in that they are comfortable, smooth, and surprisingly fast once you get them rolling.
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Old 10-05-08, 04:58 PM   #12
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Here are a couple of my clunkers I ride to work.
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Old 10-05-08, 04:59 PM   #13
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stringbreaker- Those are hideous and I suppose you don't have to worry about those being stolen.

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Old 10-05-08, 08:08 PM   #14
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You really ought to avoid parking your bike in front of trucks like that!
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Old 10-05-08, 09:21 PM   #15
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My 31 year old Schwinn Le Tour II. Built the year I graduated high school, rescued from a dumpster earlier this year and now my commuter for my 10 mile round trip to work and back.
I love that! I have an old Raleigh in my garage getting ready for a second life. I picked it up from the recycling pile at the dumps. It was about to be melted.

My current commuter is a '75 Peugeot from a yard sale.

I love bikes.
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Old 10-05-08, 09:45 PM   #16
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Picking up a Le Tour III tomorrow for a commuter project.
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Old 10-05-08, 10:12 PM   #17
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Picking up a Le Tour III tomorrow for a commuter project.
nice. post pics!
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Old 10-05-08, 10:15 PM   #18
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There's nothing like the satisfaction of bringing an old bike back to rideable condidtion. Recently(within the last year), I've done 2 complete rebuild/conversions w/20+ year old bikes. One was an 85 C'Dale SR300 and the other is a 70s Fuji Del-Rey. Had them both sb and pc, The Cdale I made into a 1x8 w/bar-end shifting and the Fuji into a singlespeed. Really fun projects. Either could've been done w/o the re-painting, but they both look real clean. No decals and the Fuji doesn't have any wb or rack braze-ons. Used the same Sugino 103mm sealed track bb for both. I've had the Fuji over 20 years and the C'dale was a 20.00 garage sale find. I've another bike that's a 90s Specialized Crossroads hybrid I paid 60.00 for and upgraded the bb w/a Shimano cartridge and replaced the chain, cassette and cables. It's a hoss. Got airless tires and I only ride it as a last resort.

Gotta love old bikes.
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Old 10-05-08, 10:58 PM   #19
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I rode a 1983 Nishiki Olympic 12 to work for about 6 months this year (I was cycle commuting about 1/3 of the time at the point). I bought it new in '84, and it was just hanging around in the garage when my work site changed I was suddenly less than 10 miles from work.



The second time out, I hit the end of a sidewalk and went over the handlebars. I bent the fork back far enough that the tire was behind the down tube. The down tube itself was buckled a bit just behind the head tube. I bent the fork back and continued to ride it until I finally got a replacement for it at the end of August (which happened to be another Nishiki):



I also happened to pick up a 1960s Raleigh 3-speed, and I've ridden that to work too:



So, yeah, I know about riding old bikes.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

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Old 10-06-08, 01:18 AM   #20
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You really ought to avoid parking your bike in front of trucks like that!
Oh that old thing its just a 77 Schwinn Volare that someone stripped the paint off. Its my favorite bike of all 7 of my own it rides like a dream. I don't worry about someone stealing them. I park my bike at my workbench so its safe.
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Old 10-06-08, 06:57 AM   #21
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nice. post pics!
Yup can't wait. I'm trading my hybrid for the Le Tour.
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Old 10-06-08, 07:42 AM   #22
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Heck, my commuter (admittedly, at this point only 2-3 days/week) is a "sheffield" Free Spirit that was my grandfather's bike. I think in the past month, I've ridden it more than he ever did. Swapped out the crappy mustache handlebars for drops, got a comfy seat, and ride it 20 miles a day at least.
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Old 10-06-08, 09:38 AM   #23
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After reading this thread commuting newbies might come to understand the true value
of the older bikes that were so well made they last for decades!

A little elbow grease, some love and vision to see what these bikes are yet today will get a newbie
a swell ride that might just last them a few more decades.

I seriously doubt that many production bikes built today will last for decades 'cause they really
don't "build bikes like they used to".
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Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 10-06-08, 09:45 AM   #24
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After restoring the 25-year-old Univega in my signature line this summer, I sold my 2006 Trek 520; the Univega is now my daily commuter. It's got relaxed touring geometry; plenty of clearance for fenders and big tires; commuter-friendly gearing with its triple crankset; and a rugged frame that holds up well to carrying loads. It has horizontal dropouts, too -- some day I may build up a rear wheel with an internal hub and give that a try. After I finished restoring it, I figured I didn't need the new Trek 520 any more.

The old Stumpjumper in my signature line is morphing into my winter commuter -- an idea I picked up on BF. So far I have less than $300 invested in the bike: $100 for the bike; new Marathon tires; new brake pads; fenders; rack; a $17 Nashbar trekking bar; a couple of new cables; handlebar tape. It's already a much better bike than anything you can pick up for under $500 at the LBS, and with an extra set of tires around it's still off-road capable. I believe it's also very tour-capable; the geometry is not that far off from today's touring bikes.

Craigslist is filled with two kinds of old bikes that make great commuters:

- Japanese bikes from the 80's (double-butted frames, good to excellent quality components)
- Old mountain bikes that are easy conversions to tough city commuters

Last edited by BengeBoy; 10-06-08 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 10-06-08, 09:49 AM   #25
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I commute on two bikes. One is a Cross Check, and the other is an old Trek 620 touring bike with canti's. I have it set up with a 7 speed Nexus hub and flat bars. Very nice ride.

jim
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