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Old 02-13-08, 10:28 PM   #1
europa
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Which bike would you ride to uni?

Seeing no-one will employ me in my current state, I'm heading back to Uni to learn all about becoming a Librarian Then I'll be a qualified librarian who no-one will employ (being over 50 and a single father is a huge drawback I'm finding, even though discrimination is illegal).

This will entail a 25km commute (one way), twice a week in the first semester, three times a week in the second. The bike will be left chained to a fence for 4 hours on each of those days - bike cages are planned ... for the year after I finish my studies

Just as I'm sure applies to where you live, here in sleepy old Adelaide, honest folks buy their bikes and bits from the shops, the rest go to the nearest University

I already have four bikes - I am not going to buy a beater.

The trip is largely flattish, it's into the city so it's urban commuting with heavy traffic at the end of it. However, it also features a rather impressive climb on the way home - the climb is a bit over 3km long and is a serious 13-15 minute, granny gear grind.

That climb rules out riding the fixed gear bike, though I could probably walk the hill at about the same speed as I ride up it.

Thanks to the theft issue, I'm not taking my Jamis which is my good, sports bike.

Then theres the recumbent, a nice, new high racer. You'd think that'd rule her out immediately, but she's a TY industries bent - good, steel frame but really bottom end componentry. The wheels and hubs for example are SpeedMax. Never heard of them? Neither had I but they should wear out really quickly allowing me to upgrade to good stuff. I'm still reluctant to take her though, even though she'd eat up the ride and I'd be in utter comfort.

This leaves my Trek520. This is a 2007 model (ie, near new frame and wheels) but she'd been stripped to build the Jamis. My initial thought was to rebuild her cheaply using second hand bits to give me a 'cheap' workhorse. Yup, you guessed it, the cheap rebuild has become an expensive rebuild and she's now got a mix of old mtb bits and new bits and by the time I admit defeat and buy her a Brooks as well, she'll be a half reasonable bike again.

So, which bike do I take to Uni?

No, I'm not buying a beater - the trip is too long and I've got too many bikes as it is.

The Trek is probably now a little too good and unless I can get my hand problems sorted out, the ride won't be the most comfortable.

The bent will be the most comfortable but how theive-worthy are they? Bents are really rare here and you don't see them in shops. The components aren't worth stealing but neither are the bits on the Trek.

The fixed gear bike is my old favourite and has been with me since I bought her new in the eighties but offers the least for someone to pinch. There's also that hill to worry about, unless I drive half way which sort of defeats the purpose of commuting by bike.

Yes, I'm worrying too much, but that's what makes cycling fun

What would you do?

Richard
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Old 02-13-08, 10:36 PM   #2
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Dammit, I'm thinking too much.

The Europa, my fixed gear bike. I've got a free hub out in the shed. I've got some 6 or 7 speed, SIS downtube shifters. I've got a handful of old spokes. Rebuild the rear wheel to take gears. Fit some shifters. See if I can refit a second chain ring (got a feeling I can't easily for reasons I won't go into). Ride her to uni.

Of course, then she wouldn't be a fixed gear bike any more and I'd be pretty upset if someone pinched her. She was my first, real adult bike and I've had her from new for the last 20 odd years.

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Old 02-13-08, 10:58 PM   #3
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Go with the Trek. It sounds like a good ride, and I'm betting you'd rather, if you had to, lose it than the others. Plus, doesn't it have room for racks and fenders if you find you want 'em?
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Old 02-13-08, 11:09 PM   #4
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I commute on my Trek 520 (2006 model). Good commuter model. You can hang anything on it -- racks, lights, fenders, etc. Isn't very flashy so I don't think it attracts much attention. Maybe if you didn't put a new Brooks on it would attract even less attention (the Brooks might make it stand out in a university bike rack).
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Old 02-13-08, 11:14 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by europa View Post
I already have four bikes - I am not going to buy a beater.
What would you do?
N+1!

I'd get a beater with good gears.
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Old 02-13-08, 11:33 PM   #6
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I suspect the Trek is it. I need a decent saddle though. It's got the horrible Bontrager it came with at the moment and that thing NEEDS super thick padded pants to ride on. This'll be used with plain clothes. Maybe an old eighties style cheapie is a better move. I haven't had any luck in finding a scruffy old Brooks near here (importing one is just silly).

What makes a bike stand out from the crowd?

Oh goody, I think I just found an excuse not to wash it

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Old 02-14-08, 12:26 AM   #7
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Any chance you could put a quick release clamp onto the seat post & take your Brooks & post with you to class?
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Old 02-14-08, 12:51 AM   #8
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Any chance you could put a quick release clamp onto the seat post & take your Brooks & post with you to class?
Too much like hard work (I'd have to carry the Brooks with me). However, a cunning plan has occured to me.

The seatpost has the big mount from the tag-along. This is placed at the lowest point on the seat post, so it effectively gives me a saddle height indicator.

Buy me Brooks for normal riding and mount it on the seat post with the tag-along mount.

I'm pretty sure I've got a spare post that'll go in the frame, mount an old saddle but comfy vinyl saddle on that.

The quick release clamp makes it a moment's effort to swap saddles and posts so I can have a good saddle for normal duties and the old saddle to disguise her at Uni

Actually, usuage patterns would probably make the normal clamp practical - it's not hard to undo a bolt.

But now that I think about it, it's probably not worth all the pfaffing about. Use an old or cheap saddle and when that gives me the tom tits, buy the Brooks then - see, I'm getting sensible in my old age, I'm delaying buying bike bits until I NEED them

Good suggestion though - it makes it practical to have a good saddle for her for non-commuting duties. Thanks.

Richard
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Old 02-14-08, 10:13 AM   #9
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Whichever bike you choose to take with you, the theft thing bothers me. Is the University classroom far away from a residence? You might be able to strike a deal with a local homeowner to allow you to park your bike on their property. In exchange, offer them some of your library priviledges.
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Old 02-14-08, 10:21 AM   #10
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Paint the bike like a NewZealand racing yacht. It might get vandalized but it won't get stollen..


Sorry couldn't resist.

I'd use multiple cable locks. As with everything, the harder you make it the more likely the thief will steal someone elses.
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Old 02-14-08, 03:53 PM   #11
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Paint the bike like a NewZealand racing yacht. It might get vandalized but it won't get stollen..


Sorry couldn't resist.

I'd use multiple cable locks. As with everything, the harder you make it the more likely the thief will steal someone elses.
See a few bikes in Brighton outside the Uni. Severeal with fronts wheels gone- a lot without saddles and stems and some with just the frame left--But the idea of mutiple locks seems to work- One Bike I see must have 6 locks on it.

I do occasionally take my bike to the local town and I use a Kryptonite lock and 10ft hawser. The hawser goes through the frame- wheels and rails on the saddle---And round the bike post or lamp-post I am locking it to. It did not happen to me but saw a bike locked in the same manner- with all 3 quick releases gone- Thief could not take the bike so took the quick releases instead. Owner was swearing a bit.
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