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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 07-18-06, 12:46 AM   #1
bragi
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The best bike for carlessness

If you're carless, or sort of carless, what kind of bike do you use? What are the advantages/disadvantages of your particular bike choice? In your opinion, what kind of bike is a good replacement for a car?

In my case, I have a hybrid bike that I bought at a used bike store two years ago. It has a steel frame, very heavy, and clip pedals with the clips removed (I ride in traffic almost exclusively, and the clips were a real pain). It has road tires, but they're a bit wide. I put on a good rack, and use waterproof panniers if I need to haul anything. If I need to haul a lot, I use the panniers plus my old Army dufflebag, which has shoulder straps. ( I can actually haul over 100 lbs this way, so don't scoff.) It's not fast -I typically do about 20-25 mph over flat ground, and about 5 mph uphill- but I love that bike. I've been hit by a car that was going 25-30 mph, and the bike had less damage than the car. The advantages are its tank-like nature, ability to deal with potholes, lack of attractiveness to thieves, and reliability; the disadvantages are its lack of speed, and cheap bracket assembly and gears. (It makes a clicking noise uphill that kind of annoys me, and the gear transitions are clunky...)
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Old 07-18-06, 12:58 AM   #2
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20-25 while carrying 100 pounds? What a stud!

I got a trek 520. I do about the same speed with no head-wind. Never carried much more than 40 pounds in my pannier though. I highly recommend the Arkel utility basket by the way. that thing will hold anything.
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Old 07-18-06, 01:16 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wageslaveonbike
20-25 while carrying 100 pounds? What a stud!

I got a trek 520. I do about the same speed with no head-wind. Never carried much more than 40 pounds in my pannier though. I highly recommend the Arkel utility basket by the way. that thing will hold anything.
Well, no, I don't do 20-25 while carrying 100 lbs; that's my usual speed while carrying normal loads, more like 10-15 lbs. With a big load, it's more like 10 mph on a windless day. I'm not a stud by any stretch of the imagination, just a normal person. What's an Arkel utility basket?
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Old 07-18-06, 01:30 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by bragi
Well, no, I don't do 20-25 while carrying 100 lbs; that's my usual speed while carrying normal loads, more like 10-15 lbs. With a big load, it's more like 10 mph on a windless day. I'm not a stud by any stretch of the imagination, just a normal person. What's an Arkel utility basket?
Yeah, I kinda figured thats what you meant.

The Utility basket is just a pannier with a very simple design that allows you to carry a lot of cargo (for a pannier). Its practically indestructible. I think its ideal for a car-free commuter and its pretty damn cheap compared to a lot of panniers (I think its made in canada too). Anyway check it out for yourself.


http://www.arkel-od.com/panniers/uti...asp?fl=0&site=
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Old 07-18-06, 02:13 AM   #5
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There is no one answer to this. Your choice of bike depends on your lifestyle. Where you live, if you have kids, what you haul, how far you travel a day, etc. Each person has their own needs and thus their own "best bike."
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Old 07-18-06, 03:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziemas
There is no one answer to this. Your choice of bike depends on your lifestyle. Where you live, if you have kids, what you haul, how far you travel a day, etc. Each person has their own needs and thus their own "best bike."
+1. A commuting bike and setup is as individual as the commute and the person themselves.
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Old 07-18-06, 07:32 AM   #7
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As general rules, I'd go with two, but its really going to depend on your situation.

1) Steel or otherwise bombproof frame (if you're living carless, you need a durable frame and you don't get much tougher than steel)
2) mounts/brazeons etc for racks and panniers or at least compatability with some kind of towing device.

A third might be to splurge on some tough-as-hell tires.
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Old 07-18-06, 07:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziemas
There is no one answer to this. Your choice of bike depends on your lifestyle. Where you live, if you have kids, what you haul, how far you travel a day, etc. Each person has their own needs and thus their own "best bike."
Yeah true, but what's your best beast?
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Old 07-18-06, 07:51 AM   #9
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With all that money you save, buy a few bikes!
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Old 07-18-06, 08:27 AM   #10
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I use a trike. Right now I just have a rack bag and some cargo nets, but I'll be adding some panniers or a cargo trailer eventually. It hauls stuff around quite well.
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Old 07-18-06, 08:52 AM   #11
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It's fun reading about all the different kinds of bikes that people like to ride. I love bikes, and I love threads like this.

My main bike is a Specialized Hardrock that's a few years old. This is a rigid mountain bike (no suspension) with a steel frame, an old 8 speed with a triple chainring that covers lots of different riding conditions. I have street tires on it in warm weather, and studded knobbies in the winter, I currently have it pretty stripped down, with only a bottle cage accesorizing it--no racks, panniers or fenders--so most of you probably wouldn't like it the way it is now. What I like about it is that it's very comfortable and easy to ride. I ride it in lots of conditions--mostly urban streets, but also off-road, gravel, and country highways. It's very strong and reliable, but it's getting to the point that the components are starting to show some wear. What I don't like about it is that it isn't real fast (minor detail), and the seat post is jammed with the seat about 1/4 inch lower than I would like it. Also it doesn't look so sexy any more, so I've got my eye open for a new bike.
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Old 07-18-06, 08:56 AM   #12
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I want a Long Haul Trucker or a Trek 520.
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Old 07-18-06, 09:33 AM   #13
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I ride a Thorn, all Reynolds 531 steel with thick, solid braze ons for everything under the sun.
Full mudguards (SKS chromoplastic)
Steel rear rack
Brooks B17 saddle
1970's Karrimor saddlebag and rack permanently attached behind the saddle for "everyday" loads (bread, milk, jacket, change of clothes, books, tools, lock, etc.)
Ortlieb Back Roller Plus panniers for rainy days, or bigger loads
BOB Yak in case I need to carry something big

EDIT: Photos attached
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMGP1429.JPG (98.5 KB, 67 views)
File Type: jpg IMGP1430.JPG (97.9 KB, 41 views)

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Old 07-18-06, 09:50 AM   #14
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Pictures would be nice from those who have embraced that technology.
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Old 07-18-06, 11:03 AM   #15
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buy a few bikes!
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Old 07-18-06, 11:25 AM   #16
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My take is that it has to be at least as reliable and convenient as a car, otherwise, why not just drive?This led to the following functional requirements:

Go at least 5,000 miles between flats.
Have a self-contained generator and lights that are unaffected by rain, snow, mud
Suited to all-weather operations, including winter with salt and sand.
No additiona care required after riding in salt and sand.
Require servicing/washing/lubrication no more frequently than every 3-4 months
Does not require that I change clothing before riding it; must work with suit and tie, long coat
Able to attach a Trail-A-Bike or trailer for carrying a child.
Be able to make it up the steepest hills in my area while carrying a child.
Be able to carry a rainsuit and overshoes.
Be able to mount bike without leg gyrations that could tear clothing.

Which led to the following bike:
Kettler Sliverstar with Nexus-7 internal gears, full fenders, rear rack, partial chaincase, step-through frame, and drum brakes
upgraded with Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires for summer and Nokian Hakkapilita W-106 studded tires for winter, Shimano front dynohub, Trail-A-Bike, and InStep Turbo Trailer

Advantages: Saves $12 per day, mostly in parking; gives me enough exercise to be healthy. Normally slightly slower than driving but much faster when there is snow or ice.

Disadvantages: Twist shifter hard to use when hands are wet, Rohloff would be better for climbing steep hills with child. Bike and accessories were difficult to find. Difficult to get bike into station wagon


Paul
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Old 07-18-06, 11:52 AM   #17
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Disadvantages: Twist shifter hard to use when hands are wet, Rohloff would be better for climbing steep hills with child. Bike and accessories were difficult to find. Difficult to get bike into station wagon


Paul
Sounds like you could almost get the station wagon onto the bike!
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Old 07-18-06, 12:03 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
Yeah true, but what's your best beast?
In the winter it's a flat bar Kona Sutra touring bike with disc brakes and a stainless steel Tubus rack.

In the summer it a flat bar Surly LHT with a Tubus rack.
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Old 07-18-06, 12:24 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziemas
In the winter it's a flat bar Kona Sutra touring bike with disc brakes and a stainless steel Tubus rack.

In the summer it a flat bar Surly LHT with a Tubus rack.
Cool bikes. Why the winter/summer distinction?

We were looking at Tubus racks yesterday. Pricey but nicey.
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Old 07-18-06, 01:27 PM   #20
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I have a Rhoades Car on order. It
will arrive in about 3 weeks. It is
on the heavy side but climbs hills
well and can haul up to 2-300 lbs
of stuff in addition to the rider.
Mine will look just like this:
http://www.rhoadescar.com/4w1p-j.jpg

I expect a top speed on slight inclines
of about 12 or 13 mph. Which isn't too
bad considering that I average 15 mph
on my EZ-1 on all day rides over varied
terrain.

Right now I use my EZ-1 with a nice
big basket on the back big enough
for 1 bag of groceries. But with the
Rhoades Car I will be able to buy up
to a months supply of most items.

Besides, I ride my bikes everywhere
and shop on the European model of
several times a week anyway.

At 55, on a limited income, and with
gas on the way to $10 a gallon in my
lifetime I figure this machine will get
me comfortably into old age and the
return on investment in terms of gas
$ saved will have it paid for in 5 years
at the latest.

I will post a ride report
when I take delivery.
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Old 07-18-06, 01:30 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulH
Disadvantages: Twist shifter hard to use when hands are wet,
Why is that? Slippery? Doesn't seem that way to me. No harder than holding on to the handlebars. Something else? I don't have any problem with either a Shimano or Sachs 7 speed twist shift in any weather.
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Old 07-18-06, 01:36 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
Cool bikes. Why the winter/summer distinction?

We were looking at Tubus racks yesterday. Pricey but nicey.
Becuse I live in Lativa where the winters are very harsh. It is snowy, icy, and the temp can reach -30c in winter. Two different bikes for two very different types of riding.
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Old 07-18-06, 02:09 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Why is that? Slippery? Doesn't seem that way to me. No harder than holding on to the handlebars. Something else? I don't have any problem with either a Shimano or Sachs 7 speed twist shift in any weather.
For me, the twist shift on the Sachs (SRAM) 7 and the Nexus 7 and 8 got slippery from my sweat but not from the rain. I don't wear gloves. What I do if I have a t shirt is lean forward and shift through the shirt to get a better grip. Today I will take the long way home through the park and will have to do this after I climb the second hill. I sweat alot when the heat index is 105 f.. A design upgrade would be to make the shifter a little grippier with deeper sharper ridges. Maybe my sweat is slimmier for some reason?
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Old 07-18-06, 02:36 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulH



Which led to the following bike:
Kettler Sliverstar with Nexus-7 internal gears, full fenders, rear rack, partial chaincase, step-through frame, and drum brakes
upgraded with Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires for summer and Nokian Hakkapilita W-106 studded tires for winter, Shimano front dynohub, Trail-A-Bike, and InStep Turbo Trailer

Advantages: Saves $12 per day, mostly in parking; gives me enough exercise to be healthy. Normally slightly slower than driving but much faster when there is snow or ice.

Disadvantages: Twist shifter hard to use when hands are wet, Rohloff would be better for climbing steep hills with child. Bike and accessories were difficult to find. Difficult to get bike into station wagon


Paul
It sounds like your bike IS a station wagon...
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Old 07-18-06, 02:55 PM   #25
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I use an Al MTB with trekking bars, rigid fork, Eggbeaters, a mountain triple, front and rear racks, 26X1.5 tires, and a Brooks. I'm probably like many of you in that my current favorite ride is the sum total of many years of trial-and-error and figuring out what works best for me. If I have big cargo or my dog wants to tag along, I have a kiddie trailer for it, too. I feel about this bike the way a cowboy feels about his horse.
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