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Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

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Old 05-02-08, 07:33 AM   #1
S-Dog
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Converting a 60's Columbia tandem into a utility bike

I just picked up a 60's Columbia tandem off of Craigslist. My original intent was to restore(kinda) to a ridable tandem for my wife and I. After talking with my good friend who has WAAAY more knowledge than me about bikes, he suggested I convert it into a utility bike. The reason being that our combined weight is over 450lbs and the old frame might not be up for the task.

I am basically looking for some ideas on how to successfully convert this into a viable utility bike. It will be used primarily on flat or mostly flat land, will not need to carry too much weight, and will be mostly for fun.

The options I am looking at are internal hub 3 speed or maybe a regular 7 speed with derailer in the back. (I am a newbie so my terminology im sure is off. Sorry. ) What kind of handlebars. What the best way is to get the chain all the way back to the rear wheel. And what is the best ways to attack getting baskets or bags on this.

Thank you,

Scott









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Old 05-02-08, 10:26 AM   #2
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Wooo buddy! You've got your work cut out for ya!!

Not impossible but you'll sure learn a lot by the time
yer done!
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Old 05-02-08, 10:39 AM   #3
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I am in the process of stripping the frame right now and getting ti down to bare metal. Luckily I have some welding skills ( enough to be dangerous) and that will allow me to make a frame for baskets or whatever.
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Old 05-02-08, 11:37 AM   #4
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I've got a similar project on the back burner here. But the bike I have is a single speed.

My Worksman Industrial Cruiser is geared at 2:1 (I think 44:22). It looks like if I remove the stoker crank entirely, use the smaller timing chain gear on the main pedals, it should put me at a little bit lower gear than my Cruiser. That would give me a speed of maybe 12 mph and still enough power to get up the small rises between my house and Walmart.

I was figuring remove the rear seat, rear handle bars, and rear crank, and build a container on the back part of the bike that would hang down on both sides to carry grocery bags.

My bike is smallish frame (it's a Huffy) and the front pedals are closer to the front wheel than a normal cruiser, so it'll be interesting.
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Old 02-08-09, 11:37 AM   #5
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If you can score an old tandem with the triple pairs of rear spars going to the rear dropout, get one of those frames. Then chop off the top spars and rear seatpost so you can get a nice low cargo height. Lose the stoker parts, get a long chain, maybe a smaller rear wheel, fit a rear rack and you'll have a very long cargo area.
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Old 02-10-09, 01:31 AM   #6
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I really like that integrated kickstand. Also, are those fork blades even hollow? They're so narrow compared with modern forks.
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Old 03-10-09, 01:10 PM   #7
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no, the forks are not hollow. my neighbor picked one up lately
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Old 03-10-09, 01:15 PM   #8
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^^^ I'm the neighbor. We sanded it down to bare steel yesterday, and it seems like a decent frame for what it is. Just make sure your dropouts are still securely attached to the stays, since they're the pinch/spot-weld type.

The fork is made of solid steel blades, not hollow tubing. Initially, I was wary of using it, but I think it'll be fine.
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Old 03-10-09, 01:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skinnyland View Post
^^^ I'm the neighbor. We sanded it down to bare steel yesterday, and it seems like a decent frame for what it is. Just make sure your dropouts are still securely attached to the stays, since they're the pinch/spot-weld type.

The fork is made of solid steel blades, not hollow tubing. Initially, I was wary of using it, but I think it'll be fine.
Old Schwinn tandems had solid bladed forks as well. I have a 45 year old one that was given to me last year. I rebuilt it with modern components. My wife and I have a similar combined weight to what you indicated, if not more, and although we haven't put a lot of miles on it yet, it has stood up to us so far.
Before
http://i35.tinypic.com/2r2ws5l.jpg
After
http://i35.tinypic.com/2pq258m.jpg
Consider carefully before commiting to changing it forever.
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