Bicycle choice is a very complicated topic,worthy of several dozen posts. I will start with this one…
Many people think that having the perfect bicycle is the most critical factor for a successful daily bicycle commute. On the contrary, the BCBiker’s attitude is the most important element that will predict one’s success at a year-round bicycle commute. If one sees a little rain in the forecast and forgoes that day’s commute, she or he will fail. However, if one commits and knows that every ride will be the best part of the day, she/he will thrive!
One might think that the more extravagant (i.e. expensive) the bicycle is, the better. My experience has been that there is very little correlation between price and reliability in bicycles, but that topic is for another day. The goal is not to tell you what the perfect bicycle is, as no such bicycle exists under all conditions. I am certain that one can be successful with a wide variety of bicycles, appropriately adjusted to your individual circumstance.
Now let me describe what I use. I find my bicycling unit to be perfectly efficient and reliable for my purposes. [I like to keep things simple and predictable so I always plan to ride the same bicycle. I have a spare (which is my second favorite) just in case my primary unit has a mechanical issue. This is a rare occurrence but certainly worth preparing for.] I commute daily, 28 miles per day, in all weather with the occasional mild grade (degree of steepness) hill. I also am a highly experienced commuter in reasonably good physical condition. For cargo, I generally carry my laptop, my lunch, and a couple of books.
As you can see pictured above is my sturdy, steel-framed 58 cm Schwinn. I do not know exactly when it was built but I estimate it to be approximately my age. It is a touring style with wrap around handle bars. The model is “Voyageur.” There are two gears in the front and eight in the rear. The brakes and pedals are standard.
I have made some minor modifications since obtaining the bike. I swapped the rear Shimano gear-shifter from my old aluminum frame Specialized hybrid. I also added front and rear racks for use of up to 4 saddlebags (panniers). The original wheels were 27″; now updated to 700s. I added the front and rear fenders, metal in the front and black plastic in the rear. The water bottle is to hold a multicolored light that flashes when jiggled. I also have a flashing red light that is mounted atop the rear rack. The seat was also recently updated.
The tires are Continental Gator Hardshell, which is a smooth rubber. The width is 23 mm. Tubes: Forte Road Punture Resistent.
Basically every detail that I mentioned above has a specific reason for being as such. The only change that I would make if forced is to replace my slightly bent rear wheel. I started using this bike as my full-time bike about 18 months ago so the bike has a little over 10,000 miles on it since becoming mine. I hope that it has another 50-60,000 left in it!
I look forward to sharing why I have chosen these specifications in future posts. I am interested to see any comments related to my chariot.