Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Stable

It's about time I got around to posting information about the bikes I have, which will be followed (probably) by some regular posting about bikes I want. As it is often stated on the Bike Forums discussions (especially in the Commuting forum): the perfect number of bikes is one more than you currently have. That being said I do have a few specific other bike I would like to get my hands on, but will probably wait until I relocate to a more bike-friendly area (and a house with a garage) first. My current stable is two bikes and a touring bike frame.

The first bike, the one I ride most often, is my commuter - a 1974 Schwinn Speedster. I got it from a Craigslist post as a replacement for my previous commuting/general riding bike which was stolen from the back of my truck. I just finished replacing the front and rear hubs on the Schwinn, but prior to that (as far as I can tell) it was all original parts. The only other work I've done to it is to add a NOS Schwinn-brand rear rack and a couple of Wald collapsing baskets. The baskets are handy for commuting since I can toss my stuff in without needing to use a bag. The only real downside to this bike I have found is that it uses Schwinn-specific tires in an odd size (26 x 1 3/8) which makes it a little tough to find replacements. I would love to get some reflective sidewall tires to increase visibility on the commute but they don't seem to be made in the right size for me. I do have some whitewalls on order. That, paired with the lights I recently installed and the reflective tape strips on the fenders should make me nice and annoying to drivers.

The next is my road bike, a mid 70s (I haven't been able to narrow it down) Raleigh Supercourse. It was another craigslist find for me. The bike which was stolen was one I used for both commuting and weekend/pleasure rides and needed something for fun rides that were longer and more difficult than the three speed allows. When I bought the Raleigh it had downtube shifting, which I have had changed to bar-end. Other than that (and pedals) I've kept the bike, like the Schwinn, as original as possible. I've completed two metric centuries on it so far (the Civil War and Seagull). One of the things I like the best about it is the style that it has with the lugs and even interesting looking chainring.

Finally, I have a Surly Long Haul Trucker frame which I hope to get built up for loaded touring. I was able to score the original, Gang Green color frame, rather than either the red or blue that they currently sell. This winter I'll be working with Larry and the other guys out at Mt. Airy Bikes to get the parter and have the bike built up. My goal is to put it together for loaded, primarily on-road touring, but I do want to be able to do trails like the C&O Canal with it as well. That being the case I'll either get two sets of wheels built (probably not) or get it built with MTB wheels and use mainly narrower, commuting-type tires (more likely). The other advantage to using MTB wheels on it is that I have a couple of sets of tires left over from my old mountain bike. I have figured out a few things I want to have (bar-end shifting) and the gearing that I want, but most of it is still up in the air.

Well, that's a look into my slowly developing stable. As I mentioned, there are a few other bikes I'd like to have. A new mountain bike (probably an older, rigid like the Trek 930 I used to have) would be nice, or maybe a mid-range 'cross bike. Also I want to get a bike to build-up with an Xtracycle FreeRadical. I haven't decided if I want to retrofit a bike or get one of the Xtracycle compatible frames like the Surly Big Dummy. The last new bike I'd like to have just for kicks is a unicycle, not because I can actually ride one, but I think it would be a lot of fun to learn. Or maybe I'll get one of these...

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