Best Bike Commuter in Los Angeles County

There are quite a bit of bike commuters in the Los Angeles County area. The bike commuter that I have the utmost most respect for is our friend Russ Roca, he’s the Eco-Friendly Photographer that rides his bike to all his photographic assignments. The dude doesn’t own a car and he uses public transportation as much as he can. Oh and check this out, his girlfriend, Laura is a commuter too! That’s right she rides 4-5 days a week. Russ and Laura are good people, Moe and I met both of them at the Urban Commuter Expo in Pasadena.

When I Build It, I Will Ride…

The BikeCommuters.com Secret Lab, Phoenix division, is now open and the adventure of building my own commuter is finally upon me.

I like tinkering with bikes and have even had a few opportunities to take apart, paint and reassemble bikes. All of those projects never resulted in anything much – none of the bikes are even in my possession any more. But I am always on the look out for a good “project bike.” Once I started bike commuting, I felt the desire to build a custom commuter – spec’d exactly for what I needed. My road bike is too nice for the crummy roads and my mountain bike is too slow and too relaxed (geometry-wise) for the distance. I like the feel of lugged steel (who doesn’t, really?) and have been on the lookout for a frame for building my franken-bike. And, alas, I have found it.

While making my first visit to the Tempe Bike Saviours – a local bike co-op (aka HEAVEN) – I found this sweet ol’ gal amidst a pile of rusted out Schwinn’s and Huffy’s. I have yet to decipher all of the serial numbers so I can figure out the exact model and year of manufacture – but I do know that it is a pre-1973 Japanese model of the Sekine road bike.

Sekine’s were originally manufactured in Japan until 1973, when they opened a plant in Manitoba, Canada to avoid certain duties and tariffs on importing bikes. Sekine was one of those brands that really profited off of the 70s bike boom – they were self-proclaimed as the “World’s Finest Bicycle” (note that the actual frame decal says “World Finest Bicycle…”).

The head badge has a signature rhinestone at the top – which I actually thought was something added by whoever owned this bike before.

For now, all I have is the frameset: frame, fork and crankset. This merely means that I have a blank canvas to work with and I get to hand pick every piece. I will write periodic updates as the project moves along.

Bike lights as Halloween props?

OK, this has nothing to do with commuting, but I thought I’ll post it anyway. Last Sunday, my family and I participated in an event sponsored by our church called “Trunk or Treat”. We basically decorated our vehicles with a Halloween Theme.

As darkness descended, I used my cycling lights for special effects and as spotlights:


My cygolite rover as a spotlight to light up the big ass spider


The NiteRider Dual MiNewts in flashing mode, great strobe lights!


My Cateye front blinky light as a spotlight

I didn’t think of it this year, but next year I will build or modify a bike for this Halloween event, should be fun!

Commuting KMX Kart

I took the KMX Kart for my commute this morning and it gave me quite a workout. The geometry on the KMX is quite different from any commuter bike or any bike for that matter.

KMX

Not only did the Kart do a number on my legs, but I found my arms and abs a bit sore after the ride.

KMX

I’m still impressed on how fast this little puppy could run. I wish I had one of those computers that logs the distance and speed that you’ve traveled. Just to see how fast I could take it.

KMX

The only complaint I have about the Kart is that I don’t have saddle bags to put some of my stuff in. But that’s something that could easily be fixed. Stay tuned for a KMX Kart “Saddle Bag Project“.

Randy