Hello Bike Commuters! It has been a while since I posted, but things have changed quite a bit. Unfortunately I am no longer doing the Bike-Train commute thing, I am really bummed about that. I used to take the train so I would avoid spending up to an hour and a half stuck in traffic but now I have a carpool buddy and that has reduced my commute time to about 40 minutes.
This meant that I no longer needed my Giant Expressway folding bike so it was sold to a person who travels by plane and needed a bike to get around town. I gave “Gravel” riding a try with my old 26″ Hard tail mountain bike but I was not able to keep up with riders with fancy Gravel/CX bikes and 29rs. New Gravel/Adventure bikes start about $900 so I started perusing Craigslist to see if I could score a cheap gravel bike.
And there it was…. a Raleigh Bikes Preston Classic City Bike, a vintage looking bike with modern parts and a copper finished handlebar! So I started searching for a local bike shop that may have it in stock -No Dice. I noticed that Raleigh was selling this bike in Amazon.com for about $395 (cheaper than their own site and around the same price as a used one). I did not buy it right away, my budget was about $200 so it was over my budget.
Amazon does this thing that if you leave an item in your cart it will tell you if an item has gone down or up in price if when you go back to your cart. I checked my cart periodically and lo and behold the Raleigh Preston was selling for $295! That was still $95 over my budget but I remembered that I had an Amazon gift card and points accumulated on a credit card. I went ahead and pulled the trigger, the gravel bike will wait.
So how was the Amazon experience? The bike arrived 3 days after I purchased it and assembling the bike with the tools that Raleigh provided was a breeze. You don’t have to be a bike mechanic to assemble this bike so save yourself the $80 assembly fee if you consider purchasing a Raleigh bike from Amazon. The only thing that was disappointing was that the bike arrived a little scratched up, this is not Amazon’s fault but if the Raleigh folks are reading this; please put extra padding on the top tube!!!
So far I’ve done errands on this bike and it gets a lot of looks and thumbs up, I can’t wait to take this bike to the beach!
Hello Bike commuters and fellow DIY bike mechanics! Yes, as much as I like my local bike shop, there are some repairs or upgrades that I am able to do myself. My Spicer CX had one weakness; its cantilever brakes. Even though I replaced them with new Avid Shortys, I still was not comfortable with their stopping power on a steep downhill.
So what did I do? Well, I went with V brakes instead. The process of installing V-brakes was pretty straight forward; the only issue I ran into was that I needed to replace the cable housing so it can run all the way to the brake noodle.
But there was a problem with my conversion; the brake levers from my Spicer CX are designed for short pull brakes and the V brakes that I installed are long pull brakes. I figured that I could get away with it by adjusting the tension on the brakes and having the pads really close to the rim. Well, I was wrong. The rear brake is OK, but the front brake was not grabbing.
I did what every respectable DIY mechanic would do: “I Googled it”. So Google came up with a little gadget called “Travel Agent” by Problem Solvers and since I had a problem to solve (pun intended) I ordered one of this shindigs online. Mind you, the travel agent was not cheap but braking is sort of important after all.
Installing the travel agent was pretty straight forward thanks to the video and the right tools. If you happen to work a lot on your bikes, I highly recommend the Park Tools Cable and housing cutter.
I did a quick test ride around the block and man, the travel agent works as advertised! I have now plenty of stopping power on my front brakes! In case you are wondering why I am making these changes to my bike, well, that is because I am training for the Strada Rossa V ride this coming March. More on that later on.
Hello Bike Commuters and fellow folding bike riders! I finally had the chance to ride the Giant Expressway folding bike to work and I am happy to report that my train-bike commute got easier and more convenient. I love the fact that I can fold the bike, stash it inside my sedan’s trunk, park inside the covered parking lot and be ready to ride to the train station in seconds.
Another HUGE plus is that I get to sit next to my folded bicycle, no need to use the crowded bike racks and play the “train stop dance”, if you ride the Metrolink, you know what I mean.
The bike also takes less space at the office, in fact, I get to park the bike in my cubicle right behind me.
However, riding a small bike also has its negatives such as the never ending teasing that I get: Clown bike, little people bike, Junior bike, kid bike, etc. It’s OK, bike commuters always get teased anyways. I also have to get used to the bike’s performance, or lack of thereof, max speed on this bike is about 15 mph so I have to pace myself so I won’t sweat too much on my way to the office.
Overall, I am really happy with my purchase but I am already thinking of ways to make the folding bike go faster 🙂
Hello Bike Commuters and multi-modal commuters! Yes, another commuter bike! As much as I really like my Spicer Cycles CX as a commuter bike, there are times that the bicycle rack in the train gets full and it sucks when you have to either stand up for the length of the ride and block the walkway. The solution? A folding bike!
I posted a picture of it on the BikeCommuters.com’s Instagram and Facebook feed but in case you missed it, the bike is a Giant Expressway 2 that I bought from my favorite peer-to-peer flea market (Craigslist).
The bike was in good condition but it needed a good cleaning and new tires. I ordered the tires from my other favorite online marketplace since my LBS did not carry them and they had to order them too.
I really like this bike, it is aluminum so it is not as heavy and it features a 7 speed drivetrain and 100 psi tires. One thing that sort of bother me was that the bike is all black, that is good for stealth purposes but with the time change coming I ended up adding some reflective accents to the bike.
I also added the red ESI Grips and a red bottle water holder just for looks, not bad eh? And for safety, I opted for the Portland Design Danger Zone tail light. I am hoping to ride to work on Thursday so stay tuned for my “little bike” commuting experience.
Hello fellow bike riders! Yeah, it has been a long time since I’ve posted but sadly I have not had a chance to ride my bike to work lately but that should change soon.
I know that my the title of my post sounds like a cliche but I’m my case it is actually true. I’ve posted in the past that my wife did not know how to ride a bike and that still remains true today. But she does not care because of our Bike Friday Family tandem.
Interestingly, her love for riding is all thanks to our love of eating. Riding our tandem to different breakfast spots in the weekend is something that we both thoroughly enjoy doing and it was something that she could not relate to when I was out riding with my buddies.
Riding our tandem to the beach is quite relaxing for both of us. We ride the San Gabriel River Trail so we don’t have to deal with traffic nor have to fight or pay for parking. Besides riding to our usual breakfast joints, we have ventured to ride to other places where I really hate to drive to.
So how has it helped my marriage? Both my wife and I look forward to our weekend rides and the fact that she enjoys something that I’ve done for over 10 years also brings me lots of joy. We also enjoy shopping for cycling stuff together, I no longer have to justify my purchases since she is also hooked! So what I am trying to say is that my wife and I spend quality time together and all thanks to riding a bike.