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Calvin's Corner

Hail the Commuter

This article will discuss sundry features of the commuting bicycle, as Bike To Work Day is Friday, May 16. Bicycles are very diverse vehicles, able to perform many tasks. However, bicycles are at their best when they are purpose specific. Downhill bike have 8-inches of travel for huge drops, time-trial bikes are aero dynamic for speed, road bikes are light weight (excluding mine) for climbing and sprinting. Commuter bikes also have their own special considerations. I have been commuting more this year, being in a Commuter League, and there are few a few features I have come to appreciate:


Big and fat, to me that's a commuter tire. Lots of tread, high pressure (relatively), able to withstand potholes, fighting flats, and able to get you there.

Under the saddle, and hopefully rarely used, are some essential items. A tube, tire levers, and a hex set.


Another must have is a pump. I prefer the re-usable frame pumps over the disposable CO2 cartridges. This PMP-5 adjusts in length to any of my steads.

To my mind, this is the offical pedal of the commuter. Cleated on one side, and flat on the other. Need to get to the store without your riding shoes? Sure, just jump on the bike and do it.


The view from the cockpit. I am a big fan of the mustache bar. Being left handed, the rear shifter feels perfectly placed.

Not necessarily the best brake out there, these center pulls had one important feature. They were in stock and free. Hence, they go on the ride.

The brake levers were a gift from a friend, minus the pretty rubber covers. The housing is the woven type, which greatly improves the performace of weaker brake systems, such as the center pulls seen above.

Two important items: a head light, and a bell. This one is the polite type that has a jingle that says "Ice Cream." Used to give a "heads up" to walkers, and to say hello to passing cyclists.



Wide in the backside, this bike appears to be more a rolling duvet then a bike. I understand the thinking that "less is more" but somehow I just want to bring it all along with me. One last feature: A kickstand. Forget your pride and get one.