Friday, May 20, 2011
This is my new bike parked outside the downtown Loaves and Fishes facility.
A short while ago I built up an old Trek 930 Singletrack mountain bike to be my all-purpose urban utility vehicle. This was my second effort at putting together a new bike from scratch from this particular model frame.
I like these bikes. I discovered this model when I found one abandoned as pretty much just a frame outside the trash room of my apartment building. The first one I found, I built up but I ended up selling it because it was too small for me. Still it helped me decide that the Trek 930 was a good frame on which to build a practical urban utility bike.
I found a larger version of this frame on Craigslist in Olympia, Washington. Some friends picked it up for me. It was such a junker, I think they were a little bewildered by my reasoning. I should have taken pictures of this bike in its as-found state. It was really beat to hell. Many of the original parts had been replaced with whatever was available. For example the hand grips were apparently salvaged from an old Magna. A powder coating from Brooker Enterprises and me doing some painting of the lugs spruced it up nicely.
The last few years this model was made Trek used the new standard larger head tube size, 1 1/8 inches. Surly makes a traditional-looking crowned touring fork in this size. This is the fork used for their Long Haul Trucker touring bike. You can buy this fork as a separate part. (I got mine from Universal Cycles.) This fork, mostly is made for 700 wheels but they also make it for 26" bikes. It has extra eyelets for fenders and, most importantly for me, mid-blade eyelets for a touring front rack. I removed the old threaded fork and replaced it with the threadless LHT fork. The plan was to add front pannier rack to carry City Bike bike buckets on both the rear and front of my bike. This way I could carry four bike buckets!
A bike that could carry four buckets would be a great way to haul material, groceries and other items but mostly it would be used as my daily bread hauler. Before I start my commute each morning I pick up the day-old bread from a wonderful bakery around the corner from my house, La Petite Provence. I bring this bread to the downtown Loaves and Fishes where it is redistributed to low-income elderly and disabled folks.
Some days there is no bread. Once in a rare while there are large quantities. Previously, when I had a large load I was forced to take my scooter or a car. Just recently I was able to put my four-bucket bike hauler to the test.
These days we see a lot of options for bikes as hauling/cargo vehicles. There are: cargo/metrofiet bikes, bike with trailers, and cycle trucks. Personally I like the versatility of my four-bucket-capacity urban/hybrid bike. I can ride it without buckets and not be incumbered by a super-long wheel base or a trailer or the oddball heavier design of a cycle truck. It's just a regular bike. It's still easy to maneuver and lock up. If I need to carry a lot of stuff, I've got a lot of carrying capacity with four buckets. Also I have the versatility to choose how many buckets I need to carry. On most days I simply have two buckets in the back for carrying bread with me into work. Today I used only one bucket.