A New Direction, Part 1

A while back, I made a list of all of my adult bikes. As I review that list, it’s pretty easy to spot a trend — speed. Yes, there are specifications — frame material, wheel size, gearing, geometry, etc. — that vary from bike to bike, but an overarching theme is going (relatively) fast on two wheels. I am currently, if rarely, very satisfied with the bikes in my garage.

But I’ve been reading. Things like this and this. At the shop we’ve been talking about a shop bike packing trip this summer. I’ve been thinking about ways to make it easy to commute by bike. My commute is never long, but the hassle (and attendant sweaty back) of a backpack and special shoes add a bit of friction to the process.

I’ve been thinking about something more utilitarian, but still fun. Something I could rig up as a commuter. Maybe something that would work for the bike packing trip. Definitely something that would allow me to try some new products related to commuting.

Oddly, I decided to start with a few accessories and pick out the bike a bit later. I knew that I wanted a bike that would be compatible with the Specialized Pizza Rack on the front. It looks pretty cool, holds 33 lbs. and supports low-rider panniers. So I bought one, the first item purchased for the project.

A good dynamo system would be part of this bike. Such systems appear to start with a SON hub. Every bike in consideration for this project had 12mm thru axles front and rear, so I bought an appropriate SON 28 hub. I didn’t really want this project to culminate in a zillion-dollar bike, so I looked around for a decent, not-too-expensive rear hub. I’d had a SRAM 900 a few years ago, liked it and purchased another.

Ugh. Lights. I can pick out rechargeable LED lights all day long, but the variety of dynamo lights initially overwhelmed me. In the end I picked up a B&M (Bosch+Muller) IQ-X headlight. I like the high power. I intend to mount it on the front of the Pizza Rack, but I wasn’t sure if I’d want it mounted “regular” or “upside down.” This light easily allows for both configurations without voiding any warranties. Seems like a winner. Might as well go all the way, so I got a very little light described by a character I’m not yet smart enough to type. It is indeed very small, so small that I’m a bit concerned. We’ll see.

And those were the first things I sourced for the project. In Part 2 of this mess, I’ll talk about bike selection, the rest of the wheel parts and putting it all together.