I meant to do a blog about my commuter bike in January when I started riding it to work but I just never got around to it. Wednesday on my way home, a guy rode up beside me and complimented my bike, but then he rode with me and asked all kinds of questions about it and told me he wanted to build up a really similar bike for his girlfriend, so I told him I'd finally do this blog this weekend so he could show her pictures. I also hit over 1500 miles of commuting on my bike this week, so that's 2 good reasons to finally do this blog. When we got the bike, it looked like this. It's a Raleigh steel framed mixte made in Japan. We replaced pretty much everything and now I have a great commuter bike. I have Sram front and rear drum brakes built into the wheels, so even in the rain I have great braking power. I never thought I would ride in the rain, but I have quite a few times this year and most of the time it's actually fun. The rims are from Velocity and made to look like teakwood, Nic built the wheels for me. I get a lot of compliments on the teakwood rims, no one can tell that they aren't actual wood. The saddle and the handgrips are from Brooks. I also have a good light setup since I ride to work at 5 am to swim sometimes. My front light is a really bright Light & Motion Stella 200, I love it, it's small but it lights up the road really well on the highest power. I can lower the power to save the batteries for riding at dusk or on better lit streets. I just use bright red blinkies on the back, but they work really well too. My ride to work is 6.5 miles each way, the ride to work is mostly downhill with a few uphills, but the ride home is mostly uphill. This bike is really heavy (51 pounds!) for riding uphill, but I like all the components so it's worth it. The Sram S7 internally geared hub is cool because I can shift while stopped and I don't really have to worry about dropping the chain. Because of the hills on my ride to work I need gears, and it's fairly common to have to stop on a hill. The only drawback is this hub is heavy and it's a lot of what makes this bike weigh 51 pounds. This bike is for commuting to and from work so I have to be able to carry stuff and these Transit Metro panniers have been perfect for me. Some days I have them jam packed full of stuff for work plus lunch plus swimming stuff for before work and running shoes for a lunchtime run.
After 1500 miles of commuting so far this year, I feel like this bike is really reliable and comfortable and I still really enjoy riding it. When I take a couple days off from riding I always miss it.