September 24, 2006
The Dumpster Bike gets a makover - One Year Later
Tonight in my living room I gave my dumpster bike a makover for my winter commuting experience. I did it in my living room so I could socialize with my family while working on it. My daughter thought it was kind of wierd and geeky, but it's done and I wasn't out in the garage. Hey, I kept it clean and cleaned up after myself! It's all good. haha. Here is a link to the first re-cycling of my dumpster bike. I can't believe I've been riding this bike off and on for over a year hardly putting any money into it. I purposefully got creative and used things that were thrown out to fix it. For instance, I put patches on my tubes and boots in the tires where there were holes and I wired old fenders on and so on.
But thinking about winter, I thought I'd prepare a strategy for dealing with my commute. It's better to do it now than when I have to roll out at 5am at 20 below zero. So I finally replaced the dumpster tires with brand new knobby 27" tires. Yes, new tires with traction! woo hoo!
I was also lacking handlebar tape, so here I got creative. In the garage I was looking around for some tape when I spotted some old tape laying on the workbench that I was too lazy to throw out. No, not enough of it and it was torn up. That's why I took that off my racing bike in the first place. It was in an accident and had road rash. I had a flash of inspiration when I was feeling the texture of it. It felt a lot like an old innertube. YES! If an old innertube was cut just right, it would act just like handlebar tape. Perfect for the added grip needed during the winter I thought. So I sliced the tube exactly in half. One 27" innertube covered both sides just like true handlebar tape would have. Oh yes, I did need a couple of snips from another tube to go over the brake levers. So I did it and it seems to work very well. Let's see how well it holds up compared to handlebar tape. I bet it will work very well this winter and it did not cost me anything.
I'm going to ride it into work in the morning just to make sure it's ready. My strategy this winter is to have two bikes ready to go as commuters all the time and alternate so I can maintain them and have a backup. Both bikes are going to have skinny knobby tires. My current commuter bike already has one on the rear so I just need a second one. Why did I come up with this strategy? Several reasons: My mountain bike got really beat up with the salt and sand this last winter. So I wanted an older, heavier bike to ride in the winter. I rode my dumpster bike last winter and I really liked the way it handled with skinny tires verses my fat mountain bike tires. Every time it snowed I was floating over the snow on my mountain bike. With the dumpster bike I was cutting through it, even with slick tires! So I put my mountain bike away for the winter. Now I have just upgraded my mountain bike to a lighter, faster bike for racing so I don't want to muck it all up. It's expensive to replace components! Also last year, my derailer froze up many times and got stuck in an inconvenient gear. The dumpster bike is essential a single speed freewheel, since I removed the derailer from it originally. There is only one gear and no shifting to get mucked up. My second commuter bike will probably get ridden on the nicer days this winter. We'll see how my strategy works. I think it will be good to have a backup in case I can't fix one right away. Especially if I'm running late for work, haha. I can just grab one and go. I'm hoping for more flexibility. I'll let you know how it goes.