Question: How does gear choice -- bike, clothing, accessories -- differ when living car-free, compared to recreational cyclists? Do you tend to buy higher-end products, knowing you'll be using them nearly every day? Randy Rasa of Kansas Cyclist
Answer: Good question. Here are my thoughts based on my experience. (Note-everyone is different; the type of bike, clothing, and accessories I like and use may be different for someone else-so I would encourage you if you have something you like to share it for the readers.)
First compared to recreational cyclist, the carfree/ carlite person is interested in three main things durability, functionality, and comfort, much as a long distance bicycle tourist. Things like weight, speed, and fashion are not so important. For me, I prefer a heavier steel frame bike, with 21-27 gears. My bike is a lower end bike that I made into a very tough commuter, a Trek 820. I added higher end wheels. I also use Tuffy liners so I do not have to worry about flats. The quality of the tire is important too- I like Continentals Contacts.
Clothing: If a person is going to be on the bike for longer than an hour, clothing is very important. I want light weight, breathable, sweat wicking materials that will keep me warm and dry in winter, and cool in the summer. For example: I use the Touring jacket from Showers Pass out of Portland for temps from 70 f to 10 f . The jacket is incredible with its range of uses, but is a rain jacket, but with layering can be a great winter jacket.
Accessories: Typically we carry more things-tools, clothes, electronics, depending where we are headed, how long, and if the weather may change through out the day. Some people use courier bags or back packs, I have a rear rack and use a rack bag from Arkel, of Canada, called a Tailrider. I use two front lights from Trek and rear lights form Planet Bike, Superflash. I ususally have four lights on at once for visibilityand night and cloudy. This is compared to the recreational cyclist who may only carry a light jacket and flat tire change kit.
Share your thoughts!
Right now it is 24f, light snow, a wet cold. I am going to ride to the gym and do the stairmaster and watch some of the Oylmpics. Peace.