Monday, March 19, 2012

Winter Project: Commuting Machine


This will be the final post in which I refer to this bike as a "Winter Project."  Winter comes to an end this week and this bike has become my commuting and around-town-fun rig.  So it now has a place on the wall of the garage and is officially a member of the Stringer fleet.

One of the first additions I made after I finished the project was a hideous rear rack.  This was the rack that was on my previous commuting machine, and it's also the platform for our child carrier.  When I'm commuting to and from work, the child carrier stays in the garage and I strap a small set of Nashbar panniers onto the rack.  These panniers are actually a bit small for my needs, but the small size is necessary due to the odd position of the rack supports.  Rather than bolting to eyelets at the dropouts, the rack supports clamp onto the seatstays.  The resulting sharp forward angle of the supports, along with their short length, causes full size panniers to fall into the spokes of the rear wheel.  This is a pretty major problem, and it took destroying a set of panniers for me to realize just how detrimental it was.  But these panniers from Nashbar have a rounded bottom and are very short, so there is no risk of the back corner grabbing the spokes.  Lately I've also been considering putting the child carrier on a different bike and adding a new, less clunky rear rack to the Peugeot so that it won't look so ugly.

I also recently added a set of SKS fenders.  Because the Peugeot Course has oversized eyelets, I had to go buy my own hardware to get these things bolted on.  But other than that, getting the fenders on the bike was pretty straightforward.  I'm pleased with how they look - somewhat understated and not particularly flashy - and they seem to get the job done.  They're also pretty inexpensive; I picked these up at Klunk for about forty bones, plus five bucks or so for the extra hardware.

So far, I'm really liking the feel of this bike.  It's fairly lightweight and the frame is just the right size.  I'm having a bit of a problem with toe overlap and I keep slamming my toe clip into the front fender when making low-speed turns, but I'm trying to be more conscious of my foot position so that it won't continue to be a problem.  I guess I could also just remove the toe clips, but I've grown to like them quite a lot.

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