Tweaker strikes again: Kickbike Commuter Mark III


On my ride this morning I became conscious of a faint keening metallic sound coming from my front fender. Nothing was loose; no part of the fender was touching the wheel. But the tinkerer within me had been awakened.

Much as I loved the City Cruiser’s yellow metal fenders, which reminded me of my late, beloved Nottingham Raleigh 3-speed bicycle, I also loved the solidly buttoned-down feel of my late (stolen) Raleigh Professional racing bicycle.

The blue Professional made me think of my blue Footbike, which came with lightweight black plastic fenders, which it didn’t now need, being set up for off-road. A swap was considered, but the front Footbike fender was too abbreviated to keep puddle water off my shoes. In my parts-bin I had a strap-on mudguard that I had used on the first iteration of the City Cruiser commuter. So the little mudguard got attached low on the frame and the front fender came off.

I then detached the reflector nacelle from the rear Kickbike fender, and with the drilling of a couple of holes, mounted it on the Footbike plastic fender, which I then swapped onto the Kickbike for the stock fender.

I recently removed my rear brake, as the cable-clamp was relentlessly chewing up my right pants-leg whenever I wore long pants on the Kickbike – and I want to be able to wear long pants on the Kickbike. (I can always drag a foot on the ground before I jump off in a broken-front-cable downhill emergency … on the only hill we have around here.) I covered the hole in the frame for the rear cable with some yellow plastic utility tape from Ace Hardware.

So the Kickbike has lost a bit of weight and gotten tightened-up considerably. Simplicity is powerfully attractive to me, and my main ride has become simpler (with the exception of the computer, which is about as simple as it can be – though I remember, from 30 years ago, mechanical odometers that mounted on the front axle and turned over little numbers on a wheel, like an old mechanical digital bedstand clock).

And now, after I watch the Tour de France riders battle up Mont Ventoux on their complicated machines (Armstrong and Contador are all over the Schleck brothers like fur on a weasel), I will sally forth for a little kick, myself.


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