Commuter Rigs of the Early Days

I started commuting by bike daily around 2003. I rode from Reston to Falls Church in Virginia along the W&OD. This was pre-smartphones and ride tracking apps. I don’t have many photos from back then. A few though from the archives. [1] The first was my daily rider for several years – A @gary_fisher HooKooEKoo. It belonged to my Uncle-in-law and i inherited it when he passed away. I put a Surly rigid fork on it, flat bars cut real skinny with bar ends – pretty much to mimic the hoods of a drop bar bike. I eventually rode it into the ground. I stripped the bottom-bracket threads and I thought it was done, so I gave it a hero’s send off [2] and figured that was it.

I didn’t want to give up though and researching on the internet I found out that you could re-thread stripped BBs the opposite way and use a EuroItalian bottom bracket. So I found a shop in Maryland – College Park Bikes – who said they could do it. The bike lives on now, sitting in my garage. Around 2004 we moved to Annandale and I had the dream commute to Falls Church – we lived literally on the edge of Wakefield Park, so I could get an MTB rip in on my way to AND from work.

[3,4] Here’s a few pictures form those commutes. First, a Schwinn Moab that was actually my wife’s and way too small for me, and second, a nice slice of trail in Wakefield. When the Gary Fisher first died, a buddy of mine sent me a beater MTB frame and fork from Colorado – a Schwinn High Plains. I built it up as a drop bar single speed. [4]

I rode that to work for years and it was in the stable until just last year when I finally sold it. As with every bike I’ve ever sold, I regret it now, but it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. Never sell bikes, kids. We moved to New Brunswick in October of 2006, and in January of 2007 was one of my first commutes here – on a fixed-gear beater Specialized MTB that I’d bought off Craigslist in DC for $100 [5].

It was -28ºC in this photo. I’m finding it really hard to believe I’ve been commuting for over 15 years. You’d have thought I might have stopped then. I’m sure my fingers and toes wish I had.