Now, I know not everyone is as enthusiastic as me about daylight saving. There is apparently a woman in Queensland who blames all those extra hours of government sponsored sunlight for making her furniture fade. But riding home from work while it’s still light is nice isn’t it? And this is the bicycle that got me through the long, damp Auckland winter.
Yes, it’s my old friend the Bridgestone MB4 – looking much more ride-to-work friendly than when it came out of the factory back in the early 90s. You will notice, it now has some comprehensive mudguards (Planet Bike) new tyres (Compass Bicycles) moustache handlebars (Planet-X-Bikes) and a discrete, yet semi-permanant light (DKG).
As I have blathered on about before, I reckon mudguards are virtually essential for a practical bike, and I think these ones are very good. Easy to put on and specially designed for mountain bikes – so they’re pretty wide. They are also very sturdy & non-rattly. Except when you don’t bother to tighten up the bolt on the rear brake bridge properly, and then the nut falls off while you’re riding home. But even then, there’s enough other stays to hold them on, so you can fix it when you get home. Or so I’ve heard. Ahem.
The previous set of tyres I had on this bike were Schwalbe Super Motos. Brillliant though they were, mudguard-friendly they were not. So I replaced them with some similarly exotic, but more conservative looking tyres from Compass Cycles. They are made by Panaracer for Compass, which is why they look very much like Panaracer Paselas. According to Compass, their version of the tyres are made to a higher standard, and therefore roll better. I haven’t tested this properly, but they certainly feel fast.
The front light is slightly unusual – it’s an LED Maglite held on with a bracket from DKG. I really don’t like the way most bicycle lights these days are clamped on to the handlebars with crappy plastic brackets. This one is machined from solid aluminium, and is of excellent quality.
Is this the perfect ride-to-work bike? Not really. But it’s pretty good. The 26in wheels make it agile for city riding, and it looks crappy enough to be fairly theft-resistant. Also, there’s a shortcut I sometimes take, which involves a brief climb up an incredibly steep street. So, thanks to the mountain bike gearing, I can chuck it into first & grind slowly up – a handy feature at 7:30 in the morning when you’re half asleep, and cold.