For use in those parts of ‘civilization’ where the Xtracycle may prove just too tempting for thieves and vandals, I have a Commuter Bike, picked up as a very ugly looking mountain bike complete with yellow transfers bearing the name ‘Stampede’.
Wikipedia defines a ‘stampede’ as:
“…uncontrolled concerted running as an act of mass impulse among herd animals or a crowd of people in which the herd (or crowd) collectively begins running, often in an attempt to escape a perceived threat.”
Yes, that sounds just like a bicycle.
Anyway, I bought the bike back in 2012 and did the bare minimum to make it into a basic commuter bike that would present as unattractive a target as possible: I added some scrap mudguards, a stand, V-Brakes, a set of old tyres from the Xtracycle, some elderly lights and the cheapest dynamo I could find.
The bike then got on with its main purpose in life of not being nicked all day at the tram stop while I was at carpentry college. It managed this for two and a half years with no trouble at all, although the front light turned out to be pretty but useless so I changed it before I ran into something, or more likely before something ran into me.
At some point the awful foam handlebars turned back into whatever oil based slime they’d been made of, and needed a replacement quickly, so in desperation I fitted the only handlebar grips I had, which happened to be cork.
Then last week I took it out to see what I’d need to change for the new commute into Stuttgart, and noticed it isn’t looking that ugly anymore.
And now I’m getting attached to the thing and wondering if I could give it some nice bar ends, or maybe at least get rid of those transfers and upgrade the luggage rack to one that doesn’t rattle… but that would defeat the object of having the bike in the first place. It’s there to be ugly, dammit, or at least boring, so it doesn’t get nicked when chained to a lamppost in Stuttgart. Next thing you know I’ll be giving it a name…
Still, if anyone has an idea how to remove garish yellow transfers, please let me know…