Well, technically my section of the blog is supposed to cover both touring and bike commuting Indianapolis. I obviously haven’t done any coverage of commuting, so I thought I’d start with a couple pieces of gear that I like.
If you’ve read my posts regarding my tour last summer of the Great Allegheny Passage and C & O Towpath, you know I have a Trek 7.3 hybrid bike. I originally purchased this bike for commuting and have logged some pretty good miles on it doing exactly that. My ride from home to Butler (I’m a grad-student) is about 9 miles one way. I use a combination of surface streets, bike paths, and bike lanes to make the journey. All are paved. In reading one of my new favorite mags, Bicycle Times, I saw a handlebar that caught my attention. I did a little research, and found out it’s the Jeff Jones “H-Bar.” The original is titanium and retails for about $400, but Titec makes a licensed knock-off for about a quarter of that price.
Here’s a picture of the Titec version on my 7.3:
As you can see, there are a variety of options for hand positions, and places to mount lotsa stuff. I have a NiteRider headlight on top of the bar, Blackburn Voyager 3.3 mounted underneath (I use it in flashing mode), Trek Beacon Bar End Lights, a bell, and of course shift/brake levers. Like most bars, it doesn’t come with any tape or grips. Taking the lead from the Jeff Jones website, I installed black cork grips and black cork handlebar tape. It is super comfy. The width is great for rough roads, climbing, or cruising upright, but the extensions are great for getting a little aero (when I’m late for class!)
This bar is for a pretty niche market, so we don’t keep them in stock, but we are happy to order it for you and can have it within a week’s time. Labor to install a new handlebar and move all the stuff over is only about $30, but sometimes there is a need for new, longer cables depending on your old setup. That can run an additional $20.
I hope these tips help you in your commuting adventures. Stay safe out there folks…the drivers are not yet used to looking for us (are they ever?)