The Ultimate Commuter Bike

Bike to work, because driving cars everywhere makes us soft and weak.

This is the Ultimate Commuter Bike. The bike and accessories are tried and true by me for over 1400 miles and counting. Build one with the links in this post.

In order to set yourself up for commuter success, the right accessories are the key. Flat tires, you can’t have them. Theft, it might happen, but it can’t break the bank if it does. The sun is down half the time. You are going to have to ride in the dark.

It is simple and reliable. The bike is a single speed. The single speed chain never comes off and rarely needs adjusted. The bike itself, the Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno costs $399.

The “egg beater” pedal clips are great for beginners. They are designed for mountain biking, making them easy to get in and out of and impervious to dirt.

I have never had a single flat on the tires. The bike pump is portable and effective for keeping those tires hard and ready to ride.

Inexpensive: A simple, lightweight cable that you can wrap around the frame prevents crimes of opportunity, but short of carrying a U-Lock everywhere, theft can happen. $400 for the bike is the least you will pay for a legitimate bike. If it does get stolen–like mine did in 2012–hopefully you’ve gotten a few hundred miles out of it first.

Versatile: the cyclocross bike is good on the road, and still able to go off road when necessary unlike sissy pure road bikes with tiny tires.

Day and night: with the bright rechargeable AA battery powered headlight and AAA battery powered tail light, day and night riding is safe. With the single speed bike, you won’t go too fast for your light at night.

Other items that make your ride more enjoyable on the good days and bearable on the bad are a good pair of gloves. A good bike tool that is light and versatile is useful for on-the-road and at-home repair. Back sweat from a back pack is no fun, a good messenger bag eliminates this and gives you lots of compartments for little items you want for every ride. A water bottle with a removable bottom makes cleaning easy.

None of these accessories will make the ride easy. It will still be cold, dark, wet, and scary on your ride at times. Your success will always depend on your own fortitude, but these will remove any excuses you might have. I personally own and use each of these accessories and each is worth every penny I paid after hundreds of miles. The total accessories I purchased cost about $400.

Biking makes us lean and strong.

11 thoughts on “The Ultimate Commuter Bike”

  1. Mr. Petard,

    I believe Mr. Ruffing’s uncle said it like this,” You don’t get rich on what you make. You get rich on what you don’t spend.” A plethora of associated ideas and benefits that come from that can be discussed. They all go back to that basic idea. I like your ‘Rich’ ratio; money/want. I too am a very rich man by this metric.

    Keep Ridin’ Ruff Ryder,


  2. Amen. I was just told by a colleague at work on Friday that every time they see me they want to go sailing. I attribute this to my Howards. They are like a slipper mixed with a boat shoe and they look good enough for the office. I am not discounting the visual effect of my relaxingly long hair. It just screams “I am living the dream” in a smooth relaxing voice. I will say, “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do I drink Yuengling.” I am the American dream. Not the one where you start off poor and make it better through hard work. I never had that opportunity. The one where you start in Disney Land and just aren’t materialistic so you’re the richest guy you know (based on money per material desire) and you still live in Disney Land.

  3. Well, you’re not going to clip in my Howards. I walked many miles at work in Afghanistan in Crocs. Nothing says, “I climbed this mountain and still have plenty left to wipe the Earth with you” to the enemy like doing it in a comfy pair of blue Crocs, sipping Starbucks out of a Vineyard Vines coffee mug. How many miles do you have to bike before you save the carbon emissions used to make the bike, tires, lights, batteries, and deliver it on a huge truck to the store?

    1. To be simple about it, I measure that in dollars. At 25 cents a mile, it requires 1600 miles to make up $400. I’m at about 1200 miles, closing in on it. Yes, I got one bike stolen, but that one is still out there somewhere reducing pollution in our precious planet. It’s a donation to the earth.

  4. Nice bike. You should check out I always say, “If you can’t ride it in Native Shoes, you’re better off walking.” I sport the Beaver Brown Howard’s every day to work (except Mondays, I wear black pants on Mondays but I donated the $50 for a black pair to help children with hydrocephalus) with no socks. #lifechangingevents

    Do you want to look good in Crocs? Wear Native Shoes.
    -Peter Petard

    1. Clip-in shoes are a must. Walk 15 miles to work in crocs and then tell me you don’t want to clip in to a bike.

      It’s not all about the bike. The path is important too. I wouldn’t ride Lance Armstrong’s bike from your house to work. No bike will save you from getting rear-ended. Maybe my next post will be about bike paths.

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