A vintage steel framed bicycle built to be a general all around mode of transportation. In my opinion, the above bike represents everything that bicycle should have if used for transportation.
Even though, it doesn’t rain in Plano, TX all that often, I encounter puddles from sprinklers very often. Fenders, are the perfect way to keep from developing the dreaded skunk stripe down one’s back, that comes with riding in wet conditions. If you live in a desert climate, then this one may be optional.
Night and low light conditions
The bicycle is equipped with the standard passive illumination equipment required by law in the United States; front and rear, as well as wheel reflectors. In addition it is equipped with a dynamo lighting system that provides plenty of light for riding at night as well as providing a daylight running system that makes the bicycle a little more visible when riding on the road system.
A decent battery based lighting system is also a possible choice; however, while less expensive, it requires that you prepare for any trip where you might need light. At the very least this means keeping the batteries charged and making sure the trips will not be longer in adverse lighting conditions than you will need to be riding. Also remember, that colder temperatures reduce the length of times the lights will work.
A little carrying capacity
A bicycle used for general transportation needs to have the ability to carry small items; small purchases, books, phone, camera, etc… We are not talking about larger cargo capacity such as groceries and such; that requires a different style of bicycle. A style, that can also be a day-to-day bike for recreational riding or the general transportation needs that this particular bike is designed for. But any bike that is used for transportation needs to be able to carry some small items at the very least.
On this bike, that is handled by the Carradice saddle bag and the Arkel handlbar bag. The saddle bag always carries a spare tube, minimal tool set and patch kit, a cycling rain poncho with helmet cover, and two locks (one mini U-lock and a cable lock). The bike also carries a frame pump (as opposed to a mini pump) for inflating repaired flats. At the very least you should have some means of inflating such repairs, and the portable pump is the single best means of doing so.
This still leaves a fair bit of carrying space in the saddle bag, and the handle bar bag only carries a small pen light for emergency light if I need to fix a flat at night, so it is the primary place where I carry those small items.
Works with any shoes
A bicycle that is going to be used for general transportation needs to be able to use whatever shoes you need for the purpose of the ride. Sneakers, dress shoes, etc… You shouldn’t have a bike that requires special shoes and expect that you’ll want to use it for quick errands, etc…
I personally find this bike with its less aggressive road style geometry and drop bars to be very comfortable. Others may prefer a more upright posture or an even more aggressive posture. Your personal comfort on the bike is paramount, if your going to be using as a means of transportation.
I found that I tried a number of different styles of bicycle, until I settled on the one shown here. While I found more upright styles of bicycle comfortable for transportation, I didn’t find them as fun. And for me that is the point of the bicycle, to have fun!
It is fun
And that really is the most important part of the general transportation bicycle, you enjoy riding it. If you don’t, either find another bike or just drive!