Thursday, July 31, 2008

Station Bikes

The high price of gas has caused many people turn to bikes as a way to save gas and I have found some really interesting examples on my commute of this growing trend. I am kicking myself because I didn't have my camera to grab a picture of a Wal-mart bike where the fork was on backwards! I have seen some pictures on the various Big Box store e-commerce sites where the fork was installed backwards and that was how they were selling the bike. I may need to stop into Target or Wal-mart and see if I can find some more recent examples.

Part of my commute to work each day includes a 50 minute train ride from a small city in southwestern Connecticut, called Danbury, down to another smaller city called Norwalk. Both Danbury and Norwalk have seen better days especially when manufacturing was still done locally. The train stations for both cities are not in the best of areas, either, so it's no wonder the bikes used to get people to and from the train station are either going to be crappy or cheap, or both.

Take for example the Trek 820 below. I first saw this bike Tuesday afternoon when I didn't have my camera - Monday I brought the camera with me to take movies of the trains for my boys. I did have it with me today (Wednesday) and I was fortunate to get a shot of this bike before someone snags it - that is if someone is really that desperate. It looks like someone just dumped it there to catch a train because all the other bikes at the station are locked up.

I am still trying to figure out the purpose of the duct tape on the bars. Did that make the bike cooler? The right brake lever doesn't seem to be really useful, either. I wonder how much else on this bike actually worked.

Over at the bike rack there were a few bikes properly locked up. Another Trek, a Nishiki, and a brand new mountain bike whose manufacturer I have never heard of.

It's interesting to see people lock their helmets to their bikes. I would rather bring my helmet with me because you never know if someone is going to mess with it or even try to take it by cutting the straps or taking them apart. The funny thing, though, is that the owner of this bike is probably the one of all these who actually wears a helmet.

This yellow and blue Nishiki has probably seen better days. Nice looking early mountain bike. Bars look a little uncomfortable - looks like the owner wished they were more like drop/mustache bars. This is truly a classic bike. I especially like how the rear bikes are situated under the chain stays. Not sure of the efficiency of that design in shedding mud and would seem they would get wet way too early and become less effective for riding off road than if they were situated on the seat stays.

The last two bikes were brand new, in fact so new that their tires were barely dirty. The one on the far right is a bike that you can get at Costco rather inexpensively. I like the fact that it has bar ends for those difficult and steep climbs on zero resistance asphalt. The blue bike must be a new brand you can get a Toys-R-Us which is relatively close to this train station. It appears to have been purchased the other day to bring it's rider to the station.

As for the rest of the stations, there seems to be a few bikes at the Bethel stop that I can get a glimpse of from the train that seem to be of higher quality and appears to be the only other stop on the line, other than the South Norwalk station to have a bike rack, from what I can tell. I wish I lived close enough to the line so that I could ride my bike to the station and save some gas as well. I would probably gin up some old beater into a station bike so that if it were to get stolen it wouldn't be much of a loss.


-p said...

I used to travel to Norwalk and North Haven for business with US Surgical Corp. You're right, rough towns. I'd hate to leave a bicycle, even one covered with duct tape out there.

Mark said...

The Nishiki wasn't there today. There were a few more Wal-Mart full sussers similar to my Dump Goose at the lock up today. The black Trek was still there.

holde kæft said...

I am moving to South Norwalk and wanted to find out if there is a bike rack at the South Norwalk Station? I am moving from NYC so I already have a beater bike that I don't worry about locking up on the street. Thanks.