Soma Fabrications Double Cross Disc

by michelle bontrager in , ,


Hand built wheel set, NITTO rear rack, dynamo light system

Hand built wheel set, NITTO rear rack, dynamo light system

Story of a Custom Double Cross Disc (CX) bike

These hot summer days are an exciting time for us at the bike shop, people are out of doors riding and walking by our narrow storefront from the time we open to the time we close.  We have fun chatting with fellow cyclists about their planned bicycle adventures for the months ahead. And these discussions inevitably lead to opinions of what the perfect bicycle encompasses.

Sometimes these discussions even lead to someone wanting us build a custom bicycle to fulfill a long held dream. We build bicycles utilizing steel frame sets since Steel is long lasting, stylish, and offers a comfortable ride. We have completed a wide range of custom builds over the last 10 years but the common denominator has been building a bike that will suit different types of riding conditions. We have built touring bikes, cyclocross bikes, all rigid mountain bikes, road bikes for fitness rides, adventure bikes, gravel bikes and many city transportation machines.

I really don’t like the gym. I like experiences, so I take any chance I get to go on a bicycle or on a hike.
— Blake Lively

Last year we struck up a conversation with a neighbor about his commute to work. It became obvious that he had grown weary of riding his single speed up and down our Highland hills to work every day. With so many bike choices available ranging from light weight race machines to super slack frames geared for touring together we chose Soma Fabrications’s Double Cross Disc (CX). This frame set seemed to be right in the middle of these extremes, a lively frame that accelerates quickly.

Here is a photo montage of his Double Cross.  Ever ready for what the road ahead may offer, it’s been a reliable machine for a year now.

Summary of key components:

  • NITTO handlebars
  • NITTO rear rack
  • MKS platform touring pedals
  • Brooks leather saddle
  • Shimano drive train and brakes
  • Shimano Alfine dynamo hub
  • Edelux front light
  • Shikoro tires
  • Velocity Aileron rims

Cycling in the city of Frankfurt, Germany

by michelle bontrager in


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A few weeks ago my brother, our friend Chris, and I had an unavoidable eight-hour layover at the Frankfurt airport while traveling to our vacation destination. Typically I don’t get excited about such layovers I simply utilize the time to nap before the next leg of the journey but Chris was adamant that we all trug into Frankfurt’s town center for a look and with furthor encouragement from our Lufthansa agent we agreed to accompany her.  After tucking our bags into the airport’s luggage-hold center and figuring out which of a dozen trains to catch from the terminal we were off to town for the day.

most cyclists have bonnets on their saddles to protect them from the rain

most cyclists have bonnets on their saddles to protect them from the rain

It’s been over six years since I’ve traveled through Germany and was immediately reminded of the cycling culture that I had enjoyed on those visits. Even on a grey drizzly February morning the Frankfurters were out and about on their bicycles!

Pleasures enjoyed by City Cyclists in Frankfurt, Germany

  • German city dwellers ride slowly in regular street clothes, not a stitch of lycra was seen
  • All of the bicycles featured a cargo carrying area, either a rack or a basket or both
  • Most of the bicycles have fenders
  • Bicyclists have the right-away in traffic, above cars and pedestrians, in fact cyclists are free to ride on streets, bicycle paths, and even on the sidewalk with pedestrians
  • Everyone is totally calm and paying attention to traffic, neither pedestrians nor car drivers exhibit anger or impatience with cyclists.
Abus locks, Schwalbe tires, as German as Curry Wurst

Abus locks, Schwalbe tires, as German as Curry Wurst

I haven’t ridden a lot in German metropolitan centers like Frankfurt but have completed two bicycle tours through the German countryside with my husband. On those trips we primarily rode on bicycle paths. The government designed an all-national, intricate bicycle path system that leads cyclists along scenic countryside routes and seamlessly through the small cities and towns in-between.  The few times we chose to ride on tarmac the motorized vehicles gave us plenty of berth.  

It was so refreshing to be in a bicycle centric culture if only for a day. I ask, why can’t our communities adopt some of the German bicycle infrastructure design?  

My bicycle rights wish list

  • Bicycle boulevards that crisscross Denver's city center enabling cyclists to reach their destinations without the hassle of yielding to motorized vehicles at every intersection
  • enforcement of the existing traffic laws that support cyclists
  • Alert and attentive car drivers.

l will continue to ride my bicycle throughout my home city even if cyclists aren’t allowed the same rights as our Northern Europe brethren. The more of us that are on the streets the more likely are rights will be recognized.

Recommendations for riding with city traffic;

  • remain cognizant of your surroundings
  • obey the traffic laws as much as possible
  • hold your line
  • remain calm.  
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Riding a bicycle designed specifically for city riding makes the entire experience all that more enjoyable. At Queen City Cycle we sell the Breezer brand of transportation bicycles which are specifically designed in the European tradition. For as little as $450 you have a solid bicycle sporting an upright riding position that handles well in traffic and allows the rider to observe her surroundings easily. A city bicycle, like a Breezer, is the first step towards incorporating cycling to your daily, active routine.

We're open Weekdays and Saturdays: 10-6, Sundays 11-4, closed on Tuesdays.


Bike Lights and Dynamo Hubs

by michelle bontrager in


Our early morning commutes commence before sunrise and our evening trips home are completed in darkness. It’s time to light up!

Bike Lights to Consider

  • Battery operated lights, the most economical
  • Re-chargeable battery lights, less hassle than regular batteries
  • Magnet operated lights, even less hassle, no batteries
  • Dynamo hub driven light systems, the brightest, long sting, and most convenient

With so many bike light options are available, we’ll happily outline the benefits different lights have and even offer recommendations for you based on: 

  • your budget
  • the type of bike you ride
  • the distance you typically travel
  • the type of streets you traverse

Here is a light system we just wired for a Denverite who commutes on a Surly Straggler.

Front Dynamo Hub

SON hub

  • This little dynamo will power your lights even at low speeds
  • Available for rim or disc brakes
  • Guaranteed for 5 years of riding
  • USB charging options are available
Luxos U designed for dark streets or long trails.

Luxos U designed for dark streets or long trails.

Head Light

Luxos U

  • B&M's Luxos U is the choice for every techy, gadget-loving cyclist out there. It features:
  • Fantastic beam pattern which has become a favorite for nighttime travelers
  • Built-in sensor automatically adjusts the beam to riding conditions
  • A push button on the handlebars to control the headlight such as a beam boost
  • Integrated cache battery that supplies voltage to a USB charging station
  • And more!
Toplight Line Plus BrakeTec, light pulses as the cyclist brakes

Toplight Line Plus BrakeTec, light pulses as the cyclist brakes

Rear Light

Toplight

  • Standlight, light remains lit for minutes after you stop pedaling
  • Brake light, the light flutters as you apply the brakes alerting traffic to your intentions
Check out  Peter White Cycle's  webpage for detailed comparisons of the different German lights and hubs that are available.

Check out Peter White Cycle's webpage for detailed comparisons of the different German lights and hubs that are available.

You may decide to wait on a dynamo light system for your bike. I just invested in my hub-generated light system 4 years ago when my daily commute increased to a 20-mile per day trip. I instantly regretted that I hadn’t made the jump years earlier.  My German dynamo system grants me instant respect on the streets. I recently rode home on a dark and stormy night, while stopped with traffic at a red light a car passenger next to me rolled down her window and yelled out “Hey you.” I hesitantly looked over not knowing what to expect and she continued “Great Lights!”

  • dynamo light system cost $250 to over $800 depending on the components chosen
  • battery light system cost $40-120
  • magnetic light systems cost $70-90.

Don’t let the change of season get you down, light up your bike and go for a ride.


NITTO handlebar conversion

by michelle bontrager in


Sometimes a semi-retired all terrain bicycle can be turned into the perfect city commuter with a few minor adjustments. For the owner of this Bridgestone mountain bike we recommended a new NITTO stem and handlebar. Look at the results.

Cinelli cork tape was wrapped in the grip area, for comfort and style.

Cinelli cork tape was wrapped in the grip area, for comfort and style.

The new stem and handlebars bring the cockpit up and back for the rider

The new stem and handlebars bring the cockpit up and back for the rider

Original owner of this classic Bridgestone MB-5 will be commuting the Denver streets now

Original owner of this classic Bridgestone MB-5 will be commuting the Denver streets now

 

We often recommend a handlebar conversion if you have a nice quality bicycle that might be enjoyed a little bit more if the geometry was adjusted just so. As we all know, it's easier to ride with traffic if we are at ease on the saddle.