Sunday, June 23, 2013

Ted Wojcik Commuter

There are a lot of people who commute on the Beacon/Hampshire bicycle route.  I am told that it is the busiest cycling road in Boston and I believe it.  On one morning commute earlier this year I found myself in a well behaved posse of up to 40 riders.  I never seem to ride on that route alone and inbound it in not uncommon for me to see 10+ people waiting for the Cambridge Street light.  As anyone interested in bicycles might do, I check out the bicycles as I pass or get passed by on the road.  On Friday I saw an interesting one - I first determined this by the bright rear light that looked like it was powered by a dynamo.  And it was.  I asked the rider if I could take a picture of it and he suggested that we stop at the next street, which he was turning on.

The bike turned out to be a Ted Wojcik commuter.  Teds are rare although I do have a friend who owns one and I recently saw a 29er used as a commuter and the owner of the 29er said his wife has a matching Ted.  Still, you don't see many of these on the road.

The rider turned out to be Josh Zisson of Bike Safe Boston.  Josh is an attorney who specializes in bicycle accidents and uses his website to educate people about both safe cycling and how to approach the aftermath of a bicycle accident to preserve the cyclist's rights.  I've heard about his cards, which has an illustrated "bill of rights" (don't door me, give me three feet of clearance, etc) and an accident report to record the pertinent information for preserving your rights.  I now have one to carry and, as Josh said, I hope I never have to use it.

The bike is Josh's city/night bike - it is painted in reflective paint.  I couldn't get the sense of this in daylight but I trust these pictures.

The first thing you notice about the safe bicycle is the size.  Josh is tall and probably too tall to get a comfortable fit on a production bicycle.  There are a lot of reasons to get a custom bicycle and Josh probably has the best one.

The bike has what looks like a Portland Design Works Takeout Basket.  I didn't confirm this with Josh but I've seen one of these on a bike in Northampton recently and it looks enough like it to convince me - and I'm making the assumption that it was painted in the reflective paint rather than the stock color from PDW.  (update: yes, Josh confirms it is a PDW, csutom painted.)

The front light is a Supernova.  He said he had a Busch & Muller, which is what I have (one with daytime running lights, which I use for commuting) but he upgraded, in part because of how his rear light is wired (in DC, rather than AC as most lights are).  I think he made a good choice in keeping the rear light, it is quite prominent in the daytime and should be much better than the largely point source rear lights otherwise available.

 Josh has the Tubus Fly Rack in stainless steel - I'd love one of these for my IF.

The brakes are drum and it has an internal gear hub (IGH) for commuting in all conditions and ease of maintenance. Josh said that Shimano doesn't sell a dynamo hub with a drum brake, so his front hub, a Sturmey Archer, doesn't match the Shimano rear.  I recall the hub on this ANT I saw last year and I believe it was a Shimano but I can't be sure.  The one picture might be good enough to tell someone, but not me.

It was fun meeting Josh and checking out his bike.  He bills it as the safest transportation bike on the road and it very well could be.  He has a great lighting system and reflective paint - I'm curious to see how bright the paint is relative to the light, which should be quite bright on its own.  I like the concept of an IGH and would try one on my next commuter.  I'm not quite sold on drum brakes but if I were less of a fair weather commuter I might be following Josh's lead.  Overall, it was quite a bike.

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