An unexpected Wednesday ramble, or rediscovering the Heavy Duti

Wednesday January 27 was my only true day off this week. I had no ambitious plans, as I wanted to do some stuff around the house. Also, a bit too much whisky the night before left me a bit too little energy. But I wanted to at least a short bike ride, as the day would be dry and I also needed to pick up some groceries.

I decided to pull out the Schwinn Heavy Duti, since besides a couple very short jaunts over the last few months, it’s been a while since I rode it. Also, I was still unsure of the whole giant basket and bullmoose setup, so the only way to find out was to ride it.

I left a little after noon, motivated because there looked to be a band of showers maybe ninety minutes from Portland. (This scenario would actually last all day, as the band of showers seemed to stall over the coast.) It would be only a short jaunt to the store, but I decided to go the long way via the Columbia Slough Trail.

I had just ridden the trail the week previous, but there’s nothing wrong with riding it again so soon! In fact, I don’t know why I don’t ride it more often, as it’s only a mile from my house, and provides miles of flat, scenic, and most importantly no-stress riding. Oh yeah, because it’s not on the way to anything. But I should revel in that!

I could have cut back over to “the mainland” via the North Denver Avenue viaduct, but I was having fun, so I decided to go even further, to the bridge over the slough by the water treatment plant, then cut across the peninsula via the Peninsula Crossing Path.

My worries about the giant basket and bullmoose bars melted, as the handling seemed fine. And riding the Heavy Duti is always weird for the first few minutes since I need to get used to the coaster brake again. This is one of the reasons why I don’t ride it that much, the solitary coaster brake. It’s funny to think that most of us started out riding coaster braked bikes and didn’t worry about it. Now at my risk-adverse age of 40, not having a front brake does concern me.

So should I go through the trouble and effort to do something about it? Part of me says no, keep the bike as it is, it’s a bike I haven’t spent a lot of money on, and I have three other bikes with better brakes. And there would be no easy or cheap way of going about it. Part of me says yes, because I like riding this bike and it would encourage me to use it more often.

And that is the big thing: I do like riding this bike. Despite its name, it doesn’t feel as heavy as it should.  And the single gear around 60 gear-inches is pretty practical, too. Sure, I don’t try to climb too many big hills with it, but it works pretty well for around town riding. This cruise around North Portland reminded me how much I do like this bike. The bullmoose bars made it feel slightly more sporty, if that could be possible.

I did a fly-by of Waud Bluff, looking down at Swan Island. A cruise ship was in the dry dock, and Mount Hood was getting shrouded in clouds. The weather still holding out, a high around 55F again, me with just a flannel shirt. Eventually I hit up the market, ate a lunch, and headed home. By this point the wind was picking up a bit, and I could feel the rains coming.

What was to be a short jaunt turned into a thirteen mile loop. It was a good time, and I need to get out on the Heavy Duti again soon. Hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to do so!

My bike route here on RideWithGPS.

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5 thoughts on “An unexpected Wednesday ramble, or rediscovering the Heavy Duti

  1. I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve done this. Sitting around on a day off unmotivated to do anything. Some how I get myself out for a ride. The ride turns the whole day around. I feel like I’ve done something worthwhile.

  2. I really like the coaster/front brake combo and have it on a couple of bikes. My heavy-duti was set up that way, the coaster being a SA 2 speed kickback.

      • The 2 speed works really well for most of the riding I do around here. The other 2 speeds I have are old Bendix kickbacks. On my Heavy-duti I used a caliper brake on the stock fork. My fork is different than yours (round tubular) and I don’t have fenders but I don’t think it would be a big deal to put a caliper brake on yours. I also have another fork that fits the bike that I’ve used. It that has mounts for cantilever brakes. Mine has been disassembled and stashed away for a few months. After reading this post I got it out and am building it up again. Trying to decide what direction I want to go with it.
        Working on bikes in Portland sounds like a dream come true… I think. If the cliche is true about the cloudy days, not sure how I’d handle it (you probably hear that a lot). We were there briefly several years ago attending the Tour De Fat.

        • Oh, it’s sunny here all the time! 😉
          I was thinking about calipers, but yeah, having the “Schwinn blade” fork sans hole makes that…complicated. I don’t know if those blades are fat enough to take a canti/V brake boss, which would be the best way to go. I can always go with a drum brake, but that wouldn’t be cheap!

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