I was given this Fuji Special Tourer frame from a good friend of mine to replace a frame that was rear ended by a car. This is one of those so call "Franken bikes" that you might see out on the streets of San Francisco, CA. This bike is my commuter bike and I love making it into the perfect bike for me to ride. It is a strange set up with the random parts on it, but it runs super smooth. I have made some changes for the winter season such as upgrading the pedals, tires, and saddle.
The Some Porteur rack with fence was a $150 upgrade that has been one of the best purchase I have made for my bike and my lifestyle. It makes commuting on BART much easier because I can just take my backpack off and lay it down on the rack. When I have to go to the laundry-mat I can stack two milk crates full of dirty laundry and easily make it there. When I go to the grocery store I can strap two bags to the front. It is really nice to be able to split loads of weight across your bike and your body so that you don't make your body take the majority of the weight. I customized a light bracket that mounts to the underside of the rack out of an old steer tube. This makes more space on my bars for my Crane brass bell and "Sumimasen" digital bell and cleans up the aesthetic of the bike.
One of my favorite things about building up a bike or upgrading an existing bike is to have custom hand-built wheels put on the bike. I love hand built wheels! Love them! They last longer, hold up better, and are a breeze to maintain. Here is how wheels are typically manufactured and here is how hand build wheels are put together, it's a quality over quantity thing to keep in mind. The rear wheel is built on an old Dura-Ace Freewheel hub laced to a Mavic Open Pro Rim. I was lucky enough to also get a "corncob" six speed freewheel from a friend to make the rear drive train complete. The front wheel is built on a Suzue track hub laced to a Mavic Open Pro, starting to see a theme? The tires are upgraded from a 700 x 28 tire to 700 x 32. While I am sacrificing speed and a little bit of weight saving grams, the wider tire is an extreme comfortable ride, plus when I am carrying a bunch of weight on the front rack I not worried about the tube catching a pinch flat.
This Special Tourer is even more special now that it has a Brooks B.17 Special Saddle. This is my most recent upgrade. If you haven't tried riding on a Brooks before I highly recommend investing in one, just remember to ask your mechanic at Box Dog Bikes to chain down the saddle to the frame and install some ball bearings into the ends of the bolts, it won't cost more than $10 to protect your investment.
Another upgrade that has made my bike safer to ride with during the rainy season is the Hold-Fast Pedal straps that I installed on my Premium BMX pedals. I had MKS Pedals on my bike before the winter, but when the soles of your shoes are wet it is nice to step onto a pedal that has a little more bite. I changed over to the Hold-Fast straps because that are easily adjustable, which means that if I am wearing my rain boots and commuting to work I can easily open up the straps to fit my boots.