Wyoming Cruiser Bike — Fully Licensed and Not Insured

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | September 1, 2008      

Our latest grocery getter. We had this old 1980s Huffy in use as a super beater that rode more like a broken wheelbarrow than a bicycle. I finally got bothered enough to do a restomod, on the cheap.

I’ve always wanted to weld on a bicycle. So I stuck this Wyoming plate on the rear basket rack as a fender — no more stripe of wet road grime up the back. And does this make us have the hippest bike on the planet? Carl?

The backcountry skiing mountain town lifestyle requires a quiver of bicycles. As part of such, the village beater is essential, “beater” being defined as something you spend little to no money on, can be left in the rain, and probably won’t be stolen unless you leave it in front of a salon at closing time.

A neighbor gave us this old Huffy about fifteen years ago. These things are considered something like the Ford Gremlin of the bike world — definitely a beater. They weigh a ton, rattle and bang as you peddle, and just plain look shoddy. But we left it in the yard with no shelter for fifteen years and rode it nearly every day around town. In that whole time I think I put a tire on it, fixed one flat, replaced the seat after the sun rotted the vinyl to oblivion, and probably lubed the chain once or twice. Try that with your Colnago.

Mr. Huffy started out as a 5 speed. Nothing like a dérailleur to destroy town beater bike cred, so I converted to a one-speed by taking the gear cluster apart, making spacers out of the unused cogs, then shortening the chain. The chain jumped off during our first test ride. Alignment looked good, but something funny was going on. Turned out the rear axle was bent. Probably those neighbor kids trying to jump old Mr. Huff on a plywood ramp they set up in the street back in the day. Salvaged an axle from another old wheel I had laying around, problem solved, now runs smooth as yep, a Colnago.

This is a small frame — I couldn’t even get the seat high enough for Lisa. Farmer engineering to the rescue. Turns out a chunk of 1/2 inch plumbing pipe press fits almost perfectly inside the stock seatpost (secured with a plug weld as shown in photo), and also fits perfectly in the seat mounting socket. Like I said, time to weld on a bicycle. And talk about beater pride, every time I’m astride this nag I think to myself “I’m riding something made from plumbing pipe!”

Other parts of the resto included the usual repacking and adjusting of all bearings, new tires and tubes from Wally World budget bicycle supply, adding a handlebar bell for effect, swapping in an unbent front wheel obtained for free from a neighbor’s yardsale leftovers, and wiping the whole thing down with a Scotchbrite.

As for plumbing pipe, it’s said that Huffys might have been made from the stuff by intent, for the ultimate in low cost construction. When you feel the weight of this thing you think that just might be true. Yet according to the Huffy badge we have something constructed of “Duralite High Strength Steel.” Oh boy.

But this bicycle works. After some TLC it should give us another fifteen years, and I could even ride the worthy steed to Wyoming and look like a local.



6 Responses to “Wyoming Cruiser Bike — Fully Licensed and Not Insured”

  1. carl September 1st, 2008 3:15 pm

    Pretty hip Lou. Nice mods. I love the fact that it’s a 15 year old Huffy (my first bike was a Huffy…hey, maybe that’s mine). It makes me cringe when I see all these shiny, hipster townie bikes that cost more than my ski boots. One of the beauties of the cruiser is parking the thing at the store and not worrying about (1) locking it up (2) it being gone when you get back. Another joy is the idea of simplicity and functionality. Finally, comfort….a cushy seat and sitting upright rather than biking bent over is pure joy.

    Lou you and your bike are welcome up here anytime any (despite a designer logo). Happy cruising!

  2. Sky September 1st, 2008 3:18 pm

    What are you doing at the salon at closing time, Lou?

  3. Dave September 1st, 2008 4:17 pm

    I’m going to defend myself here and say that most “hipster townie bikes” are not as Carl described 🙂

    1 – few cost more than your ski boots unless you are getting the rear entry special at sniagrab.

    2 – they are comfy, cheap bikes to ride when you need a break from riding your pricey mtn bike (and don’t want it stolen). And sometimes there are not a lot of junkers to be found when you need them. It took me over 3 years to find one that was big enough for me to ride.

    3 – Hipsters ride fixie’s, not cruisers. You’re thinking of tourists and second home-owners I think.

    Next time I’m in Jackson, I’ll make sure and bring my cringe worthy cruiser with me to make a few laps around your neighborhood in my new authentic western outfit! Yee-hah.

  4. Jordan September 1st, 2008 7:50 pm

    Lou I’m pretty sure I saw you riding that down the streets of Carbondale the other day, doing circles in the middle of 3rd street. I meant to ask you about that wyo plate

  5. pete anzalone September 1st, 2008 8:25 pm

    If you wish, I can get you a sticker for that sweet ride that says “My other bike is a P.O.S. too.” Let me know, I have a line on them (refer to http://www.wildsnow.com/?p=1142).

    Also, heavy bikes build muscles and chicks dig muscles, especially those part-taking in last call at the saloon.

    Happy cruisin’.

  6. Lou September 2nd, 2008 7:02 am

    Yep, it all looks good at closing time, especially the Huffys!

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