A tale of two bicycles—Vintage Schwinn 5-speed comparison with possible E-bike conversion—Part 7—Upgrades & Accessories

A great bag for all your needs.


          These bikes are mostly as they came from the factory, except for the addition of some accessories and a few minor upgrades.   Both have the red brake pads.   This is a common piece and do give better braking and longer life than the originals.   The World Tourist had them when I received it, and the Collegiate’s were purchased new by me.   The only other real upgrade is the thorn-resistant tubes and green goop in the tires of the Collegiate.   I plan on installing these on the World Tourist too.    The handgrips haven’t been changed, but I want to mention how much I like the ones on the World Tourist.   The have an internal air pocket that creates a cushion for your hand.   They are plain black, and might be on the other bike if I didn’t like the metal-flake green so much.


          An important feature of any bike are the pieces you add to make it more comfortable for you.   When you get your new bike, it comes ready to ride, but there are so many things that it might need.   You can personalize your bike to your needs.   Some of these parts are necessary and some are fun.   I would recommend not overdoing it and just add the ones you think will help your comfort and safety.

I have added racks to both bikes.   These are old style racks that I got used.   There are many different ones available.   Most bikes will have the frame tabs to mount them and the racks will come with the needed hardware and brackets.   This is almost a must have accessory.   There are also baskets that fit in the front.   Be careful with those, as too much weight in the basket can affect the steering and throw off your balance.   A great new thing I have seen is rear baskets that fold up against the bike when not in use.   They should become very popular.   Make sure to keep a couple of bungee cords on your rack to tie things down when needed.

The Collegiate has a nice bag on it.   This is easily transferred from bike to bike.   It is held to the rack with Velcro straps.   It will expand to hold up to a twelve pack of cold drinks.   It has side pockets that I use to carry things I might need when on a ride.   In them I have–a spare tube–patch kit–a short tire pump–wrenches for the wheel nuts–tire levers–matches–a partial roll of tp–cash (paper and coin).   The bag has room for a warm shirt and my chain with a lock.   It also has a pocket on the rear for a cold drink that has a reflective patch on the back.   I have had this bag for 15 years and it has been a perfect addition to the bike.   It will fit everything I need for most rides.

I have found that using my blinking lights front and rear is important whether it is day or night.   With the led technology, the batteries last 80 hours or more.   The small cost involved is well worth the expense.   There are many rear lights on the market.   If you spend a little extra, you can get the super bright ones.   They can be seen for over a half mile and make sure you and your bike are noticed.   Use them in the daytime too.   They mount in a few different ways, so you might have to be creative on your bike.   You will see bikers with them on their clothes and helmet too.   They have built-in reflectors so they can be seen even when they are off.   But turn them on anytime you ride.   Oh, and don’t remove the reflectors that come with the bike, every little bit of visibility helps.

I have bought many types of front lights through the years.   When I was young (and dumb), I rode till all hours and never owned a light.   I guess I was lucky.   With bright moon light and street lights, you can see quite a bit.   But road imperfections can reach out and grab you if you don’t see them.   I have a removable light that is very bright.   It is still an inexpensive one compared to the best lights.   It has a rechargeable lithium battery, and the whole unit is very light-weight.   I will do a review on this light in the future.   Seen on the bikes are inexpensive lights.   These are mostly to be seen by the cars and other bikers.   One has a blinking mode, which is very good in the light of day.   These don’t really light up the road good enough to see where you are going when it is very dark.   Use them in the daytime for your best chances to avert trouble.

Computers are a fun and handy device.   I got the first one mostly because it has a clock and I don’t normally wear a watch.   They can do so much more.   They tell you the speed you are going.   Fun to know, but it can helpful to keep you from building too much speed on a downhill run.   They will tell you how far you have traveled, your riding time, your average speed, and your highest hit top speed.   They also have an odometer to tell you the total miles you have traveled (like a car or motorcycle).   I have a couple on my other bikes that even tell you the temperature.   A cool feature.   They are easy to mount and read the wheel speed with a magnet that hooks on to one of the spokes.   I use the ones with a wire from the fork mounted sensor, but you can also get wireless ones.   They also offer ones that will read out your pedal speed (cadence).   You do need to measure your tire to set the computer to match.   The instructions will explain this.   They range in price from fifteen dollars and up.

Yes, we have bells on all of our bikes.   They aren’t loud enough to notify the drivers to look out for you.   But they are good for pedestrians and other bicyclists to let them know that you are near.   They are fun to ring, and sometimes my wife and I will ring them back and forth to each other just to enjoy the riding more.   We also ring them to other bikers to say hi, although some don’t seem to appreciate it.   If you really are in danger from a car or other bike, I have found from years of experience, the best thing you can do is yell as loud as you can.   Don’t be mean or abusive, just yell something like watch out or whatever works for you.   They won’t always hear you, so do your best to avoid that kind of situation.   They sell electric horns and air horns.   I don’t need that kind of thing, but some people feel safer with a louder warning signal.   I would think by the time you find the button, it would be too late.   Just yell loud if you need to.

E-bike consideration

          Accessories can make a big difference in your comfort and safety.   Decide which ones work best for you.   The computer is a must for a E-bike.   Calculating your distances can help you keep from running out of power on a ride.   It can also help you evaluate your batteries as they age.   And, because you will be riding more, the things you need to be able to carry will increase.   Riding at night will become more accessible with the E-bike, so nice bright lights are needed.

I am winding down on this series of articles.   That is good, because I have many other topics I will be covering.   Thanks, Turbo Bob.

“When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the human race.”—-H.G. Wells

Need a folding bike, E-bike, or E-bike conversion kit?   Talk to my friend Bert, at


Want to rent an E-bike in San Diego?   See

Ivan Stewart’s Electric Bike Center


About Turbo Bob's Bicycle Blog

E-bike Enthusiast Vintage Bike Enthusiast
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