Acquired another commuter project! burgundy Sears Free Spirit bike

Got this from a guy out in the country….haggled on price and got it for a good price I feel…it’s an early 80s Free Spirit PhysioFit bicycle with 26″ wheels, 10 speed, Shimano Positron stem shifters and FH series derailleurs, Sugino 3-piece crank set, with double chain ring….the original steel wheels had bad axles and dry rotten tire casings, so I swapped the casings and SUMO 26x 1.75 wheels from my Coyote Brown Huffy “bug out bike” project; and spent a few hours with Ajax cleaner and water on the chrome parts….due to the knobbies, I am unable to use the rather nifty half- fenders, but I cleaned them up anyhow, since I anticipate that I will put Kenda K-shield tires on the SUMO wheels…. EDIT: apparently the Shimano FH Derailleur came out in 1982 according to

DSCN1825with knobbies put on, and with original half fenders still on; test rode and turns out that due to the knobbies on the shoulders of the tire casings, there’s a rubbing sound from the pinch in the fenders where there’s clearance for the MX brakes.

DSCN1835all cleaned up and fenders removed!DSCN1836Side view, I replaced the WAY TOO wide vinyl “cruiser ” comfort seat for the brown Troxel seat from the Huffy

DSCN1838Head tube with a funky add on decal, added by the previous owner… I like it so I’m leaving it….until I sell the bike.

DSCN1840Sugino chainring/crank set

DSCN1839Shimano Positron shifter; it shifts pretty smoothly even with the extra 6th speed cog in the rear!

DSCN1837DAT RACK. I’ve not seen another that employed 2 bolts to the brake bridge area without eyelets…its pretty sturdy, welded steel rod construction…it was caked with rust and scales….I’ve done my best…but honestly I think it’d be better sandblasted and coated silver…..still, its a nice sturdy rack.

DSCN1835quarter view, the cruiser bars allows for an upright riding position, and while the frame is a couple inches smaller than my former commuter Cycle Pro Oswego, it is still comfortable for me. The frame length is very similar, just shorter…Chain stay length is amazingly 460mm (or 18″), the same as the CyclePro Oswego…In fact, even though it is clearly meant to be a cruiser, I can see myself taking this around town for commuting and possible overnight tours…the frame, I am not sure who made it…..but it is a lugged brazed steel tube construction, and the lugs are pretty good….Heard that the Sears Free Spirit bikes were made by Puch of Austria, and Huffy, and Murray, among others… but I am not sure who made this frame, as it reminds me more of the Taiwan and Japanese bicycles….

Modified sleeping bag into a hammock underquilt, and a tarp shelter set up

Modified this $7 thrift store find, a Greatland brand Camo sleeping bag, I think it’s rated to 40 degrees; 72″x60″ size, full two way zipper….. added suspension loops and shock cord channels to the short ends in order to provide me with a way to hang it around my hammock 🙂  since the zippers are intact, I can add another sleeping bag to it and stack them under the hammock to provide me with additional warmth if I need to. .


Detail of Underquilt mount

close up of end on the hammock; showing the bungee hooked into the suspension and the channel cinching the end to prevent drafts  Underquilt

the underquilt on the hammock, it is pretty comfortable, laid in it for a few hours without needing a top quilt or additional warmth…temps yesterday were high 40s , low 50s I think. Underquilt Laid out

showing the width of the underquilt, with the segmented channels and the loops, instead of folding the 2.25″ webbing into half, I wanted it flat so that it still can be used as a sleeping bag. Underquilt shock cord channel and bungee mount

close up of the channel and the suspension loop

and the tarp shelter, it is a simple rectangle tarp, rigged so that instead of a pure rectangle with open ends, it is similar to a folded Hex shelter with corners being utilized as doors, and using a total of 4 stakes, one on each long side with V guy-lines, and one under the doors to keep them closed; it’s not long enough to cover the hammock suspension..but its enough to cover the hammock itself…

Rectangle Tarp rigged Hex style Rectangle Tarp Hex style side

made my own tactical HAMMOCK!

After reading up on the different types of hammocks, and not willing to buy an off-rack one for $80; I purchased 3 yards of 330D Cordura, uncoated in Woodland camouflage, and sewn up the hems and end channels, and sewn up continuous loops of webbing for suspension; I have not spent a night yet, but initial test hang shows it is very sturdy, and very breathable…..comfortable too with the mini spreader bars to open up the space and give me a flatter lay when I am laying on a diagonal lay….anyways, here are the pics!



hammock hanging between two trees; I used cargo tiedown straps for tree strapsDSCN1669

suspension end; showing the continuous loop of webbing attached to quick clip and the mini spreader bar end caps; the bars cause the end channel to be on a wider arc, instead of a super tight arc as without; this eliminates calf ridges, and also provides more space in the body for a good flat layDSCN1670

How I attached the ends of the loop; lots of X stitching, and the quick link, which has a Safe Working Limit of 615 pounds, I might modify the cargo tiedown straps to eliminate the hooks at their ends, and attach the buckle strap to the quick link to reduce weight of set upDSCN1671

close up of the spreader bars’ soft end caps, made from 10″ of 2″ wide webbing, and locked in place by looping the suspension straps around the channel.


the total weight of the set up, without a tarp, is around 5 pounds..most of which is in the hardware for the tree straps and aluminum spreader bars.


Next on the project; a couple ammo pouches and possibly a MOLLE/Integrated AK harness in DCU

Finally done with CyclePro Oswego Touring bicycle set up!

SO. I finally got the rear 7 speed wheel on and new tires installed on the bicycle, adjusted brakes and derailleurs, and put a bracket on the front rack; and installed the bag set I want to use, along with my camping gear compression sack; it is basically ready for either commuting or camping!

the bracket I fabricated out of a strut


the bike set up for now; Paratrooper commuter bag up front, with First aid kit pouches for general purpose usageDSCN1541

the rear view of the bike; stuffed compression sack, woodland sustainment pouches, 1 qt canteen/utility pouches and general purpose pouch for toolsDSCN1544

the USGI 9 strap compression sack, attached to the seat with two straps, and resting on the rack, 12 pounds total for the bag itself, have A-frame tent, tarp, poles, sleeping bag, and sleep roll.DSCN1542

the MOLLE Utility pouch,it has my tools and spare tubes in it, also carries a rag and washcloth and cable lock.DSCN1543

Some more progress on touring bicycle!

Making some more progress with my touring bicycle; got cables installed and adjusted; then mocked up with wheels and tires (very old skinwall tires) for brake adjustments and general appearance; seems that the CyclePro Oswego was originally a Touring bicycle frame…. or a commuter; it has full braze-ons; with the exception of not having newer style rack mounts on front fork; but it has eyelets for fenders and rack legs for the older style front racks; I am not sure if I want drop bars or if I want to keep the Bull-Moose handlebar; all that’s needed are chain, seat w/ seat post, and new slick tires; maybe change rear gearing to lower gears


on the rack after cables installed


with tires and wheels mocked on; no seat/seatpost yet

against the shorter wheel base MT1800 commuter bicycle

the MT1800 commuter bicycle with Pletcher rear rack, MOLLE sustainment pouches, and generic “IDF Paratrooper” bag mounted to front (modified the bag to mount via Tri-glides and straps)


Updating….redid bike bag set ups and did a grocery store run with bike!

So…I redid my bicycle bag set up; and got it to the point where I feel confident in its capacity as well as my own capacity….. anyways; on to the pics!

bike bags as is;

bike bags loaded with food! Left Side

rear view of bike bags loaded

all that food that were in the bags; not shown, the 1 qt canteen and stove and cup, and blanket, gloves, first aid kit, bandanna, hand towel, lock, two 2 qt canteens, and small tools.

and on a short trip today with my overnight stuff in bags;

such a nice day….

off the side of the road in the nice day outside…note how well the spokes blended in the background; the wheels are painted now; with the exception of the brake tracks and chain cogs;

update; new black pouch, gun shows report and bikepacking rig so far;

OK been a while since I posted here…..been busy with selling surplus equipment and uniforms at the local Gun Shows in Albany; they went rather well; made a bit of money in January and made a little less in February, did not have a vendor’s table at the Rickreall Show at the beginning of March; due to it being a little too last minute for me. Anyways…I’ve completed the first of a run of 8 black pouches in 1000D Cordura with vinyl backing; they are a little shorter than the woodland pouches, and wider than them, meant for 12 gauge shotgun shell boxes, medical first aid plastic inserts, or 12 SKS clips;

black pouch next to standard woodland pouch

back of black pouch showing dual method of attaching to belt; LC clips and belt loop in center

12 SKS stripper clips fits it

USGI Medical Kit Plastic Insert

12 gauge shotgun shell box, 2 3/4″ size, with room to spare

and my current bikepacking rig; with a repainted frame, camo front bag, two camo small pouches behind handlebar, 2x 2 quart canteens in USMC first aid kit pouches on frame, and two MOLLE sustainment pouches on rack with the large black compression sack holding my tent, poles, sleep pad, and sleeping bag. ; some photos shows it with no rear rack or bags;

current bikepacking rig

earlier pic without rear rack/bags, in the environment it’s meant to be in

yes that is an airsoft “army” helmet, will be replaced by a Giro helmet; showing the riverfront environment