#557 (above)…Construction debris on its way to a dumpster.
#558 (below)…$110 in groceries, sundries, and dog food.
#557 (above)…Construction debris on its way to a dumpster.
#558 (below)…$110 in groceries, sundries, and dog food.
On the bike (and in the trailer)…groceries, sundries, dog food, and a gym bag.
$230 (US) in groceries on a rainy rainy day.
On the bike…Slightly more than $120 in groceries.
I was shopping at a local grocery store yesterday. It’s not my favorite store but it is the closest to my house; this is mainly the reason I go there (but they do have good prices on produce). And one of the things I like about this store is that plastic grocery bags are not given to you; the cashier asks if you want any. This, I’m sure is not for environmental purposes, it’s for financial (they charge 10 cents a bag). Nonetheless, it keeps less people from using plastic bags and that’s ok with me. But that’s not what I’m getting at. As I paid my bill the cashier–seeing I didn’t have any bags with me–asked how many I would like. She looked at my rather full cart, then back at me, then says, “Are you just going to put all this stuff in your car loose like this?” Well, I tell her, no, not exactly…I’m on a bike. She smiled and looked as if waiting for the punch line, as if I told her a joke. To cut to the end of the story, she didn’t believe me. I told her that I’ve carried far more things than this on my bike(s), but she looked at me like I was a bit nuts (which I may be). I realize that me carrying this stuff is not all that special (likely many of you reading this do the same and carry much more than this by bike) but it is really something…the automatic response regarding cars and bikes in our culture (yes, I know I am generalizing). As I wheeled the cart away I actually heard her tell the cashier next to her that I am carrying all that stuff on a bike. I just smiled and pushed the squeaky cart towards the door…
Various bread baking supplies and ingredients (including about 5lbs. of live starter which later exploded–literally!–in my refrigerator), and a 6qt. professional-grade mixer.
On the bike…nearly $170 in groceries.
The view in front of me…a big, big sky on a cold, cold winter’s day.
#402 (above)…a plastic bag containing an extra pair of dry pants which I changed into after arriving at church soaking wet from riding in the rain.
#403 (below)…A canvas bag containing wet gym clothes; a BikeRev trailer containing 3 liters of red wine and $62.57 worth of groceries.
Okay, this takes the tiny house movement to a whole new level. That’s Alexander Main in the above photo in the midst of building his bicycle RV, which he now lives in. When he parks it at night he refers to it as “lawn surfing” (nice). Here’s a picture of the finished RV below.
While I am always trying to simplify and downsize I am not sure I am ready for this…but I am really interested in it. I’ve often thought that if I were homeless (and maybe I will be someday) I would want to own a bike for easy transport, but it would be even better if I had one of these mobile shelters (a tent on a trailer by Tony’s Trailers). They are inexpensive and could carry all your stuff. Anyhow, for examples of more deluxe options of mobile shelters (most of which are made by the people who occupy them) click here, here, here, here, or here.
On the bike (above)…an antique oak table.
About the below photo…Generally speaking the Things That Can be Carried on a Bike series are pictures of things that I carry on my bike. But sometimes I photograph other people carrying things with bikes that I find interesting. The below photo is one of them. That’s Dominic and his dog (sorry…can’t remember the dog’s name). I was unstrapping the above table from my bike when I saw Dominic and his dog coming down the street and stop at a neighbor’s house. I asked if I could take their picture and he said yes. His dog, which looked to be not tethered, just laid there and smiled. Dominic told me all he has to do is ask him if he wants to go for a ride and he hops on the trailer. He also told me they rode in from South Buffalo, which is nearly ten miles from where the picture was taken. Nice.
On and being pulled by the bike…$184.67 in groceries.
Comment #1…I went to a big box supermarket today, haven’t been to one on a while. Not that I’m boycotting them or anything…I just don’t find them that convenient and would much rather shop in a smaller store. Anyhow, as my merchandise was being rang out I noticed that the cashier was putting it in plastic bags. I asked her not to put the remainder in bags, that I didn’t need them. I also mentioned that we could simply put the groceries back in the cart. How are you going to get them home, she asked, do you have bags in your car. Well, I told her, I have baskets and a trailer for my bike…I can just put everything in those without the bags. You’re going to carry all of this home on a bike, she inquired (it was a full cart). Yes, I don’t live too far. She eyed me suspiciously for the remainder of the transaction.
Comment #2…It is possible for an adult to survive in America without the daily use of a car.
A gym bag full of wet clothes, 10lbs/4.5kgs of dog food, a new dog bed, and $47.52 (US) in groceries.
This post is related to my prevous post regarding my latest experiment in self-propelled mobility…a trailer attached to the Mundo. A few people have asked me how I attached the hitch to the bike seeing the Mundo–with its long wheel base–is not suited for an attachment to the traditional axle attachment. How I attached this (to the frame instead of the axle) would work–I think–for other trailers and other bikes. Anyhow, here it is.
Firstly, above shows how the trailer attaches to the hitch; the top is detached and the one just below it shows it attached. What’s unique about this trailer is that it has a quick release using a version of a high pressure hose connector. That said, these trailers are not intended to carry incredible weight like some others. Nonetheless, it has suited me well, and I have in fact owned it long before I owned a longtail cargo bike. These trailers are great for doing your daily errands and hauling a week’s worth of groceries while keeping everything dry.
Pictured below is how I attached it to the frame using an existing bolt. On the Mundo there are two bolts on each side of the frame holding the rear drop-down bars in place (pictured in the first of the photos below). I’ve eyed these bolts for months while holding the hitch up to them in various positions trying to figure out how it would work. BicycleR Evolution trailers offer two hitch options; I have c-hitches on two other bikes, but on the Mundo I used the standard hitch. Anyhow, the hitch is meant to attach to the axle but also has two smaller holes, one of which fit perfectly in place of one of the bolts on the frame of the Mundo. After tightening it, it felt snug but I didn’t feel comfortable with it being held with just the single bolt (which is much smaller than the intended axle rod attachment) so I also used a hose clamp for added security.
Anyhow, there you have it. I likely won’t use it often on this bike, nor will I carry super heavy loads in it (as the Mundo was built for that); though I have carried a full case of wine in it on another bike. My plan is to use it for extra large grocery trips, gardening trips, or for when I want to keep things dry. As mentioned in the previous post, the Mundo rode great while pulling it. but today it’s snowing out so I’ll use another bike. Stay tuned for pictures and updates of the Mundo-trailer in use…
If you’ve been to this blog before you know that I ride a bike as often as I can, not great distances or in races but for my everyday transportation around town…and I also like to carry stuff on my bikes, whatever stuff a person would normally carry in their car. Besides my cargo bike (Yuba Mundo) I also have a few other bikes, most of which are equipped with a hitch for a BicycleR Evolution Trailer. The Mundo’s frame isn’t built to accommodate a trailer and I’ve been trying to figure out how to attach it for a while. Sometimes, I suppose, a 7ft bike is simply not big enough (most cargo bikers will agree, I’m sure) and that one can always carry more things with their own human power. Anyhow, I finally figured out to attach a spare hitch (and it was actually pretty simple). I took it for a test ride tonight while empty…and as usual the Mundo handled exceptionally well; I really could not even tell I was pulling a trailer. I likely won’t use it often but it is nice to know it’s available when I need it. And when I do…I’ll post pictures. I’d enjoy hearing from other cargo bikers regarding their experiences pulling a trailer.
Things on the bike and in the Bike Rev trailer…
$127 (US) of groceries from two separate stores.
3 liters of red wine
4.4lbs. dog food
A gym bag full of wet cloths
A canvas bag containing books and an extra camera
Two portions of Chinese take out
One (of the many) ways my bikes are therapeutic (to me)…
I had a busy day at work, slightly short handed–staff-wise–but just busy (and for some reason the wait staff seemed especially loud and annoying today). Anyhow, by the time I arrived home I was exhausted and had a crazy headache that extended across my entire brow. I rested for a bit and took some aspirin but to no avail. I had planned on going to the health club for a quick steam and swim (which I did) and then do some grocery shopping. I knew I’d be doing a larger shopping trip (for me) and there is still ice on some parts of the roads near the curb (kerb, for my EU friends), and I generally don’t ride the Mundo on ice…so I almost drove the truck. But then in a moment of clarity I realized that likely the best thing for me was fresh air…and it was. The minute I got on the bike in the refreshingly chilly air (30F/-1C) it felt good. It was a bit of a struggle–riding my ill-maintained winter bike and pulling a trailer–but it still felt good. My headache was gone by the time I arrived at the health club. When I arrived at the club there were cars circling the parking lot angrily looking for spaces (which there were none), I in turn was able to coast up nearly to the front door. After leaving the club I rode and did my shopping at 3 separate stores, each time loading items into the trailer and on the bike. And on the short ride home (about 2mi./3.2km.) on this old winter bike with both it and the trailer loaded–and going up a slight incline–I’d be fibbing if I said it was easy and that I wasn’t huffing and puffing. Then, on the last stretch of my short journey there is a slight decline in the road and I was able to coast. And as I coasted–with the cold breeze on my face and the sound of my knobby winter tires against the road–there was nowhere I’d rather be. I felt free.
Things that were carried (and pulled) on this particular ride:
$121.47 in groceries and sundries, an 8lb. bag of dog food, 3L of red wine, and a gym bag full of wet clothes.
A few comments:
As stated over and over again (and over again) on this blog…I am not car-free, just car-lite, sometimes lighter than others. And it seems that this past winter has really been crunching the numbers with my riding ratio…the frigid cold and snowy winter has put somewhat of a damper on my riding, but not entirely of course. If I had to pick a number I would say that I still managed to ride or walk at least 75% of my (short) trips this past winter; opposed to something probably like 90% when the roads are clear. Anyhow, here’s an example of how a person can spend a day car-free and still accomplish a lot.
In the morning I rode my winter bike (pictured above) the short commute to work. Then after work I rode home, making a slight detour to stop at the bank. After stopping home I hitched the trailer to the bike and strapped an empty cardboard box to the front rack then rode the the health club for a brief steam and swim (I felt I only had to do half my regular workout when I was riding a 40lb bike and pulling a trailer into the wind…the bike ride was a workout in itself). On the way to the health club I stopped first to buy some wine (I get thirsty with all that pedaling and swimming), and then to another store to purchase dog food. After the swim I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and load up. When I brought the cart full of groceries out I looked at it’s fullness, then looked at the bike/trailer and really wondered how I was going to do this; the trailer and box on the front were literally overflowing (I had to push down on it like an over-stuffed suitcase to latch it)…but I did.
All-in-all, I probably only covered 10 miles throughout the day…but I did it using my own energy, and that makes me feel good, physically, psychologically, and emotionally. Even though I–like many cargo bikers–do this often, I still find it fun and amazing to do. Bikes, of course, are far from being simply a recreational toy, and they are much more than just a mode of transport (though they are really good at that)…bikes are also a utilitarian machine that carry not only you but also your cargo.
The title to this post should really read: Why I Like to Carry Things on My Bike(s) and Why I Like to Take Pictures of the Things I Carry on My Bikes and Then Sometimes Write About it. But then again I don’t really care for lengthy headings. I’m of course referring to the Things That Can Be Carried On A Bike series on this blog.
To answer this question is no easy task, but to sum it up I’ll say this: Because I can, and because I think it’s really fun. This second part seems more important to me. But it is, of course, more than this.
Sometimes I’ll post in a tongue-in cheek fashion carrying something as simple as a couple of sandwiches or a teeny homie figure (and I really like carrying silly stuff like that), but other times I carry things that many would not think possible to carry on a bike (click here for a few photos from a “best of” which I posted last fall)…these are the things that are truly fun to carry.
Please keep a few things in mind, and I’ve mentioned these before. I am not car-free but I ride whenever I am able (but in the spring, summer, and fall I am often nearly car-free), and I am not a twenty-something hipster (though I was once); I am a middle aged guy with creaky knees and reoccurring back problems who often rides a 60lb cargo bike (and in the winter my 40lb semi-cargo winter bike, pictured above).
My point is this. Bikes matter…and they matter now more than ever. I’ve also said this before, but for those who haven’t ridden a bike in a while (or years) you may be surprised at how good it feels…how freeing it is…to feel the sun on your face and to use your own energy for propeltion. But when you carry stuff it’s even better (I think)…because you are not only the engine but also part of the cargo.
Here’s another suggestive point. Even if you believe global warming to be a fallacy (which some do but I do not) think of the money you will save. Whether or not there are problems in the Middle East the prices at the pump will always fluctuate but continue to rise (Big Brother has to make money).
As the long winter winds down I look forward to the warm months ahead not only for the weather, but also to ride more frequently–daily–and to carry stuff on my bike(s). I ride and carry stuff on my bikes for many reasons…but mostly because I like doing it. Why do people climb a mountain or walk across the country? They have some sort of compulsion, I suppose. The same–though on a lesser and more daily level–can be said about me carrying stuff on a bike. I do it because I think it’s fun.
I realize that I of course am not the only person on this planet that rides and carries things on their bikes, but in America we are few (compared to elsewhere). Many other cultures have used bikes for transportation and other utilitarian purposes for the past hundred years and it seems like we all need to start to consider this.
I’ve posted the below video more than once before but if you have not seen it and are a cyclist (or especially if you are not a cyclist) I hope you watch it. I don’t know who made the short film or who is speaking, but the narrator could be me. It’s not, but it could be.
In summary, I ride and carry things on my bikes for may reasons but mostly because I can…and I really enjoy it. I’ll get off my little soap box now.
This has to be one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while…a pop-up camper for a bike. I came across it when I was looking at sites for tiny houses (I wonder if there is a tiny house in my distant future). Anyhow, I stumbled upon this site that has a few tiny houses that are pulled by a bike.
It weighs a mere 56lbs (26kg)…that’s just a bit more than the Mundo weighs. This would be great for long trips, I suppose…or at least an interesting novelty. Oddly, it’s available at Target (and also at Kamp-Rite). To read a bit more about it see this blog.
And on an unrelated note–other than the title of this post–I leave you with a video.
I know this may seem silly, but the other day as I was happily pedaling around town on my Mundo the words of the title to this post came to me: Ride a bike that you like. It may seem obvious, but I don’t think it’s overtly so. Now this too may be a rash and general statement, but I can’t help but wonder if people sometimes purchase a bike because they think (or are told by a salesperson) that it is the type of bike they should be riding. From a personal perspective my bikes have, over the years, sort of gravitated towards bikes that are functional, but also fun to ride. And the later portion of that statement is the most important, I believe. Because if a bike is fun to ride you will want to ride it all the time.
I first started realizing this about ten years ago when I purchased a late 60’s Raleigh Sprite from a local bike shop. It was the first bike that I sat totally upright as I pedaled…it was a revelation. Then I purchased a Dahon Vitesse D7 and my eyes were opened even wider…that bike is just so much fun it makes me smile as I ride it. The first long-bike that I owned was the tandem in the photo below. That too is fun, and the memories of riding around town with my son are some I’ll cherish forever (he’s now a teen and too cool to be seen on a “weird bike” with his dad). I first got into cargo biking when I purchased an old Trek that I purchased at a flea market for $40 and outfitted it with front and rear racks and a trailer hitch. This is when I first realized how fun it was to haul stuff around with my own energy. And then I purchased a Yuba Mundo…well all I can say is this bike rocked my world. This is the first bike that I rode that could carry almost anything my car could and at the same time feel like I wasn’t carrying anything…it’s big cushy ride is akin to driving a pedal-powered boat on land; or that of a Cadillac. Having multiple bikes may seem, to some, a bit extravagant, but I don’t believe this is the case…they all serve separate purposes. Not withstanding, the cost of any one of the bikes is only equivalent to just a few car payments.
I have been an avid bike rider my entire life, and interestingly I can remember as a teenager a friend and I daydreaming about building cargo bikes (they did exist in other countries but the internet did not, thus I was unaware of them). We also designed, but never built, a long bicycle trailer.
My point is, to reiterate…if you ride a bike that you truly like–one that is fun for you to ride–then you will want to ride it; it won’t be a chore. I happen to like riding sitting upright; I also really like carrying stuff…I think it’s fun. But I realize this is not for everyone. If you like speed, then clothe yourself in spandex and get a racing bike. If you like fashion and all the accessories that goes with it, then get a fixed gear (I can’t believe I’m actually suggesting this).
Anyhow, this short video says these sentiments better than I can. I’ve posted this clip a couple times prior, but it has such a strong message I felt compelled to post it again. I suggest you ride not just to get from point A to point B, or even to save the planet…ride for the fun of it.