Category Archives: Longtail

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (ta-da…#500 & #501)…and a brief comment.

 #500 (top photo)…A case of wine, a gym bag containing wet clothes, and a camera and acamera bag with an extra lens.
#501 (bottom photo)…A large box of food on its way to a local food pantry.
So as the big demi-mille approached I thought that I would wait and post something really substantial, something “really important.” I of course–like most cargo cyclists–have carried really substantial things…that is the really fun part; it’s not always the destination but the journey itself. And as I thought about this I also realized that while I was about to post #500 (and yes, I’ve been using the numeric symbol # for this series long before it was known as a hashtag), I also thought about the countless things I carry on these bikes everyday that do not get posted…things that I carry with me throughout my daily life, things that I would likely carry in a car (if I had one) but carry on bikes instead. These two bikes, have in fact, enabled me to go car-free. Anyhow, these two photos were taken 12 hours apart; the above one in the evening and the below one the following morning. It’s just another way a person can get around, transport themselves, and carry whatever they need. And I am really thankful that I have this option.
 
To see more in this series, click here.

Urban Simplicity.

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#433)

48 live vegetable plants, 120 lbs/54.4kgs top soil, 2 bags (5 lbs/2.2 kgs each) organic vegetable fertilizer, a jean jacket, 2 lbs/.91 kg brown rice,  2 lbs/.91 kg boneless chicken legs, 3 liters of red wine, a quart of milk, and 1 lb/.45 kg fresh spinach. 

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#424)

A nylon bag containing a computer, a canvas bag containing an extra camera, an electronic reader, two books, a journal, a small tripod, and various writing tools; a dough rising bucket containing a small paper bag which contains a smaller plastic tub of homemade gravy; a round tin resting atop the dough rising bucket containing 4 chive crepes stuffed with beef stroganoff; two loaves of freshly baked oatmeal-flax bread.

Urban Simplicity.

10mpc / 16kpc (miles/kilometers per coffee)

A couple things. Firstly, I had to drive my son in the wee hours to my sisters house this morning (they were leaving for vacation at 6am) and my truck was quite literally running on empty. And as I have a disdain for spending money on petrol I put $10US in the tank and the needle barely moved. At any rate, after dropping my son off I drove home and parked the truck and there it will sit for the next week or so. I had the day off and planned on running some errands–which I did–and decided to ride the Mundo, which I haven’t ridden for a couple weeks (since getting the Cargo-T). What a joy it was to ride this bike again. Not that I am not enjoying the Cargo-T, but I forgot how comfortable and smooth this bike rides…it’s a great ride even when carrying just a few items or just myself. The irony is that on my ride today I stopped at the very same gas station as I did this morning only this time for just a cup of coffee (they have a coffee shop inside) and I have to admit that I felt a bit smug as coasted past the pumps. My guess is that I pedaled for about ten miles but I also stopped to “fuel up” (lunch). So the correct title of this post should be 10 miles per cup of coffee and three vegetable tacos. But here I am being smug again…I’ll get off my little soapbox now. Anyhow, it did feel really good to be riding this long bike on such a lovely sunny Spring afternoon.

Urban Simplicity.

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#403)

A gym bag full of wet clothes, a canvas bag containing–among other things–a spare camera, a 4lb/1.8kg bag of dog food, 3 liters of red wine, and $56.42 (US) in groceries.
To see a few other things that I’ve carried on a bike, click here.

Urban Simplicity.

What is a Cargo Bike?

Before I comment on the question posed in this post’s title, let me just say that I love this picture, or at least the bike in it. This is a bike that can get the job done…and cheaply. Here I am (and I’m not the only one…you know who you are) bragging about their fancy cargo bikes (mine, of course, is a Yuba) and how much they can haul and all the fancy name brand components…and then I see this the other day locked to a tree in NYC . It’s an old Schwinn mountain bike that likely cost a hundred bucks or less and has two over-sized baskets bolted to it. It’s also likely that this is one of the numerous delivery bikes seen around the city…in other words, a work bike. Those baskets are awesome, in the literal sense of the word…how easy would it be to carry a week’s worth of groceries in them, and no strapping things down. So I ask again…What is a Cargo Bike? In this bloggers opinion, any bike that carries stuff…it doesn’t matter how expensive–or not–the bike happens to be. If it gets you were you are going and carries everything you need it most definitely fits the category.

Urban Simplicity.

Lifecycle…a year in the life of a parked bicycle

This is really cool. Last year the design group, Red Peak, in conjunction with Hudson Urban Bicycles, parked and locked up a bicycle on a street in Soho…and then took a photo of it every day for a year; the result is this video. I was surprised it lasted as long as it did. Anyhow, it’s a short but really interesting video to watch.

Urban Simplicity.

A View From My Handlebars, a Couple Thoughts, and a Self-Portrait

There’s an old saying that I suppose could be used in many regions but it seems especially pertinent in Western New York, maybe you’ve heard it before…If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute. About 72 hours ago it was in the single digits Fahrenheit, then yesterday it warmed up to spring-like temperatures and poured rain all day, and now as I type these words it’s frigid again. This morning when I woke it was sunny, and just before I left for work the clouds seemed to speak to each other and push together just in time to squeeze out a short burst of snow. The picture above is a snapshot of my morning commute as I approached Delaware Ave on Allen. The photo is blurry for two reasons. The first is that the camera was shaking…I pulled it out of my pocket as I road and snapped a shot, but the second–and this is something the camera didn’t capture that well–was because of the gush of snow. I don’t take or show pictures of myself too often on the Internet, but below is a self-portrait of sorts that I took just before I left the house (gotta love the reverse camera feature on the iPhone). Anyhow, one of the many tings I enjoy about riding a bike in all weather is just that…the weather. A biker is not only keenly aware of of nearly every pothole or crevice in the road of his/her regular commute, but also of the weather conditions. And for that I am grateful. 

Urban Simplicity.

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#390)

$132.72 in groceries, sundries, and dog food (and four slices of pizza), in a cardboard box and soda crate from  three separate stores.  

Urban Simplicity.

Snowy Commute

Well, the party is over…or at least the mild weather is. Cold blowing snow has arrived. That’s a picture of the Mundo as I left for work this morning. I usually don’t ride this bike during heavy snow. One would think–that because of its weight and length–that it would be good in the snow. It’s not; at least that’s my opinion. Because of the temperate climate this year (up until now) I have not prepped my winter bike yet…so there it sits with a rusty chain from last year, two tires in need of air, and brake calipers that are all but seized up. When I ride the Mundo in the snow I find its weight and length awkward…and like a pickup truck with nothing in the rear end for traction, the rear tire slips and slides easily. As it turns out, when I arrived for work I found we were closed on account of the weather…looks like a nice day to say hope and fix my winter bike. Anyhow, I’d be interested in hearing if others ride a Mundo or other cargo/longtail in the snow.

Urban Simplicity.

La Luna

Technically, the moon was full two nights ago but I took these last night when it was waning (it still looked pretty full to me). I have always been drawn to a full moon…not sure why, it just fascinates me looming so large in the sky. Anyhow, last night I was out on the Mundo and snapped a few photos. The one above is taken at the far end of Allen Street here in Buffalo, the main thoroughfare through my favorite neighborhood and also the one in which I live. The below photo was taken just a block north on Wadsworth Street, overlooking houses there. And it’s interesting, I think, what some people must think of me when they see me hunched next to my bike with a camera and mini-tripod perched on it. At one point, when I was taking the below picture a woman was coming down the street and saw me next to the bike and began to cross the street…she looked a little scared. I actually told her, as she approached, not to worry I’m just taking a few photos (then I wondered if that made her fear me even more). Anyhow, I enjoy taking pictures in different levels of light…dawn, dusk, and night are my favorites. And as I was taking these I was thinking about winter–or more specifically, the lack of it this year–how we can’t count on snow in the winter these days, but we can still count on the sun and moon rising and falling each day and night. Click either for a larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

More Interesting Bikes

I came across these bikes on east 10th Street last evening while looking for the former residence of Kahlil Gibran (more on that in a later post). For those of you reading this that happen to live in a large metropolis (or a small one that is “bicycle progressive”) seeing bikes like this parked curbside may be no big deal, but to me this is exciting. I believe, for example, I am the only rider in the Western New York area with a Mundo or other form of cargo bike (that I know of); there are a few Xtra-cycles but no other cargo bikes that I am aware of (for the Buffalonians reading this, if I am incorrect please let me know). Anyhow, two days ago I saw a guy ride by (in Mid-Town) on a LongJohn…and I couldn’t help but wonder where he stored it at night. Well this picture above is a good example. I wonder if they store them there when it snows. I’m not sure if they are Dutch or Gemren bikes but they certainly look sturdy. There is hope (for bicycles in the US), I thought to myself when I saw these.

Urban Simplicity.

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#384)

A new but inexpensive ceiling light for the kitchen, 4 lbs. of dog food, and $67.22 in groceries, sundries, and cold medications (yes, I have a slight cold for the new year) from 4 separate stores in three plastic soda crates.

Urban Simplicity.

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#381)

Eight cardboard boxes (I feel like I should have done a Twelve Things That Can be Carried on a Bike Before Christmas series…maybe next year).

Urban Simplicity.

Things That Can Be Carried on a Bike (#379)

$152.34 of groceries and sundries in three plastic crates from four different stores.

Click here if you’d like to see a few other things that can be carried on a bike.


Urban Simplicity.

R.I.P. Val Kleitz

 Image found here.
I just learned that cargo biker Val Kleitz has passed away earlier this month at the young age of 51. I did not know Val, nor have I ever met him, but I felt like I knew him. I had seen many postings about him on the Internet in previous years and have watched the below video on more than one occasion. If you have not seen the video I encourage you to watch it. I love when he discusses the reasons he rides and also–about half-way into the video–where he takes the interviewer on a tour of his customized long-tail cargo bike. Rest in peace friend, you’ve ridden enough.
To read a short bio about Val at Momentum Magazine, click here.

R.I.P. Val Kleitz

 Image found here.
I just learned that cargo biker Val Kleitz has passed away earlier this month at the young age of 51. I did not know Val, nor have I ever met him, but I felt like I knew him. I had seen many postings about him on the Internet in previous years and have watched the below video on more than one occasion. If you have not seen the video I encourage you to watch it. I love when he discusses the reasons he rides and also–about half-way into the video–where he takes the interviewer on a tour of his customized long-tail cargo bike. Rest in peace friend, you’ve ridden enough.
To read a short bio about Val at Momentum Magazine, click here.