Two 5-foot exterior shades for my front porch.
A wooden plank measuring 12-inches by 4-feet.
A 4.4 pound bag of dog food.
A 1-pound block of cheddar cheese.
An extra shirt.
Two slices of pizza.
A large shoulder bag containing a laptop, an extra mouse, and a 25′ extension cord.
A small shoulder bag with a sketchbook, datebook, pens, a couple books and other miscellanea.
A backpack containing almost 30 pounds of my son’s school books/supplies.
An 8-pound bag of dog food.
A bag with 5-pounds of whole wheat flour.
A 14-year-old kid (he sat on his backpack).
The driver of the bike (me…obviously).
I’ve done this a few times, though not since last fall. I got the idea online but can’t remember where. I came across a site that sold the Mundo Yuba and it actually showed them being delivered by another Yuba. Anyhow, much to my teenage son’s chagrin, that is his bike being towed. I had to pick him up at his mother’s house this morning and run a few errands. As usual, yes I could have easily hopped in my vehicle but it would not have been nearly as fun (unfortunately, I don’t believe my son shares my enthusiasm…but then again I’m not sure I would have if I were his age). Anyhow, the bike is designed so the front tire of another bike fits into one of the drop bars. All you have to do is strap it tight to the Yuba. The bike being towed turns at it’s own fork so you really don’t even notice you’re pulling one (granting it’s strapped on tight…the first time I did this I didn’t have it strapped down well enough and the vibration chipped paint on both bikes). One more way to go car-lite.
I came across this video and thought I’d share it. It was posted by the Dutch site, Amsterdamize. It’s an excellent short video showing how easy it is to use a bike as everyday transport (and it’s accompanied by pretty good music as well…Gasoline, by Brad Sucks).
What I like about this video is that there is no spandex or flashy bike gear. And nobody is hunched over curly handlebars or the latest fad-bars, “bull horns” (as fixies call them); everyone is in an upright, comfortable, and civilized riding position…just everyday people going about their business on bicycles. When I watch this video it makes me want to get out there and pedal…but mostly coast and take in the city with the wind at my back.
It really is a beautiful video; it’s only a few minutes long and I encourage you to watch it. And as the title of the video suggests: bicycling as your everyday transportation really is as Easy As That.
Lately I’ve been feeling that my house is full of too much stuff…and much of the stuff are things I rarely use. So in one more way of trying to simplify my life I’ve been attempting to purge my house of unused stuff. I am by no means a pack-rat, but my vice is books…I’ve gotten better at it over the years (meaning I’ll purchase only books that I know I’ll read), but there was a time when I would purchase a book (usually used) and know that I may never get to reading it. At any rate, my weekend project was to cull my collection for books that I no longer desired to own, and I came up with six full boxes. And rather than simply discarding them, I thought I’d donate them to my local used book store. The irony is that some of the books I donated were actually purchased there…they made a round trip.
Initially, after I packed the books in their boxes and seeing how many there were I thought I’d load them into the back of my small pickup to deliver them. But then as I stood there looking at the boxes I began to picture how I could load them onto the Yuba Mundo (and I really wanted to deliver them by bike). What the hell, I thought, my neighbors probably think I’m a little nuts already, and it is only two city blocks.
I’ve carried heavier loads on the Yuba, and I’ve carried bulkier loads; I’ve even carried more awkward loads. But none thus far met all of those categories: it was bulky, heavy, and awkward. And I’ve come to this conclusion: when you pack a lot of books together and carry them all at once they are heavy, really heavy.
In the short distance I went I received three comments (the comments and stares you receive when hauling stuff by bike is worth the effort alone). One was from a guy on my street who when I nodded to him, his only response was, “that’s a sturdy bike.” A woman on Allen Street as I rounded a corner, “that is one big-ass bike.” But the best was from the book store owner when she helped me carry the books in, “that is really excellent that you delivered these by bike.” Thanks, I said, I thought so too. In the last month I think I have moved my vehicle maybe 5 times…and 3 of them were to move it from one side of the street to the other when the parking days changed.