Hi all, my name is Patrick Barber and I'm new to BikeForums. I'm really enjoying all the information and discussion to be had herein, and glad I finally joined!
I live in Oakland, California with my partner Holly. We're both utility cyclists . . . we got rid of our last car in June 2003 after years and years of gradually-increasing bike dependence. Now we're fully pedal-powered, which involves a lot of cycling and, just as importantly, a lot of radius-shrinking.
I currently ride a 1994 (or 1993, I can't remember) Univega Alpina Uno which has seen many modifications over the years, mostly to replace worn out parts. It is very heavy but it rides like a champ, fits me like a glove, and I love it. We also have a 2001 Dahon Speed 7 which we keep around for guests to use. Holly rides a 2003 Novara bike, a comfort-style hybrid that I think she is outgrowing in speed and ability. We are both getting the itch for lighter, faster bikes...probably cyclo-cross style bikes, though as I am an American male approaching 40, I am also growing attached to the notion of a singlespeed/fixie combo to fool around with. Ah. Someday.
For our cargo we have a 3-foot bike trailer from Bikes At Work. It attaches via a rear-stay-mounted hitch and is extremely stable. It is of tubular aluminum truss-frame construction and is designed to accomodate two 18-gallon Rubbermaid storage tubs, which will carry home all our groceries and a case of wine with ease. If I sound like a satisfied customer, it's because I am. This bike trailer changed our life.
We also acquired, through sheer luck and fortitude, a brand new 3-speed Christiania tricycle, a beautifully designed front-loading vehicle appropriate for carrying kids around. As our kid-making plans have been put temporarily on hold, the poor thing lives in the basement, but its day in the sun will come soon enough!
Holly and I are just starting to do as much of our own maintenance work as we can handle, and we find that very gratifying. It's great to have a quiet, smooth-riding bike and know that I got rid of those squeaks myself. We have also been doing a lot of bike-philosophy reading in the past few years, first of John Forester and his "Effective Cycling," and then, recently, Robert Hurst's "The Art of Urban Cycling," which is, to my mind, a very effective, on-the-ground interpretation of Effective Cycling.
(Full disclosure: Robert Hurst and I were friends when we were very young -- like birth-to-preteen. I read his book before I knew this, and I was astonished to find that the author was, in fact, the Bobby Hurst I knew as a tot. Life is full of surprises.)
Other than cycling and le day job (http://pdbd.com) we keep ourselves busy with our fledgling urban homestead, the trials and tribs of which you can read about at http://pdbd.com/henwaller
Thanks for reading, and see you in the Forums!