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Old 02-08-08, 09:24 PM   #1
rko
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How Tenable Are Bike Moves?

I'm trying to start up a Boulder Bike Move organization and so far have gotten tons of internet attention, but no one is signing up. Are bike moves too scary? Too difficult? What? Thanks in advance.

Here is our website: www.boulderbikemove.org
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Old 02-08-08, 09:50 PM   #2
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A lot of people can't grasp the concept of their furniture aboard a cargo bike or bike trailer and being traipsed through the streets to a new location. For a single person, the commitment to move an small apartment's worth of gear is pretty large. It's amazing the stuff that can be accumulated in a short time. You need the equipment. Bike trailers aren't that cheap, especially the cargo ones. Suddenly a good idea can become a major event... which is what you want.

But then if you are getting a gang of unknown people together to move... then would you trust your stuff to a group of strangers, even if they are cyclists? Distance and terrain play a part, as do the route you choose in terms of vehicular traffic. I've been in Boulder, and it's not what I consider to be conducive in some parts for such a move -- I remember quite hilly terrain around the university, for instance, and the traffic densities were quite high with many of the urban streets quite narrow. Getting a queen size double bed through them would be a challenge.

Otherwise, do I know what I am talking about? Yep. Done it. As a solo mover. 90% of my apartment's contents into storage by trailer. It took about two weeks, and involved some unavoidable uphill riding. I ran out of time, and called in a friend to help move the last bits (time was the factor, not the size of the items).

Even so, good luck with the venture. Anyone who can harness the resources to offer a service by bike deserves all credit. You are aiming at a very small market, but I particularly like the partying bit afterwards. Get some media with a dummy move. Try to show that you are as competitive as a removal firm in time and money. Oh, and develop the website a bit more with some visuals up front rather than hidden by links.

Check also donnamb who has experience in a group move, too.
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Old 02-08-08, 11:11 PM   #3
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wow, what a great reply... I'll mull over it and see what "upgrades" to the site and the idea are feasible.

thanks!
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Old 02-08-08, 11:14 PM   #4
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Check out donnamb's photos re a bike move. BTW, I think it might be a lot of fun, but there's no way it makes economic sense except as a novelty recreation event.

http://bikeforums.net/showpost.php?p...4&postcount=13

http://bikeforums.net/showthread.php...54#post5689254

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Old 02-09-08, 01:51 AM   #5
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It can make economic sense if it is done on a philanthropic, hobby or volunteer basis, and correct me if I am wrong, but they are the bases on which rko's venture is built.

I mean... even with the costs of a party afterwards, it turns out to be almost free rather than paying some (equally unknown) guys big money to move your stuff a relatively short distance away... and I can't imagine those sorts of guys providing the entertainment value. I remember the looks of amazement on people's faces as I went past a shopping and bus mall with various items on the trailer... including large lounge chairs and the queen bed mattress -- that was entertainment enough on an uphill slog.

However, without putting too much of a dampener on it, rko might need to look at some liability insurance to cover damage to goods and chattels, damage to bikes and trailers, and damage (through things like lifting injury) to volunteers.
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Old 02-10-08, 01:02 PM   #6
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Helmets off to rko!

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Old 02-14-08, 01:18 PM   #7
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I moved across town by bike this past summer. It was a lot more work than I expected, primarily because my converted kid trailer was not up to the task and kept falling apart on me. With a better trailer able to take four loaded totes and about 300 lbs of weight it would have gone better
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Old 02-14-08, 04:54 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by rko View Post
so far have gotten tons of internet attention, but no one is signing up.

Looking at your web site, it's not immediately obvious that you're selling a service. It just looks like a message board or something, and the first link you can click on connects you to someone else's site.

Cool idea, though. Good luck!

edit: Oops, first link is the same site. Looked different, though.

I went back to the site pretending to be someone who wants to sign up for this, and it took me a while to find the "move or be moved" bit. Even then I wasn't sure what it was until I clicked on it.

Last edited by same time; 02-14-08 at 04:59 PM.
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Old 02-14-08, 06:54 PM   #9
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thanks for the feedback all! i need it

you know how it gets when there's a committee but only one person crafting the site...
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Old 02-15-08, 12:37 PM   #10
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Ditto to the comments about not knowing if it's a service or what. In fact, I still don't know. Is it an "organization" or a company? Is this volunteers or paid employees or what?

I guess on a bigger scale, I think the whole idea is problematic. You're taking one of the items which it is least convenient to do by bicycle and doing it by bicycle. That's fine for a proof-that-it-can-be-done, but not necessarily what everyone wants to do.

For example, consider that I want to go a mile down the street. Or I want to go 300 miles across the country. Or I want to go up 14 flights of stairs. Or I want to tow a junk car to the scrap yard. Or I want to take 6 pre-schoolers to a museum downtown. Or I want to haul 40 bales of hay across the pasture. Or I need to take cows to market. Now, each one of those activities COULD be done by bicycle. And the ones that are most ill-suited for bicycle use would make interesting videos or news items. But I pity the person that sets out to tow junk cars by bicycle as a regular service. And a moving service strikes me as being somewhere in the middle of the lot. Now, consider that here in Dallas, half the population is driving pickup trucks anyway, and consider if it wouldn't be simpler to use the pickup trucks for the moving and use the bicycles for the going-the-mile trips rather than the other way around.

Looking at it from a practical standpoint, I see in my area some roads that are well-suited to bike travel, and some that aren't. And a few bike trails. But those roads that are poorly suited for bike travel would be especially bad when trying to tow mattresses or pianos or other oversized and extra-slow cargo, and hilly areas would be terrible. And invariably, if you need to go more than two or three miles, you're going to wind up on some of those undesirable roads. Then again, a lot of people bicycle some or maybe a lot, but aren't going to be too keen on toting heavy stuff up hills by manual labor. So I can see how the idea might work okay on the right possessions, with the right route, with the right people, but would be very awkward to promote as a general service.

My personal moving experience is that 2/3 of the do-it-yourself-moves take place after dark, and do so regardless of the weather, and time is at a premium as well.
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Old 02-15-08, 01:57 PM   #11
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It can make economic sense if it is done on a philanthropic, hobby or volunteer basis, and correct me if I am wrong, but they are the bases on which rko's venture is built.
Yep, that's the key. Here's our bike move page.
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Old 04-16-08, 11:21 PM   #12
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People are signing up!

Turns out there was a problem with our email server. Ha!
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