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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Apr 2006
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    Far from stock Redline 925, 1980s Schwinn Maximizer based polo bike
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    one of my first real "adventures" car-free...

    A day that, had it not involved a bicycle, would have had me crying...

    My wife and I moved to Eugene, OR at the beginning of the year. A very large part of the draw for me was the city's healthy bike-culture. I've had a desire to live car-free for awhile, but since being married have always had one there as sort of a crutch. Well, when we moved, it ended up taking forever for our registration to transfer from Pennsylvania, so four months later our unregistered car is still sitting in the driveway doing absolutely nothing. With that said, circumstance has more or less forced us into car-freedom, at least until paperwork finishes clearing. I absolutely love it, partially because it forces me to be a bit creative in solving problems that ordinarily would be solved by calling my wife with the car. One such problem came up yesterday.

    I rented a long-haul cargo bike from CAT, our local bike co-op, to haul some groceries home (which I enjoyed thoroughly and decided to design and build one of in the very near future). Upon returning the bike, I saw a used fixer-upper of a bike trailer there for 25 dollars. I bought it and tried to decide how to get it home, as the hitch arm was one of the missing parts. I ended up lashing it to my bike with an old inner tube and trying to tow it, which failed miserably as it bounced back and forth behind me while flying into the air and crashing back to the ground every six feet.

    I stopped to try to come up with a more stable way of transporting it when I heard the whoosh of the sidewall of my rear tire spontaneously ripping in half. Fortunately, I had only made it about a block from CAT, so I returned to get a new (old) tire and revisit my attempt to securely attach the trailer to my bike.

    As I pedaled off again, I once again heard the trailer doing somersaults behind my bike as the sky opened up and it started hailing. I stopped under an overpass and after some trial and error, ended up lashing the folded up trailer to the front rack on my bike, which I built earlier this month for just such occasions. While it didn't fit perfectly, it did the job, although I now couldn't steer properly or reach my brake. I proceeded to ride the rest of the way home in a t-shirt, in hail/cold rain--very, very slowly--grinning ear to ear the whole time.

    This is a picture of my bike with the attached trailer when I got home:


    It really sounds miserable but I felt so alive during the experience that I couldn't help but love it. Anyone have any similar experiences?

  2. #2
    Peace, Love, Bikes
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    Hmmm...maybe this counts. I am not completely car-free, but working towards it. Yesterday I went to a service project to help clean up one of the local MUPs around downtown Columbus. It was 6-7 miles from my apartment to the site, something I am not ready to do yet. I parked at my workplace and rode the 2 miles or so to the site, helped with the clean up and had a great time. As we got back to the start and decided to ride en mass to a local bar, I realized I had a slight issue. The cable lock I had used to secure my one wheel to the frame had re-set itself in the process of locking up.

    As I sat there with the chorus of "Wow, that sucks" echoing in the background, I realized there a local bike shop 2 miles or so away. I slung the bike onto my bike and walked down to the shop to get them to cut the lock.

    I came back to parents tonight and told them what happened. I was kinda proud that I was able to solve an issue without a car, but they wanted to know why I didn't just call them. The thought had occurred briefly, but is very liberating not having to rely on a vehicle.
    Andrew

    Life On Two Wheels

    Car free, one day at a time...

  3. #3
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Every time I ride past a traffic backup caused by a wreck or disabled vehicle...

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  4. #4
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Good story, OP!

    One of the nicest things about being carfree is solving those problems, big or small, and feeling proud about it when you finally get home.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  5. #5
    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    Last summer, I had to have an outboard motor worked on. Being carfree, and not wanting to spend (more) money uselessly, I borrowed a trailer and hauled the outboard from Seattle to Edmonds and then back after the work was done. It was a bit tougher than I expected (100 lbs is more on a bike than you'd think), and I got quite a few stares from motorists, but, oddly, more than a few pickup-driving types, people who would normally not be too nice to a guy on a bicycle, smiled and gave me a thumbs-up. People gave me a lot more room when they passed, too. It's as if I achieved redneck status on the bike, just by hauling something big and heavy.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  6. #6
    Ya never know 'til ya try littledog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bragi View Post
    Last summer, I had to have an outboard motor worked on. Being carfree, and not wanting to spend (more) money uselessly, I borrowed a trailer and hauled the outboard from Seattle to Edmonds and then back after the work was done. It was a bit tougher than I expected (100 lbs is more on a bike than you'd think), and I got quite a few stares from motorists, but, oddly, more than a few pickup-driving types, people who would normally not be too nice to a guy on a bicycle, smiled and gave me a thumbs-up. People gave me a lot more room when they passed, too. It's as if I achieved redneck status on the bike, just by hauling something big and heavy.
    They probably thought you were a BASS member. They really support their brother fisherman. Even if they do ride a bike.

  7. #7
    Mister Bleak! mconlonx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bragi View Post
    ...It's as if I achieved redneck status on the bike, just by hauling something big and heavy.
    Maybe not quite appropirate to this forum, but if you have a pickup truck, you will find you have many more friends than you thought you did. If you have a pickup truck and chainsaw, you'll wonder why you are so popular.

    Carry a chainsaw in your trailer and you'll never get hassled again...

  8. #8
    Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    Maybe not quite appropirate to this forum, but if you have a pickup truck, you will find you have many more friends than you thought you did. If you have a pickup truck and chainsaw, you'll wonder why you are so popular.
    I've had the same luck with a 15mm stubby box-end and a pump in my backpack; track bike kids don't seem to be terribly well-prepared (friends of mine though they are).

  9. #9
    Senior Member Nycycle's Avatar
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    I love used, cheap, make stuff my self, but I got my brand new Nashbar trailer so cheap, and it works so nice...........

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