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Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

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Old 01-29-06, 03:46 PM   #1
Roody
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The Extreme Utility Cyclist Warrior Club

Post here to brag (or complain) about your feats and prowess as a carfree or carlite cyclist. For example:
  • Carrying a lot of weight or some weird cargo.
  • Riding a long distance.
  • Coping with harrassment from motorists and other animals.
  • Living with the scorn of your family, coworkers and flamers on this forum.
  • Making it through a spell of really horrible weather.
  • Effecting creative roadside repairs on your bike.
  • Any other circumstances that almost made you buy a brand new Navigator.
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Old 01-29-06, 04:04 PM   #2
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Today I rode my bike to a book store a few miles away to sell a book instead of driving my car. They didn't want to buy it from me and I had to go back with it. But it was still a fun adventure and a good chance to break in my new bag.

Sorry not much of a feat but it was a good time. Cheers, Alan
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Old 01-29-06, 04:04 PM   #3
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Yesterday I set out on a sunny afternoon with the temperature near 50 F. I rode about 9 miles to a nature center and took a 3 or 4 mile nature hike. Fun, beautiful river scenes, foxes and woodchucks, gentle exercise--just what I went out for.

On my way home, I stopped at a little supermarket for groceries. I bought some stuff--a little too much stuff, actually. My backpack now weighed well over 20 pounds, and I had to tie my big triple rolls of toilet paper, the 8 pack, to the outside of the pack, using a lovely pink sack provided by the friendly cashier.

When I came out of the store, I was surprised to find that I had spent more time in there than I thought. It was now totally dark, and the temperature had dropped about 15 degrees since I left the house. I was pretty chilly in my light clothes and just then, it started raining hard, mixed with snow. Suddenly, a pleasant little outing had turned bad.

Luckily, I had packed my little LED lights. I dug them out of my backpack. Not much light, but enough to get me home through the dark and rain/snow. I rode as fast as I could with the heavy pack, my toilet paper flying behind me in its pink bag.

Obviously, I made it home just fine, although ironically, a little overheated from the exercise. I made a big pot of minnestrone from the groceries I'd bought and rested secure in the knowledge that I now have enough soup and toilet paper to last me the rest of the winter!
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Old 01-29-06, 04:15 PM   #4
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One time when I was on my way home from getting some help with my math homework at a school 15km away (Our school has students of both schools shuttled to and fro throughout the morning. The two schools kind of work as a team to offer the needed classes to all students who need them) and had only 2 or 3km to go. Then, my ill-set rear deraileur snagged in the spokes, and got shredded/twisted/mangled. What was I to do? Well, I certainly didn't want to walk all that way home, so I got things untangled, the chain slung over part of the frame so that the wheels would turn freely. Now, here comes the good part. The wind (as insignificant as it was) was going my way, and the rest of the road to town was on a slight but noticable gradient. So I allowed wind and the gravity to propel me home. Worked like a charm. It may not be a real heroic story or a story where the odds were against me, but hey, it's my story and I like it.
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Old 01-29-06, 06:12 PM   #5
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From about the end of March to the first week in November this year, my car averaged about 5-10 miles a week. By bike was 150 to 175 miles a week. In April I did some three hundred mile weeks (three centuries). I put more miles on my bikes this year than my kids put on their cars driving to work.
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Old 01-29-06, 06:58 PM   #6
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Was on my way home from school (10 miles). My backpack was strapped to the rack on my bike. One bolt had come out earlier (where the rack attaches to the eyelet), but it was holding for the most part. Well, I hit a few bumps, and the rack suddenly started rubbing my tire. My quick fix was to re-align the holes and shove a pen in there. That held for half the trip, until the pen came out in traffic, so I grabbed a second one and jammed that one in there too. That made it home. I was rather impressed with myself...
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Old 01-29-06, 07:49 PM   #7
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-riding home drunk from my buddies house at 4:30 in the morning

-hauling a bike...with a bike

-blowing the rear tube riding over a gnarly RR crossing....blowing the front tube forgetting to slow down on may way back over the gnarly RR crossing....then walking home because nobody carries two spares to the store.

-any time you're meeting somewhere and a buddy offers you a ride in their car....and you beat them there on a bike.
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Old 01-29-06, 09:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
Post here to brag (or complain) about your feats and prowess as a carfree or carlite cyclist. For example:
  • Carrying a lot of weight or some weird cargo.
    --usually involves some combination of racks, and backpack. I'm still thinking about how I'm gong to get my 2 suites to the dry cleaners tomorrow AM..
  • Riding a long distance.
    ---no problems here, unless it's winter, in which case I rent/borrow a car.
  • Coping with harrassment from motorists and other animals.
    ----i don't get too much guff from people I know (at least not in front of me),
    most people seem to think it's cool. 9/10 motorists are friendly here, but the occasional A-hole
    tests my temper...hope i don't catch one of the bastards soon, because I don't need a police
    record
  • Living with the scorn of your family, coworkers and flamers on this forum.
    ---- family thinks I'm nuts...during a recent trip home, two family members offered me a to car keep.
    They will never understand me, and I don't really care.
  • Making it through a spell of really horrible weather.
    ---- just part of the challenge, I like the "weather"
  • Effecting creative roadside repairs on your bike.
    --- involves a lot of swearing, and sometimes walking...
  • Any other circumstances that almost made you buy a brand new Navigator.
    ---- wouldn't buy a navigator, but I do kinda like those vintage Toyota Landcruisers...if I bought one, I wouldn't even care if it ran...as long as it looks cool in my driveway....
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Old 01-29-06, 10:06 PM   #9
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Today I was out for a joy ride and some girls pulled up to me and rode along side of me and said "hey baby, you're looking fine" and did lots of howling. I smiled and the one girl hanging out of the passenger window blew kisses. They were hot and I really appreciated their compliments!
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Old 01-29-06, 10:44 PM   #10
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Photos will tell the story:

(1) Doing my fence, needed to transport an auger. A friend of mine (car free) and me didn't know how to get it home, taxi, rent a truck, etc. The only idea I liked was to use our bikes. We straped the stem necks together in the front and the auger in the back. Home Depot guy didn't like our "truck", so he took the tool insurance off of it (verbally, I already signed for the insurance, so I didn't care ). Almost caused an accident due to rubber neckers. Steering was somewhat tough, I was reluctant to turn .

(2) What used to be my bike for various runs. Now I use a crate. Looks more awkward than it was .
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Old 01-29-06, 10:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
[*]Living with the scorn of your family, coworkers and flamers on this forum.
Well, I think we all can count that one...


Sir Lunch-a-Lot, your sailing story reminds me of mine:

I made a trip out south of town to the recycle bins a couple of weekends ago. It's about a four-mile round trip, not too far. I had no trouble until I was on the southbound road on the west edge of town, and got past the last subdivision - i.e., past the windbreak provided by the trees and houses. The wind was blowing hard from the west, gusting at 50-60 mph. It picked up like 100 acres of topsoil from the diggings for a new subdivision and blew it all at me. I struggled to the side of the road, because I had to stop and no visibility meant cars wouldn't see me until I was under them. Finally Dust Bowl '06 blew by me and went on to eat the town, the wind calmed back down to more like 30 mph, and I continued south. I soon turned east onto the road to the recycle bins and the crosswind became a tailwind. I was coasting faster than I could pedal - I looked to the side and was going just as fast as the dust the wind was blowing off the gravel road. I wouldn't be surprised if I hit 35+ mph. Even at that speed, I couldn't feel any air resistance on my face, the wind behind me was that strong.

After dropping off my load, I decided to get another boost and continue east to the highway, then north back into town. As I turned north and rode along the shoulder, I once more had a strong crosswind. My now empty Wheele trailer (basically a wheel on a stick, with a bag slung underneath) blew straight east and was dragged along sideways while I struggled due north. Turning onto the south end of the street on whose north end I live, and following it up through town, meant that the rest of my trip was in a slightly northwesterly direction - not directly into the wind, but definitely against it. I finally struggled all the way home and got everything inside. I broke down my trailer to clean it, wiped down my whole bike, and tried to shake and beat the dust out of my clothes. (I forgot my pants pockets, and two days later when I put them on again I was momentarily surprised to find enough topsoil in the pockets to plant a fern or two.)

That was some of the weirdest weather I've ever seen, much less been in. Being on the bike made it that much more intense. Good times.
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Old 01-30-06, 11:40 AM   #12
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One of my 'feats' was using a camping backpack to carry a guitar and a violin over to my friend's house to hang out and play some music- rode for about 45 minutes there.

Another thing I did was ride my bike to school on the snowiest days in Anchorage, Alaska. Traffic becomes a total mess on those days, and for the first couple of miles of my ride, I was usually going about 9 mph while the cars could manage an average of about 5 mph.

Quote:
Effecting creative roadside repairs on your bike.
I had my chain pull apart one day. I had no chain tool with me, so I used my bike as a scooter as best I could. My bike made a pretty uncomfortable scooter, whether between my legs or beside me.
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Old 01-30-06, 12:23 PM   #13
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I biked 35 miles from my home (elevation 4990 feet) to the Longs Peak Trailhead (elevation 9390 feet), carrying backpack with 30 pounds of gear, enough food and water for a night and two days, clothing for heat to ice, ice axe, etc.

Chained the bike to the ranger cabin (after asking permission) and hiked a mile in to the Goblin Forest campground. Pitched my tarp, ate dinner, went to sleep.

Woke up at 2 a.m. My destination was Long's Peak summit, but it was too windy and cold, so I detoured left at Chasm Lake and climbed to the top of Mount Meeker instead (elevation 13,911 feet). Glissaded down 500 foot long ice fields. Whee!

Back to the trailhead, exhausted, shortly after noon. Packed my gear, and rode the bike down the mountain all the way back home.

That was the plan, anyway. I ended up getting a ride up the mountain (with my bike) and hitchhiked a ride back down (too tired to get on the bike). My son and I do ride bus and bike to go snow skiing, but that's only a couple of miles of biking.
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Old 01-30-06, 12:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jakub.ner
We straped the stem necks together in the front and the auger in the back.
Wow.

Did both of you ride the bikes at the same time? Or did you just have one ride and just used the second bike as a sidecar or outrigger of sorts? Were the handlebars connected so both front wheels turn together?
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Old 01-30-06, 12:44 PM   #15
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I regularily haul skis on my bike. No special holders, I just strap them around the seat tube, tips in back, tails behind the headtube.

I'm planning on taking a ski vacation this spring where I ride to the snow with my gear (60-150 miles one way depending on destination) for a spring skiing trip.

Besides always shopping on a bike, bringing bikes to shops using other bikes, etc.... my basket bike has a platform in back 360 square inches (20x18 inches) that leaves a lot of room to strap awkwardly shaped, big items to.
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Old 01-30-06, 01:15 PM   #16
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I am carlite and I am starting to realize that my hobbies, background and upbringing is in a different category than most here on Car Free. I re-started commuting in August 05 after many years off the bike. But when I was younger, b4 age 16, I rode everywhere. I am going to post some of my stories, but no name calling OK?

Age 13;Stow Ohio. I rode home with a dead roadkilled oppossum. I was taking a mail order taxidermy course and I thought it would be good to pracitce on. I saw it dead on street on the way to school and I just picked it up on the way home after school. I was riding a BMX and wrapped the end of the rat like tail a couple times around the handgrip, squeezed hard to keep the tail from slipping, and rode slow so the head wouldn't swing into the front wheel. Man did it stink.
Age 14: Silver lake Ohio. I caught a live baby raccoon and brought it home. I was riding a 70's road bike with those wire newspaper baskets over the rear wheel. I was riding home from church softball practice and there was little kitten sized raccoon sitting right in the middle of the bike trail. I used my glove to grab it and then tied the glove tight with my t shirt with the raccoon inside the pocket of the glove. I put it in the basket and rode home bare chested as fast as I could. I didn't tell my parents. I snuck it in my room and while I was at school 2 days later my mom found it in the dresser, (well maybe it found her) and I got grounded for 4 weeks.
Age 15: Carbondale IL. I bought a full size bike work stand at a shop and rode home with it. I kinda layed it across the handlebars and went slow. I remember that day because a car of frat boys (SIU) followed me for a while hanging out the windows and yelling "Thief, thief!!! That guy took my...." They kept making stuff up because they didn't know what I was carrying. Funny now, but I was scared then.
Age 15: Carbondale IL. I would ride to a farm with my bow (as in archery,bow and arrows) in full camo to go deer hunting after school. The season started in early September so it wasn't cold. I would just ride one handed and carry the bow in the other. In fact, the day I killed my first deer I had to ride back home to get my dad and the van. My hands and forearms were all bloody from field dressing and no place to wash up. People just stared as I rode by.

These are all true stories and my family reminds me of them each Christmas with statments like this "Remember when you did..."
No wonder I couldn't get a date.
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Old 01-30-06, 01:52 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist
I regularily haul skis on my bike. No special holders, I just strap them around the seat tube, tips in back, tails behind the headtube.
What kind of skis?

I used to strap my downhill skis to the top tube. I have a small backpack that's designed to carry skis now -- tips up high, tails angled behind me, boots in the bindings with some cord for extra safety. That seems to work well for me, especially since I do the multi-modal bike/bus thing and it's a pain in the neck to bike to the bus stop and unstrap the skis at the bus stop.
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Old 01-30-06, 09:58 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist
I regularily haul skis on my bike. No special holders, I just strap them around the seat tube, tips in back, tails behind the headtube.

I'm planning on taking a ski vacation this spring where I ride to the snow with my gear (60-150 miles one way depending on destination) for a spring skiing trip.

Besides always shopping on a bike, bringing bikes to shops using other bikes, etc.... my basket bike has a platform in back 360 square inches (20x18 inches) that leaves a lot of room to strap awkwardly shaped, big items to.
If you ever get a chance to take a photo of that ski set-up, please post it. I'd be interested in trying it. How did you cary your boots?
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Old 01-30-06, 10:24 PM   #19
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ive carried my sisters to school and peoples houses on a regualr basis.
I recently broke my bike pump while out riding some single track, so i fixed it with a balloon and about 6 inches of duct tape...my back pack has lots of things in it haha. but i was pumping my tire up on the trail and noticed that i couldnt get any pressure, because the cap on the end was cracked, so i wrapped the balloon through the hole a few times as tight as i could get it, then wrapped it in some duct tape, and cut the balloon off. it works well now, but ive got a new one on its way already. i was pretty impressed with my handy man ness...
ive also fixed a flat with duct tape, but it didnt work very well, i had to stop and pump it up every 10 minutes or so. got me home though.

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Old 01-30-06, 10:41 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jakub.ner
(1) Doing my fence, needed to transport an auger.
Believe it or not, I was watching the Red Green Show on New Year's Eve, and Red made a quadracycle by lashing two bikes together just like yours, with a pole in front, and a board from a park bench to sit on between the two frames. I couldn't find which episode it was at their site, but search most of the episode pages for "bike" or "bicycle", and it seems they've done a whole lot of odd things with bikes. (Season 13, Episode 251: "Red converts a bicycle into a barbecue rotisserie.")
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Old 01-30-06, 10:44 PM   #21
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Not being entirely car-free, and so far lacking a trailer or XtraCycle (thinking about it), I don't have anything of a personal nature to add here. But I did have a question related to the topic.

On one of these forums within the last year, someone posted a picture of someone hauling a refrigerator on a flat trailer behind a bike. Impressive, but I had to think that's fine for flat terrain, but could you dare to try to go either up or downhill with it? What do you all think?
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Old 01-30-06, 11:12 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richardmasoner
Wow.

Did both of you ride the bikes at the same time? Or did you just have one ride and just used the second bike as a sidecar or outrigger of sorts? Were the handlebars connected so both front wheels turn together?
We rode together in sync. In addition Jamie, my friend, came out that day with his fixie . We didn't know this will be how things turn out. We started the day with a hand digger. After taking off 3 inches in and hour we knew that's not going to work .
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Old 01-30-06, 11:16 PM   #23
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Quote:
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... "Red converts a bicycle into a barbecue rotisserie.")
Those guys are genius! And I love what they do to cars as well . As much as they inspire me, I fail to carry duct tape in my tool set .
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Old 01-31-06, 03:54 PM   #24
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i always have duct tape with me, no matter where i am...unless im fixing ducts...then its useless....

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Old 01-31-06, 05:48 PM   #25
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On saturday, I decided to take a little spin on the beach cruiser to enjoy the weather. As usual, my momentum got the better of me and I ended up being gone all day. On route to my undetermined destination I came across a couple of dogs out for a walk with no owner to be seen. I stopped to talk with them and luckily they were wearing tags with a phone #. One was totally friendly and no problem at all, I used my bike chain as a leash. The other one wasn't ready to go home and kept walking. I saw someone taking their groceries into their house and asked to borrow their cell phone. I left my bike as collateral and took the phone to find the other dog a couple of blocks away. When the other dog saw his buddy on a leash with me, he didn't seem so shy and decided he would hang out with us. Called the owner and waited a short while for her to show up. Said goodbye to my new friends and walked back to get my bike. Later, while riding through a slightly shady area, I found a used bookstore I had never seen before. They had an entire wall of vinyl for $1 each! I didn't get through barely any of them, but I found 6 good LPs and headed back home. Not hardcore, but I found some treasure and maybe saved a couple of lives.
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