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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 04-28-07, 09:24 PM   #1
makeinu
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so I'm moving...

... 2.4 miles away and 150 feet down (elevation wise). There are no hills in between and only 2 or 3 turns.

I want to take with me two small tables, a sofa bed, two dressers, and other various smaller items which I could probably carry in my arms (obviously not all at the same time). The biggest problem will probably be the couch (chesterfield for those of you hailing from the great north). It's very heavy and long.

In any case, I'm thinking that it should be easy with some kind of cart or hand trailer, but I imagine a trailer designed for a car will be too heavy and difficult to control.

Any ideas where I could get such a thing? My only idea is to ask one of the vendors at a farmer's market. Doesn't seem worth the trouble to build one myself.
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Old 04-28-07, 10:05 PM   #2
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even for only 2.4 miles, your best bet would probably be to rent a small truck. you could load everything at once and only make one run. cars/trucks DO have a purpose and hauling large loads over a distance is one of them.
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Old 04-28-07, 10:35 PM   #3
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Aren't you in Baltimore? Last time I was there I saw this guy selling vegetables from a horse drawn cart. Maybe it would be fun to pay him to move your big stuff. Offer him a few bucks less than truck rental and see what he says. It would be an interesting post on LCF to report how it goes. Take some photos. His cart seemed plenty big enough for your stuff.
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Old 04-28-07, 11:29 PM   #4
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Do people in your area do stuff like this?
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Old 04-29-07, 10:58 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by manual_overide
even for only 2.4 miles, your best bet would probably be to rent a small truck. you could load everything at once and only make one run. cars/trucks DO have a purpose and hauling large loads over a distance is one of them.
Yeah, but I'm going down a steep hill. A truck would be overkill. If I had a truck then I could literally just stick it in neutral and let it roll down. The biggest problem is getting it here, but I imagine something without an engine would be light enough to push here.

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Aren't you in Baltimore? Last time I was there I saw this guy selling vegetables from a horse drawn cart. Maybe it would be fun to pay him to move your big stuff. Offer him a few bucks less than truck rental and see what he says. It would be an interesting post on LCF to report how it goes. Take some photos. His cart seemed plenty big enough for your stuff.
Yeah I've seen a guy like that (just yesterday actually), but like you said, he probably would want at least as much as the price of a truck rental.

Although it would be cool, I'd rather something more practical (ie cheaper). What do you guys think about renting a trailer (not uhaul though...the roof would probably be too heavy to push it around empy...something with an open roof) or perhaps just a dolly or hand truck with big wheels (16" maybe)?

Looks like u-haul actually rents dollys:
http://www.uhaul.com/dollies/

But, the wheels might be a little small.

How about just getting a piece of plywood and screwing on some wheels?

Last edited by makeinu; 04-29-07 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 04-29-07, 03:22 PM   #6
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Do people in your area do stuff like this?
bikemove is one of the most rad things ever. Warms the MF'n heart.
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Old 04-29-07, 06:26 PM   #7
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http://www.bikesatwork.com/
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Old 04-29-07, 11:13 PM   #8
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Just rent a small moving truck, fer chrissake. Or borrow a friend's truck. You're going 2.4 miles. The impact on the environment is small. On the other hand, hauling a couch, book shelves, tables, etc. by bike or by hand over that same distance would be sort of a pain. And keep in mind that it's not just your back that's being strained, but those of your friends as well.
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Old 04-29-07, 11:56 PM   #9
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Cool another Baltimore cyclist. I remember seeing a cargo bike at Velocipede http://www.velocipedebikeproject.org/ but I have no idea what condition it’s in but I think it’s worth a shot investigating.

If you want to go with a hand cart here is something I Googled for ideas: http://www.aaarental.com/catalog/ind...T_ID=57&bhcp=1

FWIW I could possibly manage a couch with one end on the back of my Xtracycle and the other end strapped to a dolly.
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Old 04-30-07, 07:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makeinu

Yeah I've seen a guy like that (just yesterday actually), but like you said, he probably would want at least as much as the price of a truck rental.

Although it would be cool, I'd rather something more practical (ie cheaper).
I'm not pushing the horse cart thing, just thought it would be fun and unique,
but I suggested to offer him less than the price of a truck rental.
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Old 04-30-07, 09:27 AM   #11
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Don't any of your friends have a truck?
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Old 04-30-07, 09:42 AM   #12
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You could borrow a couple of wheeled dollies and complete the move in about fifteen hours depending on how much you load the sofas/beds with your other possessions and how fast you can jog between the two places with the small-wheeled dollies. It's looking like a handful of trips back and forth, plus carrying things, for about twenty miles of walking total.
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Old 04-30-07, 11:23 AM   #13
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For that I would rent a truck. I am moving down to the other end of the block in August though and I intend to use my bike trailer/carry everything. I don't see it being worth it for 2.4 miles. Doable yes.

I think you could probably carry/control some sort of light open bed trailer with one or two people. What is the street like? Or are you intending to use the sidewalk?
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Old 04-30-07, 12:14 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Philatio
For that I would rent a truck. I am moving down to the other end of the block in August though and I intend to use my bike trailer/carry everything. I don't see it being worth it for 2.4 miles. Doable yes.

I think you could probably carry/control some sort of light open bed trailer with one or two people. What is the street like? Or are you intending to use the sidewalk?
Why is everyone ignoring the -1.2% grade? I wouldn't even be considering doing it by man power if it weren't for this grade.

In any case, I'm not sure if it's legal to use the street for moving furniture on dollies, but I'm worried that I'll get snagged on a curb if I use the sidewalk. I can't find any dollies with wheels bigger than 3-4 inches in diameter.

Also, there isn't anywhere to park in front of the new building (not even double park....unless I want to play chicken with the rail car). So even if I had a truck I'd still have to carry the stuff a few blocks. Besides, a truck seems like complete overkill. It's really not that much stuff. Although renting a truck might be slightly easier, it seems like pushing the stuff downhill on a dolly or trailer and taking the bus back up for the next load shouldn't be too much trouble (just a little more time consuming, but that's ok...I'll never know how easy/hard it really is if I don't try).

However, here's the rub. Dollies will be difficult to stably secure and their small wheels might get snagged. On the other hand, trailers (designed for cars) are too big to take on the sidewalk or bus and might be too heavy to push back up hill.

Last edited by makeinu; 04-30-07 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 04-30-07, 04:11 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makeinu
Why is everyone ignoring the -1.2% grade? I wouldn't even be considering doing it by man power if it weren't for this grade.

In any case, I'm not sure if it's legal to use the street for moving furniture on dollies, but I'm worried that I'll get snagged on a curb if I use the sidewalk. I can't find any dollies with wheels bigger than 3-4 inches in diameter.

Also, there isn't anywhere to park in front of the new building (not even double park....unless I want to play chicken with the rail car). So even if I had a truck I'd still have to carry the stuff a few blocks. Besides, a truck seems like complete overkill. It's really not that much stuff. Although renting a truck might be slightly easier, it seems like pushing the stuff downhill on a dolly or trailer and taking the bus back up for the next load shouldn't be too much trouble (just a little more time consuming, but that's ok...I'll never know how easy/hard it really is if I don't try).

However, here's the rub. Dollies will be difficult to stably secure and their small wheels might get snagged. On the other hand, trailers (designed for cars) are too big to take on the sidewalk or bus and might be too heavy to push back up hill.
You could use something like a bike trailer, just not with the bike. Since it's downhill the whole way, just one thing to remember, push the trailer, don't pull it, your not really pushing, it's more keeping it from getting away on you. You do this from behind, not in front, if your in front, and it gets away from you, you will run over yourself

You secure the bike on top of the load, hook the trailer up, and haul it back with the bike.
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Old 04-30-07, 04:26 PM   #16
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Depending on your access, you might be able to pay a farmer who has either a horse-drawn or ox-drawn cart to assist for a couple hours. Is the area where you're moving accessible by an animal-drawn cart?
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Old 04-30-07, 04:34 PM   #17
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You could use something like a bike trailer, just not with the bike. Since it's downhill the whole way, just one thing to remember, push the trailer, don't pull it, your not really pushing, it's more keeping it from getting away on you. You do this from behind, not in front, if your in front, and it gets away from you, you will run over yourself

You secure the bike on top of the load, hook the trailer up, and haul it back with the bike.
Could I fit a couch on a bike trailer?

I think what I need is a wagon with brakes. Strong enough to hold the weight of the couch, but small enough to take back uptown on the bus.

(this one doesn't have brakes and I don't know if it could hold the weight of the couch)

Thanks for brainstorming with me guys....keep it coming. Right now we have a lot of good ideas on the table, but where can I rent stuff like this? For example, a bikesatwork trailer should do the trick, but I'm not going to spend $400 just to use it once. Uhaul rents car trailers for $9a day, but the lightest one is 500 pounds and they won't let you take it without inspecting your car.

Last edited by makeinu; 04-30-07 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 04-30-07, 06:02 PM   #18
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I've seen one of our local bottle/can collectors using a hand truck as a trailer. You'd have to rig up an extension to hitch the top to your bike, and keep the center of gravity somewhere near the hand truck's wheels.
Or if you don't want to get carried away making stuff, lay a hand truck on its back, and strap the couch on top of it so the center of gravity is near the wheels. Get it positioned so you can keep it balanced on the wheels by leaning on one end comfortably. Then start walkin'! Just don't let it get away from you on a hill...
Any of your local hardware stores should have hand trucks. And wagons, too, they sell them in adult sizes for garden work! But they do cost a bit more and take up lots of space. On the other hand, you could always just sell it away when you're done with it and call the difference a rental expense.
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Old 05-01-07, 10:43 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makeinu
The biggest problem will probably be the couch (chesterfield for those of you hailing from the great north). It's very heavy and long.
What you need is... a Couchbike

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Old 05-01-07, 11:11 AM   #20
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Screw the truck. He didn't come on Carfree to hear he should use a truck! I'm leaning toward the hand cart, with a friend helping you to control it on the downhills.

A bike move would be much cooler, but the expense of getting the right equipment for one-time use would be impractical. It would be a good investment for a group of carfree cyclists to purchase bike moving equipment cooperatively--like a Flexbike program. (I'm surprised that Donnamb didn't suggest this.)
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Old 05-01-07, 11:35 AM   #21
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Screw the truck. He didn't come on Carfree to hear he should use a truck!
How about four burley guys just carrying that couch on their shoulders down the street. That's the direct approach.

Last week Fed Ex delivered a package to my apartment. It was for my son who lives in another apartment 0.7 miles away. It was a bit big and somewhat heavy but I had nothing better to do, so I hoisted it up on my shoulder and carried it. I didn't know what was in it. Turned out to be a medicine ball for Son's cross fit program, ha.

On the way I stopped to help the Fed Ex driver. His 18 wheeler truck was too big to get through the narrow driveway for his next delivery. So I suggested we just take it out of the truck and carry it to the apartment. He said he could use some help unloading it (strapped to a pallet, you see) but he had a dolly to take it the rest of the way. It was a big screen plasma TV. He said the buyer probably paid more for the shipping than it cost for the TV, and the right way to do it would be to buy local and have them deliver it in a van.
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Old 05-01-07, 11:58 AM   #22
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What you need is... a Couchbike
ha, ha. that's spectacular. my couch is a sofabed....wouldn't that be great for touring?
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Old 05-06-07, 02:53 AM   #23
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How about "Boogie Boards" - - - 2 ft squares of wood (3/4 inch plywood or thicker) with a wheel on each corner of the square, and a hole cut in the center big enough to allow an average size couch or dresser leg to drop into the boogie board (to semi-secure the load for pushing).
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Old 05-06-07, 08:20 AM   #24
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Here's a guy who made a couch trailer. You need three bicycles but only one cyclist to move the couch
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Old 05-06-07, 03:27 PM   #25
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Check out this link:

http://www.bikesatwork.com/hauling-c...e-by-bike.html
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