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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 01-21-07, 04:12 PM   #1
BAH
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my xtracycle history(new ride and 56K beware...)

So I first came across xtracycle last year when looking for a trailer to carry my camera gear around town. It looked like a great thing, so I bought one for my old commuter bike. I carried my gear without fear of damaging some really expensive equipment and it was great.




I also carried around my longboard to some local hills, and started thinking about using it as the snapdeck. I was finally convinced to do it.




It started becoming really fun, seeing what I could cart around without using the car
















My wife and I live in a very cruiser friendly area and it wasn't too long before I was eyeing an xtracycle for one of my cruisers. Decided to go for it on my Electra Ghostrider and it was good.





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Old 01-21-07, 04:13 PM   #2
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Sara really enjoyed this and we started going on dates with it..



It wasn't too long and she was wanting one for herself. She found a bike that she thought would be fun with an xtracycle and went for it..








About this time, I decided to retire my schwinn and get a Surly KM. I took the bike apart, thinking it wouldn't be too long before I could get it built up. Unfortunately I was wrong and so we just had the 2 cruiser xtracycles. Then Washington weather set in and it's been raining and snowing since. We want to keep these cruisers spiffy looking so they have unfortunately been sitting since. I've been going a little nuts waiting on parts for the KM but today it became rideable and I am happy. It still needs a little bit of work/adjustment to get it just the way I like it, but at least I can start hauling around town again.

Hooray!!





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Old 01-21-07, 04:19 PM   #3
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Looks like fun. I'm jealous! I'd love to convert my Outlook. I don't think it would fit on the bike racks on the bus, though, and unfortunately, I have to use the bus.
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Old 01-21-07, 04:33 PM   #4
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Great pics.

Your Xtra looks so great! Mine is muddy, beat up, and the deck is peeling...but I love it!
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Old 01-21-07, 05:00 PM   #5
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Awesome. Me want.
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Old 01-21-07, 05:04 PM   #6
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I think an xtracycle will be my next bike, but it won't be for awhile.
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Old 01-21-07, 05:20 PM   #7
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I've been thinking the same thing...since Surly's Big Dummy should be available by spring.
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Old 01-21-07, 06:19 PM   #8
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*drools over pictures*

Very inspiring. The more I see new pictures of people using this the more I want it after finding out about it a few months ago. I'm not sure the side bag would really qualify as 'child safe' but I guess as long as the kid is very light and on the right side bag and you're going uber slow I guess it'll be safe for kids or woofie.

Wow, they still use paperbags for groceries? Maybe it's me as I'm a big city person but over here it's all plastic bags. What is the max load this thing can take? Can it take like like 80-100lbs of groceries? How is the response on the road? Do you ride this on the road as well? I'm guessing if you're in a small town then it probably would be ok but in a big big city I'm not sure how the city roads would be for something like that. We do have bike lanes in Toronto but they are shared lanes with bus/taxi/3+ people cars/bikes and only enforced (suppositly tho I've not seen any cops yank offenders abusing the lanes yet myself) in the active times the lane is in use M-F 0800-1100 and 1500-1900 if I remember the active times. I'll have to get a photo and check.


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Old 01-21-07, 06:39 PM   #9
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What does an xtra cycle run price wise?
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Old 01-21-07, 07:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero_Enigma
*drools over pictures*

Very inspiring. The more I see new pictures of people using this the more I want it after finding out about it a few months ago. I'm not sure the side bag would really qualify as 'child safe' but I guess as long as the kid is very light and on the right side bag and you're going uber slow I guess it'll be safe for kids or woofie.

Wow, they still use paperbags for groceries? Maybe it's me as I'm a big city person but over here it's all plastic bags. What is the max load this thing can take? Can it take like like 80-100lbs of groceries? How is the response on the road? Do you ride this on the road as well? I'm guessing if you're in a small town then it probably would be ok but in a big big city I'm not sure how the city roads would be for something like that. We do have bike lanes in Toronto but they are shared lanes with bus/taxi/3+ people cars/bikes and only enforced (suppositly tho I've not seen any cops yank offenders abusing the lanes yet myself) in the active times the lane is in use M-F 0800-1100 and 1500-1900 if I remember the active times. I'll have to get a photo and check.


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You can still ask for paper bags. If you bring them back every time, some stores will give you a re-use credit (a few cents per bag). I usually take a duffel bag with me so I don't need to use wasteful plastic bags, although I do occasionally let them bag the groceries up, because those plastic bags are good for carrying my muddy shoes into the office, or for protecting my dress shoes on my rack on a rainy day.

Xtracycles can carry a whole person as a passenger, I'd be willing to bet as long as your rear wheel/tire could handle the weight, you could probably load 200+ pounds on it without ill effect. Maybe even closer to 300. Hope you don't have many hills to climb, though.

BTW the Xtracycle FreeRadical kit as shown (with the snap deck, bags and stuff) runs about $400. If you just want the frame that extends the wheel out, it's $224. Both kits come with all the parts needed for a tool-handy person (or your bike shop technician) to install it, including longer chain, cables, and other stuff.

http://www.xtracycle.com/hitchless-t...-kits-c-4.html
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Old 01-21-07, 07:32 PM   #11
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Nice camera. I can't tell which lens exactly, but that has to be at least a 20D.

Oh yea, nice bike too

-D
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Old 01-21-07, 07:36 PM   #12
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Great pics. Three questions.
1. How do you manage the hills around Olympia on the Xtracycle? I used to live there and had trouble walking up some of them.
2. What do your clients think when you show up for a wedding photo shoot on the Xtracycle?
3. Does the long board go everywhere with you?
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Old 01-21-07, 07:38 PM   #13
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Beautiful pics BAH!!
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Old 01-21-07, 07:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero_Enigma
Wow, they still use paperbags for groceries? Maybe it's me as I'm a big city person but over here it's all plastic bags.
They use paper bags more in the PNW because the paper mills are here.

What a great pic of the kidlet. Reminds me of my dad putting me in the back of his pick-up truck when we turned onto the slow, residential streets, or giving me a ride on the riding lawnmower. (Ha! Take that safety nannies of the world! )
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Old 01-21-07, 09:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ax0n
You can still ask for paper bags. If you bring them back every time, some stores will give you a re-use credit (a few cents per bag). I usually take a duffel bag with me so I don't need to use wasteful plastic bags, although I do occasionally let them bag the groceries up, because those plastic bags are good for carrying my muddy shoes into the office, or for protecting my dress shoes on my rack on a rainy day.

Xtracycles can carry a whole person as a passenger, I'd be willing to bet as long as your rear wheel/tire could handle the weight, you could probably load 200+ pounds on it without ill effect. Maybe even closer to 300. Hope you don't have many hills to climb, though.

BTW the Xtracycle FreeRadical kit as shown (with the snap deck, bags and stuff) runs about $400. If you just want the frame that extends the wheel out, it's $224. Both kits come with all the parts needed for a tool-handy person (or your bike shop technician) to install it, including longer chain, cables, and other stuff.

http://www.xtracycle.com/hitchless-t...-kits-c-4.html

I'm in the very urbanated Toronto here. I do have tools as long as I don't need special tools to attach the extention. I wonder if they ever have any sales for the Xtracycle. It does cost a lot but I guess the cost is peanuts compared to the cost of petrol and car insurance yearly. I live in the city which has been labeled (according to the news radio) to have the highest car insurance rates. I think it costs like $5000 CDN/yr in car insurance which is like about $4240 USD/yr so definately even if there isn't a sale you save quite a bit already. I'll have to have my wheels checked out next time I'm at the LBS for how much weight I can put on them.

Is there a way I can check myself to see how much weight my wheels can support? Like without putting the whole dog sled team on it that is. I'm about 5'8" and 140lb in weight. Well from all the stores I've seen here they don't have paperbags unless you're using them to store mushrooms or from the LCBO (liquier store). I'll ask next time I'm at a grocery store if they offer a price discount if you re-use bags. We do have some no-frills stores here that don't give out bags at all to keep costs down but allow you to take any cardboard box they throw up front to keep store and prices down. Those stores are "(owners name) Basics" and "No-Frills". However they only take cash only so if you're short changed you're screwed there if you don't have a debit card. Bags cost 5cents a bag there if you need them.

I don't have a problem with plastic bags as sometimes I like going to some stores because they have good plastic (good waterproof seals) bags which I often re-use for other things or make good use of them as garbage bags in the kitchen. Keeps my costs down from having to buy kitchen garbage bags.


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Old 01-21-07, 09:34 PM   #16
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Zero Enigma, I'd suggest you hit up the Living Car Free section for questions about the Xtracycle, and probably the bike mechanics forum (or clydesdale?) for information on weight issues. I don't have one of these yet, but the car free crowd contains a lot of Xtracycle owners. I've just done enough research to know that it would be a great around town bike as I do a lot of cycling around town to run errands, but not a good commuter bike for my current situation.
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Old 01-21-07, 10:05 PM   #17
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Re: paper bags. The only local store that has them is Trader Joe's, and they're the nice ones with handles. Somewhat recently, every time you reuse bags (something I was doing for a while anyway) you get entered to win a $50 gift card. I haven't won yet but it will be worth the infinitesimally small hassle it is to reuse them when/if I do. TJ's didn't advertise the raffle for a while time but now they have signs up for it. If your local TJ's doesn't have signs, try reusing bags anyway and see if they offer you a ticket.
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Old 01-21-07, 10:05 PM   #18
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I'll try to answer all replies below!

Axon- I believe it can on certain racks. I plan on calling the local bus service and asking if I can do a test(and photoshoot if it works) on one of their racks.

SS- I work hard at keeping my rides shiny and clean-photographers curse I guess

DJ,Kbrown and Chipcom - you won't regret. See if you can find a local owner for a test ride. It really is a fantastic creation.

ZE- Much more child safe than you think actually. He's my nephew and his mom said NO WAY until she saw him in there and how secure it really is. I probably wouldn't hit freeway speeds with him on there but we have gotten up to pretty brisk paces and he just yells for faster. Whenever we babysit now, the first thing out of his mouth is always bike,bike,bike
It's rated for 200 lbs safely, but I'm sure it could handle more. It's pretty solid. You would just need to be a little extra careful about curb drops etc...
I don't live big city, but not rural country town either. I live in my states capitol(Olympia, WA) This guys a bike messenger in NYC and loves his...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fastboy/338963518/ (this linked page ok but some of his other photos not work safe)

FF- Pricing on xtracycles trailers on their website here

http://www.xtracycle.com/hitchless-t...-kits-c-4.html

and here for full bike setups

http://www.xtracycle.com/complete-subs-c-5.html



Derath- You're correct, 20D

RonH-

1. It has gears like any other bike! Just keep going lower(higher?) until you can make it up!
2. I've never actually showed up to a wedding yet. With most weddings there is some travel between wedding, reception, photo areas etc and I'm not sure they would be patient while I bike around haha. I do show up regularly for engagement etc sessions. Everybody has loved it. It's a great conversation piece for starters and almost everyone has wanted to take it for a ride haha. Proof...







3. Yep it does now that I have the clips on the bottom If I have to lock up the bike, I just pop it off and bring it inside wherever I go.


Thanks Queen!

Donnamb - yep- as mentioned above, he absolutely loves it!

ZE- definitely will pay for itself over a period of time. Think of all those gas saving trips to the grocery store or whatever I'm 200 lbs and had some old beat up xc wheels on my first version. No problems and I've been loaded up pretty good. No special tools needed unless you opt to put them on some cruiser style bikes(esp 1 and 3 speed bikes)




And no, I don't own a piece of xtracycle- Just really dig the product and the ideas behind it.
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Old 01-21-07, 10:08 PM   #19
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Zero, I'll bet that if you emailed the Xtracycle folks, they could connect you with Torontonians who have one and/or an LBS in your area with experience in putting one on a bike. Xtracycle owners seem like a pretty tight bunch in some places.
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Old 01-21-07, 10:23 PM   #20
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BAH: When I posted this pic of my local bus system's bike racks, almost everyone said "That's the kind our buses use!".

http://www.focushacks.com/photo/010407-jorack.jpg

So, if you guys have the same or similar racks out there, get a pic. The bike shown is the one I would convert, and as pictured, "just fits". Matter of fact, it's the only thing that's made me think twice about saving for an Xtracycle kit or an LWB recumbent, because I really like the flexibility to use the bus when I have to go somewhere far away. Like work.
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Old 01-21-07, 10:42 PM   #21
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yeah thats the kind ours uses too I believe(or very similar). I think that it might work if the bottom bracket rests on the rack and the arm that normally holds the front tire in instead holds the top tube down. Put the wheel in the bag and have a couple bungees just in case something looks unsecure.... I'll get on this soon and post my findings.
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Old 01-22-07, 12:01 AM   #22
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wonderful photos and awesome bicycles.

how is the karate monkey setup? I was contemplating using my km frame with mine, but opted to use a different frame due to the large lip on the track ends and the lack of a chainstay bridge. did either pose a problem for you?
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Old 01-22-07, 08:09 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BAH
And no, I don't own a piece of xtracycle- Just really dig the product and the ideas behind it.
Maybe not, but you're photos sure would add some eye candy to their site. Very nice!
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Old 01-22-07, 09:13 AM   #24
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Does the Xtracycle use a different rear wheel? I ask because I've broken rear spokes when heavily loaded on tours. The Xtracycle looks like it affords more room for stuff, but does it offer any advantage when it comes to the amount of weight a rear wheel can hold without breaking spokes?
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Old 01-22-07, 10:18 AM   #25
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Quote:
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Does the Xtracycle use a different rear wheel? I ask because I've broken rear spokes when heavily loaded on tours. The Xtracycle looks like it affords more room for stuff, but does it offer any advantage when it comes to the amount of weight a rear wheel can hold without breaking spokes?
it uses whatever rear wheel you put in there. a smaller percentage of the rider's weight is on the rear wheel but cargo, especially people cargo, can quickly nullify this advantage. nonetheless, the weight will be better distributed from front to back than on a rear loaded traditional bicycle. handbuilt wheels with beefy rims and lots of spokes seem to do well.
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