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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 09-30-11, 07:28 AM   #701
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I feel like such a wimp.

No utility rides of more than eight miles r/t this week and totaling both the health food store and the supermarket trips, it was probably under 20 pounds carried.
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Old 10-02-11, 02:18 AM   #702
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Bought a used double size bookcase headboard at a consignment shop at the bottom of the hill from my place. Takes a mere 12mins to descend and 25 to return back. Funny how hauling odd bits of furniture gets people to talk with you much more easily.

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Old 10-02-11, 05:50 AM   #703
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That's just cool!
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Old 10-06-11, 05:00 PM   #704
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Today, I hauled some scrap metal 6.6 miles to the recycle place. I had 280 pounds metal + 40 pounds BAW trailer + 15 pound child trailer on the end of the BAW trailer + 50 pound child = ~405 pounds behind my bike. It was heavy, but I made it. 13.2 miles/1 hr 22 mins later, I was home with $38 more in my pocket.


I attached the old Bell child trailer to my BAW trailer by bolting the Burley forged hitch onto the back of the BAW trailer. It worked wonderfully, and just reinforces for me all the reasons I switched from the old Bell clamp style hitch to the Burley forged hitch with round bar connector. And, when my kids finally do outgrow the Bell trailer, I'll take off the canvas and be able to haul another 150+/- pounds behind the BAW, if needed. I've had well over 200 pounds in the Bell trailer with the Burley hitch with absolutely no problems.

My Kona Caldera is in full utility form now. I took off the stock suspension fork, replacing it with a Surly 1x1 (I got the straight version for 100mm correction). I cut a little off the fork tube, but retained some extra height by using a 1" ID copper pipe coupler I got at the hardware store for ~$4. I didn't buy regular spacers, because my LBS wanted $2/5 mm spacer, which means I would have spent about $30 on spacers compared to the $4 copper coupler. I also added a Sunlite Gold Tec front rack (identical to the Nashbar front rack) and PB Hardcore ATB fenders. If anyone's wondering, the saddle is a Velo Orange model 3 touring saddle. The seat bag is a Carradice Nelson Longflap.


Now, for a short rant about the lack of support for utility cycling in my area. In addition to all the problems encountered by cyclists everywhere, I am finding some utility cycling specific hurdles.
1- I am forced to buy garbage/recycling service in my town for ~$43/month. I could opt out and take stuff to the dump/recycle center on my own, but I still have to pay the $43 whether I use it or not. My garbage can is rarely full and I have to go to the recycle center every couple of weeks anyways because the curbside pickup doesn't take glass.
2- The dump has a minimum 400 pound charge, regardless of how much is brought in. This makes a smaller load by bike more expensive than taking a larger load by truck.
3- The local landscape place charges a $20 minimum load for bark/common rocks (crushed, washed, etc)/top soil/etc. Bark is ~$10 a ton and rock is ~$20 a ton. As I can only carry 1/7th of a ton on the trailer, I'd be paying $20 for the load of 1/7th of a ton of bark, etc. For bark, this would equate to $140/ton if hauled by bike or $10/ton if hauled by truck. What's worse is that they can't load a bike trailer, so I'd have to shovel it in bins by hand. Less work for them, better for the environment, and better for my health, yet they charge significantly more. I don't get it.

I would use my trailer even more if the local businesses and government actually took steps that encouraged people to haul stuff by bike.

Finally, this is the longest thread in the Utility Bikes forum, even longer than any of the stickies. Post #704, so WHY IS IT NOT A STICKY YET?
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Old 10-06-11, 07:16 PM   #705
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WOW,you have my envy and respect,sir
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Old 10-07-11, 01:09 AM   #706
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Finally, this is the longest thread in the Utility Bikes forum, even longer than any of the stickies. Post #704, so WHY IS IT NOT A STICKY YET?
I've been wondering this too, there is another stickie that is similar but seem dedicated to house/home moves.
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Old 10-08-11, 11:40 PM   #707
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I forgot to mention in my short rant: REI.

They have two distribution centers, one in Sumner, WA and the other in Bedford, PA. The one in Sumner is very near where I live. Yet, they don't have a will call window there. This means that anything I order, I either pay for shipping from their Sumner warehouse to my house (driven by a UPS truck) or have it shipped for free (again, driven presumably with their normal store delivery) out to their store in Tacoma. That store is 15 miles from me. One would think REI is an eco-friendly company, yet I don't understand why driving (delivery to the store or to my house) has to be included in the equation when it would be easier, faster, and more eco-friendly for me to ride my bike a few blocks and pick up the order. This irritates me enough that even though I think REI offers excellent products with an even better warranty, I rarely buy anything from them. When I do order, it's much less likely I'm going to ride my bike 30 miles round trip to pick it up than if it was just around the corner from me.

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Old 10-09-11, 06:59 PM   #708
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I was driving on Friday night. I was coming home from Yom Kippur at the synagogue. A cop stopped me and told me I had a headlight out and that I was driving on a suspended license. So I had to ride my bike to Yom Kippur service on Saturday, eight miles. Then in the evening, my wife picked me up in her car (she was at another synagogue) and we went to a relative's place for break-fast (the meal after the day of fasting).

Today (Sunday), I had my church job. Yeah, yeah, I work at a synagogue and a church. I'm not taking any chances. The church is 18 miles away, and I didn't give myself much extra time to get there. I had to pedal really hard, and I made it three minutes early. It's mostly uphill, too. Coming home, I was tired, from working so much and sleeping so little. Riding home was hard.

Gotta fix my car and my license this week.
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Old 10-10-11, 08:25 AM   #709
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Returning home after giving another bike tour of Yokohama.

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Old 10-10-11, 08:42 PM   #710
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Picked up a load for an xtracycle add on project I've been thinking about

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Old 10-10-11, 08:54 PM   #711
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Returning home after giving another bike tour of Yokohama.

Cool- sounds fun!
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Old 10-13-11, 03:53 AM   #712
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last cargo ride yesterday 3 miles during lunch break to take 30lbs of books to donate to our ged book store. Then to police to see if any one turned in my tool box.
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Old 10-13-11, 05:07 AM   #713
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Forgot to post this yesterday. My 9 year old son and I rode a couple miles (just past the TN state line) to the 7 Elevin to get my wife a 6 pack of Coca-Cola
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Old 10-13-11, 04:00 PM   #714
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Today, I took a garbage can of recycles (glass and plastic) to the recycle center (2.2 miles away), along with two large Rubbermaid bins for Goodwill (4.8 miles further). I don't know how much they weighed.

On the way back, we stopped and got sand and a bio-solid soil amendment. It was about 2 miles to home from where we got the sand. The bottom bin is filled to the ridge with sand. The top bin is sitting on top of the sand and has the bio-solid amendment in it. Sand/bio-solid amendment ~325 pounds + my kid ~50 pounds. We took it slow and it was really heavy, but we and the trailer handled it just fine. I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. Total distance and time: 12 miles, 1 hour 20 minutes riding time.
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Old 10-14-11, 12:31 PM   #715
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Took a box on my rear rack to the PO to mail. Picked up lunch for the family on the way back.
New placement of my pump looks solid.
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Old 10-14-11, 03:23 PM   #716
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Today, I took a garbage can of recycles (glass and plastic) to the recycle center (2.2 miles away), along with two large Rubbermaid bins for Goodwill (4.8 miles further). I don't know how much they weighed.

On the way back, we stopped and got sand and a bio-solid soil amendment. It was about 2 miles to home from where we got the sand. The bottom bin is filled to the ridge with sand. The top bin is sitting on top of the sand and has the bio-solid amendment in it. Sand/bio-solid amendment ~325 pounds + my kid ~50 pounds. We took it slow and it was really heavy, but we and the trailer handled it just fine. I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. Total distance and time: 12 miles, 1 hour 20 minutes riding time.
Nice layout on the trailer. Why didn't I think of that?

So you took it slow with that load, eh? 12 miles would take me only a little less time, unladen.
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Old 10-14-11, 03:37 PM   #717
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Knocked the dust of my extrabike today (have been using the trailer a lot) to bring supplies down for a class on winter cycling we are teaching tonight.

Must have been rolling along on 70 pounds of bike and gear and it really felt no different than riding my regular commuter which comes in at 30 pounds less (with gear).
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Old 10-16-11, 12:46 AM   #718
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Went to rent a Redbox movie and pick up some pee pads for the dogs
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Old 10-16-11, 10:04 PM   #719
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Before my son got home from my parent's (an overnighter),I rode to Foodlion's Blockbuster vending thingie to return a DVD...


By the time I got back,Nick was home and seeing Daddy on the bike was all the inspiration he needed to want to go for a ride. Tina (the wife) said she needed a gallon of water and we were out of dishwasher tabs,so that was all the excuse Nick and I needed,off to Food City (opposite direction,much more kid friendly route) we went...



On the way back,we took the long route,and stopped by the local Goodwill for a break. They were closed,but the lady who works there was in and collecting the donated stuff from the parking lot. When she saw Nick's excitement "picking" through some stuff and overheard him telling me "Daddy,there's a 16" wheeled bike over there with the tires mine needs since my back one's slick!",she laughed and told us "Pick away,take whatever you see you like\need" (judging by her look of shock and amuzement as we left,I doubt she expected us to haul much of anything,LOL! ).

We scored a few new\or near new pairs of shoes that fit Jamie (14 year old daughter),4 new binders filled with fresh paper (they can always use that) along with a few new packs (paper),a pair of used computer speakers (we had none),a shopping bag to load the paper\binders in,some work glove Nick "just had to have",the wheels off that junker 16" bike (they were going to trash the bike as unusable anyways),and a few other odds and ends. My 22-23lb bike quickly jumped to 55-60lbs,LOL!





Ahh...I missed living in town where I could ride everywhere!
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Old 10-22-11, 12:58 PM   #720
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Filled up my panniers with cardboard and cycled to the recycling ctr. Cycling and recycling seem to fit nicely together in contradistinction to recyclers who are idling their giant SUVs.
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Old 10-22-11, 05:23 PM   #721
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Knocked the dust of my extrabike today (have been using the trailer a lot) to bring supplies down for a class on winter cycling we are teaching tonight.
Did the same thing today. Winter Biking 101. Folded up one studded tire and stuff my pannier with winter clothing and lights. Hung the tire from the pannier straps.

It seemed out of place because the temps are about 20C today.
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Old 10-22-11, 06:39 PM   #722
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Thursday was the first time I picked my daughter up from daycare via bike (we usually walk, occasionally her grandmothers will pick her up in cars).





From there, we went to the fairly new bicycle co-op where I placed her in a baby backpack and fixed bikes while she napped. Towards the end of my stint at the co-op, she woke up for a bottle and a photo-op.



From there, we headed home.

I'm definately noticing a difference in the Wike trailer and the trailer I bought at a church yard sale before I even met my wife. The Wike is muuuch better. Next up: home->daycare->grocery store->home.
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Old 10-22-11, 08:57 PM   #723
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1.5 miles of trash
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Old 10-23-11, 08:36 AM   #724
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For many of you this might not sound like much, but here in auto-dominant land of Pinellas County I accomplished quite a bit yesterday. I had accumulated a lot of clothes that did not fit or needed to be returned for whatever reason to places like REI so I boxed them up. In addition, needed to run past of few local places for returns that my wife needed to accomplish. Did it all with the Salsa Vaya, (Lone Peak P99) panniers, and my BOB trailer.

The load fit the available space perfectly and at each stop almost everyone who walked by commented on "the cool setup" or the "nice rig you got there." This is the point about being in auto-dominant Pinellas County, I'll bet they have never seen someone ride and run errands this way. I have been here 26 years and haven't. I think it will change, given time - and maybe a little exposure like they got yesterday.

What a perfect way to spend the morning. The only thing slightly out of plan was that I left the house so early that I was 1/2 to 1 hour early for most of the destination opening times. So, it went like this (a Saturday by the way):

- leave at 6:45 with all packages labelled and ready to go, and all returns with their receipts handy (except that flourescent bulb from Lowes that I thought would last at least a few years and died after 2 months);
- UPS - bummer - not open until 8:30, come back later;
- Breakfast at McDonalds - they open early, otherwise I usually eat at one of the local places downtown;
- Fed Ex (these guys are open early right?) not open until 9 (it's 8:30)
- Autozone for the wife's burned out tail light;
- Kmart (not open yet)
- Lowes to drop the bum light bulb (with no receipt and no packaging, but the guy let me get one off the shelf for ID and then he looked the previous purchase up on my CC - bingo - bought less than 3 months ago - full credit)
- across the super road (US19) to Tuesday Morning, but they ain't open until 10 - so much for the "morning" part of that name;
- head over to the mall for a return at Dillards - again too early as they open at 10, but this is where the utility rig is really out of place - in and auto-dominated area this is their haven.
- Looped back around to Kmart - now open;
- Looped back towards Tuesdays (past Lowes again) and stopped to reset my timing at Starbucks for 40 minutes or so (got a few nice comments about the rig there);
- Back to Tuesday's just as they were unlocking the front door.
- Back to Dillards for the return and had to lay the bike over BOB style (jackknifed) because there was no place to even lean it by the entrance;
- Back across US 19 to Fed Ex to drop most of the packages;
- UPS again for the one prepaid package;
- Stop by the accupuncturist to pick up some paperwork; and
- Pop on home (where I pick up one of my kids and we ride downtown for lunch, me forgetting my wallet and having to go back home again); another and;
- Over to the Dunedin House of Beers (my kid(s) went off with friends) to relax a minute over a good brew and in walks between 50 and 75 people all dressed for Halloween. They were riding their bicycles (most dressed for the occasion as well) from local pub to pub (starting at Skips in Dunedin, Rosies, House of Beer, Eddies, a mexican place up the road I can't remember the name of, Cricketeers, and then loop back to Besa Del Sol. All these are offshoots from the Pinellas Trail (a MUP). What was cool about this is to see so many interested in riding (or maybe just drinking and not getting in too much trouble on the bike as opposed to a car) and the change of energy in the HOB - before they came in, during, and then again after.

Ride home from there and put the Vaya away (already ditched the BOB with no further use - there is still a bit of a geek factor that I have to be cognizant of you know).

Lessons learned - check opening times before leaving and a good cargo net/bungee system is priceless (as is good coffee in the morning whilst out running errands by bicycle).

It can be done here, but a lot of pre-thought to the rig and the route.

All told probably only 20 miles, but loads of time out of the car (which more and more I do not like - driving that is).
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Old 10-23-11, 03:56 PM   #725
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Just spent a week in heaven, also known as Mackinac Island Michigan. No cars, just bicycles and horse drawn wagons, buggies and carriages.
Here I am, yesterday morning with all the luggage and supplies aboard, leaving our codo for the 4 km ride to the ferry.
http://cid-c5aa741102f41823.skydrive...20II%20044.jpg
Hated to leave.
I know this is an old post, but had to comment. I saw a public works crew out on one of the trails that service the homes (we were quite a ways from town up on a hill) and they were riding bicycles. They were digging up water lines and were carrying all their stuff with them in baskets (shovels, etc.). Really nice to see.
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