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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 05-28-10, 05:26 PM   #1
trailz
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OK. got the cargo covered, now what about kids?

My utility bike has a good back rack, basket, and a trailer. All gets the cargo moving well.

What I'm missing in my life, is a good way to transport the kids. Not the little variety either. I've got tweens and teens. My son needs to carry his electric guitar with him often, as he practices with friends in town. I've never been able to convince him to bike -- "I can't carry my guitar". So, he often gets a ride one way, then either my wife or I (usually me) have to drive to pick him and his guitar up.

While I know there are options (Xtracycle, Big Dummy, etc.), I'm really not able to drop more than say $250 into this endeavor. I'm also not crazy about the idea of modifying my bike with an xtracycle, as I use my bike commuting daily.

Where I'm netting out is looking for a used tandem on CL. This way, I can ride over to pick him up (usually no more than 4 miles away), and he can sit and carry his guitar with him on the back seat.

The last time I rode a tandem, I must have been about 14. And, to my recollection, peddling from the front is less than ideal. Would it drive me crazy driving/peddling this bike on my own? Seems like having two chains decreases efficiency, but I'm not sure how much. I realize this is kind of a dumb question, and that its doable depending on how athletic/energetic one is, but I'm hoping the prospect isn't so laborious it deters me. Anyone ever done this? or, Have an option not so obvious to me?
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Old 05-28-10, 05:57 PM   #2
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If he can't carry his guitar tell him to get a strap and loop it over his neck. Does he have someone hold his guitar up for him when he plays it?
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Old 05-28-10, 07:16 PM   #3
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If he's not also carrying his amp, would a surfboard carrier work? In the case, the guitar is long, thin and flat, like a surfboard.

Bottom of this page: http://www.surfboardcarriers.com/106...d_Carriers.htm

DIY example here: http://www.rodndtube.com/surf/info/s...oardRack.shtml

And a completely different style here: http://cgi.ebay.com/Block-Surfboard-...QQcmdZViewItem

Alternatively, this may be just the excuse you need for a cargo trailer, especially if he's carrying the amp too.

Finally, there may be no solution that beats down the geek factor. Image is everything with kids.
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Old 05-28-10, 07:23 PM   #4
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How far is town? Assuming it is not to far, Figure out a way to carry the guitar.on bike.... back rack and bungies?

then set a no pedal no practice rule
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Old 05-28-10, 07:54 PM   #5
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you nailed it. Great ideas, especially the PVC cheepo option. It gets the geek in me thinking.
Yes, it's the geek factor (I'm pretty sure) that keeps him from riding his bike. That's pretty much why I think I need to be the chauffeur.
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Old 05-28-10, 08:08 PM   #6
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I don't know what is more of a geek factor, a teen being picked up and dropped off by a parent on a tandem or a rack on the bike to hold and transport the guitar? Tell the kid to get with the program, strap the wood and ride to practice.
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Old 05-28-10, 08:45 PM   #7
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If Dottie from www.letsgorideabike.com can carry her guitar on her back when riding her bicycle to guitar practice, why can't your son strap his guitar to his back? If it's because his case doesn't accommodate shoulder straps, maybe a new guitar case would be affordable. Here a picture showing you her guitar case, which has nice shoulder straps for wearing it on her back like a back pack.

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Old 05-29-10, 04:22 AM   #8
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Yeah, this one is an easy fix. Gig bags with rucksack straps are available in every music shop in the country. Be warned though, an upright riding position is recommended. Imagine that the lady in the picture is riding a road bike, on the hoods. Her body is probably more than 45 degrees, and when she lifts her head to see....bump on the guitar headstock. I've experienced this myself, and whilst not an absolute showstopper, it's a bummer. Dutch bike riding position is the thing.
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Old 05-29-10, 07:45 AM   #9
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I don't know what is more of a geek factor, a teen being picked up and dropped off by a parent on a tandem or a rack on the bike to hold and transport the guitar? Tell the kid to get with the program, strap the wood and ride to practice.
There are entire bands that are car-free. I understand Portland is awash with them.

Here's one that went on tour to Mexico, and generated the electricity for the gigs with bikes too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZbAIiTZ9bk
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Old 05-29-10, 07:47 AM   #10
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You haven't lived until you've seen a cello go by on a bike. Same setup as this, but with a cello.
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Old 05-29-10, 12:58 PM   #11
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You can carry a guitar in a trailer that will attach to any bike...you should have no problem finding one for less than $200 on CL/Ebay.
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Old 05-29-10, 04:31 PM   #12
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But remember folks, I've also got to provide the taxi service — ie. my daughter (non guitar playing) might call me to pick her up from a friends house, who she went to straight from school.

Granted, it's easy for her to walk, but not entirely safe (at night) in these strange times we live in.

That's why I originally asked about the tandem.
Just noticed there's a tandem group, so I think I'll ask there too.
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Old 05-29-10, 06:20 PM   #13
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Are you a DIY person?..maybe an adult Trailabike? I'm not sure if you'd get a tandem worth riding for $250?
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Old 05-31-10, 11:54 AM   #14
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Are you a DIY person?..maybe an adult Trailabike? I'm not sure if you'd get a tandem worth riding for $250?
I cannot see a teenager wanting to be caught dead on that thing...
I can see a RANS screamer as something cool to be picked up on, but if you can get one used it will probably be more like $2000.
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Old 05-31-10, 04:28 PM   #15
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Depends what "worth riding" means. I picked up a tandem for 60, and have had a lot of fun on it. It's gigantically heavy, has steel rims in "the other 26 inch" size, and is 3 speed with cottered cranks, and flexes like crazy. On the other hand, we've ridden 24 mile round trips on rolling terrain and had a good time, and it's done brilliantly picking my son up from school. I'm gradually upgrading it; I bent the fork last year, and had a stronger one fitted which happens to have canti studs. This year, I have a Sachs Elan 12 hub gear, which I'll get built up into alloy rims, and fit v-brakes at the front, if I can. It's never going to be a co-motion, but this is utility cycling, right? It already does a grand job for trips of up to 10 or 12 miles that aren't in the mountains. With the new wheelset, the braking and gearing will be hugely improved, and no doubt we'll use it even more.
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Old 05-31-10, 11:49 PM   #16
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A friend and I are trying to address your original question and similar questions about cargo bikes with the Cargo bike flowchart.
http://wiki.stevevance.net/doku.php?...bike:flowchart

It's a work in progress and could use everyone's quality input - just leave a comment or ask to become a contributor.
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Old 06-02-10, 03:56 PM   #17
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Excellent WIP!
I can see this being used, relied upon, and practically a bible for newer utility bikers looking for a rig.
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Old 06-02-10, 04:17 PM   #18
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Just occurred to me last night what now seems like an obvious option:

Scenario: My son calls me to pick him up. (he walked to a friends house straight from school).
I strap his bike to my trailer (still have to verify this will fit), and off we go to give him his bike, so he can ride it home. If he's got his guitar, it can go on the trailer.

Dah.
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Old 06-04-10, 07:57 PM   #19
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Just occurred to me last night what now seems like an obvious option:

Scenario: My son calls me to pick him up. (he walked to a friends house straight from school).
I strap his bike to my trailer (still have to verify this will fit), and off we go to give him his bike, so he can ride it home. If he's got his guitar, it can go on the trailer.

Dah.
Bike in the trailer is an excellent solution. I used this last week picking up my sister at the train station.
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