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.

The Xtracyclist wannabe

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Old 11-12-08, 01:53 PM
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therentedmule
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The Xtracyclist wannabe

I have a Hybrid bike collecting dust in my basement that I would love to convert into an xtracycle (largely for shorter in city trips like grocery hauling). Are there any alternatives to the Free Radical? Ones that I don't have to completely build myself that is, I'm not ready for that just yet.
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Old 11-12-08, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by therentedmule View Post
I have a Hybrid bike collecting dust in my basement that I would love to convert into an xtracycle (largely for shorter in city trips like grocery hauling). Are there any alternatives to the Free Radical? Ones that I don't have to completely build myself that is, I'm not ready for that just yet.
A trailer will allow you to haul a decent amount of groceries and are available at all kinds of price points.
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Old 11-12-08, 02:43 PM
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How much groceries are you thinking about hauling?

How about this alternative:

Get a good rack and baskets/bags for the Hybrid....possibly consider a front basket (they type you can take off and carry for your groceries), get a number of bungie cords.

You would be surprised at how much you can carry (including in my old bachelor days 12 packs of lucky lager)

Also consider a slight increase in frequency of trips to the store....you get better produce that way and don't have to think about having to haul as much as you might in your car.

I think that the idea that you have to some sort of special, extended capacity over a "normal" bike to do normal utility functions such as shopping, is a limiting idea and limiting to utility cycling in general. (of course you need to have some capacity to carry ie racks., but you can carry a lot in bag on the handlbars also)

Utillity cycling is about changing behavior....i.e I don't "have" to use the car, I have the option of using my bike. so to the change in behavior from "time to do my weekly shopping" to "time to see what is fresh and local for dinner" and shopping a few times a week can be part of utiliyt cycling.

this approach just might not work your situation, but don't think you "have" to have a trailer, xtracycle, big dummy etc.
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Old 11-12-08, 05:19 PM
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You might not need one, but for sure they are great fun. Somebody I know is borrowing "Dogbike" these days to take a close look and then build his own. He told me today he went to a friends party and had promiced this friend some firewood. He went to the party by (Dog)bike to find out how much firewood he could transport on it. I hope there is pix!

Big children should also be allowed some toys. Maybe you could get hold of a second hand free radical?

If not, maybe find a friend who also want one and build together? Easyer when you`re not alone.
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Old 11-12-08, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
How much groceries are you thinking about hauling?

How about this alternative:

Get a good rack and baskets/bags for the Hybrid....possibly consider a front basket (they type you can take off and carry for your groceries), get a number of bungie cords.

You would be surprised at how much you can carry (including in my old bachelor days 12 packs of lucky lager)

Also consider a slight increase in frequency of trips to the store....you get better produce that way and don't have to think about having to haul as much as you might in your car.

I think that the idea that you have to some sort of special, extended capacity over a "normal" bike to do normal utility functions such as shopping, is a limiting idea and limiting to utility cycling in general. (of course you need to have some capacity to carry ie racks., but you can carry a lot in bag on the handlbars also)

Utillity cycling is about changing behavior....i.e I don't "have" to use the car, I have the option of using my bike. so to the change in behavior from "time to do my weekly shopping" to "time to see what is fresh and local for dinner" and shopping a few times a week can be part of utiliyt cycling.

this approach just might not work your situation, but don't think you "have" to have a trailer, xtracycle, big dummy etc.
+1 for everything above In my old bachelor days in Philadelphia I used to carry 3 cases (24 bottles each) of returnable/refillable 16oz bottle beer at a time on my cheap steel rear rack held down by bungee cords. The trip from my favorite beer distributer ($4 a case) to home was about 4 miles. Sometimes I'd stop at the nearby Ukrainian/Jewish Bakery near the Ortlieb's Brewery and add a couple loaves of good bread on top of the load. Aluminum Pletscher racks weren't up to carrying the load, but cheap all steel racks bought at the Pep Boys Auto supply and good bolts were just fine for this "utility" function.
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Old 11-12-08, 10:25 PM
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Never said I needed one. Thought it would be a good project. I make the trek to the grocery sometimes only once a week, due to my schedule, and buy enough for four plus a crap load of snacks that I get for my son's school. I currently have a rear rack and would consider one of those oversized front baskets, I had one in college that could carry 6 gallon jugs of water, never needed it for the beer we lived so close to the store I would usually hoof it.

The hybrid, maybe soon to be Xtracycle, is/will be used for weekend choirs and treks with the kids to the park, beach, etc. I would love to be able to haul everything from surfboards to 2x4s. Looks like I may just have to bite the bullet and tell my wife I'm trading in the car so I can buy more stuff for the bike.

Plus this is a second bike, I commute daily on an urbanized road bike that I also use for short, small load trips and fun.

I would love to build one from scratch but the learning curve would be big and I don't really have the time.

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Old 11-13-08, 08:21 AM
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Anybody had any experience with the Yuba? You can get one for just a few hundred more than the Free Radical kit and looks like it is might sturdy albeit a bit lacking in accessories.
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Old 11-13-08, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by therentedmule View Post
Anybody had any experience with the Yuba? You can get one for just a few hundred more than the Free Radical kit and looks like it is might sturdy albeit a bit lacking in accessories.
I have never seen/ridden a Yuba, but the specs make it out to be one heavy beast with limited gears. You should be able to find some reviews online.

I own a Big Dummy and built up and Xtracycle for my friend. The nice thing about the Xtracycle is that when unloaded it rides pretty much like your regular bike. It takes advantage of you donor bike's gearing which for most hybrids and MTBs is pretty wide range. It can carry a wide variety of loads if you get the basic accessories from Xtracycle.

At the end of the summer my friend with the Xtra and I were out cruising around town and unexpectedly decided to go on a longer ride. She is over 50 and a small women who only cycles short distances in the core of the city. We eventually completed a 40km+ route and she was feeling fine. I was a bit surprised because this was a PR distance for her and she was on a cargo bike. It highlights one of the things I like about the Xtracycle - although you can carry passengers and cargo, when unloaded it isn't a problem to ride it like a normal bike.
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