Hauling Couch

July 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Advocacy, Gear, How To, Lifestyle, Outreach 

8ft couch with kickouts.

8ft couch with kickouts.


I took the challenge of moving a couch, by bicycle.

It started with my wife’s desire for a new couch, ours was getting pretty, well, not pretty. It was about 10 years old and it was time. She picked one out this winter and we ended up making room in a corner to store the old one. My friend was having a garage sale across town recently, time to get it out of the house.

I designed a heavy trailer for towing behind the Xtracycle, tested it with something lighter, then, planned the big haul.

The couch was an 8’ overstuffed with kickout recliners on both ends. It wasn’t light. Not as heavy as a sleeper, but close.

I strapped the two hundred plus pound couch to the trailer and got rolling. At that weight, I had to use the granny ring in 3rd and 4th cogs on the flat road.

It was a pretty good slog (sorry, the word slog is the best descriptor I can think of). The sale was 7 miles away.

Made it with no problems, even felt I could encourage the sale by offering to deliver it.

It did sell, I did haul it, though twice as far as I had written on the tag (4 more miles slogged). The buyer was a bit surprised.

Would I do it again? Yup. Maybe not over 5 miles though. I crawled up a few short hills with that thought we all have when we are doing something kinda crazy, but made it.

Why did I do it?

Well, because the bike can…

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Grandma’s pretty tough…

July 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Advocacy, Commuting, Gear, How To, Lifestyle 

TrikeTremp

The classic delta tricycle, AKA ‘Grandma’s Trike’.

In an earlier article, I described having broken my left clavicle. Having a deep desire to ride, I’m on a trike with one arm in a sling.

This is the classic Schwinn single-speed delta style trike, borrowed from a friend of mine. It has a rear drum brake on the drive axle and front cantilevers. The gearing is low. 80 RPM spinning gives about 8 MPH. That is all there is to this machine, just a simple three wheeler.

It needed a good test ride, so I gave it a quick going over with lubrication and adjustments, then loaded with bike gear.

The ride. To the state trail, then through several towns on the trail and back.

The first few miles had me thinking the title of this article. I am a seasoned rider and was wondering what I had taken on. Hulk Hogan would have quite a time pedaling one of these this far.

I found the ride to be pretty jostling compared to the standard bicycle. The rear wheels would hit a bump or hole and the whole bike would launch me from side to side. I am tall so with the seat all the way up, it really amplified the effect.

Riding on the bike trails of Wisconsin (limestone), one wheel in the track and two wheels in the grass or middle. Bumpy ride. Riding the streets was better.

During the ride I did some calculations in my head which equaled to many hours of pedaling and the chant in my head of ‘what have I done?!?’.

Once I found a rhythm though, it wasn’t a bad ride and ended up being very familiar to riding any other bike, just slower.

I even found myself out racing a storm.

You may have done this. If not, keep riding and you will. You’re looking behind you at the approaching ‘wall of rain’, looking ahead saying to yourself, ‘where is this place? It must be right up here.’

Looking back and forth, wall of rain, street address, wall of rain, heart pumping, thoughts of getting absolutely drenched, wall of rain, cranking on the pedals…

Now think of doing that on Grandma’s Trike, one handed…

I did make it by about 30 seconds and it really downpoured.

TrikeSwim

I also went swimming with it (PLEASE don’t do that to a bike. I did a complete overhaul the next day, water was in everything, even the sealed bearings). The trail was flooded and being tired with no desire for the two mile detour, I swam it.

We’ve had a lot of rain and the marsh trail was under water. The water went almost to the top of the 26” tires for about 30 feet. Again, Grandma’s Trike got through, seaweed was lodged and hanging all over it. It made for a fun picture, but a lot of work during the overhaul.

The trip totaled 44 miles starting at 10:30AM. Got home at 6:30PM (4 stops for beer and a lunch).

Sitting bolt upright on a stable platform feels being a passenger along for the ride, like cargo in the basket. The handling is best at slow speeds, a bit more squirrelly when going faster. Sit, pedal, go. A tough go to go far on, not something for long trips, unless you just are not in any kind of hurry. The defining word is: slow.

Conclusion, the single-speed delta trike is a worthy machine. Not really cool or fast, but well maintained, it will keep you rolling, haul lots of stuff and get you there with a bit less stress.

No matter what you think of the Grandma Trike, it’s better than walking…

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Moving a House(hold) on a Bicycle

June 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Advocacy, How To, Lifestyle, Outreach 
Hauling couch

Hauling couch

I watched this video showing someone being moved, from one residence to another…only using bicycles. Think about that. Hauling all your stuff from your house, across town, to another house. Seemed impossible, even watching the video. I still had a hard time believing it worked. They hauled boxes and beds and couches and tables and lazyboy chairs. Everything by bike.

There were a couple big trailers for beds and couches, but otherwise just standard cargo bikes and kid trailers.

I found several other videos from many cities in the US and Canada, same concept.

The most interesting thing, almost no one on a bicycle knew the person they were moving.

A call goes out to the local cyclists (many who did know each other) and they show up. One person commented on how you have to get to these events early to get the big stuff. She was hoping to get the couch!

The standard cost…Lunch and beverages.  

On one move, the owner said it only took only 3 turns to move her. She said it normally would take her all weekend to move herself by car.

Sounds like fun,
I’m in, anyone else?

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Logging Miles for the National Bike Challenge

May 1, 2014 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Advocacy, Commuting, Events, How To, Outreach, Rides 

The National Bike Challenge needs your miles. Commuting or even better, join your local peloton (your friends and neighbors who you love to ride with) and log some fun miles to the local park, trail ride or if you are me, my amazing local brewery.

The National Bike Challenge pits all the states in the US against each other in a challenge to ride the most collective miles. Last year Wisconsin was Third in the Nation! 4455 riders rode 2,616,314 miles (according to Endomondo). That number is hard to imagine.  I logged 4814 miles last summer just riding around town (I didn’t do any big rides last year). I missed the Platinum level by 186 miles. Gonna have to do the Tour de Pearl a couple more times this year…bummer ;-)

 

So, how do you do it? Follow these directions:

 
-Go to the National Bike Challenge site click on this banner.

NBCjoin

-Log in using Facebook or your Endomondo login or create a new account
(I had an Endomondo account from last year, so I used it)

-Once you log in, you get three banners. Click the middle one to log your miles.

NBClog

You can log miles by syncing your Endomondo App on your smartphone or just typing them in on the above webpage clicking the LOG MILES + .

That’s it. go to the website, sign in, log miles.

 

If you don’t know how far you are riding, try using Google maps. You can set your start and stop point, change the transportation option to bicycle.

 

Quick logging tip: Use the same route for your regular trips, add manually for others.

NBCroute

Using routes makes logging easy so you don’t have to sign on everyday.

If you are joining the challenge late, backfilling is OK. Pick the days on the calendar and fill in your milage.

 

Looking forward to seeing you out there.

 

Michael Baker, President

Driftless Region Bicycle Coalition

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Bike to Work Week 2014

Bike to Work Week is May 8 through the 16th in the La Crosse area this year.
It is your excuse to try bicycle commuting.
We have lots of fun (and free!) things to do this week to encourage everyone to give it a try. If you can only manage National Bike to Work Day on Friday, awesome, but you will miss some neat stuff we planned for you this year!

The quick list of events in the Driftless Region:

Thurs-La Crosse-Hamilton School Bike Rodeo-5-6:30PM

Friday-Repair Cafe’ will be at Cameron Park during the Farmers Market for quick (free labor) bike tune-ups.

Sat thru Fri- Bike to Coffee (FREE COFFEE!)

Sat-La Crosse-Vintage Ride-Wine Guyz-4PPM Bring your old single, 3, 10 or 12 speed bikes for ride.

Sat & Sun-Bike to Worship

Sun-La Crosse- Mother of all Bike Rides-Riverside Park, International Gardens-9AM Round trip ride to Onalaska for a light breakfast.

Mon- Two Group rides: Onalaska-Blue Heron Bike Shop-6PM and at La Crescent-Old Hickory Park-6:30PM

Tue-Onalaska-Breakfast at ‘The Y’ 6:30-8AM

Tue-South Side Library-Bike Decorating and Parade-4PM

Wed-La Crosse-Breakfast at ‘The Y’ 6:30-8AM

Wed-Holmen-Bike Rodeo-4:30PM

Wed-’Free Wheelin’ Wednsday’ at the Pearl Street Brewery (FREE BEER!)-4 til 8PM

Thurs-Tour de Java morning ride (meet at Moka)-6AM

Thurs-Ride with Cops Family Ride-Cameron Park-6PM

Thurs-La Crosse- ‘The Y’-(18+) Go By Bike Class-6:30PM

Fri-Cameron Park-Closing Ceremony-5-7PM Music provided by ‘Grand Picnic’

Sat-Westby-Syttende Mai Tour-8AM

Sat-Onalaska-’The Y’ Family Bike Class, ages 9+ with parent-10AM

Sat-La Crescent-Apple Blossom Bike Tour

Saturday, May 31-La Crosse-’The Y’ Family Bike class, ages 9+ with parent-10AM

There are more details on the Driftless Region Bicycle Coalition BTWW webpage:
Full event list

There are several pdf’s to print out so you don’t miss a thing!

Send questions to:
info@driftlessbicycle.org

Why park the car at home?

I get asked, “Why would I want to ride my bike to work? I have a car?” I query back, “Would you like to have more money in your pocket?” “Would you like to feel happier when you arrive at your destination?” “How about getting the great parking spots near the door?” Bike to Work Week is there to help you have an excuse to try it out.

-The average cost of a car in the US is almost $10,000 a year! Think of having an extra $190 ‘every week’ in your pocket! Simple, use another method of transporting yourself. Riding a bike is fast and efficient transportation.

-Even a short 1 or 2 mile ride does wonders for your health. Gets your blood moving and fresh air in your lungs. When you arrive and park the bike (near the door!), your body has the energy rolling and ready to use.

-Bike racks are usually closest to the doors just about everywhere. I park my bike in the garage at work, even the boss doesn’t get to park his private car in the garage.

-When you get the question on why you rode your bike, just say, “It’s Bike to Work Week” . Then when you decide to keep riding, let them know you found riding to work better that week and decided to keep doing it.

You have the perfect excuse to try riding to work.
You have a reason to do it ($$).
You have someone who will help you (us at DRBC).

Join us. Ride to work during this years Bike to Work Week.

Looking forward to seeing you at the events,

Michael Baker
President, Driftless Region Bicycle Coalition

I would like to add extra special thanks to the DRBC BTWW Committee, everyone really did a great job! Thank you.

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