Thursday, February 16, 2006

How to impress strangers

The weather line reads

16 Feb 2:30 pm
Temp: 12
Wind Chill: -7
Wind: ENE 23mph, Gusts to 36mph

as Rachel and I bundle up and ride a few miles to get lunch and run some errands. We must have gotten half a dozen comments on our bravery. I'm sure having been acclimating to the cold all winter didn't hurt. But, the truth is, riding a bicycle just isn't that hard.

Don't go telling everyone, though, it is sort of nice to get all this attention.

Another upside to bicycling year round is this: Nobody matches a cycler for having the clothes to handle wind. After all, we face 25 mile per hour gusts on every ride just coasting downhill. I was the only one smiling on my walk into work this morning.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Trailer improvements

Weeks have been busy lately. It's during these times that I most appreciate being carfree. In the past, when school and work were hectic, I never rode. I would take the car for groceries or downtown to save a few minutes. Now that it isn't an option, I really appreciate getting to take a bike ride, even when life's pace is frantic. Slowing down is seldom a waste of time.

Several have asked about our modifications to the Bicycler Evolution trailer. Well, they aren't much, but it really makes a difference! Most bicycle cargo trailers strike a trade-off between enclosing cargo and handling bulky loads. The BikeRev trailer--based around a large plastic bin, favors the former. The lid of the big Rubbermaid bin is reinforced, however, and would make a great load platform--that is, if there were a way to lash loads down.

A trip to the hardware store netted four stainless eye bolts, four rubber seal wahers, four fender washers, four nylock nuts, and four acorn nuts. The rubber seal washers sit outside between the eye and the bin and seal up the holes the eyebolts pass through. The acorn nuts go on last on the inside of the bin to cover the protruding ends of the eyebolts. This keeps cargo from snagging.

Attaching large loads like a full size bike box requires only a couple of bungee cords "X-ed" over the top. While sturdy, the bin sides are not super thick plastic, and I wouldn't recommend ratcheting tie-down straps. Overtightening might stress the plastic. For your Christmas tree, recycling, bike box, and toilet paper cube needs, though, this is it. Just remember to load the inside of the bin first :-)

You'll also notice the stick-on reflectors. Some reflective tape would also be a good addition. Next on the agenda: fork mounts and wheel carriers for towing bikes behind the trailer. Yes, I'm becoming one of those trailer guys. It's addictive in a mostly harmless way. Try it!

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