Bike Stuff

I'm always so inspired when I am in another city and see bike commuters in huge numbers...people riding bikes as an everyday mode of transportation, no special cloths, no big deal...just get on your bike and ride. Minneapolis/St. Paul are two cities that fit that category. I was there for just a few days this past week and was really impressed with their bike culture...bikes were everywhere...I visited this awesome foods co-op, and they had something like thirty bike posts to lock up your bike (most were full, too); it was like a bike parking lot. I actually saw a guy riding a bike with a sidecar (wish I had my camera), not like a children's sidecar either...this was meant for carrying another adult...couldn't make out if it was home-built or not, and didn't want to gawk too much...though I probably was.

Buffalo is a good city to commute in, too, in that it is relatively flat and small enough that you can bike from one end to the other in a half hour or less. But we don't have the same kind of numbers that other cities have, and the idea of using a bike as regular transportation is not fully accepted. I know, this is a vast, general, and sweeping statement, and I also know that this is not true for everyone...but it gets a little discouraging sometimes when motorists treat bicyclists as a nuisance and sometimes drive or turn right in front of you making you slam on your brakes, even when they are looking directly at you while they do it, treating the bicyclist like they are on a lesser or non-vehicle. This is exactly what happen to me here, here, here, and here, in the past week. Alright...I'll get of my little soapbox now.

This past week I also had to pick up my son from his mom's house. I had to bring his bike to his mom's house and transport him and his large backpack back to my house. It was a beautiful day and I was determined to do this by bike. I've seen pictures of people in eastern countries carrying everything from bales of hay to mobile restaurants on bikes, so I knew it could be done. I've also seen these websites: here, here, here, and here, of people in the States and Canada doing entire household moves by bike. I own five bikes and a trailer...I knew I could move another bike, a 12 year old child and his backpack a mere 2 miles. This is how I did it, and it was actually pretty simple. I hooked my bikerev trailer to the tandem, and wedged the front wheel of my son's bike into the trailer with the lid off, creating a sort of bike train (note the plank I use to walk the tandem, which weighs a ton, down my front stairs). It was a little precarious, and I'm sure people thought I was a little nuts, but it rode fine (my son's bike only tipped over once when it hit a pot hole (a Buffalo-just-after-the-winter-thaw-pothole). After removing my son's bike (which was staying at his mom's house) his backpack fit nicely into the trailer leaving plenty of room for dinner from my favorite local pizzeria.

Other than driving my vehicle to the airport this past week, I haven't used it for transportation for more than two weeks...and this makes me happy.