Cargo Bicycling

Bicycle course by CyclingSavvy

Transition Amherst invites you to a three part experiential bicycling course to teach us all bicycling in traffic effectively.

CyclingSavvy Pioneer Valley is excited to offer the   3-part course in Amherst for Bay State Bike Week 2014 beginning Friday, 05/16, 6:00PM-9:00PM and continuing Saturday, 05/17, 9:00AM-4:30PM with lunch break.

Tuition is $75. To register, go to http://register.cyclingsavvy.org/howtoregister. For more information, go to http://cyclingsavvy.org or contact CyclingSavvy Instructor Eli Damon at 413-530-3861 or email cyclingsavvy-pioneer-valley@eli-damon.info.

To register, go to

https://register.cyclingsavvy.org/howtoregister

Details of the three parts:

1) Truth & Techniques of Traffic Cycling
Fri May 16, 2014 @ 6:00 pm

This fast-paced 3 hour classroom session features guided discussion, video and animation. This session familiarizes students with bicycle-specific laws, traffic dynamics and problem-solving strategies. Students discover that bicycle drivers are equal road users, with the right and ability to control their space.

This session is available á la carte. You may take it as a stand-alone class.

2) Train Your Bike
Sat May 17, 2014 @ 9:00 am

This 3 hour session is conducted in a parking lot. It consists of a set of progressive drills designed to increase students’ control and comfort handling their bikes in various situations.

Most bicycling crashes do not involve motor vehicles. They are with fixed objects, pavement hazards, pedestrians, animals or other cyclists, and could be avoided with better bike-handling skills.

This session is available á la carte. You may take it as a stand-alone class.

3) Tour of Amherst
Sat May 17, 2014 @ 12:00 pm

This session is a 3.5 hour experiential tour of our city’s roads. The course includes some of the most challenging road features (intersections, interchanges, merges, etc.) a cyclist might find in his/her travels. The students travel as a group, stopping to survey and discuss each exercise location. After observing the feature, discussing the traffic dynamics and the best strategy for safe and easy passage, the students ride through individually and regroup at a nearby location.

This session is only available with the full course. Bike-handling exceptions can be made for trike drivers.

This session is designed to give you the confidence and problem-solving skills to handle any situation you might encounter.

CyclingSavvy Pioneer Valley is the local branch of CyclingSavvy (http://cyclingsavvy.org),
a wildly successful nation-wide cycling training program.

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Edible Garden Bicycle Tour

Transition Amherst is co sponsoring an event with Grow Food Amherst and Sustaining Amherst; a tour of some of Amherst’s edible gardens on bicycles.

The tour will take place on Saturday, August 24th – we will leave the north side of Amherst Common at 2 pm sharp, so arrive sooner, like at 1:45 PM. All are encouraged to join along the entire tour, but individuals may select tours at specific locations. No need to register for this event, but don’t be late!

Garden stops are scheduled at the following times/locations:
2:20 PM – 39 Longmeadow Dr (Nancy Karella)
3:00 PM – 44 Beston Street (Gabor Lukacs)
3:40 PM – 483 Montague Rd (Becky Reed)
4:10 PM – 324 Henry Street (David Lovler)
4:30 PM – Potluck at Henry St location

There will be a potluck immediately following the tour beginning at 4:30 PM at the Henry Street location. Contributions to the meal are welcome, but not required. Please contact David Lovler at (617) 733-7577 or via e-mail: howitallvegan@yahoo.com to confirm attendance at the potluck.

See more in a Gazette article as well as on the town’s website

Also, in another event, please join Peg Thibbitts on Thursday, August 22nd in the Large Community Room at the Bangs Center from 6 PM – 8 PM for the second in our summer series of jam making workshops. Enjoy the tastes of summer all season long by learning how to make your own homemade jam. All participants will leave with a jar of jam. Pre-registration is required as participation is limited to twenty individuals. Please contact Stephanie Ciccarello at (413) 259-3149 or via e-mail at ciccarellos@amherstma.gov to register.

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Bicycles and Trailers

Another bicycle workshop, but with a twist. I have a group of folks, who are interested in the basics of bicycle maintenance but also want to know how to build a bicycle trailer. Not only they want to know, they want to do it. So we are getting together this Saturday, August 6th at 5pm to shortly look at the basics around taking care of a bicycle and then we will switch to high gear and harvest bamboo, and start building some trailers out of them.

Lots of reference information here with a lot more on bicycle maintenance:

Lubrication

Adjusting the Adjustables

Adjusting the Adjustables II.

As for building a bicycle trailer see these links for a good description on how to build one:

Audio-visual

The steps of the process from a previous workshop

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Weekend Visit

Guess what happened this weekend? I received a visit from Steve, from Yuba Bicycles!

Long story short, I have not only been making cargo bicycles but also put some energy in researching ones made by others. I tried the Surly Big Dummy, the Trek Transport, and the XtraCycle FreeRadical, and got to the conclusion, that I would like something really robust, well built, and affordable. Although I couldn’t try before buying, I decided with the Yuba Mundo. However in the process of figuring out how to order a Mundo from Yuba, who didn’t have a local reseller at the time I was offered to be an aficionado. A year later I ended up with two Mundos and quite a bit of exposure to Yuba staff.

So last week I got an email from Steve, one of the staff, saying he would be around my neck of the woods, would I want to get together. Which indeed we did; not only got together, but looked at bikes, biked over to Laughing Dog Cyclery and as a result of that you may see some long- and midtail cargo bicycles there soon, and hung out in general. I believe there is some write-up by him about this visit somewhere on Facebook – can’t confirm it as I am not on it, but I am sure you will find it by searching for ‘Yuba Bicycles’.

                     

Also I got to see and try their new Boda-boda, a so-called midtail bicycle, meaning that while it does have cargo space, the Boda-boda is not as large as the Mundo. Maybe it is just me, but I found it riding like a cruiser while, due to its aluminum frame, probably waying less.

Overall it was fun to meet Steve, experience first hand how much he knows about bicycles, and witness his commitment to bicycling in general and to Yuba in particular.

           

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Bicycle Maintenance

As more and more people realize the damage using a car does to our environment and to our wallets bicycling gets a better press in spite of all the discomfort we associate with it. And wait until you actually get on one: the freedom is hard to describe to someone who commutes by car.

That’s why we will talk about bicycle maintenance again Saturday, July 27, from 5 to 7 pm (I pushed it later toward the evening so it is not so hot…) at Gabor’s Neighborhood Bicycle Resource Center, 44 Beston street in the framework of another Transition Amherst Reskilling workshop. As usual the workshop is free, bring yourself and your questions. If you bring your bike we will oil it too.

References:

Lubrication

Adjusting the Adjustables

Adjusting the Adjustables II.

Special Note:
This time please let me know if you are coming via my email: A local CSA, Many Hands, will bring all their interns, so we already have a sizable group!

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Climate Summer 2013

A team of five is traveling through Western Massachusetts exclusively by bike: they are the 2013 Western Massachusetts Climate Summer team. They are building the movement against climate change, and are working specifically to put a preemptive ban on fracking in Massachusetts.

Their upcoming events this week:

Tuesday 7/9, 6-8pm showing of “Gasland” documentary at Northstar Downtown Hadley

Sunday, 7/14, 2-5 pm at Lampron Park in Northampton: rally/celebration of bill H.788 to ban fracking in Massachusetts – we will be having the activist band Melodeego come play a set and also have several speakers – this is our BIG event so please spread the word!

Here’s a blurb for our rally to share:

Anti-Fracking Rally
Lampron Park, Northampton – July 14, 2-5 pm
Come out to our rally to celebrate H.788, A Bill to Ban Hydraulic Fracturing, co-sponsored by Peter Kocot from Northampton! Activist band Melodeego (music from the movement, powered by the people!) will perform, along with several speakers to rally excitement towards a frack-free future for Massachusetts.

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How to take care of your bike

As more and more people realize the damage using a car does to our environment and to our wallets bicycling gets a better press in spite of all the discomfort we associate with it. And wait until you actually get on one: the freedom is hard to describe to someone who commutes by car.

That’s why we will talk about bicycle maintenance Saturday, June 22, from 3 to 5 pm at Gabor’s Neighborhood Bicycle Resource Center, 44 Beston street in the framework of another Transition Amherst Reskilling workshop. As usual the workshop is free, bring yourself and your questions. If you bring your bike we will oil it too.

References:

Lubrication

Adjusting the Adjustables

Adjusting the Adjustables II.

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Bicycle Week is Coming up

As every year for many years now in May, bicycle week is upon us. Amherst puts in its fair share of activities. See more info on this poster here.

If you followed this blog, you know what I will bring to the Friday bicycle show – An elegant cargo bike I finished building in time for this occasion.

If you want to know more about what that Friday morning holds, see last years entry.

To search events you may be interested in, go to the Calendar of Events.

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All that happened this year

It’s about a year ago I have started this blog (Celebrating with this picture, made during the ). I initially set out to write every other week, but for over half-a-year I ended up being a ‘regular’ weekly blogger. I did slow down this spring. But lots have happened.

My cargo bike experience has definitely expanded. Greatly, as I consciously tested what can be carried on a bike, what type of bike is best for what task, and what are my own limits. Here are some of those limits – in excess of my own almost 200-pounds weight:

  • On the freshly finished longjohn-type bicycle I carried a bit over 220 pounds. If the front wheel is properly filled I probably can carry more but so far didn’t need to.
  • On the longtail Yuba Mundo I carried 280 pounds. Other than handling it while stopped was challenging the actual moving the weight was fine. I didn’t feel any torque or other behavior scaring me.
  • On the Long Nose bike as I sometimes call the Frontloader, I carried two people. Yes filling up the tires are important here too.
  • On an electrified XtraCycle conversion I didn’t dare to carry more than 140 pounds – including the . It does start to torque and move in some hard-to-describe sideway-ish manner at that weight. But the electric assist sure helps a lot: I can reach my destination shaving off 1/3 of the time needed especially destinations involving uphill, and mostly staying in one gear.
  • On a bamboo trailer I carried anywhere between 55 to 300 pounds feeling close to the limit, depending on how that trailer was built.
  • On a Bikes-at-work trailer at the end of this linked post I carried 495 pounds. Know it because I measured it. That weight plus the 45 pounds of the weight of the trailer was close to what I can manage on a medium uphill, and still keep my balance.
  • On the box trike I carried about 350 pounds, but felt I wasn’t even close to what the bike could take. But that trike, because of its build, cannot go fast even when empty.

I will continue this discussion later, but for now I would like to point out, that Bicycle week is happening next week, May 13 to 17 in Amherst and more programs, also during the preceding and following weekend regionally and all throughout Massachusetts. Come to our biggest event on May 17 Friday on Amherst common, a Commuter breakfast, Bicycle show and Work with Bikes event series from 7am to 2pm.

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On-road Bicycling

CyclingSavvy Pioneer Valley is excited to offer its first class ever, in Springfield!

CyclingSavvy (cyclingsavvy.org) is a wildly successful, paradigm-shifting, nation-wide cycling training program.

Learn essential skills for successful bicycle travel.
Bicycle travel can be safe, easy, and carefree.
Take control of your experience on the street.
Go anywhere, at any time, under any conditions.
Feel relaxed, confident, and powerful.

Saturday, 05/04, 9:00AM-4:00PM, 3350 Main St.
Sunday, 05/05, 1:00PM-4:30PM, 11 Wilbraham Rd.

Need-based scholarships available. Tuition is $75, or $15 with scholarship.

More information: cyclingsavvy.org/2013/04/first-class-ever-in-the-pioneer-valley/
Register on-line at eli-damon.info/cyclingsavvy/registration
Contact Eli Damon at 413-530-3861 or
cyclingsavvy-pioneer-valley@eli-damon.info.

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