If you are like many utility bikers, especially if you replaced your car with an electric cargo bike, not biking in the winter is not an option. No matter what the weather conditions, you still need to bike to take your kids to school, commute to work, and pick up groceries. Is that even possible in the winter? The answer is emphatically yes. You’ll find a bike can get you where you need to go in any weather, in some ways more comfortably, more quickly and more safely than other forms of transportation. Sometimes it takes a bit of a sense of adventure to get going, but once you do you’ll find dread of winter biking is misplaced. Here’s some tips to help you along.
There’s been a lot of press lately about an incredible-sounding new ebike product called the FlyKly Smart Wheel. We see gushing headlines such as “This Smart Wheel Makes Cycling in the City a Breeze”, “Effortless Pedalling Through Our Cities’ Streets”, “Keeps You Looking Fly”, and “This ground breaking invention just may be about to revolutionize commuter cycling forever”. The Smart Wheel is an electric hub motor similar to other hub motors that have been available for over a decade, but with a twist: the motor and all the electronics and batteries fit inside the wheel. Furthermore the wheel is controllable through a bluetooth connection to a smart phone. This connectivity enables some interesting features like a speedometer that appears on your handlebar-mounted smart phone, a way to lock the bike electronically, and a way to track your bike if it’s stolen. Pretty cool, but is the Smart Wheel too good to be true? Is it just hype? Decidedly no, it is easily for real. I’d say for people who haven’t yet tried an electric bike, this product will easily live up to the hype. Ebikes in general are impressive; this product is doubly so. And even for those of us who have been using electric bikes for years,
There is a simple solution to bicyclist/motorist conflict that needs to be more widely recognized: electric bikes. To a great extent conflicts are caused by the difference in relative speed between cars and bikes. Electric bikes can help more cyclists close that speed gap. Motorists easily become annoyed and even enraged when they see Continue reading A Simple Solution to Bicyclist vs. Motorist Conflict
Every week during the summer I have to bike about 12 miles round-trip to pick up my farmshare vegetables. My route consists of three miles on a beautiful rails-to-trails path through the woods, three miles straight uphill to the farm, and then six miles home straight down Troy Road at speeds that can reach 30mph. Needless to say, I usually take my cargo bike for this task. Last week, however, I decided to Continue reading Minimalist Cargo Biking
New York City recently initiated an elaborate bikeshare system called Citi-Bike. It is a great gift to New Yorkers that goes beyond mere shiny bikes, practical and enjoyable as they may be. Citi-Bike’s greatest gift is that it legitimizes bicycling in a previously forbidding place: downtown Manhattan. Previous to Citi-Bike only daring, athletic and counter-cultural young men ventured onto Manhattan’s chaotic streets. But Citi-Bikes empowers people of all ages and abilities to think the formerly unthinkable: Continue reading Permission to Bike: A Report on New York City’s New Citi-Bike Bikeshare System
A recent report released by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group finds that “a six decade-long period of steady increases in per-capita driving in the United States is over”. Furthermore, this downward trend is due in large part to the driving-aversion of Millennials—people born between 1983 and 2000. “Young people aged 16 to 34 drove 23 percent fewer miles on average in 2009 than they did in 2001—a greater decline in driving than any other age group.” And a 2011 study by the University of Michigan found that only 22 percent of drivers are 20-somethings or teenagers, down from a third in 1983.
A parallel trend is the rise of the cargo bike. Cargo bike use has increased dramatically in Europe, and the U.S. seems poised for a similar explosion. Continue reading Americans Are Driving Less Thanks to Millenials; Teens Need Cargo Bikes Too
The Yuba Mundo is a great bike for carrying young children, and the Burley Piccolo is a great way to extend a bike so that child from ages 4 to 10 can help pedal.
With our Burley Piccolo, our older child is happier riding than sitting, as parents we get some extra help pedaling. It’s a win-win. Unfortunately, there’s no official way to connect the two items right now, although Yuba has hinted at official accessory for this in the future.
Here’s how we made our own attachment for the Burley Piccolo and the Yuba Mundo. It’s been working really well for us.
1 hot sunny day
1 picnic lunch (peanut butter and jelly with fruit and crackers recommended)
1 cargo bike with seats for all
Bathing suits and towels
1 playground with splash pad (preferable a working splash pad)
Load up bike with picnic lunch, miscellaneous supplies, and as many children as it can hold (or however many you have hanging around).
It’s a beautiful morning. A light haze protects from a blazing sun, no wind, perfect temperatures. An awesome day for a bike ride. I wave at a cyclist friend traveling in the other direction. Man, does that look ideal. I wouldn’t know how it really feels because today I am in my car.
I suppose I could have taken the bike to the grocery store today. I would have had to shorten the 8 ft trailer to a more reasonable size to carry the 3′ x 3′ table I was going to buy and then attach it to the Yuba (hmmmm, I’ve never actually had to do that myself-Mr. S. is usually the hauler). I would have needed all my bravery to maneuver bike and trailer (with kid in Yepp Maxi seat) up a busy road (because like many big stores the only way to get there is at least some travel on the busy street). I would have needed to figure out the best way to strap said table to trailer and then make sure I remembered to give it extra space as I rode down the street so it didn’t get damaged or fall off (because it would have overlapped the trailer). So, groceries, on bike, with trailer and I had about 1 ½ hours to do all that before picking up my daughter at preschool.
Or I could take the car.
I took the car.
Some days are like that.
I get a lot of comments when I am riding my Yuba with the kids. They are usually mostly positive and sometimes make me crazy with irritation. I occasionally have good responses to these comments and sometimes I just smile or shrug or try to ignore them. Here are a few from today.