Computer Lab by Bike

Hardware Co-op at Earth Day

Today I got to combine a couple of my interests: cargo cycling and e-waste recycling. Almost five years ago I helped found Richmond, Indiana’s Hardware
Co-op
. The Hardware Co-op is a re-use and recycling program for e-waste. The project has operated at a fairly small scale until the last year, when we’ve been attracting more donors and volunteers.
Today the project had our first event presence– a booth at the local Earth Day
celebration.

Our booth consisted of a thin-client demo lab, which showed how some systems from the Windows-98 era can be made to perform at modern
speeds. It works by sending most processing to a server, like the old mainframe systems with “dumb terminals”.

Using the Bikes-at-Work trailer seen the background of the photo above, I carried over 3 desktop systems, a laptop, a 32 inch display and some other supplies. While our booth was effectively two blocks from a parking lot, I
was able to roll the trailer through the door and right up to our booth. Had I carried the equipment by car, several trips back and forth to the car would have been required to get all the equipment inside.

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A weekend of family biking firsts

On Saturday morning my 4 year-old got to take her first ride on the back of our Xtracycle, using stoker bars instead of a kid seat. She loved it. That was no surprise, but I enjoyed it more than I thought as well.

Xtracycle stoker bar kit

I expected it to feel more loosey-goosey without the constraint of the seat, but it actually felt more stable and easier to ride. I’m guessing that’s due to three factors: First, the weight of the seat has been subtracted, and replaced with some rather light handlebars. Second, her
weight had dropped about 6 inches, lowering our center of gravity. Third, I expect her ability to lean side-to-side more may have contributed to a more natural feel. We’ll continue to use a kid-seat for her on our electric Yuba Mundo, but I expect we’ll use the stoker bars for most trips on the Xtracycle now.

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