Saturday, June 05, 2010

New Cargo Carrier!

The old child carrier that I got when DJ was small, and then became a bike trunk after he outgrew it, was stolen out of our carport a couple of months ago.  I hadn't used it in a while;  the universal adapter didn't fit well on the Gary Fisher and would keep falling off during trips.  It was also getting old and weather beaten and my idea was to remove the canvas part and fit it with a piece of plywood and make it into an honest-to-goodness cargo trailer; unfortunately, someone else had the same idea.  Because I have panniers on the Gary Fisher I have been able to stuff at least two reusable grocery sacks-worth of groceries on the bike, but for larger hauls I was going to have to come up with something else.

First, I looked around for DIY cargo carriers, and saw this great site and I encourage everyone reading this to check it out.  It's a called Community Bike Cart Design, and if I was a welder I would totally try to make one of these things.  I almost DID take a welding class with Santa Fe's Community Ed program just so I would have the skillz to make one; then I realized it would just be like the glass bead making class I took where I bought all the equipment and then never did anything with it because I am afraid of combustibles.  So, unless making the thing requires wood and maybe a power drill, I was not going to be doing no welding.

Community Bike Cart Design has different-needs type carriers, like an ambulance carrier and a "Bicycle Empowerment Trailer."  I donated 10-bucks to them because they are a super cool group like The Kickstand

I finally broke down and got this Aosom cargo trailer on Amazon for 100-bucks.  An okay deal, actually, considering I got the bike carrier for DJ, used, for 50-bucks.

Today I took it on a first trip to the grocery, taking the new bike path behind Buddha Belly which lets me off right at the side entrance of Publix.  The path is still officially closed, but try telling that to pushy cyclists like myself. This photo (I think) is actually of the stretch behind Publix -- the entire path goes all the way to 8th Avenue which is going to be super great for commuting to campus in the fall. 

Here are a couple of photos of the results of the shopping trip.  I was able to fit three bags, a six-pack of beer, and a small bag of charcoal and still had plenty of room left.  The cover fits over it really neatly; I would have been happy with just an open trailer, so I consider the cover a bonus.  Scotch-garded it before I left so it'd repel some water if it gets sloppy rainy, as it has been the past week (thank goodness!  We really needed the rain -- hey, it's raining right now, in fact!).

There are two problems, one with the trailer and one with the bike.  I was not able to inflate one of the tires; I think the stem is crooked but I don't know how to fix it and will have to consult with my bike mechanic.  Oh yes, you didn't know?  I now have my own bike mechanic -- okay, it's DG's brother, but he is so nice and decent it makes me take back everything I've ever said against bike mechanics.  Even with one under-inflated tire, however, the trailer performed magnificently!

The bike, on the other hand, is going to have to get traded back in at Spin Cycle.  Maybe I'm just so used to the Gary Fisher, but I think it's more that the frame is too small.  I'll try raising the seat but I think I just have to get another bike -- I'm using the Schwinn I got originally for the Burley ride-along because it doesn't have quick-release wheels, which won't take the rear-hub adapter for the trailer. 

Very, very happy with the new cargo trailer; it will become especially useful during the parts of the fall and spring semesters when I am constantly lugging books and teaching materials back and forth between campus.  And, of course, it will be super-handy for hauling lawn chairs and a cooler to the Homecoming Parade!  Yay!
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