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The Art Of Carrying Things By Bike 19

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The Art of Carrying Things by Bike – Screenshot from Vimeo video by Laura J. Lukitsch 

Most readers here are aware that I have something of an obsession with carrying large amounts of cargo on my bike.

The countless times I have heard people say “you need a car to live” perhaps induces my insatiable desire to dispel the myth that everyone ‘needs’ a car to live a normal life here.

The video below is a celebration of the simple act of carrying everyday objects on your bike. It explains how we can turn our bike into our own mobile shopping carts, enabling us to conveniently make quick, frequent, impromptu trips to shops.

It defies the notion that trips to WalMart with an SUV full of groceries are a necessary aspect of a North American lifestyle.

Instead of being a drag, running your errands can be fun. Carrying your goods by bike is most gratifying – in perhaps an inexplicable way. When you have tried it, you will understand what I mean. You feel like you have earned something. You enjoyed the journey more than the destination, not vice versa.

What have you transported recently by bike? I would like to hear about it.

Here is the video “The Art of Carrying Things by Bike”, by Laura J. Lukitsch:

Urban Biking: The Art of Carrying Things by Bike from Laura J. Lukitsch on Vimeo.

James D. Schwartz is the Editor of The Urban Country and is based in Toronto, Canada. You can contact James at james.schwartz@theurbancountry.com or follow him on Twitter.

i share the road

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H/T to our friend Mark Green for bringing this video to our attention.

  • Mister Ed

    It’s all a matter of shortening your point of view to the things not encompassed by society’s dream. Don’t you sweat? What do you do when it rains? Irrelevant if you choose to accept that bikes give you 53 mpb (miles per burrito) and the cost of gas to you is $0.00 9/10 per gallon.

    http://whatssomeoneyourage.blogspot.com/2013/09/living-well-with-burleys-travoy.html

  • dr_kiwano

    On a few occasions, I’ve carried a bundle of (metal) electrical conduit by tossing a folding dolly and a roll of duct tape on one of my panniers (note: I always carry some rope around with me) on the way to the store. Once I’ve picked up the conduit, I split the conduit into a top and bottom half, and put the middle of the rope between them near what would be the front end (maybe about 1′ back), I then tie up the top half with a reef knot at the top of the bundle, and wrap the ends around the bottom to tie another reef knot at the bottom to tie the entire bundle up. The front end of the bundle tied (tightly), I wrap it (tightly) with about 4-5 turns duct tape just a bit ahead of the rope, so that if the rope creeps forward while pulling the conduit, the tape is there to stop it.

    The front mostly tied, I unfold the dolly and load the back onto it, taping it into place both near the wheels and near the top/handle. I then pick the front up and wheel the bundle over so that the rope rests over top of the back edge of my rear rack. I then take the free ends of the rope and lead each through the structure of the rack so that the knot is centred, but I can still adjust the position by pulling on the ropes, lead them towards the front of the rack, and secure them tightly with a trucker’s hitch. This way, the bundle, being secured to the rack entire through the single bottom reef knot is free to pivot on the rack while turning, but has enough tension in either direction keeping it centred that it won’t roll off the side of the rack. I then head to wherever it is that I’m taking the conduit, aware that I now turn like a tractor-trailer (albeit of slightly smaller scale).

    I’ve done this at least 7 times with 100-150′ of conduit in 10′ lengths and another dozen or so with similar quantities of conduit pre-cut into 5′ or 3’4″ lengths (always with uniform conduit lengths, though I suppose the method could be adapted for mixed lengths).

  • dh

    I love this article because I also like to carry things, especially big loads, on my bicycle. My most impressive experience was carrying a full-size Christmas tree 10km on my bicycle in the winter…. at one point I had to stop at a traffic light and I fell over because the weight of it! But eventually I made it home :)

    • http://www.theurbancountry.com James Schwartz

      Hah, nice. How did you strap on the Christmas tree? Was it a cargo bike?

      • dh

        it wasn’t a cargo bike – just a regular mountain bike. I tried to balance it on the handlebars diagonally, tied to the handlebars. I held the part near my body between my arm and torso. It worked out pretty well except for the aforementioned fall. I played around with it until I thought I could make it work.

  • Ian Flett

    This is a great post! I love carrying things on my bike too! I find long items can be lashed to the top bar and heavy items are much happier in the back. I once carried everything for a BBQ picnic (yes, the BBQ too!). One thing to remember, is not all wheels can handle a heavy load and big bumps. I have broken a spoke or two from excess loads, but now I understand the bike’s limits and I spread the load around a little. Great video. What a geeky pleasure!!

    • http://www.theurbancountry.com James Schwartz

      Thanks for sharing Ian. I could see how the flimsy plastic barbeque wheels wouldn’t do well over potholes ;) Cheers!

  • Rebecca_A

    I carried a thirty pound chair in a box from the container store on the front rack that I bought in the Netherlands and a six foot long table, half a mile in our old bike cart. http://www.flickr.com/photos/99445886@N03/9821999416/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/99445886@N03/9821938274/ I hope sending these photos this way works.

    • http://www.theurbancountry.com James Schwartz

      Cool! Thanks for sharing Rebecca.

  • Akrasius

    I pull my kayak down to the river with my modified ’91 Specialized Stumpjumper.

    • http://www.theurbancountry.com James Schwartz

      Awesome! I keep my kayak docked at the water because I don’t have any space to store it at home. But I’ve always been intrigued by pulling kayaks by bike. Met this guy last year who does the same thing: http://www.theurbancountry.com/2012/06/bike-kayak.html

  • SJF

    Inspirational video! Anyone got any idea’s about towing another bike? My son competes in cycle speedway, he can’t ride his speedway bike to the track as it has no brakes, so we need a way to tow it there on our ordinary bikes.

  • Nathan

    When my light road bike (which I used for day to day transportation in Oklahoma given the long distnace) got a flat, I rode my mountain bike to my bike and carried the road bike back around my neck and shoulders. Probably pretty stupid, but really fun! (This was before I had learned to change a tube!)

  • TKeen

    I can carry 2-3 golf clubs in my side basket when I go to the driving range. It’s a wire basket so I can slide the clubs through, grip first. I also kayak, but carrying the paddle in the basket is awkward, even though it comes apart.

  • Joe

    I carry my groceries and also has a home deport trip for a new bbq and load of charcoal

  • UGO Carts

    There is a new alternative for carrying stuff in the city – by bike, walking, or on the metro. Coming soon – UGO Carts, a stylish, versatile solution for the last 20 blocks of sustainable urban transportation: http://www.ugocarts.com, @ugocarts