My Chariot

February 9, 2009

img_0184About a year and a half ago, I wrote a blog post about this cool bike thing I’d heard about.  It’s called the Xtracycle and I got mine up and rolling in no time.  I basically took an old bike — a Trek Singletrack circa 1990-ish — and bolted this extender on the back.

img_0181Well, I ride it to work just about every day. Here on Bainbridge Island, I end up riding it to the ferry where I walk on and then just walk the few blocks to work.  Where I’m living right now, my commute takes me on a trail through the woods, then on some back rodes, past my kids’ elementary school, down the hill and through downtown Winslow, and then on down to the ferry dock. Probably something like five miles or so.  It’s great.

But while I thought the Xtracycle would allow me to pick up a few bags of groceries on the way home from work, I have found that that situation as been exceedingly rare. What I have found is that I don’t have to really worry about what I take to and from work.  It all fits.  And none of it needs to fit on my back.  It all rides low and steady right next to the back wheels.

Thus, the only downside.  I find myself carry too much up and down the hills of Bainbridge Island — only because I can.  But you couldn’t get me to trade in my Xtracycle for anything.

The Sports Utility Bike

August 27, 2007


So this all starts last Wednesday when I’m getting my haircut.  I always have interesting conversations with the woman who cuts my hair (Tsofia at Gary Manuel Salon).  On this day in particular, we were comparing the kind of mileage we each get on our Prius. She averages 53mpg, my wife and I average 38 or 39 (what are we doing wrong)?  Anyway, she tells me about this way you can modify your bike so you can carry these huge loads.  It’s called the Xtracycle.  I am intrigued.

Basically, the Xtracycle is a frame extension that moves the rear wheel back 15 inches or so.  With the packing system, you can carry some truly amazing loads.  The folks at Xtracycle figure that if they make it easier for people to cart stuff around, people will use their bikes that much more.  And in poorer countries where used bikes are often plentiful, increasing the utility of a bike can also dramatically increase productivity.

I’m psyched about getting up and riding with my Xtracycle.  I’m putting it all together tonight.  I’ll let you know how it goes.