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Tag Archive: How To

Veggie Hauling with the No-Brainer DIY Box ‘n’ Rack

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Ever find yourself in a pickle like this:

You’re at the farmer’s market with your so-called girlfriend getting all carried away with sampling apples, debating pumpkin varieties, and haggling over prices of buckets of yogurt.  A mere 40 minutes of local-food perusing and $30 later, your limbs are loaded down with re-usable grocery bags like nobody’s business.  Good thing I spent all those evenings bouldering and I have tons of finger strength for lifting groceries, because lord knows there is no other reason for all that finger strength…! Oh yeah, and you borrowed your friend’s roommate’s bike and there’s a good 25 minute ride ahead of you.

What to DO, Bike Commuters?!

Not an unlikely situation if you are visiting your friend, Mo, in DC, the same weekend as the National Women’s Bicycling Forum, and you are a veteran Pike Place Market veggie hawker like me. The combination is ruthless. You end up with two enthusiastic cycle ladies in a pile of vegetables, and a rear rack with bungees is just not gonna cut it. Damn those floppy cloth bags and that pumpkin! Yes, we bought a pumpkin, hauled it, cooked it, and ate it like the good green-blooded NorCal hippies that we are.

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Anyway, the solution for the Farmer’s Market overload?

Enter the last-minute Veggie Hauling No-Brainer DIY Box ‘n’ Rack. Recipe below:

Prep Time: 20 minutes for collecting ingredients

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • (1) plastic cube/crate free from the bread vendors
  • (6) removable neon zip ties from the CVS across the street
  • (1) existing rear-mounted bike rack
  • (2) opposable thumbs
  • (1) friend, also with (2) opposable thumbs

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Instructions:

  • First, sit on your bike saddle and have a friend with opposable thumbs position the crate  with a couple inches of clearance for your bum, so you don’t end up crowding your bum with the Box ‘n’ Rack as you pedal. Center the box on the rack.
  • Second, have said friend hold the rack in place, as you zip tie the hell out of it in 6 different places from the bottom of the rack to permanently secure the crate.
  • Third, throw in your veggie bag and pedal on home, without grocery bags swinging from the handle bars!

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The DIY Box ‘n’ Rack is such a no-brainer, almost any farmer’s market/flea market-goer can pull it off in a matter of minutes. So worth the minimal effort for no dangerous swinging bags of groceries near your front wheel on the bike ride home.

Try it, you’ll like it!

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How To Hang Your Bike on a Vertical Rack

Have you ever been 5-foot-n-change and tried to hang your bike vertically on moving transportation? Well, I have! This week my combo commute took a rainy Cantaloupe and I for quite a ride as we perfected the Art of Racking. And by Art of Racking, of course I am referring to hanging your bike on wall or ceiling-mounted vertical racks. From bike storage rooms to moving TriMet MAX cars, you TOO can hang your bike vertically despite being vertically challenged!

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Blurry photos… because I’m just that unstable on public transit. (Look, the doors are open, it wasn’t even moving yet)

This “How To” is a feat worth sharing and a basic commuter skill that everyone should keep in their cerebral saddle bag. Here’s a picture narrative of how to get a heavy-ass steel steed like Cantaloupe all vertically racked up without spazzing out and injuring bystanders:

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And… TADA!!! Vertically racked and totally stacked.

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Cantaloupe and the Art of Racking

Now, go ahead and make humping and straddling jokes all you want, but smashing the saddle of the bike into your stomach really makes it much easier to balance a heavy bike and navigate the front tire up onto the hook. Other options include growing taller, asking for help, or riding a lighter bike. I’ll stick with stomach-saddle-smashing for a perfect 10 in the Art of Racking.

 

Bike Commuter Reality Check

As the theme song to the 80’s tv show “The Facts of Life” says – “You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the facts of life.”

Those words ring just as true for the realities of bike commuting, too. My blissful rides home this week with the south winds pushing at my back have been countered by the more difficult bike commutes into the forceful 20mph winds going to work. On the up-note — I’m getting in my resistance training. 🙂

And then yesterday morning – feeling invincible as a bike commuter sailing past traffic at rush hour and loving the warmer weather – I experienced my first flat tire since starting to ride my current commuter bike ‘Toro’. Luckily the air pressure held to get me to my workplace destination where it promptly went completely flat. With the bike propped upside down in my office, I called on the help of a fellow bike commuter colleague and he provided support as a patched my barely punctured tube. It’s always more fun to face these bummer realities with a friend at your side. We both got our hands dirty and shared tricks and tips for flat repairs. In this case, I patched the tube – even left the wheel on the bike; sadly the skewer system I have in place on my wheels were on their too tight for either me or my co-worker to loosen. Then on my way home I did pick up a couple new tubes from the local bike shop along my route… and got my skewer unstuck so that I can remove the wheel when needed.

The flat tire totally surprised me and left me floundering — until I realized that I just need to reach out to the bike commuter community. I was not alone in my need and support was only an email away. The bad reality brought the good community back to bike commuting. It also reminds me that in this weather — with the snow all nearly melted — to look out for all the debris in the roadway that can cause flats.

There you have it – the good along with the not-so-good = the fact that I would (usually) always rather be bike commuting.

How to mount a tube and tire…Rivendell style!

Rivendell is now making videos on YouTube! (surely this is one of the signs of the apocalypse). It’s a simple and funny video and in true Riv fashion they manage to somehow make an online video tutorial on Youtube seem low-tech and personal. Gotta love it!

The talc step is actually really nice. I do this with all new tires as well. It makes mounting them a bit easier (talc on a teeny weeny level looks like flat plates, making them smooth and slippery). Check out their channel for other fun vids!