I read several health sites because I want to be healthy. Many of them recommend bicycling just as a form of exercise. It is almost universally recommended as a low impact exercise on knees and ankles, etc. I know many times (including right now) I can't do many kinds of exercise, but I can bike. One thing I love about permaculture is you get the low pollution people together with the exercise people with the peak oil people with the homestead people with the gardening people with the health people with the community people and they all say: let's bike instead of drive.
We bought a stroller for our bike. We don't have a baby, but we can do our weekly grocery shopping on bike with it. We have brought our dog in it. You can bring serious cargo in a trailer. One of the things I love about permaculture is people sharing parts of solutions with other people to make even more solutions in different areas.
I didn't realize that I was a snob about transportation until lately. I looked at people on bikes and figured that they either a) couldn't get a driver's license or b) had a ridiculous amount of money wasted on $2k bikes, etc. Either way, I was pretty judgmental.
Okay, I still think b is accurate, but now I recognize that there are more categories.
Kind of like politics, most of us only see elephants and donkeys.
Great point. Many people in Portland just own bikes because they can't afford a car, repairs, and insurance. PLus, you don't need a car. I bought my bike 15 years ago at a garage sale for $20. I've had to buy a few cheap parts, some to custom fit it to my body for ergonomic reasons (I'm 50 years old). You can really get an $800 bike for $20 plus $100 in parts/repairs. Many around here also have philosophical, environmental or health reasons, such as "I'm 20 pounds overweight and this is cheaper than a gym membership".
I love running small errands on my bike when the mercury gets above 55. With a small trailer, you could get a lot of work done on your place with a bike. I bought my bike new for about 400ish three years ago and I have no real need for anything better. I hope you enjoy yours as much as I do mine.
No offense taken. I love your website. I think if we had more people out actually doing experiments, we would be so much farther along in solving problems for our country than we are. Experiments are one of my favorite things to read about period, not just on this site.
You're right. People from Portland are different. If you say "permaculture" here, people say "I want to learn about that", or "I'm already doing that". As opposed to the rest of the country, where they say, "how is that going to pay my bills?".
When I go to Eastern Washington, I don't meet a lot of people who like permaculture. Tea party, yes, but permaculture, no.
As a professional bike mechanic my opinion may be a little biased. Since I have always been into them I have tried incorporate them in a few different ways. A mountain bike towing a utility trailer is a great way to collect anything that needs moving, from organic matter, to tools, and the limits of its usefulness will depend on the strength and skill of the rider.( as well as the quality of trailer)
in the past I have built up a fixed gear utility bike that was geared low and suitable for legit towing, combined with 29 inch mountain tires it would grip and pull, as long as you did not want to go too fast .
Another time I used a three wheeled bike to collect organic matter from the dumpsters. It worked well for tying my dogs to and having them pull sometimes rather than pedal. The three wheeled option would be ideal for icy and snowy times.
My most recent effort has been with my standard commuting bike, it was experimental test runs with dragging my reel mower. Which worked to some degree, but is not an improvement over just pushing the mower. In trying this though, I could see that there is some major potential for small/medium sized fields being worked with a bike pulling small roller crimpers. This is something I may develop if I find myself with 5-10 acres someday.
On another note, I deal with people's reactions daily either "omg 1000 dollars for a bike! That's crazy" or just the general thinking that " I am too old for bike, bikes are toys for kids"
I just think of it as a tool. Just like a hammer, they make small toy hammers for kids, which may or may not really hammer a nail, and then they make a real hammer which is over twice the price and will hammer nails indefinitely. You wouldn't try the toy hammer on a real nail and decide hammers are not a good tool. If you are paying 100 or 200 for a new bike, expect a toy. If you are going to ride a big box store bike, get it tuned by a mechanic first! It may save the skin on your face. It's funny how 50-60 year olds will come in the bike shop and say they are so old way too old for biking anymore, and then a 75 year old who rides daily comes in saying they would probably be dead if they hadn't have taken up daily activity with the bike.
I have never paid more than 100.00 for a bike, But at that it has to be a Real Good one for 100.00
The best way I made the transition to riding bike every day with or without the trailer is just keep it right at the front door. Before you know it. You ride it everywhere every day. Except the Rain. I hate riding bike in the rain.
The trick is, of course, to have the right bike for both you and the sort of riding you want to do... OR, you can own more than one bike. I'm pretty sure it's allowed. It had better be, as my wife and I have 43 in our collection, including some trikes. We choose the right machine for that particualr ride, anything from a fast ride on a wicked fixie to hauling plywood home from the hardware store. (I used my trike for that.)
I know a fair number of people around here that have two bikes- a quick one for funnsies and a low-geared utility machine for the errands and brutal day-to-day stuff.
And as to how anyone can afford so very many bikes, know that I bought my last brand new bike in 1975. And I still have it. And it still rides just fine.
You'll be hard pressed to find a better investment for your transportation dollar.
Touch not the cat but a glove.
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