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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 24 December 2008
How to beat big oil, big govt and big auto ..... with a bicycle trailer and exercise
Topic: ecology

It's a bicycle kind of holiday break. We are onto our 3rd new bike project in as many weeks as well as a somewhat oversized bike trailer cut down from old sign board assembly. See picture above. No rego, no petrol, no parking fees. Quite alot of exercise and careful navigation and load management.

With bike trailers 'it's all about articulation". That is where the trailer pivots on the bicycle to steer safely, and sufficiently low centre of gravity to avoid bouncing. This big trailer is surprisingly versatile with small turning circle. This is our third model in 12 months and a serious beast. Children are amused and curious especially with furniture on board. It's a great conversation starter - did you make it (not really it's a conversion), is it heavy (not bad with gears, just take it slow), you could fit a fridge on that etc.

We've made two serious trips from Marrickville to Bondi Junction and back with 'stuff', and the last load was a whopping 46 kg in weight not including the trailer itself. Yes we were tired due to both the heat and weight despite the very low gears making it all doable. On the other hand our fitness is bouncing back after a day or two as well. Also our 5 plus years experience in Sydney delivery driving work has added alot of value - to track the back streets and ridgelines that one ignores in a van but become your life and soul on a bicycle with a heavy load.

We were shocked one early morning with big trailer in tow to find we arrived in Bondi Junction from Marrickville in only an hour with plenty of energy in 'the tank' which is actually quite comparable with car travel time but no petrol costs.

Ideally our trailer would be a foot narrower at the side of the road. Currently it is not at all suitable on main roads with fast traffic. Luckily we are sufficiently knowledgeable of secondary roads, lanes and Centennial Park bike circuit etc to still navigate safely. Since taking the picture above we have added a rear mirror ($3 bargain from The Bower) to the right hand side handle bars which is perfect for managing rear approaching traffic. We have also removed the heavy wire cage replaced with light weight plastic bread trays and milk crates.

We are becoming surprisingly proficient in stripping and rebuilding bikes, learning via the web a shrader (car) versus a presta (high pressure) tyre valve. Also we are becoming quite religious about vitamin E cream on the hands making degreaser and soap that much more effective after every workshop session.

And speaking of workshops there is this great community social capital venue here which we will be checking out in January 2009 called The Bike Club. Their congregating times are Monday evenings apparently with more details here showing their old location in Forbes Ave Newtown and now 1 Phillip St Waterloo:

Header image

Nunnery Bike Workshop - Fix, Build, Hang out, or Talk about Bikes at our Workshop!

Take your pick!The Nunnery Community Bike Workshop, at 1 Phillip St, Waterloo, collects abandoned bikes and parts to create working bikes to put back into the community. This bikes are put together by you, the community, with help from others who come. It is also a place to fix up your bikes with the tools and parts available. Come and learn to fix bikes, show us how to fix bikes, fix your bike or a friend?s, or just come and have some tea and coffee. Everyone is welcome!

To see the latest happenings and news at the workshop, go to our Discussions and Events page.

Here are some other successful bike trailer models we've seen around the place. And we understand you can even buy them at K-mart these days. Now that's a surprise.

Posted by editor at 10:56 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 24 December 2008 12:02 PM EADT

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