Took the Ute out for a spin – don’t get it out enough. I added some bucket panniers to it making it easier to pickup trash. Also got some new tires – slightly larger. I think I could probably go even bigger clearance-wise, but these’ll do for now.
Decided to take the Ute out on an errand run to see how it performed. Things went great until the left pedal fell off. Had to call in the Team Car for a pickup. To be honest, was a known-issue when I got it, but I thought I could squeak it out. Fun had anyway.
Enter The Ute. In 2009 I was in @radicaledgebikeski and this bike was leaning against a wall. It was the first time I’d seen a long cargo bike in person. It was goofily awesome. It was being retrofitted with special carriers by local microbrewery @picaroons to be a growler delivery bike. For whatever reason, it didn’t work. Depending on who you ask it was either the weight, the maneuverability of the bike when loaded up or the fact that is shook up the beer too much. Jury’s still out. The bike sat. And it sat. @spoke_n_words tells a story of it being ridden by a guy in a bowler hat and a 3/4 length tweed coat. Maybe urban myth. Then the bike moved to a different location. An open/closed sign was placed on the rear deck and it became welcome signage.
A week ago, @kiersmktg was asked by Picaroons to do some signage concepts. In one of the photos of the building, there the bike was – the back of it in the bottom corner of a frame. Anyone who didn’t already know what it was wouldn’t even notice it. But I did. I said “Ask Sean if he’ll sell me that bike.” I hadn’t seen it in years. Didn’t know what shape it was in or if it worked. I just knew they weren’t using it.
Long story short, now it’s in my garage. It is, quite literally, 10+ years old brand new. Not even the usual chips in the frame paint. All original parts down to the Kona branded bell. I thought I’d dump the growler cases and probably fabricate either my own bags or racks/decks. Then I remembered years ago when I was working weekends at the Edge there was some big ‘pleather’ brown panniers in the basement. “What’re these?” I asked. “Oh, those came with that Picaroons bike.” I completely forgot about it – until I owned the Picaroons bike – and amazingly they were still there, untouched. I think more people – Fredericton and elsewhere – could be using cargo bikes both personally and for business. It’s my opinion that not many folks know about them or don’t think they’re practical. Maybe if they see one, it’ll give ‘em a moments pause to wonder ‘what if…’ So me and The Ute will be on the trails looking to turn heads. Make sure to smile and wave.
I wouldn’t say I have regrets (Sam Harris would argue I could never have done differently than I have in the past anyway) but with the benefit of hindsight, there are things I would do differently given the choice again.
When we moved to our current house my kids were little and we settled in a rural location because we liked the peace and quiet, the big yard and it was affordable vs. closer to town. In hindsight, I would have liked to live closer to town and tried to adopt – if not a car-free lifestyle – then at least a ‘less-car’ lifestyle.
The fact is that my house is only about .8kms from a multi-use trail that I can use to get into town, but I’m still almost 15kms out – and in the winter, it’s snow covered. I love the ride, but the reality is that I can’t get to work and get everyone where they need to be on a bike, on time, and still get sleep each day. Thus, cars.
Would I be able to do it if I lived closer to town? Still not sure, at some point when the kids were old enough to not be able to be hauled, they might have rebelled at being forced to ride. We’ll never know, but I certainly could have done more errands, groceries and commuting if I was closer to town.
I have been eyeing Surly’s cargo bikes and trailers since their launches, but can’t justify them at the moment as they would more than likely not get ridden enough to justify the expense. Maybe once all or most of the kids are out of the house. I don’t know that I’d go e-version, but it’s tempting. I do like the Big Fat Dummy platform a lot though.