Archive for March, 2010

Utility Bicycle Riding

| March 8, 2010 6:51 pm

by John Pugliese

The greatest aspect of joining a cycling club such as Almaden Cycle Touring Club (ACTC) is the diversity and ranges of bicycle riders, routes and activities. ACTC offers several rides every day that cater to a range of cyclists from those going to a coffee shop to those scaling a local mountain such as Hamilton. We have riders on touring bikes, race bikes, fixed gears, recumbents, tandems and more. ACTC also encourages cycling in general through education, tour reviews, volunteering and highlighting of possibilities. One local event is the Bike To Work Day (BTWD), which many members do anyway, but ACTC members help at stations and encourage the idea. I’ve been collecting some photos of my bicycle commuting journeys and wanted to present some ideas or options.

In an article about my trip to the Auburn Century , I mentioned taking the train to the event instead of driving. I departed from the San Jose Diridon Station to catch Caltrain, which is a bike friendly commuter that goes to the Peninsula, San Francisco, Sacramento and more.

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Awaiting CalTrain in San Jose

Of course, one can also catch Bart to get to San Francisco, Oakland or the East Bay. But, my interest is to show how bicycles can handle bigger tasks or utility duties. Below is one of the best gifts that I have received, a Burley d’Lite tot trailer given to me by my sister because her kids outgrew it – if you have such a trailer, use it for utility rides, if you don’t have one you can purchase one online. The picture dates are incorrect.

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The Burley d’Lite trailer, an excellent utility rig.

One activity performed by ACTC is the workday ride, where volunteers will ride in San Jose to clean up bicycle trails and paint over graffiti. I enjoyed taking my d’Lite trailer and carrying the paint and brooms as shown below.

Taking my ‘utility vehicle’ along San Jose bike trail on a cleanup ride

Taking my ‘utility vehicle’ along San Jose bike trail on a cleanup ride

But my favorite rides are to carry things by bike when someone says, ‘but you’ll need to take a car for that.’ My d’Lite trailer had no issue with the transportation of a water cooler and filled 5 gallon water jug to the downtown office, simultaneously. The delivery of a fan is showed next.

Trailering a water cooler and filled 5 gallon water jug.

Trailering a water cooler and filled 5 gallon water jug.

Trailering a fan to the office

Trailering a fan to the office

“It’s one thing to cycle to the start of an ACTC ride in San Jose, Cupertino or Los Altos, but you’ll need to drive to take your mountain bike.” Oh? Wheels can be removed easily, and the whole mountain bike fits well into my utility cruiser. And I prevent street wear on my off road tires.

TraileTrailering my Kona mountain bike in my d’Lite trailer to ACTC Whine and Dine MTB

TraileTrailering my Kona mountain bike in my d’Lite trailer to ACTC Whine and Dine MTB

Whine and Dine MTB start destination

Whine and Dine MTB start destination

Some members ride to the monthly meetings, but there can be excuses such as a need to carry items for the Swap Meet. My trailer carried a trainer, a set of wheels, a helmet, and various items, most which needed to be brought back home.

Riding off to the ACTC Swap Meet

Riding off to the ACTC Swap Mee

I look forward to carrying my sister’s children in a trail-a-bike like the one shown below.

Trail-a-bike transportation for children

Trail-a-bike transportation for children

There are serious utility cyclists out there, like this impressive home made bike in front of Orchard Supply Hardware. I figured that I could at least carry a hand truck.

Utility riding gets serious at Orchard Supply Hardware

Utility riding gets serious at Orchard Supply Hardware

Trailering a hand truck

Trailering a hand truck

The utility of the d’Lite trailer comes to light when thesides are folded down to use the trailer as a flat bed to carry items.

Burley d’Lite with sides folded down

Burley d’Lite with sides folded down

A friend had asked to borrow a wheelbarrow and I said that I would drop it off on the way to my office. Since I ride to the office, I loaded up the Burley, strapped down the wheelbarrow by bungee cords and took a slight detour to the site.

Dropping off a wheelbarrow by bike

Dropping off a wheelbarrow by bike

In conclusion, there really are no excuses. Yay bikes.