Monday, November 25, 2019

A Cycle Tote Trailer with Auto-braking

At Saturday's Friends of Trees planting, one of the fellows had this very cool Cycle Tote Trailer. It worked great for hauling trees and supplies, but he explained to me that normally he is using it to haul his Golden Labrador and that the trailer has a Conestoga-style roof.

The trailer has very interesting and clever hitch and braking system. The seatpost mounted hitch has a spring which compresses when the trailer has greater froward momentum than the bike. This action tugs on dual brake cables that activate the Sturmey-Archer drum brakes in the trailer wheels. Thus, the trailer and the bike slow simultaneously with the braking action of the bike and the trailer doesn't over-run the bike.

My own, much smaller, trailer doesn't have such a feature and while it is fine for the relatively small loads I regularly carry, there are circumstances where I do notice the momentum of the trailer. If I was carrying a large load in hilly areas, I think I'd definitely want some sort of braking on the trailer.

The Cycle Tote Trailers are made in Fort Collins, Colorado. While they are certainly not cheap, their design and construction is first rate. I have no financial interest in them, but I appreciate good design when I see it.

Kent Peterson
Eugene, OR USA

Friday, November 15, 2019

Bicycle Tree Planting with Friends of Trees

Last Saturday Christine, our friend Sally and I joined up with some other folks from Friends of Trees to plant some trees here in Eugene. One of the super cool things about Friends of Trees is that while they do have a couple of big trucks for tree and equipment hauling, they try to do as much as possible with as few motor vehicles as possible. So, in addition to having volunteers carpool to planting sites, they also have a bike-based crew of volunteers. Naturally, Christine, Sally, and I were part of the bike crew.

I can say that things went off without a hitch and that's literally true. Friends of Trees recently moved their office and in the move they mislaid the hitches to the big platform bike trailers they usually use. Fortunately, Sally had her Burley Travoy and I had my little Allen Yoogo Cargo Trailer so we were able to haul the shovels, buckets and other tools to the various planting sites. Christine carried some tools in her Allant's bike basket and the hard hat in her pannier. The trees and mulch were dropped off ahead of us at the sites by one of the cargo trucks. Next time, the entire operation will be done by bike.

On this particular Saturday all the planting sites were ones requested by various local home owners. Friends of Trees also works with the city planting trees in different public spaces. Home owners also get tree care information and several years of follow up visits by Friends of Trees for pruning and other health checks as the trees grow.

The post pounder is a surprisingly heavy tool that allows even a fairly small person to pound a stake into hard ground. It also is easy to get carried away with the post pounder and catch it on the edge of the stake and have it bounce up and smack the person holding it right on the top of the skull. Hence, the hardhat.

Erik Burke is a certified arborist and the Eugene Director of Friends of Trees. Christine and I first met him when we attended a local tree walk that he was leading. Erik's knowledge of trees is vast and his passion for them is obvious in everything he does.

Christine got to try her hand at the post pounder.

Sally hauled an amazing amount of stuff on her Travoy. The empty tree and mulch buckets weren't heavy, but they were awkward.

In general we had a great time planting trees but it's hungry work. Unfortunately, the bike crew wasn't as speedy as the truck crews and by the time we got to the post-planting potluck most of the food was gone!

Next time, we'll bring snacks.

Keep 'em rolling,


Thursday, November 14, 2019

100 Good Bike Books

A few years ago (OK, maybe more than a few!) I put together a list of 50 good bike books and then a week later I published a list of 50 more good bike books. For convenience, here are links to both of those lists:

I stand by the contents of those lists, but I'm sure there many other fine bike books I'm missing. So if there is a favorite of yours that you think should be on the next iteration of the list, make a note in the comments or send me an email.

Keep 'em rolling,


Friday, November 08, 2019

Schwalbe Tire Levers

Over on the iBOB list, Joan has nice things to say about Schwalbe Tire Levers. Joan notes how the clip mechanism of these levers helps you lock down the section of tire that you already have seated and then you can use the third lever to get the last section of the tire onto the rim. She also notes that the tip of the levers is quite thin, which also is a great help for those tight tire/rim situations.

Over the years I've certainly had my share of punctures and I've used a wide range of tire levers. I can confirm Joan's high opinion of the Schwalbe Tire Levers, they really do a good job in tight situations.