Move by Bike

Once in a while I take my obsession too far. Last month I decided to move all my worldly goods by bike. It started off as a fun idea, after all others have talked about doing it and still others have actually done it (even with pumpkins on their heads).

I knew it was going to be a lot of work - it was - and that it would take me a lot longer than moving by van - it did, but the decision in the end was made when the rental company insisted they wanted to charge me for two days even though I only needed it for one and they don't have a key drop-off on Sundays (are there companies like that?). So in the end it was about money, and I had a lot of time on my hands.

I borrowed the long john bike (from the Center for Appropriate Transportation in Eugene, Oregon) and 8 foot trailer from CBN, piled on a lot of stuff over a day and a half, and carried it all down the St. Clair hill. It's all good as long as the going is flat or downhill. So even though I made around ten trips with the bike and trailer it wasn't so bad because I didn't exert a lot of energy hauling the cargo. I think the average weight I pulled was about 80 pounds on the bike (on top of my 220 pounds) and 300 pounds on the trailer. It was a lot.

If you want to move by bike you've got to make sure everything is securely boxed up in small boxes and tied down on the bike. Since there are no walls an open box could easily spill everything over the roadway. You also want to be careful not to haul too much stuff in one load. Choose your route carefully - test it if possible - and if there are any uphills along the way either change the route or reduce your weight so you can carry it up.

You also want to be wary of yard sales along the way else you find that you end up hauling even more stuff as you pick up some cheap couches and tables. Such things are best left for lazy Sundays.

Every person would need to see if moving by bike makes sense for them at that time. It won't replace vans in many situations but I found that it fit my needs just fine. If the bike had an electrical-assist motor I could have perhaps also have done uphills with a full-load. I believe there is a future in such intermediate technology - efficient, cheap, sexy, and good exercise.

Comments

Bike pirates did a move with a lot of bike trailers this weekend. Fun was had by all:
Bike pirates move to Landsdowne and Bloor

I also did end up moving by bike. We had a whole month to move, so it served as a good augmentation to our borrowed truck to take the big stuff:
http://fixedxorbroken.blogspot.com/2008/05/moving-by-bike.html

Borrowing a bike all the way from Eugene, OR seems like a lot work. That is true commitment.

I just started a moving-by-bike company in Montreal. I began the operations only two weeks ago, and already completed 15 small contracts. Look at the photos on the webpage:

http://www.myette.net/photos/

Very impressive, Julien!
The pic of you towing a fridge and stove together is especially wild!