Saturday, December 31, 2016

Sequel: Electric Cargo Bike Dream (Disappointed in Dallas)

Okay, I got a little closer this time. I got to sit on the thing.

Yep, I went back to Small Planet e-Bikes again.

And this time, it was open. And I was excited.

A young man was sitting behind the desk, very engrossed in a small electronic device. He looked up. I told him I had wanted to see a Yuba Mundo in person. He asked if I realized it was electric. Yep. Very small small talk happened. He went back to his device.

I broke his concentration a short while later by asking if I could sit on it. Sure.

Very cool and massive! (And it was $1000 less than the 2016 price.)

It was indeed a gorilla in orangutan clothing and I had a hard time getting my leg over the Monkey Bars and seat. (I should have taken it off of the substantial kickstand first.) It felt a great deal like I was sitting on a train - uncomfortably large. I don't think I want one. If I were hauling multiple kids or using it in support of a small business, I would want one, but it's more than I need.

Gorgeous machine!

So, I put it back on the stand. Looked around the store. I picked up the E-Motion Roadster. It was seriously light! I admired the Faradays and especially admired their finish and attention to detail - very elegant. I checked out the Stromers. If I were on more of a champagne budget I'd pay a lot more attention to them - very impressive bikes.

I went for another crack at the guy by asking what he rides. He explained that he rides conventional bikes, that he considers himself a little too young, healthy, and financially challenged to ride electric. The conversation did not last long at all.

I looked around a little more - I checked out the Pedegos - very nice looking bikes. I spotted an old Lee Iaccoca electric bike, the ev-Global, in the back corner - very retro cool.

Then I turned around and wandered out the door very disappointed.

I thought (at first) that I was disappointed that I did not get to try out the Yuba, but I soon realized that I was disappointed on a much larger scale.

Here in Lubbock, I answer questions about e-bikes, but there is no one I can ask questions. So, there I was in a place where I hoped people could knowledgeably talk e-bikes, could point out strengths and weaknesses and cool stuff coming out, but this was not that. This was me surrounded by lifeless bikes and a disinterested clerk.

The next time I am in Dallas, I won't stop by again. I'll keep reading Electric Bike Review and Electric Bike Report and looking for a day where I can find an opportunity to see a few e-bikes in motion. Maybe an Electric Bike Expo will get a little closer to Lubbock.

May you find what you're looking for and may the talk be as good as the ride.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Fully Charged Christmas, Sondors, E-BMX, and another ATX Cargo Bargain

We will start with Robert Lewellyn's newest Fully Charged video. Robert does a year-end review that offers some optimism and mirth. Actually, this episode offers lots of good news. Did you hear that? Good news! Watch it already! Yes, good news! (I have really missed good news lately.)

If you haven't clicked that yet, let me remind you that there is a plethora of good news here - and not just cars: bikes, solar, batteries, bio-gas, and one of my new faves - IMBYP! If you are not familiar with Fully Charged, browse the collection of videos on youtube. If you're not familiar with Robert, go find yourself a few episodes of Red Dwarf (after Series II) to watch.
Sondors News
On the local side, Grizz's Sondors bikes have arrived (but they are staying in the box until after Christmas.) I will keep you posted when they do pop out!
In other news, they still have several bikes on sale for $500 each, so you can still have a pair of bikes in boxes sitting on your porch for less than $1500. (There are even Thin models for those of you who don't go for that whole monster-truck-bike motif.)
In even more news, Sondors announced another model - this one a folding bike. The first run will be available only to those who already own a Sondors bike. They will be available to the general public in 2018. I haven't found details on pricing, but who cares? It's only money!
The Sondors Fold Check it out here!

Monster Truck as Folding Bike
(Most of the pics on the website look like computer renderings.)

A new Promo Video for the Prodeco Tech/Life EV E-BMX
This time with New Yorkers doing tricks!
Upside down on an e-bike - Watch it here!
If you want one, hurry up - the intro prices are creeping up!
Another Cargo Bike Bargain in Austin
Madsens usually run a few thousand dollars or more. They are very legit cargo bikes that are especially popular for hauling children about. At $650, this one is a steal -  find it on Austin Craigslist while supplies last. (Our dog pack would love it!) Somebody go buy this thing and put it to good, carbon-free use!
There you go - many updates and an uplifting-ish video. May you have a wonderful day and find some good news somewhere in this post!
Thanks, friends!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Distracted by the Tools (plus thank you!)

Another great one!

It's way too easy for me to get distracted by the tools.

For example, my goal of Personal Carbon Reduction has turned into an obsessive quest for an electric cargo bike. Very quickly I have transformed myself into a pseudo expert on all things cargo bike and electric bike and I find myself driving around in the pickup dreaming and scheming of cargo e-bike acquisition.

At different times I have obsessed about LED bulbs, tiny houses, backyard chickens, electric cars, aquaponics, minimalism, bicycles, batteries, dumpster diving, hot-rodded Power Wheels, the National Bike Challenge, clotheslines, citicars, solar panels, recycling, pallets, insulation, rain barrels, Instructables, wind generators, compost, local foods, bike lanes, and the coolest of all - self-cloning crawdads. (I have to admit, it's been a fun ride.)

But the real Mesquite Hugger goal here is to do less damage and to encourage others to do less damage. In this coming year, I will try to keep it between the lines.

May the real goals be things we work for, and may the tools be just that!


It's been a big year here at MH , and you are the reason. We've gone from a 30-view-per-day blog to a 300-view-per-day blog. Thank you to each and every one of you for choosing to spend a little time here. May you blessed, and thank you for blessing me!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Environmental Apathy

Great sunrises lately - what a blessing!

I found myself in great luxury this morning - I had quiet time to think and write. As a human, a writer, an environmentalist, and a Christian, I have been struggling lately and haven't found time to gather my thoughts.

So, I started writing and it quickly turned into a letter to the editor of the local paper. I intended to write a (somewhat) angry letter about our new president's cabinet picks. (These aren't climate deniers, they are environment destroyers, snagit!)

Instead, however, I went back to a Bible verse that often impacts my actions, James 4:17.

(James keeps me in line a lot.)
It's the verse that speaks to me each time I start up a gas-powered car or order a drink in a Styrofoam cup. It's the verse that drives my quest for Personal Carbon Reduction.

It's also the verse that points out my apathy.

I haven't contacted my local congressional representatives to ask them not to approve Rex, Rick, and Scott. Each time I contact them they tell me that they acknowledge my concerns but they do not find those concerns anywhere near as important as economic growth being pumped out of the ground. (It always lets me know that my beliefs don't match my location. Which makes me wonder if I am really needed or really stupid here.)

So, if you run across a letter to the editor in the Lubbock AJ that mentions a certain Bible verse, encourages people to look at the impact of their choices and actions, and encourages them to look at the Citizens Climate Lobby, you'll know that I got a letter published and squashed my apathy in a tiny way.

Now, where is that congressman's phone number?

May our resolve outweigh our apathy, and may we not be distracted from our beliefs.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Cargo Bike Central: Two Bargains on Austin Craigslist

I've been sneaking in some little bike rides lately. And it feels good to be back on the bike. Good enough that it keeps the dream alive to go car-free (or at least much more car-lite.) But giving up the hauling capacity of the pickup would be tough. Giving up the gas station, however, would be downright joyful. So I keep my eyes out for cargo bikes.

This week, I've found two big bargains, and one is even in my price range, both are too far away, though. So, hopefully one or two of you will be closer and in the market to begin your cargo bike adventure.

Big Bargain on a BIG Bike

There are actually two stories here. We'll talk about the bike first. This big ol' workhorse was built by Metrofiets in Portland. Check out the website to learn more. This one has the 8-speed internally geared rear hub. Oh so cool! And it is indeed a $4000 bike (before shipping) if you buy a new one. Be sure to check out the Metrofiets logo - it's not every day you see a winged elephant. At $1200, you will have a hard time finding a better deal, especially out here in Texas.

A whole lot of bike for only $1200!

The second story here is how this bike has spent its life. It's been a carbon neutral carbon-negative company truck for Compost Pedallers in the state capital. If you don't know Austin, it's a place that doesn't really fit the Texas mold. They have a slogan - Keep Austin weird! This is a place that actually embraces a company that uses cargo bikes to collect household scraps to make compost. How cool is that?!! Carbon-neutral transportation used to collect and create a carbon-negative product. If we had a lot more of that, we would not be in the mess we are in. 

Bravo, Compost Pedallers!
(Loving that Surly Big Dummy! The bike - not the young lady)

The Other Great Deal

For those of you who aren't sure you want such a big beast or you're not ready to shell out four figures on a bike, check this next deal out. This one is like a BOGO deal. The bike is an Electra 18-speed cruiser -  a desirable thing in its own right. The cargo extension is an Xtracycle FreeRadical. And it's not unheard of to spend that much money on a used version of either. Yep, $175 is a great deal even if you factor in that this thing is pretty weathered.

The Stuff Mesquite Hugger dreams are made of!

This one has actually been featured on Mesquite Hugger before, and it cost $100 more then, but it was probably in better shape then.

May you and I both find the right tools to go carbon-free and may the Compost Pedallers and bike makers of the world thrive and help us get there.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Fossil Free Friday Videos: Monday Motorbikes and a DIY Electric Motorcycle

Okay, this is a very lazy FFF post, but there's some very good stuff here!

Just a preview of the last video (and a run-on sentence)
I stumbled across a couple of Monday Motorbikes videos which answered a few questions for I've had on battery removal and such. (However, I am still unsure about the voltage - two 33 volt packs?) They are definitely worth watching and helped me to appreciate this thing even more. If you are confused about the name, these are from way back in the past when they still called it the Bolt Motorbike.

And finally, here's a video from a crazy German guy who builds an electric motorcycle on almost no budget whatsoever. I won't give too much away, but I love his very simple approach to mounting the electric motor on the old bike. (For those of you with sensitive eyes and ears, there's one cuss word on the video, and I completely agree with the sentiment surrounding it!) Enjoy!

(Please wear a helmet when you ride.)
(This post is dedicated to all of those lovely folks at Exxon who bring us destruction, denial, and Rex Tillerson.)
May we continually choose better and maybe have a little fun along the way.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


Sunrise over Lubbock

Yes, the world is changing, even here at Mesquite Hugger

There's been a struggle lately with what is worthwhile. This blog has been loosely built on finding fun, creative, and (hopefully) enjoyable ways for the individual to go green. It was never intended to be a bicycle blog or an electric vehicle blog. Honestly, my original vision was for it to be more of a West Texas nature and natural culture blog. I had hoped to spend more time seeking out the wilderness around me and pointing out that natural beauty can be found even in a place considered by most to be lifeless and devoid of beauty. (Obviously, that's not where it has ended up.)

Since the recent US presidential election and the president elect's cabinet nomination choices, writing about topics like recycling at home, riding a bike to work, rescuing turtles, and wanting weird little electric cars all seem really insignificant.

By looking at men like Rick Perry, Rex Tillerson, Myron Ebell, Scott Pruitt, Jeff Sessions, Trump is sending a very clear picture that he could not care less about any possible preservation of the natural world and its ability to support life for any of its inhabitants. I see a man concerned only with exploitation for profit with little or no thought of the consequences of his actions. And that terrifies me in light of how many billions of lives will be impacted by his actions and those of his staff.

May we find ways to deal with the significant while maintaining and improving our humanity.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Green Green Car on Ebay! (MH Drool)

I know that not all of you read Mesquite Hugger because you want to be a Mesquite Hugger. Some of you read because you (like me) are infatuated with a little wedge-shaped electron burner from Florida called the "Citicar" or the "Comuta Car" depending on when or by whom it was built. Teslas and BMW i8's and such are fine for you normal folk, but some of us have a taste for the rare, the vintage, the slow, and the ugly! (I think there are three of us. So today's post is for us three!)

Love those tiny bumpers!

The Citicar is a significant piece of electric car history. Actually, it was the most successful American electric car in history until the Tesla came along. Not bad for such an unassuming little beast.

All the info
The exciting part is that this one looks a bit nicer than most, like it hasn't spent its life being neglected in someone's backyard. And it's green! And it's got some rocking hubcaps! And it just needs batteries! (They all need batteries.)
The drawbacks (for me) are that it's half-a-country away (Beaverton, Oregon) and that it costs money. Sure it looks like a reasonable amount of money, but that doesn't put it in the range of a guy who is saving his pennies to try to buy a budget model e-bike. So I am sharing it with you other two people in case you have a bigger budget and you want to give this beauty a loving home.

I could sit close to my lovely wife (if she'd be seen in the beast)

Road trip to Beaverton!

Cool old Ford in the garage too
May we all dream of greener options! (And follow through with our dreams.)

Friday, December 9, 2016

Fossil Free Friday: 2 More DIY Oddball E-Bike options

Two bikes that have snared a lot of attention lately on Mesquite Hugger are the Super 73 and the Monday Motors M-1 (formerly the Bolt.) And I can definitely see why. Both hearken back to a childhood hot rod spirit while also filling the bill for people who are tired of trashing the earth for their own personal transport and fun. Kind of a best-of-both-worlds thing for considerably less commitment than a Tesla.

Another part of their appeal (for me at least) is this sense of DIY adventure. I can hear the voice of the Rusty saying over coffee, "Oh yeah, we could build that. That sounds like a great project." (Rusty, Lubbock already misses you and that let's-build-the-crap-out-of-it glint in your eye.) Shoot, I already built an electric minibike and have gathered up all the pieces for an electric moped. This is a do-able thing, people.

Apparently, we are not the only ones who think so. As evidence, I offer up the Luna Banana and the HopMod.
The Luna Banana (for you Super 73 fans)

Since Grizz ordered the Sondors bike, I have been paying a lot more attention to the offerings from Luna Cycles. Recently, a pair of maxi-minibike variations have popped up on their website. The Luna Banana (pedal only model) is a big kid dream come true - a big honking minibke you can pedal around on. If I lived near a boardwalk, I'd much rather be the dork on this thing than a nerd on a fat bike or a dweeb on a beach cruiser. It's got an 8-speed drivetrain and disk brakes at both ends. Pretty cool stuff! And, it has lots of room for batteries and motors and all kinds of good stuff. (Or you could just pedal it around, which would not be a bad thing at all.) Lots more info below:

For those of you with fewer ambitions or less time or more money, you can also buy one that's already impressively electrified:

On top of all these things, Luna can upgrade you to a much bigger motor and a much bigger battery for $325. That's a massive amount of power and range for this maxi-mini. (Make sure your emergency room insurance is paid up!) But in comparison with lots of other bikes out there, this thing is pretty inexpensive. And you can get it in red, white, or black - your three favorite colors! Nope, it's not the cargo-bike-of-my-dreams, but it may be just the thing for the hooligan you want to be.

The HopMod (for you Monday MotorBikes fans and for my buddy FlatTracker 23)
Okay, so you're not into the minibike thing as much as the BMX/flat-track/motocross/hot-rod/moped thing. The HopMod may be right up your two-wheeled alley. It's early in the Kickstarter phase right now.
Yep, this might look easier to put together than the Indigan moped kit for the DIY M-1 post. A lot of thought has gone into making this frame a universal platform with lots of room for personalization, and batteries and a motor. And you can get it in three stages of development:
Just a frame
Pledge Level 1

Frame and electric mid-drive setup
Pledge Level 2
The whole enchilada (and it does come painted)
Pledge Level 3
Once again, that's a whole lot of bike for the money, and this one comes from deep in the heart of Texas - San Antonio to be exact. For you nearby readers, this is your chance to shop local. (Remember the Alamo, Pee Wee!)
May you adopt your dream green vehicle, and may it be a joyous and earth-saving thing!
PS. Thanks (once again) to for the heads-up on the HopMod!

News from the Texas Capital: Cargo and Electric Bikes

Austin Bike Farm Website (Lots of cool stuff!)

Recently I wrote about seeing a Yuba Mundo in person in Dallas. I didn't get to sit on it or ride it, but it was quite huge, like really big, like it-might-need-its-own-zip-code type of massive. And that's had me (possibly) looking a little smaller -  that means midtail cargo bikes. My Top 3 on midtails: the Kinn, the Yuba Boda Boda V3, and then there's the exotic Benno Bike. But the only one of those available somewhat locally is the Yuba. Or at least, it was.

A Very Cool Mid-Tail Cargo Bike (Available in Austin)

Very cool bike, but that $4000 price tag definitely scared me away initially

Then I found pricing on the non-motorized version and started looking again.

But then there's the $999 Yuba Mundo V4 and the electrified RadWagon for $1599 plus shipping.

$200 Cheaper on Craigslist! (It's a good thing I've spent all my money on Christmas presents!)

Indeed, it's good to have choices!

An Electric Bike Shop (also in Austin)

While I was poking around the ol' internet looking at the Benno Bikes, I also ran across Rocket Electrics. It's a place that sells mid-to-high-end electric bikes: Easy Motion, Faraday, Felt Electric, Juiced Riders, and Pedego. Some are names that you may have seen here on Mesquite Hugger, especially Juiced Riders

They offer lots of cool bikes. They even rent electric bikes. If you find yourself in Austin, you can rent one and zip around the Zilker Park area. Not a bad way to find out if you want an electric bike or what you want in an electric bike.

Yep, Free Delivery in our very big state - that's quite a bonus
for us Texans out here in the sticks.

So, if you live in New Mexico/Louisiana/Oklahoma, this is not such a big deal, but if you live in my neck of the woods, free delivery and setup in Texas is a pretty big deal (for a mesquite hugger who lives almost seven hours away from their shop.) Texas is a mighty big place!

The next time I'm in Austin, you know two places I'll be stopping by. (Let's hope it goes better than my trip to Small Planet E-bikes in Dallas.)

May you find yourself in a place where green transportation is easily accessible and readily available.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Recent Texas Tech Grad on Years of Living Dangerously

I've been working my way through Season 2 of Years of Living Dangerously on Hulu. Episode 6 held a very nice surprise for me - there was Jordan Vogel right there on my TV! "Jordan who?" you may ask.

Meet Jordan!
Jordan was the leader of the Lubbock Chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby until he graduated last spring. My wife and I worked with Jordan and a hand full of others to spread the word locally about our approach to tackling climate change (and a collection of related societal and economic issues.)

Jordan has worked with the CCL locally and in Washington, DC

(Actress) Nikki Reed, Jordan Vogel, and activist friends

You know it's a big deal when a Hollywood star calls you a badass!
Years of Living Dangerously Season 2 Preview - Arnold style!
So Lubbock folks, if you've not yet seen an episode of Years of Living Dangerously, Season 2 Episode 6 is right up your alley. And if that's not enough, you can see footage shot in Lubbock and Plainview in Season 1, Episode 1 (Free on youtube) with TTU's own Dr. Hayhoe. Either way, you can't go wrong!
Episode available in many formats
May we tackle international challenges locally, nationally, and everywhere we can make our voices be heard!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Fossil-Free Friday: Bargain Electric BMX? Woohoo!

Yep, you read it right - electric BMX bikes are now hitting the market, and this very promising machine can (temporarily) be bought down in the Mesquite-Hugger price range - $600-700!
And it doesn't even look like an e-bike. Where's the 24 volt battery? (in the frame downtube) Where's the 250/350 watt motor? (in the rear wheel) Where's the 14/18 amp controller? (I have not figured that one out yet.)

A clean little machine! (another short video)
Avid brakes? Kenda tires? Samsung batteries? 35 pounds? Yes!

Want to learn more? Check it out here: E-BMX by Life EV and Prodecotech

As cool as this thing is, I have not plopped my money down on the Indiegogo campaign. I fear this would be me:

Even so, it's a very cool e-bike! Now, if they'll just build me a big-boy version in the same price range...
May your green transportation get you off the gas and not make you look like a blue elephant!
PS. Thanks to for the heads-up on the EBMX!