Saturday, October 21, 2017

Saturday Morning, Pedaling, Good Heartache, a great talk, and a skinny dog in a cargo bike

It's been a good week!

Bronchitis, a less than-impressive back, lots of rain, and mediocre e-bike building skills made this summer a less-than stellar time for mesquite hugger bike commuting. But things have been looking up this fall. This week I hit my standard weekly goal for bike commuting - 60% of my commute was done on a standard bicycle. (And that makes life better when you're me.)

I've also been pro-actively seeking a better outlook. [Feel free to skip down to the next paragraph - not much to see here.] I don't seek out news until after 9am. I've spent more time with a pen or a book in my hand and less with a phone in my hand. Did I mention that I spent more time on a bike? I've been making lists and marking things off the lists. And (most important) I've deliberately spent time with the people I love. Plus, I've scratched the dogs a lot.

It may sound simplistic, but simplistic works better and better for me.

Yesterday, in my quest to mentally ingest good stuff, I watched a Ted Talk that inspired me and turned the corners of my mouth up. It also broke my heart a bit. It'll shock you, but it was about the healthy changes that come about when people choose to pedal.

If you want to learn about the Amazing Ways Bicycles Change You, watch the whole thing - I highly recommend it! If you want to see my good heartache, skip forward to 15:55 and watch to the end.

Around 1994 I was blessed to adopt a 9-month-old greyhound named Patience, and for the next 25 years greyhounds napping on the couch would be a permanent permanent and joyful fixture in our home.

So there I was watching the TedTalk when the speaker went to video and showed himself cruising along on his bakfeits cargo bike while his beloved greyhound napped happily on her own mobile couch. Yep, sometimes heartaches are good. Anthony, may you and Lucy (who looks a lot like our Condo who passed away last year) pedal a lot of happy, healthy miles!

And may you, dear reader, find some healthy choices that make life better for all and make life especially better for our four-footed family members.

Bonus greyhound posts:

Friday, October 20, 2017

Fossil Free Friday Minipost - Crazy EV Trike in Dallas

Just wow! Batmobile looks, long EV range, solar-paneled rear wing, wheelie bars, can be used as a dragster or a daily rider! (And the thing is surrounded by lots of glorious mesquite trees!)

I ran across it on Dallas Craigslist. There's no price. There's obviously a lot of time, money, and (possibly) love in this wild machine.

May your ride be swift, quiet, low-carbon, and far from boring!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Tiny House for the DIY Challenged - A Visit to the Amazon

Okay, you know who you are (or you will figure it out some time soon.)

In case you haven't figured it out, here's a quick quiz to help you figure it out.

Check all that apply:
  • You have more than ten unfinished projects.
  • People ask, "What the !@#$ is that?" when they see your finished projects.
  • You work (at your day job) all the time.
  • Your photo is on Home Depot's We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone poster.
  • Your family staged an intervention and canceled your subscriptions to Mother Earth News, Make, Instructables, and Pinterest.
  • You only need one more punch on your card for a free visit to the local emergency room.
  • Your significant other and/or HOA has served you a Cease-and-Desist-Doing-it-Yourself letter.
If you even thought about clicking one of those, you probably don't need to build your own tiny house, but there's still hope for you living tiny:

Heating, A/C, and a toilet - what more could you need?

Maybe some torch lights, a dishwasher, and a fire extinguisher...

Home, Sweet Shipping Container
To be fair, I have to mention that there are lots of other prefab tiny house options out there. A little oogling will not only reveal those, but will probably net you a local builder that'd be happy to put one together for you. (A few years ago, one was built in my neighborhood by a local builder for a similar price.)
To get you started, here's an Inhabitat article from last year with some quirky, tasty, and downright inexpensive options for you.
Green Magic Homes (Check out the elephants on the website)
I like the hobbit house, but I really don't like the idea of mowing the roof or waking up next to a prairie dog.
Actually, I really, really like the Arched Cabins from way-south Texas. If we ordered up a 24' x 60', could we still call it a "tiny" home? My wife really likes shipping container architecture, so maybe a square house and a pointy/archy garage? Now if I could find a pointy/archy garage with free Prime shipping, then we'd be talking!
May whatever you live in suit your needs and tread very, very lightly upon our earth!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Procrastinating a Starter

This morning, I rode the old Huffy cruiser to a coffee house where I am writing this post to procrastinate what I dread - putting a new starter in my wife's car.

What fun!

I need to go spend $150 on a starter, jack the thing up in the air, lie on my back on the ground, and change the part. Then I need to put the thing back on the ground, make sure the problem is fixed, and take the old starter back for a refund on the core. It really shouldn't be that bad. 

But I have a bad attitude. I've come to hate working on things that run on gasoline. And I'm not a big fan of doing so while lying on the ground.

I'd so much rather be working on a bicycle or the electric Pigeon. Shoot, I'd much rather be riding a bike (or an electric Pigeon).

May we reach a day where we're not paying for gasoline things to make our world a dirtier, less healthy, less friendly place.

For now, it's time to pedal to the parts store, and get to work, snagit! (At least I'll get to ride the bike there.)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

No-Weld, DIY Longtail Cargo Bike Frames

You know the Mesquite Hugger approach - always looking for a better way to haul stuff without burning any gas or much money. This one started like oh so many bad ideas around here at MH, with a very cheap Craigslist ad:

Novara is an REI house-brand.
First, the photo went to Photoshop.
Then, the frame pieces went into Powerpoint.

Various revisions came into play.

Then I went back to look at some of my favorite cargo bike designs - the EdgeRunner, the Mundo, and the RadWagon.
A slightly revised design rose up.

And here is where it ended up: (with RadWagon for comparison)

But the practical brain kicked in - I remembered all of the unfinished projects I still have lying about, and decided not to go buy the $10 frame.
For those of you who are intrigued:
If you have more time than money and see the beauty in a cargo bike, the No-Weld, DIY Cargo Bike Frame is a pretty legitimate way to go. It's an idea that's been floating around for a while, mostly inspired by the XtraCycle FreeRadical/Leap.
The Original - the Xtracycle FreeRadical
(Ignore the price - it's a VERY old ad.)
There're basically two schools of thought:
  1. Split-up a full suspension mountain bike frame and find a way to add some length to the middle (like my little almost-project above).
  2. Add the back swingarm portion of a full-suspension mountain bike to another complete bike frame. (See below.)
One of my favorite examples!
(Find it and many others in this MTBR Forum)
Lots more can be found in this Endless-Sphere thread
The Homemade Xtracycle (blog post with lots of good detail)
Feeling inspired? If so, start looking around for a bike that looks like this (and costs very little):
(That rear section is the main ingredient you need for the three bikes above.)
 May we be successful in finding super-low-carbon transport to fit our budgets in both time and money.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Fossil Free Friday - (Shut up and) Pedal!

Something cool happened a few nights ago - I got to talk to another blogger who writes about life on a bike.

I posted recently about the loneliness of blogging or hugging mesquite or something like that, but here I was talking with a guy I know rather well even though we'd never met or spoken.

Talking to Bob, I realized a couple of things.

  • I don't know anyone (here in Lubbock) who commutes on a bike
  • I don't know anyone local who blogs about similar stuff
  • I need to shut up and ride.

So, today I am posting one of Bob's more recent posts to encourage you to ride. All you really need is a bike. (Thanks, Bob! Great talking to ya! Keep spreading the magic!)

May somebody, somewhere encourage you to do something clean and green and good for your soul! (And may no one actually encourage you to shut up!)

Monday, October 2, 2017

A Cargo Bike Bargain (or two) this Month

[Yes, I know, it's a sickness - this desire to use a cargo bike as a tool to burn less carbon. Oh, well.]

So, you've read the 400 or so Mesquite Hugger Cargo Bike (Dreaming) posts, and you, too, want a cargo bike, but you haven't yet found a suitable bargain to reel you into your practical dream. Well, this one might do it - especially if you've already got a nice 26" donor bike that just won't haul enough of your precious stuff.

Yep, it's $300 off of one of the most-respected longtail frames out there - that puts it down in the Xtracycle Leap (kit) price range. (And, personally, I love the green color too.)
Speaking of Xtracycle, they have some nice sales going on, too:
Look at all those Xtracycle savings out there!
I'd love to have the $1749 EdgeRunner 24D, but not when there's a Mundo LUX frameset out there for $699.
Weird Cargo Bike sidebar:
If you find yourself looking for a movie where you get to see multiple cargo bikes riding around San Francisco, a tiny house built by a former-football-hero-hobbit, and one of the best cat-turned-human actor portrayals ever, check out the IndieGoGo-ed film Unleashed.
No, it's not Citizen Kane, but if you are the same particular brand of eco-dork-pet-adopting-nerd-household as we are at Casa de Mesquite Hugger, you might just enjoy it!
A still from the YouTube Trailer. (Look for an EdgeRunner and a Boda Boda too.
Well, there's your cargo bike fix.
May choices better than burning gas be appealingly available. (And may you choose them!)