Yes, you heard it right, xtracycle is offering a sidecar, which will be available in ‘fall’. It’s a pretty vague delivery date, so instead of preordering I have signed up for notifications that it is in stock. I have been thinking about trying to build a sidecar myself to provide a transport solution for my dogs. The other option, buying a Gazelle Cabby or a Bullit, was going to be out of my budget for quite a long time.
Category Archives: Cargo bikes
We had all of our fundraising chocolates delivered to N’s office, so I had to go and get my half. The xtracycle comes in handy again! We will probably be shifting a lot of these chocolates in our bid to raise money for the Ride to Conquer Cancer.
After moving the chocolate from her office to mine, the Xtracycle and I went shopping. As I was trying to leave a guy asked me about it. I don’t want to be rude, but sometimes it’s a drag being a public relations officer for cargo bikes!
The good news is that in the first day of chocolate sales, I sold 19!
I rode the Xtracycle to work this morning, in anticipation of picking up a Big Parcel from the post office on the way home. They left the parcel at the most annoying post office in my area, it is only open until 5pm on weekdays and is not open on Saturdays. I had to get out of work an hour early to get there with a decent buffer of time.
On the way back through the city I saw a guy who was walking his bike with a rather large box balanced precariously on his handlebars. He shouted over at me ‘I could do with one of those today’! I had a second look at his bike – it didn’t even have a rear rack. I figured if he had a rack he could at least have strapped the box to it. I think it was one of those ‘form over function’ bikes that look cool but fall down when expected to serve in unexpected ways. There is a reason why all my bikes (except the Giant TCR) have racks.
The post office wasn’t overly busy and I got my package from Bike 24. It contained my latest upgraded bits for my Surly Long Haul Trucker – a prebuilt Mavic 317-Shimano DH-3N72 26″ wheel (for a princely sum of 83,95 EUR), and a Busch & Muller Lumotech Cyo N Plus LED 175QNDi, and a Busch & Muller 4D’ Toplight Senso Multi LED Rear Light. When the woman behind the counter lifted the box I heard some rattling sounds. The box, while bulky, was pretty light and mainly empty.
I had to go grocery shopping after that, I got mainly fruit and vegetables as well as a fair few cans (baked beans and canned tomatos were on special).
When I loaded up the bike and got on I realised the groceries were significantly heavier than the Bike24 box, and I think I looked a bit silly riding leaned over to compensate for the weight.
I installed the new wheel and lights on the Surly this evening, and will start to test them out tomorrow. It was great to take the xtracycle out and haul things with it. There’s a certain sense of self-satisfaction (or smugness) that comes with cargo biking that is hard to beat!
The xtracycle is my cargo-hauler. They are also known as SUBs or Sport-Utility-Bicycles. I like the term “longtail” also, as there are now more of these style of bikes on the market. For example the Yuba Mundo.
I use it for grocery shopping fortnightly, and have transported bulky and awkward loads like flatpacked furniture, eskies, outdoor chairs, and even other bikes. It attracts a lot of attention when we are out and about – a lot from kids who would like to be able to transport all their stuff independently, and also more random people who aren’t bike-types, yet. The pairing with the STP makes it look tough and utility like which seems to add to it’s appeal.
Back when I bought the freeradical frame in 2009, the Australian Dollar was not very strong against the US Dollar. If it was, I might have just gone for a Radish or a Big Dummy. I was on a budget though so I ordered the freeradical, and was going to decide which bike to bolt it onto when it arrived. I had an idea of bolting it to the back of my long-suffering Malvern Star, which I stripped down in anticipation, but in the end, I decided my Giant STP2 dirt jumper, which was not getting ridden now I had moved back into the city, was a better option because it had disc brakes, super strong wheels (Sun Rhynolites), and a low top tube so I could use it as a step-through when required because of a passenger or higher load on the back.
I did have some problems with this arrangement though. The suspension forks on the STP were too soft and didn’t have a lock out so any kind of climbing out of the saddle or hard braking had a disturbing ‘pogo’ effect. I swapped them out for some second hand rigid forks, but these forks are not quite long enough, resulting in a lower bottom bracket height, which means pedal strikes when cornering happen if I am not paying attention. The solution here may be a different crankset. I need a bigger ring on the front for downhill or unloaded riding, as the STP only has a 46 – this would be an opportunity to get a different crankset with shorter crank arms, and maybe downgrade from the big chunky downhill cranks that the bike has on it now.
The STP had low end Shimano running gear, and the Acera derailluer coupled with the Alivio combo brake & shifter levers struggle with the length of cable pull to the back. I have since upgraded the rear derailluer to Deore XT, and while this has improved matters, the shifter still causes issues as it cannot change more than one gear at a time. If you accidentally try to shift two, it will only shift one and then slip when you put pressure on the pedals. As the rear end is 8-speed I am starting to think friction shifting would be the most reliable way to go here, so I am looking for a good quality but also reasonably priced friction shifter option.
The bars on the STP are also excessively wide. At first I liked them for extra leverage while riding loaded but now I want to go narrower. I am thinking about some backsweep too as I am finding the hand position on the hoods or drops is most comfortable for me, and that is similar to bars with backsweep.
In terms of cargo bikes, I think the xtracycle has a good capacity, and I don’t think I would be able to pull any more weight anyway. I am a diminutive sort, being a whole 158cm tall, and don’t have the power output of a lot of cyclists out there. I think for the xtracycle to be a true car killer for the masses, electric assist might be a deal maker.
In writing this blog post I realise I have not taken as many ‘epic loads on the cargo-bike’ photos as I should have. Hopefully in the near future this will change, and I’ll post some more about my cargo bike adventures, and any modifications I make to the rig along the way.