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Friday, July 23, 2010

Costco Run with the new trailer.

So I took the new trailer to Costco.

The normal way I ride to that part of town involves a shortcut down a fairly steep (but short) bank, then hopping a curb. I didn't really want to do that with an empty trailer, let alone full, so I went the long way around.

I don't yet have a feel for home much the trailer holds, so I went easy: a 36 pack of canned soda and a large bottle of laundry detergent were the primary items. I added a couple loaves of bread and a box of zip lock bags just because they were there.
The first Costco run
The weight was noticeable on the ride home. There are some "speed humps" on one street and when I was on the flat, the trailer was still rolling down the hump and I could feel it pushing me at bit.

Physically, I could have fit another 36-er of soda but then I probably would have had to strap the bread or something to the lid.  Once I get a bit more practice, I'll up the load.

The downside is, for my four items I still had to wait 20 minutes to check out.  If I was filling up a car rather than the trailer that wait time would be spread over more items and I'd have to make fewer trips. I guess I'll need to schedule my Costco runs a little earlier to miss the crowds.

Saturday it's a longer run to pick up veggies from the farm co-op.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A New Toy Device for Reducing My Carbon Footprint

I was invited to be a beta tester for a new bike trailer from BicycleR Evolution. That sounds more impressive than it is -- I was one of the first 50 to purchase the trailer at a reduced price, in return for proving feedback.

BicycleR Evolution makes the kit that converts the packing suitcase into a trailer, so that have lots of experience with Bike Friday (they are also in Eugene, OR). The trailer is basically a 27 gallon plastic tub on an aluminum frame.

When the trailer arrived all the pieces were packed in the tub. I am a software guy, I try to avoid anything requiring the use of physical tools. (How many programmers does it take to change a light bulb? None, it's a hardware problem) My college roommate once threatened to break my arms if I ever picked up a soldering iron again (I haven't).  That being said, the trailer was a snap to put together. I was going to take pictures as I went, but before I knew it I was done.  It would have been easier if I had a socket driver with English sockets (my set is metric) but I made do with a crescent wrench.

The trailer, unassembled.

EcoShopper Trailer all ready to go.

With the trailer ready to go I decided to ride over to the local grocery store and stock up. I have never ridden with a trailer before. I really didn't notice it at all except when going over speed bumps in the parking lot.

They advertise that you can take the trailer in the store with you and use it as a shopping cart. I didn't. I wasn't sure the best way to lock it so I just ran my cable thru the gaps in the wheel. Somebody could disassemble the trailer and make off with it (less one wheel) but I figured that wouldn't probably happen in broad daylight in Marina del Rey.

Locking it was a bit of a challenge
I wanted test it somewhat loaded so I bought three 2L bottles of soda and 10 half liter bottles flavored fou-fou water that was on sale. Throw in 3 pounds of frozen stuff and a couple of pounds of Clif Bars (they were on sale) and I figured I had a good test weight.

Full of groceries and ready to go.
Going home I took the long way around -- a bit more distance but less traffic. I didn't want to attempt moving thru LA rush hour traffic with a big weight behind me.

Going home I did notice the weight (no jackrabbit starts) but the trailer tracked smoothly behind me.

Closeup of the groceries.
Later this week are a couple big tests: First a COSTCO run. It's only about 2.5 miles (maybe a bit longer if I go a quieter way) but that is quite a bit farther than the grocery store. Then on Saturday it's a 10-12 mile round trip ride to pickup fruits and veggies at the local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group I joined. I have no idea how big the "box" of veggies will be, but probably larger than my panniers so the trailer should work great. I'll report back on the weekend.