Spring Cleaning

April 6, 2011

With Spring at least arguably in the air, it is a good time for renewal, for the clearing away of accumulated detritus and the embrace of new things. As I have mentioned before, I am as a general question prone to the accumulation of detritus, and in no area is that disposition more manifest than in the realm of bicycles and bicycle repair. As a result, and to my darling wife’s great chagrin, the basements, storage rooms, and garages of places we’ve lived together have tended to fill up inexorably with bicycle frames and parts.

I am reluctant to call this a hoarding instinct. I accumulate bicycle parts with an end in mind, to wit, to rehabilitate bicycles, either for my own personal use or to give to friends. When I had no children, and even when I had only one child, this end was not merely aspirational: I routinely fixed and passed along bicycles, to the point where my wife often volunteered me for this service and would bring foreign grad students to our house and ask me to set them up with a ride for their semester in Boston. But since we moved to Connecticut with two kids in tow, that dream has largely gone unfulfilled. Burgeoning clutter has ensued (aided, I think, by the availability of a whole two-car garage).

On Monday night, I did something bold about this: A bike purge. I gathered up all the old frames, handlebars, seatposts, brake cables, and innumerable other sundries and piled them into the back of my truck. I even included my beloved Worksman cargo tricycle. (Why would I part with something I love so much? Because while it is cool, it is really really slow, and my boys are already getting big enough that they don’t fit too comfortably in the cargo area.) Here’s what the truck looked like:

A bin of small parts, too:

I took all of this to my friend Chris, the proprietor of Daily Rider Bike, LLC, and along with a bit of cash, traded it for this beauty:

Yes! It is a Yuba Mundo, a cargo bike capable of carrying loads of up to 440 pounds (in addition to the rider)! More importantly, it has an extended rear rack with a foot bar below that makes it ideal for carrying multiple children. And, it has 21 speeds, so it can go (moderately) fast, making it good for dropping off the aforementioned children at their respective schools and still getting to work on time. This is very exciting for me.

And it works! I took both boys to school yesterday and they were very very enthusiastic about getting to go so much faster than they had in the big, lumbering cart. Last night I took the bike out, sans children, to meet friends for drinks, and it was nice to ride. I gave Chris a ride from the bar to his house some five blocks away, and it was not too difficult. I could probably carry my whole family on this bicycle.

But really the best thing is that now I own three bicycles, they all work, and that’s it. There are no frames in various states of disassembly jostling in our garage. My cubbyhole of a basement work/artspace is beginning to shake off the disuse that came from a plague of wheels and handlebars. I can now admit that I will never run a bike shop (sigh) and embrace the things I can do: go on rambling bike adventures with my two boys; make art and fun, crafty things in my little workshop; fix the bikes I have when the break; and maybe, someday, park automobiles in the garage attached to my house.

Hooray for Spring!


3 Responses to “Spring Cleaning”

  1. Alice said

    Wowzie!!!!!! (So the skeleton of the Halloweenmobile is no more?)

  2. Brett said

    Nooo not the cargo trike! But, the new one looks awesome!

  3. bianca said

    sweet cargo bike Prez!

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