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Move By Bike!

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 23

Last October I built myself a rather fetching bicycle trailer.  This summer I used that bad boy to move every single thing I owned from one part of Somerville down the street about a mile to another part of Somerville.  And let me tell you, it was SO MUCH FUN!!!

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As you can see I moved EVERYTHING.  Books, plants, random stuff, furniture, my bed, everything.  The trailer was rock solid, even with several hundred pounds of books in boxes in the back.  There were hills, there were pot holes, there were tight turns, not a single thing fell out.  From a purely mechanical aspect everything was top notch.  When I built the trailer I was worried that it’s weak point would be the hitch connection, and it did get a little stress, but it held up well.  I am going to get a steel plate and bolt it through the first couple rows of cross bars, just to put my mind to rest for future moves.

The whole business took about 4 days, I made about 4 trips a day (sometimes a bit more), the pace was relaxed and I never got too wore out, or too sore from doing everything at once.  I took about a week, but if I had to I could have done it all in a weekend.

This is my second cargo bike move, but the first one I ever did by myself.  People smiled at me from the side of the road, and even from cars. I had a great time and would totally do it again!

 


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New Bike Kitchen Co-Op In Somerville

Written by Boston Biker on May 11

This sounds awesome!  A bike co-op where you can use the tools, and the collective information of the folks around you for a very reasonable price.

About

The Somerville Bike Kitchen (SBK) is a bicycle repair cooperative where members of the community can repair their own bikes, learn about about bike repair and attend bike events. The SBK located in a 190 sq. ft. space just outside of Davis Sq. The space is managed by four volunteer staff members and is open to the public and members for drop-in hours one night a week.

Hours

Presently, the space is open to the public and members from 6pm to 9pm every Tuesday evening. We are just getting started and are working toward having having more drop-in hours. Bike stands and tools are available on a first come first serve basis.

 

more info on their website.


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How To Build A 1000$ Bicycle Trailer For $450

Written by Boston Biker on Oct 24

I have always wanted a huge ass bicycle trailer.  Something I can pile improbable amounts of stuff on, something I can use to grab dumpster dived treasures, something I could move to a new apartment with.  Something that can transport all my dreams!  In short something like this.

There is only one problem…I don’t have $975 (plus shipping) to blow on a bike trailer.  For that kind of money I could buy a really nice road bike, or you know, eat food and pay rent.

But as so often is the case,where there is a will there is a way.  After looking at this picture for a while:

This beautiful trailer can transport 600lbs of anything you wish to put onto it…the only problem is it costs nearly $1000.

I had a dream, a dream that would become this:

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5oolbs of carrying capacity for only $450!!!!

Not only was 1/2 the cost, but it was fall off a log easy to construct!

I started off my journey thinking that I could take an aluminum ladder, and mount some wheels on it.  And you know what I could have done that, and it would have worked, and it wouldn’t have been too bad.  But it would have been a lot less beefy, and I wanted beefy.  I wanted something that would carry a stack of 2×4’s, or a bunch of boxes of stuff, or a kitchen table, something with a contained cargo area, and something that would look nice.  so I kept thinking.

I knew I wanted it to be aluminium, it would be light, strong, rust proof, and wouldn’t require welding.  I wanted it to be an awful lot like that $975 Bikes At Work trailer.

While combing their website for pictures to get ideas, I saw that they actually sold most of the accessories I would need to make a cheaper trailer, if only I could find the perfect trailer bed.

So I went to Google and typed in “extruded aluminium” and low and behold this bad boy popped up on amazon.

 

20141024_130314I started reading…aluminum check, strong check, 500lb load limit check, side rails check, and bless my nippers the perfect size…no really like absolutely perfect to interface with all the accessories I was going to buy from Bikes At Work.

If that wasn’t enough, the stars had aligned to provide me with $300 of cash I wasn’t expecting.  Making the final cost for this entire thing a scant $150 out of my pocket.  It was a sign.

I ordered one and it was here in three days, took about half an hour to assemble.  The only changes I made to the design was I removed the trailer hitch (didn’t need that), which involved simply pulling it out and setting it aside.

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I also moved the included reflectors from the side to the back, as they would do a lot more good back there.

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Moving the reflectors was as easy as swapping a two holed piece of aluminum, with a one hole piece.  All you need to assemble this cargo rack is a screw driver, and an adjustable wrench, it comes with all the hardware you will need.

Next up was the accessories needed to turn what was supposed to be attached to the back of an SUV, to the back of my bike.

Here is what I ended up buying from Bikes At Work:

 

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The entire works (this is the box the cargo carrier came in, all these parts were actually packed in a very tiny box)

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The entire list (buy it all here):

Bicycle trailer axle $60

Bicycle trailer hitch $50

Trailer hitch pin $4

Towbar $120

tubes for tires $7

Tires $26

Rims with bearings $85

With shipping the entire thing came to $370 + $80 for the cargo holder (it was on sale when I got it) = ~$450.

Now the fun part, putting it all together!

First thing I did was bust out my air pump and tire levers and assemble the wheels.

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Easy, but if you have never assembled a tire to a rim simply search youtube for many good videos.

 

Next I got the axle and measured for the mounting holes to hold it to the base.  The axle comes pre-drilled with the two holes and the hardware you will need to mount it, all you need to do is drill the correct sized hole in the base of the cargo holder.  Aluminum is soft, and I used a hand drill (not even an electric one) and was done in a couple minutes.

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The axle fits perfectly into the hole left from the trailer hitch bar.  Simply center, measure, and drill.  Its easier if you leave the larger side panels off for this, as it allows you to get in there with the drill easier.

 

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Center the axle (doesn’t have to be perfect, but does have to be the same on both sides so the axle is straight, could have just as easily shoved it to one side)

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Move the axle back and forth until the same out sticks out of both sides, mark with a marker.

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Flip the cargo holder back over, measure how far in the mounting hole goes from that mark.

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Measure that far in and drill a hole large enough to hold the bolt that comes with the axle. To be clear you drill the hole in the top of the cargo holder, not the underside, there is no need to alter the underside.  Take extra care on this step as its the one of only two parts you are going to alter, measure 4-5 times, drill once.  The extra time you spend will keep your trailer with a minimum of extra holes in it.

20141024_154430Drop the bolt into the hole.  Do the same on the other side.

Next up you need to mount the axle.  Put the cargo holder top side up on a table, and look through the hole, line up the bolts with the hole and affix the nuts.

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The bolts handing from the top.

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The axle mounted with the nuts attached.  I found it easy to hold the nuts with pliers while cranking the nut above with an adjustable wrench
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Get them nice and snug.  The nice thing about both the cargo holder, and the accessories is they both come with locking nuts that have an anti-vibration rubber gasket in them to keep them from working loose from vibration.  Did I mention that you wont need to buy a single nut or bolt for this project, literally every single part you need comes included.

Next up attach the wheels.

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Attach the (included) spacer.

 

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Slide towards the cargo holder.

20141024_155830Slide on your assembled wheels (the bearings come already seated, no need to put them in!), and attach the (included) pin that keeps the wheels from sliding off.

Now the tricky part.  The Bikes at Work trailer hitch ALMOST fits perfectly on this rig, but you will need to make some minor adjustments.  Specifically you will need to cut four small holes into the end of the cargo holder that will hold the hitch (the end that doesn’t have the reflectors).

I used a dremel with a cutting disk, and while it was loud (where ear plugs) and dusty (use a breathing mask and safety goggles), it only took about 10 minutes and as aluminum is soft as butter was easy too.

The hitch comes with two mounting bars, but the included u-bolts to hold the hitch are not long enough to mount them without the cut outs.  The way the cargo trailer is built cutting larger cut outs would have potentially weakened it, which I didn’t want at this important connection.

You can see the finished product below.

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This is what it looks like from the front, you can see the two mounting bars are “inside” the beam.  They are actually mounted in a bit of overhang.  The square aluminum bar they are mounted into has a flange that sticks out for extra rigidity and I didn’t want to simply make cut outs that went all the way through the flange as I was worried it would buckle, or make a weak point, so I cut the slots as close to the main bar as I could without piercing it.  This way they set right up against the main bar, and leave as much as the flange intact as possible.

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The view from above showing how the bars are mounted back from the edge.  The flange actually starts right on the right side of the bars.  This allows the forward force from bicycle to be transferred right into the largest strongest part of the bar, rather than into the thing fragile flange system, while at the same time puts minimum strain on those flanges by only cutting out a small slot.

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A side view, you can see that the round hitch is simple centered in the middle of the bar (the top part is more flange), and then using all the (included) hardware clamped down.  Use these instructions (pdf) from Bikes at Work to see how the hitch bar attaches to the trailer (with some modifications of course).  You will have one small piece left over that was designed to interface with the BAW trailer, you can do whatever you want with it.

That’s it!  You just made a trailer my friend!  Next up just mount the bike half of the hitch with (the included) hardware.  Use these instructions (pdf) if you need help.

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Yes I am mounting it to my fixed gear, that’s the only bike I have right now.  I will buy a cheap mountain bike for this bad boy for really big jobs.

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This is the little magic mount that keeps your trailer rock solid, use the (included) hitch pin to attach to the trailer bar.

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Look at that beauty!

I did some testing and found that you might have to slightly bend the bottom of the pins that hold the wheels on to keep them from rubbing on the wheels (two seconds with a pair of pliers), you will also want to be careful about how you load the weight, as the pivot point is right in the middle, really heavy loads should be placed in the middle or the front, or even better distributed evenly throughout.

I rode around the neighborhood, taking tight turns, going off curbs, and even placing a bunch of boxes of heavy stuff in the back of the trailer, and I have to say, this thing is solid as a rock.  Nothing creaks, nothing shifts, nothing even makes noise.  Obviously I was limited to just the one gear, but even with the totally wrong gearing it was easy as pie to carry even heavy loads with this guy.  The weight is there yes, but you barely feel it, the hitch arm gives you acres of room for even tight turns, in short this trailer is my new favorite thing.  If you see someone hauling a shit load of stuff all over town with a crazy grin on their face, it might just be me.

I am so pleased with how easy this was!  If not for the extra $300 bucks I had come into I probably would have made this out of cheaper parts, but I didn’t and I am so happy with how rock solid all of this is.  I will post a followup in a couple weeks with what I have used it for.

 

Tool List:

dremel with cutting disk attachment

drill and drill bit

Phillips head screwdriver

adjustable wrench

pair of pliers

marker

ruler

eye protection

ear plugs

dust mask

Parts list:

Bicycle trailer axle

Bicycle trailer hitch

Trailer hitch pin

Towbar

tubes for tires (x2)

Tires (x2)

Wheel rim with bearings (x2)

Cargo Holder

Total Time To create:

3 hours

Total Cost:

$450 (minus the magic $300 I got = $150 for me)

Total Cargo Load:

500lbs

Outer Dimensions (including tow bar, and wheels):

70 inches long, 29 inches wide, 17 inches tall.

Total Cargo Space:

49 inches long, 23 inches wide, 6 inches tall (cargo can be loaded higher if you use tie downs, or boxes).

Extra hardware needed:

none.

 

Having a cargo trailer really opens up a world of options for the bicycle owner, I highly recommend building one if you ever carry big things.

Please do let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!

 

 

 

 


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Penny In Yo Pants!

Written by Boston Biker on Jul 07

A fun and easy solution to the accidental skirt flash when getting on your bike. Easy and cheap!


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Lane Control

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 12

dBeyzoq

Lets all build these and see how things go. I am going to guess people might get a bit peeved, but the point will come home. One person doesn’t need that much road space. RIDE A BIKE!


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Folding Bike Helmet

Written by Boston Biker on May 08

Hmmm…I never really had trouble figuring out what to do with my “old fashion” “non-folding” bike helmet. But this looks interesting.

And they claim it will meet crash test standards as well.

Before it can be sold in the U.S., it must meet safety standards set by the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Those tests measure the G-force of a helmet-covered fake head dropped onto anvils.

“The factory is building it to pass U.S. testing standards, but whilst we are in the preproduction stage, we can’t have official testing,” Woolf says in an e-mail. “The factory makes millions of helmets for the U.S. market each year and has the largest in-house helmet testing facility in the world, so they know the standards that they are going to need to meet.”

Read the rest here.


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What Does Everyone Think Of These?

Written by Boston Biker on Mar 07

More here.

 

I am torn…looks cool, also looks…fragile.


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Do You Hear That?!

Written by Boston Biker on Jan 14

 

That is the sound of my mind exploding right out of my head….amazing. This is fantastically useful knowledge my friends.


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The Word On The Street

  • RSS Here is what people are saying

    • Cars…Not So Good August 26, 2015
      Tweet NPR reported today that Boston ranks 6th!  Sixth!   Sadly it isn’t “Awesome Cities”, it was Cities with the highest level of time wasted in traffic.  We didn’t get here by accident.  It was years of decisions, choices we … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • test August 26, 2015
      Tweettest
      Boston Biker
    • Help Hubway Decide Where To Expand Next August 24, 2015
      TweetFrom The City: Since Hubway’s last expansion in Boston, we’ve received over 33,000 suggestions for station locations. Based on that input and consultation with community-based organizations, we have developed a range of station options for our 2015 expansion. We have … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Where should Hubway go next? August 24, 2015
      TweetBoston Bikes wants input on expansion of Hubway bike dock stations in Boston.  Fill out the survey to help place new stations in Brighton, Charlestown, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury/Franklin Park, and South Boston.  Looks like the Hubway bike network will be even … Continue reading →
      Liam
    • Where should Hubway go next? August 24, 2015
      TweetBoston Bikes wants input on expansion of Hubway bike dock stations in Boston.  Fill out the ssurvey to help place new stations in Brighton, Charlestown, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury/Franklin Park, and South Boston.  Looks like the Hubway bike network will be even … Continue reading →
      Liam
    • Nearly Doored; Passenger Good Enough to Apologize August 20, 2015
      TweetUsually I scan driver’s seat or the rear driver side seat to check for doors that might opening ahead of me. In this instance, a passenger in the rear reached over the seats to open the rear, driver-side door. I … Continue reading →
      yourstruly
    • Ghost Bike For Anita Kurmann August 19, 2015
      TweetA ghost bike will be placed where Anita Kurmann was killed by a driver in a truck last week.  The memorial will be Thursday Aug 20th at 6:30pm at the intersection of Mass. Ave. and Beacon st.
      Boston Biker
    • Ghost Bike For Anita Kurmann August 19, 2015
      TweetA ghost bike will be placed where Anita Kurmann was killed by a driver in a truck last week.  The memorial will be Thursday Aug 20th at 6:30pm at the intersection of Mass. Ave. and Beacon st.
      Boston Biker
    • Minute Man Maintenance August 17, 2015
      TweetJust a heads up, they are working on the path. All this week from 9:30am-2:30pm between Swan Place (Arlington Center) and Lake Street in Arlington.
      Boston Biker
    • Hubway Turns 4, Has Logged Over 4.6 Miles In Trips August 17, 2015
      Tweet If you take the 4 millionth trip you could win a prize!  From Hubway: Hubway’s launched with 60 stations and 600 bikes throughout Boston, and the first trip was taken on July 28th, 2011. In the last four years … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker