Tagpassenger

My cargo bike is my Social Network

Stefano and I are on our way to AMC East (Streeterville) from Pilsen to see the Japanese movie, “Sword of Desperation” (ask me about it).

As I silently predicted, Stefano’s bike got a flat, in Greektown, less than half of the way to the theater. (I predicted this based on my knowledge of how little he cares for his bicycle.)

Immediately, our plan was to fix the flat. I’m the only one anyone can trust to carry tools, but I forgot the wrench to remove the wheel* (actually, the Transportation Security Administration stole it from me at O’Hare airport). So, I proposed to Stefano two choices:

  1. Take two buses, 8 and 66, meet me there and be late for the movie
  2. Take a ride on the Yuba Mundo and we’ll arrive at the same time and probably be on time for the movie

Stefano chose option two and locked his bike to a bike rack. I gave him the rules and he hopped on.

The rules of Yubering are:

  • Sit as close to the operator as possible. This brings the center of gravity closer to where I’m used to it.
  • Try not to move – you can affect my balance.
  • Hold on to the passenger’s handlebar – this helps keep you from moving, and falling off.
  • Stay in constant communication with the operator – I like to know what’s going on. This is mainly just for the sake of conversing and to be lively, happy, and social.
  • Use your hand to signal turns on my behalf. I have a lot of weight to handle so it’s best if I keep both hands on the handlebar.

A ride like this doesn’t come without streetside commentary. (Read what people have said in the past.)

A slightly drunk woman in a taxicab at Lake Street and Canal Street said, “What happens if he [the operator] farts?” Uhh…

So we got to the movie theater at 9:59. Stefano ran in to buy tickets. As this movie was part of the Chicago International Film Festival, there were no previews. I locked up and went inside. We missed about four minutes of the movie.

Now, for the ride home.

Stefano’s bike is still locked up in Greektown and he lives in Pilsen. Knowing that the Yuba Mundo has no cargo limits, I propose we go pick up the bike and I take him and the bike home.

It was a rousing success!

And the commentary didn’t stop. After a two-hour visit to Timothy O’Toole’s, around 3 AM, a young man in a sports car on Adams Street slows down to match our speed and says, to Stefano, “So are you really riding his bike carrying a bike? Wow

YES! That’s exactly what’s happening. Not sure what he said after that. I had to concentrate on riding the bike. This was the highlight of my night.

It took a while to get home as I had to go slow, but it was fun. We were able to have uninterrupted conversations. Bicycling is The Real Social Network. Carrying a passenger makes it just a bit easier to communicate. The Yuba Mundo makes every ride a blast.

*I now realize that removing the wheel to fix a flat is unnecessary, but I didn’t think of this at the time. If we did repair the flat, this whole experience never would have happened.

More photos below the fold.

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Bike passengers, an update on the rules

You read in “Passenger is the new cargo” about how carrying a passenger is the hot new bike accessory.

Someone in Portland received a citation (back in 2007) for carrying a passenger. And he retained a lawyer to fight it.

The Oregon Revised Statute (814.460) seems more detailed than the Chicago Municipal Code (9-52-090), but carrying a passenger is a-okay.

Sort of: according to the defendant’s lawyer, it will be easiest to win a case if the bicycle was advertised as being able to carry a passenger (like Yuba Mundo, XtraCycle, JoeBike, Madsen, and pretty much every Dutch bike).

Read the full story on BikePortland.org.

Check out the Illinois Compiled Statute on the matter (11-15-1503):

(a) A person propelling a bicycle shall not ride other than upon or astride a permanent and regular seat attached thereto. (b) No bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped, except that an adult rider may carry a child securely attached to his person in a back pack or sling [emphasis added].

I wonder what the motivation was behind adding the language in bold.

Not busy? Check out Marc’s 700+ photos of passengers on bikes in the Netherlands.

Passenger is the new cargo

Did you know that people carry their kids, friends, spouses, and parents on bikes?

I carried my first passenger in April 2010 on my trip to Portland. I test rode a Yuba Mundo from Joe Bike in the SE Hawthorne neighborhood. But this photo shows a friend carrying ME on the bike.

I really want to carry someone. I told my sister that when I get a new cargo bike this year (either the Yuba Mundo or the WorkCycles Fr8) I will pick her up from her apartment and take her to school. It will be the most joyous occasion of 2010. Mikael at Copenhagenize talks about throwing his son’s bike on the front rack of his Velorbis when he goes to pick him up, so his son can ride home on his own.

This photo is so much fun, I printed it out and posted it on my refrigerator.

Passengers: the ultimate bike accessory. Want to see more photos? Marc at Amsterdamize has 260+ photos and videos in his Side Saddle set. Check the blog post about riding side saddle to get some tips.

Street safety is also a user issue

Street safety is based in part on the right infrastructure design, but also user behavior.

Keep off the tracks. Sometimes a train seems to appear out of nowhere (this seems to be especially true for motorists). I hope Operation Lifesaver is still being taught in schools. I remember someone coming to my school to talk about train safety.

I think trains to many Americans are still a new concept. To best understand what I mean, read the newspaper articles in the two months following any new light rail opening in the United States. There’s a collision every week. Unlike Europe, we ripped out all of our streetcars, light rail, and trams, and we’re still in the beginning stages of returning to rail.

Bicycling and buses: Their large size and unwieldy maneuvering can make it harder to predict movements. Don’t play leapfrog and wait for the bus operator to make the first move (video) – the second move is now yours and safer.

Recognize stop bars, crosswalks, signals. The stop bar isn’t at the bicyclist’s position for a very good reason.

© 2017 Steven Can Plan

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