12 Days of ’Toonsmas: Day 11

They’re, like, all cargo bikes, dude, sir.
From the November 2019 issue of BRAIN.

The Mud Stud is, like, totally not into, like, your categories, an’ stuff, dude, sir.

He works for a bike shop, so he can only afford one bike. And he makes it do everything, from the daily commute to hucking off cliffs at Deadman’s Dropoff to fetching his SpaghettiOs and PBR from the Grab-N-Git.

He will be happy to sell you whatever it is you have been told that you want, and then fix it when it goes sideways from neglect. But for his own purposes he prefers a spartan two-wheeler that can be field-repaired with a minitool, some duct tape, and a trailside rock.

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17 Responses to “12 Days of ’Toonsmas: Day 11”

  1. Larry T. atCycleItalia Says:

    I can relate, though mine is a dedicated “shopping bike” now with a plastic milk crate box zip-tied onto the rear rack along with a rack and basket up front. I can strap a pizza box on the top of the plastic crate (inside an insulated bag) for a pizza run or just fill box and basket with fresh fruits and vegetables from the outdoor market. In a pinch (like last week) I even strapped a steel step-stool on the back to haul it home from the DIY place. No motor, I have to pedal to go anywhere. .http://cycleitalia.blogspot.com/2018/01/transportation-but-not-by-car.html

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      My old Soma Double Cross is that bike now. I have a nice Wald basket I can zip-tie to the rear rack, or I can use panniers and a rack trunk. Even hang a front rack and sacks on the beastie if need be.

      The trek home from the grocery is a bit of a bear if I patronize the Whole Amazon, which lately I have been avoiding. Sprouts is a whole lot closer, with less vertical gain between the grub and the house.

      • Larry T. atCycleItalia Says:

        I’m fortunate that the big supermarket’s only about 3 km from my front door with pretty much everything else closer, including the wine shop. If I have major weight to haul back I take a flatter, but longer way around the island so I don’t have to shift down into the low, low gears. This Bianchi has paid for itself many times over already, just in the ease of hopping on to zip off to anywhere that’s farther than I feel like walking.

  2. khal spencer Says:

    Heh. Nice cartoon. Coulda been me for about six months of 1982 when my first wife flew the coop in December of ’81 and took the car with her. It was either the motorcycle or the bicycle looking like that cartoon. I still recall the looks I got when I showed up at the laundromat in the dead of a Long Island winter on a Honda CX-500 with an industrial size hotel laundry bag shock-corded to the passenger seat somewhat overstuffed with laundry.

    But the Motobecane with its panniers turned out to be a good thing. I started doing my shopping via pedal power at the local natural foods store, Provisions (aka Freak Brothers Natural Foods, so named due to the look of the clientele) and my diet improved massively from the days of whatever was cheap at the local Lawn Guyland supermarket. One of those supermarkets prided itself on being “open and running 24/7” to which we grad students quipped “yeah, kinda like an infected sore”.

    Been quite a ride since the winter of ’81-’82. Thankfully I survived it, given it was short days and long nights in more ways than one. Having lots of friends, beer, and Monty Python episodes helped immensely, as did a patient and understanding dissertation advisor.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      When I was a pedestrian/cyclist full time, back in the Seventies, I lived in the heart of whatever town I was in at the time, and conducting business without an automobile was a good deal easier than it is now, here in the far-eastern ’burbs.

      I had a cheapo, blaze-orange, external-frame backpack that I could fill with groceries or laundry, and a day pack for grab-and-go trips. I generally hoofed it with the former and cycled with the latter. The bike was a 10-ton Schwinn, either a Varsity or a Continental, I disremember.

      Did anyone ever get a flat with one of those? I don’t remember ever fixing a puncture on my Schwinns. But then I was smoking a metric shit-ton of ditch weed and probably hovering a few inches above whatever might flatten one of those 32mm gumwalls.

      • SAO' Says:

        Saw a kid riding home from Sprouts yesterday, had a full bag of apples wrapped around one wrist and a bag of pears around the other. They were swinging and bouncing everywhere, and when he pulled up next to me at a red light, I could see an apple stem poking through the plastic. I rolled down my window to offer some advice, but the light changed before I got a chance… Wanted to let him know that he had an empty 70 L pack on his back.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I had a Sears bike that weighed half as much as I do and don’t recall many flats. But that was back in the sixties in the country east of Buffalo, NY and before the days when the roadsides were littered with shards of what held whatever people were drinking.

  3. Pat O'Brien Says:

  4. DownhillBill Says:

    Many years ago a woman showed up on a club ride on a department store bike. Somewhere down the road the chain decided to separate and, naturally, no one had a chain tool. The ride’s resident bike shop mechanic (later to become a starving frame builder) donned his surgical gloves and proceeded to rivet the chain back together using 2 rocks.

    So yeah, Neolithic bike repair with roadside rocks. Not likely applicable to E-bikes.

    • Larry T. atCycleItalia Says:

      Surgical gloves, but no chain tool? Bass-ackwards to me but he got the chain fixed and had clean hands afterwards so what’s not to love?

    • khal spencer Says:

      I was riding the Bandelier Loop a few years back and saw a rider sitting sullenly by the side of the road about halfway between White Rock and Bandelier National Park. So I stopped and asked him what was up. Twisted and bent chain links. Fortunately, I had started carrying a chain tool since my other ride was across the Jemez Mts. to La Cueva. Thirty miles one way, no amenities other that what was on your bike. Fixed his chain minus the mashed links and told him to stay out of his big ring/big cog combo until he got a new chain.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      I carried a chain tool for years, maybe decades, on road and mountain rides. Never used it, not even once. I have one, a nice Park too, hanging in the garage. Been there for years, and, you guessed it. Maybe it’s because I maintain my drivetrains, or I am just luncky. If I get a stiff link in a chain, I fix it as soon as I get home. Usually some lube, or chain cleaning and lube, takes care of it. I can fix a flat, I carry a Park MT-10 for tightening loose bolts and a small Leatherman tool for pulling nasties out of the tire before they become punctures.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I usually have two tubes, tire irons, and a Park minitool on hand. Sometimes, a chain tool.

      Not the one time I actually needed it, though.

      I snapped an eight-speed chain trying to climb a stupid-steep pitch on the mountain bike and had to Flintstone it back to the bottom of our hill outside Weirdcliffe.

      That was the easy part. The next mile with its 430 feet of vertical gain was a really tedious hike-a-bike.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Only time I needed a chain tool on the road I didn’t have it. We were climbing a steep, abandoned road over the Pali (Old Pali Road, I think) in Honolulu on the tandem and I dropped the chain into the stays/bottom bracket instead of onto the granny ring, twisting a couple links. A bunch of us managed, with makeshift tools, to bend it back to the point where the chain worked. Sorta.

  5. Herb from Michigan Says:

    In the way back time I was a starving bike mechanic. Only I worked at a real crappy excuse for a bike shop with horrible tools and a bike stand guaranteed to scratch your bike or tip over at any given moment. No matter, I had zero mechanical skills and didn’t know the difference. I’ll never forget the mysteries of centering cheap side pull brakes.
    But by god I learned since my commute was 50 miles round trip by Bottechia with sew ups mind you! By the end of that summer I was able to do about anything except build wheels. And was able to buy a Falcon with clinchers so every paycheck didn’t go to…..you guessed it…sew up tires.

    • JD Dallager Says:

      Aaaah, the school of hard knocks and experience! Or as Mark Twain said (I think): ” I never let school interfere with my education.”

    • Larry T. atCycleItalia Says:

      I remember a shop like that – I didn’t work there long. An old paint can full of kerosene for a solvent tank and a fan belt pulley from an old VW to keep the cheapo fixed-cup BB tool from slipping.
      I had the last laugh as after I quit I came across the fellow who (sort of) took my place there out on the road and (you guessed it) as he was at the roadside trying to tighten…the fixed-cup on his BB!
      And before you ask, NO, I did not have a proper fixed-cup tool in my seat bag! 🙂
      Happy New Year!

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