Re: new member & Adelaide's Long Bike history
- Hi Tone,
Thanks for this fantastic response and for your interest in the Adelaide Longbike. First let me say that I am a great fan of the Xtracycle, the Big D and of all cargo bikes. My history of the ALB is not(!) intended in any way as a critique of any of the modern designs and efforts to bring longtails to market at all. However I do think that the 'synchronicity' that humans exhibit - their tendency to think along common, innovative lines and often at the same time when faced with similar problems - is both intriguing and important to recognise, and that's what I think is notable here.
Ian and Bruce were definitely interested in the commercial production of their design. Unfortunately it just predated the development of the WWW and the modern forms pf networked production and distribution. Ian's an old-fashioned guy with very strong nonmaterialistic ethics and until very recently had managed to completely ignore the web and computers! Both bike designs stemmed very much from his own needs and those of his immediate community!
There's much, much more to tell about their story and I hope soon to have a new web site up and running just for these bikes with stories from owners, more design details and my own experiences as well. Look out for the Adelaide Longbike in a future iteration of Liz Canning's cargobike doco as well!
Thanks for all of the tips on side loaders. I tend to always go for complex solutions so it's great to hear how others have taken simpler approaches!
Thanks again (gotta go to work!)
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Tone" <tone@...> wrote:
> Wow! Thank you for sharing the link to the article on Adelaide's Long
> Bike history. I had no idea. I have been an Xtracycle user almost from
> the start, then later became an owner of a Big Dummy when the donor frame
> for my Xtracycle finally died out. Keep in mind I was a cargo bike
> messenger in New York City and had about 30,000 miles on my Xtracycle set
> up before moving to York, Pennsylvania and switching over to the Big
> Dummy. When reading through that article, I found the parallels to the
> more "modern" Xtracycle and current long-tail bikes amazing. It was
> certainly a marvelous read, and the photos were terrific. In case anyone
> missed Savvas's post, the link again is:
> Regardless, this is the first time I am hearing about Adelaide's Long
> Bike legacy, which surprises me. Considering all the parallels I would
> have thought the crew at Xtracycle would have known SOMETHING about
> Adelaide's Long Bikes. Many of the Xtracycle's crew are members of this
> Roots Radicals e-mailing list, and occasionally contribute to
> discussions, so if anyone at Xtracycle knew, then I am shocked Adelaide's
> Long Bikes never came up in discussion before. I should mention, I read
> every post from the Roots Radical's list, so either I totally forgot
> previous messages about Adelaide's Long Bikes, or I am correct in
> thinking they have never been mentioned before through the Roots Radical
> e-mailing list.
> Having been a bike messenger for quite a few years and highly involved
> with the international cycle courier sub-culture, I also happened to
> become acquainted with some bike messengers from Australia. I believe at
> least one of them was originally from Adelaide, and he knew my Xtracycle
> very well. I was born in 1975, and my Australian messenger friend was a
> bit younger I believe, so perhaps he was simply too young to have been
> exposed to the Adelaide Long Tail bike. If he had known, then I am sure
> that would have resulted in at least one memorable discussion about cargo
> In response to your specific inquiries about practical loading of your
> Big Dummy, I think I might be a good person talk to from the Roots
> Radical list. However, I do not think I can assist you much in the
> electric-assist department. I keep my Big Dummy low-maintenance as a
> single-speed and definitely need the exercise since I am no longer
> working as a messenger. I might consider the BionX electric-assist system
> one day when I am retired, but hopefully that is not for a while. You did
> mention the desire to add side-loading capacity, but you also stated you
> thought Xtracycle's side-loading attachments appear a bit too wide and
> clunky. My first impression of reading that comment was me thinking about
> Xtracycle's side-car, but upon re-reading your post before responding, I
> think you were actually referring to their Wide-Loaders. While I might
> somewhat agree with you about them looking clunky, they are EXTREMELY
> practical, and any appearance of clunkiness is quickly forgotten during
> usage. From the start I have owned two wide-loaders and two long-loaders
> with my Xtracycle. Admittedly, when I was a messenger maneuvering in NYC
> traffic, I usually only kept one set installed in my Xtracycle. I kept it
> slid all the way into the mounts, so it would have less of a profile when
> dodging bumpers. However, at the same time I also kept my second set of
> wide-and-long loaders accessible in my Free-loader bags. When necessary
> for certain loads, I just slid the installed loader partially out and
> slid the second set of loaders in halfway. Keep in mind, this was before
> Xtracycle developed the push-button system to lock wide-loaders in place.
> Back then I just used my Free Loader straps to hold everything solidly in
> place. In fact, I still use my original wide-and-long loaders (without
> the push-button) the same way with my Big Dummy.
> In any case, I can talk practically endlessly about the practicality of
> Xtracycle's wide-loaders, but I think pictures say much more so here is a
> link to some of my own loads:
> The files named with "LunarLoad" feature a load, which is NOT AT ALL
> recommended, and should be considered the ultimate limit to what anyone
> should ever try to do with any long tail bike. The "Lunar Load" as I
> affectionately call it with some sarcasm was done under ideal flat
> low-traffic conditions for about ten blocks only. I will not go into
> details about the totally ungraceful exit of the hardware store parking
> lot when the long load got snagged in the dip of the street's gutter at
> the curb and the slightly sloping driveway down the sidewalk. Let's just
> say it was a total bust, and I had to reload everything back on.
> You will notice other photos labeled "Costco." Being from Australia, you
> might not be familiar with Costco. It is simply a bulk-purchase warehouse
> type chain of stores here in America. When I was living with four or five
> room mates in Brooklyn, I would make a trip there about once a month to
> stock up on standard household necessities for everyone in the apartment.
> The "WifeMove" images are just a couple of the loads I hauled when moving
> just about all the possessions of my then-girlfriend-now-wife into my
> Brooklyn apartment. One load, not pictured included a dismantled futon
> frame and folded/rolled mattress. The one with the file name ending in
> "WithRabbit" obviously included my wife's pet rabbit in the blue animal
> transport container. Along with the rabbit though, the load contained a
> 6' ladder, two potted plants, and a small TV wrapped in garbage bags.
> Although, that TV might have been a computer monitor because I hauled
> both at different times. Keep in mind this was before flat screens became
> popular. On my back you can also see I had an oversized messenger bag
> full of stuff as well, but what you can not see is the extra stuff beside
> the ladder. If I remember correctly, I think the unseen item(s) consisted
> of a suitcase full of clothing.
> The images named with "Cranksgiving" were from the first year I actually
> biked in a Cranksgiving charity bike ride instead of running it. After
> organizing the event since its start in 1999, I had to pull off something
> grand, so along with buying twice the items of requested food items off
> the shopping list I also hauled eight frozen turkeys, each weighing about
> fifteen pounds a piece. Unfortunately, I only carried eight turkeys
> because that was all that was left in the last supermarket we stopped at.
> I was not going to haul fifteen pound turkeys through out the rest of the
> race, so I was limited to what ever was left in the last store. If they
> had more, then I am confident I could have hauled about a dozen turkeys,
> five on each side and at least two on top.
> In those Cranksgiving photos you might also notice one side of my Big
> Dummy seems to have an odd looking accessory. That is actually a "Dog
> Chariot" I made as an attachment for my dog to hop on and ride in. If you
> are interested in seeing more of the Dog Chariot, then here is another
> You can ignore the PDF files and the images starting with "DCTech" unless
> you might be thinking about building something similar for yourself. The
> other images starting with just "DogChariot" show a more general and less
> technical side of the Dog Chariot. As you can see, my dog (Pandora) was
> just a puppy when I built the Dog Chariot. She loved it then and loved it
> when she was about sixty pounds. Although, when she got onto the bike at
> around sixty pounds she could tip the bike to the side despite having the
> Kick-Back (Xtracycle's dual-footed kickstand), so I had to brace the
> bike. Since then, she has grown to around eighty pounds, and I have not
> given her a ride on my bike. That is not out of fear of her heavier
> weight. It just has not happened since she has grown more.
> Speaking about eighty pound loads though, there was one time I managed to
> haul a bulky long box containing a high-end artificial Christmas tree
> directly from the manufacturer in New Jersey all the way back to my
> Brooklyn apartment. I had to take a ferry across the Hudson River, but I
> did pedal over one of the lower East River bridges to get home. As
> stated, that box was eighty pounds, but there was also an additional
> thirty pound base for it. I loaded that on the other side along with my
> 3' long bicycle chain and lock. The tree stand and chain helped balance
> out the uneven eighty pounds on one side.
> In any case, as you can see from just about all my images, none of those
> loads could have been carried without the wide loaders. Actually to be
> fair, a couple of them might have been possible without the Wide-loaders,
> but they would have been so much more difficult. Obviously the longer
> loads all benefited from also having the long-loaders installed in
> conjunction with the wide-loaders. You may dislike the clunky look of the
> wide-loaders, but to effectively carry anything long you can not use the
> long-loaders without the wide-loaders. I suppose you could retrofit just
> a straight tube to stick out for a long-loader to attach to instead of
> installing an entire wide-loader, but the straight tube would still have
> to stick out possibly just as far as a wide-loader when resting a long
> load on it. Obviously, there would be no point to a long-loader unless
> you had something beneath to support the weight of a long load on.
> I should mention, I did own a set of footsies as well, but I found since
> I constantly used the wide-loaders they substituted perfectly fine as a
> foot hold for adult passengers. I therefore sold off the footsies and
> custom fitted a stoker-bar, which I think is arguably more useful when
> carrying a passenger. Without footsies or wide-loaders a passenger can
> get away with sticking their heel in the free loader bags as long as they
> do not try to stand. However, having a proper hand hold on a stoker-bar
> for a passenger to brace their upper body weight against when maneuvering
> is almost more helpful than having a solid foot hold in my opinion.
> With all of that in mind Savvas, I really think you should seriously
> reconsider the wide-loaders. They might not be aesthetically pleasing to
> you, but I can not imagine having my Xtracycle/Big Dummy without them.
> How else would someone haul a significant load? The whole point of the
> wide-loaders is to support a load's weight at a lower center of gravity.
> The only other option would be to load up the deck, and that is not as
> ideal. A passenger might be able to lean slightly to adjust for
> maneuvers, but the dead weight of cargo strapped high on top of the deck
> will not be as forgiving.
> Another alternative does come to mind though. Some people have made their
> own "running boards" They basically consist of footsie-length tubes for
> the front and back mounts with a plank or board running in between. This
> provides a really good foot rest for multiple passengers, as well as a
> decent support ledge for cargo held within the free-loader bags.
> Obviously such a running board does not stick out nearly as much as a
> wide-loader, so it is just as maneuverable in traffic as a single
> wide-loader slid in all the way like I use to do when I was a messenger
> in NYC. One major drawback to a running-board style of set-up though is
> the inability to use long-loaders. Personally, I could not imagine riding
> my Big Dummy without long-loaders. There were too many times when I ended
> up hauling something long, like lumber, a ladder, or whatever. Another
> minus to only using running-boards is you can not fully support
> particularly bulky and heavy loads like a wide-loader can. I guess it all
> comes down to a personal call of what you intend to carry. Although, I
> think most Xtracycle owners will agree with me when I say it was a
> pleasant realization when I would go shopping or do errands and no longer
> worried about hauling capacity because I had become comfortable and
> confident with all that my Xtracycle set up could take on.
> Hope this response helps. Best wishes and ride safe,