Re: [rootsradicals] Re: $107 to fill up a tank! Or how we can eat less and move more ...
- On 2008-07-31, at 11:18 AM, beth wrote:
> 1. It's an expensive add-on to a bicycle. At $400.00 retail (andSo's a car repair. My latest repair, even if done on the cheap (all
> likely to go up when the next batch comes out this fall), it's
> beyond the reach of most working poor, whose puny paychecks barely
> cover rent alone.
my own labor, used brake drums) would still have run a couple hundred
dollars for new wheel bearings ($100+ each!). Blow a head gasket
(happened to me), you're likely looking at a rebuilt engine.
> 2. Attaching an X to your bicycle generally necessitates the needI wouldn't quite say necessitates, but I don't leave my bikes out
> for having secure, indoor storage.
where people can see them, no. And this is another case where the
poor have it worse than the not-poor.
> Maybe they don't steal bikes in Holland.I've heard that they have an outrageous theft problem. Never been
> I worry that the Xtracycle and its offspring will be seen by many asI can worry that the poor can't afford an xtracycle, but I cannot
> just another trapping of the "haves", even though many of us who own
> one do not own a car and live fairly simply.
worry that a cargo bike will become a status symbol. As status
symbols go, they're not incredibly expensive, and if the status could
be tied to the USE of the bike, that's great, that's fewer people not
in cars. The only bad outcome I imagine is if people own them, stick
them in storage, and never use them or loan them out.
Simple popularity would be good, it would drive up demand, and then
there would be a steady supply of castoffs, just like used mountain
bikes. If FreeRadicals were produced in volume, they would be much
much cheaper; there's just not that much to them (and yes, the
production shots look like volume, but that's really nothing compared
to Giant's annual output).
> It's a conundrum I haven't yet worked out.The liability issue on any bike used by many people is a big one --
> I'd love to see us brainstorm more ideas for how the X could be a
> useful tool to help whole communities, and not just the lucky few
> who own them.
anyone who used it, could accidentally mess it up. There's a lot to
be said for owning your own bike; there's also a lot to be said for
everyone who uses the bike having enough mechanical competence to
evaluate the bike for safety before they ride it (and often, to fix
it). That seems like something that we (as a nation) used to be
pretty good at; lots of people worked on their cars instead of having
a mechanic do it, and (speaking as one of those people) a bicycle is
vastly simpler and easier to take care of, especially if you get one
from the time when we had indexed shifting, cassette rear hubs, and
The Yuba Mundo is probably the best starting point for a community
bike -- fewer things to go wrong (cannot unscrew your free radical),
incredibly strong, and (as a package) cheaper. There's at least two
angles to pursue -- the mechanical engineering angle, where we try to
make the bike idiot-proof (good luck with that), and the education-
engineering angle, where we try to get people to learn how to take
care of bikes so they won't break or be dangerous, and the social-
engineering angle, where we try to get people to accept responsibility
for the bike, not to break it, to ensure that someone (if not
themselves) fixes it, and to accept some of the risk tradeoffs (yes,
there are risks, but there are larger rewards, and there is no such
thing as a free lunch).
Or heck, we could engage in business-engineering, and in the same way
that modern corporations employ layers of contractors to shield
themselves from legal liability, a bicycle rental business could
employ "contractors" to care for the bicycles. Sleazy in theory, but
in practice, it happens every day, and if the rental organization
otherwise conducted their business in an exemplary fashion
(maintaining the bikes) then I could live with it. Or if it were
properly structured into small non-profits, and if the members were
shielded from liability (LLC, and otherwise behaving responsibly)
there would be nobody of consequence to sue.
I am no fool. I let the Xtracycle do the lugging of my messenger bag, while I was a messenger and to this day when I am not. J
I usually kept my messenger bag in two doubled-up contractor-grade black garbage bags. This way if I just had a small package I could slip into a building and leave the baggage behind. A person does not get harassed by security as much if they do not look like a courier. The garbage bags served two purposes. They disguised the messenger-bag contents as possibly looking like trash, and they kept my messenger bag completely dry. Of course my messenger bag is designed and produced to be inherently waterproof, but when I did have to go into a client’s office during a rain storm, my bag and the customer’s packages would appear and actually be completely dry. Some clients get uneasy about handing over their precious packages to a messenger, who’s messenger bag is leaving a puddle of dirty water on their nice dry clean office floor. That never happened with me. J