I’m back in Chicago! Can you believe it’s November already?
During my Denver vacation, I spent a day in nearby Fort Collins, Colorado. Melissa, Chanh, Mr. Dottie, and I went on a bike tour of the city’s breweries. Melissa mapped out an ambitious plan to hit all seven, but a late start, early return time for the bikes, and a lot of beer sampling lowered that number to three.
Our first stop was the Fort Collins Bike Library to pick up free bikes. That’s right: free. The Bike Library is a non-profit that lends out bikes like a library (get it?).
The Bike Library is located in a small hut in the middle of the downtown pedestrian plaza. Once we signed a waiver and provided credit card information, we were free to pick out the bikes. Many were unrideable due to needed repairs, but lucky for us, several were left in good condition.
I scored a Jamis Commuter, the first bike I owned as an adult. This was a very nice version, complete with 8-geared internal hub, chain guard, fenders and generator lights, although it made a crazy noise and the fenders were bent up.
Melissa tried out the bakfiets (awesome!)…
But went with a cute blue cruiser.
Chanh and Greg chose/were left with red single speeds.
Our second stop was CooperSmith’s Brewery, since it is next to the Bike Library and has a pub where we could eat lunch. Also, beer!
Then we set off down the road to our next stop, Odell Brewing. The ride was quick, but most of the route was along the shoulder of a two-way street with faster traffic. Someone with less experience riding among traffic may not be totally comfortable with this route (along Lincoln) but we found a more enjoyable back-streets route for the return trip.
The beer at Odell was AMAZING! Easily among the best beer I’ve ever had, especially the Bourbon Barrel Stout.
Some readers asked for more information about the shopping trip I made with the De Fietsfabriek Bakfiets. I’m happy to oblige.
As I mentioned before, last week I ran into my friend Elizabeth talking to the shop owner, Jon. When I commented on how cool the Bakfiets looked, he said I could borrow it, if I ever needed to. My ears perked and I soon took him up on the offer for a trip to Costco. Such is the life of a car-free bargain hunter.
For those who are not familiar with Costco, it’s a store where you can buy products in bulk for incredibly low prices, after paying a modest annual membership fee. Everything is really big there. I recently joined to reduce our household grocery budget, after I realized they carry many of the organic products we like.
These pictures don’t portray the full magnitude of the shopping trip. I filled the super-sized cart with stuff like 12-pound bags of rice, 5-pound bags of frozen broccoli, gallon jars of artichokes, and 24-count cases of bottled micro brew. Mr. Dottie kept saying that there was no way everything would fit in the bike. Once we wheeled everything outside and prepared to load the box, I, too, began to worry. A few minutes later, however, the cart was empty and the box still had room. I don’t think we could have fit it all in the trunk of mid-sized car! With the Bakfiets set in 2nd gear, the ride home was slow, but did not require much more effort.
(My cats have no opinion on the box bike, but were happy with the boxes it brought home to them.)
Discovering how much a bike could carry was an eye-opener!
We’ve discussed grocery shopping on a bike before, but this takes it to a whole ‘nother level. Anyone else make trips like this by bike? Or carried other kinds of large loads?
Look what I found! An amazing cargo bike from De Fietsfabriek, a Dutch bike shop that I ride by every day during my commute. I got to borrow the Bakfiets overnight for an ambitious Costco bulk food shopping trip, 9 miles total riding distance.
This beast means business. The De Fietsfabriek Bakfiets is the Dutch company’s biggest cargo bike (except the Stretch Limo?). I recommend the Bakfiets for those who regularly haul a lot of cargo or a troop of children, or who want to use the Bakfiets to promote their business in some way (that’s my way of saying that at times I felt like the Good Humor Ice Cream man).
When I visited Copenhagen Cyclery this weekend, I also test rode the Velorbis Mobii Trike. Yay, trike! I’ve been wanting to test ride a three-wheeled beast for some time now. When I wrote about the WorkCycles Bakfiets a couple of months ago, I mentioned that I could not know for sure how I felt about it without riding a trike for comparison.
The Mobii (love the name!) comes in one size and two powder-coated colors: orange and gray. Designed and handmade in Denmark, this thoroughly modern, steel-framed stunner has the power to erase whatever old-fashioned connotations the word “tricycle” has.
What started as a rainy and gloomy Saturday suddenly turned into the perfect fall day. The sun came out to warm everything, and we got the bikes out for a ride to the Farmer’s Market. I was riding a bakfiets, not my own bike: I borrowed the bakfiets from Dutch Bike Chicago (thanks!) last night to haul tables and chairs for a fundraiser that I helped organize, and had to return it reluctantly this morning.