Thursday, July 29, 2010

Why Rachel loves her bike trailer.

Rachel and Clinton, two of the six worker/owners at ABC.
Rachel here, I'm mostly behind the scenes at A Better Cycle, working in my super secret office perch. So if you've never seen me at the shop, it's because I'm hiding.

For the car-less crowd, being the friend with a trailer is like being the friend with the pick-up truck. For the last year or so that's been Clintron. I've been borrowing his Burley trailer to transport all my craft display and product to Bike Craft events around town. I make all the Bike Cozy accessories, and love the craft fairs when I get to come out from hiding and meet all the local cyclists who love Bike Craft. ASIDE: If you're a local bike crafter too, read Tuesday's post because ABC wants to work with you!

Home from MCBF 2010. The burley flat bed with my entire Bike Cozy booth; tent, table and all!

After MCBF this year, Clinton called Ian up and said he wanted to give me the trailer! Just like that! I said "yes please!" and now it's mine, forever. And that establishes that I love it, but why?

It's just so easy to carry a bunch of stuff. I mean look at that photo, that's an entire booth set up.

All this and a 10x10 tent can be packed onto my bike trailer.

Beyond fitting my whole Bike Cozy craft set up, it's also been an amazing improvement for grocery shopping. We've been making due with panniers on my rear rack, loading my basket and Ian carrying a backpack. On these beautiful summer days it's nice to not have to wear that backpack. After getting used to the little bit of lag when you go over a bump or get started, and the slightly increased stopping distance, you barely know the trailer is there.

The hitch is easy to install, just take off the bolt of your axle (or take out your quick release skewer), slip the hitch onto your through-axle and replace the bolt. You don't even have to move your wheel.

Then attach the trailer with its pin and safety cord.

Today was Ian's turn to pull the trailer.

We use a giant rubbermaid for grocery shopping because it's easy to load and secure with the trailer's straps. 

Also, we've learned our lesson about skipping lunch before having to navigate the grocery store. We stopped at the little Po'Boy shop on Hawthorne and 44th. I balked at the $3 lemonade until I saw that it was giant!
Ian with the giant lemonade.
Rachel thankful for the umbrella.
Snapper Po'Boy with delicious cayenne molasses hot sauce.

The bikes parked while we eat lunch within view.

Ian and I shop mostly at the Fred Meyer on Hawthorne, where the bike parking is often full, or difficult to navigate to an open spot. (Hint: there is additional bike parking around the corner. It's a logical choice for cargo bikes, when we rolled up there was an extracycle with a soft cooler parked)

We locked up the trailer and the cooler with the bikes; an extra long cable lock with a sturdy u-lock does the trick for a grocery trip.

The big cart was the perfect size to set our rubbermaid in while we shopped. In checkout just unload it onto the conveyor and pack it all back into the plastic bin after it's been rung up.  I carried the fruit, extra veg and delicate loaf of bread in my basket.

A week's worth of groceries for two (and we love our salty snacks) fits into the bin, add a cooler for dairy and frozen food, and mesquite for grilling, it's a week worth of delicious.


Up the hill, how'd he get so far ahead of me?
Home again, Home again, now to get it all upstairs.

If this looks like your style, we can order them at the shop. They take about a week to come in. The flat bed trailer like mine is $299. The covered version is a cool $349.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Calling (most) BikeCrafters

locally made bicycling accessories. we want more!

A Better Cycle wants to support more locally made Bike Craft goodness. We are particularly interested in well designed utility goods and we are on the hunt!

We love local bike Crafters (Rachel especially wants the local Bike Crafters to succeed, since she is one. She would love to expand the shop to include all sorts of local bike craft awesome, but space is currently a constraint.) We also love to support our local economy, artisans and makers and when we can connect a customer with a cherished personal object whether it's a new bike or a new bag, we get all aflutter.

Do you know Bike Crafters that would fit in well with the mix below? Or are you a BikeCrafter yourself that makes excellent craftsmanship utility goods that you would like to consign or wholesale to us? (Our shop is too small to successfully showcase most jewelry, posters, t-shirts or other clothing at this time) Then the Bike Crafter should contact Rachel via subject line: Rachel! Bike Craft Goodness Here.

Um, just as an aside, Rachel's been trying to get more Bike Craft into the shop and some of the local makers, while exuberant in personality, have been a little lackluster in follow through. Things that will be useful in the email are: a link to a website, or images demonstrating quality of product and selection, a pricelist with item, description and MSRP and potential wholesale/consignment rates.

Rachel is also meeting with BikeCrafters (who may or may not have that info collected all in one spot ) during the week of August 5th-12th. Email for an appointment (totally informal meeting at a coffee shop or park or something, bring sample items and any other pertinent info) and let's get your Bike Craft Goodness into our shop and in front of so many more admirers. Let's have Bike Craft all year long!

Currently we stock locally made bike craft goodness from:

Bike Cozy (one of our worker/owners Rachel Dominguez-Benner)
--Bicycling accessories for the everyday hero, including yet not limited to: tool kit rolls, toe cozies, cycling caps, shoelace wranglers and stationery.

Black Star Bags
-- Waterproof messenger bags, hip pouches and top tube protectors

NorthSt Bags
--convertible pannier backpacks

Ciclismo Designs
(once George brings back his display)
--jewelry for cyclists

A note for potential BikeCraft partners:

Larger items like messenger bags and panniers we consign which means when an awesome Portlander (or visitor) buys one, we take a split and send most of the money straight on to you! Then you bring us replacement and we repeat.

Smaller items like top tube pads, hip pouches and toe cozies may start as consignment and once a market has been determined, we'll buy them wholesale several at a time, money straight into your bike crafting pocket.