Save the Date: Nov 29th, 2015 2pm

Ok folks we’re heading out again to Santa Ana to help fix bicycles for the homeless. Did you know we’ve been doing this for about 3 yeas now?! Ya I was pretty surprised myself. Anyhow, we’d love to get as many volunteers as we can. But we also need some hard goods donated.

Typically we need brake/shifter housing and cables. 26″ and 700c innter tubes, brake pads, cleaning solutions and lubricants. We’ll pretty much take anything you can offer. If you’d like to help out but you’re in a different state, we can also take monetary donations to our Paypal account. We’ll take that money, and use it to purchase the parts. Our paypal ID: info@bikecommuters.com.

Here’s a detailed article on how you can help. CLICK HERE

 

For more information about joining us, feel free to reach out to us: info@bikecommuters.com

 

BikeBug.net Cargo Trike Update

So we set out to create a new project for BikeCommuters.com. We wanted to debut the project at the Two Wheels One Planet Breast Cancer Awareness Ride. The proceeds of the event was donated to the American Cancer Society; Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. We reached out to BikeBug.net because we thought their Cargo Trike would be a perfect match for this build. They saw our vision and graciously sent us one of their Cargo Trikes. bikebug.net

 

Once un-boxed, we started building it up. Here’s a photo right after we assembled it. We did make a few changes. We added a bell and a white saddle. But the major changes are coming!cargo trike bikebug.net

As you can see from the cargo area, there is quite a bit of potential. What we did next was very important to the build. We sourced wood from old pallets. In fact, the wood came from broken down pallets that Two Wheels One Planet received from deliveries. We did have to get 2, 2×1 lumber pieces to help with the framing. With all of our materials in-hand, we started cutting and piecing things together.12074968_10207174347184637_4451090786850402141_n

This is the floor of the cargo area that is supported by 2×1 pieces that are bolted onto the frame of the trike.12079541_10207196393895791_1585582633886914512_n

Flipping the trike upside down made it easier to create a jig so we can make sure that our floor was installed evenly. 12088383_10207196394135797_4526714278549380360_n

Floor is pretty much done. We then started building the upper shelf with more 2x1s and then used the pallet wood against the bars of the cargo area. Once everything was screwed in and bolted down, the shelf was pretty secure.IMG_5063

The next step was to box in the upper shelf to keep our goods secure. Again we used reclaimed wood, measured twice and cut once. We’re almost done! Now we just have to finish up the rest of the wood work and then we’ll get to try out our new build.

So here’s what we set out to do…serve cotton candy for the Breast Cancer Awareness Ride. We figured the pink cotton candy was a great match to the event’s theme color.12122398_10207259838761873_4199634754740551532_n

Yes, cotton candy! So here’s the final product…We installed a commercial grade cotton candy maker on the upper shelf to help us serve massive quantities of cotton candy.IMG_5088

The upper shelf also has 6, 1″ holes that holds the paper cones for the candies. That sign was hand painted by my 14 year old daughter and it came from a used pallet! The bottom shelf is great for storing extra goods such as sugar, cones, extension cords and etc. We installed the BigBug.net 200 Smiles Per Gallon plates right in the front so people can see it!IMG_5089

Notice the white wall tires? Those were provided by Two Wheels One Planet! I went with the white theme because the fenders were white and I upgraded the saddle to a white one. I’m considering running white bar tape too. IMG_5090

Here I am explaining to a “customer” how cotton candy works. I told him that cotton candy is “delicious science!”trike

Here’s one of the great things about the BikeBug.net Cargo Trailer. It fits perfectly in my mini-van. That way if I want to do another event for a school or other non-profit, I can easily load it up and go! 12088045_10207263810461163_1412244360725008626_n

Believe it or not, we served more cotton candy to adults than kids! In fact we served some to a whole family who have never had it! Both mom and dad as well as their daughter have never touched it. This photo is of Muni, one of the employees of Two Wheels One Planet, he wanted a cotton candy bigger than his face! Challenge accepted!12143259_10207266149319633_5574283332260106554_n

Overall the reception of the BikeBug.net/BikeCommuters.com Cotton Candy Trike was well received. People kept asking about the trike and where they could get it. When I explained that the wood was sourced from the bike shop, I got more nods and approvals.
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We want to thank the folks who supported this build such as BikeBug.net, Two Wheels One Planet and of course BikeCommuters.com (someone’s gotta pay for supplies). I also have to thank our friend Loren Brewster who guided us in building the wood sections of the trike. We anticipate many more events where we can feature the cotton candy trike. We’re hoping that we can bring it out to more bicycle events like Ciclavia, Ride of Silence and even local races.

I’m sure you’re wondering, “why cotton candy?” Simply put, people love that stuff and it’s easy marketing. We can pass out stickers, business cards and tell them all the great things going on at BikeCommuters.com as well as BikeBug.net.

Becoming a Bike Messenger in NYC: Abstract Tips from a Former Courier

messenger1

The fast-paced hustle of New York City is alluring to outsiders, but oftentimes hectic for those already living in the city that never seems to sleep. The miles and miles of sidewalks brimming with people, the tide of yellow taxi cabs merging into a sea of endless traffic, and the stoplights appearing every twenty yards can make commuting even the shortest of distances into a time-consuming affair. However, there are some who thrive in this environment, weaving in and out of traffic with speed and precision. Who are these people you ask? They’re your friendly neighborhood bike messengers!

You probably already knew that though since you’re reading this post. While some experienced cyclists make it look effortless, being a bike messenger in one of the busiest cities in the country isn’t as easy as you may think. These guys likely grew up pedaling back and forth through parks and back alleys learning every shortcut along the way. With that being said, if you’re still interested in establishing your own career as a bike courier, then hopefully my advice will help.

I’m not going to waste your time with the basic stuff; you obviously already know that you need a decent bike, as well as a helmet to even consider being a bike messenger. Instead, I’m going to pass along some knowledge I have picked up in my own experience as a bike courier.

No Couch Potatoes

messnger2In other words, you can’t expect to be a successful courier if you don’t live an active lifestyle. Most bike messengers train quite regularly to keep their physique in top shape. A good bike messenger is defined in terms of speed, precision, agility, and stamina. The ability to deliver packages quickly is what weeds out the less efficient messengers. NYC is filled with people, cars, and obstacles, all of which can cause serious damage to your bike, the item being delivered, and most importantly, you!

 

The Hunt

Being a bike messenger makes you quite versatile. In fact, most NYC bike messengers are always on the move, working for more than one delivery service on any given day. For instance, a messenger may deliver flowers for an online florist every other morning, and then transition into ferrying food for a small corner café at lunch time. For the most part, working for one delivery service usually won’t yield a large income. However, I have met several couriers who were pulling in upwards of $50,000 by holding three or more jobs.

Sell Yourself

While you may be one of the best riders in NYC, nobody is going to know that unless you tell them. Sure you could pick up the yellow pages and call around about possible employment, but that can be extremely tedious and time-consuming. When I first started out, I had one job that was barely paying the bills, so I decided to put myself out there a little more. For starters, I had a few black t-shirts and a couple baseball hats made that promoted my services. Because the information was printed on the back of the shirt, I was advertising every time I got on my bike.

The Commute

messenger3One of the first things I learned as a bike messenger was to stop as little as possible. Yes, blowing through stop signs and red lights can be dangerous and I’m not saying you shouldn’t slow down, but a lot of research lately has shown that excessive stopping can actually be more dangerous. Aside from that, you should also go against your instincts to ride towards traffic, riding with the flow of traffic instead. The last little tidbit of commuting knowledge I’m going to give you pertains to the subway. While the subway can shorten a commute significantly, you’re going to want to avoid it whenever possible (especially during rush hour). However, the one exception to this would be if the weather is just downright terrible and/or creates hazardous riding conditions.

Thieves Are Everywhere

That may not be “breaking news” for you, but you would be amazed how lightly some messengers take theft. When you think about it, a bike is an easy target that can be used to escape on once stolen. I have had one bike stolen because I was naive enough to think my simple U-Lock was indestructible. That experience led me to purchase a heavy duty cable lock that could be looped through the entire bike (front wheel, frame, back wheel). You can also couple your cable lock with a standard U-Lock for added security.

Uglyfiying a Bicycle To Prevent Theft

About 8 years ago I was commuting to a high-rise and the only bike parking I had was in the parking structure where a small rack was installed. I decided to wrap my frame up in various places with old bar tape that I had collected from the LBS I worked part time at. Initially it was to prevent my frame from getting damaged on the bike rack, but it actually helped make my bicycle look more subdued…less desirable to thieves.

I figured if my bike didn’t look new, perhaps the thieves would simply by pass it and try and steal a much flashier bike. Then again…thieves are thieves. Anyhow, I’m curious to know if you do anything to “uglyfy” your bike to make it look less attractive.

Maiden Voyage-BikeBug.net Cargo Tricycle

This was our first outing with the BikeBug.net Cargo Tricycle. I have to say, there’s going to be a learning curve on how to ride this rig. Once the front cargo area is weighed down, it shouldn’t be too bad. One of the things we’re working on this weekend is installing a new drive train. We’ll be upgrading to a 3 speed Nexus hub and installing some white wall tires. In addition, we’ll be starting the build out for the cargo area.

bikebug.net cargo tricycle