Cargo Biking in the Burbs
“You’re not really going to carry that on bikes?”
Saturday, Lisa and I rode our bikes to Lukas Nursery to get some plants for the front porch and see what they had in the way of vegetables. We found some good-looking tomato plants as well as cherry peppers and hot banana peppers. Lukas also had some sturdy already-constructed raised beds for vegetable gardens. Lacking woodworking tools, this was a great choice for us. We would need potting soil to fill it, too.
But the best part would be loading all that stuff onto 2 bikes: Lisa’s pulled a cargo trailer and I rode the Big Dummy with the new Xtracycle sidecar.
The Lukas staff had fun helping us load up. The cashier even took a photo of us after.
There’s room for more!
Lisa wasn’t able to find the plants she wanted for the porch. So we stopped at Home Depot.
Climbing the bridge over Red Bug Lake Rd. wasn’t too hard, just slow. That’s what granny gears are for.
The trip is mostly on residential streets and the Cross Seminole Trail, but to get to Tuscawilla requires 1/2 mile on Aloma. One of my main frustrations with bicycling out here is that most of the arterials have bike lanes or faux bike lanes that are WAY too narrow. It would be far more comfortable to control an 11 or 12ft travel lane, but that’s not a legal option. Trying to keep the loaded utility bike in this confined space was nerve-racking and exhausting.
Didn’t have to stay there for long, though. There must have been a car crash on Aloma recently. The bike lane was filled with broken glass for about 100ft between Lincoln Parkway and Clark Street. I reported that with the Metroplan Spot Improvement Form when I got home.
For dual track and triple-track vehicles, it’s even more critical to have clean pavement and plenty of space. You can’t just move over a little bit to find a clear line of pavement, you have to get all the tires clear of the debris. Utility bike and trike drivers are short-changed by AASHTO’s inadequate design vehicle—the 30″ single-track bicyclist. The minimum widths for bike lanes are equivalent to designing highway lanes to be barely wider than MINI Coopers. (A MINI driver at least has crumple zones.)
We try to get all of our errands into one trip. We brought a cooler along for stops at Cavallari and Publix.
Plenty of space here!
After Publix, it was back into the neighborhood. For a change of scenery, we took Seneca Blvd. to the Cross Seminole Trail. I’ve really come to love this path. I’m able to use it for many of my trips. In fact, if it wasn’t for this path allowing me to avoid too much exposure to the gutter lane infested arterials, I’d probably be disinclined to use my bike for transportation out here.
Lots of passers-by along the way asked how far we were going. The total trip was a little over 9 miles. Here’s the route. We use the Cross Seminole Trail in two places. The streets of Tuscawilla are low speed, and the speed limits are strictly and regularly enforced, keeping them pleasant to ride on.
Nice to be able to leave the minivan in the driveway.