bicycle safety http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/13887/all en-US Do It All Car-Free With a Cargo Bike http://www.wisebread.com/do-it-all-car-free-with-a-cargo-bike <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/do-it-all-car-free-with-a-cargo-bike" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4411021923_383fc93450_z.jpg" alt="cargo bike" title="cargo bike" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Since <a href="http://chicago.frugalisticmom.com/2012/08/car-free-family-how-much-are-we-saving-by-not-buying/">getting rid of the family car</a> four months ago, I've been looking for easy ways to get my three kids around town. We picked up a bike trailer at a rummage sale that does the job, but my two younger kids (ages 5 and 3) feel cramped in it and can't enjoy the scenery as we cruise along our bike path on San Francisco Bay. So I've been exploring the many kinds of bikes that are built to carry passengers and loads. Called cargo or utility bikes, this type of bike was previously found mostly in Holland and Portland, OR &mdash; with more basic, workhorse models appearing throughout the Third World. But these days, you can find cargo bikes in a number of urban bike shops, and, of course, online. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-guide-to-becoming-a-part-time-bicycle-commuter">A Guide to Becoming a Part-Time Bicycle Commuter</a>)</p> <p>Check out the calculator at&nbsp;<a href="http://bicycleuniverse.info/">Michael Bluejay's Bicycle Universe</a>&nbsp;to figure out how much you might save by going car-free. But even if you don't get rid of your car altogether, the financial benefits of riding a bike for at least some of your errands increase as gas prices head upwards. Besides the gas savings, biking helps you keep your car newer and reduce mileage costs by cutting the weekly miles you drive. Biking also provides benefits in fitness and flat-out pleasure &mdash; my morning ride to drop my son off at preschool leaves me energized and calm, feelings that I rarely get from driving.</p> <p>On the downside, cycling may be more dangerous than driving if you live in an area without safe bike paths or lanes &mdash; this is a controversial question since it's <a href="http://www.knowledge.allianz.com/mobility/transportation_safety/?565/why-cycling-saves-lives">difficult to compare the safety of driving versus cycling</a>. But if you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bicycling-safety-in-the-city">feel safe cycling</a> in your area &mdash; and I do &mdash; a cargo bike can help you get more of your tasks done car-free.</p> <h2>Types of Cargo Bikes</h2> <p>Cargo bikes come in two basic types:</p> <p><strong>The Longtail</strong></p> <p>Longtail bikes are just like they sound &mdash; they're like regular bikes, only longer in back. The least expensive way to try out cargo biking is to purchase a Free Radical longtail conversion kit from Xtracycle and turn an ordinary bike into a longtail. The kits start at $224.99 for just the <a href="http://www.xtracycle.com/cargo-bicycles/xtracycle-cargo-bicycles/xtracycle-freeradical/freeradical-base-frame.html">bare bones extension</a>, but you can pay more than $800 for a <a href="http://www.xtracycle.com/cargo-bicycles/xtracycle-cargo-bicycles/xtracycle-freeradical/freeradical-family.html">set-up including accessories such as a baby seat and padded seating for older passengers</a>.</p> <p>I recently wrote an <a href="http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Cargo-bikes-carry-larger-loads-3936796.php">article in the San Francisco Chronicle</a> about Xtracycle and another longtail maker, <a href="http://yubaride.com/">Yuba</a>, both of which also sell complete cargo bikes for $1,000 and up. You can set up your longtail to carry just about anything, from three kids (on Xtracycle's forthcoming <a href="http://www.xtracycle.com/cargo-bicycles/xtracycle-cargo-accessories/kids-and-family/hooptie.html">Hooptie model</a>) to multiple bags of groceries to surf boards and large plants, to <a href="http://yubaride.com/yubashop/product.php?id_product=97">more bikes with Yuba's towing tray</a>.</p> <p><strong>The Long John or Bakfiets</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Long-John-Cargo-Bike/">Long john bikes</a> carry their load in front of the driver. Many parents say they prefer this style of bike when carrying children because they can see and talk with the kids.</p> <p>Liz Canning, a filmmaker who is creating a <a href="http://www.LizCanning.com">documentary about cargo bikes</a>, likes the low center of gravity of the long john she uses to take her 4-year-old twins down a steep hill to preschool. She got the bike after finding that her kids &mdash; like mine &mdash; hated riding in a trailer.</p> <p>&quot;I&nbsp;was bribing them to get into the trailer,&quot; Canning said.</p> <p>Emily Finch of Portland is famous for carrying all six of her children on a bakfiets that one writer called <a href="http://bikeportland.org/2012/06/28/with-six-kids-and-no-car-this-mom-does-it-all-by-bike-73731">&quot;a human-powered minivan.&quot;</a></p> <p>Long johns can also handle heavier loads than longtails, but they tend to cost more &mdash; upwards of $2,000. Finch's set-up &mdash; which includes a tandem bike that one of her kids pedals behind her to add extra power &mdash; cost around $4,000.</p> <h2>Adding to Your Pedal Power</h2> <p>No matter which kind of cargo bike you have, you may find that you want to add electric assist. This gives you the freedom to bike a little faster when you're in a hurry &mdash; Paul Fischer, who <a href="http://bayareacargobikes.com/">sells bakfiets bikes in San Jose</a> &mdash; says that electric assist can boost him from about 12 to 18 miles per hour. Electric motors are also a good idea if you live in hilly territory, like San Francisco, or need to carry heavy loads.</p> <p>You can even get a bike that makes smoothies. <a href="http://rockthebike.com/store/">Rock the Bike</a>, of Berkeley, sells the <a href="http://rockthebike.com/store/products/8-fender-blender-pro.html">Fender Blender Pro for $1,700</a>, mostly to companies that use the bike-powered blender for events. The bad news? The Fender Blender doesn't go &mdash; it's a stationary bike.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-it-all-car-free-with-a-cargo-bike">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-have-free-outdoor-fun">50+ Ways to Have Free Outdoor Fun</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-big-of-a-house-do-you-really-need">How Big of a House Do You Really Need?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dumpster-diving-101-6-strategies-for-success">Dumpster-Diving 101: 6 Strategies for Success</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-diy-magazines-can-help-you-be-self-reliant">These DIY Magazines Can Help You Be Self-Reliant</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/walk-walk-walk-walk-walk">Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Lifestyle bicycle safety cargo bikes commuting Wed, 07 Nov 2012 10:36:47 +0000 Carrie Kirby 955166 at http://www.wisebread.com Night Biking: Get Set Up to Ride the Night Away http://www.wisebread.com/night-biking-get-set-up-to-ride-the-night-away <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/night-biking-get-set-up-to-ride-the-night-away" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/night_bike.jpg" alt="Woman with bike" title="Woman with bike" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="146" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Night biking is such a blast, and with the weather getting better and better every day, it&rsquo;s so fun to extend your outdoor play into the night. A quiet ride through the city around dusk offers a refreshing change from day riding. A ride through your small town at night can change your whole perspective on where you live. It might even feel like a completely different place. And it&rsquo;s all good as you stay visible and safe. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-guide-to-becoming-a-part-time-bicycle-commuter">A Guide to Becoming a Part-Time Bicycle Commuter</a>)</p> <h2>Light It Up</h2> <p>First, you have to determine what kind of night riding you want to do and pick the light that&rsquo;s best for you. If you&rsquo;re an urban rider, you can get around easily with a light that doesn&rsquo;t project as far ahead. If you&rsquo;re heading into the woods or darker stretches of country road, you&rsquo;ll need to pick a light with a strong beam that reaches farther and helps light your way better.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re going to be city-side for your night rides, check out a smaller and cheaper light set like the ones that <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Bell-Night-Trail-Bicycle-Light/dp/B00005BXUU">Bell Bicycles</a> sell. They run between $10 to $20 and can get you started. For the heavy-duty night rider that wants to explore unlit roads or even hit the mountains for a stellar night ride, the MiNewt by <a href="http://www.niterider.com/">NiteRider</a> is the way to go. With three different beam settings and a super long battery life of three-to-six hours, you can&rsquo;t go wrong. At $200, it hits the high end of the light range, but is worth the cost to keep you from getting stranded at night. Don&rsquo;t forget to put on a tail light, preferably one that has different settings, so you can be seen from behind.</p> <h2>Start Reflecting</h2> <p>The next most important piece of equipment you&rsquo;ll need is reflective clothing or tape. Not only do you need to see where you&rsquo;re going at night, but you need to be seen by car drivers. A good pair of bike tights with reflective strips down the sides works well in conjunction with <a href="http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_520080_-1___">a jersey like the one by AGU</a>. Better yet, get a versatile reflective vest that you can wear year-round over your clothes and add in some reflective cuffs to put over your jacket or pants even in the dead of winter. Adding reflectors to your wheels and the back of your bike will add an element of safety to your ride as well.</p> <h2>Pack Right</h2> <p>Part of staying safe while riding at night is having the right tools with you. Along with a good light set and reflective clothing, you need to keep a good toolkit with the basics: patch kit, pump, allen wrenches, crescent wrenches, and a first aid kit. A handheld flashlight is also a good idea for those times when your bike light goes out or when you need to stop to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-fix-a-bike-flat">work on your bike</a>. An extra set of clothing also serves you well for when the temperature drops or inclement weather sets in, and a pair of glasses with clear lenses helps you ride at night while protecting your eyes. Of course, having more water and more food around can&rsquo;t hurt either!</p> <h2>Practice</h2> <p>Finally, getting on the road at dusk and going for baby rides near your house can help you prepare for your night rides. Your eyes will begin to adjust to the different lighting and the obscurity. You can learn how to feel the road through your tires instead of having to see the whole road ahead of you. And you can learn to anticipate unexpected events, like small animals darting across your path where you can&rsquo;t see them.</p> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve gotten all your gear together and a few practice runs in, it&rsquo;s time to go, because summer&rsquo;s almost here, the night is always young, and your bike is ready. So bike on!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sasha-a-rae">Sasha A. Rae</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/night-biking-get-set-up-to-ride-the-night-away">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-work-out-when-its-hot-outside">5 Ways to Work Out When It&#039;s Hot Outside</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-reasons-youre-bad-at-exercising">14 Reasons You&#039;re Bad at Exercising</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-exercises-to-do-at-work-that-dont-make-you-look-silly">10 Exercises to Do at Work That Don&#039;t Make You Look Silly</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-habits-science-says-will-make-you-smarter">5 Habits Science Says Will Make You Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty bicycle safety bicycling exercise summer activities Wed, 25 May 2011 09:48:21 +0000 Sasha A. Rae 546913 at http://www.wisebread.com