Monday, October 05, 2009

it's better than wanting an unnecessary minivan

I’ve been thinking a lot about going car-free once our current car dies. If there were a local carshare program, we could definitely do it, and I think we might be able to pull it off anyway- the occasional taxi or rental car should be less expensive than the monthly cost of purchasing, maintaining, insuring, and fueling a car. Even if we can’t keep it up long-term I think it would be an interesting experiment to try for a few months.

I’m perhaps using this to justify my lust for cargo bikes. I’ve researched them sufficiently to have picked out what I would get; a Yuba Mundo which is decidedly less fancy than a lot of options but should be able to do pretty much anything I want it to for a reasonable price. (Comparatively reasonable, I mean; it’s still more than $1000.)* I was pretty much set to just get it when Dan pointed out that we can really do most of what we need with our current bike trailer and that it was rather unlike me to buy anything that we can reasonably make do without. I didn’t much appreciate being forced to admit that I just wanted it because I like it, but it’s true, so I’m letting it wait. Hopefully the new model coming out next month will only be available in hideous colors to reduce my temptation.

* Nerdy details about the final narrowing-down once I decided to focus on the less expensive options: I was torn between the Mundo and a Big Dummy, which is similar in a lot of ways but has fancier components plus the benefit of working with Xtracycle parts which are coming out with more nifty accessories each year. (The Kona Ute, also in this category, didn’t sound as sturdy.) But in addition to costing more than 50% more, I was worried about the shape of the frame making it more difficult for both Dan and I to ride it. The top bar of the Mundo is angled such that I think we’re both more likely to be able to ride it comfortably. (Its frame comes in just one size, while the Big Dummy comes in several, which means it’s not designed to accommodate riders of dramatically different heights. Most people don’t share bikes.) Finally, a very patient man at a Portland utility bike shop was kind enough to chat with me and he said he’d get the latest version of the Mundo even if price were no object. Then I was sold.

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