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With the recent acquisition of the Haul a Day, it was only a matter of time before we had to let go of our Xtracycle. It was built up in Feb 2008, adding a Free Radical kit to an old Kona MTB. This faithful old bike has served as a kid carrier and grocery getter, and if you search for “Xtracycle” in this blog, you’ll see many, many pictures of it over the years. Last week, I decided to load it up one last time with the intention of leaving it on consignment at a local bike shop bike swap. Here it is, with another kids bike to be put up for sale, and my folding bike so that I could complete my commute.
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Here are the three bikes at Bateman’s Bike Shop.
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After I dropped it off, I posted that I did so on Facebook, and then I immediately got several messages about it. After some thought, I decided to pull it back from the bike swap. Bateman’s was very nice about the whole thing (and I did end up selling the other kid’s bike after all). Today, the new owners of the Xtracycle came to pick it up.
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I was very happy to pass it along to a bike family that I’ve know over the years. I’m sure that they’ll have many happy miles with it, as we did.

Yesterday ended 30 days of biking. You can see below that I logged a bike ride every day, except April 8.
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That was the day of the pool ride, and didn’t bother logging it on my phone.

April included about 30 rides on our Haul a Day. Along the way, I’ve learned a few more things about the bike. Here, for instance, it took me a while to realize that the front internal pocket of the panniers are an ideal U lock holster.
DSC05271 No more having the lock bang around on stuff.

I’ve also been learning how to load this thing better. Here are today’s groceries (about half a cart)
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and here they are loaded up. I didn’t even need the front basket, which BTW, is ideal for stashing the helmet while shopping, as well as stowing the U lock after I forget to stow it in the back BEFORE loading up the panniers.
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Two other things: firstly the issue of the kickstand banging around was solved last week by a bunch of inner tube.
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However, if you want a more professional solution, order one of these rubber bumpers.
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It fits around the upper part of the kickstand perfectly.
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Now with the screw tightened.
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The other thing about adding this bumper is that it holds the kickstand away from both the frame and the footrests.
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This is hard to explain to anyone other than another Haul a Day owner, but this means that even if you can’t see the kickstand when the bike is loaded up, this makes it easier for you to hunt around with the toe of your foot to swing the kickstand down, sight unseen.

The other mod I did today was to add a Whoopie Deux handlebar. We are past our prime kid carrying days with cargobike, but we will be entertaining guests on occasion with small kids, so this was a nice addition. This is what you get.
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They have made a deliberate choice to make the bar too short to hook up with the cro mo brace if it was bolted to the deck in the rear most set of holes.
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Here is the brace installed. I thought that I might be able to run it below the deck, but I would need standoffs and much longer bolts to do this. As it is, I will need to pad that black crossbar.
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Here it is with one of the folding camp seats brought over from the Xtracycle.
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and here, daughter #2 is being a good sport about demonstrating that she can still fit on the back.
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If you want to check out this set up, come on out to our Kids and Cargobike event in West Toronto on June 6.

This evening, a bunch of the usual suspects gathered at Cherry Beach to watch Jared Kolb, executive director of Cycle Toronto, ride a bike (note: not his bike) into Lake Ontario.DSC01032
Why? Well, why does anyone need a reason to ride a bike into a body of water other than to demonstrate their leadership skills.

Here he is looking serious before the ride.
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and he’s off, with Mark and others doing their best to hit him with water balloons.
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I bet he’s thinking that the water looks cold.
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That cape adds a nice touch.
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Looking no worse for wear.
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and the animated gif:
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all for a good cause.

Last fall, rumble strips were cut into the pavement in King’s College Circle to slow down car traffic. After it was pointed out that the rumble strips were aggressive enough to almost cause cyclists to crash, the university filled in narrow strips to create a narrow channel for bikes. However, these were never very obvious the first time you biked through. Last year I suggested to Transportation Services that they explicitly mark the bike channels. I noticed today that sometime in the past few days, all of the parking spaces and crosswalk markings were redone, and at the same time, very nice markings were added for cyclists.
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In addition to the bike lane markings and the arrows, they added a splash of green paint for good measure. They also marked the bidirectional roads appropriately, as seen here on Galbraith Rd.

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Compare this with the mockup that I sent to U of T.
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Thanks to U of T Transportation Services for making life just a bit better for cyclists that cut through campus.

It’s crunch time for the HPVDT, with about two weeks left to finalize the bike for the ASME Human Powered Vehicle Challenge East, this year in Gainesville, FL. The team has posted this rendering of their bike on their blog.
abstractImage As you can see, it is quite a departure from their previous fully faired machines. The team didn’t want me to post any pictures of the actual bike at this point, but I’ll post some retrospective construction pictures at some point.

As an additional teaser, here’s a picture of Victor working on some disc wheels for Eta.IMG_1999

A bit windy and cold today, so we bundled Lucy up.
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Checking the High Park Sakura, you can see that they are still a long way off.
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The High Park Nature Centre projects peak bloom on May 9, on the basis of this graph correlating blooms with the average temperature of the preceding March.
Peak-Bloom-predictions-2015image source: High Park Nature Centre.

I don’t know if it’s my imagination, but since they repaved and restriped the High Park loop last year in anticipation of the Pan Am games, the bike lanes seem wider.
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A little cross country action with Lucy.
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At this point, everyone is tired of me taking pictures.
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A Lucy eye view leaving the park.
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I’ve spent a week now with our Haul a Day, and it has proven to be a terrific cargo bike. It is noticeably more responsive to ride than my Xtracycle, and it is more rigid as well. The other thing that I notice is that the low single frame tube makes it much easier to mount than a regular bike. This fact is actually more significant for a cargo bike than a regular bike. I remember the one time that I almost kicked my daughter in the head when I mounted my Xtracycle with her already sitting on the back.

I’ve been tweaking the bike to fine tune it. Firstly, a set of YNOT pedal straps that I bought over a year ago at the Toronto Bike Show. They are made locally here in Toronto. Perhaps back then I had an inkling that I’d be buying an orange bike?
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Next up, fixing my shifter. This is probably relevant to exactly zero% of fellow Haul a Day owners, but I don’t like twist shifters and at the same time I wanted the cargo bars (which are awesome, BTW). This is the shifter as delivered. DSC05178

I had to move my hands to be able to shift, and it was bugging me, so I tried to move the shifter to the other section of the bar. However, the shape of the shifter housing prevented it from getting anywhere near the corner.DSC05179

This is the final compromise. In this position, I can shift with my thumb while still having my right hand on the bar, which feels much better.
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Next up, making a trip down to Urbane Cyclist to see if some Yuba accessories fit. The first thing I tried was their big bag, but as you can see from this picture, the height of the bag puts the hooks way above the frame rail if the bag is resting on the footrests.
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This is how the bag hands if I remove the footrest.
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DSC05184 The bag just happens to be orange, and the hooks are perfectly positioned for the bike. I’ll think about it if the cargo capacity of the bike seems too limited.

I didn’t leave empty handed, though. I picked up a soft spot seat pad.
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The next thing was to transfer some things from the xtracycle. Before I did that, I discovered that an old pannier cover that I had fits the front basket perfectly.
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Transferred over the rear view mirror.
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and the taillight. I found on the Xtracycle that it was better not to mount the taillight rigidly as I kept bumping into it, or it would get knocked off.
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A bungie cord, stowed around the rear deck.
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Now the acid test: the weekly grocery trip. I knew that the Haul a Day would definitely carry less, and you can see here that I can fit two oversize grocery bags on each side. The bungie cord came in handy as well. I didn’t load anything in the front basket this time around.
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Just to compare, I reloaded the same load on the Xtracycle, where the bags fit much more comfortably in the black slings. On the Xtracycle, it is easy to get two bags on a side, and it is possible to squeeze a smaller third bag as well.
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If I use the front basket on the Haul a Day in addition to the bungie cord for light, bulky items, I should be able to carry about as much. However, I will note that the foot rests on the HaD are not very wide, and this made loading the groceries trickier than on the Xtracycle, where I was used to having the bag rest on the wideloader before having to tighten up the sling. On the other hand, it is just barely possible to get the Xtracycle through a standard door. My ideal would be if the foot rests were about 4″ wider in total width.

The other quirk that I’ve found is that the metal footrests are loud. There is a loud bang whenever I raise the kickstand. I thought I could fix this my putting some handlebar padding on the kickstand, but it still made a (less loud) bang. DSC05176 I never had this issue with the wideloaders since they have a fabric sling rather than a rigid metal deck. I’ll have to figure out a long term solution. The other issue with the rigid footrest deck was that I had my U lock in the rear for a couple of days when I noticed that the fabric of the sling was already showing some near perforations where the corner of the lock was banging through the fabric against the metal footrest. Since then, I’ve put the U lock in the front basket.

However, on balance, my experience with the Haul a Day has been very positive, and I’ll be putting the Xtracycle up for sale soon. Picking up a point from the previous post, with the single, low frame tube, the small diameter tubing on the rear part of the frame, and the frame mounted basket, I like to think of this bike as a Moulton F Frame for a new generation.

Update: a quick comment on Facebook about the kickstand banging on the frame rails gave me an idea, so I wrapped a bunch of inner tube around one of the legs (basically an entire 700C tube).
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No more banging for the moment, and this method has the advantage that the padding doesn’t touch the ground when the kickstand is deployed. I’ll work out a more elegant solution at some point.

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