Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Ultimate Hippie Commute Unit
March 30, 2007 12:03 PM   Subscribe

Ultimate Hippie Commute Unit The Xtracycle has been around since the mid-90's. The concept is meant to eliminate the need for panniers , handlebar packs, and traditional trailers, and is currently being sold by a company by the same name. treehugger loves it, this guy built one out of spare parts, and the bicycle company Surly wants to build some themselves. Go ahead, ditch your car!
posted by andythebean (48 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't understand what a "hippie" is. But neat idea. Asian countries have all sorts of rides like that. The Bike is the worlds most common form of transportation, far outstripping cars and trucks.
posted by stbalbach at 12:16 PM on March 30, 2007


Love that, cool.
posted by nickyskye at 12:39 PM on March 30, 2007


Are there any bike mechanics around to review the concept? I think it looks really cool. How well would it work for touring? The elongated chain looks vulnerable somehow, but what do I know?
posted by limon at 12:39 PM on March 30, 2007


Now if only they could develop a bike that didn't leave me wet with perspiration when I reached my destination. . .
posted by boubelium at 12:50 PM on March 30, 2007


This is my favorite kind of invention: Seemingly simple, immensely practical.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 12:51 PM on March 30, 2007


The bike is a neat concept.

May work well but the chain looks like it may swing side to side a bit....that could lead to erratic shifting/broken chains. A stabilizer/tensioner ala downhill racing bikes may be in order. But then again, I haven't ridden one so maybe it isn't a problem.
posted by dibblda at 12:52 PM on March 30, 2007


Longer chain is not such a problem; people hammer around on tandems and I haven't heard of broken chains being a particular problem, although I did break the chain on a prototype recumbent tandem up on Lemon Hill while watching a big bike race some years ago. But I am a monstrously awesome rider with huge powerful thighs.

That said, I don't trust bolt-on rear triangles; I like things like that to be welded, so the Surly "long tails" are certainly an improvement. If I was still a messenger I would think about getting one of these as a cargo bike.
posted by Mister_A at 12:54 PM on March 30, 2007


dibblda - you're right, chain tensioner would do this thing a lot of good.
posted by Mister_A at 12:55 PM on March 30, 2007


A friend of mine has one, he uses it to haul everything from groceries, to an extra person.

One time he did this.
posted by splatta at 1:08 PM on March 30, 2007


nope.
If you really want to carry a load you need one of these :
http://www.christianiabikes.com/
posted by silence at 1:14 PM on March 30, 2007


'Slong as you're trolling for retro descriptors, this is more cyberpunk than hippie, I'd think. You know: peak-oil-dystopia an' all.

More to the point, this is really very Asian. I see all kinda cargobike adaptations every time I'm in Seoul, let alone somewhere really bikecentric like Vietnam.
posted by adamgreenfield at 1:15 PM on March 30, 2007


That is about the sweetest thing I've ever seen. I wondered how dudes in more bikecentric countries carried those insane loads--probably through a modification like that?
posted by schroedinger at 1:18 PM on March 30, 2007


some cargo bikes that are used a lot by parents to bring their kids to school.
posted by jouke at 1:18 PM on March 30, 2007


My wife is a friend of the guy who started the company, very very cool. He travels to third-world countries to show them how to build their own. I have yet to have bought one, but soon.
posted by pumpkin at 1:21 PM on March 30, 2007


Jeff hauls stuff with his.
posted by the Real Dan at 1:22 PM on March 30, 2007


some dirt-twirler on my college campus has one.
posted by keswick at 1:25 PM on March 30, 2007


Those Surlys look nice; I would prefer welded to bolted, m'self. That, and dang, I wish those Bakfiets were available around here!
posted by everichon at 1:28 PM on March 30, 2007


Those Christiania things are just trikes. They probably handle like a '58 Buick when loaded. Rear-mounted cargo is better. But if you must go with a heavy front end, get a cycle truck.

Also, the Christiania site is the worst site yet seen in the current epoch of web design.
posted by Mister_A at 1:36 PM on March 30, 2007


Wow, dirt-twirler. That's actually the second-cleverest thing you've ever posted, keswick.
posted by Mister_A at 1:36 PM on March 30, 2007


I know a guy who worked for Xtracycle. I still occasionally kick myself for not getting in on his employee discount -- I coulda had one for half price if I'd been on the stick.
posted by the dief at 1:41 PM on March 30, 2007


For extra hippie power, add an xtracycle to a recumbent.
posted by blue grama at 2:05 PM on March 30, 2007


I always thought that if you needed to haul a lot of stuff and refused to use a cargo trike or trailer, a longjohn would be your best bet. I saw a few of these in the Netherlands.

Also there I saw a bike messenger riding the completely insane Flevo Trike.
posted by adamrice at 2:15 PM on March 30, 2007


I think I'll stick with my good old fashioned couch bike.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 2:16 PM on March 30, 2007


I want one of these real bad. And considering I was going to buy a car after graduation . . . this looks like a really good option to avoid doing that. Especially since there's nowhere in Charlottesville I need to go that's further than three miles from my house.

The one question I have: would it be better to buy my bike locally and get a conversion kit, or should I just have the whole thing shipped over to here?
posted by thecaddy at 2:18 PM on March 30, 2007


Well it seems the Surly model ain't available yet so you may have to settle for the conversion deal right now. Use a local bike shop.
posted by Mister_A at 2:28 PM on March 30, 2007


I ditched my car for an Xtracycle-equipped bike last year. It's been awesome. And if I added a Stokemonkey, that would take care of the arriving-wet-with-perspiration problem.
posted by hades at 2:40 PM on March 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


saw a dude with one of these in SOMA - SF. He was a messenger. I was intrigued and asked, "hey man, what is this on your bike."

He looked at me like I was Bill Gates and all that is evil, and sneered, "It's just for carrying stuff, if you can't tell."

And unfortunately for me, ever since then I hate the sight of these things.

But do understand them.
posted by Sr_Cluba at 2:42 PM on March 30, 2007


That's no bike trailer. This is a bike trailer.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 2:46 PM on March 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I love that they offer a "no-pressure consultation."
Seems like a good product made my good peeps.
posted by Dizzy at 3:00 PM on March 30, 2007


(...BY good peeps.)
posted by Dizzy at 3:00 PM on March 30, 2007


jouke writes "some cargo bikes that are used a lot by parents to bring their kids to school."

After several trips to the Netherlands, I found myself very taken with those Bakfiets cargo bikes -- you see them everywhere in Amsterdam -- so I decided I'd take a look and see how much they cost.

I almost fainted.

I thought Dutch people prided themselves on using the cheapest boneshakers available, so that nobody would be bothered to steal them. Those cargo bikes sell for around £1200 a pop (that's over $2000).

I'll stick to my Honda Civic, I think.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:02 PM on March 30, 2007


Six bags of groceries fit in the Xtracycle, with room on top for strapping down a case of beer or three. With the wideloader add-on, you can carry a 50-gallon rain barrel or big rubbermaid container on each side. There's an accessory that makes it easier to haul long loads than splatta's friend's solution. I've used mine to carry an oak half-barrel.

Sure, a fully-tricked out Xtracycle or a Bakfiets is expensive. But having gotten rid of my car, I could buy a new cargo bike every couple years and still save money by not paying for auto insurance, fuel and maintenance.

I live within three miles of my job, and there are multiple supermarkets and farmer's markets within easy biking distance of my house. Also, I have a Flexcar membership and a bus pass. That helps a lot. Replacing your car with a cargo bike isn't for everyone. But when it's possible, I highly recommend giving it a try.
posted by hades at 3:10 PM on March 30, 2007


I see these around quite often, actually, to the point that I stopped noting them. (That's not to say I'm too cool, but that the bikes are actually in regular use by regular folk.) I've been wanting one as a second (okay, I guess it'd be a third bike) for going to the grocery, hardware, farmer's market &c.
posted by elwoodwiles at 3:38 PM on March 30, 2007


Burrows's 8 Freight [PDF] is cooler. The Xtracycle can't be "ultimate"; where's the full chainguard to keep the guck off you and on the chain?

I used to see a couple in Glasgow riding one of these. They'd take turns one on the front, the other surfing on the back. Cool ,but ill-advised.
posted by scruss at 3:46 PM on March 30, 2007


Not a freight bike, but I'd just love one of Hase's hybrid recumbents... compact and twice the horsepower...
posted by anthill at 3:58 PM on March 30, 2007


Bonus Feature:
They don't look like they could kill a pedestrian as easily as other speedy-speed bikes.
(But I bet somebody's got a link to prove me wrong...)
posted by Dizzy at 4:01 PM on March 30, 2007


So how exactly is one of these better than a Bob Yak trailer?
posted by gottabefunky at 5:39 PM on March 30, 2007


"I'll stick to my Honda Civic, I think."

Sure, but how much does gas and insurance for that Honda come to each year? (Also maintenance, which is going to be less for that fancy bike than for a car.) Add that up for a couple years and you have your bike more than paid for.
posted by Listener at 6:28 PM on March 30, 2007


Bikes are great if your job consists of blogging and posting links to your friends' websites. Most people have big boy jobs where they have to dress like grown-ups instead of jeans and threadless t-shirts.
posted by keswick at 9:12 PM on March 30, 2007


Bora Horza Gobuchul wrote: That's no bike trailer. This is a bike trailer.

YES. Bikes At Work trailers are the only serious work trailers I've ever come across. They're rated for 300 lbs, but I've found that even 400 lbs is OK if you pump up the tires a bit.
posted by ryanrs at 9:27 PM on March 30, 2007


Looks like it might be possible to create a convertible extracycle.. That might be cool.


It seems to me that those Yak trailers are very restrictive on the loading. Of course they also look very nimble and compact.. I got myself a trailer last year. An old 2 child Bell, that I moded with a cargo platform. I love it, but it isn't nimble, at all.
posted by Chuckles at 10:57 PM on March 30, 2007


Listener writes "'I'll stick to my Honda Civic, I think.'

"Sure, but how much does gas and insurance for that Honda come to each year? (Also maintenance, which is going to be less for that fancy bike than for a car.) Add that up for a couple years and you have your bike more than paid for."


It all comes to much less than the cost of the train tickets I'd have to buy if I didn't own it, sadly. I'd be happy to deal with the inconvenience of waiting for public transport, and even my inability to smoke for hours on end, if it wasn't so goddamned expensive here in the UK.

Also, I don't much fancy my chances of picking up a couple of hundredweight of sand and cement, and seventy-odd square meters of oak flooring from Costco on one of those bikes -- both things that I've used my Honda for in the last week. (OK, the flooring took me four trips, but it would have taken me seventy-odd trips on a pushbike and my heart would have asploded in the process.)
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:33 AM on March 31, 2007


keswick: Bikes are great if your job consists of blogging and posting links to your friends' websites. Most people have big boy jobs where they have to dress like grown-ups instead of jeans and threadless t-shirts.

Nonsense. I ride 12km back and forth to my job in the big shiny building downtown, and there are lots of people in our company who do the same. Some of us don't smell so shiny, but dude! my thighs are like rock!! We're lucky though, we have room to change.
posted by sneebler at 7:06 AM on March 31, 2007


keswick writes "Most people have big boy jobs where they have to dress like grown-ups instead of jeans and threadless t-shirts."

What they don't have washrooms are your work place?
posted by Mitheral at 8:36 AM on March 31, 2007


Most Some fortunate people have big boy jobs that provide a shower and changing room for bike commuters. Like mine does.
posted by everichon at 10:05 AM on March 31, 2007


Most people have big boy jobs where they have to dress like grown-ups instead of jeans and threadless t-shirts.

Some people are so much of big boys at their job that they can force their employers to let them work from home (or else.)
posted by NewBornHippy at 8:13 PM on March 31, 2007


civic vs bakfiets: it's not really a choice. Most families still have a car but use the bike for getting the kids from school.
Of course there are chinese knock-offs that are a lot cheaper.
posted by jouke at 8:09 AM on April 1, 2007


I thought Dutch people prided themselves on using the cheapest boneshakers available, so that nobody would be bothered to steal them.
It's a bit sad that we ride bikes so much and they have to be so bad.
I regularly have to chase away the junks at the railway station; they are using pavement flags as big hammers to smash the locks.
No pride here, as you can tell.
posted by jouke at 8:13 AM on April 1, 2007


« Older Evelyn: The Cutest Evil Dead Girl...  |  I Saw You: Missed Connections ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments