“Moving day” is perhaps one of the most stress inducing phrases a person can hear in their adult life. I should know, I’ve had to slog my junk across my hometown about five time in the last four years.
But bike-enthusiasts, we’ve got great news! Andy Dyson, Executive Director for Bicycling for Louisville, managed to move the contents of his Kentucky home from Smoketown to Schnitzelburg–about 1.4 miles–all on pedal-power!
The journey involved a variety of bike trailers, including five Bikes At Work, two Aosom trailers, one BOB, a home-made model, four bike child trailers, four bikes with front-loading panniers, and a heavy-duty cargo bike. There were 52 trailer loads (including 12 loads moved by Andy prior to the event), and about 20 for individual bikes made by 21 people (ranging from ages 20-65) in total. The combined effort is equivalent to renting out a 26′ U-Haul truck.
To make this all happen, the event was partially sponsored, with volunteers earning money per pound moved. One Dave Morse raised $500 by carrying half a ton!
Bike Couriers Bike Shop and Soup ByCycle lent out many of the trailers used to Andy and his group.
The job was only possible in such a short time (about 3.5 hours) because we were well prepared. Everything was in boxes. There were two ways into the house and trailers were being loaded in the back yard and in the street out front. Because we had a lot of people who were not riding at any one time there were people to help carry things into and out of the houses. Without them it would have taken a lot longer, so when we do this again we will also be sure to have a few more people than there are trailers.
There was one accident, when a trailer tipped, slightly damaging some furniture. The lesson from this is that there should be a cargo boss who is experienced with this sort of thing making sure that all trailers leaving are not overloaded or loaded too high. Even people who own trailers might not be used to the types of loads that can end up on their trailers at this kind of event. The other lesson is that it is worth taking a bit of extra time to load carefully, putting heavy things at the bottom of all high loads. Finally riders should go SLOWLY over any rough surface. In future we will have a crib sheet that riders must all read. I did remember to tell people various things that I think are important and are not intuitive (including that bungees are dangerous and can put your eye out), but I’m not sure I got everyone. I assumed some people knew what they were doing and was largely lucky in that regard; I won’t rely on luck next time.
Andy says that he thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would definitely do it again. His wife Moira on the other hand…not so much. Currently, Bicycling for Louisville is offering similar services in exchange for donations.