Liquor Store Drive-Thru by Bike

It was getting late. I knew it would be cold outside.

I was starting to think of my commute home, and thinking of what pretext I might have to get a ride home from my wife — a pretext that would not involve an admission that I just didn’t feel like cycling home.

Aha! My Dahon folding bike has been stranded at the office ever since I started winter commuting with my mountain bike.

I got my wife on the phone.

“Honey, could you swing by and pick up my folding bike [and my lazy ass] so I can get it home?”

“Well, no,” she said. “But could you swing by the liquor store on the way home and pick up some kind of orange liqueur?”

This was good news and bad news.

The good news was that my wife no longer considers my bike commuting as an activity that hinders me from running errands.

The bad news was that my wife no longer considers my bike commuting as an activity that hinders me from running errands.

The other good news was that I’ll be picking up some orange liqueur.

“Sure. No problem. See you a bit.”


My boss said, “Feel free to use the Really Big Bongo to get your Dahon home.”

Damn eavesdropper.

The “Really Big Bongo” is a prototype bike cargo trailer based on the Wandertec Bongo — only it’s really big.

So I hooked up the RBB to the Kalkhoff electric bike from our JOYBAGâ„¢ fleet. I loaded the trailer with my Dahon and a few other bulky things that needed to go home and have been collecting around my desk. About 50 pounds of cargo.

The Kalkhoff has a bright Busch & Müller headlight and tail light, which I augmented with my Planet Bike Superflash tail light and Light & Motion Urban 500 headlight.

Once again I was heading home lit up and flashing like the Las Vegas Strip — but this time pulling a ridiculously big bike trailer.

This is the biggest bike trailer I’ve ever pulled, but it pulls nicely. I climbed to the top of San Francisco Street with the electric assist on full power, panting and wishing I could just twist the throttle and let the bike do all the work. I was in a seriously lazy mood. (I don’t care what the e-bike haters say: electric bikes are not scooters.)

When I pulled into the liquor store drive-thru, I remembered to pull down my balaclava, because I don’t like being shot at or arrested.

Really Big Bongo Goes to the Liquor StoreI waited.

I got off the bike, put down the kickstand, and stomped on the black rubber hose with both boots.


Eventually, the clerk came to the window. He’s your classic mountain-college-town bearded liquor-store guy. Utterly un-phased by the sight of me and my blinding, flashing bike and trailer.

Maybe this guy has seen everything. Maybe utility cycling is almost mainstream in this town. Or maybe he was just stoned.

I bought a bottle of orangecello. You can almost see it in the photo, poking out of my rack-top bag in a paper bag — and looking more like a tallboy than a classy 21-dollar-per-bottle digestif.

My mother-in-law is visiting. Did I mention that?

I pedaled home and parked the bike and trailer, barely leaving enough room for her car. Stupid car.

Big Bongo and Dahon

After dinner, I asked, “So how about some of that orangecello?”

“No,” I was told, “We’re going to use that in a cake.”

In a cake!

What I’m really trying to say here, is that you can do anything on a bike — including being taken for granted. And that’s the way it should be.

(In a cake.)

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