Friday, December 30

Year of the Longtails: The Review

What a year it has been! We've discovered a lot, hauled a lot, covered a lot of miles, had a lot of fun, solved some problems, created some problems and in general we've embraced the cargo bike lifestyle with gusto.

2011 was the Year of the Longtails and 2012 is going to be the Year of *Sun Powered Transportation. One will build on the other.

But to sum up this past year, with its ups and downs, revelations and we go.

The first quarter of the year was filled with longing and dreaming about owning and piloting a cargo bike. I pined, I whined and I was like a kid on Christmas Eve...for three months.

And then we really got going just after I attended the Front Range Cyclist Bike Show. There I got to test ride a Yuba Mundo, saw an Xtracycle and my excitement levels went off the scale.

Front Range Cyclist Bike Show write up

First we bought a Kona Ute for my wife. We ordered a FreeRadical kit at the same time, but it had to be shipped. Meanwhile, Mandy loved her new longtail cargo bike and I loved her new longtail cargo bike. But I wanted my own...

My old bike had been stripped and the frame had been powder coated and the shiny "new" frame was waiting for its new corporeal form.

Finally...finally the FreeRad came and I spent a whole day doing the build up. Finally, finally I had my own longtail cargo bike, my own Xtracycle. My precious...

We rode many glorious miles from April on. It was a good time.

Mandy and I rode our longtail bikes to the Rocky Mountain Bicycle Festival in Denver and were rewarded with an urban landscape infested with lontails:

Rocky Mountain Bicycle Festival write up

Then when my family was visiting New York I took my beloved Cannonball X on an ambitious bike tour, from my house in Arvada to Guanella Pass. From Guanella I hiked to the summit of Squaretop Mountain, a 13er, and then I returned home the way I had gone. I gained over 8,000 feet and traveled over a hundred miles under my own power over three days. It was an amazing experience, made possible by a longtail cargo bike.

Cargo bike in general got a fair amount of press this year, with Bicycling magazine featuring them, as well as other publications, especially bloggers.

While watching coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests I am 99.999% certain I saw two people riding a longtail cargo bike in some aerial footage of the street scenes in NYC.

Besides my blog, and my speech, and my normal commuting routes the Cannonball X showed up in a few other places. It showed up on the national scene in Mother Earth News as part of a letter I wrote in regards to a cycling article in the well known mag. Then it showed up on the local CBS news station after I posted a photo of it wrapped in Christmas lights to their facebook page in answer to a call for "photos of your Christmas lights."

Mother Earth News letter:

While it was the Year of the Longtails, it was also a year in which I rediscovered a love for mountain biking, resolved to do the Leadville 100 and began shooting out on long bike rides again.

I set a personal record and satisfied my goal for the year by riding more than 5,000 miles [final tally is 5,100.55]. Most of those miles were on a longtail cargo bike. I commuted by bike all year, and only carpooled a small handful of times. I only drove alone less than half a dozen times. I rode in sub-zero temperatures. I rode in snow, over ice and after crashing and wrecking my shoulder. Oh, and I crashed and wrecked my shoulder.

It was a biketastic year. And I hope 2012 will be an even more biketastic year. Things are looking good so far. Mandy and I are planning to do more touring, both with the kids and without. Leadville looms. I have just over two hundred days. And I need to get whipped into shape. Mandy has mentioned she wants to try a duathlon. I think that could be a lot of fun.

Looking forward I am hopeful. Looking back and I'm content with the past year. It was a good one in more ways than I've described here in this blog.

Here is a List of Notable Rides in 2011:

Dirty Bismarck from home
Bike Depot Visit
Lily's first pedal to town
Big Dry Creek
USA Pro Cycling Challenge
Mineral Belt Trail, Leadville
Buffalo Creek MTBing
Guanella Pass Tour
Revisiting Red River Gorge
Commuting with Lily
First car free weekend
First Xtracycle ride
Storming the State Capitol

Hear are the "Year of the Longtail" specific posts:

Franken-cannon-stein-ball X
Making Room
Tearing Down So We Can Build Up
Waxing Poetic
Nailbiter's Lament
Brute on a Ute
Resolute on a Ute
Astute Ute Salute
Cannonball X
A Tale of Two Longtails
At Last...the Xtracycle Review You've Been Waiting For
Greening of the Thumbs
What I Did On My Summer Vacation
YOLT Update
Breeding Like Longtails
In the News: Cannonball X
Cannonball Xmas
Upgrades, Not Up Grades

The Great Longtail Revolution: No More Obstacles
The Great Longtail Revolution: The Longtail Manifesto

* Was "Human" Powered Transportation due to a proofreading error.

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