Sunday, October 20, 2013

balancing act: cargo

Today I had a very full, busy day lined up. After teaching my Hebrew students all morning I was scheduled to ride a short distance away and play a set of acoustic music at a local coffee shop.
The only way to make this happen was to ride the Surly Big Dummy, and load up my amp and my bag of microphone, cords, music stand and mic stand. After Hebrew school, I add my school guitar to the pile.

It was sort of ridiculous, like being in a contest to see who could carry the most wobbly load.

 Photos show my bike after adding the guitar to the mix. Xtracycle's wideloaders and the longloader are attached to the Surly; this load would not have been possible without both.

Basically, the whole thing fit on the bike but boy, was it wobbly going! Even after a mile or so, by which time I sort of got used to it, it never stopped feeling somewhat precarious.

The gig went well. I was in good voice and played well and feel much more ready to go into the studio in a few short weeks to record my album. But after I loaded up the bike and rode the five miles home, I was totally beat, and thinking really hard about the practicality of schlepping my music gear to gigs on the Big Dummy. It has always been easier, and felt far more stable, to haul it behind a regular bicycle in a trailer.  I am pondering investing in a better trailer and perhaps selling the Surly down the road. It's a fun bike but the storage space it takes up isn't worth it if I keep wishing for a more stable riding experience. And as I get older I know balance will become more of an issue. It's worth thinking about.

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