What is the Mundo?

I am the very happy owner of a Yuba Mundo Cargo bike, a purpose-built, long-tail, heavy-duty bike that is built to be a serious replacement for a carbon-emitting vehicle. I'm learning more every day what a bike can do, and I'm becoming convinced that a cargo bike with an electric assist is a truly fantastic machine!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Coffeeneuring Roundup

Time to put this caffeinated ride series to bed.  Thanks to @coffeeneur from the Chasingmailboxes blog for putting this together!  Riding bikes and drinking coffee just totally go together.  And hey, have you noticed that most of the great biking towns and cities are also known for their coffee culture?  Yup.

Americano, soy milk, Dazbog!

In summary: 7 rides, 7 weekend days, 7 cups of coffee, and approximately 40 miles of riding!

10/5 - 2.1 miles, Outdoors coffee with The Coffee Registry, Fort Collins Farmers Market
10/13 - 4.5 miles, The Steaming Bean in Steamboat Springs
10/20 - 2.1 miles, The Alley Cat Cafe, Fort Collins
10/27 - 2.4 miles, The Bean Cycle, Fort Collins
11/3 - 11 miles, Dazbog Coffee, Fort Collins
11/10 - 3.5 miles, Little Bird Bakeshop, Fort Collins
11/17 - 14 miles, The Wild Boar, Fort Collins

The first four rides are documented in previous posts, but I neglected to put in one of my favorite pics from the Bean Cycle ride (not to document coffee, per se, but to emphasize the coffee/bike/dog friendly atmosphere here in Fort Fun, aka: Fortlandia).
Just trying out the Halloween costume.
My trip to Dazbog happened on a really nice day, and since their shop in Fort Collins is over by the Poudre River Trail, I took a long and leisurely ride along the river before getting my coffee.  Today was so nice, in fact, that I took the old Cosmos Mariner out of hibernation.  I love all my bikes, of course, but this is the only one with a name, and nothing rides like Reynolds 531 steel.
Along the Poudre Trail on my way to Dazbog Coffee.

The following weekend I went to the Little Bird Bakeshop (Little Bird, Big Love), certainly one of my favorite places and a regular stop on the coffeneuring tour of life.

This is the definition of pleasant!

Fabulous french breads and pastries, and the most beautiful espresso machine in Fort Collins (IMHO).

It even lights up from the inside!
Enjoying my afternoon americano and a delicious "Financier", a sort of cake thing with fruit that is quite sublime:

I got there just before they closed, so they gave me a to-go cup.
And for the final coffeeneuring run, I took a nice long ride prior to stopping at my totally local shop, The Wild Boar.

Lots of Boar paraphenalia at the Wild Boar, a fabulous, college-centric shop that has great coffee, yummy food, and local brews on tap. Fast wifi, too.
Today's ride brought out the Cannondale.  Yes, the Cosmos Mariner has a sweeter ride quality, but for shorter rides I love the quick feel provided by the stout aluminum frame, and who wouldn't love the 2-tone blue paint?

Mad bike parking at the Wild Boar
One of the reasons I love the Wild Boar (besides the fact that it's only about 3 blocks from my house) is the coffee card - always working toward that free coffee, gotta love it.

Small coffee in my large travel cup
So hey, that about sums it up, lots of fun trips, and I look forward to another *.*o-neuring challenge in the future!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

If this was the World Series, we would have won by now...

It just occurred to me that this is coffeeneuring #4 out of 7, _and_ it will be the 4th game of the World Series tonight.  I'm sure that is a fabulous piece of good luck for the Red Sox (you know, Boston being Beantown and all???).

(I started writing this post last Sunday, before the Red Sox won the World Series, so I'm sure that this bit of prescience (along with having a beard) was an invaluable contribution to the glory the Sox have achieved).

So anyways, October 27th was a beautiful morning.  2 days after my wife Paula's birthday, and 4 days before my daughter Rowan's birthday.  (I guess I'm drawn to Scorpios...)

Aspen leaves, late fall in Colorado
 The look of the sky and the aspens portended a really pleasant day, and for the first time in a long time, I was heading out to have my first cup of the day at a shop (instead of the usual carefully constructed coffee at home).  Due to my obsession with our favorite brew, if I were to trust someone besides myself with the first cup, it had to be the Bean Cycle.

Outside the Bean Cycle

The Bean Cycle was, fortuitously, the first coffee shop I ever went to in Fort Collins (while visiting many years ago).  It has been a favorite ever since, despite the plethora of excellent bean roasters and espresso machines in this town.  One of the things I love about it is that it is built around coffee, books, and bicycles.  How can you go wrong?

The Bean Cycle shares space with the bookstore and Wolverine Farm Publishing
The bookstore features used books, new local art, stickers, and great publications such as The Boneshaker Bicycling Almanac and the The Matter Journal, a compendium of local interest.

One of my intentions this fine morning was to partake of the "Toast Bar" at the Bean.  Sure, I got the americano with soy and croissant, but I had been waiting with great anticipation to try out the local bread from Ingrained Bakery.  Yes, I often get a baguette from Callie at the farmers market, but I've never tried her other offerings.  Today I tried the polenta bread with homemade apple butter, and it was sublime!

Polenta bread with apple butter, croissant, and americano: Heavenly!
The Bean Cycle boasts many coffee making musts: they roast their own of course, and they also make amazing coffee treats with the chemex drip brewers (my favorite at home) and the slow drip cold coffee that I love during warm weather:

Chemex Brewing!
Crazy cold coffee system!
Coffeeneuring is essentially what bicycling is about - being able to stop at a shop after work, or before, or on the weekend.  Traveling by bike is what I do, and chillin' at coffee shops is what I love.  Thanks @coffeeneur!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Coffeeneuring Week 3!

A cold and rainy day here in Fort Collins, 45 degrees with a steady drizzle when I went out on the Mundo for some coffee and munchies at the Alley Cat Cafe before heading over to the Bike Co-op.  (The Mundo is my go-to bike in bad weather, with the waterproof bag and fenders to keep me dry).

Despite the rain, lots of bikes at the Alley Cat Cafe
The Alley Cat Cafe is a Fort Collins staple.  It's on the 2nd floor of a building that yes, is on an alley off Laurel St across from Colorado State University.

Entry to the Cafe, and always open means 24/7/365, people.  Yeah.
Very cozy place to relax and have my afternoon americano before going to help out at the Bike Co-op.
Downstairs from the Alley Cat is another favorite place: Damn Good Tacos, featuring fast, fresh tacos for $3 or 2 for $5.  Tasty cheap eats, but closed on Sundays, sad to say.

You can't go wrong at Damn Good Tacos
Had a good sandwich from the Alley Cat menu instead to go along with the coffee, and then it was back out into the rain to ride up to the Co-op (where, luckily, it was also nice and warm).


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Coffeeneuring Week 2

Week 2 of the Coffeeneuring Challenge found me in Steamboat Springs, CO for a weekend of relaxing and soaking at Strawberry Hot Springs.  Truly one of the most beautiful places I know.

A view of Strawberry Hot Springs
We stayed for the weekend at a lodge near the mountain, and I brought along the trusty Cannondale so I could fit in a little coffeeneuring.  On a beautiful but cold (28 degrees F) Sunday morning I rode the 3 miles into town to have coffee and a croissant at The Steaming Bean coffee shop in the heart of downtown Steamboat.

The ride into town was very pleasant, as there is a great bike path in Steamboat along the Yampa River.  I came across this very Colorado-y scene along the trail by the river, and the pic came out sort of intstagram-like, and I think it's a cool portrait of my old Cannondale:

My Rad 80's Cannondale
I was able to have my coffee before the rest of the fam showed up, I love to get an early start.

Americano and a croissant - Bliss...
We took a walk around town after meeting up at the Steaming Bean, and made our own plans to have a mini Big Lebowski fest once we got back to Fort Collins.  The local theater here in Steamboat is doing some really fun stuff:

 A great weekend get-away, hot springs, good food, coffee and bicycling, yes, it's a wonderful life!

Paula, Rowan and Rob enjoying the beautiful hot springs water

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Coffeeneuring Challenge starts TODAY

Coffee science at its best
Coffeeneuring: a brilliant way to combine two of the most pleasurable things in life - Coffee and Bicycles.  Thanks to fellow blogger Chasing Mailboxes for spearheading the 2013 Coffeeneuring Challenge, explained thusly:

The Chasing Mailboxes Coffeeneuring Challenge is a relaxed weekend cycling endeavor for cyclists everywhere. If you like riding a bike and enjoy drinking coffee or tea (or even hot chocolate), you should consider giving the challenge a go. (See the website for the full set of "rules")

Um, OK, I like relaxed weekend endeavors, coffee, bikes, yeah...  This is great!

So today I did my first Coffeeneuring ride, and as you might have seen in the rules, I am claiming this one as the ride to the "Coffee Shop Without Walls".  Four miles roundtrip to the farmers market where I got some delicious, fresh roasted, pour-over brewed coffee from The Coffee Registry.

The Coffee Registry's Custom Coffee Cargo Bike

The Coffee Registry is a regular stop for me at the Saturday morning farmers market.  Operated by coffee evangelist and bike aficionado David Sutton, the Registry is a portable, open air coffee shop mounted on a custom cargo bike.  WHAT?!  This is, well, my dream, so it's awesome to see my dream come true even though it's not me doing it.

David of The Coffee Registry on a chilly (but chill) Fort Collins morning.

So David and I chatted a bit while my coffee brewed.  I told him about the Coffeeneuring Challenge, and he is agreed that Fort Collins is a perfect place for coffee and bikes.  I remarked that, in my opinion, FoCo has some of the best coffee I've ever had, and a thriving culture of coffee, coffee shops and bikes.  Yes, as David said, "We're Platinum!", referring to the recent elevation of Fort Collins to a Platinum Level Bicycling Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.  I would also submit that if there were a similar community rating for coffee and coffee shops, Fort Collins would be on the list.

Fun fact #1 - coffee brews best at temperatures between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. 
Fun fact #2 - in Fort Collins (average elevation about 5,000 ft) water boils at 203 degrees F. Perfect!!
(Thanks to David for this info)

My dream bike!

It is my contention that because of the perfect boiling temperature of our pure mountain water, along with the affinity of the coffee beans for high altitude, the coffee here in Fort Collins is amongst the best I know.  I admit, in deference to our Coffeneuring Challenge hosts' home city, that I have had some damn good coffee in D.C., but I invite all you Coffeeneurs to come up to Fort Collins and take a bicycle tour of the finest coffee shops and richest coffee you will ever have the pleasure to enjoy.

Bringing home the coffee :-)

Fort Collins Food Finders!

The Mundo loaded with fresh donated produce on it's way to the Larimer County Food Bank

More on what a bike can do: I belong to an organization called the Fort Collins Food Finders, one of the many programs of The Growing Project.  Food Finders, previously known as Fort Collins Food Rescue, combines two of my favorite things - Food and Bicycles!  Almost every day volunteers go to where the fresh food is and bring it, via bicycle power, to the people who need it.  Pickups include farmers markets, the Fort Collins Food Coop, and local farms.  So far, since we started in May 2013, we've delivered over 8,000 pounds of food to many of the missions and charities who feed the hungry in our town.  A lot of it goes to the Larimer County Food Bank as well for further distribution.

Tyler uses a trailer on his fixie to deliver for Food Finders
Most of the volunteers use their bike trailers to haul the bounty, but when I go out I bring the Mundo. With the Yuba Go-Getter bag on one side, a plastic tote mounted on the other, and towing my trusty old Burley trailer I can carry hundreds of pounds per trip.  Comes in handy at a farmers market pickup, when lots of the vendors donate their leftovers at the end of the market.  About 3 weeks ago Tyler and I met at the downtown farmers market and saved 108 pounds of peppers, corn, tomatoes and more. What a great way to combine biking and community service as well as being able to hang out with some very cool people.

If you think a Food Rescue operation is what your town needs (and it probably does), check out The Growing Project website for more info, and in the meantime, support your local farmers!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Carrying bikes with the Mundo - Update!

There has been a lot of interest in the posting about carrying bikes on the back of my Mundo, so I've decided to put up some more details and a "how to" on the process.

The original inspiration for trying this out was that the Fort Collins Bike Library needed to move about 65 bikes from their storage location to the downtown library kiosk.  New Belgium Brewery was hosting a meeting of folks from around the country to plan this summers' Tour de Fat festivities, and all the visitors needed bikes.  The plan was to ride the bikes from storage to the library, and then walk back to the storage to pick up another bike.  Repeat until done.  I volunteered to help move the bikes, but not being a fan of walking I figured there had to be a better method, and thus the Mundo Multiple Bike Loading System was born.
Carrying 2 bikes at a time.
 The basic idea was pretty easy: get a couple of v-shaped bike trays, such as those made by Thule/ Yakima/ Rocky Mounts, mount them to the Mundo's outriggers, and start moving bikes!  Sounds easy, and as it turned out, it really was.  A few technical details needed to be worked out, as I will show you, but it didn't take long to figure out.

Here are the things you'll need:
(2) full length bike trays
(4) 1" hex-head stainless steel machine screws with the same diameter and thread pitch as the ones that come mounted in the Mundo's outriggers.  (The stock screws might not be long enough to go through the bike tray into the fitting).
A drill
A measuring tape (to measure exactly where to drill the holes in the trays).
Some old carpet or other material to protect the frames where they contact the Mundo in transit.
(2) Yuba 3 meter Cargo Straps (or similar).
(1) hour of time to do the first installation. (Note: once everything is measured and drilled, the process of removing or installing the racks takes less than 5 minutes).

Here's what the final installation looked like.  The trays are different styles only because they were the only 2 available at the time.
The most expensive part of this project were the 4 stainless steel machine screws, as the used bike trays were donated by the Fort Collins Bike Co-op.  Getting a tray or 2 for a project like this could be a bit of a stumbling block, but if you keep your eyes open you can probably find one on craigslist, your local community bike shop, or even at a metal recycling center.

Although the original inspiration for the project was a short-term job, my long-term objective was to have a way to easily carry one or more bikes with the Mundo.  I have tried towing bikes, and it is not an ideal way to transport more than one bike, or even one bike over longer distances.  This setup with the trays allows me to, for instance, carry my mountain bike to the trailhead (about 10 miles) using the Mundo instead of a car.  It's a great way to get to and from the trails without having to ride my mountain bike on the street for a fairly long distance.  The Mundo's electric assist makes it super-easy to get up to the foothills quickly where I can then enjoy the amazing Colorado singletrack.
carrying the mountain bike to the mountains.
Here are some more detailed pictures of the installation process for the trays, and for those of you who might need to transport 3 bikes, I think there is a way of mounting a 3rd, short tray on the top of the cargo rack.  You'd have to have the kind where you remove the front wheel, otherwise the bike would stick out too far and you might have a problem with too much weight hanging off the back of the rack.
The outrigger with one screw removed in the front and rear to allow the rack to be installed.
Detail showing the extra-long machine screw needed due to the extra thickness of the rack.

Lining up the hole drilled in the rack with the outriggers' screw hole.  Note the slot in my wood deck for the Go-Getter bags' strap to go through.
Here is the tray on the other side showing the holes drilled to match up with the existing screw holes in the outrigger.
A view from the top, the rear screw is in, the front has not been attached yet.  Also note the piece of old carpet around the top rack to protect the bike being carried from rubbing against the steel of the Mundo.
As long as the tray is mounted at the correct angle you should have plenty of room to pedal.  The exact placement of the tray, and where to drill the holes was the most critical measurement during the installation.
Here's the mountain bike mounted on the Mundo for transport to the trailhead.
Here's a closeup of how to strap the upper part of the bike to the rack of the Mundo.
Another view of the strap holding the bike up.
Using the wheel straps that come with the bike tray to hold the wheels in place.
And hey, I'm off to the mountains!
Thanks for taking a look, and feel free to contact me if you have any questions about carrying bikes on your Mundo.  Once the system is in place it's easy to put on or take off as needed, and as you might expect, it gets a lot of comments as you ride through town.  And if you want to see a short video of the bike carrying a bike, go to my vine page.  If you need to carry even more bikes, you could always build a custom trailer such as this one I recently saw at the Bike Library, built to carry 5 bikes!
Seen at the Fort Collins Bike Library - a great design for carrying 5 bikes using any bike equipped for towing a trailer.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Spontaneous Cargo

Arriving home with the free shelf unit found alongside the road.
File this under "What a Bike can Do": Today I was at the grocery store getting some things for the next few days, and on my way home I saw this cool shelf unit sitting by the side of the road.  It was a freebie, and it just so happened we were looking for something to put in the garden for the squash to climb on.  Perfect!  Had I not been on the Mundo I would have had to come back for it, but with the amazing capacity of the longtail design and some of the cargo straps that I always have with me, I was able to strap the shelf unit to the bike and bring it on home.
My quick release cargo straps from Home Depot

I always carry 3 or 4 cargo straps that I got from Home Depot.  They are about 1" wide and 8' long, and have a very easy to use, secure, spring-loaded buckle.  Very useful!

Here is the shelf unit put back together, ready for the garden:
A perfect find for our rapidly growing squash plants.