This is the ultimate Blowout Preventer.
The "fail safe" par excellence for future oil spills.
It was invented in 1800's.
The oil industry doesn't want you to know about it.
It costs little to nothing, is a joy to use, keeps you in good health mentally and physically, and is more satisfying than sex.
Okay, maybe not sex.
Meet the most efficient form of transportation known to humankind.
The bicycle was invented in the 1800's and the first one was made out of wood.
We've come a long way. Now we have disc brakes and internally geared hubs. But this diary isn't about bikes per se, but about the bicycle trailer.
By about day 12 of the Oilpacalypse I started browsing Craigslist for a used "baby trailer" for my bike. I got one just like this from a guy in my neighborhood for $95.
There are tons out there just like this one waiting to be used. People buy these things new, use them for about 5 years, then they sell them, or try to, and anyone with an itch to stick it to oil companies can have themselves a reliable grocery getter that's easy to park, is never stuck in traffic, and gets phenomenal gas mileage.
Seriously. The BEST gas mileage.
We're starting to see bike trailers being used for jobs that we used to use cars and trucks for. Many companies are starting to make bike trailers for specific uses such as cargo trailers, flatbeds, and even a trailer for the landscaper trying to go green.
The Dutch are quite fond of the bicycle "caravan" and have no qualms about enjoying their vacations via bicycle often with trailers like this one:
With the baby trailer though, cars will give you a WIDE berth. Most think you've got your first born in there and they're freaked out that you're towin' your kid out there on that busy road so they look at you funny as they avoid you with great care. That trailer's like kryptonite to crazy drivers. The best safety device any cyclist could ask for. Most have that look of "How could you? Your own child!"
I just smile back, knowing what's in that "baby" trailer back there.
Groceries. A new hedge trimmer. Tools. Maybe some wood for a project I'm working on. A broken vacuum cleaner. Things that were too big for my panniers and I would've used the car for. That is, BEFORE BP decided to turn the beautiful Gulf of Mexico into a cesspool.
That was it for me. I was already an avid cyclist, walk or ride to most places, and was becoming car weary. I've had vague stirrings to go car-less and thumb my nose to the Oil Barons. The Iraq Debacle was driving me to that. But this BP oil fuckery pushed me over the edge. I like being able to complain about those bastards knowing I'm doing my best to not be a part of the reason they're drilling in 5000 feet of water.
It's hard to watch that live feed of all that oil gushing outta that well, complain about it, and then go get in my car to go grocery shopping. I'm part of the problem.
I know this.
But not anymore. Little by little I'm trying to NOT be a part of the oil problem.
I want to see caravans of bikes with trailers on our streets. I want to see them parked side by side, lined up like semis at a truckstop, out in front of grocery stores, hardware stores, the library, schools, and next to the gas station.
Especially next to the gas station.
I want mine to have a sign on the back that reads: "F-U BP"
Or: "Suck It BP" or, "Zero Emission Vehicle" or, "I LOVE grocery shopping!"
Or: "Don't Blame Me, I'm Riding My Bike"
Or: "BP dumped a guzzillion gallons into the Gulf so I went on Craigslist and bought this trailer and ditched my car and now I'm having the time of my life grocery shopping instead of being miserable stuck in traffic and jockeying for parking."
That last one lacks brevity. I know. Gotta work on that one.
My next project is a bike trailer to tow my sea kayak to my local beach. I'll probably just modify the baby trailer by adding a longer arm to the existing arm to accommodate the 17' kayak. This longer arm would of course be removable.
Or maybe I'll just go on Craigslist and find another baby trailer sitting in someone's garage just waiting for a new, useful, exciting life on the road and convert that one to a kayak trailer.
Or I could just buy one ready-made like this one.
Okay, technically this is not a trailer, but I thought it was worth posting anyway!.
This trailer puts a new spin on the term "mobile home."
There is even a blog dedicated to JUST bike trailers.
And a Human Power Load Calculator to figure out just how much weight you can tow behind your bicycle on a trailer.
I don't know if you can understand how happy and satisfied I feel when I use my bike trailer for trips I would've used the car for. I never thought I would look forward to taking the vacuum cleaner to the repair shop!
There are lots of used baby trailers out there that would make great grocery getters. They're covered so they'll keep your things nice and dry, are already built and ready to haul, and fold down for easy storage if needed.
I feel as if I'm doing something concrete in response to this tragedy that actually has an impact. I'm doing things under my own power that I would have in the past used a car for. Will my actions take down BP? Nope. But yours will.
And so will yours. And yes you too over there eating cheetos in your mother's basement :)
I'm staying in shape, getting outside, and removing myself from the profit margins of Big Oil.
Will you join me?