Car Replacement Bike – Saving the World and Money at the Same time

So I haven’t had a chance to delve into our family reducing our car fleet from 3 to 2 to 1 to 0 and to 1 again but I will save that story for another day. For now I am excited about what we will be acquiring tomorrow.

I have been using my bike as my primary source of transportation for the last couple of years slowly lessening my need for our car. With two toddlers we still use are car more than we should but I am excited at our progress. With Road bikes and a trailer it was sufficient for most our needs but when I stumbled upon the world of long bikes or xtracycles I became very excited about the opportunities. Being the financial salmon that I am I was not going to go buy one brand new and I was going to do my research.

Well it came down to really wanting a Surly Big Dummy because of over all positive reviews, it’s xtracycle friendliness and Surly’s renown name for being the best. But with a price tag around $2,000 +/- brand new, I couldn’t see myself spending that king of dough. I actually found some really decent deals on craiglist for half that, but the problem being the deals were in San Francisco, Boulder, Seattle, Boston, New York areas and I am in Phoenix. I am willing to wheel and deal on craigslist to see if people will ship but the Big Dummy is just too costly to ship. I am open to driving for a deal of half off but those drives are just a bit too far. Unfortunately Phoenix isn’t as forward thinking when it comes to bicycles (either that or everyone loves their long tail bike so much they aren’t selling) and there have been no great deals on any long tail cargo bikes.

During my research I broadened my search beyond just the Big Dummy. I decided I would try a cheaper route and if I was sold I could wait and find a Big Dummy in Phoenix or close enough to drive to and get a deal. Well Xtracycle offers a bike add on called the Free Radical. The price isn’t bad but you have to have an existing bike to hook it up to and then you have to get the long chain, long cables for derailleurs and brakes and I didn’t want to mess with that. Xtracycle also carries the Radish which I was excited about because of the range of rider heights that it can fit since my wife and I are close to a foot apart. The downfall with  the radish is the standard components on the bike are lower range with only V brakes instead of Disc brakes like most longtail bikes that may require increased stopping power with heavy loads.

Alas I found a Radish on Ebay used but was out bid by $10 at a combined price of $840 including shipping. That was still more than I wanted to spend but I have been getting so excited to try the long tail cargo bike I was willing to make the financial sacrifice to hopefully save money in the long run with less car use.

So I broadened by search again and found the Trek Transport, Kona Ute, Yuba Mondo and Sun Atlas Cargo Bikes. All of these were not compatible with the xtracycle accessories except the Sun Atlas. They were also aluminum frames and I preferred the tried and true qualities of Steel bikes. But decided I would be willing to try these other as an entry into the long tail cargo bike world.

Well tonight I was doing my All of Craigslist search and stumbled upon a year old Kona Ute in a town called Kingman. It is about 3 hours away which can be done in a day. The seller was asking $400 already a 1/3 of the original price. The nice thing about people selling items in smaller towns is there isn’t as big of a market and can be more flexible on price. I got him to agree to sell me the bike for $300 if I drove from Phoenix to purchase the bike. That got the price down to 1/4 of retail and a fraction of what a Surly Big Dummy sells for.

I asked my boss to give me the day off on short notice to ensure no one purchased the bike from under me. Tomorrow I am excited to take the family on a road trip and to purchase my first long tail cargo bike. I hope to see it continue to transform our families transportation and lifestyle.

I’ll report more on the financial benefits as I begin utilizing the bike.

If you don’t already ride a bike it is time to integrate one into your lifestyle to truly swim upstream from the financial masses.

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This entry was published on July 9, 2012 at 5:35 AM. It’s filed under Cycling, Financial Freedom and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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