It’s official! I’m a member of the Tarik Saleh Bike Club

Tarik Saleh hat 2Tarik Saleh buttonsTarik Saleh Dalek Tarik Saleh is  very nice  guy who has had an awesome blog for years, and  runs a very cool bike club with two simple rules:

1.  Ride Bikes

2. Don’t be an Ass.

I bought two of his awesome cycling caps, once of which I am wearing above. He sent me a bunch of great club buttons too, but unfortunately one was taken by the miscreant you can see above. He’s always an ass and going on and on screaming “EXTERMINATE!” all the time. Don’t really know what his deal is.

Maybe if he rode a bike, he’d be less of a jerk.

Anyway, the hats are great. They fit really well, are  super comfy, and makes me look uber-cool to boot. Tarik  might still have some hats, so click the link above if you are interested.  The hats are all handmade by RandiJo Fabications.  She has other great stuff too, so you might want to check her site.

So as far as the rules of the club,  I got rule #1 down.  I ride everywhere. Hate using the car unless I have to. In fact,  I got an Xtracycle  a few months ago for cargo trips and even more recently ordered a stokemonkey, which is an electric motor designed specifically for longtail bikes like the Xtracycle, which will allow me to carry my wife on the back of my bike as well as our dogs in their trailer up a 20% grade to our weekly dog training classes. I am also hopeful that I can talk her into doing some local bike camping as well. Very excited about that possibility.

As far as Rule #2 goes?… Work in progress.



Xtracycle to the Rescue!

I’ve had my Xtracycle for a few months now and have found it very handy for a lot of purposes:  Shopping, taking my wife and our dogs for a Sunday ride, E-recyclables to E-Waste, etc. I’ve read on other blogs about other owners finding things along the road. Furniture,  knickknacks, etc., but that hasn’t happened with me. At least, not yet…

Last night, I went on my weekly pizza run  Papa John’s with my pizza warming system ready. I wrote about this recently here. While on the way, I saw one of my coworkers from work walking down the street. To protect her identity, We’ll call her Lily L.

Anyway, I don’t usually see her walking in this area, thought nothing of it, waved hi to her. I was about to ride on when she looked up, recognized me and said, “Ty! Ty!” and seemed a bit distressed. I pulled my bike on over and she said she had parked her car near the train station that morning, but couldn’t find it now. She asked me if I could look for it for her. I pointed to the rear deck of my bike and showed her the foot rests and stoker bar (passenger handlebars, which you can see below if you look closely,

Ty's Xtracycle with Doggyride mini

and said “You can hop on and come with me.” She looked at it and said ok and got on. I checked to make sure she was ready and off we went


Lily looked for her car, and then within a minute  exclaimed “Oh my gosh! I parked at the other train station in Belmont! My car is nowhere near here!” I told her no problem as Belmont was only two miles away. We set off down the road.

Lily thanked me profusely as she would have had to call a cab otherwise, as nobody was home to pick her up. She seemed to really enjoy the ride and kept commenting on how fun it was and kept asking if I was ok, as I was doing all the work. I said no problem as it was good training for me and her light weight was no burden at all. Image

We got to train station and I let her off saying, “That will be $20.”

Just kidding…

But maybe I do have a future career in pedal cabbing?

Carrying Pizza on an Xtracycle!

So I decided one of the things I wanted to do once I got the Xtracycle set up was to go get my own pizza on the bike. I could have done it with the CETMA five rail rack on the front, but it would have been more awkward.

The main issue with going to get your own pizza is coming back with it warm. I don’t mind cold pizza the next day, but hate it when I first get it from the pizza place. So first step was to get my own pizza bag. I  did extensive research on the subject – basically went to Amazon and spent five minutes looking at reviews, and got this one.


Next step was going into the realm of invention. I knew the bag would keep it warm, but I wanted it go come home piping hot. What to do? I got the idea to get a warming pack from a pet bed we have. It has a heavy round plastic insert that is microwaved and radiates heat for a couple of hours. I wanted to get one  that fits well in a pizza box, so found this one Image

that is designed for people who take casseroles to pot luck, church social., etc


 Then I got a medium-sized pizza box from the good folks at my local Papa John’s and crudely put a bunch of venting holes on top.


 It is the right size for the warming pack. It won’t move around too much. The warming pack assembly goes in the pizza bag, and the fresh pizza goes on top. Heat rises and all that…



 Since the pizza bag is soft, I kept a couple of large pizza boxes from the last run to give it some stability. I put those on top of the warming pack, put it in the pizza bag, cargo netted the whole thing to the deck of my Free Radical, ordered two pizzas (buy one, get one free night) and off I rode the two miles to Papa Johns.



 The Pizza guy did a double-take when he saw my pizza bag and was quite impressed by it.  “I can ‘t believe no one else thinks of this!” he said. He was also impressed by my improvised warming technology.

I put the fresh pizza in the bag and headed home.  FYI – temps were in the low 50’s. When I got home and pulled out the first piece I was immediately rewarded with piping hot pizza! The wife, who usually rolls her eyes at my ideas had to admit this was a good one.  We kept the pizza in the warming bag and took slices out as we needed them. The best part was the pizza stayed hot until we finally put the leftovers in the fridge. The only down side is that I ate almost twice as much pizza as usual. My excuse was the pipinghotedness of it was hard to resist and I did ride to go get it!!


 In any case, if you like pizza, I highly recommend you adopt my method. Even if you go by car <shudder> it still is nice to have it stay hot all night.

Haulin’ Plasma


Freshly-converted Xtracycle with Doggyride mini trailer



So I got my old Specialized bike converted to an Xtracycle a few weeks ago. The conversion is taking an existing bike, and then adding what they call the Free Radical to it. It extends the rear of the bike, and lets you carry lots of stuff, including passengers.

It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a long, long time. So far I’ve taken the dogs for a ride (above), gone to Costco, Pet Store, Smart and Final, etc. The Xtracycle can handle 350 lbs including rider, so with my current 211 lbs :(, that means I need to keep the cargo at 130 lbs max.



Loaded up with 8 gallons of distilled water and 40 lbs of ktty litter. Approximately 120 lbs dry weight.

The big challenge was hauling my 2004 Pioneer 44″ Plasma TV to the E Waste at Goodwill. It was one of the earlier ones, so it weighs close 100 lbs. .Just getting it on the bike by myself and not having it fall over was a chore in itself.



To counterbalance, I put the stand, which weighs about 6 pounds on the other side. I stuffed some shirts I was going to donate on that side as well, and set off.

The Goodwill was only two miles away on flat ground, but as soon as I got going I the bike started to shake alarmingly . This is somewhat normal with a longtail bike, but it was exacerbated by so much weight being on  one side. I was carrying less weight than when I brought back all the water and kitty litter, but that weight was distributed much better.




With careful riding, I managed to keep the shimmy down to a minimum, get to Goodwill. 



As I was gingerly getting off the bike, I heard a young guy say, “That’s so cool!” and gave me a thumbs-up when I looked over. In any case, I managed to offload the TV without the bike falling over, fill out my paperwork, and head home. The bike felt like a carbon fiber Trek after all that! When I got home, I cracked open a nice frosty KCCO beer (my new favorite) and congratulated myself on a job well done.

Would it have been easier and quicker  to use the car, sure. 

Would it have been a slightly nail-biting adventure, heck no!!!


plasma tv causing bike to sway alarmingly (which you can’t see, work with me people!)