Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Pedal Peddling: Stuff to Consider

This is a follow-up to yesterday's post about yard saling by bicycle.  You might want to read that one first.  I thought there were some more technical (for lack of a better word) considerations that I would like to discuss, but didn't feel that they fit in a post about the overall adventure.

First is the obvious limits to saling by bike.  I know that when I make the choice to take the bike out on a yard sale venture that I am automatically limited on two fronts:  how far I can go and how much stuff I can get.  We're getting to the time of the year when there are sales (and good ones) everywhere.  I mean everywhere!  All other things being equal (meaning no large or special sales, like a church sale), I can pretty much do just as well hitting the sales in the neighborhoods surrounding my house.  This weekend, one of my favorite church sales (it's huge!) takes place, along with the city-wide sale for the area around the church.  It's all the way across town, so it's definitely not a biking jaunt.

As far as limits on purchases go, that's not necessarily a bad thing.  Sometimes, I can benefit from having to be a bit more thoughtful and choosy when yard saling.  Due to the plenty right now, I'm verging on being overstocked.  It's the "feast" end of the "feast or famine" cycle.  Besides, if I plan my route well, I'll be passing the house often, so I can unload (and pee) frequently, if need be.

Large items (like furniture) are quite out, of course.  But, even then, I can pay for something and make arrangements to pick it up later.  Which I actually did last weekend.  I bought a cool vintage office chair, which went right to a booth after I picked it up, so it didn't get photographed.

I'm a regular bike rider.  I consider my bike to be my primary form of transportation.  I use it to go to work, run errands, thrift, and so on.  So hoping on the bike to head out yard saling is not that strange an idea to me.  It's pretty much a natural thing to do.  Others, of course, are going to--for their own reasons--think differently about the idea.  And that's okay.  What I can't understand is why I 'm still fat, given that I ride my bike all the time!  

One thing you do have to do when you sale on a bike is make preparations to carry the stuff you buy.  I do this with my super-large backpack (which could hold a small scout troop), the baskets on the bike, and several reusable shopping bags.  The bags provide good cushioning for items against the bouncing in the baskets, plus they can be easily tied on to the handlebars.

However, the more you buy and carry, the less maneuverable you become.  Keith's bike, which I used over the weekend, is pretty bulky as it is, but when you load it down with a few extra bags of stuff, it becomes like steering a battleship.  This cuts down on your speed and ability to steer easily. You have to take that into consideration, for safety's sake.  So if you try this, be prepared to take it slow and cautious!

Large loads also affect balance, especially on a bike like Keith's, which only has a basket on one side in the back.  That huge bag really threw things off, and made the bike only able to stand on the kickstand for a few minutes before toppling over.  That happened twice.  Thankfully, the basket cage kept things protected from scattering and breaking.  An added challenge was having all this extra stuff to throw my leg over when getting on and off.  I fell over the bike one time, which was really embarrassing!

Weather issues also come into play. I wouldn't try this on an extremely hot day.  Make sure you stay hydrated, regardless.

Finally, you also need to keep a careful eye on your bike and your purchases while you are shopping.  There isn't always a place to chain your bike up.  I didn't go to one sale on my list Saturday because I could not figure out a way to easily get my loaded bike up the hill in the front yard of the house and around to the back of the house where the sale was.  I didn't want to leave it chained up to a light pole in front of the house, since it had a lot of stuff in the baskets.  It just felt safer to me to bypass the sale.

Anyway, it may seem like something really weird to do, but yard saling by bike can actually be a lot of fun.  Just wanted to share.

Tomorrow, you'll get the chance to meet my new bike!  Can't wait to take him out saling.

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