Bicycle Astronomy Cargo Bike Trials!

Trying out the Yuba Mundo with a sandwich board sign, solar telescope, tripod and mount (in the go-getter bag behind the sign). Photo by Zora Reilly.

I’m loving the Yuba Mundo cargo bike. Today I loaded the go-getter bag with every green cardboard veggie container we collected over the summer, two messenger bags in the bread basket (one held a pair of a boots and a DSLR, another my computer and other stuff), rode it downtown to the Geneva Farmer’s Market, gave the containers back to the farmers, and loaded the bike back up with fresh local produce. The go getter bag held: a bunch of leeks, two quarts of heirloom tomatoes, a quart each of plums (Slivky in Slovak, the kind of plums you make prunes from), peaches, potatoes, sweet red peppers, garlic, grapes, and a single sweet potato! It wasn’t full, but I was out of cash. Tonight I’m taking all that home, with Zora on the back, too.

Last week the Geneva Bicycle Center had it in their workshop to rebuild the front wheel around a Shimano Alfine dynamo hub. The dynamo powers a Schmidt Edelux LED headlight, which is amazingly bright and lights up steady at very slow speeds (which is good as when I’m riding laden with telescope and other supplies, I might be going a bit slow!), as well as a red LED taillight. I had fun snaking the wiring up the fork and stem to the headlight, and then alllll the way back to the end of the rack for the taillight, battening them down with black zip ties along the way. I’m not sure if I mentioned this before, but a little feature of Yuba’s great double kick stand is that you can work on the bike without a stand. Put a little weight on the front and you can spin the crank and rear wheels. A little weight on the rear and I could spin the front wheel…and see if my wiring job was working. It’s a little thing, but it’s been enormously helpful.

The bike is basically done, and I’m thrilled with it.

The next stage I’m calling Bicycle Astronomy Trials. It’s all about testing out what works and doesn’t in terms of carrying astronomy gear on the bike, and running a few proto-star parties. This week I designed and printed the sandwich board sign. When I got the sandwich boards in the mail, my first thought was…oh, they’re big! But then I put them on the side of the bike, and they looked more manageable. The Yuba cam buckle strap holds it fast against the frame. The print shop did a great job with the poster proof. I’m going to another version in landscape version for one of the board insert’s flip-side, so the poster will be oriented correctly when I’m riding. Then when I place the sign, that insert will get flipped around.

Here’s the sign, photographed by Zora. Stretch your neck before you try to read it.

Here’s the bike, with one sandwich board sign, eyepiece case in the bread basket up front, tripod, mount and solar telescope in the Go-Getter bag:

The solar telescope came with a HUGE aluminum case; you can see it sticking up from the go-getter bag behind the sign there. I’m going to make a much more appropriately-sized soft case out of some waxed canvas and some foam, and my trusty Pfaff sewing machine. Eventually I’ll make a version of the Go-Getter Bag out of the same stuff, optimized for the Veloscope and other stuff I need to haul.


3 thoughts on “Bicycle Astronomy Cargo Bike Trials!

  1. What a great trajectory! Use, re-use, recycle, return, and then direct folks to look at the cosmos for a new perspective! So glad you are on my radar screen thanks to your excellent blog! Please give my regards to Zora and Gabbi. Great bicycle story!

  2. Awesome rig! Looks like you’re already having a great time and getting some great use out of your Mundo. I wonder if you could actually mount your sign (great sign, btw) on the bike as a rolling advertisement. Where did you get it printed?

  3. Elle,
    My campus print shop did the printing. They have this giant printer, it looks like a photon torpedo (no dead Spock inside) and it can print on waterproof vinyl. If you look at one of the more recent posts, you can see I print out a sign in landscape format so that when I’m carrying the signs on my bike, I can flip the vertical sign for a horizontal one that can be read by passers-by. I also want to add a sign directly to the bike, probably as a kind of rear-wheel skirt. Still working on that!

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