Solving the One Bike Conjecture
This last weekend I used my Big Dummy to help teach a big dummy (Tyler) how to build wheels. Tyler wanted to learn how to build wheeles on a set of 650b hoops he had for some project so I told him I'd load all of my wheel building crap, all of the parts we'd need and all the other 'necessary supplies' onto my Big Dummy, bring stuff over to his place and he could learn to build wheels. The wheel buliding went how you'd expect it to go for two idiots that were half engaged in what they were doing and the other half just sorta getting lit. I'm confident the wheels will carry their burden just fine, but as I was riding over there I realized that I've spent years chasing a dream that has been a fool's progress.
As I was packing all of the crap I would need to cart over to Tyler's place I discovered that it would have been a lot easier if he just came over to my house. I also had the realization that I must just feel like strapping a bunch of garbage to my Big Dummy and riding it someplace because I haven't done that in a long time. When I went over the list of what I'd need to take over there it didn't seem like that much stuff, but as I started gathering everything and the pile grew it became apparent that I wouldn't be carrying a trivial amount of cargo. I was sitting there looking at two rims, four tires, a rather large, heavy pile of tools, a bunch of various other parts from work, the stuff I needed for a weekend of house/dog sitting and a twelve pack of beer, among other things. Usually when I pack a bunch of a shit on a bike I'll just make a pile in my living room. This pile of stuff quickly consumed much of the available space in my apartment but once I finished packing everything on my bike, I was amazed at how easily the Big Dummy gobbled it all up.
I've spent what a lot of people would consider an inordinate amount of time tinkering with bikes thinking about a scenario where, if I could only have one bike, which bike would it be? I sit and wonder what would add up to the best mix of durability and weight, cargo capacity and being able to get it in and out of my crappy basement apartment. As I was riding over to Tyler's house I realized the answer was sitting right underneath me. It's the Big Dummy. I've used racks and panniers, frame bags, junk straps, all kinds of stuff but there's nothing that has been able to carry as much stuff and allowed me to live on my bike without having to sacrifice what I do or carry as much as the Dummy. Not only that but it gives me a real good feeling when I know I can take whatever I want where ever I want by bicycle. It reminds me of the feeling I got when I strapped on my first pair of velcro shoes... freedom and independence. I suppose the desire to be able to do anything you can do in a car on a bike is probably a bit of a waste of time because it's an apples and oranges situation but I used to drive for a living and that was a bummer so anytime I can skip it, I'm happy.
The reason I even bother including this exceptionally underwhelming photo of my cargo is because of just how underwhelming the Big Dummy makes 80lbs of awkward shaped tools, clothes, bike parts and beer look. It may be the mini-van of our lineup but damn can it haul pretty much everything you could haul in a mini-van.