[TheThinkTank] Mobile Bicycle Repair

The Bicycle Tree info at thebicycletree.org
Thu Apr 7 17:15:31 PDT 2011

Below is my response to a similar query a few months ago.  To that response I will add:

If we need to use one trailer (if there's only one person available to haul), we eliminate one of the tables and one or both canopies.
- tool list: pretty much everything, we fill up three large tool boxes, two with three drawers and top shelf each, we keep the tool boxes on a plastic folding table.
- cargo bike vs. trailer vs. both - I like trailers because they're stable and cheaper, if there's a mechanical problem you can switch bikes.  Trailers are not as attractive as the cargo bike in the LAB article, though, or this one: http://www.preenbulle.ch/26/v%C3%A9lomobile (dowload the actives_mobiles.pdf)
- consumable parts list (tires, tubes, lube, et al) - all we bring are tubes, cables, housing, some rim tape, brake pads, small parts drawers, chains, ball bearings... we aren't really able to carry wheels or tires.  Actually, we could probably get some tires on there.
- what advocacy stuff to include (banners, stickers, brochures, and how to carry them) - we have a plastic waterproof file box that we carry our email list signup sheets, flyers, brochures, donation jar, stickers, spoke cards, buncha stuff... a lot of this goes out on a table.

- booth, tent, other - two 12x12 ezups and two folding tables (plastic ones are lighter than particle board)
- other issues I'm short-sighted on... getting people to haul the trailers or bikes can be a bit tricky sometimes, because they have to be there earliest and stay latest.

We're mobile, looking to establish ourselves in a building, but mobile for now.  We use two medium Bikes At Work trailers to haul everything - three big tool boxes (two with drawers), two canopies, two folding tables, truing stand, three folding repair stands, two 18-gallon tubs (holding small parts drawers, cables, housing, tubes, etc.), two collapsible chairs, 2-gallon container for lubes and cleaners, two pumps, banner, lil' trash can, file box for flyers, brochures, paperwork, etc.

-You can keep stuff on the trailers so you don't need to unload/reload at home base.
-Bikes are fun and make you look cool
-No rent, no gas
-Easier to store and manage than a truck trailer - I think you need special registration for those.

-Subject to weather (not a big problem in Southern California)
-You need commitment from two riders to get there and back.  We have done events doing bike checks/minor repairs with more limited stuff using one trailer.  One long trailer probably too much weight for one rider (unless they are herculean and equipped with disc brakes), given the density of everything.
-Takes about 45 min to 1 hour for set up and break down
-Very limited parts on hand
-We've only done 10 mi round trip (on primarily flat ground), I'd say 20-30 mi round trip is probably pushing it for everyone but the really strong riders, hills can be a bit difficult.  We did river trail underpasses just fine, though control may be a little iffy at these higher speeds should an obstacle present itself.
-Bungeeing everything in place requires a little tetris (the first time) and time.  You need a lot of bungees - I think we use at least 15.

Other advice:
-Make sure the bikes have good brakes.

Bikes At Work specific:
-If the load balance is heavy toward the front (which may be required by how things must be arranged) and you rest the towbar on the ground it bends a bit so it wont fit on the trailer hitch and needs to be filed down (this problem mitigated in a half-assed way by sliding an old bottle cage on the towbar so that contacts the ground).
-Trailer hitch band clamps come loose over time.
-The wheels are held on by what looks like a paper clip on steroids, doesn't particularly inspire my confidence with potential sideways forces but its worked fine and the makers are experienced using the trailers so I guess don't worry about it.

One photo of our trailers is on our website at www.thebicycletree.org
Bikes At Work: www.bikesatwork.com

Good luck!

-Paul Nagel

The Bicycle Tree

P.O. Box 881
Orange, CA 92856


info at thebicycletree.org

> Date: Fri, 16 Jul 2010 10:09:16 -0600
> From: jonathan at slcbikecollective.org
> To: thethinktank at bikecollectives.org
> Subject: [TheThinkTank] Mobile shops
> Does anyone have a proven working (not conceptual) mobile shop
> operation? We are going to be partnering with a local college, and
> while we have done this in the past, I was looking for some creative
> ideas on others have made it work.
> Sincerely,
> Jonathan Morrison
> Executive Director
> Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective
> 2312 S. West Temple
> Salt Lake City, UT 84115
> w: 801-328-2453
> c: 801-688-0183
> f: 801-466-3856
> www.slcbikecollective.org
> The mission of the Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective is to promote
> cycling as an effective and sustainable form of transportation and as
> a cornerstone of a cleaner, healthier, and safer society. The Bicycle
> Collective provides refurbished bicycles and educational programs to
> the community, focusing on children and lower income households.

The Bicycle Tree

P.O. Box 881
Orange, CA 92856


info at thebicycletree.org

From: samh at samh.net
Date: Wed, 6 Apr 2011 14:34:08 -0600
To: thethinktank at bikecollectives.org
Subject: [TheThinkTank] Mobile Bicycle Repair

I am interested in discussing mobile bicycle repair with other cooperatives who currently own or operate them.  The Bozeman Bike Kitchen will begin fund-raising toward this goal starting in two weeks and I'm very interested in seeing or hearing about the mobile rigs other cooperatives have set-up.  

- tool list- cargo bike vs. trailer vs. both- consumable parts list (tires, tubes, lube, et al)- what advocacy stuff to include (banners, stickers, brochures, and how to carry them)

- booth, tent, other- other issues I'm short-sighted on...


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