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Tri Modal Bicycle Commute

Recently, as of three weeks ago, I took a new position back in the marketing arena. You can read more about this over at Bike Shop Girl but the most important thing for you all to know is changes are being made across all the sites that will benefit you, the reader, the most. Hence the lack of posting.

The thing that pertains to Commute By Bike the most, my commute through life, has changed a great deal. What was once a 4 mile bike ride in the suburbs to work in shorts and a tshirt, is now a 27 mile commute to the big city of Charlotte from the suburbs.

You may find this strange but I enjoy this new mini-adventure everyday. Being able to go into the city during the week has added a bit of excitement to my suburbia life. I am enjoying seeing friends and messengers that work in town, wearing business attire and being part of the well oiled machine.

One of the other reasons I’m so excited about my commute is for this site. I will have much more commuter tid bits and tips from current, everyday, real life. As a bike commuter for 13 years, I know how to get from one place to another pretty efficiently but there are always going to be issues and concerns that come up day to day.

Day to Day Commute

On any given day, my commute changes due to meetings, football practice or work deadlines. All mornings I take the Express bus from Davidson, NC to Charlotte, NC. From the heart of the Charlotte I hop on the train for 2 stops and walk/pedal 3 blocks to my office. Some days I’ll bring my bicycle with me to be able to get around town at lunch or to make the 27.27 mile commute home from door to door. Other days I’ll ride the bus home, or carpool with a friend if our schedule works out.

Things Will Change

As daylight gets shorter I most likely will take a step back and not ride the whole route home from work. Take the bus to Davidson and ride the 5.5 miles home. There are thoughts of joining the YMCA that is a block away from work so that I can ride in to work, shower and change at the YMCA. That may happen in the winter when it isn’t so hot.

A New Adventure

My daily commute probably isn’t for someone that needs to have a concrete schedule, or pinched on time. I spend about 1.5-2 hours a day commuting in one form or another. I leave the house at 6:45 and get home about the same time. For me, I enjoy the adventure and change of pace. I’m typing this blog post sitting on the bus on the way to work, and I’ll probably work on another article for Bike Shop Girl tonight. The other things i do is people watch, listen to a whole host of podcast or slowly I am becoming more comfortable reading without feeling sick.

Here’s to a new adventure and expanding the websites further than any of us knew!

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How to Make Bike Buckets

This article was originally written on Flickr by a friend of mine Joey Emanuel from Charlotte, NC.

Bike Buckets from the Rear

These deep buckets are perfect for grocery getting or any utility type errands you might want to handle with your bicycle.

For a size reference, the buckets will hold two 4 1/2 gallon cartons of soy milk in each! THIS REFERENCE IS FOR VOLUME COMPARISON ONLY! *If you were to put 4 1/2 gallon cartons of soy milk in your bucket, you may exceed the strength limitations of the bucket and the rack would end up with a sad and delicious mess.

* I’ve also fit a big frozen pizza diagonally in one during a moment of weakness for cheese.
Bike Bucket Before
Bike Bucket Before

You Need One or Two Buckets

The buckets can be any size you want, pick the right one for your load and your bike rack.
These are 9 & 1/4 x 9 & 1/4 x 13 inches deep. Pretty honkin’ big. When fully loaded, just one can exceed the weight capacity for my rack, but sometimes I prefer to push the limits of bicycle carrying capacity rather than using my car. A bucket with a handle helps out a lot.

Other Tools You May Need

Tools for the Buckets
Tools for the Buckets
  • 4 Machine bolts and 4 nuts per bucket.
  • 9-10 matching flat washers per bucket.
  • An adjustable rubber strap to tension the bucket to the bottom of the rack stays.
  • 2 hooks per bucket.
  • 1 miscellaneous bolt and nut to secure the rubber strap. (I think mine were spare fender bolts.)
  • A utility knife
  • A screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • A power drill with bits that will accommodate each size of bolt.

Not pictured

  • A pencil or marking device
  • Reflective 3m Tape


Step One:

Step One
Step One
  • Being careful not to choose a side of the bucket where the wire handle is connected, pick a side to mount the hooks on.
  • Make a mark on either side of the trapezoidal bulge; a straight line where the hooks will go.

Step Two

Step Two
Step Two
  • Mark the width of the hook on both the flanges that protrude from the side of the bucket. You’re going to cut through these with a utility knife. Once these flanges are notched, you can bolt the hook to the side of the bucket and the hook will be flush. (Really, I don’t get the opportunity to say ‘flush’ enough.)

Step Three

Step Three
Step Three
  • Cut the flanges where you marked them.

Step Four

Step Four
Step Four
  • Score the flanges between each cut. Doesn’t have to be too deep, just enough to fold the notch you’ve made until it pops off.

Step Five

Step Five
Step Five
  • Now you can place your hook where you want it to go. Some people bolt their hooks so that the top of the bucket is flush with their rack. This is helpful if you have something large to attach to the wide platform of bucket and rack, like a frozen pizza, family-size 36-roll package of toilet paper, case of beer, etc. Mark where you will drill your holes in the next step.

Step Six

Step Six
Step Six
  • Drill your bolt holes!

Step Seven

Step Seven
Step Seven
  • Using washers, put those bolts through the hooks and the bucket. Make sure to put washers on the inside too, underneath the nuts!

Step Eight

Step Eight
Step Eight
  • I cut my rubber strap to six inches long, but this depends on your rack, how tight you want the strap, and the type of bucket you use. If you’re using one of these adjustable straps, try to cut between two of the holes.

Step Nine

Step Nine
Step Nine
  • Because I hang my buckets as far back on the rack as they’ll go (to avoid heel strike) I choose a spot just forward of the middle of the bucket’s side to anchor the rubber strap. If you’re making a bucket for the right of the bike, the anchor would be on the left of center, if it’s a bucket for the left, anchor on the right of center. This way, when mounted, the strap hangs just above the place
    where it hooks to the rack.
  • Drill the hole through both the trapezoidal bulge and the inside wall of the bucket.

Step Ten

Step Ten
Step Ten
  • Slide the cut end of the strap underneath the trapezoidal bulge.
  • Now grab that spare fender bolt and poke it through the trapezoidal bulge, the strap and the inner wall of the bucket. Make sure you get the bolt through the hole in the strap, sandwiching it between the layers of plastic bucket.
  • Give it a tug to make sure it’s caught.
  • Inside the bucket, screw a nut on the end of the anchor bolt. You can put a washer on first if you want, if your bolt is long enough.

Step Eleven

Step Eleven
Step Eleven
  • Crimp the “S” hook around the strap slightly so that when mounted on your rack the pointy bugger won’t poke and scratch a hole in your bucket. This helps your bucket hang upright when on the rack.

All Done!

Bike Buckets All Done
Bike Buckets All Done, now paint and add reflective tape.

Mounting the Buckets

Installing the Bike Buckets
Installing the Bike Buckets
Installing the bike buckets
Installing the bike buckets