Project Thirty Days (mostly) Car-Free: halfway there!

Battling -8°C and ice on a cargo bike

Trading my trusty Subaru for a Trek Transport+ and committing to go car-free for all in-town trips for at least 30 days during a Colorado winter sounded much easier in theory back when it was all sunny and warm. 

As I type this right now the sun may be out but there are several inches of fresh snow on the ground and the high temperature today was barely above freezing.  During my errand late last night the thermometer registered just -8°C (17°F) and the roads bore a closer resemblance to a skating rink than asphalt.  Have I mentioned the lack of tread on the tires?

Even so, 15 days in I've no regrets whatsoever with making the pledge to leave the car at home, regardless of weather conditions or what I have to carry. 

Most days it's just been groceries or various smaller bits that I've had to shuttle around but during one particularly busy day I had to get a snowboard (!), a double wheel box, and another large box to FedEx and UPS – with wind gusts that day recorded at nearly 100km/h (60mph).  On the way back I picked up two single wheel boxes plus four smaller parcels.  After dropping those off at home, I then had to reload and ferry all the makings of a complete road bike for a new product tester on the opposite side of town. 

On this day, the two single wheel boxes conveniently sandwiched the smaller boxes tucked in between.: on this day, the two single wheel boxes conveniently sandwiched the smaller boxes tucked in between.
On this day, the two single wheel boxes conveniently sandwiched the smaller boxes tucked in between.: on this day, the two single wheel boxes conveniently sandwiched the smaller boxes tucked in between.

You can carry a lot on this bike

The available 350w of pedal-assisted oomph from the bionx motor definitely comes in handy for climbs or when the bike is fully loaded.: the available 350w of pedal-assisted oomph from the bionx motor definitely comes in handy for climbs or when the bike is fully loaded.
The available 350w of pedal-assisted oomph from the bionx motor definitely comes in handy for climbs or when the bike is fully loaded.: the available 350w of pedal-assisted oomph from the bionx motor definitely comes in handy for climbs or when the bike is fully loaded.

350W boost does help

All of this has not only been surprisingly easy to do, it's been remarkably entertaining – having the 350W BionX pedal-assist motor available when needed helps – and the near-daily challenge of figuring out how to strap various items on to the various load racks has just added to the experience.  I've admittedly come nowhere near the 100kg (225lb) total allowable cargo load yet but even so, I'm continually amazed at what this thing can carry.  Bungee cords are my new BFF.

More to the point, each of these small trips signifies another journey where my car has sat unused at home.  After looking over my ride records yesterday, I came to realize that when all of these in-town trips are added in, I've managed to ride a bike of some sort every day that I've been home since taking delivery of the Transport+ on January 5.  And despite the somewhat limited total distances and lack of exhilarating speed, I was still on a bike after all – which we all agree is nearly always better than not being on a bike whatever the circumstances.

If that's not a win, then I don't know what is.

James Huang

Former Technical Editor, US
James was BikeRadar's US tech editor from 2007-2015.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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