It’s Friday night but this is gonna count for my Saturday post as I tend to try and get groceries on the weekend. That being said Utilizing racks is a great way to make your bike more suitable for the kinds of rides you will encounter and throw you into the ranks of a serious bike commuter. Work is one thing but moving weight can be difficult and special steps are necessary to get your goods where you want (your house). With more and more rides for stuff (I keep finding reasons not to drive) I had to start thinking about a way to move this crap around. Even for just work I have, at the least, my bike lock, a dress shirt, some breakfast snacks, coffee, cell phone, keys and the other miscellaneous stuff needed for the days challenges. Additionally, with grad school classes starting up again I am seeing thick textbooks arrive daily from the on-line book distributor named after a river in South America and being that class is an hour or so after work in the evening, I could ride home, but it’s more convenient to just bring the stuff. For big trips, there is always the Chariot Trailer and last week I made a run to the food dog grocery and got all loaded up. Honestly, I hadn’t ever made a “real” grocery run with the trailer before and a couple things suprised me. First, it was way heavier than when I have used the trailer for my son, Desmond, or even much heavier than the short tour I went on for three days this summer. Several gallons of whole milk for the baby and lotsa canned goods adds up quickly and I was surprised. That being said not everyone is going to have a child trailer or child for that matter and for apartment living it wouldn’t be that feasible. The Chariot breaks down for storage and doubles as a stroller so it works great for me, but not many people will run out and buy one and they aren’t cheap. I am trying to promote people doing this on a larger scale so dropping more $ than I have spent on most bikes ain’t my idea of DIY( but thanks for the trailer Mom!) so get your mom to get you one. If you never had a mom, continue on there is help yet. I basically decided that for most errands I could think of a rack or bags is the way to go so I did a little internetz on teh computurz . Ultimately I found this guys bike who has cycled Asia and probaly the rest of the remainder of the world and came up with a design that requires no welding, offers strength, is able to fold down when taken apart for easy storage, and can be manipulated to be somewhat aesthetically pleasing if I play my cards right. First step was to find a damn place to get the materials. Here in Richmond I tried your local Nascar sponsoring home stores and they didn’t have carp (no fish either)….so I did some research and found a steel distributor who sells the appropriate wares. Desmond drove me there and loved the warehouse and forklift and was overall super stoked to check it out. Dude stuff you know. All in all the stainless steel bar was around $25 with tax which is what you would probably pay for a crummy rack anyway and way less than what you really drool for here, here , and here. I doubt my finished product will be quite as nice as any of those. It certainly will be as strong, functional, and hopefully reliable. Additionally, if I had the money to buy racks that nice I wouldn’t have to worry about my bike getting stolen so who gives a f anyway but in Richmond Virginia, where I live, people jack your shit. So we got home and there was some measuring, bending and cutting involved. The dog did most of the work anyway so it was no big deal. Maybe in another post I will go over the complete process but these are the early pics and some quick results! I rode to work today with a bag of my stuff on the racks shelf and it worked ok but not the level of reliability I need.Ultimately I want to build a shelf like a porteur rack which should keep a bag or any other stuff on the top from protruding towards the wheels and my untimely demise and I was just doing some more research (aka drinking beer by the computer looking at bike porn) and discovered the integrated lock holder (check out the sixth picture, the hole in the top if for your u-lock!) which I have to have considering my regular usage patterns. Really I would like the entire bike but I think that bike would probably cost a down payment on another house or several years travelling in India or something. Here is a quick shot of the first real test run of which there have been two (well three if you count work and back as their own trips. OK four I had to drink the beer somewhere so I went to cousin Roy’s house after getting it.) Point is if you have a little time on your hands and some reasonable tools you can make something that I feel is superior to what is available out there and hopefully when its’ done will be nice to look at too! When I finish her up I’ll do a full review but for now see if you can ride to your nearest Ukrops before they go the way of Johnny Johnson and Community Pride. Happy motoring!