Friday, November 21, 2008

Alternative transportation

I have great reservations regarding any other transport that isn’t an automobile, simply based on how exposed you are and how easy it is for anyone to just snatch you and steal from you.
Even if an ordinary automobile wont stop bullets, it provides a physical barrier between the occupants and the outside world, and you also have an important amount of horse power at the tip of your foot.

But what about the most poor segment of society that needs some transport but can’t afford anything else?
Here’s a couple of solutions people came by.

1) Horse and cart .

“Botelleros” cutting the La Noria bridge in 2003, demanding they be allowed to work and go around the city with their carts.

Popularly known as “botelleros”, they are part of our local culture already.
People so poor, they make a living by collecting bottles, paper and other things they can sell to recycle, or pick other things people throw away to fix, resell or use it themselves.
Some people talk about how expensive having a horse is.
These guys, they use horses to work everyday, and they don’t even live in the country, they live in the city. They keep the animal watered and look for some grass in an abandoned lot to keep the horse fed.
Sometimes the animal is abused but more often than not you see “botelleros” taking good care of their horse, probably because it’s their basic work tool after all.

Point here is, if it comes to that, you can have a horse in the city without spending a fortune, and you can keep the animal fed. These guys are a proof of it.

2) Bicycles.
Nothing fancy here. Almost everyone knows that already, how effective bikes are for moving around.
But those of us that spent any amount of time on the road with one also know they can be a pain in the butt if you require to transport any significant load along with you.
Solution? At least here, it came in the form of tricycles.
I’ve seen gardeners use them to move around heavy equipment, people using it to move loads of paper to recycle, move around groceries (several times what they would be able to carry just using their hands) , etc.
If crime isn’t that bad and the distances involved are rather short, seriously consider one of these:

Take care folks.



caoimhin said...

I think bicycles are highly under-rated. I've been using an Xtracycle for over a year now as my primary mode of transportation...including carrying fairly significant loads (up to 200 lbs). There are also a lot of homeless and transient folks around here that are also on bikes and either rig elaborate paniers (sp?) for hauling their treasures or attach homemade or abandoned (stolen?) child carriers/trailers. And you don't have to feed or water them!

Anonymous said...


I am not a big fan of the adult trikes, as they are not nearly as mobile as I would like. They can't hop curbs, ride singletrack trails, and such. I would feel restricted by their limitations.

caoimhin mentions his Xtracycle, a long wheel base bicycle made from two bike frames. The single-frame version of the long-wheel base bike is a Big Dummy, and goes for ~$2500 (USD) retail.

Trikes & LWB bikes are not the only option for man-powered hauling.

My cycle is a base-model quality mountain bike commuterized with slick tires, fenders, and one of the same baskets (Workmans by Wald) the adult trikes use, mounted longitudinally.

I ride it around twice a week to work (11+ miles one-way) and on family bicycling outings. I am always hauling something.


MUCH less than the Big Dummy, which I would buy in a heartbeat, if I could allocate the funds. They (and the other LWB bicycles) are really neat machines.

The rear rack/basket is [i]rated[/i] for ~50 lbs, but I have moved much more than that with no problem. And I can still hop curbs, run most singletrack, and retain one of a bicycle's signal virtues: trafficability in nearly all terrain types, urban or otherwise.

Toss in the trailer and add another 100+ lbs of hauling capacity, while losing some off-road capability and the ability to easily hop curbs.

Anyways, I thought i would toss in this sort of option as a viable means of transportation.

Anonymous said...

Can you post a link of where to buy the bikes pictured in your blog entry? Those were neat bikes!


Anonymous said...

When there is no gasoline, a bicycle will be worth more than a Ferrari.
I have bought a very heavy duty lock for mine, and suggest you do for yours, too.

Anonymous said...

In Newark Delaware there was a man who didn't talk much and he would go around town taking plastic bags of empty cans and bottles and he was called the can man but he didn't ride horse and cart. I wonder if a light transport for someone in a more rural area would be horse or donkey.