19 January 2012

A Ton Of...

When you were a kid, someone probably asked you this "trick" question: Which weighs more:  a ton of bricks or a ton of feathers?

The next question is:  Which would be harder to transport on a bicycle? 

Of course, the question "behind" the previous question is this:  Which is harder to transport on a bike:  weight or volume?

In all of my years of cycling, it seems that the questions and concerns I've heard about carrying loads on bicycles had more to do with weight.  Some are looking for ways to carry less of it, while others are trying to carry whatever weight they need to carry in the most effective and stylish manner.  I'd say that my transition from the former to the later  parallels my transition from a  young male racer wannabe to a middle-aged woman riding to work in skirts and heels and on weekends in casual clothes.  I used to do whatever I could to carry nothing, or as little as possible, on the bike. Now I use canvas and leather bags to do the job because I like the way they look.

But, to tell you the truth, I--like most cyclists in the Western/Industrialized world--have thought very little about how to carry pallets of styrofoam on two wheels.


  1. Personally, I'm volume limited, which also keeps the weight down since I try not to carry a lot of heavy stuff in that limited volume. I'm surprised at just how infrequently I use that expensive Arkel pannier.

  2. I would say that volume is much trickier than just plain weight. It's harder to lad it such that it bears on the bicycle's carrying structures like racks or baskets. Both photos above are amazing, but the first one is really aesthetically pleasing as well- reminds me of a kid's book I read once about a hermit crab- are those objects baskets?

  3. I once saw a photograph of an Indian transporting a huge number of bricks using a bicycle. He was not able to actually ride the thing once loaded but you would not have thought it possible to even laid so many let alone move it... Where I saw this is going to haunt me for ages...