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Cargo experiments

January 21, 2012

I rescued an antique Raleigh from someone’s trash a few years ago. I tend to ride it into Cambridge when the conditions are not-too-bad, because it is (far) less valuable than my cargo bike. However, I get tired of carrying stuff on my back, so I decided to add some cargo ability to it. This turned into a slightly more involved project than originally planned.

Step one, after some research into bike racks, was to buy an Azor/Steco pickup frame rack.

This took some fiddling to shim between the down tube and the rack. It eventually fit. Unfortunately, the rack would interfere somewhat with the front brake, and it was clear that on a bad day it might activate the brake for me. This could be very bad. I had been thinking about an upgrade to a front dynamo; this forced the issue, and I bought a Sturmey-Archer X-FD dynamo hub and drum brake and built a wheel around it. I had to spread the fork; the (very) old original front hub was only 86mm wide, not the current standard of 100mm. In hindsight, I might have been better off with the XL-FDD (bigger, stronger drum brake), but I’ve also heard that drum brakes need to wear in for a while and get stronger after they do.

This gave me power for lights, too, which is a good thing.

I had bought some dry bags for my big bike on sale, and decided to try one for cargo, since I had seen one used like this with a CETMA rack.

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This is what it looked like on the CETMA rack:

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His bag was not quite so huge, and because the CETMA rack turns with the handlebars, can be cinched to them more tightly. The “right” way to attach the non-steering cargo to the steering handlebars, I think, would be with a loop around the bag and a little attachment at the back. Plan B is to just get a great big box.

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