04 March 2009

More tales of comedy cargo

Yesterday's office chairs are not the most extravagant thing we've moved by bike.

Our monthly stock-up of fizzy water from the supermarket, for example, is a regular freight operation: 12 two-litre bottles each. That's 24kg of liquid load sloshing about every time you evade a pedestrian on the phone enacting a random walk from a maths A-level question. It's like cycling a carbonated paddling pool.

That's the sort of road-test magazines should do in their reviews.

I once carted a four-foot concrete post three miles home from the builder's yard on my rack. I don't know how much it weighed, but I suspect my tracks are still there in the Peckham High Street tarmac. It was like piloting an oil tanker with a pair of handlebars.

The CTC magazine once ran a short list of comedy cargo biked by its members - using trailers, I think - and I seem to recall that 'a coal bunker' and 'a tree' were among the front-runners.

In 1998 I ran into a window cleaner in East Yorkshire who did his rounds by bike, ladder and all (top right). No fancy bike-trailer nonsense for him. Clearly there isn't much traffic to worry about here in Hornsea, the small town at the end of the Trans Pennine Trail.

But for sheer amusement value, the best thing we've transported by bicycle is probably a six-foot metal reindeer (right). We saw him in a scrap dealer's skip in the street, did a deal on the spot, and took him home. (How'd you have done that by bus or car, eh?)

We thought we'd be the focus of amused remarks, rubbernecking drivers and the odd mild insult on the way home. But, being London, nobody paid a blind bit of attention.

Perhaps we should have bust a red light - they'd have noticed us then.

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