Pedal Powered House Moving

Model Railway - ©Andrew C Dyson

Model Railway - ©Andrew C Dyson

Dear Carbusters,

My new Kentucky home, the city of Louisville, is not yet a place where cars are busted.  I’ve been around a few cities in the past 50 years, and I don’t think I’ve seen anywhere more perfectly set up for cars. Automobile addicted planners should make this place a poster child. Dozens of wide, one-way streets with a 35mph speed limit (~55kph) carry three or four lanes of cars that regularly move faster than the speed limit.

Two interstates crisscross the city and there are two beltways.  The downtown area is littered with expansive parking lots.  Most retail businesses are in malls clustered around the beltways so there’s no reason to walk, and many stores are a long, treacherous bike ride from where people live and work.  Despite recent attractions including a new stadium and concert venue downtown, the city center is not a place where people walk around except during business hours.  Despite all this, I’m delighted to be here.  There is so much room on these broad swathes of asphalt for bicyclists.  Yes, we continually have to fight for our share but there’s room in many, many people’s minds here too.

There’s a willingness to talk about a larger mode share for bicycling among people at most levels of government, in public transportation, the business community and the city’s major employers.  The mayor’s office has gotten behind bicycling in a big way recently and the city government deserves a lot of credit for some of its attempts to promote cycling.  Some other projects, although well meaning and in some cases spectacular, don’t seem to be doing anything to increase bicycling mode share.

So this is the backdrop to last week’s show of force by volunteers from Bicycling for Louisville who moved the contents of an entire three bedroom house by bike.  This had previously been done by the largest U-Haul truck available.  Based on our success we are going to be setting up a move by bike coop, which people will be able to use in exchange for a donation to Bicycling for Louisville’s advocacy efforts.

We’d be happy to share our recipe. While the beauty of the bike is its simplicity, there is also more than meets the eye to making a car-free move work smoothly, especially with a large group of volunteers who don’t previously know each other. So, we’d love to hear from other bike movers!

—-Andy
Andrew C Dyson
Executive Director
Bicycling for Louisville

Coverage by the environmental correspondent of the local newspaper is here:  http://blogs.courier-journal.com/watchdogearth/2011/01/31/cyclists-move-a-family/
and pictures are here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/auntmeeb/sets/72157625933258610/with/5401502564/

5 Comments

  1. Posted 10 February, 2011 at 19:10 | Permalink

    Never been involved in a bicycle-centered move myself, but I salute your efforts!

    And you’re not alone in breaking the car-free seal in a car-centric city. Check out someone who’s doing it in Atlanta:
    http://nocargo.wordpress.com/2010/12/09/are-you-pulling-my-proverbial-leg/

  2. Posted 27 May, 2011 at 18:17 | Permalink

    Hi Andy, I’ve translated your post to French and posted it on my blog, please let me know if that’s not ok with you. By the way we’re a Montreal-based bike moving company. We did about a thousand movings (small and big) since 2008, so if you need some advise on something I may be able to help. Good luck with the coop!

  3. Posted 13 July, 2011 at 08:48 | Permalink

    Hi Andy! just wanted you to know that you inspired us to do our own move by bike!: http://carfreecouple.com/moving-by-bike/

    Keep up the good work 🙂

    – Madeline and Eric

  4. Posted 15 September, 2011 at 08:37 | Permalink

    ummmmg that’s a really great blog with nice article i love it

  5. Posted 19 February, 2012 at 17:20 | Permalink

    For people who would like to try a bike move, I just wrote a guide where I share our experience:

    http://www.demenagementmyette.ca/bike-move-howto/

    Comments welcome!

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Submarine, Carbusters. Carbusters said: Carbusters: Pedal Powered House Moving http://bit.ly/fvFtQ7 […]

  2. By Moving by Bike | Car-Free Couple on 13 July, 2011 at 08:36

    […] upon our return, but we had read an incredible story in Carbusters about a guy in Louisville who moved an entire house by bike. Inspired, we decided we could do our own small move by bike. As the move was even more successful […]

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*