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Moving House(s) By Pedal-Power
Mark Tovey, 17 Apr 08
Article Photo

We recently showed you a chair bungie-corded to the back of a bicycle. Scaling up a little, how do you move an entire apartment by bicycle? The Human Powered Vehicles Operators of Ottawa (HPVOoO) show us how. They have been experimenting with various uses of a large bicycle trailer they originally built as a parade float to carry a Hammond organ. On the web-page devoted to the trailer, they document the many bike trailer 'missions' they have undertaken since building the trailer, including fetching garden supplies for a local community garden, carrying 9 drummers in a peace rally, and experimenting with transporting the trike (the one usually used to pull the trailer) on the trailer itself.

In an article on Bike co-ops, trails, and Ottawa cycling, I told you about how the HPV group helped Richard Guy Briggs move, in May 2003, an entire three bedroom apartment by bicycle.

vicphotoofrgbonsofa2003.jpg

Moving Richard Guy Briggs (May 2007)
(Photo courtesy Vic Gedris)


Vic Gedris has a video of the move demonstrating that it is possible to type on a computer while it is being pulled by bicycle—the mobile office taken to new levels!

"Vic Gedris demonstrates the correct usage of the mobile office"
(Video courtesy Vic Gedris)


In 2007, the HPVOoO was at it again, conducting three missions of the furniture-moving kind in the space of three months.

In May, Briggs moved a second time, this time from Chinatown to Sandy Hill.

Moving Richard Guy Briggs (May 2007)
(video courtesy Mark Rehder)


Although not entirely pedal-powered, this move involved hauling some major appliances (two sets of fridge/stove), stereo equipment, and a very heavy load of bikes.

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Moving Richard Guy Briggs (May 2007)


An extra green feature of this move was the old beer fridge Mark Rehder took to the recycler's on his cargo trike.

fridgeondrum_trike.jpg

re-Cycler recyling by tricycle (May 2007)
(courtesy re-Cycles' Mark Rehder)


Two weeks later, the team was at it again, this time helping to move Greg Furlong, director of an Ottawa-based choir called Just Voices, an activist choir with a cycling-flavoured repertoire. They perform regularly in the Ottawa area, and they're good. Listen to their 'Ride A Cycle', for instance, from Earth Day 2007. Sung to the finale of Handel's Messiah, it can't help but bring a smile to my face. Their 2008 Earth Day concert is coming up on April 22nd.

Greg Furlong's four-block move was entirely pedal-powered, and included moving an assortment of instruments, including a helicon (an ancestor to the sousaphone), which was actually played during the move (see Mark Rehder's blog entry for details).

Moving Greg Furlong (June 2007)
(video courtesy Mark Rehder)


Mark Rehder directs the local bike co-op, re-Cycles. His move was 95% pedal powered, except for a mattress and frame that needed to be moved by car due to rain. Since the house did not have to vacated immediately, Rehder's move was staged over a number of days.


Perhaps the most remarkable part of the move was moving the bicycle "garage", a shed constructed to hold the trike. Apparently even moving buildings (at least small ones), is no obstacle to the pedal-powered.

moving_garage.jpg

Moving Mark Rehder (July 2007)
"the all in one pedal-powered pickup truck"
(photo courtesy Mark Rehder)


Inside and Outside Photo Credits: Except where otherwise credited, Richard Guy Briggs

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