Box spring cargo fiasco

I’ve been on the lookout for a twin box spring and the stars aligned today when a member of a local mom’s groups emailed that she had one for free. Unfortunately my friend with a truck wasn’t available. Also unfortunate was that I saw this as a sign I should pick it up with my bike. But imagine how cool it would be to carry such a massive cargo load!

The four-mile trip over to the box spring was awesome. It was raining as heavily as possible, but I barely noticed for my excitement. I told Mr. Family Ride I had a secret suprise errand to run that would take less than an hour and left the kids with him. I couldn’t exactly ask where our tarp was without revealing the nature of the secret surprise errand so I gathered up a bunch of bungee cords and our car roof-top cargo bag and sped off. As luck would have it, I rode by a neighbor who was carrying two tarps into his garage. I asked if he was putting them away and if so, could I borrow one. Tarp acquired, another sign.

I realized the error of my plan when I got the box spring near the bike. Holy cow, that thing was big! Box springs aren’t heavy, but they aren’t exactly air-filled, either. Now the rain became noticeable. It took me a bit of time to get the box spring on the side of the bike and it turns out bungee cords are not the best tool for the job. I should mention that before heading out, I got some great advice from Matt of Tacoma Bike Ranch:

but he lost me at “Ask for help.” Really great advice, though. I think an Xtracycle WideLoader shelf would help a lot, too, so I’m on the lookout for a used one now. Because there will be more big loads; I need to redeem myself.

I eventually sort of got the box spring loaded:

I biked to the corner (starting from the second house from the corner) and realized I’d made a terrible mistake. Naturally, I couldn’t return to the house and ask for help. Nor could I see if my friends who live five houses up the block were home. Much too embarrassing. So I phoned home and explained the nature of the super secret errand and apologized profusely and said I was stuck. Mr. Family Ride said he and the boys would drive over to help.

I was still feeling a bit stubborn (good sign, right? Still a bit of fight left in the old gal!) so I got back on the bike and continued towards home. Even though I was climbing a slight incline, I started getting used to the load…although it may have been more about the box spring slowly tilting over the FlightDeck to better distribute its weight. I think I could have made it all the way home if it stayed slightly leaning, but it continued to bend over the bike and I started worrying it would snap in two. Plus, the flatter it got, the more room I was taking up. Taking a lane was fine for part of the journey, but I’m not able to stick to tiny streets to get from Ballard to Wallingford (too steep for me) and I wouldn’t have fit in the Greenwood Avenue bike lane or the sidewalk of 46th. So I stopped in front of Whittier Elementary (I made it 8 blocks!) and sent a text message with my location.

The box spring and I stood in the pouring rain, studiously ignoring one another. I was embarrassed and felt that everyone driving by could tell at a glance that I’d foolishly tried to carry the box spring on my big bike and failed. The box spring was just mad at having been in pristine condition a mere twenty minutes earlier and was now soaking wet, smudged with dirt, and sporting two new holes in its underside.

My mood lifted when out of the mist appeared Jennifer of Loop-Frame Love and Ballard Greenways. I feel bad posting this picture when she hasn’t yet reviewed her lovely new city bike (waiting for a sunny day on which to photograph it, I think), but look at her on this bike–she looks like an angel! A velo angel. She kept me company, despite the downpour, despite being late home, while I waited for my four-wheeled rescue.

Unknown to me at this time, Mr. Family Ride realized while stuck in traffic that he had no rope and no way to get the box spring home with the car (at least one of us has his head on straight) so he phoned our old neighbor who has an SUV and she came right over, arriving before my family. What a welcome surprise! We loaded the box spring in her big car, Mr. Family Ride finally showed up with bewildered kids in tow, and we all headed home. Thankfully everything was put away by the time I got home and our neighbor departed so I skulked into the house, profusely apologized again, and let Mr. Family Ride get back to work after much more than the promised secret surprise sixty minutes.

But hey, I’ve got that box spring I wanted so badly. And for free! I wonder how long it will take for it to dry out so we can actually use it…

Today’s miles: 19.3
June cumulative: 277.4 miles

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14 thoughts on “Box spring cargo fiasco

  1. Oh my gosh I literally snorted while reading this. It sounds like my somewhat foolhearted endeavors…without cargo bike (so far) but think baby strapped to carrier on back so i could use his sear in the WIKE The only time my plans go wrong is when there is a chance of being found out by the mister… Sigh.
    Still… You get an E for Effort!!

    • See, but it wouldn’t fit on our car [easily] and I was too stubborn to think of/ask a second friend for help. It’s good you’ve still got your wits about you when it comes to ridiculous cargo carrying.

    • Heh, thanks. I actually said to my husband the other day: “You’re married to a cargobiker now, you’re gonna have to get used to stuff like this every once in a while.”

  2. Best laugh I have enjoyed in a long long time! I would have been right there with you. Don’t let them in on your cargo bike plans until they absolutely must know what is going on…now I wonder if you had two cargo cyclists side by side if you can sandwich the box spring between them, bound it tightly and ride in unison? :) Looking forward to the next time!!

  3. Pingback: On Writing & Riding: Family Ride | chasing mailboxes d.c.

  4. This is great! I love a secret evil plan… even if it doesn’t work out!

    I would just chalk it up to a noble quest that failed honorably! I’m sure I’ll make some miscalculations with my new Xtracycle, but that’s part of the challeng!

    At least, I hope so…

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