BELLINGHAM – The mere thought of hauling a sofa, a dinette set, a bed and a bed frame down a flight of stairs and into a moving truck is enough for some of us to break a sweat.
Now imagine hauling all of that five miles across town, by bike.
Oh, and also bringing along everything else you own.
For Tim Flores, it was part of a personal challenge. Flores, a self-described minimalist, has been living car-free for more than 10 years, and he’s no stranger to moving without a moving van.
But he’s never done it in one fell swoop.
On Tuesday evening, March 27, Flores recruited a few friends and acquaintances who offered to bring a ton of his things – literally, he estimated it weighed about one ton, in all – from the outskirts of northwest Bellingham to the Puget neighborhood.
After a morning practice run, Flores and Caleb Brown, a co-worker at the downtown Community Food Co-op, loaded about 600 pounds of stuff onto two bikes and bike trailers.
By 5 p.m., eight more bikers had arrived at his apartment complex at 915 Mahogany Ave. to help with the move, using only their cycles, trailers, bungee cords and backpacks.
“It is very Beverly Hillbillies-looking,” Flores said. “I’m used to this craziness, but this is pretty wild.”
Brown, who has a bicycle crossing sign tattooed on his right calf, carried a hefty load of cabinets, trunks and toiletries on a bike trailer through a maze of Bellingham streets: down Northwest Avenue, along Monroe, Halleck and Lincoln streets, and finally, to 1102 Nevada St.
“I don’t know where we’re going,” Brown said. “I’m just following.”
Flores, 30, wants people to rethink how much they depend on cars. Sure, life moves a little slower without a car, he said, but it’s a lot healthier – for the cyclist and the environment.
“Not everyone can move an entire home by bike, but you can walk to the store or ride a bike to work once a week,” he said. “That’s within everyone’s grasp.”
When he moved to the San Juan Islands a few years ago, Flores loaded up a bike trailer with a good chunk of his belongings and rode about 900 miles.
Another time, he moved pieces of furniture and bundles of clothes in three-mile trips to a new home, over the course of a couple of weeks. He saved the big stuff for last.
With his load on Tuesday, he took the sofa, a set of chairs, his bed, a bed frame and a lamp.
After about 45 minutes of pedaling through Bellingham during rush hour, at a pace a little faster than a group of speed walkers, the caravan arrived.
One trailer hitch had come loose, but otherwise there were no major hiccups. By the time they started unstrapping the bungee cords, they were done huffing and puffing, and everyone was feeling pretty darn good.
“Hey, not too tiring,” Flores said, sweat soaking the back of his T-shirt. “We should do this again next week.”