Both Gas-free Lawn Care and Native Grass Lawns are about Conservation

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I started my bike courier service, my reel mower sharpening shop, my blog and the gas-free lawn care service all to promote conservation, and more specifically, to help use less gas.

I most recently started the Gas-free lawn care service because I have all of the equipment for it, and hod carrying was way too hard on my body. In the middle of May the constant heavy lifting at work hurt my knee. So I had to quit the stone mason job. It was good timing as I was just getting busy in my shop sharpening reel mowers. And I had wanted to offer Gas-free Lawn Care since Enviro Lawn Care left town a couple years ago. It just made sense. So I started :

Rob’s Gas-Free Lawn Care and more

Using Reel Mowers, Hand Tools, and travelling by Bike and Trailer only, to maintain lawns quietly and non-polluting, in North Fort Collins! Human-Powered, Gas-Free Lawn Care;

  • Basic Service – Lawn mowing using a Fiskars Reel Mower (human powered), which cuts the grass quietly, and like a pair of scissors. This is better for the grass plant, opposed to the violent, impact cut from rotary mowers (gas or electric).
    • Trimming grass, bushes, and shrubs with hand clippers or shears
    • Edging the lawn with hand edger, able to create an edge with spade if needed
    • (Quiet) Clean-up using broom and rake, no leaf blowers!
  • Additional Services –
    • Yard waste removal, by bicycle and trailer
    • Fertilize with push spreader using organic fertilizer
    • Hauling by bike and trailer (hourly rates)
    • Garden tilling, by hand, with garden fork or rake (hourly rates)
    • Shrub and Tree (low level) pruning with hand loppers or shears (hourly rates)
    • Compost set-up (hourly rates)
    • Minor Xeriscaping and Native planting help (hourly rates)

No more expensive than traditional lawn care but quiet and non-polluting, without burning any fossil fuels at all! Call Rob for a quote at 970-231-6794.


And other things fell into place too, like finding everything I needed second-hand, at yard sales, thrift stores and on Craigslist. That Fiskars mower I have really does work well, and new it costs $250, but I got it off of Craigslist for $100. Then shortly after that, I sold two mowers without even trying, which paid for the Fiskars. When getting advice from Marty who did this here before, he called that Fiskars mower a “real workhorse”.

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Marty suggested getting an electric/rechargeable line trimmer to make trimming faster. But I can’t do it at this point because first, human power works!, and then there are so many environmental impacts that go with; rechargeable batteries, new plastic products, and products from China.

Plus, I keep finding great lawn and garden equipment really cheap at yard sales and thrift stores.


An example of the “and more” part in the photo below, which includes minor landscaping, xeriscaping, pruning, garden or compost set-up, and native planting.

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Over a thousand pounds of flagstone hauled by bike and path installed with hand tools

Bikes and reel mowers are great, practical tools for saving oil from being extracted, refined, transported and burned. Using both bikes and reel mowers on a regular basis helps keep us fit also.

But greater conservation, especially of water, can be achieved when sustainable concepts like Xeriscaping and planting native grass lawns, are applied first.

We are in a semi-arid, high desert climate with an average of only 12-14 inches of rainfall per year. We also get more than half of our municipal water supply from the Colorado River, on the other side of the Continental Divide. So Kentucky Bluegrass doesn’t really make sense when Buffalo and Blue Grama native grasses grow so well here without nearly as much water. But Kentucky Bluegrass is what’s planted and many folks rent or don’t know how to change their lawns.

Another component of the “and more” part to Rob’s Gas-free Lawn Care and More, is that I offer to help customers take out their non-native grass lawns and plant native grasses. So if you want a turf-like lawn, I think planting Buffalograss and mowing it with a reel mower makes for a very “green” lawn.

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Cody Buffalograss
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This yard is Cody Buffalograss. It is more turf-like, doesn’t need water and can be mowed to look like a lawn.
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Yard with all Blue Grama. It doesn’t need to be watered and the city allows you to let it grow without mowing it. This yard hasn’t been watered, besides rain, all year and the photo was taken in late July.

The Benefits of Bike Trailers

Bike trailers turn your bike into a cargo-bike, or a sport utility vehicle, so that you can transport whatever you need to, by bicycle!

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Bike trailers are relatively light, versatile and made to fit most bikes. So you can probably use your favorite bike to haul your cargo, recycling, golf clubs or whatever! And you can still ride it like you’re supposed to ride a bike. You can stand on the pedals, lean side to side, and lean into turns.

Then you can disconnect it from the bike for easy storage or transport.


Benefits of Bike Trailers:

  • Turn your bike into a cargo bike.
  • Detachable – easy to store or transport.
  • Stability – two-wheeled trailers are very stable with heavy loads or children.
  • Streamlined – trailers are low to the ground and single-wheeled trailers track inline with the bike.
  • Bike can lean – you can ride it like a regular bike and stand on the pedals for more power.
  • Easy to fix flats – the wheels are easy to get to and remove.
  • Kid trailers are a safe option for hauling children. These trailers have seats, harnesses and a barrier, and with two wheels they’re very stable, much more so than a Dutch cargo bike.
  • Bike and trailer weigh 100 times less than a car but 10 times more efficient.

biketour - Glacier (bike only)I pulled a BOB trailer across and around the country, used it for commuting and my bike courier service.

BOB trailers are single-wheel bike trailers that work great for touring and commuting. When touring with a BOB you don’t need to worry about weight distribution like you might with panniers. And for commuting you can haul anything from groceries and laundry to sports gear. The trailer is low to the ground, narrow and with the front pivot it tracks inline with the bike. Check them out at http://www.bobgear.com/bike-trailers.


 

I know bike trailers, these are mine.

four bike trailers

I am also very familiar with cargo-trikes. As Outreach Assistant at Ft. Collins’ SmartTrips program from 2000-2004, I used the program’s Pedal Pick-up from Main Street Pedicabs for everything from hauling for event set-ups to delivering loaner bikes. It is basically a large trike with an enclosed bed in the back, that sits over the rear axle. The one we had came with a rechargeable battery and pedal assisted motor. When the battery ran out of juice the trike was very slow with only pedal power. The rechargeable battery was as heavy as a car battery And didn’t last that long. The design of a trike isn’t as efficient as a bike and trailer in my opinion, which is why trikes often have electric assist motors.


Two wheel trailers offer stability for really heavy loads, especially if you hang the bed low. Heavy payloads are more stable the closer to the ground you get the payload, and the wider the wheels on the trailer.

bbrp photoIn the six years I hauled glass, 400 lb loads at a time, 2000-3,500 lbs every week and 280 tons total, I never had a pay-load tip over.

I could also ride the bike like a regular bicycle, which means I could stand on the pedals and lean the bike to either side for power and efficiency.  I could also disconnect and store my trailers easily.

bike move - couchesI moved twice with only bikes and bike trailers! It took me about 10 trips both times, but it worked.

I’ve also used bike trailers for hauling; groceries, laundry, camping gear, touring gear, soccer gear, climbing gear, gardening supplies, lawnmowers, golf clubs, lumber, dogs and even someone with a torn ACL.


 

Food Coop WBTWDWhen I was pulling my covered trailer around working, I often was asked where can you buy one like mine. I had mine custom built so I always recommended Cycletotes as the best, large capacity, retail trailer made.

Here are a few reasons why I think the Cycletote design works so well;

Tote-5  1) seatpost hitch – attaching the trailer at the seatpost gives the rider a large turning radius and pushes the load from the drive wheel.

2) 700c wheels with high pressure tires give the trailer more rolling momentum than smaller trailer wheels.

Tote-43) And a low hanging cargo-bed makes a heavy load more stable and efficient to pull.

Cycletote frames are built in Ft. Collins with high-grade aluminum and have a lifetime warranty. Check them out at https://cycletote.com/trailers/cargo-and-utility-trailers/


Bikes with trailers are an affordable form of urban transportation but can also get you across the country while being outside the whole time!

Thanks for reading my blog!