We Quit Our Jobs to Ride Our Bicycles

I heard about Jim and Shane while on a teardrop trailer gathering in northern California and just their simple Facebook name said it all: We Quit Our Jobs to Ride Our Bicycles. The bicycle tour is still going on, but once they hang up their helmets—the tiny house building will commence.

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The two men from Northern California had both been raised in mountain communities and wanted to return to the land after working for several years. The idea of quitting their jobs and riding around the U.S. on their bicycles coincided with their love of the outdoors, gardening and working with their hands.

“We were growing tired of living in the mundane and felt the need for a dramatic change,” Jim and Shane said. “The idea of traveling by bicycle was appealing to both of us from the stand point of its simplicity, its affordability and the exposure to possibilities. With traveling by bicycle, you see and experience so much more in the slow pace of pedaling than you ever could in the enclosure of a speeding car. We also were interested in exploring the country in search for new ideas and a new place to live, one that would accommodate our dream of building tiny homes.”

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Jim has an interest in small structures and Shane has a strong background in sustainable living. After stumbling across Lloyd Kahn’s book “Tiny Homes, Simple Shelter” in a small book store in San Francisco, they decided that they would build a tiny home for themselves after finishing their trip.

“Our experience with bicycle touring has solidified our interest in simple living and has taught us the virtues of getting by with just the basics,” they said. “We have a particular interest in the salvaged aspect of the Texas Tiny Homes and the ones that emphasize outdoor living and engagement with the surrounding environment.”

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Their tiny house idea has expanded further to become a tiny house community. They want to create a bicycle centered communal living space that includes several tiny homes, a common meal and meeting space, large garden and greenhouse, gray water system, bicycle powered laundry machine, and photovoltaic and water heater panels. They also want to build with salvaged materials. The men recently spent a few weeks building a greenhouse with recycled materials for a host family in Pahrump, Nev. After their pedaling tour, they will be on the lookout for a town to host their tiny house community.

“Finding a town that is willing to work with us on our idea of tiny home community has proven to be a challenge,” Jim and Shane said. “We want to find a place that is in need of affordable living and be able to provide it in the form of tiny homes.”

You can follow their tour and see their beautiful photos on their Facebook page and on TrackMyTour.com.

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Photos by Jim and Shane of We Quit Our Jobs to Ride Our Bicycles

 

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

 

A Transforming Micro-house/Camper on Wheels

by Derek “Deek” Diedricksen

Hey all!

Been very busy working on not one, but five projects lately, including a pretty bizarre and fun tree house for a client in Boston, Massachusetts that you might see soon. Some of these other builds, and more, will be toured at my November (15-17th) Tiny House Building and Design Workshop in Massachusetts, where we’ll all build TWO cabins together, and see the very first-built Tumbleweed.

THIS particular little dwelling on wheels though, camper-like in stature, is something I’ve dubbed “The Cub”. It will soon have a very small exterior bathroom on the trailer tongue. In the photos you see, it features a small sleep bunk (I’m 6′ 4″ and have slept up there), a translucent storage wall, and a front wall (the same) that flips open to transform the entire structure into a porch, or a mini-stage, for backyard parties. It could even be used as a camper/flea market kiosk. “The Cub” overall, is just 5′ by 8′. Tiny. Dang Tiny.

cub at night

Photo by Matt Carroll

Eventually, aside from the bathroom I’ve already planned, I’m going to add another small, hollow, storage bed-couch combo down below, and most likely add some shelved storage that will double as steps to the bunk, a place to hide goods, and a small cook surface (not the part you’ll step on). The bathroom, I might add, will be accessed from the outside of “The Cub” by a different entrance, seeing as this structure is so small, and you wouldn’t want to be enclosed with a toilet in only 40 square feet.

building the cub

Oh yeah, I suppose I should mention that I already hauled this, with a mere mini-van, to Vermont and back, a 9 hour round trip. At one point, using terrible GPS directions to get to the Yestermorrow Design School for a speaking engagement, we were led over a mountain pass all on a dirt road…. and the van handled it no problem, which is surprising, as the van is a Chrysler. I’ve weighed this lil’ sucker on a scrap-yard scale too, and it clocks in at 1520 pounds- light enough where I was able to hitch it solo without a jack. In hindsight, I could probably even build this a little lighter, while not sacrificing strength. Speaking of which, construction-wise, all the plywood is screwed and glued to the framing, which also makes use of angle-brackets and knee-braces. The front, windward, wall is also double layered for strength, and insulated. The other walls could be insulated down the road if desired, easily. No plumbing- you’d have to carry water in, or hook it up via a simple hose, if you wanted a small sink inside. I figured we’d just go with a 5 gallon camping tote for the time being.

cub construction

Additionally, I plan to pull out the tiny side table and other loose items, and to replace them with built-ins, thereby lessening the need for tethering items down. All in all, this wasn’t really built so much for travel, but more for the utilization of a wheeled loophole, but built-ins are always a good idea anyway. One item I recently picked up is a little $4.99 Ikea 3-in-1 shelf unit, that I recently shot a short review video on. I’ll soon install this, alongside other compartments.

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Anyway, I hope to have another update post for you guys down the road, AND a tour video, once this little camper is officially done.

Other points of interest:

  • The ceiling, aside from the white beams, is all FREE barn wood
  • The back bead-board wall is wood from a home almost 100 years old that was being thrown out (my neighbors place, who know I LOVE salvaged wood).
  • The orange wall-hanging which many have commented on favorably- it’s a 1970s stereo cabinet door, found street-side, which I painted. Nothing more.
  • The green wall hanging with a fossil on it – yup, found on the side of the road during a trash day.
  • The table- same thing….
  • Green vase- grabbed it curbside too (sensing a theme here?)
  • Large painting (which was actually just being stored there for a bit)- $2 at a yard sale.
  • The bunk railing- threaded pipe from home depot ($20 or so).
  • Front door, from a salvage yard (I needed a non-standard, narrow, size- $75
  • The large back window- another free street-side find.
  • The other two windows are micro-Andersons- I splurged here- they were about $65 each.
  • The trailer- brand new and rated for over 2000 pounds- $529

Video of the IKEA shelf…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJ37jSBtDs0

MORE TO COME!
Derek “Deek” Diedricksen
www.Relaxshacks.com

comfy chair

bunk bed

artwork

Deek enjoying the cub

The Cub

Deek and the Cub

The Deek jump

Putting Your Tiny House on Airbnb: Five Tips

I’ve had our tiny backyard cottage as a rental on Airbnb now since June and we’ve had over 20 visitors who’ve been both charmed and confused by the size of the cottage, awed by the location and inspired by the space planning and design. Airbnb is a social website that connects people who have space to spare with those who are looking for a place to stay. Our cottage (which we remodeled last year) has been enjoyed by people from all over the world as a quiet place to stay while in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area.

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If things continue to go as well as they do, about 20 percent of our income could come from this rental and this great service, allowing me to not have to work full time anymore. However, it has not been without its ups and downs. Several people have felt that the cottage is too small, the water tank is limited in hot water and the location a little out of the way. Albeit, some visitors have found it perfect for their needs. It can be difficult to include every need and want, but I’ve come up with five tips that could help you rent out your own tiny house on Airbnb.

1. Location, location, location…but not how you think

Our cottage is centrally located to many places: Reno, Carson City, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco and Yosemite. It’s also out of the city, which allows our visitors to have a quiet getaway while still being about 15 minutes away from groceries and town. However, the majority of our visitors happen to be coming across the country — coming to or from San Francisco. If you market your tiny house as a way station to another location, you could bring in more visitors.

2. Offer a unique experience

A lot of visitors to the cottage were intrigued first by the name of our property and the bright colors of the house. Then they saw that we offered access to wilderness areas (complete with wild horses), a trampoline, plenty of parking, a giant vegetable garden they could peruse and their own kitchen and bathroom.

3. Be an expert in your area

Some of our visitors have been very happy with the advice I’ve given them about our area. I’ve told them the best places to go hiking, the best restaurants in the area and tips on how to avoid crowds. Be an expert in your own area and make yourself available for questions.

4. Check with your insurance and put it in writing

If you list your tiny house with Airbnb, your property is covered for loss or damage due to theft or vandalism caused by an Airbnb guest for up to $1,000,000 (in eligible countries). I also called our insurance company to make sure that we would not be liable for any injury to a guest as long as they were on our property. It turns out that bodily injury is covered under our insurance with any structure on the property. I have a small information packet in the cottage that outlines the rules of the property and for visitors to use our trampoline or swing at their own risk.

5. Be ready for last minute requests

Several of our Airbnb requests have been for that night or the next night. I’ve had to scramble at the last minute to clean the cottage and make it available for the next person. Be prepared for last minute requests and have extras of everything including bedding, towels and bottles of water and make sure the tiny house is heated or cooled depending on the weather.

 

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]