Mardi Gras Report: Golf Solves a Beer Problem

Mardi Gras beer-001

Matt Manco, a reader in New Orleans, writes:

Second only to bathroom proximity, the main concern of Mardi Gras planning is how to get drinks to the parade. This year, our answer was my Sun Mountain Micro-Cart (thanks for the recommendation), which has been taking up space in my office while I recover from a herniated disc. With no golf in my near future and a long haul with a heavy cooler coming up, I started working on a harness system to take some stress off the cart and keep the beer in the cooler.

Beer cart co-inventor Spencer, with test load. Note the innovative use of the golf-bag stabilizer arms as a super-secure articulated cup holder. Also note that the cart is still furnished with golf tees, just in case.

A friend of Manco’s, with a test load. Note the innovative use of the golf-bag stabilizer arms as a super-secure articulated cup holder. Also note that the cart is still furnished with golf tees, just in case.

This cooler (Go Tigers!) was the best fit of the options on hand. A few small bungee cords on each side and twenty-five feet of sturdy rope kept the cooler from sliding, slowing us down, or—worse—falling off the cart and shaking our beer. We were surprised that the Micro-Cart maintained most of its agility, despite the extra weight and the altered center of gravity. Turning took a little planning, and pushing it on cracked sidewalks was out of the question. The lack of maneuverability wouldn’t matter as much in a well-paved city, but New Orleans, being the unsettled swamp it is, will never have smooth roads.

Manco and his invention, Mardi Gras 2014.

Manco and his invention. The red bag is for recyclables.

Manco is a fan of a Mardi Gras parade organized by TitRex, a so-called “micro-krewe,” which, he writes, features “shoe-box-size designs that are meant to imitate, elevate, and irritate the creators of the much larger floats, which are pulled by tractors.” You can read more about TitRex here.

manco mardi gras 1Manco continues:

Enough ice melted during the parade to allow us to lighten our load and free up the movement of the cart on the walk home, making two-wheel turns an option again. We saw several people pulling beer in red wagons, but none of those had cup holders, umbrella holders, koozie pockets, or handbrakes, so we’ll keep the Micro-Cart in action for another year.

This float is pedal-powered, by what appear to be long-tailed galley slaves. There may be a golf application.

This float is pedal-powered, by what appear to be long-tailed galley slaves. There may be a golf application, though probably not at this size.

Mardi Gras celebrants who were less inventive than Manco and his friends didn’t necessarily have to watch the parade sober. Here’s an industrial-grade version of the Micro-Cart beer trolley, operated by a street vendor and scowled at by a group of sign-bearing non-golfers:

Beer vendor, mardi grasNow, back to waiting for winter to end.

I Bought a New Push Cart!

Trolleys: Brendan, Tim, Tony, Rick, Hillside Golf Club, Birkdale, England, May, 2010.

Two years ago, during a buddies trip to England, I became a convert to what the British call trolleys. My first was a Sun Mountain Micro-Cart, which I gradually customized:

This is my old push cart. If my wife played golf, I’d give it to her.

I ran it pretty hard, for more than a thousand miles, and a couple of months ago a friend commented that it had started to look like a farm vehicle. That’s not manure in the photo below, but I see his point:

Not manure, but almost.

Anyway, a couple of days ago I did something I’d kind of been hoping I’d do: I busted it beyond repair. I was pushing it up the fourth fairway, and suddenly it started wobbling and making a funny noise. Eventually, I realized that a spoke in one of the wheels had broken.

Busted Micro-Cart wheel–at last!

Replacing the wheel probably wouldn’t be expensive, and I’ve been very happy with my Micro-Cart, but I was itching to try something new. So as soon as I got home I ordered a Clicgear 3.0, from Amazon, for a little less than $200. Unfolding and folding it is tricky, but I got the hang of it out after a couple of tries. I’ll be pimping it a bit in the coming weeks, of course. And there are lots of official accessories, several of which I want to buy. More about that later.

My new ride.

My Clicgear 3.0 weighs more than my Micro-Cart, but it actually folds down slightly smaller. That’s important because this year I also bought a new car, which is slightly smaller than my old car. At the moment, I’m dealing with that by throwing all my extra golf junk into the back seat, along with all my other extra junk. Eventually, though, I’ll have to get the trunk organized. So, really, I had no choice but to buy a new cart.

My new cart is heavier than my old cart, but it’s a teensy bit more compact when folded up. Or so I claim.


Pimp My Ride

A year and a half ago, I bought a Sun Mountain Micro-Cart–a compact four-wheel push cart. It has made a big difference to my back, shoulders, and knees, and it folds up so small that I can easily stow it in my car or take it with me when my friends and I drive around the Northeast looking for golf courses that aren’t closed for the winter. My Micro-Cart worked very well right out of the box, but during the past eighteen months I’ve made certain modifications. A few were necessitated by my apparently unbreakable habit of letting my Micro-Cart go at the tops of hills–to find out, for example, whether it will roll all the way across a bridge at the bottom. Sometimes it makes it across; sometimes it doesn’t. (On one run, I accidentally broke off one of the two arms that hold the bag on the cart. My workaround: use the bag’s umbrella loop to secure the bag to the remaining arm.) I also used epoxy glue to reattach the little metal plate that the magnetic score-card holder sticks to. (The plate had popped off in a crash.)

Most of my modifications, though, have been improvements to the original design. For example, the Micro-Cart has a useful plastic-lidded waterproof storage compartment near the handle. However, the lid wouldn’t close over my Bushnell PinSeeker 1500 laser rangefinder, which is somewhat bulky. (The lid is angled, and the narrow end hit the fat bottom of the rangefinder.) My solution was to use some of my son’s old Lego bricks to create a shim, which lifts the rangefinder into the deeper part of the compartment. I also used Lego bricks (and epoxy glue) to create a rim at the edge of the smaller, upper compartment, where I like to keep pencils. The Lego rim keeps pencils from sneaking into the lower compartment and hiding behind my rangefinder:

An especially useful modification was invented by my friend Tony, who also owns a Micro-Cart. He attached the cylindrical umbrella holder to the handle and then covered it with a putter head cover that he’d selected from our club’s extensive lost-and-found collection. This turned his umbrella holder into a sort of padded pommel horn–very useful for one-handed cart-pushing and occasional stunt steering. I’ve done the same. (The umbrella holder is problematic for in-motion umbrella-holding, unless you’re well under six feet tall. But in my opinion umbrellas are more trouble than they’re worth anyway.)

Sun Mountain has introduced a new version of the Micro-Cart, for 2012. After another crash or two, I’ll be ready to upgrade. And I’ll save my current cart for parts.