Sleeping on the FlightDeck – Do I want a Hooptie?

We’ve been out late twice lately and both kids have fallen asleep on the bike on the way home. This wasn’t a big deal with my old bike since they were each ensconced in a seat, but my five-year old is simply sitting on the FlightDeck with feet on pegs and hands on handlebars so it’s not the ideal perch for sleeping. I don’t think he’d fall off if I let him stay asleep–on our first Seattle Kidical Mass ride, three and a half years ago, we met a dad with his son coupled behind him by Trail Gator who told us about their last ride together in which the kid had fallen asleep…who knows for how long before the dad noticed. The dad woke him up, but the kid kept falling back asleep the rest of the long ride home. Perhaps these aren’t typical results, but it’s always comforted me.

Both kids sleeping panda shot

During the most recent bike nap, I roused my kindergartener and suggested I fasten a bungee cord around him like a belt (hat tip to Emily Finch of Portland family biking fame for that idea, though she uses thick bungee straps for this purpose). He didn’t like the idea, but he stayed awake for a bit. I looped my jacket around him and tied the sleeves to his handlebars the next time he nodded off and it seemed a bit better than nothing. It’d be nice to find a good solution because it’s certainly nice to bike and bike and bike and bike until they both fall asleep so I can deliver them home straight into bed.

Kids sleeping on the bike

But what to do? Two Yepp seats fit on an Xtracycle FlightDeck, but it seems like overkill just for the sake of an occasional nap, not to mention it would cut down on cargo capacity a bit since the foot pieces cover a bit of the FreeLoader bags.

The new Xtracycle Hooptie would certainly solve the problem. Here it is on an Xtracycle Edgerunner:

Hooptie on the Edgerunner

It even fits a Yepp seat on the wider of its two settings, as seen on Tom and Jenn’s bike last weekend (and still plenty of cargo room for them to transport Wizard of Oz costumes for a family of four–so cute!):

Hooptie with Yepp seat on Big Dummy

The Wheelha.us family just installed a Hooptie on their Big Dummy and it doesn’t sound easy. It’s also apparently not easy to move the rails, which is a shame. If I had a Hooptie, I’d like to be able to remove the rails for big cargo loads. I’ve taken the Yepp seat off a few times for large loads, such as this bike box (which never became a bike Halloween costume, sigh). I don’t think that could work with a Hooptie.

Bike box cargo

I also recently scored a Burley Piccolo trailercycle from a friend I met on a Seattle Cargo Bike Ride to upgrade Engine Engine Engine. Unfortunately it doesn’t fit on any of my bikes! I had no idea my road bike doesn’t have brazons for a rear rack. Nor does my mountain bike. Nor even my beach cruiser! And I’m not ready to take the rear kid seat off the old mamabike. So I lent it to a friend. Maybe I could have wrestled it into the pocket with a Hooptie, but I’m not sure. For the record, I don’t normally take photos in the middle of the street, but this is the Wallingford Neighborhood Greenway so it’s cool.

Burley Piccolo as cargo

And before I knew it, I got a bike the Piccolo can fit on! Although in an interesting twist of events, Mr. Family Ride is of the opinion this bike is just for cross racing and not for family biking. WHAT?! So the Piccolo is still with my friend while I wait for him to come to his senses. Could I transport a big bike this easily with a Hooptie? I’ve carried my road bike vertically, with a wheel off before, but it’s simpler to just toss it in and go.

Bike as cargo

Bike as cargo panda shot

Also, I’m lazy and like to sit on my FlightDeck. It’s a perfect perch. (By the way, this picture is on Cycle Whatever “Ride a bike wearing whatever you’d like”–love it!) Not Hooptie compatible.

FlightDeck as seat

I also like to stand on my FlightDeck (note: you should only stand on your FlightDeck if you have the awesome Haulin’ Colin Rolling Jackass centerstand):

Standing on the FlightDeck

That particular FlightDeck stand was to get a lovely shot of the Parking Squid from above:

Parking Squid

Shawn of Wheelha.us and I tested to see if adults can fit in a Hooptie. It didn’t go so well:

He’s generously kept the video he took of my attempt offline so far. It wasn’t pretty. This is on the narrow setting and I almost fit, but it wasn’t easy getting in or out. I climbed in from the stairway above and nearly tipped his bike.

And every so often I can talk an adult onto my FlightDeck. Here’s friend/neighbor/fellow family biker/cyclocross racing teammate Kevin who hopped on on the way to school pickup:

Adult passenger on the FlightDeck

I know I wouldn’t regret having a Hooptie, but having been without one for a year now, it’d be a hard adjustment to make. I think some bungee straps are in order…

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9 thoughts on “Sleeping on the FlightDeck – Do I want a Hooptie?

  1. I am torn about hooptie as well. the whole problem is mitigated if the rails are easy to remove. I tried moving the rails on the edgerunner we tested the other day and it just plain didn’t happen.

    I was thinking of sanding the paint off them to make them fit, but the supports are steel and the rails are aluminum and I wouldn’t be surprised if that paint is what’s keeping them from galvanizing and bonding together, which would be really frustrating.

    Basically, I just want xtracycle to solve this one problem and I’ll buy a hooptie in a flash.

    Davey

  2. Ok I’m going to dissent a bit…

    The Hooptie is basically the same deal as a U rack or WideLoader: it’s a precise fit for strength. Over time I’ve found both easier to remove. Why?…

    Metal wears just enough to make it easier, but not damage the steel’s strength. It’s ductile (malleable).

    Squirting some lube in there GREATLY helps the sitch.

    I think the guy who installed one, referenced above, was using too much force to get it in. I might have installed the rails THEN attach the U brackets. That would’ve guaranteed the best possible fit.

    Here’s the caveman way to expedite Time: jam the rail in there, bend it gently hither and thither with lube. Please note this may void all manufacturer’s warranties, expressed or implied.

    I will predict you can leave the U brackets up and maybe put some bar plugs or other cute accoutrements in there to avoid the sharp ends.

    Voila! Cake and eat it too.

  3. I am a bit on the “don’t do it” side of this equation as well. For all the reasons you mention. I like my bike to transform to the occasion, on demand, which is a great perk to a cargo bike. I don’t care for the seat that is on there and really loved Dorie’s line up of front mount seats! Might get my rear deck and precious Freeloader space back! If only there was somewhere to test ride all these beautiful accessories….*sigh*

    • Wow, that is an interesting thought. I like having the front of the bike all to myself…but then I didn’t start out with a kid on the front of the cargo bike so I’m not used to it the way you are :) You could try things with just a regular ol’ saddle up there as a start, I guess…

  4. I do think the hooptie is limiting. But, I can debunk the bike-towing concern at least (with drop handlebars). Tom towed my bike by hooking my handle bar on the hooptie, I don’t remember if a bungie was involved but it was easy peasy. When designing V2 they should definitely consider an easier method of removing it.

    • Ooh, good to hear! And your in-person point about being able to lower the seat more is a bonus I hadn’t considered, too. I didn’t even consider getting a sprung saddle–I want to be able to lower my seat as much as possible to offer test rides to shorter people. It’d be nice not to have to work around stoker bars.

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