We visited J.C. Lind Bike Co. in Old Town Chicago to rent a cargo bike for the day. I figured I’d want to take out the Winther Wallaroo, a super-fancy Danish cargo bike, especially after reading the Let’s Go Ride A Bike review of its three-wheeled counterpart, the Kangaroo. I was a little intimidated by its adjustable seats (front facing, rear facing, fully reclining, oh my!)–were we dressed well enough to even be in the same room as this beauty queen? After test riding it in a parking lot near the shop, however, I was more intimidated by its handling. The Wallaroo is long! And therefore hard to manipulate. I’m sure I could get the hang of it given more practice, but I swallowed my two-wheel pride and it didn’t take much convincing on Jon Lind’s part for me to take out the J.C. Lind Triple Lindy.
The Triple Lindy is a really nice trike and I got a lot of shouts and smiles on the lakefront bike path. The frames are produced in the Netherlands, which I think is a selling point, but Jon was proud to report that at some point they’ll be made locally in Chicago. All other parts are made in Chicago and I’m pretty sure we rode by the mechanic who assembles them because I heard a guy say to his companion “Hey! Those are the bikes I build.” It has a lot of great features, including an optional rain canopy, you can check out on the website.
The step plates over the front fenders are very cool and there’s also an option to get a door on the front of the bike for passengers not big enough (or human enough–it’s called the doggie door) to reach the platforms. You might notice the toddler hand smudges on the shiny wood. I should have kept a moist cloth handy to keep it looking pretty. The exciting new optional frame colors (Fire Red, Orange, Royal Blue, Apple Green) probably work to distract from smudgy wood, though.
The only weird thing was the placement of the shifter. It’s on the seat post–something to do with cables of only two feet being available until recently. Jon mentioned they might change its location, which I hope they do because it was awkward to reach down between my lets to change gears. And I imagine it’d be near impossible to do so while wearing a shirt, for those fancy moms and dog schleppers. It was nice having foot brakes and the hand brake, but the position of the hand break in the middle of the handlebar took some getting used to. I forgot to ask why it’s in the middle.
We did a lot of riding to get a feel for the bike. There weren’t a lot of hills to be found, but it was great on the small rises we faced. My original plan was to ride south to Cloud Gate to take cool pictures of the bike, but Jon had me a little scared of riding on the tilted portion of the LFP by Navy Pier. Apparently trikes are happiest when they’re on flat terrain. So when we got sidetracked at Oak Street Beach, I wasn’t too disappointed. We hung out for a bit and then headed north through Lincoln Park. I wanted to check out the lily pond and the zoo–Jon said one is allowed to push a cargo bike through the zoo like a stroller–but I didn’t notice any signage and before I realized it, we were at a beach on the north end of the park. So we chilled on the beach and bought ice cream from an ice cream trike.
The shop is great, too, by the way. The boys enjoyed running around on the rubber floor mats, made from Schwalbe recycled tires. I was quite taken by the accessories wall and after hearing the melodies played by Jimbob Love on his many pedicab bells the other day and the ice cream trike today, I got a bell. I got one similar to the Triple Lindy’s bell so we could think back fondly on today if ever we get a chance to “on your left ding dong” anyone.