First shopping with the Big Dummy

I took the new bike grocery shopping for the first time this morning. It didn’t really count, though, since the kids didn’t want to come along. It took me forever to get the bags loaded into the Xtracycle FreeLoaders, but I imagine I’ll get quick at it in time. The main problem was that even with the seat adapter raising the kid seat, the middle FreeLoader buckle was buried under the Yepp’s foot rests. I probably should have removed the seat (easy to do if I bothered to keep the key to it handy), but I wanted to practice with full kid gear in place.

While I was struggling with the bike, a woman easily loading groceries into her car chatted with me. Turns out she had heard of my bike from Ride Bicycles, where she’d bought her city bike. She also has a Kona Ute longtail, which I’d heard about from Ride Bicycles, too. Small town, Seattle, sometimes. I lamented not bringing a bungee cord along so she offered me a scarf from her trunk, but I did OK just perching the last bag in the front basket.

Shopping done, I loaded the kids onto the bike for a trip to South Lake Union Park for Cookies, Crafts & Carols, a festival aboard the Virginia V (our favorite boat), the tugboat Arthur Foss, and the visiting Schooner Adventuress. I was a bit nervous about the bike being locked to itself, but I wanted it closer than the bike racks (plus I didn’t want to walk all the way from the bike racks with two cold kids). Fortunately, it was easy to keep an eye on it from various portholes.

The only bad part about Big Pink (just a temporary name, in hopes I can come up with something more creative) is that I keep trying to manipulate it like my old bike. It’s misleadingly agile on the road, but very heavy and therefore not as easy to muscle the rear of the bike over a couple inches or walk the bike in a curve. I haven’t dropped the bike yet, but I’ve had to keep it from tipping and my back is not happy about it. I keep thinking “it’s supposed to be just like a normal bike” but that’s compared to a riding a box-style cargo bike, not compared to my normal bike I’m used to.

On the way home, we swung by the Wallingford Center to say hi to the Green Carolers and Santa. This may be our only boys-in-bike-helmets-with-Santa photo of the season.

The Green Carolers sang their way over to Green Lake for the Pathway of Lights, but we opted to skip this year and meet Mr. Family Ride for pizza on the way home. He demonstrated proper locking technique while I tried hard to pay attention, but I think I need a refresher course. Somehow I’m supposed to get the U-lock around the bike rack, frame, and wheel all at once, while making sure the U side isn’t against the rack in case someone takes a pry bar to it because I wouldn’t want him/her to steal a bike with a damaged frame. Then the cable part has to thread through a million things. I think I’d need several additional locks to get it as secure on my own. So between loading groceries and locking/unlocking I’ll have tons of time to get aquainted with my new bike.

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10 thoughts on “First shopping with the Big Dummy

  1. If the protection is mainly for you I would go the bashring route. If it’s needed for the boys then chaingaurd would be the better way to go.

    A couple of thoughts. The Salsa unit comes with the chainring bolt hardware so it is super simple to put on.

    Chaing guards? Are there any long enough? If not easy peasy to extend one.

    • Daisy, you are awesome! Edward at Ride Bicycles showed me a couple things (I think the same Salsa bash guard you’re talking about) on his computer and I think he has something in mind that will work. It’d be nice to shield the whole chain, but I mostly just want this bike to be as convenient as my old bike, which means not having to roll up my pant leg.

  2. I feel like a total lazy dolt because all I’ve ever done is lock my AXA and head off. This goes right along with buying the bakfiets right out of the gate and not earning it by riding with other set-ups first. I have to google everything to know what you’re talking about. Bonus: when asking Uncle Google if AXA was really in all caps I found links on their vulnerabilities and how to hack them. I’m learning. Someday I’ll have a kid trailing and then, dream of dreams, eventually have them both on their own bikes. I’d love it if they both grew into cargo bikes of their own.

    • You’ve earned your bakfiets! In fact, you’re smarter than those of us who didn’t start with a cargo bike.

      I dream about the kids piloting pedicabs one day and transporting me everywhere.

  3. I’m sure you’ve figured this out by now but using reusable grocery bags make a huge difference in loading the bike. The Whole Foods ones are my Favorite, although now that I think about it Seattle is plastic grocery bag free right?

    • I think our bag ban starts July 1st, but I was trained from a young age to bring my own bags so I’m not sure! :) I love the current Trader Joes bags because they have long rope-ish handles that I can tie in a knot to keep my stuff in. I also like having little nylon shopping bags along because if I overdo it, I can tie those little bags on top of the big bags easily.

    • Do you Sheldon Lock? I’m still quite the lazy locker, but shaping up my locking strategy is _on my list_. I’d need to buy a new mini U (which I invented in my head over 20 years ago, btw!). I think I like the Modified Sheldon better, though I guess ideally with true cable lock (with its own lock).

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