It’s called a cargo bike for a reason

I wish someone had reminded me I own a cargo bike today. Rather than utilize it, I bused from Wallingford to Lower Queen Anne to Phinney to retrieve Mr. Family Ride’s beach cruiser. I’d lent it to a friend’s visiting brother months ago and the time came to bring it back home.

A bit after noon, the little one and I took the 31 from Wallingford to Lower Queen Anne to retrieve the big kid from preschool. The three of us caught the 26 south a bit down Dexter and walked up a flight of stairs to Aurora to grab the 5 back north to Phinney. We take the bus occasionally, but Thanksgiving was the first time we’d transferred from bus to bus (to get to West Seattle–and just one way, since Mr. Family Ride met us out and drove us all home) so today was pretty big.

We hung out and played for a couple hours and then hit the long road home. OK, OK, it’s just 3 miles by bike, but it felt long given we were two-thirds into our adventure. I had hoped to wear the little kid on my back and perch the big kid on the handlebars for the two-block uphill walk to the bus stop, but the big kid wanted to walk and I didn’t have the patience for an extra half hour (at least!) tacked onto our trip. I finally talked him into a seat on the top tube once my friend wrapped it in bubble wrap. It wasn’t too comfortable for either of us, but I didn’t relish the walk uphill–or two more buses–so we headed downhill to see how much of a pain it’d be to walk all the way home. Turns out it was a really big pain so we bagged the plan after two miles and caught the 44 at the edge of Wallingford for the final mile home.

It wasn’t until this evening that I realized what I should have done is tow the cruiser home with the Big Dummy. Duh! There’s even a Flikr gallery of Xtracycle Bikes in Tow. No photo of an Xtracycle with kiddie seat in the rear position towing a bike, but I think with a couple bungee cords, it’d work OK. I should probably practice so I’m prepared for next time, though I feel like I wasted my one opportunity for a one-way, all-downhill bike tow.

11 thoughts on “It’s called a cargo bike for a reason

  1. I’ve tried towing bikes a few times with the Big Dummy and it worked ok but wasn’t ideal. After seeing that Follow Me Tandem set-up at Seawallcrest Park a couple weeks ago, I think that’s probably the best way to go for a big kid bike. For my current kid bikes I’ve found the best way to haul them is to remove the pedals and put the whole bike in the bag with the front tire hanging out the back. I use a small rope or bungie to secure it.

    Morgan from Family Bike Expo has a pretty awe-inspiring towing set up on one of her bikes. It requires removing the front wheel of the bike being towed but it’s a solid connection.

    • FollowMe Tandem coupler is so cool! Definitely getting one my next trip down. Edward, the mechanic at Ride Bicycles up here, has a trailer hitch on his. He said he got it at Bike Works where it was just laying around. I’ll post a picture of it. I think that Xtracycle gallery had at least one hitch picture, too.

  2. I have towed bikes twice, but can’t remember where my child seats were at the time. I will have to look for photos. I bought my cargo bike (vs the Madsen) for the bike towing. I knew one child or another would need a lift and I will be stuck with an extra bike. The opportunity for you will come again! I find myself looking for awkward things to haul. Merry Christmas.

    • I’m not sure the front wheel will fit in the FreeLoader snugly because of the kid seat, but I’m going to try that first. If it doesn’t work, I’ll try stowing front wheel next to fork in the bag.

  3. Hows about towing from the rear most cross bar centered with the rear wheel of the big dummy. Hows about a two bike towing hitchey thingy.

  4. A piece of advice about towing a bike with the front wheel in the freeloader. Put the wheel on the non-drive side. I have found that if the bike starts to lean away from the rack, the bottom of the wheel can push on the derailleur, leading to unwelcome surprise changes of gear. I would think that your kid seat might magnify the effect by pushing the bike out at the top. Another argument in favor of an internally geared hub!

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