I haven’t wanted to admit this, but I can’t fit both balance bikes and a bunch of other stuff in the FreeLoaders. Today I was determined to make it work and went down to the garage alone (it’s way too hard to load the bike any way other than haphazardly with two monkeys running around), but didn’t find the perfect solution. I realized I’m going to need to remove the FlightDeck to slide the middle FreeLoader buckle over. I think once I have better access to that buckle (sometimes I wedge my hand under the Yepp baby seat foot rest and get it buckled, but usually I don’t bother) I’ll be able to secure a balance bike and big bag. Today I used a bungee cord which felt like cheating, but it’s a step towards bigger more exciting loads.
I was glad I brought the balance bikes today because after a preschool potluck near Green Lake, I let the boys loose at the lake. We started at the big hill (Papa Ball Hill, as we call it) by the Bathhouse Theatre where the boys cruised down over and over for a good hour. I thought that was it for balance biking, but they crossed over the bike path to explore closer to the water’s edge. Very close to water’s edge as they rode on a little pier.
Fortunately neither boy got wet, which was more of an issue when they took a biking break to toss rocks in the lake. Despite hundreds of hours of experience throwing rocks into water (second in popularity only to digging in sand), you’d think they’d be better at keeping their feet dry.
My favorite part of the day was riding alongside the boys 3/4 of the way around the lake. I had so much fun when we raced around the vacant UW parking structure with Brad and kids, but I only had one kid to keep safe since my bigger balance biker kept up with the faster half of the group. Today they mostly stuck to the gravel on the side of the path and we didn’t have run-ins with other bikes, pedestrians, or dogs. It was so much easier than I could have imagined. I don’t think we’re ready for six wheels on the Burke-Gilman Trail yet, but perhaps it’s not so far off.
Two miles of flattish riding tired them out, but they still weren’t done! I thought they were ready to let me load them back on the Big Dummy, but they took one last opportunity to fly down a fairly steep grassy hill. They figured out it’s a lot easier to run the balance bikes up the hill on the side and then remount to coast down. I hope this lesson will stick and they’ll walk their bikes on the long hills near home. When Mr. Family Ride escorts the kids down to the water he often ends up carrying two bikes and one “I baby white kitty cat, can’t walk!” kid uphill to return home. It think he could probably figure out a way to carry all three items at once, but he patiently ferries things in half-block increments.
If you go to the xtracycle site under accessories there is a few different kinds of straps, one of which I believe can plug into your middle freeloader male and female connections, rendering getting under the Yepp moot but for one time.
I may be imagining it though…
Ooh–Xtracycle Utility Belt (which is also a *belt* belt). Thanks for the tip!
I always let the front wheel of kiddo bikes hang off/out the back of the BD bags. I often use a small rope to tie the front of kiddo bikes up and to keep the front wheel from flopping. You could use a strap with a buckle or bungie.
For the record… bungee cords are NOT cheating.
Thanks for the tip, Andy! The balance bikes fit in FreeLoaders (just), but I’ll have to use your rope trick once we graduate to pedal bikes. Xtracycle CinchStraps look like nice $12 ropes :)
OK, bungee cords aren’t cheating, but I remember first looking at those enormous bags and thinking “I’ll never need a bungee cord again!”