Owning a cargo bike changes a person. There’s a constant temptation to haul increasingly bigger and bulkier cargo loads. Personally, I’m still trying to come back from the box spring fiasco of four months ago. I think the best I’ve done is haul The Main Tank’s Madsen bucket bike after borrowing it for the Cargo Bike Roll Call:
I missed my first opportunity to haul a bike, having only owned the Big Dummy 10 days and not yet cargo-bike-minded. But then it almost happened again yesterday when The Main Tank needed to get her bike to the shop and I offered to watch the kids if she felt comfortable riding it in without precious cargo aboard.
Thank goodness Hum of the City was thinking clearly:
My rear (disc) brake is barely working! Need to take it in, but can’t put it on the car and don’t feel safe riding downhill with kids. Hmm.
— The Main Tank (@the_main_tank) October 15, 2012
— familyride (@familyride) October 16, 2012
So haul it I did!
I was disappointed the kids wanted to stay at The Main Tank’s house to play rather than ride along. Without the seat on, they’d have to share the handlebars which didn’t go so well when we rode a Kona MinUte two miles (first mile: great, second mile: fight to the death), but we had a promising discussion about sharing and getting along.
So the load was much less exciting than it could have been. With the wheel snugly buckled in (Xtracycle Utility Belt not only good for ease in buckling through the hacked Yepp seat, great for buckling up and over the top of the FlightDeck), it felt light and cornering was just fine. I forgot to measure how long a 18-inch Big Dummy in the pocket of 16-inch Big Dummy is so I took a picture of how it stacked up next to a big van. This van (at the car rental place across the street from Ride Bicycles) is my new measuring stick. I’ll have to bring Engine Engine Engine by to compare.
The Main Tank’s brakes were in need of a tightening as well as one [brake cable?] having vibrated out of the something-or-other. I’m not the best bike maintainer, but I’m working on it. I’m very inspired by Hum of the City’s good example of keeping her brakes in tip-top shape. She has them looked at monthly. I had mine looked at when she was in town so I wouldn’t be embarrassed when she borrowed my bike. That day I decided to take my bike in every three months (this is until I take the Bike Works ABC course and can do it myself!), but after The Main Tank’s diagnosis to bring her Big Dummy in monthly I might go more often, too.
The cargo bike hauling wasn’t the only excitement of the day: I also ended up riding three different bikes in one day. Seems worth documenting.
Once back home, the kids wanted to ride their bikes so I decided to follow along on my beach cruiser. I’ve been thinking about selling my cruiser. The money and the space in the garage will be nice, but it’s more about passing it along to someone who will use and appreciate it. This bike deserves to be ridden along a flat beachside expanse. It was my everyday bike in San Diego, but I rarely ride it now (though the kid hauling has made me strong enough that its single speed can take me anywhere, even in this town). Fortunately it’s too late in the year to sell it now so I have time to really get comfortable with the idea of parting ways, but I’d love to send it to live on Alki and rule the beach.
In retrospect, the cargo bike would have been a better steed because my three-year old crashed on the way down a hill and didn’t want to ride anymore. I perched his little balance bike on top of my basket so he could walk the rest of the way home, but after a few steps he decided he didn’t want to walk, either, so I let him sit on my cushy seat while I walked us home. I wonder if there’s a way I could have perched him on the handlebars and the balance bike in my messenger bag so we could coast downhill (can you tell I’m lazy and hate to walk anywhere?), but this worked well enough.
And bike number three was my road bike to an evening preschool coop meeting. Most exciting about this was that it meant passing the Fremont Bridge counter six times today. 6 out of the 3025 total bikes for the day, that is.