Messing with the bike counter

We’ve conducted a few tests of the Seattle Bike Counter and have to conclude it’s magical–just as I initially thought. First up was the seven-pound Kinderbike Mini balance bike with ten-inch wheels. It counted!

That double diamond is the sensor.

While we were conducting our test, a friend walked by with two three-year olds in a double jogging trailer. The bike counter ignored them. Brilliant!

Last weekend the monthly Spokespeople ride took us to the bike counter where it counted a wooden Skuut balance bike. That device knows its stuff!

On Wednesday we took Engine Engine Engine (normal bike + trailer bike + trailer) to see what the counter thought of it. It’s a lot of bike and a lot of wheels so I thought we might count as two.

The counter hesitated after we crossed the sensor, maybe because it wasn’t sure what to do, but probably to give me time to picture it thinking, “Really? You thought you could confuse me? Pah-leese.” And then it tallied us as one.

I think my testing of the bike counter is done, but there are things I’m curious about:

  • Full-sized trike with the two wheels in front
  • Full-sized trike with the two wheels in back
  • Recumbent trike
  • Minibike
  • Swingbike with rear wheel swung out to the side
  • Unicycle

Testing complete, our day took a turn for the less awesome. First, the imaginary reprimand from the bike counter and then Engine Engine Engine decided to teach me a lesson after having apparently read my mind this morning when I realized just what a pain it is to lug around. Ironically (stay tuned for that irony), I thought I’d be better off using the Big Dummy to drag the trailer (empty) and leave it at preschool for the day so after kindergarten dropoff I could go home and swap for the road bike to use during my kid-free time.

The preschool part of the morning went well: I remembered to take the kindergartener’s backpack out of the trailer this time. I even had a better plan than last time and wore my big Tom Bihn Super Ego messenger bag so I could put his whole backpack in with my stuff.

Disaster struck at the elementary school when I couldn’t budge the pin that holds the trail-a-bike connected to my bike. Mr. Family Ride has no trouble getting the thing off and on, but apparently I’m too impatient to make sure I’ve got the two parts lined up. The school bike racks are not as full as they used to be, by the way:

I think the fourth graders had bike lessons earlier in the year that yielded full racks.

I had plans on Capitol Hill and it probably would have been easiest to take the passenger-less trail-a-bike up with me, but I went home to swap bikes. I considered taking Mr. Family Ride’s bike since I really didn’t want to have to go into the house and change shoes (my road bike has clipless pedals), but he insists the double trailer with its old style hitch doesn’t work with his disc brakes. He’s out of town, by the way, so I entertained the idea to the point of pulling his bike out of the garage and almost pulling away from the house on it. While I’m curious if hauling Engine Engine Engine without the second conductor would be easier than with him, today wasn’t the day to find out. So in the end, I took the Big Dummy up the hill.

Had I been on my road bike, I would have gone along 10th, but on the heavy bike I prefer biking through Eastlake. Here’s the Melrose Promenade, covered in fall foliage. There are a lot of clogged up bike lanes and trails these days. Careful, folks, leaves can be slippery!

Then I got to see what it’s like to drag the empty trailer uphill. I’ve moved it a couple times with the Big Dummy, but only on flat ground. I took the steepest route home to adequately test things and it was only slightly harder than with no trailer. Good to know. I can continue to bring full-sized pillows on bike camping trips. A day full of experiments!

The three-year old was eager to ride with his new bunny basket so I tossed the five-year old’s bike on board the Big Dummy and the little guy and I rode separately to kindergarten pickup. This was also a good way to prevent disappointment at not getting to pedal the trail-a-bike home.

Hey look below, an R74 campaign sign! If you need fenders and can find a sign, see the Kent’s Bike Blog DIY fenders and panniers tutorial. I think I’ve seen more links to this lately than election stuff (OK, not really).

Two of the four blocks are too steep for the kid to pedal, but he still likes going by small bike. I don’t know why the little guy is doing the zombie slump–I’m the one who pedaled uphill all day! This is a new technique–when he’s tired, he slumps over his handlebars and lurches along and sighs. I gotta admit, I feel like doing that sometimes, too.

10 thoughts on “Messing with the bike counter

  1. Ooh, verry eenterresting!
    We took our mountain bike w/ trail-a-bike combo over it, & the counter counted two. Two!

    & now my son is excited about trying some wild combos… would love to help check stuff out, though all I have from the list is a unicycle!

    Also: those diamonds could use a bike logo, amirite?

    • What? Verrrry interesting. Ooh, and now I’m picturing two unicycles riding in unison to mimic a bicycle. Or three unicycles mistaken for jogging stroller. So fun! Logo: yes!

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    • Ha–yay! I’ve totally angered it, though, and it has stopped counting me when I have the trailer along (fortunately, it doesn’t recognize me on just two wheels). Maaaaaybe I’ll track down the specs and read about how it really works, but I prefer to believe in magic and sassiness.

  6. Pingback: » Bike News Roundup: StreetFilms circa 1950 Fan Site

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