Archive | December 2012

Sleeping on the FlightDeck – Do I want a Hooptie?

We’ve been out late twice lately and both kids have fallen asleep on the bike on the way home. This wasn’t a big deal with my old bike since they were each ensconced in a seat, but my five-year old is simply sitting on the FlightDeck with feet on pegs and hands on handlebars so it’s not the ideal perch for sleeping. I don’t think he’d fall off if I let him stay asleep–on our first Seattle Kidical Mass ride, three and a half years ago, we met a dad with his son coupled behind him by Trail Gator who told us about their last ride together in which the kid had fallen asleep…who knows for how long before the dad noticed. The dad woke him up, but the kid kept falling back asleep the rest of the long ride home. Perhaps these aren’t typical results, but it’s always comforted me.

Both kids sleeping panda shot

During the most recent bike nap, I roused my kindergartener and suggested I fasten a bungee cord around him like a belt (hat tip to Emily Finch of Portland family biking fame for that idea, though she uses thick bungee straps for this purpose). He didn’t like the idea, but he stayed awake for a bit. I looped my jacket around him and tied the sleeves to his handlebars the next time he nodded off and it seemed a bit better than nothing. It’d be nice to find a good solution because it’s certainly nice to bike and bike and bike and bike until they both fall asleep so I can deliver them home straight into bed.

Kids sleeping on the bike

But what to do? Two Yepp seats fit on an Xtracycle FlightDeck, but it seems like overkill just for the sake of an occasional nap, not to mention it would cut down on cargo capacity a bit since the foot pieces cover a bit of the FreeLoader bags.

The new Xtracycle Hooptie would certainly solve the problem. Here it is on an Xtracycle Edgerunner:

Hooptie on the Edgerunner

It even fits a Yepp seat on the wider of its two settings, as seen on Tom and Jenn’s bike last weekend (and still plenty of cargo room for them to transport Wizard of Oz costumes for a family of four–so cute!):

Hooptie with Yepp seat on Big Dummy

The family just installed a Hooptie on their Big Dummy and it doesn’t sound easy. It’s also apparently not easy to move the rails, which is a shame. If I had a Hooptie, I’d like to be able to remove the rails for big cargo loads. I’ve taken the Yepp seat off a few times for large loads, such as this bike box (which never became a bike Halloween costume, sigh). I don’t think that could work with a Hooptie.

Bike box cargo

I also recently scored a Burley Piccolo trailercycle from a friend I met on a Seattle Cargo Bike Ride to upgrade Engine Engine Engine. Unfortunately it doesn’t fit on any of my bikes! I had no idea my road bike doesn’t have brazons for a rear rack. Nor does my mountain bike. Nor even my beach cruiser! And I’m not ready to take the rear kid seat off the old mamabike. So I lent it to a friend. Maybe I could have wrestled it into the pocket with a Hooptie, but I’m not sure. For the record, I don’t normally take photos in the middle of the street, but this is the Wallingford Neighborhood Greenway so it’s cool.

Burley Piccolo as cargo

And before I knew it, I got a bike the Piccolo can fit on! Although in an interesting twist of events, Mr. Family Ride is of the opinion this bike is just for cross racing and not for family biking. WHAT?! So the Piccolo is still with my friend while I wait for him to come to his senses. Could I transport a big bike this easily with a Hooptie? I’ve carried my road bike vertically, with a wheel off before, but it’s simpler to just toss it in and go.

Bike as cargo

Bike as cargo panda shot

Also, I’m lazy and like to sit on my FlightDeck. It’s a perfect perch. (By the way, this picture is on Cycle Whatever “Ride a bike wearing whatever you’d like”–love it!) Not Hooptie compatible.

FlightDeck as seat

I also like to stand on my FlightDeck (note: you should only stand on your FlightDeck if you have the awesome Haulin’ Colin Rolling Jackass centerstand):

Standing on the FlightDeck

That particular FlightDeck stand was to get a lovely shot of the Parking Squid from above:

Parking Squid

Shawn of and I tested to see if adults can fit in a Hooptie. It didn’t go so well:

He’s generously kept the video he took of my attempt offline so far. It wasn’t pretty. This is on the narrow setting and I almost fit, but it wasn’t easy getting in or out. I climbed in from the stairway above and nearly tipped his bike.

And every so often I can talk an adult onto my FlightDeck. Here’s friend/neighbor/fellow family biker/cyclocross racing teammate Kevin who hopped on on the way to school pickup:

Adult passenger on the FlightDeck

I know I wouldn’t regret having a Hooptie, but having been without one for a year now, it’d be a hard adjustment to make. I think some bungee straps are in order…

Happy Birthday, Big Dummy!

How quickly a year has passed! Yet at the same time, it’s hard to remember time before the Big Dummy. OK, not really, but a cargo bike is life changing. Riding a bike turns any trip into an adventure for us, but the cargo bike has increased that feeling exponentially. It’s hard to put into words, but it’s much more than this bike making it easier to go farther and carry more than a normal-sized bike. I’m not the only person to feel this way. There’s an amazing network of passionate cargo bike people working on a crowd-sourced cargo bike documentary: Less Car More Go. Watch the trailer and be transformed:


We’ve had some exciting adventures this past year:

The small days are big fun, too. My dad has been visiting, so today started out with us all walking to school (we usually bike…do I even need to point that out?) and then the three-year old and I drove him to the airport. I considered hitting the grocery store on the way back home, but it’s really fun shopping by bike so I put it off until kindergarten had let out.

Happy birthday, Big Dummy!

Then it was business as usual on the bike: we interacted with classmates as we rode away from school, oohed and aahed at the unmoving lines of cars from the bridge over the freeway, and I spoke with several people outside the grocery store about my bike.

Shopping by bike

I had hoped to finally costume my bike for the special day–Halloween was too rainy, as was Cranksgiving–but this afternoon was also too wet for the cardboard and paint getup. Maybe I’ll be able to make it work for one of the two upcoming Critical Lass rides.

Nice shopping-by-bike bags

I forgot grocery bags so three cloth shopping bags (fancy ones–$3.99 a pop) ended up being the bike’s birthday present. I had planned to buy a few of the 99-cent Trader Joes bags with nylon handles that tie so nicely once they’re on the bike, but I like these bags even better. They’re as wide as a bag and a half and therefore fit even better in the FreeLoader bags. While it’s possible to fit three normal-sized grocery bags on each side, the middle clip makes it a bit awkward so I generally only pack two a side. These bigger bags solve the problem and their handles are long enough to tie together for keeping contents securely inside, too. Now, if only I can remember to store them on the bike for next time…