We took Engine Engine Engine (cyclocross bike + Burley Piccolo trailer bike + double trailer) out for a last hurrah yesterday: 33.3 miles to Alki Beach and back. The kids love Engine Engine Engine. I wish Engine Engine Engine had a triple ring on the front. But the Alki trip was flat enough. Last time we used EEE was on a trip to Greenwood and that was too much hill for me.
I should point out that I’m pretty sure no trailer or trailer bike manufacturer would recommend using a setup like this. I like EEE because it’s a way to carry two or three kids with separate pieces that can easily be broken down. For me that means it’s easy to carry up from the basement, but I like to imagine a family with three kids piling the pieces into their car and driving to a safe, flat, wide path for a wonderful afternoon ride with the kids. EEE isn’t ideal in a busy city, but we managed OK through Fremont and crossing streets numerous times for the Alaskan Way construction detours. It takes care to angle oneself carefully at corners to wait out a red light without the caboose sticking out into traffic.
We rode by both bike counters: Fremont ignored us, West Seattle counted us. But the West Seattle one is a little glitchy so I wasn’t too celebratory. And it ignored us on the way home.
So why the last hurrah? Cyclocross season is approaching and one isn’t supposed to have extra stuff (drink cages, fenders, Burley Piccolo rear racks) that could fall off in a race and hurt someone. My original plan was to ride three separate bikes down to Recycled Cycles in the morning, but I was tired from all the pedaling yesterday so we dragged the bike down on our way to lunch with friends down the street at Agua Verde.
So this is what I ended up riding all day:
We were quite the clown bike parade–initially we were also with Anne of Car Free Days on her Xtracycle and Shawn of Wheelha.us on his Big Dummy. Kristi and Pete normally ride a Madsen bucket bike and Yuba Boda Boda midtail in the Bay Area, but are traveling (via Portland where Pete won the Fiets of Parenthood!) with their new Brompton folding bikes. This is where we broke off from the parade of Kristi, Pete, and Julie of Wheelha.us.
Speaking of cyclocross, the WAWCX (Washington Women of Cyclocross) Festival is Sunday. There are clinics, a non-competitive course ride-through, and a mom race! Online registration is closed, but one can register on site. I’m doing the mom race:
Exclusive for this event, the Mom Race is an opportunity to truly celebrate and recognize women who race cyclocross and their other life roles. Mom categories will be seeded based on the age of their oldest child (-12mo, 13-35mo, 3-5yo, 6-10yo, 11-14yo, 15-19yo, 20+yo). Thanks to Woodinville Bicycle, all proceeds from the Mom Category Race will benefit the ultimate WAWCX Mom-of-Cross, Sarah Bender and her family.
I would like Engine Engine Engine to live on, but ideally with a different front engine. Lotsa gears would be nice. And disc brakes. And I’ll put a kickstand on that bike because Engine Engine Engine shouldn’t have to lay down at the station.
Or soon we can trade that caboose for a proper engine–the newly four-year old is just about tall enough for the Burley Piccolo. I want to stick it behind a tandem bike in the future and we’ll all share the pedaling.
…not that today saw any pedaling help. My six-year old spent the whole trip to Alki pedaling backwards. Apparently that’s much more fun that pedaling forward. And on the way home he spent the trip perched in a standing position, occasionally doing a half pedalstroke backwards then forwards. At least on a tandem his pedals will move (and hopefully his feet will be on them) and I imagine the little guy will be a more eager helper…although today his big move was shoving the sides of the trailer into the wheels creating even more drag. When I described EEE to a neighbor once he asked, “Why don’t you just drag an anchor around while you’re at it?” Indeed.
So farewell Engine Engine Engine! You’re certainly a crowd pleaser and I hope we’ll see you again.
I think we should get tandems and clip the kids feet in to guarantee pedaling! And thanks for the reminder, I’m trying to go to MomCross on Sunday. Do we get points for going in MomProm outfits?!
Yay Momcross!!!! Are you bringing kids? I want to convince family to stay home, but I think they want to come, too. I’m going to probably do whatever you’re doing. I hear tandem stokers can pedal passively if they want so clipped in kids probably isn’t as great as it sounds. Sigh. I’m sure you’ll get extra points for mom prom outfit. Heh.
No kids. Its momcross ALL BY MYSELF (plus you as my carpool buddy). Still thinking on the mom prom outfit. I may have gotten rid of (that poor excuse for a) skirt.
I think you need a flowy-er skirt for cross to make hopping off and on easier. Ah, that’s probably why so many men wear tutus during cross. I should go dig out my stuff. I have no idea where those cheapie cycling sunglasses are…
I love your engine engine engine set up. We actually have a family in our Kidical Mass group who has the same set up except that use a tandem to pull the trail-a-bike and the bike trailer. So I guess you could say they have a EEEE set-up. It’s massive and impressive! I’m not ruling out the option of us doing something like that :)
Wow!! Is that one adult at the front or both parents on the tandem? That sounds really fun.
Who is the beautiful lady on the Madsen? I’d love to talk to her about riding while pregnant (since there is so much “OMG, DON’T Do it” out there)
Aww, you are too kind! That is me, and I’d love to talk more about riding while pregnant!
I have a blog post up with a few thoughts from a few weeks ago (http://wheelha.us/2013/07/biking-during-pregnancy/) but you’re welcome to contact me directly, too — my full name is on the post linked above, and my email is @.net
Thanks! Will do :)
Yes, contact Julie! And Simply Bike has a nice Cycing while Pregnant series. Are you still in Germany? I would have thought it’d be much more prevalent there than here. But I’m more familiar with the Netherlands so I shouldn’t assume neighboring countries are the same.
Yes we are still in Germany :) We moved though and it is hillier where we live now so I don’t see as many people on bikes in our neighborhood. I’m currently trying to figure out the pregnant cycling and the cycling with a newborn. I think a bakfiets might be in my future.