Another year, another bike birthday post. I think bike years are faster than human years, because it feels like much more than five years since this life-changing bike entered our lives.
I got the Surly Big Dummy primarily as a kid carrier, but now that the kids are riding mostly on their own bikes at ages nine and seven, its role is changing a bit. I always take the Big Dummy when we go out just in case I need to carry a kid and his bike, but that happens less and less these days (yay!). I worry a bit about the kids turning into bike-averse tweens so I want to be equipped to scoop them up on my bike after any little crash, tired spell, or tantrum. The kids weigh 125 pounds together, but without them on the deck, the Big Dummy rides like a regular bike so it’s fun to get to ride it around empty most of the time.
Today we biked five miles to the Seattle Center to see Space Santa in the Space Needle (he’s the coolest!) and the Big Dummy’s most important role was bike rack. I feel a little guilty relegating my sweet bike to such a mundane job, but apparently decent parking is the most important thing. Bike parking at the Seattle Center leaves a bit to be desired. There are a couple stationary bike racks (on the west side of the Armory and one I noticed today under the monorail track near the EMP), but most of them are small Cora racks that aren’t bolted down and get dragged around the center (and shouldn’t be considered safe to lock to). Looking at the Cora rack specs, I see my bike at 76.4 pounds weighs more than these six-bike Cora racks, plus it’s easier to anchor in a convenient spot–at the base of the Space Needle at the start of our day out, for instance.
I saw a couple bikes locked to Cora racks and a couple more smartly locked to fences. The Parking Squid used to live at the Seattle Center (it’s across the street from the aquarium now), but security guards yelled at people who tried to lock to it since it didn’t look enough like a bike rack.
Heading home the Big Dummy got a bit of a birthday surprise when we were number 666 at the Fremont bike counter. Very fitting with Surly’s surly-lowercase-ess persona. Fun fact: my handlebars–not the stock flat bars that come on Big Dummies–are Surly Open Bars that measure 666mm wide, rock on.
And the deck came in handy when we stopped to forage for chocolate on the way home. Note: this is best done with a Haulin’ Colin Rolling Jackass centerstand.
One little exciting change to the Big Dummy, as of yesterday: now I match the majority of cargo biking moms with MKS Grip King pedals. These were on my Surly Straggler (my “me” bike), but I swapped them out a while ago for Shimano A530 hybrid pedals, that are flat on one side and SPD clipless on the other. So now my Straggler is sportier and my Big Dummy is snazzier!
Don’t worry that the Big Dummy has been getting bored with her passengers getting so independent. We’ve been delivering loads of old stuff to the thrift store. A very noble job and there are the makings of many loads left in my basement I hope to clear out before her next birthday.
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