Cool Bike! Calling Card
December 18, 2008
Julian / Totcycle in Cool Bike!

My partner in biking obsession is our 2 year-old, Drew. For months now she'll point out bikes she sees with a "Hey! Cool bike!". Or for any multiple of bikes, "Two bikes!". She's an enthusiast. And so good with the math. 

So, to celebrate the local family biking scene, and to hopefully bring some other voices onto the site, we've whipped up a cool bike! calling card, to be left on any local bike we can find that's got some kid cargo action going on.

So far, we've tagged one sexy Big Dummy build outside our local pho joint, with DLG, an xtracycle snapdeck cushion, and cute stoker bars. But I think this will be a more fruitful scavenger hunt come spring. If you are the recipient of one of these cards, please do contact us about your setup and experiences biking with kids! If I didn't already grab a photo, we'd love some photos of you, your family, and your bike. Hopefully, all together on a bike.

In the meantime, I'd like to leave some virtual cool bike! cards on some inspirational family bikes and blogs I've come across in the past months, as we sorted out how to do this family biking thing.

Xtracycles with Cool Custom Kid Seats

This is a growing collection of most excellent family vehicles. The xtracycle folks are coming out with their own version of a rear kid seat, and you can add a Peapod/Bobike Maxi on many xtracycles for one smaller child. But these intrepid moms and dads have built their own double kid seats. My favorite is "the llama", from the Stouts and A Long Walk to Green, which I believe will soon be available in kit form. Gorgeous, and they even built a custom rain cover.

The llama in its native habitat, uploaded by stoutag

Some other online faves include "Sylvie", from the It's Just a Ride Crew (love their Nigel as well, all green and cream). Bonus points for inflight reading material:

Capt. Momma And The Bike Cadets, uploaded by chigginsiii

And just in case you're don't already want to ditch your car and xtracycle your bike, here's a quick video from CleverCycles of a mom and her kids on the way home from the store:

Before the comments start, it's worth saying that for older kids, it seems customary on an xtracycle to provide something to hold onto, but not necessarily strap them on, which is mainly useful for younger, more narcoleptic children. From a safety perspective, being strapped to a heavy piece of metal and moving parts may not be the safest thing in a crash, if the motorcycle data applies to older kids on big long bikes.

Tasty Cream & Orange Bakfietsicle

Cream and orange bakfietsicleLeave it to Henry of Workcycles, the international godfather of bakfietsen (Maartin van Andel gets the inventor credit, but Henry is why you've heard of them), to whip up the most gorgeous box bike I've yet seen, for his wife and newborn, of course (congrats!). Go look at his post, but grab some wipes to clean the drool off your keyboard. I have lust in my heart for orange bikes.

Todd's Brompton with ITchair

The Brompton folding bike has been called "a personal jet pack", for it's delightfully compact size, ingenious fold, and versatility on a mixed-mode transport day (subway/bus/plane/train, zip around town, fold it halfway and use as a shopping cart, and do it all in reverse). This ITchair makes it a jetpack for two. Todd went the extra gearhead mile and made it a true tandem, with pedals for his son, but admits that the erratic pedaling style makes it a wiggly ride. I'd probably leave out the tandem bit, and wait until Drew were a bit older. No naps on this setup. This would be dreamy for an urban mom or dad in a city with good public transport.

Aaron's Souped Up, Juiced Up, Hooked Up Bakfiets

Leave it to Aaron at ABR (the bikier-than-most utility bike crew in West Seattle) to be one of two people in the world to have a Stokemonkey on his bakfiets (it's a burly electric pedal assist that works through your entire gear range, usually for xtracycles). Not content with bionic abilities, he's got a two-speed Schlumpf to extend the gear range, a foot-stomp activated air horn for cars, some Down Low Glow, a yellow rain cover, and a honkin' Haulin' Colin trailer. You know, in case the long box and Dutch-style panniers aren't enough. 

I've geeked out over this bike in front of his shop many a time, but was lucky enough to ride it on the last Cargo Bike Ride, when our daughter Drew decided it was time for a two-hour nap. He was gracious enough to offer a bike trade, and I had a lovely ride (once I figured out the Schlumpf heel tap thing, and that his SRAM internal gear hub is not as tolerant of shifting under pressure as my Nexus). If you squint at this photo from Val, you can see Drew reclining upon multiple cushions, snug under a rain canopy, and fast asleep for the whole ride and most of the picnic. It's amazing what you can haul comfortably with a bit of bionic help. Thanks to Bike Hugger for the video from earlier that day. And isn't that a tasty orange Batavus delivery bike in the foreground? A cool bike! to you sir, as well!

DIY City Bike for Kids

Our local compatriots have a way with shellac, and are known to be pushing the boundaries of kid riding positions on their xtracycles (the reading shot would have been me, back when). But their latest series of posts covers how to convert an impractical, disposable excuse for a kid's bike into a properly practical Euro-bike. Cool bikes!


So many other cool bikes out there, but I thought I'd leave you with some lowridin' shenanigans (courtesy of Tim & Stephan). Takes me back to my recumbent days. Yep, you might not know it from current photos (my Grizzly Adams beard and paunch are long gone), but I was rockin' a Rans Rocket for many years before this upright bike obsession took hold. Kind of like the ecovelo chap, whose site is too full of cool bikes to do justice to in this post. You can do this on an xtracycle too, if you weary of all this "practical" biking ...

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