Oh happy day. This Saturday I cobbled together a simply kludgetastic infant seat for our MADSEN cargo bike. We then proceeded to ride around with it ALL WEEKEND LONG. Because my baby on bike fantasy has come true. OK, yes, due caution is advised, please read our baby on a bicycle article, etc etc etc ... but this setup is the beez kneez!
I would post detailed instructions a la Instructables, but that would 1) expose me to more liability than I would like 2) reveal entirely too much about my, um, "process" ... let's just say that a tomato knife got involved when I couldn't find my hacksaw. And brute force ripping. And the use of a long wood bolt and piece of used deck when the hex bolt I had wasn't long enough.
- One used infant car seat (Peg-Perego from Goodwill - $15)
- Pink foam board ($4)
- Chariot Baby Supporter ($25 on sale at REI)
- UPPAbaby sun/wind/bug/rain shade ($18)
- Bolts and duct tape and zipties and other kludge-it-yourself items
Basically, I sawed the sides and top lip off of the infant car seat so that it fit rear-facing down in the bucket, and ripped the side panels off the seat cover, trimming the cushion foam to fit. I then cut pieces of foam board to fill in space and support the car seat underneath, since chopping up the seat leaves it quite noodly. I left a smidge of room underneath so the straps could be adjusted, which also gave the seat a bit of "suspension" - bonus.
I bolted the top of the seat through the front of the bucket, sent a long bolt from the bottom of the seat bucket through the foam and out the bottom as well, and used zipties to cinch the front lip of the car seat to one of the rear belt brackets to tighten things up. The head protector from the Chariot accessory was then bolted to the top of the infant seat, and we added a sun shade as well.
The whole project took about 2-3 hours. And another 2-3 hours in the doghouse for use of the tomato knife.
It's just what I wanted:
- very stable head/neck positioning and protection - no bobble-head!
- 5-point, easily adjustable harness
- rear-facing position at a safe angle that prevents sleepy heads falling forward
- protected by bucket on 4 sides
- nice view of sister on the back bench
- ventilated sun & drizzle protection when needed
- removable for big cargo runs
Now I just need to devise some protection from the sister ... but Luc loves it. Or at least tolerates it with less fussing than in the car. It's snug and cozy and he falls asleep most times we ride (if so, I just pull the bike into the backyard and let him finish his nap there). The jostling is minimal, even over bumps - he's as low as possible, suspended a bit, and not over the axle the way he was in the trailer. The hi-tensile steel longtail design of the Madsen adds "cush", as do the balloon tires we added. If we tip, he seems well-protected, certainly more so than in a jogging stroller.
And I so much prefer having both kids on the bike than towing the trailer. Gliding through quiet neighborhood streets with Luc and Drew aboard where I can talk to them is simply magical. We rode to the fireworks and back, and then yesterday I took them to the Greenlake wading pool going over Phinney Ridge both ways. Rarrrh! Pushing bike + trailer up that hill would have been less enjoyable.