I was waiting for the saga of the electric bike to come to an end before introducing my new ride, but it’s dragging on and on and on. So here he is (yes… HE), Long John Silver. This is what it looked like when we picked it up – only two child seats. The bike is made by Invodane, not a bike company – but they are one of the few places you can get a cargo bike in this city. It’s a men’s frame, as you can see, aluminum frame with a carbon fibre cargo bay. Back disc brakes, no front brake (still investigating) and the world’s best kickstand.
First major improvement – install third child seat. Remember the hacking I had to do to put the child seat on the old bike? Well, I had to bust out the SawZall again. I love power tools.
In my test rides up and down the street, I realized that our previous seating arrangement would not work. We started out with the littlest in the back seat, and the big ones in the trailer – I figured the weight distribution would be the best that way. However, after a few rides, Baby S made it quite clear that she does not like the back seat. I tried Miss K, but being not quite three, she does not have the self control to sit still, even when asked repeatedly. So Mr T gets the honour of being my co-pilot now. It didn’t seem fair to put him into the “baby” seat, so I went to work to convert it into a BIG BOY seat.
You’d be amazed what a difference a change in name makes – because I didn’t do all that much to the seat, but Mr T is now very happy to ride in the back, and is eager to show everyone just how cool his BIG BOY seat is.
Check out the attachment system we had to rig up – nuts, bolts, zip ties, threaded aluminum plates, washers, spacers – Oh My. The copper tubing is the boy’s foot rests. Temporary – but very functional. And free.
While on the subject, four year olds make very good co-pilots. As I am still getting used to the bike, I have enlisted Mr T to make all my turn signals for me. I shout “LEFT TURN!” and he holds his arm out for the duration of the turn. Fun for both of us, and educational too.
The girls were wearing their helmets, but as soon as they saw Daddy with the camera they both whipped them off. Admittedly, I almost did too. Girls just don’t want to be photographed in helmets.
A couple more points: this bike, when parked with the kickstand down, is so stable that Mr T can climb into his seat on the back, while Miss K climbs into her seat in the front, leaving me free to buckle in the baby. All at the same time. NO STRESS! No tipping! It cuts my loading up time in half, it’s fantastic!
Mr T’s seat, as you saw, has no seat belt. I told a few of you heard the story of our first collision – a little girl clipped my front wheel as she swerved in front of me to get a better look. The bike tipped, landing on the front right corner of the cargo bay, which stopped us from going right over. Mr T, sensing the fall, ejected. Yes, ejected. He pushed off of his footrests and jumped, landing on his feet in the grass beside me. I realize that it could have gone very badly, had he jumped the other way into the road, so I’m making a belt for him that he can unlatch himself. Because in the even of another accident – I will have to tend to the little ones first, and I don’t want to leave the big guy dangling in the back.
I have yet to test out the cargo hauling capabilities – we’ve been out for a few pleasure cruises, and one run to the post office (in the rain) but I haven’t yet taken it to the grocery store. The child seats take up a LOT of room in the cargo bay. I think I’ll be able to fit two fully loaded grocery bags, and maybe a few small boxes, or a bag of milk under the seats themselves. I have visions of one day converting it into a bakfiet, which would mean more room for stuff, but that’s a long term project. One that I will start after building the vintage cruiser of my dreams.
Hi ho silver, away!