Long John Silver

By | April 10, 2010

No, He's not Silver.

No, He's not Silver.

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.

IMG_5834First 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.

IMG_5835 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!


Bikeroo on April 10, 2010 at 9:52 am.

That is seriously awesome.
If I ever showed this to my friends they will demand I get one and carry them around in it though.

Todd Tyrtle on April 10, 2010 at 11:53 am.

I love it! It looks like it works really well – so well that I’m surprised I haven’t seen more around. If I start seeing more I’m totally crediting you for being the trend setter.

xcskiermom on April 10, 2010 at 6:37 pm.

I agree…awesome.

I suspect more people will be swerving to take a look as they pass you or see you go by…Take care out there.

Joe T. on April 10, 2010 at 10:49 pm.

SUPER Bike Claire. Thanks for sharing.

I’ve got to remember Invodane when looking for a bike when our little one starts biking with us.

Do I see the “Holmes Concrete Special” in the background?

Joe T. on April 10, 2010 at 10:50 pm.

Those kickstands look heavy-duty. Are they easy to move? Do they move as one, or are then independent of each other?

cFletch on April 11, 2010 at 7:57 am.

Yup – that’s the Holmes monstrosity.

The kickstand is one big inverted U shape that spans the width of the cargo bay – it’s hanging low in the last picture but does sit snugly under the bay when riding. To put it up before I ride I just put my foot in front or it and push the bike forward. To get it back down is a little more difficult as I have to take a bit of the weight off the bike by pulling the top tube as I push the kickstand with my foot. But worth any extra effort for the stability it gives.

duncan on April 12, 2010 at 6:56 am.

So fantastic!

Vaughandurful on April 13, 2010 at 8:43 am.

We don’t have kids, but I think I just want one. The bike, not the kid (LOL).

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