Friday, 28 March 2008

The baby bikes coming!

So you'll remember a while back that i discussed my inspiration for the perfect baby transporter.
Well this has driven me to source my own version and i've just heard the bikes arriving Monday.

I chose this bike for a number of reasons:

  • The reviewers who i trust said this was the bike that the Uk had been waiting for
  • Its a panasonic drive thru engine, that only works when i do (so i dont get lazy), but will boost me up any hill.
  • Its adjustable stem and saddle post mean it should fit my wife and me

  • Its got a great lighting system

  • I'll be one of the first in the Uk with it!

  • The Kalkhoff bikes ooze quality and sturdiness, and look more agressive than their Dutch cousins.

A forum friend has just posted a piccie of it! This is breaking news in the UK pedelec scene! I have to say that it doesnt do it justice. They have a lovely paint job, Kalkhoff , that doesnt shine through in a photo.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008


Here are some cool family rigs i've seen around and about the internet:

I'll add to these as i go...

Trip to cambridge

Mike and I had a day out in Cambridge today. Cambridge is a great city for eyeing up good practical bike solutions.

I saw this bobike mini today, complete with wicker basket. They had a hamax mounting block on the back as well. Great 2 kids and some shopping rig. Of course the bike was a classic Cambridge city-bike hack, so its a very modest little ensemble.

A couple of nice features on this. The basket fits on the windshield mounting which is neat. I also saw another bike that had a minoura space grip woven into the front of the wicker basket. This solves the problem of where to put a light on a bike with a basket.

I also saw a lovely bike trailer for luggage. Its the 'carry freedom' one. Very clever design features making it a great accessory to these types of bikes. I'll hopefully revisit this in a later post (maybe near my birthday? hint! hint!).

PS Mikes little arm was worn out from pointing at every single bike that went past today. I think his first word may be 'bike!'

I've created a monster!

oh dear, he likes cycling even more than i do. Here's the evidence: 
  • At his first birthday party he was more interested in the hosts bike than the soft play toys, presents, other babies etc.
  • He stands at the back door with the key to the bike shed looking sad and occasionally pointing to the shed
  • His first object that he can recognise in a book is a bike
  • He screams and lunges towards bikes.
Cycling parents to be, beware! 

On the plus side if he's playing up, simply going out on the bike calms him down. 

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Success! My boys hooked on bikes!

I got home on Friday from work (on my bike), and Michael was outside with his Nana. When he saw the bike he squealed and pointed. We couldn't take him in until he'd been taken out for a short ride! 

I also realized the rear light is blocked by the seat. I need to reposition it, but shouldn't be too tricky. I had to ride him up and down the pavement! I never ride on the pavement and get annoyed when people do. Kids make you do all sorts don't they?

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Seat Searching

So i started to look around for front seats. Heres what I found:
  • The bobike mini (Looks nice, has the front windscreen, Uk shops indicate that it can only be mounted on quill stems, widely available)
  • The wee ride (Looks fussy to mount)
  • The bike tutor (watch the promo video on this site! Heartwarming stuff)

I came to the realisation that you need to sit in an upright position for this style of seat. Our bikes didnt really lend themselves to this and that made me think about getting a new bike.....

The Inspiration

I saw this picture in a letter to A2B magazine (Sept 2007 for the full article) and thought Oooh! That's it! Its clever isn't it? Takes the baby, the pram and the shopping!
  • The seat on the front is the Dutch bobike mini.
  • The pram carrier is the BuggyMe
  • The stand is the ESGE twin stand
  • The bike is a lafree electric pedelec
  • The pannier is a big one :-)

This letter set me thinking about what i wanted to do with the bike. Fundamentally i wanted an alternative to the car for local trips. Mike hates his car seat, and i hate driving. There are three trips i do regularly and all of them are 5-7 miles in uppy-downy terrain. For all of them i want to be able to tale Mike, Mikes stuff, and my stuff or shopping. The rig above was clearly capable of this, so i started looking for all the bits. As you can see from the links, i could source them easily enough with the wonder of the internet. However, i'll discuss more on these in later posts.

PS I have to recommend A2B magazine. Its inspirational...

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Great Family Bike Shop!

I was passing through Cambridge today and i missed my train, so i wandered out to look at the bike shop by the station ( ). It used to sell 2nd hand student hacks and a couple of newish bikes. Its now the best practical bike shop i've ever seen!

Lots of child seats (Including all the ones i was interested in), lots of trailers ( For hire and sale and they even had Chariots in Stock!), lots of practical European and classic City and commuting Bikes (including their own version city bike which looks stunning) , a good range of folders and a lot of top brand pedelecs as well. All in all just special!

They even have the bike rig set up that i'm planning (more on that later). I've never seen it in Holland let alone in the UK, even though its all dutch components ! If you want a practical bike for commuting or family cycling stuff go to this shop!

PS It even has long opening hours! Left luggage, left bike facilities, tours, friendly helpful etc ect etc etc

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Sleepy Seaty

New bike first! We've been taking mike out a couple of times a week, just very short rides for both of us to get used to the bike. Its still damn cold and i don't want him to freeze.

When I take him out, i stop every now and then to see if he's OK. Today, he'd smile but look a bit dazed. When i got home after ~15 minutes or so look what happened!

The seat wasn't even reclined very much and he's still comfy looking. Great! Long summer rides here we come!

As an aside, my wife and i have decided that this is the seat for long weekend leisure rides on our touring bikes. Hopefully this year we'll even manage a short tour. However, it takes up the entire rear pannier rack and so isnt a car replacement for a single person as the luggage carrying capacity is limited. So i'm continuing with my research.....

Lets Go Ride!

So it was winter and we still hadnt found a seat we liked. They all looked too flimsy, too uncomfortable, too upright, etc etc Then one day the cycling gods rewarded us. It was a lovely february day, still , bright and quite warm. I'd taken my wife to see a bike a seat in our local town bike shop to show her why i didnt fancy it. Anyway they didnt have it in, but they did have a brand new one from Hamax. It was part of the hamax plus system.

We took one look at it and thought yep thats the one. Why? Two reasons:
-Its Big! I mean really, really substantial.
-It reclines and the reclining works.
-Its well sprung (theres a massive spring at the back)
-It has a recess at the back to allow the rear of the helmet to sit.
Basically it looked safe and comfy. It looked like a seat that Mike could sit in for long weekend rides together.

We took one look at it, took it home, put it on the Dawes Sardar and stuck Michael in it. Did he like it..., i'll let the piccy tell you the story...