Friday, 27 June 2008

Long Bikes

I've mentioned before how stable my bike is with the rear child seat. A lot of people will find that a rear child seat makes a bike much less stable. The reason it works so well (as a nice poster explained to me) on my bike is because it has a long wheel base and the rear rack is closer to the centre of the bike , due to the battery.

Theres a few bikes on the market that take this to the extreme. These bikes are also solutions to the famous qaundry of how to carry two kids on a bike. All these bikes are long wheel base bikes.

  • The current hip favourite is the Xtracycle and all its derivatives
  • Another fave is the Yuba , a project for africa that became popular in Europe
  • New on the market in 2008 from a big brand the Kona UTE
  • And from Holland the filiduo or tweelingsfiet (the same bike seems to be branded several ways, so a bit confusing)

Apparently there are waiting lists on most of these bikes. Must be a gap in the market for a bike that can do a little more. Still havent seen one yet but it must only be a matter of time. Its funny how bikes that are really useful have big waiting lists. Bromptons, my own Agattu, these Long Bikes, some of the new cargobikes. Do mainstream bike companies just not understand that people are using their bikes for everyday tasks and not just sport?

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Another Trip to Cambridge

Mike and i had another trip to Cambridge last weekend. My wife was away for shopping and clubbing , so we had a free Saturday.

We went to Cambridge for a few reasons: I needed some bits and pieces; a bit of casual tourism; just for the ride ; but mostly to go and see a carpark. "A Carpark?" i hear you cry! Yup, but not just any carpark, we went to Park Street Cycle Park

We rode in, parked the bike, picked up our pushchair, walked into town and had a lovely day.

Lets just say the middle bit of that sentence again, as the simplicity and perfection of it need repeating.......

'picked up our pushchair'

I can't possibly overstate how great this was. The one thing that makes it hard to shop and travel by bike with a little one is not being able to take a pram. Yet in Cambridge they have the perfect solution. Loan pushchairs. They were nothing special, yet did the job and Mike could have his little sleep while i could enjoy a restful lunch with a good book and a nice glass of wine.
It had the added benefit of making me appreciate all the money we spent on his luxury top branded pushchair.

Town planners please take note of this small piece of genius. The people who spend Bristol's recent windfall should really consider this.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Hamax Plus System Follow up

A few notes on the hamax plus system, following a few months of use. 

First the seat. Its still going great, still no problems with it. A few tips though:
  • For extra support when you know that your little one is going to fall asleep, take an inflatable neck pillow. It gives total support of the head.
  • If your planning to leave the seat on the bike when you lock the bike up. You should secure the seat.  I have a thin lock for securing panniers and seat in one go, but i know someone who's just attached a little jangly padlock to the rack.
  • Mikes got new waterproofs from Muddy Puddles. Still not had to use them though.
Second the panniers:
  • I use these all the time now (my other panniers have been retired)
  • They stand upright when you put them down, which makes them better than a normal pannier and better than a laptop bag. It also means you can put them in the bottom of a shopping trolley and load your shopping straight in.
  • Its really easy to find things. Partly because the shape means the bottom is not very far away and partly because they have an almost luminous orangey yellow lining which makes it easy to see and find things.
  • After a lot of practice i can take them on and off quite quickly now. Not as quick as my ortliebs but acceptably so.
  • One of them is a good size for my laptop , a book, lunch, water, tools, and odds and ends. Theres just room to spare if i pick up a bottle of wine on my way home :-)