Friday, 28 November 2008

Cycling with 2 young children Part 3 Longbikes

Longbikes are bikes with extended wheelbases that allow the carrying of more luggage or more people. I've posted before on longbikes , and listed a few. I'll update the post to show the manufacturers what i'm aware of. These bikes have been around a long long time in Holland et al, but more recently they are having an exciting world wide resurgence in bike boom USA and its there i'm going to leap straight into.

Xtracycles are the most exciting thing on the block at the minute and its the owners who are saying it. Xtracycle owners seem to be the happiest cyclists i've come across. Read the blogs etc. Its worth noting that this company is in its infancy and many of the owners customise their bikes to suit their purposes. A very common customisation is two child seats. I'll post some links to some of the best ones, but the exciting news is that xtracycle are developing their own system:

My favourite child rig in the whole world is from a very clever chap who has a lovely blog called longwalktothegreen. The nice man is considering selling these seats . There are a lot of other folks on the web who have done similar adaptations, but this man has the nicest.

Another family worth reading about is carfree with kids. Their rig isnt as impressive as longwalk to the green's, but they more than make up for it with cheerful attitude. an OTT paint job and a cool numberplate.

These xtracycle bikes although still in their infancy have the following going for em....

  • They can handle luggage + kids
  • They are bike width and so are sill great in traffic.

  • They ride like a bike and have good stability

  • Its a system thats clearly going to develop as time goes on

  • It can adapt to the kids growing older

  • Without kids its a great shopper

The disadvantages are as follows

  • Its long (duh!), which will make parking mildly awkward and stops it getting on a train, car etc

  • They are heavy and are likely to need a good set of brakes and re-inforced rear wheel.

  • Outside of the US they dont have much prescence, although there are a couple of UK stockists

  • They end up expensive, but they do have the capacity to last a lifetime so not such a big issue
and a december update, courtesy of Julian from Totcycle, have a nose at the xtracycle gallery (click on the kids keyword in the 'cloud').


Dorea said...

Thanks for the Link!

We love our seat. It may not be have the high backs, marine plywood and sun shades of the lonwalktothegreen seat, but I'm guessing it is also lighter, and has a lower center of gravity, which does matter on a little bike with a short rider. Rob Hanson, who built it for us (contact info on our blog), was really wonderful and did a great job.

I agree with your assessment of the longbikes as a great long-term family set-up, particularly if you have need of carrying cargo + kid(s). It can be tricky (and expensive) though to get all the gear issues worked out (we had big problems with the peapod that were impossible to anticipate). I feel much safer and more comfortable riding in traffic with our xtracycle rig than our old bike + trailer, it really is no comparison, so for us, the work was worth it.

Cycledad said...


Good point about the light vs heavy weight solution!

The gear and homemade issues with these bikes seems about right. Will be interesting to see the Xtracycle one when its released. I reckon in two years they'll be selling ready to ride 4x4 replacements. In contrast the trikidoo tricycleor the filiduo long bike is a ready to ride package available now for a very reasonable price. The xtracycle seems a more capable all-rounder though.