24 February 2009

Hauling Stuff on Bikes

This weekend I made some changes to my Cross Check and Sarah's Cannondale to address the fact that she is the sole bike commuter in this household now that I work from home. The front basket just wasn't cutting it for her, so I swapped my rear rack to her bike (with much filing of struts and adjustment of fenders to make it fit.) She also agreed to try my Brooks B68 after our Valentine's Day outing.

From Sarah's Bike

She said it handled better with the load in the back and that the new saddle was a huge improvement. Mission accomplished.

I finally installed a kickstand on the Cross Check, which required a special mounting plate. The main purpose of this is so that I can prop the bike while I'm trailering, which has been an issue. The Wald basket holder rests nicely on the Nashbar Front Rack, so I secured it with zipties and plan to use it for quick errands. The basket removes quickly and without hassle from the holder, unlike on Sarah's bike where all of the housing from the brifters made it cumbersome to take the basket off. Note that If I didn't have the rack, the basket holder would have rubbed on the headtube, which was causing paint abrasion on the Cannondale despite my best preventative efforts.

From Cross Check

After a few hours riding their trikes in the garage today, the big kids asked to go for a ride in the trailer. It was misting heavily and a bit chilly, but I just took them out for a few miles around the neighborhood. Despite the damp cold, I still had to stop and take off my coat (thank you, Kickstand). We went just far enough for the gentle bounce of the Burley on our pitted Tacoma side streets to lull them into a brief slumber.

From Cross Check

I think this new setup is going to work great. My only beef is that the weight of the basket pulls the steering hard left when parked on the kickstand, but I can eleviate most of this problem by simply taking off the basket. I'm very interested to find out if I can install a steering return spring on this rig a la Dutch city bikes. I also think the basket needs a custom paint job...perhaps something a little obnoxious to stand out whilst I'm wandering the isles of the grocery store? Lime green maybe?


JPTwins said...

regarding your "steering spring return" idea: Rather than order some high priced spring from Europe, I decided to go to Home Depot and get some springs and try it myself. Unfortunately it didn't work. Maybe if it really bugs me I'll give it another shot with some stronger springs -- the problem is that when they get too strong, you can't steer at all.

Matt Newport said...

Interesting. Thanks for the links. I found a flickr photo of one such spring system that used an eye bolt on the down tube to adjust the tension on a spring like the one from Home Depot, so I thought I'd try that route.

Julian said...

I love the steering return spring on my Dutch ride, and wanted to put one on our Madsen for increased stability when fiddling with kids in the bucket without dropping the centerstand. Dave at Dutch Bike Seattle has some, but my down tube was too thick. But give him or ABR a call if the homebrew job doesn't work out, and please post if it does!

melanie said...

I agree, the white basket is a total eyesore. Everything else looks great and functional, as usual.

The paint abrasion from by basket has been a tragedy that no amount of electrical tape could prevent. ODT looks well loved but I never take the basket off anyways.