29 January 2010

Tow Trike

TBR has featured bikes-on-bikes, but this is the first trike-on-trike that I've ever seen.  It was completely his idea, but I was more than happy to make his dream a reality.

This may have been prompted by a four mile tour of errands that Ky did with me via Xtracycle + stoker bar.  I ended up using a salvaged drop bar that was chopped just long enough for some bmx grips.  It was Ky's first try with the stoker bar; he did well and had a blast.

21 January 2010

Dry Run

Today was the first ride with our new DIY rain cover.  It wasn't raining, but 40°F and damp would have to do.  The kids were so excited that they practically tripped over one another running out to the garage.  There was quite a bit of giggling en route to pre-school while they played with the camera and read books.  Compared to our normal ride, I couldn't tell that the cover was on, but the kid noise was slightly muffled. (I'm putting that in the pro column.)  It looks big, but it doesn't have a profile much wider than my body, so any added drag was unnoticeable.

The kids arrived warm and dry, I didn't have to spend five minutes pre-ride finding hats, gloves, scarves, etc. for each one, and the van stayed parked in the garage the whole time.  Win Win Win.

19 January 2010

Madsen Rain Cover

This is our first attempt at a rain cover for our MADSEN kg271 bucket bike.  We wanted something simple, inexpensive, light, and hopefully durable (i.e. kid-proof.) that would keep the kids warm and dry for short trips around town on the rainiest of days.

The support frame is made from two pieces of 1/2" electrical conduit coupled together, so it's modular for summer storage.  The frame sits in the bucket on top of the seats.  The cover is primarily Sunbrella fabric, a light awning material, with zippered vinyl windows.  The nylon strap, sewn into the bottom of the cover and fastened under the lip of the bucket, keeps the whole thing in place.

Conception and production was a group effort.  Many thanks to my dad for helping with the pipe bending, and many many thanks to my wife for showing off hew prowess with a sewing machine.  Hat tip to Crow for sending us to Seattle Fabrics - they had everything but the conduit!

Unless the weather is too nice, we'll have a full review soon.  What do you think?

14 January 2010

We Come from France (You Know, for Kids!)

A friend bought a vintage Peugeot folding bike from a Tacoma bike collector.  She owned a pair of these bikes, and sold him the grungier one.  The first thing I noticed about this bike was that it appeared completely original, with a Peugoet saddle, Peugeot bell, and even a miniature frame pump.  The wheels seemed an odd size and it had some rust colorations.

I brought the bike to my garage for a little TLC.  The sidewalls of the old gumwall tires had deteriorated, such that some sort of melted rubber now coated the rims.  I ordered new tubes and tires from Harris Cyclery, which seems to be the only place stocking tires of the rare 550A/22" French folder size.  After about 10 hours of scouring, polishing, cleaning, and very little adjusting, the bike shines and sparkles.

I think this bike is awesome.  Why?
  1. It still runs great, even the generator lights. I don't know how old it is, but I'd wager at least three decades have passed since this thing rolled off the line.
  2. It was Made in France.  The whole damn thing.  Even the bulb in the front dynamo headlamp is stamped Made in France.  Really.
  3. Nearly anyone can ride it.  It fits my little sister like a glove, but I can ride it comfortably to the grocery store, or a kid could race it to school.
  4. It's retro-cool and inexpensive.  For $160 and some elbow grease, this bike has fenders, lights, rack, foldability, and class.

Many of the bits on this bike are irreplaceable, like the special cable hanger for the rear brake, or the quick-release for the stem.  I mean, it was a good thing that I ordered the matching tubes for the new tires, because the bike had previously been cludged together with a 24" tube in the front tire and, to my amazement and amusement, a 26" tube in the rear.  It was a little wonky, but it worked well enough for someone.

The point is, even a goofy old French bike has the potential to be an awesome ride.

13 January 2010


After watching this Totcycle video showcasing some of the ways other Pacific Northwest families mobilize on bikes, my oldest daughter reminded me that we needed to put some stoker handlebars on the back of our Xtracycle .

Xtracycle sells a stoker bar kit, but I had all of the bits laying around.

Mom photographed our first departure, but I wish I could have recorded the squeal of excitement that Gwen made when hit cruising speed.  She loves it!

02 January 2010

Early Bicycle Remodeling

I found this photo somewhere on the web a while back (unknown source.)  I find it inspiring.  She makes family biking look so easy!