Friday, September 3, 2010

Short bikes!

For the most part, we haul our two kids around San Francisco with our pair of xtracycles. They're infinitely versatile and can carry just about anything. Unfortunately, they have one disadvantage, size! To get across the bay to Berkeley or beyond, taking a BART train is really our preferable choice but the Xtracycles+Kids is just a little too much to take on the train. For starters, they don't fit easily in the BART elevators that take you to the underground platforms and sneaking them on the escalators with kids just seems like a terrible idea. So thus far, we've just dealt with the limited mobility of not having bikes on the other end of a BART trip. But it sucks. We can ride far and don't like having to rent a car just to go see friends and family in the east bay.

Enter my 5 hours of man-cave time last night. We have quite a few bikes laying around that are used for various purposes, loaned out to friends, etc. With that is an ever-growing pile of bike parts. We have an east bay birthday party to go to on Saturday and with the threat of having to rent yet another car for the trip I holed up in the shop last night and emerged around 12:30 with these two bikes!

Sticker Bike! Frame, wheels, tires, saddle, seat post and kids seat all from various original sources. It's *almost* the right size for me but I was able to get it tweaked big enough to do the job. The kids seat was a street find and required some jury-rigging but after a test run with Tenzin this morning I declare it totally solid.

Nicole's Trek. Most of this bike was a street find, believe it or not. Someone cleared out their garage and left it and another less-nice bike out for free. It's been more of a loaner thus far because Nicole has a nice road bike that fills her non-cargo-bike riding time but it's a perfect short-bike for kid hauling. Last night it just needed a rack and the kids seat.

So this Saturday we'll get up and out of the house early to ride downtown and hop on BART over to Concord and after a little ride, meet up for our little friend's 3rd birthday party in the park.

I think this will go over quite well but there's lots of room for improvement. These two bikes have a definite lack of cargo space. The kids seats kind of rule out rear panniers so eventually I'd like to see us get front racks/panniers. A little further down the road both these bikes will hopefulkly be replaced with a proper touring setup for each of us, perhaps with the awesome BoBike Peapod seats that would let us have rear panniers as well. Maybe even a BOB trailer to maximize our capacity?

Our hope is to eventually have a setup that will fit on BART and Amtrak and afford us an even further car-free range.