Family Bike

I love my bikes, I don’t ride it as much as I like but MAN! DO I LOVE MY BIKES! I love going out with my kids on the bike even more!

I have this plan to cycle more once I’m done with school and, fingers crossed, have a job that is a decent bike commute. My vision involves me riding the kids over to daycare then heading off to my work on two wheels. But there is a slight snag I have hit…the kids are really getting a bit too long for the trailer and with leg space at a premium, squabbles are becoming an issue which makes riding a less than pleasant adventure. I need an alternative plan, sooner rather than later so the hunt was ON!

There are a tonne of options for carrying one child, there are options for carrying two smaller kids, but once you get to the stage my kids are at, things get a bit tricky and expensive. If we were in Denmark or Holland, there would be more options avaliable to me…I’m very jealous of both their cycling infrastructure and Family Bike designs.

Ideally if $ were not an issue I would love to get a Bakfiets

(image from Workcycle website)

Or a Moederfiets style bike like the PackMax Duo,

(image from De Fietsfabriek website)

or a Surly Big Dummy complete build with a Peapod LT for Mr. Liam & a Stoker Bar and Footsies for Mz. Abi from Xtracycle

(image from Surly website)

As all these setups would have run me clost to $4K, they are not viable options.

Next up for consideration were the Radish and Madsen bikes, both of which would have fit the bill but again the price tag and the fact that neither bike are avaliable in Canada so would require shipping form the US killed that option. I’m also not a fan of buying a bike without being able to test ride it.

My quest to have both kids ride with me was looking like it either wasn’t going to happen or would be a serious hit to the pocket book! I sat down and looked at what biking I was going to be doing with the kids to get a better idea what would be the best for that situation; essentially I would be riding three blocks to daycare with the kids, not a huge haul. Abi has a bike of her own which she loves to ride but she is still too small for keeping up on the big long hauls. I also really didn’t need the cargo carrying capacity, I have a seperate trailer for that. So after some more research I came to the conclusion that ideal solution would be to have Mr. Liam in a childseat on the back of Neville (who has had some mods since that photo was taken, must get an updated one for ya’ll) and to find some sort of “third wheel” set up for Mz. Abi…the bike seat was easy to find, the option for Abi…not so much. All the third wheel options for children in North America attach to the seat post of the parent bike, thereby making the use of a child seat impossible. There had to be a solution! Turns out there was and like all well thought out family biking ideas it came from Europe, the FollowMe Tandem!

(image from Clever Cycles website)

This thing is brilliant and perfect for my needs! By the time Abi has out grown the need for it Mr Liam will be ready to graduate from the seat to his own bike! The only problem I have encountered is that Clever Cycles in Portland is the only place I can find them for sale in North America. So I’ll be watching the exchange rate like a hawk all summer and saving up so we’ll be ready for our fall commute convoy.

I’m so thrilled to have found the solution I was hoping for and it won’t kill the pocket book! Both kids love going for bike rides and it gives me that hope that they will grow up to be life long cyclists, now if only our city would get on with being civilized and get some logical bike lane action like they have in Copenhagen!

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