Missed the Bus

J. missed the bus to high school today, and I was tasked with getting the girls to school and daycare on time.

With temperatures in the upper 20s, we piled on to the electric-assisted Yuba Mundo and headed out. For this trip we dressed the toddler more aggressively to block the wind generated from the bike’s speed. Her commuting clothes included a winter helmet with built-in ear covers, a balaclava, mittens over gloves, snow pants and a winter coat. She reported that nothing was cold when we arrived at daycare about 15 minutes later.
Continue reading Missed the Bus

Winter bike commuting with child

My wife and daughter have been starting to winter bike commute this season.

One of the clothing challenges is the conflict between wearing a helmet for safety and wearing a winter hat for warmth, realizing that very few winter hats are designed to go under or over a helmet.

For the baby, I decided to try a kids winter helmet, which has few air vents includes padded ear covers. It’s paired here with a “thick and thin” kids balaclava that is thin on top and fleece on the bottom. Initially, this seems like it’s going to be a good solution.

For the baby’s hands we’ve been trying fleece mittens, but they have proven not to be warm enough, even for a for 10 to 15 minute trip, so we’ll look for something warmer. Likewise, the fleece blanket pulled over standard-weight pants didn’t work great either. We’ll be looking to refine that as well.

My wife was generally able to stay warm. She added a Turtle Fur headband to keep her ears warm, as well as a fleece neck gaiter and “windstopper” gloves.
Overall I think the experience was positive and something we’ll continue to try.

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Year of the electric cargo bike: 2011

Today I was eagerly searching for a Trek dealer in the Seattle area who might have the new Transport+ cargo bike available for a test ride.  I knew I was being a little optimistic, but several months ago a Trek marketer told me the bike would be available by November.  Trek’s web site continues to say “Available late fall”, and there’s even a brief video review from ElectricBikeReport.com.

But no luck.  The best I could hope for at local bike shops was late February of 2011.  The marketer that gave me the more ambitious date is now out of the country and apparently not answering email.

Perhaps I’ll just need to be patient for the next 4 months, but I find this a little discouraging.  It reminds me of the glacially slow rollout of the Electric Ute, and I expected something different from Trek.  Instead, the introduction of the Transport+ is looking just as cautious as the Ute, and I’m wondering why.

Then I found this blog entry from the president of Trek, asking his customers to help him make the case to his market forecaster that this is a bike that will generate interest.  What the #@%!?  Maybe this is a clever ploy to increase buzz, but it’s not the approach I hoped the company would take to build this market.

I found another review of the Transport+ that looks encouraging, but in the details it trimmed 100W from the power of the motor, and nearly $500 from the price.  If these specs were true it could make the Transport+ even more attractive to the mass market (if a bit less attractive to us hill dwellers).  However, since these details conflict with Trek’s web site, I suspect they are not accurate.

In any case, the clock is ticking.  Unless competitors slip their schedules, there will be other interesting bikes to consider in 2011, such as those from Onya and Urban Arrow.  I’m excited to see this race heating up, but I’m disappointed if the starting gun has actually been delayed for a few months.

P.S.  If anyone at Trek is listening, I would be happy to present your side of the story if you would like to tell it!


Today I found a relatively new web site (started in June) that reviews electric bikes and developments in the industry: ElectricBikeReport.com.  Aside from frequent articles, the web site includes a section on electric cargo bikes.  At this point, the site is a little rough – maybe half-way between a hobbyist blog and a professional site, but it has potential to develop into a great hub for people who are shopping for an electric bike, tracking recent developments, or maintaining the e-bike they already own.  The web site creator has been in the industry for some time and has worked in bike shops.  He seems enthusiastic and committed to pursuing this as a real business venture (he sells some merchandise and derives income from ads on the site).

This is another step in the development of electric bikes that I’ve been hoping to see.  We need people who can make a living by providing helpful information as well as selling and servicing these products.  Even though I enjoy blogging about electric cargo bikes as an interesting hobby, I will gladly turn the reins over to professionals when that day comes.  I’ll be watching ElectricBikeReport.com to see if it or other sites like it make MyCargoBike.net superfluous.