09
Apr 2012
by mark

A weekend of family biking firsts

On Saturday morning my 4 year-old got to take her first ride on the back of
our Xtracycle, using stoker bars instead of a kid seat. She loved it.
That was no suprise, but I enjoyed it more than I thought as well.

Xtracycle stoker bar kit

I expected it to feel more loosey-goosey without the constraint of the
seat, but it actually felt more stable and easier to ride. I’m guessing
that’s due to three factors: First, the weight of the seat has been
subtracted, and replaced with some rather light handlebars. Second, her
weight had dropped about 6 inches, lowering our center of gravity.
Third, I expect her ability to lean side-to-side more may have
contributed to a more natural feel. We’ll continue to use a kid-seat for
her on our electric Yuba Mundo, but I expect we’ll use the stoker bars
for most trips on the Xtracycle now.

I didn’t get a good direct shot of this ride, but here she is in the
background, as we rode to see off a Warm
Showers
guest, Dominic from One Bike One
World
. Warm Showers is a hospitality site for touring cyclists.

sending off Dominic from http://onebikeoneworld.com

Later in the morning, I hauled my first big load of plants on the
Xtracycle. My wife unexpected acquired some garlic, onions, daylilies
and cat nip at a community garden. There was capacity to spare on the
Xtracycle, with room left my daughter to still ride on the deck and hold
on to her handlebars.

xtraplants

The open, waterproof design of the Freeloader bags made the remaining dirt easy to
dump and spray out.

On Sunday, we had another first: both the children on the Xtracycle!

Easter, 2012

I had a favorable first-impression of trying this as well. The
second child felt more like an incremental increase in required effort,
rather than doubling. We took a detour on the way home to ride on the
Cardinal Greenway some. All three of us enjoyed the ~4 mile trip without
any breakdowns.

Finally, here’s one thing that didn’t change this weekend: When my
wife’s using her electric assist, I still can’t catch her, even when
she’s carrying two kids. It’s not such much that her top speed is faster,
is that her average speed is faster.

So, instead of getting a photo of her en-route with two kids, I had to
settle for shot when she had finally stopped and I had a chance to catch
up:

too fast for me

If you are looking to ride more or improve your fitness, consider buying
your spouse an electric cargo bike and trying to keep up!

Mother and Son on electric Yuba Mundo

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  • Naglinala

    Great to see this.  My wife and I have an ElMundo and a Big Dummy (with Bionix pedal assist) as we live on a big hill in Eugene, Oregon and cargo bikes would be pretty difficult without the extra kick.  Really great to see others moving in the same direction.  We have a 2.5  year old and a 5 year old and currently only ride the Yuba with both of them at the same time because it has an extended stoker bar that both kids on the deck plate can hold onto at the same time.   We will replace the Big Dummy stoker bar soon with a similar extended bar, but until then we just ride one kid on the back of that at a time.   Errands have turned from kids being annoyed in a car to a fun time outside together.  Love it. 

    • markstos

      Thanks for the feedback!

      When you refer to the extended stoker bar, are you referring to the Stoker Kit or Rumble Strap offered by Yuba, or something else?

      • Naglinala

        By the way, is your wife’s sister’s name Cheyenne?  If so, I think I met you and your wife one time when we lived next-door to Cheyenne in Portland, OR. 

        • Naglinala

          Here is a photo of our stoker bar setup on  the orange yuba elmundo at the top. The center bike is our big dummy.  The extra cycle Long Haul Trucker on the bottom of the picture belongs to our friend  who spearheads the Safe Routes to Schools program in our town and also runs his kids (twins < 2 and a daughter <3) around town with the help of his wife using that long tail and a bakfiets.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Curtis-Larson/100002084558130 Curtis Larson

    The thing that would scare me about that setup would be the possibility of a child deciding to grasp the springs on your saddle instead of the bars. I can just see a bored kid grabbing them, because that’s the kind of thing kids do, and then the rider hitting a bump.

  • R.Bell

    Hey Guys, check out xtracycle’s “hooptie”; a real great way to hold the kids safe as you ride!