A bike tour from Richmond, Indiana to the Ohio River

Kurt on Old Brownsville Road

I recently returned with some friends and family from an unconventional vacation: riding bikes 110 miles over two days to Clifty Falls State Park, where we hiked and rested for a day…then rode back over two more days. Along with Kurt, Derrek, Hopi and Don we put together a bicycle tour journal with photos and stories featuring a home-built recumbent bike, wild parsnips, “road closed” adventures and more.

Bike tour from Richmond, Indiana to Clifty Falls, 2008

Kurt on Old Brownsville Road

A first bicycle tour post-child. My wife assured me that bringing a three-month old baby on a bike tour would work out fine. For me, taking the trip was important for establishing that life does go on after children arrive.

See the complete tour journal of our  bicycle tour from Richmond, Indiana to Clifty Falls State Park and back.

Recreation vs Transportation Bikes: Quiz and Photos

There’s been increasing press lately about bicycling as transportation.

The difference between riding for recreation and transportation matters a great deal for the construction of the bikes, although few bikes focused directly on transportation are seen the US.

Here’s a quiz of sorts to show how recreation vs. transportation attitudes lead to different bike designs. Follow along and see which style of bike matches you!

At the end if the quiz, there are some photos and details highlighting some features available on transportation bikes.

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First Saturday with the bakfiets cargo bike

Today was our first Saturday with the bakfiets, and we kept the bike busy haulin’ and transportin’ from 8 am to 5 pm.

My wife took it first, riding it to Jazzercize and then to the farmer’s market. She had trouble leaving with her cargo of sunflowers due to all the people asking about the cargo bike. Questions from strangers are common with the bakfiets.

Around 11am, I used the quick release to raise the seat from her riding position and started on the next trip. I loaded the bike up with over a 100 lbs of yard waste and headed to the local landfill to drop it off. Wrapping the garbage bags in a tarp kept the bucket extra clean.

Bakfiets at the dump

Continue reading First Saturday with the bakfiets cargo bike

bakfiets: “It can haul groceries”

100 mile radius potluck at the park

Someone commented about my new bakfiets cargo bike this morning that “now I could I haul groceries on the bicycle”.

I had been getting groceries fine on my “normal” bike fine for some years. But you couldn’t tell that from casually looking the bike.

I never once made a trip where I couldn’t bring home everything I wanted. Usually just some saddle bags were used for the hauling, but occasionally a trailer was used to fetch a large bag of dog food.

But on most trips the saddle bags and trailer are left at home, so the carrying capacity isn’t visible.

The importance of the bakfiets in the US now is that it is obvious that the bakfiets is built to haul. And it does in fact haul a lot. I believe it’s rated to haul about 250 lbs of cargo or kids, plus the weight of the driver. (That’s 175 lbs in the bucket, and 75 more on the rear rack).
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About our bakfiets

Three children in a bakfiets cargo bike

That’s a bakfiets, (pronounced “bach feets”), a Dutch-made bike which recently started to be imported to the US.

For those who need haul kids or “stuff”, the bakfiets comes loaded with features that make it an attractive car replacement.

For kid hauling

This model comes standard with a bench seat for two children, including safety harnesses for both. Although difficult to see in the photo, the bottom edge of the bucket contains a step to make it easier to get in and out of the bucket. A super-sturdy four-point kickstand makes the bike totally stable as passengers enter and exit. And unlike a trailer, the kids have a commanding view of what’s going, and the parent can constantly keep an eye on them. It’s no surprise the Dutch royal family is known for carrying their own children around in a bakfiets. For rain and colder weather, a see-through cover is made as an accessory for the bucket.

For busy people. Real people.

A bike should work with your lifestyle, not the other way around. The bakfiets comes from a country with more bicycles than people, and practical bikes are understood there. So, it’s built to just get on and go. There’s no external gears to maintain. Eight gears are provided inside the wheel. The are no external brake pads to be serviced. Discrete drum breaks work reliably. A built-in lighting systems provides bright front and rear lights, powered by your pedaling, and still shining for a while after your stop. Greasy clothes are no worry. Fenders, an enclosed chain and even a skirt guard are all standard. Locking the bike now works like a car, with a reliable key-based system that disables wheel and is difficult to defeat.

Family Bakfiets, Portland Oregon, April, 2007

To top it off, it includes puncture-resistant tires, a comfortable riding position and a pleasant sounding bell!

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