Does 1 adult + 3 wee riders = No bike??? Any ideas?
I want to get a bike but haven’t ridden since the 80’s. The reason I want to ride is several fold; I have 4-1/2 year old (45lbs), a 3 year old (30lbs), a 1-1/2 year old (30lbs), and as a diabetic I need to get into a healthier shape for their sake.
To achieve my goal of a long happy family life – I plan to get out and ride on as many of the local, family-friendly bike rides as possible bringing them all with me… going around the neighborhoods and doing the bridge pedal... eventually, in a couple years, lead up to the Seattle-to-Portland ride. They are still fairly young and tend to get tired/sleepy on long walks (+1k) and car rides.
My quest is to find a bike which I could pedal while the three of them ride (until they are old/big enough for their own bikes). I am open to inventive ideas on how best to safely get the kids out on some of the rides with me, given they will fall asleep on some of the longer rides so sitting on an attached ½ bike probably wouldn’t work for our family. The bike needs to also be comfortable on longer rides for a newbie (if it becomes more of a chore than a pleasure ride, I may get discouraged and dump the idea).
So… what’s the best, most cost effective (money is tight), safe bike setup to go with in my given stuation?
Two words... Recumbent Trike!
Tadpole trikes have two wheels in front and can easily pull trailers... or even a train of trailers.
Delta trikes have two wheel in the back and can be ganged together in train format and the -followers- can help pedal.
You will be hard pressed to pull all those little ones on any serious incline. If you're talking level MUP travel like the Springwater... it is easy... otherwise, they will have to pull some of their own weight.
Anyway, personally I bought a recumbent trike and never looked back. Best cycling money ever spent.
(Anura-Greenspeed; Trizard - Rans; Kettwiesel)
Big names, Greenspeed [Auz]; ICE [UK]; Catrike [USA]
(just google Tadpole recument trike)
Coventry Cycle works at 2025 SE Hawthorne Blvd has a great selection and test rides available.
I am not affiliated with Coventry or any of the brands mentioned. Just putting out the word here
My first suggestion is to get a SO involved, or find a friend who'll provide the pedaling if you provide a child seat for his/her bike. Three squirmies is quite a load, not to mention the 100+ pounds, and splitting it up would make things much easier and safer.
Child trailers seat two and are typically rated for 100 pounds, combined. You might luck into a used one on Craigslist or a garage sale for $50-100. That would leave just one passenger on the bike and those trailers mount at the axle so will fit with a child seat. Burley and Instep are two names I know that make good child trailers.
Two child-seats plus a tag-along type riding trailer might work, and that would get the older child pedaling. But a tag-along won't work in addition to a rear seat without some special fabrication. Maybe once your oldest starts pedaling for him/herself.
A long-tail bike can squeeze two child seats on the rear and one on the front. I'd be concerned about safety, but I've seen it done.
I've also seen a side-car fitted to a bike, complete with third wheel. I've no idea who builds them or where to buy them...but they do exist.
Another way is a bakfiet. Clever Cycles is the LBS I've heard of that deals in them, but maybe there are other sources in Portland. Last year, 23 Dec, BikePortland ran an article about Tom LaBonty of Lents making freight bikes out of used bikes, and that might be a budget way to do a bakfiet. He even has a DIY guide.
Your 4.5 y.o. might be pedaling himself, soon, with a bit of coaching. There are different views on training wheels. When I taught my 5.5 y.o. god daughter to ride, they ended up being a barrier to her confidence in trying to balance. But even then, once they came off it was a matter of about three 1/2 hour sessions in a school play yard, me trotting behind the bike balancing and pushing slightly while she mastered the art. I'm pretty sure she was physically capable of riding several months earlier (her mom was scared). About two months after she started, we were able to navigate a 4-mile round trip over quiet residential streets.
Good luck, sounds like a fun challenge!
We took the MAX out to the NW Bike Show out at the expo center on Saturday this past weekend. It was an eye-opening blast for us all. The little guy passed out way before we were done and the older two wanted to ride on the kiddie course over and over again!
Joe Kurmaskie (the Metal Cowboy) was there and is a really nice guy and had lots of tips us as did all the other nice people we met out there and here
We even got to test ride a bunch of different kinds/types/styles of bikes from dealers/shops near and far. The folding bikes were a prety cool concept. I made a HUGE mistake of test riding the tadpole trikes though.... man, I never should have done that!
Those things should not be legal. They are way too addictive. I can't stop thinking about just how much fun it was riding around the arena.
My wife loved the semi-recumbent bike with the NuVinci hub. That autotrans was pretty cool (CVTs are the way of things to come it seems). I believe the bike was from a 3-lettered company which starts with the letter "R" and the axis of the pedals is forward of the base of the seat post (if that makes sense).
Because my wife has permenent nerve damage to one of her arms I am happy if she will just come ride with us, besides I am more than happy to pull the kids (up until they are big enough to assist pedaling).
I was going to suggest you do a websearch for Joe Kurmaskie, so it's good that you've already had a chance to talk to him in person. From past stories on bikeportland written about him, I know that he's set up and used a multi-rider combination bike, tagalong, and bike trailer that would do just about exactly what you need.
There's even a picture of it somewhere in the bikeportland archives. Just looking at the pic, it seemed like an awkwardly long, heavy thing to pedal and keep track of, but if I remember correctly, Kurmaskie rode the thing loaded around the country. Amazing things can be done.
I have a Rans Stratus LE recumbent. Very nice bike, but something you should know about recumbents is their length can be an issue. They won't fit on the bike racks on buses, nor are they allowed on MAX. But they sure are comfortable to ride!
Rans - yep that's it. The NuVinici people made a deal with one of the people selling the Rans (and the cool tadpole trikes). They are selling the hubs through that store and put one on the Rans so people could ride around, giving it a try.
It is really fun, too. There are no gears that shift - just a smooth change in the "gear" ratio (no fixed gears). Simply turn the shifter and it smoothly transitions through whether your stopped or cranking hard on the pedals.
Sorry AdventureDad... I should have warned you about the trike's addictive personality :)
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