Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

A Portland bike: The Hosmer family’s custom e-assist cargo rig

Posted by on April 30th, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Seth, Max, and Bennie Hosmer.
(Photo courtesy Seth Hosmer)

If you’re going to carry two young boys on your bike, you might as well have some fun with it. Introducing the military, A-10 fighter jet-inspired cargo bike ridden by 39-year-old northwest hills resident Seth Hosmer.

Seth, the owner Hosmer Chiropractic in the Pearl District, used to carry his five-year-old son Max on a Surly Big Dummy. But when boy number two arrived (Bennie, now 15 months), Seth wanted something that felt a bit more sure-footed and safer. He decided on a Bullitt cargo bike with an electric-assist unit. The bike was outfitted and sold by Splendid Cycles and the custom-made wooden box was created by Portlander James Newman (famous for his own Thomas the Tank Engine cargo bike, see below).

Fiets of Parenthood 13

James Newman at Fiets of Parenthood in 2013.
(Photo by Ethan Jewett)

Seth tells us he’s not much of a military guy, but that, “We just thought that the kids would enjoy something with some big teeth on it like a shark…and the water cannon, perfect for 2 little boys!” And yes, the water cannon is fully operational.

“The water cannon is something that James’ dad came up with,” Seth said, “He used a pump from a car windshield washer system to power the water cannon for a respectable 25-foot arc – there’s a joystick in the cockpit, and a momentary switch on the top. So my 5-year old is in control of the water cannon and thus far has been responsible with it.”

Another cool feature is the bike rack tray attached to the outside of the cargo box. It can carry a bike for Max in case he wants to pedal on his own. And while it might look tricky to handle, Seth says once it’s up to speed it’s pretty smooth. He figured the e-assist was mandatory since he lives up a hill with a 600-foot climb and the bike (with kids inside) weighs in the ballpark of 200 pounds.

This rig reminds us of Jake Lighthipe’s airplane bike we came across at a Sunday Parkways in 2012…


It seems like Portlanders are raising a new generation of creative bike builders. Who knows what they’ll think of next!

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  • q`Tzal April 30, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    This bike SO needs a set of stubby inflatable wings on both sides!

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  • mark j ginsberg April 30, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    It’s a super fun project and I am glad to see it up and running. I know Seth and he is a daily commuter with his boys, so this thing will be used well!

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  • Spiffy April 30, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    my 5 year old would LOVE that!

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  • GlowBoy April 30, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Cool stuff. Not so sure my own kid would be responsible with a water cannon!

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  • dwainedibbly April 30, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    The A-10 bike reminds me of something that I saw that the Adult SoapBox Derby last year. It had a water sprayer, too.

    I would be interested in hearing how motorists treat him. Something tells me that he probably gets a lot of room and a lot of smiles.

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    • Spiffy May 1, 2014 at 8:00 am

      that was a helicopter… sprinkler instead of a rotor and a water cannon as well… it was my kid’s favorite…

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  • Jim Lee April 30, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    Does Seth still hold the hour record at Alpenrose?

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    • Brad Hosmer May 1, 2014 at 5:57 am

      I believe that the answer is “yes.”

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  • Racer X April 30, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Man…talk about serious dad points there…puts the rest of us to shame…must retreat to the man cave) or nearest bar and start work on the back of a napkin on a ‘nuklier’ powered bakfiets with oil sprayer, razor sharp spinning quick release levers, and revolving numbers plate. (The wife said no to the ejector seat though…perhaps when we have three boys…it will be ok with her)

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  • Racer X April 30, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    PS. I luv the photo…oldest boy totally jazzed about it and the youngest taking a snooze…the younger thinking like it was some another day…in his world where every dad is cool and makes such loving memories…

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  • TC April 30, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    Groovy. It looks like a Helicopter to me. The kid bike is on the landing skid. But all I know is about Island Hopping.

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    • El Biciclero May 1, 2014 at 10:05 am

      “Island Hopping”. I get it, “TC”… Would it be too much cognitive dissonance to create a cargo bike with a Ferrari 308 front end?

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  • wsbob April 30, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    Cute, except for the gun. The Flying Tiger shark’s mouth with the teeth look great. May be a trick to devise a style that would go with the aeroplane theme, but some nice, bright functional bike headlights in nacelles, made to look like taxi or landing lights could be nice.

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    • Chris I May 1, 2014 at 7:00 am

      It’s made to look like an A-10 Thunderbolt. I think the gun is entirely appropriate, as the A-10 has a giant freaking gun on the front.

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      • wsbob May 1, 2014 at 11:10 am

        “…a giant freaking gun…” Chris I

        A gun on what’s supposed to be a fun ride for kids. Sorry, there’s just too many guns and too much obsession with guns and what people think of to do with them, for me to admire anything about the designer having decided to put a gun on this whimsical bike design for kids.

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        • Brian May 1, 2014 at 1:39 pm

          What? There is way too much PC’ness around guns these days. It’s a water gun. Kids love water guns. They are fun. Fun is good.

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          • Chris I May 1, 2014 at 2:50 pm

            His children are doomed to become violent criminals. It’s sad, really…

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            • Brian May 1, 2014 at 3:41 pm

              Or badass mountain bikers, judging from that sweet rig on the side.

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          • wsbob May 1, 2014 at 9:49 pm

            Sure, laugh it up.

            The gun on on the bike is designed not to evoke the image of a multi-colored transparent obviously toy water gun, but instead, a black real high powered firearm as it would protrude from a real plane.

            Hopefully you’re not laughing about kids raised on the idea that guns are fun and solve problems, growing up to go and shoot up schools, etc, etc.

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            • Brian May 2, 2014 at 6:46 am

              Are you serious? How can you possibly make the logical leap from waterguns on bicycles to acts of gun violence? Most of us played with water guns as kids. A lot. Most of us do not commit acts of violence with guns. Ever.

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              • wsbob May 2, 2014 at 7:16 pm

                “…Most of us…” Brian

                But some do, and they alone should be more than enough reason for responsible people to understand the importance of not introducing depictions of people killing war machines as a source of fun, into kids lives.

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              • Brian May 5, 2014 at 8:55 am

                The problem with your logic is that you have no idea if this exposure (in this case a vintage airplane with a water gun attached) has anything to do with gun violence, yet you want to immediately jump to the conclusion that it does and denounce it. Do you think that children seeing this “killing machine” in Portland may grow up to commit acts of a gun violence as a result? Should we also ban all military vehicles in our communities? Stop all the July 4th parades? Ban all air shows that use military planes? Shut down museums?

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              • wsbob May 7, 2014 at 11:57 pm

                “The problem with your logic is that you have no idea if this exposure (in this case a vintage airplane with a water gun attached) has anything to do with gun violence, …” Brian http://bikeportland.org/2014/04/30/a-portland-bike-the-hosmer-familys-custom-e-assist-cargo-rig-105334#comment-4809534

                I definitely have an idea that introducing to kids, problem solving through the use of weapons, has something to do with gun violence. Many other people do too. In the U.S. and around the world, gun craziness seems all too common. Trivializing the serious consequences of weapon use, by presenting toy forms of them to kids, risks contributing to that craziness.

                Real military equipment with guns, displayed in air shows, parades and museums, are not presented to kids as toys.

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  • TC May 1, 2014 at 7:32 am

    No way, Bro, it’s a chopper. It has landing skids. Like an Apache.

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  • Brian May 1, 2014 at 7:52 am

    That is awesome! I am never showing these photos to my four year old, or I may never hear the end of it!

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  • Christopher Sanderson May 1, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Fully operational water cannons should be mandatory on all bikes, especially with these warm days.

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    • El Biciclero May 1, 2014 at 10:07 am

      “On these warm days”, I sometimes wish I had a water cannon on my commuter bike…pointed at me.

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  • gumby May 1, 2014 at 10:00 am

    That water cannon gives me some great (wicked?) ideas. Maybe I’ll install one of those on the back of my bike for the tailgaters.

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    • spare_wheel May 1, 2014 at 11:11 am

      today that would only encourage me. 😉

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  • James May 1, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Thanks for the write-up Jonathan. It’s been fun watching the posts and images of this spread on the Internet all over the world and finally on BP. I lost count somewhere around a dozen countries and 4 continents, but only on this thread has there been objection to the squirt gun. It’s really more like a garden hose than a gun. The spigot is just a button, not a knob to turn the water flow on or off. It’s not an actual fire-arm.

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    • wsbob May 1, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      “…It’s not an actual fire-arm.” James

      Almost nobody seeing it is going to figure the squirt gun water cannon you’ve attached to this war plane inspired fun bike design, is an actual fire-arm.

      It’s not like it’s any great crime to create a bike that uses a gun or some other type of firearm resembling shape or component as part of its design. The casual and frequent way though, that firearms used to kill people, are allowed to permeate nearly every aspect of many people’s lives from birth to death, is kind of a sad thing.

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    • 9watts May 1, 2014 at 10:51 pm

      “but only on this thread has there been objection to the squirt gun.”

      I think the bike is delightful, eye-catching, and it is obvious that the boys and the dad love it, and so would I were it mine. But I can’t deny that seeing that machine gun jutting out the front caught me up short. Something about the incongruence of colorful/bikey/family/little kids/cargo vibe with a little SWAT team on the side. I love squirt guns as much as the next guy, but you have to admit this doesn’t–and clearly wasn’t intended to–*look* like a squirt gun. One can, I think, enjoy the creativity of the bike while also noting the semiotics of the gun here.
      If calling into question the central incorporation of a realistic-looking machine gun in a family bike design is considered PC (= statements we can all easily ridicule categorically?), then what are we to make of the very real, and often difficult, conversations people are having in many places about how realistic toy guns should/should not be, why it matters, etc.?

      And before you tar and feather me along with wsbob, let’s remember that Republican politicians (the chief and early embracers of the category Politically Correct) banned squirt guns from their last National Convention, but not real guns:

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  • Eric May 1, 2014 at 11:41 am

    The A-10, commonly known as the “Warthog”, is primarily an anti-armor and anti-personnel aircraft. While it is versatile, it is certainly no “fighter jet”. Hrrrrumph!

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 1, 2014 at 11:50 am

      Thanks Eric,
      We take accuracy seriously so I’ve edited the caption.

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      • Eric May 1, 2014 at 12:04 pm

        Ha, that’s silly!!

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      • JAT in Seattle May 2, 2014 at 9:37 am

        Did the Hosmer family specifically say it’s an A-10 Warthog (technically Thunderbolt II)? Because it’s (as others have suggested) clearly an AH-1 Huey Cobra (helicopter).

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        • James May 2, 2014 at 11:30 am

          I did design it based on a Huey. Some of the lines were lost to scale, but, yes, it was supposed to be a helicopter cockpit. I can understand the confusion, I just call it the 3 headed monster. People will make it into whatever they want.

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          • Joseph E May 2, 2014 at 1:36 pm

            Uh-oh, Jonathan, sounds like you need to re-edit the post!

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  • Jon May 1, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    I am absolutely disgusted by this bike. It appears to be a representation of a fossil fuel burning aircraft. Besides that, it should be constructed of organic free range hemp and painted using organic conflict free dyes with peace symbols and flowers instead of as an instrument of war. I’m calling the PC police right now. Sarcasm done. On a serious note I think this thing is fantastic!

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  • Buzz Aldrin May 1, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    This thread is straight out of Portlandia…

    And I will add my vote for awesome, gun included!

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  • Jim Lee May 1, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    The third photograph looks like an AD (A1) “Skyraider,” which basically was one-quarter of a B 29 for close air support–and lots of other things, like medical evacuation, rescue, radar picket–you name it. The A 10 was designed to go low and slow, just like the AD, but with jets rather than a propeller.

    In 1963 I watched the Navy put on a “full fleet review” at China Lake for JFK. Everything but the Skyraiders was sort of pipsqueak.

    Seth is a nice guy, a great dad, and a fearsome bike racer.

    Go Hosmers!

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  • Rob May 1, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    The whole thing is awesome! I am really curious about the sick bike on the side! What kind of kids bike is that? Finding rad kids bikes is so hard, that looks like a keeper. Is it a “lilshredder”?

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  • Maggie May 2, 2014 at 6:27 am

    By the looks of it, I think the Hosmer’s have chosen to make love not war. I love the gun.

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  • Jeff May 3, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    “…Most of us…” Brian
    But some do, and they alone should be more than enough reason for responsible people to understand the importance of not introducing depictions of people killing war machines as a source of fun, into kids lives.
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    This is the same sort of logic applied to video games or the predator around every corner myth that has us rushing to make everything anaceptic and boring ….exposure to a watergun even a realistic one has zero effect on those kids other then having loads of fun and tremendous bragging rights when they are older

    Your mentality is the one that’s harmful not the other way around

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    • wsbob May 5, 2014 at 11:36 am

      So you’re saying that you find guns as toys are necessary to keep your life from being anesthetic and boring.

      A phenomena of our modern society is one where, thinking to solve problems they’re having, kids of grade school and high school age have brought concealed guns to school with the intention of threatening or killing people. Similar in many ways to how use of guns is depicted in video games, tv, movies, and on and on.

      A scene from the old movie Apocalypse Now is one I have occasion to remember from time to time. Martin Sheen’s character is being transported via helicopter to some remote jungle outpost. From the open door of the chopper, a guy sits with his legs hanging out the door’s opening, a machine gun in his lap, firing away at people below, working rice paddies. Sheen asks: ‘How can you do that?’. Guy with gun answers: ‘I lead ’em.’. Of course, I suppose many people would say this is just a scene from a movie, entirely fictional, entertainment.

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      • James May 5, 2014 at 3:43 pm

        Bob, I think the kids pictured in the cockpit are a little too young to connect your hang-up with Apocalypse Now and their bike. The teeth on it might make them more excited to go to the dentist.

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        • wsbob May 7, 2014 at 11:39 pm

          My “…hang up…” ? The little kids may never have seen the movie Apocalypse Now, but they may be well aware that bike they’re riding in has been built to resemble some kind of military airplane, and that the thing sticking out its nose isn’t intended to look like a pogo stick, but quite clearly instead: a gun. As will many other kids seeing the bike in use in public.

          The movie reference was for adults, aware, or that should be, of some people’s tendency towards callous indifference in the treatment of other people sometimes rather indiscriminately relegated to the general category of ‘enemy’. And that they should be scrupulous about doing things that may help foster or perpetuate that kind of indifference in people.

          Presenting kids with toy versions of real military weapons devised to kill people, is a time ‘honored’ means of gradually introducing people to the use of weapons and violence to solve problems. Equipping your bike design inspired by a warthog, a huey, or whatever, with something sticking out of it designed to look like a gun, you’ve kind of joined that club.

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  • Steven May 7, 2014 at 9:32 am

    The airplane bike is outstanding!!!

    Check out my BikeDozer on a Worksman Low Gravity frame.

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    • 9watts May 7, 2014 at 10:22 am

      That is one fine bike modification, Steven.
      To me the criticism of the criticism of the helicopter-inspired bike above is as PC–no, more PC–than the criticism. If we are not free to register misgivings, what is the point of conversation, of debate?

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    • James May 7, 2014 at 11:28 am

      That’s Awesome!

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