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Wanna rent a Haul-a-Day?


Picture by my princess: “Me, mom, and my brother in the bike shop where they hang the bikes on the walls.” (Is it just me, or do we all look a bit stressed? Flat tire visit, perhaps?)

I’ve decided my bike is going to start earning it’s keep.  I’d heard of Spinlister last year and have always thought it’s a great idea- it’s like Air BnB for bikes.  In Chicago, Divvy is really solid, cheap, and convenient- but if you want a specialty bike for racing, touring, or riding with kids, your previous options were limited to what was in stock at rental companies like Bike N’ Roll or Bobby’s Bike Hike (which I’ve heard are very decent, by the way.)  Mainly I’ve seen a lot of hybrids and cruisers at these places, though they do rent out Burley trailers, trail-a-bikes, and tandems… Bike n’ Roll even had a Gazelle when I checked them out last year.

I get a TON of inquiries when we’re out on our Haul-a-Day and have offered to let friends try it out, but Spinlister kept coming to mind.  We live very close to the museum campus and it’s an ideal place to pick up a bike for most people, so we’ve officially listed our bike on the site.  Unfortunately, it seems no one has really heard of it, so I emailed them a few weeks ago and they were kind enough to send me a box full of promotional materials.  I’ve had one request so far, but lots of interest.

Check. Out. All. My. Swag. Spinlister!!  Check it OUT! (filter for 'cargo bike' in Chicago. :)

Check. Out. All. My. Swag. Spinlister!! Check it OUT! (filter for ‘cargo bike’ in Chicago. :)

I like the idea of trying out another family’s bike- we are traveling later this month to not bike-friendly areas, but I can see us doing a trip where we check out a bakfiets for a few days and live in someone’s garage…  a dream right now but some day it might happen!

Also- we have big news- we are expecting cargo bike #3 in the next two months!  Bike Friday has been AMAZING and followed us since the first ride arrived, and has made some improvements to our beta model since it was built in the Fall.  We have decided to get the new bike and to keep the old one rather than trade it in, which should make for some awesome family adventures. (and business ventures, too- I will fill you in on that later!)

So if you want to rent a Haul-a-Day in Chicago, contact me!  I have a ton of promo codes good for $20 off your first rental, even if it isn’t with me.  To find us, filter for ‘cargo bikes’ and the last time I checked, ours was the only bike listed in that category.  Or, you know- click HERE.  (Edit- there is a Cristiana trike listed now!  That’s super cool!)

Happy riding, everybody!  I’m busy planning not one- not two- but three upcoming rides in our neighborhood, so if you don’t hear from me assume we’re out route planning and happy. :)

A little pick me up before a grocery run- which is a pleasure if I've got my daughter and our bikes.

A little pick me up before a grocery run- which is a pleasure if I’ve got my daughter and our bikes.

Fit. Physics- and way less flex.


Look! New fenders. :)

Well this is a breakthrough. .. the other day we were at  Cycle Shop on Michigan Avenue getting help installing fenders on the Hotrock (Uncle!) And I decided to go over some of the connections on my bike. I raised the seat post again- now that there’s no ice I feel better about it- I had set it at a lower height so I could easily “touch” to catch us before. I also decided since the bike travels well on the train and I’m pretty nervous about the bus so I figured I’d pop the OSATA frame out a little more and try a more forward stance.


The Haul-a-day fits on the Metra really easily- even at its current longer setting.

Id kept it short before because i knew at that length it will fit on the CTA rack, but a few more inches in length wont affect its train travel. I wound up putting it at its second longest setting (if that makes sense) and in the process accidentally pulled the frame apart completely. Oops. Luckily Mr. Bike mechanic was done with the fenders and held the rear upright for me while I realigned the halves and it was easy enough to get back together.
We rode away a minute later and I was really surprised that the fit seemed amazingly better. But later when I had two kids on the rack again and started uphill again I was really blown away- that flex I’ve been commenting on occasionally seemed to almost disappear.  So the way I’d explained it before was that I felt like some part of the bike was wobbly when I’d start up a hill or pedal hard from a stop. I wouldn’t have tried standing to climb before at all because of that sensation. (Interestingly I felt uncomfortable with a standing climb when we initially got our Yuba Mundo as well, but got over it.) Well this bike now feels super stable, and I’ve been having lots of fun stomping those pedals when the light turns green… one advantage of the small tires and lighter weight is faster acceleration, though I’m still not going to win any street races. :)


Leaning forward, just a bit- which makes the ride feel very different!

I guess my logic before was that by having the tube in a lower setting there would be more material overlapping, which would make the frame stronger/stiffer- but apparently it’s the geometry and weight distribution that makes a difference in how a frame feels. I’ve tried googling this and wound up at Sheldon Brown’s website, of course, and there’s a whole lot of information there but nothing that lays out simply why my ride has improved so much.
One of the things I plan to play with now is the handlebar height- I like the idea that I can adjust things for different purposes.


Stopped to take a photo on the southern end of the lakefront path.. (yes, the boy is sleeping again!)

We rode about 7 miles on the lake the other day (hello, headwind) and being in a more “race like” position would have probably helped. Of course in an urban setting, being upright is advantageous, as it increases my visibility and I feel I can turn my head and see around me much more easily.
I think I currently have a good compromise but will definitely be experimenting!

Family Biking Profiles (Chicago Kidical Mass)

I think the other biking families we’ve met are sooooo cool.  Roughly 90% of them have been doing this for way longer than us…  with more kids, more gear, longer commutes.  You get the picture- anyhow, I am so grateful to have found this group of people who were normalizing biking with kids before I’d ever even considered it.

I’ve met many of them through Kidical Mass. We started the South Loop ride a year ago in September, because we loved the rides but wanted to bring some closer to home.  We followed another ride’s lead and took a “Wintermission” (term unashamedly stolen from the great Rebecca) starting in December, and I have no regrets, though some of the rides do go year round.  We plan to start again in March with a ‘soft opening’ here, but I’m reading the weather blogs before making any commitments.profile collageIn Chicago, we’re now up to 7-8 rides in different neighborhoods, and we like to ride hop and talk with the other organizers.  So I was thinking it would be cool to show off these very cool families and their setups- and it’s resulted in a nice series of “Family Biking Profiles” on our Facebook page.  Check it out!

I’m happy we’ve gotten such a great response!  Hopefully this series will continue for awhile.  So fun.  So educational. :)

And some more good news- we are looking at temperatures close to 40 DEGREES starting on Friday!!  We are super duper excited about nice weather returning.  We did have the bike out today and it rode the green line, which I’ll be posting about tomorrow.

OH! AND I rode home a few blocks tonight with 3 children on the back of the Haul-a-Day… 3.  With an average/median age of 5… so that was impressive!

Stay warm and well, everybody!