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Assembling the Haul-a-Day and a Birthday Outing!

Here’s our boy, helping me bring up the bike.  He looks genuinely excited!  The box wasn’t very big or very heavy.

He went right for the Hooptie- and then was into bubblewrap.  In the directions, it said it would take someone with basic knowledge about 30-60 minutes to assemble the bike.  Well… it took me about four hours.  Lots of YouTube, lots of re-doing things… I did get it rideable, but brought it to On The Route first thing this morning and had a mini-tuneup.  He said I didn’t do too bad.  He resized the chain and straightened the cables, put my front fender on, tightened just about everything, trued the wheels, and adjusted the brakes for me.  So I got a little help, but was so happy to be able to get out and ride before the weather really turns on us!Titlewpid-20141108_163044.jpgHere are all the pieces- wheels are built, brakes are on, frame is in three pieces.  All the accessories are separate- though they did install the rear fender for me, and the running boards and rack were on, too.

wpid-20141108_163051.jpgSo, it took us a good 30 minutes just to get through all the bubblewrap!!  Okay, maybe 20.  They wrapped it with care.  There were some scuffs on the frame somehow, but it’s underneath and not visible.  The fender was also cracked in the back, but it won’t affect the function.  The packet of paperwork was a bit daunting, lots of components to get to know!wpid-20141108_163720.jpgwpid-20141108_163727.jpg I think I got too many sling bags…  big boy is helping  watching TV and eating Sunchips at this point… wpid-20141108_182230.jpg The frame unassembled.

wpid-20141108_211856.jpg See my multi-tool?  That and a wrench are the only tools I needed to put this guy together.  Anyhow- that bolt is going in the WRONG WAY.   In the directions, it has you do the frame first, wheel, chain- but it doesn’t tell you when to flip it over.  So I assumed the bolts should be inserted on the top of the hole as seen in the photo, which has the rear frame upside down.  No…  they hand thread easily if you start threading the bottom of the hole here, and fortunately I figured it out after battling the awkward angle with that clumsy little multi-tool.  Also, my cables are a mess.

The thing I was most nervous about was getting that rear wheel in, it just wouldn’t play nice.  Then I realized the disc brakes were super tight, and I wasn’t able to get the disc in and have it spin freely.  Googled “adjust disc brakes” and figured out how to open them up.

Below, the chain.  In non-circular format, which was new to me… I googled “put a chain on a bike” and found one tip to use a paperclip to hold one end, and a YouTube video showing how to lace it through the derailleur.  If I find that one I’ll reference it here in the future, but there are a TON.  I feel silly now because it’s not hard, but I can’t believe all this weight gets pulled around thanks to these two tiny little pieces!
wpid-20141108_220045.jpg Here’s a photo of the Haul-a-Day standing up next to my husband’s Bianchi Pista.  Perspective is a little off, but it’s actually a half inch longer with the wheel turned around, and it looks much, much smaller because of those little wheels. wpid-20141109_102141.jpg
 And here we have the Yuba and the Bike Friday side by side, noses up for comparison.  Holy moly.  My husband kept saying “it just looks so small!! are you guys really gonna fit??”

wpid-20141109_101823.jpg

Well… We do!  It is a closer ride, for sure.  My little guy’s head is right by my butt.  But we don’t mind.  The kids really like that they can have their hands free, and my big old backpack sits perfectly out of the way, up above big boy’s helmet.  I am riding now with the stem all the way in, and I love the upright posture a lot.  I’m 5’9″, and thought I’d definitely want it set out more, which means I’d have to adjust it for public trans (which we have yet to try..) but the toe overlap isn’t too bad and I feel very European sitting up straight and looking around.  I do think there’s potential for the boy to slide forward, and his feet keep wanting to ding the chain and pedals- I almost wish there were some shin/leg guards like you see on some child seats to keep everything back there. I’m thinking about a skirt of some kind for Winter to cover hands and legs, maybe tied to the hoop and the running boards.  That might do the trick!  Also, the kids are getting used to climbing in instead of just on, and need some help.  We now know helmets must come off before trying to squeeze under the hoop!

wpid-20141109_131012.jpgwpid-20141109_152917.jpgMinecraft toys made him happy.  He actually likes to play with the physical toys, including the blocks, to build worlds.  Sort of backward, but I dig it.wpid-20141109_160812.jpgThis boy is gonna be 4.  Obsessed with Minecraft, of all things- I try to limit screen time, but sometimes he gets to and he loves it.  He chose Chicago’s Amazing Funhouse Maze for his birthday outing and it reminded them too much of a haunted house.  We saw a tame one at a pumpkin patch a few weeks ago, but it was still too much for the girl and she had flashbacks or something, which made this guy terrified as well.  My two year old niece had no problems…  So we went to the Children’s Museum where all was forgiven.wpid-20141109_173335.jpgWe headed home from Navy Pier using the Riverwalk and Dearborn, a very easy and uncrowded ride.  The birthday boy fell asleep, and my daughter marveled about being able to ‘let go of the bike’ because of the hoop.  It felt good.  It took hills like a CHAMP.  I’ll write more about the subtle differences in the ride, but my anxieties are gone…  I can haul kids, some gear, and it doesn’t feel crazy different than the Yuba.  Just more nimble?  That might be the word. :)

The Haul-a-Day is here!

Long story short- I spent way too much time on the phone with FedEx trying to get the bike on time for my 4:00 appointment with Pedal to the People, but had to call Adam off when 3:30 rolled around and it still wasn’t here.
At 4:15, though…
Thanks to YouTube, Google, and Minecraft (for occupying the kids) this is what I had by midnight.  :)
Details on assembly to follow tomorrow or tonight- today I can’t wait to ride!

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Do you bike all Winter? (and other updates.)

Good news! The Haul-a-Day finally shipped on Tuesday.  I had a minute of panic after Halloween here and had to email Jeff, our Bike Friday sales rep. “Does the bike come with fenders?  Because we’ll definitely need fenders… but please don’t slow down the shipping.”

It doesn’t come with fenders, but they only cost a few bucks more, so now we’re all set.  I have Adam from Pedal to the People booked to assemble the beast when it arrives on Saturday- and I’m looking at just one sunny day next week we can look forward to.

But will we be riding?  I remember checking in this time last year and talking about how we’d been staying in and baking.  Ha.  We’re completely different this year!  I’m now pretty active in our homeschooling group, the little guy is going to a park district preschool three times a week, and we spend more time at museums than we do at home.  I don’t want that to change!

I’ve found riding our bike is easily the fastest, least painful way to get to many of our favorite places- in all four seasons.  And keeping this in mind, Mr. M and I recently purchased a new condo that places us right on the bike routes we use most frequently.  Isn’t that convenient? We hope to move in right around Thanksgiving.

In Winter, our transit rides definitely increase, but combined trips are the key.  I’ll take the bike to a train station less than a mile away and leave it locked in the station.  Or- I’ll bike to a bus line that runs right where we’re heading.  The key is to keep the bike clean and to dress well for outdoor weather- and we’ve had little trouble except in some cases where walking would have been equally or more uncomfortable- like when they don’t clear the sidewalks.  Or bike lanes. Or streets!

As for baking, well…  We adopted a low carb lifestyle two months ago and so it’s not the traditional baking I used to do.  But it is a bit like science class when I make dinners out of flaxseed and chia!  I’ve been gluten free since January of last year and grain free since August, and have finally seen some real weight loss even though I consume the same amount or more calories.  So there’s that.

Hoping to post photos of us bundled up on the new bike real soon :)