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??”


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. :)

Comments (4)

  1. Shane

    Glad the Haul-a-Day is working out for you, fun to see the pics. If you wanted more room you could try the regular Hooptie (with an Xtracycle Flight Deck) which fits the HaD too. My kiddos also like to face backwards when they are in the back position and that seems to give the front rider a bit more space too.
    I have three kiddos so we also have a prototype Burley Piccolo attachment or use the Xtracycle Hoopoe, thought that’s getting more cramped as they get bigger.

    As the kids get older you could also maybe just have handlebars off the seat and a strap for the back rider?

    Ride On!

    1. kaycee (Post author)

      Hey Shane!

      We are doing well with the half hooptie for now, but my six year old’s legs just keep on getting LONGER. I keep telling her to slow down. I think- I hope- she’ll be riding independently for the most part this summer, but those are good suggestions. Piccolo prototype is a good idea- because something needs to help us do this stage better. I’ve seen some cool custom setups that resemble a ‘follow-me’ or a hub you can attach to a quick release to tow a bike instead of a Piccolo… or maybe a Trail gator- which I think would work with a piccolo mount? Living in a high-rise with limited space I’ll need to make the most of each bike, and a Piccolo isn’t as useful as a real bike- I’d love to figure this out! I’ll definitely be putting some serious thought into how to do this phase.

      We did the stoker bars and strap on our Yuba and it was awesome for off-and-on trips but my youngest still falls asleep on the bike, so I’m loving this set-up’s “nap machine” properties very much for now.

      A friend of mine has a shop that sells Xtracycles, I may head over there to look at how the Hooptie fits. Just for fun… Your three look happy and not at all annoyed with each other in the photos I saw 😀

      We’re very happy with the bike! Thanks very much :)

  2. Elle Steele

    Congratulations on getting your HaD! It looks beautiful and I’m so impressed that you were able to get it together on your own. I’d recommend having a front basket, too, to avoid having to wear the backpack and it does help stabilize the front wheel. It made a huge difference once we finally got our basket.

    I can’t wait to hear more about your adventures on it!

    1. kaycee (Post author)

      Elle, I missed your comment completely- we did get the front basket and it’s really useful. We moved to a new building and taking bikes up the elevator is a no-no here, so the grocery basket is extra convenient :)

      I’m getting so many comments on the Haul-a-Day- our weather hasn’t been cooperating and we’ve been out of town a lot but I’m excited to share our adventures as well!


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