Tag Archive: bike assembly

Haul-a-Day Assembly, Part 2!

It came!  Once again, the box was smallish, and the bike was pretty much built for us.  You don’t need too much expertise to put together this bike, the toughest part is threading the chain (and that’s pretty easy.)  I did have my fork on backwards, and a little trouble lining up my cables, but I rode off to the bike shop for a second opinion on a few things just 90 minutes after we opened the box.  (And again, 20 minutes of that was carefully removing bubble wrap!)

Unboxing time!

Unboxing time!

Dual disc breaks this time, and sleek black wheels.

Dual disc breaks this time, and sleek black wheels.

Even the bags were set up for us!

Even the bags were set up for us!

I sent the kids to the park with dad, promising to meet him in under two hours.  I made good on my promise.  They’re just dying to help, but I needed my parts to not run away.

The paperclip trick is AMAZING.  All chained up in no time.

The paperclip trick is AMAZING. All chained up in no time.

I’m contacting Bike Friday about one issue that made it a bit tough- the main bolts that hold the frame together were an odd size this time, and I had trouble getting them tight with my (awful, stubby, multitool) wrench.  The guy at the bike shop commented on it too, but was able to get more traction than I was.

Again I used my paperclip trick to get the chain on, it helps a lot.  I hook one end near the crank set while I pull down the rear derailleur and then pull them together to put in the link pin.  Done!  The brakes were perfectly adjusted this time, but I’m still messing with the front gears a bit.  I got totally spoiled with the other bike, after the spa day it’s riding perfectly.

Off to the park! The kids insisted I get the hoop and seats on immediately so they could sit on the new bike.  Actually, my girl wants to ride it in a bad way, and I’ll definitely let her try sometime soon.  I commented a few weeks ago that I squeezed onto my first HaD at the Women Bike Chicago Event, and though it handled my weight just fine, my thighs barely fit under the hoop.  This time there’s more clearance and length, I fit on comfortably even with my four year old in front of me.

The new hoop and deck are roomier.  I climbed on with no problem.

The new hoop and deck are roomier. I climbed on with no problem.

So here’s the really exciting part:  my husband still loves his Bianchi fixed-gear bike.  He warned me not to pressure him into riding the new one when it came, and explained that he rarely gets free time to ride and wants to have time with his beloved Bianchi.  I think I talked him into trying out the Yuba only once or twice, and he didn’t care for it at all, saying it felt “dangerous.”  He rode my Haul-a-Day briefly one time, saying it was better, but that he just didn’t like the cargo bikes.  Well- this new one is much more to his taste.  I was surprised that he volunteered to take it for a second and third ride over the weekend, and the kids were over the moon.  I think the main factor is the different bars- mine are the Bike Friday ‘cargo bars’ with an H shape, and I love them.  In fact, I called BF right away after riding the new bike on Saturday asking if I could trade in the straight bars (standard on HaD) for cargos, and they quickly created the order.  By Monday morning, I was calling back canceling because I realized the straight bars were his preference.

Dad said okay!  He'd try the bike!

Dad said okay! He’d try the bike!

Our forecasts have been way off all week, and they were calling for thunderstorms, so we packed in quite a bit of riding.  We’re still tweaking the front gears, though I plan to swap out the bars on the bikes anyways, so it’ll wait.  Here are the things that I think are much improved, and I’ll follow up with more info as I think about it, for those of you researching Haul-a-Days…

-the kickstand has been improved on the new model, with bumpers that prevent the “SLAM” sound when you fold it up and keep it silent over bumps.  It’s also a bit easier to find with my foot, it’s like a luxury kickstand now.

-the front part of the frame has braze-ons for a mounted basket, something I haven’t purchased yet but suspect will be a purchase in the near future and add even more cargo room.

-the whoopie bar is longer and wider, with higher clearance.  I actually haven’t had both kids on the back of the new bike yet, but I think they’re going to appreciate the extra room!  This was a big one for us.  The previous bike was big enough, but just a bit cramped for longer rides.  The bike doesn’t seem bigger overall with the larger hoop, so win/win.

– the frame seems subtly different, but both bikes are feeling solid.  Any flex I felt in the first one has been gone since I found my sweet spot as far as fit goes.  I’ll comment on this more as I get used to it.

– Bike Friday included some cork tape for the rear bars this time, which I hadn’t even thought of, but will definitely add to my kids’ comfort!  I picked up some red sport tape at my LBS to put on the other bike.

– I went with the rear rails/ running boards without the foot plates this time, because I’m still trying to figure out how to tow my daughter’s bike occasionally.  It’s a lot quieter without the metal foot plates (or maybe it goes back to that kickstand issue…)

There's still bubble wrap on the bike, it's that new. :)

There’s still bubble wrap on the bike, it’s that new. :)

We rode just a few blocks to a nearby playground and were approached by several people in the first ten minutes- and I passed along my referral cards and Spinlister promo codes.  I have to update our Spinlister account now, but I’m happy to report it’s now possible to rent one or TWO of these amazing bikes.  I’m also working on getting a Yepp seat to mount to one for those with smaller kiddos.  Definitely contact me if you’re thinking of a trip to the Windy City, and I’ll help you out. 😉

Here we are!  Can't wait to do some more exploring this summer!

Here we are! Can’t wait to do some more exploring this summer!

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. :)