Tag Archive: Family bike

Wanna rent a Haul-a-Day?

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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.

We’re expecting…Cargo Bike #2!!

We are so thrilled to announce a new addition is expected in our family this October- a Bike Friday Haul-a-Day!  (No more kids for us!)  I cannot tell you how much the Yuba has changed our lives, but there have been some limitations I’ve been trying to work around for awhile.  I heard of this through Cycleicious this March, and wasn’t surprised to see Elle at Tiny Helmets Big Bikes posting about trying one out soon after.

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“You know, buddy, it isn’t necessary to wear your helmet while on the bus…” but it might be more convenient to combine bike and transit soon!!

Here’s the thing- we are a car-free family, and the Yuba Mundo won’t fit on the Metra, Amtrak, or CTA.  I have seen it hooked up to a hitch mounted trailer before, and gotten some advice on that from our friend over at Ding Ding Let’s Ride.  But the chance of us rigging this up to a rental is slim, especially considering the cost of a heavy duty bike rack, like the Thule (incidentally, my brother in law sprung for the rack, then realized they needed the right hitch! Oy!)  So portable= good.  And at under 40 pounds, I consider it portable. :)  Anyhow, we think we’ve settled on colors and everything.

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It looks a little something like this… (from Bike Friday’s color picker)

I’m hoping to list the Yuba on Spinlister after we’ve put the Bike Friday through it’s paces.  So check it out, please.  I think the bike-share app has awesome potential, especially for family bikes.  We’d be interested in finding one for a future trip to Colorado, I know.  UNLESS- the Bike Friday can come along, and I love it.

It’s really hard to imagine loving a bike more than our Yuba, to be honest.

Car-Free Game Changer #2: Yuba Mundo

Our Yuba Mundo, coming home!
Bringing the Yuba Mundo home from J.C. Lind- an exciting day!

Bringing the Yuba Mundo home from J.C. Lind- an exciting day!

The Mundo is like a big friendly dog in that it helps us make friends at the park.  People ask us frequently if it’s 1) a custom build, 2) motorized, 3) a tandem or something.  This really ought to be game changer #1, but I was excited about our travel vest and had a photo ready to share…

We started biking (and blogging) early this summer when our wheels were a Target Schwinn (now locked as back-up bike in our apartment’s bike room) and a Craigslist Burley D’Lite.  The good news was, we fell in love with using the bike to get around.  The bad news was that the trailer was sometimes difficult to pull (at a stoplight on a slope I was really struggling) big to store, and difficult to get in and out of our apartment. I had researched several options for getting around with two bigger kids, and it seemed like we were too big for the kid in front/kid in back combo (little guy was in the upper 30 pound range) and too small to be trusted on our own.  I started to read about longtail bikes and was thinking they were awesome- but expensive.

I posted awhile ago about paying for more expensive items- I have learned to justify this at times knowing that some things resell very well on Craigslist (I’m talking about Burley trailers in this case) and are more safe and durable than lower cost options, like InStep or others.  But a bike for over $1000 seemed LUDICROUS.  A bike?

It seems like a lot- unless you are replacing a car.  Once the car is out of the picture, it seems a whole lot more reasonable.  The car was super expensive, looking back on it.  The bike is mostly one up-front expense, with a little maintenance here and there.  And since there’s no WAY I’d dream of getting rid of it right now, I don’t care what it’s resale would be on CL.  I ran into a lady the first week we had the bike near 12th Street Beach who had an “El Mundo” (electric-assist Yuba Mundo) and an odometer- she had something like 2000 miles on her bike, and she’d only had it a few months.

I quickly got lazy about logging miles despite trying several websites, including Map My Ride (eats battery, shows our exact locations- which I find to be a bit much) and Drive Less, Live More (which is GREAT.) It would have come in handy for calculating and comparing our cost per mile, but anyhow, I’ve decided there’s no need to break it down.  I have no buyer’s remorse. None.  And if you can’t tell, I feel crazy paying “full price” for just about anything- thanks, Mom, you bargain hunter, you. 😉

So this is what we love about our bike:

1) It holds two kids, and me, and lots of stuff.  That’s obvious. Which might be why Mr. M isn’t keen on being seen riding it… Ha!  He can keep his feather-light fixie road bike, which was his choice when we put car money toward bikes- Yuba Mundo is to Honda Odyssey as Bianchi Pista is to Porsche Boxter.

2) It lends itself very well to customization- and can be adapted to suit your needs, which is a must when you have growing kids. You must check out Jarrod’s posts at 8 legs 2 wheels to see some customizations.  I’m including just a few of my own as well in the photos here.

3) The Yuba is comfortable.  I love the saddle.  I love the angle- I’m just about upright, and can see all around.  The grips are wide, like a mountain bike, just the way I like them.  The gearing is perfection.  Chicago isn’t hilly, but I struggled like crazy pulling a trailer, and I think it was mostly due to the Schwinn hybid.  Cargo bikes are made to haul loads and have a generous helping of “granny gears” for taking on inclines, and I’m able to do it all in my middle gear.  It is also HEAVY which is both good and bad- but I’ve come to like the feel of a substantial bike under us.

4)  It’s made in the U.S. by a company that has a good reputation.  I say this because I haven’t heard any complaints about Yuba, and anyone I know with one of their bikes loves it.  (Many are compelled to blog about how much they love it, actually!)  I posted a comment on their Facebook page– after they put up a pic of the monkey bars on their wall, and they responded by tagging a photo of the bike standing on end with the bars attached.  Thanks! Oh- which reminds me…

5) It stands on end.  This is how the bike lives in our living room.  Because we wouldn’t dream of making it sleep on the balcony, or in the bike room.

6) Yuba accessories are pretty good.  We have the soft spot, leg up, running boards, de-flopinator, stoker bars, and Go-Getter bag.  That bag is AWESOME for grocery runs.  And I have a feeling Yuba will continue taking care of us.  Oh!  And the kickstand…

7)  The kickstand is great.  It is like one you’d find on a scooter or motorcycle, and it can almost handle the kids climbing up on it alone.  But they shouldn’t climb on it- Little Guy did manage to tip it over at one point, pulling himself into the seat.  I still feel bad about this- but he learned and was unscathed.

8)  It seats another adult.  Not that I’ve frequently brought grown people out on rides, but I think the option is pretty cool.

That’s what I can think of for now… but I’m sure there are lots of other things I could list that I love.