Tag Archive: Haul-a-Day

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.

The Haul-a-Day Rides the CTA!

We got this!
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We have vertical bike racks in our building- it was almost IMPOSSIBLE with the Yuba, but I can lift this one and turn the front tire without too much trouble. Here’s big kid in front, little in back- easier on me, but they felt I’d disrupted the natural order of things…

We tried something a lot different the other day.  We planned to meet some friends at the Peggy Notebaert  Nature Museum- which by the way, is running an insanely good deal on membership through Groupon- and with a high of 35 predicted, it seemed like the bike was the best way to go. It’s a little over six miles on the Lakefront Trail, and public trans estimated time was 45 minutes, so we loaded up, put on our Cuddl Duds, and were on our way.

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DANG IT. Could they maybe have put some signage up earlier??

Wind definitely adds on to our biking time in the winter.  We have to take care in a few places thanks to ice and snow, but for the most part the trails are clear- especially of people- and the only change from non-winter biking is allowing extra time and wearing extra layers.  I was a little shocked though at how TIRED I was as this trip went on- it was a pain to get west over to the next North/South bike lane (Dearborn) and the kids were whining a lot.  Me too.  The closed path was a big setback, and I kicked myself for assuming it had reopened.  (It was closed after this storm back in November.)  This is why I ought to be reading the Chainlink, though it sometimes drives me nuts.

So the ride, in total, was a bit over 7 miles.  We were only about 15 minutes late, but I was pushing against a pretty decent headwind.  We had a nice visit at the museum, said hello to the butterflies, and ate some lunch.  Then we rode over to see our friends at Alt-Cycle to check out the Xtracycle accessories Shane mentioned in a comment a few weeks ago- the flight deck and hooptie.  I think it’s a significant investment to change out our setup, but the kids might be a little happier with more room, so stay tuned.

After Alt-Cycle, we were tired.  It was pretty windy and cold, and it seemed like an ideal time to try out our mixed-mode transportation option!  We walked the bike down Fullerton to the Red Line Station and felt a lot nervous… I’ve never taken a bike on the train before, so a cargo bike seemed like kind of a big deal.  Plus, you know- two tired kids!

At the Fullerton station, wondering if we can pull this off!

At the Fullerton station, wondering if we can pull this off!

I double checked with an attendant in the front, she reassured me bikes are fine until 4:00.  CTA restricts bikes during rush hours- from 7-9 and 4-6.  The guidelines are here. We swung into the elevator with no problems, got up to a pretty crowded platform (DePaul students heading out) and waited for what I hoped was a very vacant train.

We got this!

We got this!

The train came, and there were a few empty seats- we spotted the handicapped symbol near a door and scooted ahead- I’d learned this trick from my stroller days.  On the newer CTA trains there are no dividers by the doors at these entrances, which makes it a lot easier to park something big like a stroller or bike.  I flipped the front tire around and pushed it in at an angle by the front seat- the kids each sat next to a new ‘friend’ while I held the bike and a pole.

Waiting patiently.  NBD.

Waiting patiently. NBD.

While we were riding, I’m seeing my little guy’s eyes getting heavy, and I momentarily have a moment of panic.  What am I going to do if he falls asleep and we reach our stop?  The kickstand isn’t sufficient to leave the bike freestanding with the stops and starts, you definitely need to hang on to it.  So at a stop in the loop, I motioned him over and had him sit on the deck.  It wasn’t too tough to hold onto, plus it simplified the exit when it was time.

We made it!  Hello, Chinatown!

We made it! Hello, Chinatown!

I probably should have mentioned this earlier- but you should definitely check that your destination has an elevator!  We usually get off at Roosevelt, but I know those are broken down frequently and pretty small (thank you stroller) so Cermak is a better option- newer station.  I felt relieved as we completed our commute…

All of us fit in the elevator- no problem!

All of us fit in the elevator- no problem!

And just in time- since this guy was DONE.

So the first one is the hardest, right?  I’m feeling like I could easily do this again.  It’s nice for one way trips, or to get out a little further than we’ve been going regularly.  Also, I’m really excited to do some Metra trips once the weather is nicer.

I’m still hesitant to do a bus trip, especially after reading this horror story this week on the Chainlink!!  (and this, and this, and this!)

Being able to mix up our transportation was the #1 reason we got this bike, I am dreaming about all the possibilities!  This little guy was dreaming, too.

Sure sign of a great day.

Sure sign of a great day.

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.