Monday, June 04, 2012

On a Lighter Note

Love, love, love!!! by dominique ap
(Before you all pick on me for not having bike helmets, we do, and we wear them always.
These guys were just messing around in our garage when I got home with the new toy.)
We just picked up this beauty last weekend. I'd been shopping around for a new bike (for two years!) that I could use to haul kids, groceries, beach blankets, picnics, etc. 

I had been really jazzed up by those swanky Scandinavian numbers with the elegant big bucket in the front by Trio, Bakfiet, or Velorbis.  There are others, and they all seem to be in the $4k and up range.  I tried the Velorbis and it was a challenge.  Nothing about it was smooth, so that $4k price tag didn't sit so well.  This type is built as a tricycle with the two wheels in front.  When you move the handle bar to turn the bike, you are manipulating the entire front package, kids, gear, two wheels (that really want a straight even surface) and the contraption that holds it all.  Believe me when I tell you, this is no simple task.  I imagine that over time one could get used to it.  I just couldn't imagine it would work well for swerving in and out of traffic in Chicago.  One of my goals for this family hauler is to ride the kids to school.  Even though we've succumbed to commuting to school over choosing a neighborhood school, I'm determined to get out of the car and into the world.  I think those three wheelers might be really useful for occasional, meandering rides - much like those contraptions the tourists use up and down the lakefront.  Not for a real ride.  I was also concerned that after my little one no longer needed a ride from me, I would find little reason to keep this around.  However, if I still had that 120+ pound mastiff, I would be the proud owner of a new bucket trike.

On the other hand, there was the two-wheeled Bakfiet types of which there are many.  After the store owner said that he had some trouble keeping it balanced when accelerating, I didn't even bother trying.  I'm not an experienced cyclist so the idea that I'd be all wobbly at every intersection was not very appealing. 

I chose the Yuba Mundo.  Some of my route includes popular bike routes and I've been seeing a lot of these cargo bikes of late.  Much to Chloe's embarrassment, I made her roll down her window while waiting at an intersection while I shouted down a cyclist to ask about his ride.  He was happy and proud to declare it was a Mundo.  The push to purchase had a lot to do with Jon from J. C. Lind.  I came in knowing I wanted to try this bike, but he gave me all the good instruction, tips, and knowledge from someone very passionate about family biking.  He didn't even ask for ID when I took it out for a spin.  Respectful.  I appreciate that a lot.  This bike has accessories for every possible odd ball thing you'd want to attach to the bike.  Including a bunch of kids.  Jasper is capable of holding onto the handle bars in back, but he's still little enough that he gets sleeping on a long ride.  I've got a child's seat attachment that's a little more mature than a baby seat coming to me in about a week.  I'll feel more confident with him buckled safely in that until he gets a little older. 

It can haul up to 400 lbs, maybe more, and still feels like a ride in the park.  Maneuverability is a synch and accelerating is like any old bike.  No problem.  Little Jasper was in tow and for the hours that I was in this shop, he was so patient.  Weird, I know.  It was the mechanical interest he has for all things that move.  When tuning it up before taking it home, Jon let Jasper share his chair and hand him his tools.  That's enough to warm my heart and hand him my credit card.  Getting the bike into the back of my Element was tricky, but it worked.  We cheered.  I almost hugged him.  He photographed us.  And then we drove home with the back open, super excited to take it for a ride.

We had planned to go to our farm in Indiana that night, but no way could I leave with such beautiful Chicago weather in the forecast and my brand, spankin' new bike itching to get moving.  Sunday we packed up a picnic and headed south along the lakefront path to check out the new playground and harbor at the 31st Street Beach.  Thank you CPD for building such a glorious lakefront park.  Jasper whooped and cheered with excitement as we rode along the lake.  He exclaimed, "Mommy, thank you for buying me this bike!  You are the best mommy ever!"  Oh, my heart.

We could have stayed at the park all day if there were more shade.  This will be the perfect oasis when those baby trees mature.  As for now, I'll make use of my awesome storage bags to pack a beach tent to make it an all day excursion. 

If you live in or around Chicago and you're looking for a great ride, you must go to J. C. Lind Bike Co. and meet Jon.  Trust me, you'll be glad you did.



  1. Oh boy, do you love that boy (and I can understand why).

  2. I don't even have kids to take around but you've almost convinced me to get that bike :)

  3. Oh Amy - You would love it. I see people commuting to and from work with this bike, for good reason. I can totally see taking it to the farmer's market or to the beach. Anything can be packed onto it.