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Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

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Old 03-07-12, 08:02 AM   #1
Suburban
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Comfortable riding

We're still moving over to car-free. I couldn't decide on a bike, so I've been borrowing a friends bike with a trailer. I'm looking to carry 1-2 children, my 6 and 8 year old riding their own bikes (B most of the time) and my 3 year old staying on my bike. Right now, the older 2 ride ahead of me and the youngest rides in the trailer. He's already bored of that.

I originally looked at a bakfiets. Stable while I'm getting started. I'd like them to hitch a ride with me, but I don't see that lasting very long. The older two want "independence." Then I looked at a longtail but I've noticed it's difficult to get chainguards and the step through is high. I like to wear skirts and dress how I usually do. I'm already annoyed with having to think differently about getting dressed while I'm borrowing this bike.

Now I'm thinking more along the lines of dutch bike again, but I don't see anything about how much weight they can take on the back. A little disappointed that I'd need to take a trailer with me sometimes. I don't like pulling trailers. But I like that the seats are low and the handlebars are high. I like to be upright so I can see around me and talk to my kids about what we see.

I also have to consider that bikes are being stored in our carport. They have some shelter, but do experience Canadian winter. We've been experiencing a mild winter for the most part this year, but any bikes I ride are dealing with salt and slush.

Are there any longtail bikes with low step through that are easy to add chainguards to? And how upright can you position the seat and handlebars?
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Old 03-07-12, 08:13 AM   #2
bendembroski
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A Madsen seems to tick all the boxes.
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Old 03-07-12, 10:12 AM   #3
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I'll take a look, thanks!
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Old 03-11-12, 10:31 PM   #4
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My yuba has a plastic guard that stops pants getting caught in it, but not the traditional style of chain guard, I've had no issue with any oil on me or flared pants getting caught. But you wouldn't want to wear a skirt without shorts on it - or at least I won't be lol. I love wearing skirts in the summer so will be buying some leggings I guess.

Interested in seeing what you get! I think the madsen is a very pretty bike, but for some reason my Yuba seems more useful to me personally because I can haul the kiddo for as many years as necessary. I love the idea of being able to let him ride himself as he gets older whilst still providing a way of getting him home if he gets tired on longer journeys because he can hop on the back and we can tote his bike too. Plus we will probably have a second child and this way I have room for two at varied stages, of course that might be true of the Madsen too.

Good lock with your choice, Im sure you'll love it!
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Old 03-12-12, 08:52 AM   #5
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I'm starting to think that I what I would gain with a bucket bike, I would lose with a regular bike. The madsen is down in the states and no one would have parts locally or sell here. Plus it doesn't have a weather shield. Which kills one of the best benefits of getting a bucket.

I'm starting to think the best bet is to have the older two on their bikes, a dutch bike for me with a rack extender with panniers on it. That way, I can take the bikes with me on the trains and buses outside of rush hour. I've been warned that the big dummy is sometimes turned away on the GO trains here. I want to still be able to go downtown or visit my IL's by train in Niagara Falls in the summer. I would like to be able to use the transit around here if we get tired.

It feels like the long tail are half measure for our situation that doesn't take advantage of what's around here. Even if I get a bakfiets 2 wheeler, I can throw all three kids in, not car seats necessary to ride 20 minutes to the main trainsit terminal and park it in the bike racks there.

So we're looking at either Gazelle 8 speed dutch bike, babboe 2 throw 3 kids in with a weather shield or nihola for better quality parts than the babboe.

I hate making these kinds of decisions.
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Old 03-12-12, 10:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburban View Post
I'm starting to think that I what I would gain with a bucket bike, I would lose with a regular bike. The madsen is down in the states and no one would have parts locally or sell here. Plus it doesn't have a weather shield. Which kills one of the best benefits of getting a bucket.

I'm starting to think the best bet is to have the older two on their bikes, a dutch bike for me with a rack extender with panniers on it. That way, I can take the bikes with me on the trains and buses outside of rush hour. I've been warned that the big dummy is sometimes turned away on the GO trains here. I want to still be able to go downtown or visit my IL's by train in Niagara Falls in the summer. I would like to be able to use the transit around here if we get tired.

It feels like the long tail are half measure for our situation that doesn't take advantage of what's around here. Even if I get a bakfiets 2 wheeler, I can throw all three kids in, not car seats necessary to ride 20 minutes to the main trainsit terminal and park it in the bike racks there.

So we're looking at either Gazelle 8 speed dutch bike, babboe 2 throw 3 kids in with a weather shield or nihola for better quality parts than the babboe.

I hate making these kinds of decisions.

I think that sounds awesome, I like the Gazelle! The thing is you'll make it work! Its hard to make the choice and we tend to over think all the details- but once you get your bike it will be worth it!
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Old 03-12-12, 12:11 PM   #7
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What is your approximate budget?
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Old 03-13-12, 06:56 AM   #8
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We're using proceeds from selling the '09 family car. Anything left over goes to our RRSP's. The bike budget isn't tight.
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Old 03-13-12, 07:13 AM   #9
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In that case, you might also want to look at the CETMA and Winther Wallaroo.
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Old 03-13-12, 08:02 AM   #10
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With the mount of slush found on your streets, you might consider having enough in the budget for replacing some parts and having the bike re-coated every few years.
I have ridden the babboe and (2 wheel version) and I like it a lot. I am much faster on my cetma, and so is my friend who owns the babboe, but the babboe is still a good bike. My 8 year old will still ride in the box, but it is pretty crowded for long trips. Box bikes don't fit on the train, but some longtails do. The cetma comes appart for travelling, but with a box it would be a tight squeeze to get it into a regular car. I have a minivan that I use for bringing the cetma on trips.
3 kids in the front of the bike is a significant load. My friend can do it, but her family is a 5 year old, 4 year old and a 6 month old. We do have hills here.
If you like longtails, you might consider adding an xtracycle to a step through frame. There are aftermarket chain guards that will fit most longtails.
Also, my kids love our Burley picollo tag along. It can be added to most bikes and has been brought back by Burley this year. I do not endorse the leading brand of trail-a-bike.
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