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Commuting with kids: My New SUV

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Commuting with kids: My New SUV

Old 03-11-09, 11:06 PM
  #1  
puddypie007
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Commuting with kids: My New SUV

Hi everyone. I wrote a while back about "commuting and very tired". Things have been improving slowly as my appetite decreases (along with my waistline) and I get adjusted to our daily routine. I bike the kids to and from school every day; it's only four miles each way (16 total per day), but it's between 72 and 112 pounds of dead weight behind me depending on leg of the ride. It's been a challenge, but so far so good!

A couple of days ago I received our second trailer, a sidecar, to keep the kids from killing each other in the double trailer. They're not comfortable all smooshed back there anyways (28 and 40 pounds are my monsters), and since we started riding with the two trailers the screaming has stopped (yay!). I also feel that we're much more visible on the road and that that increases safety.

Anyways, we're quite a spectacle, so I thought I'd share the madness with this forum. My family getting rid of our second car is part of a project I've been working on called "Mama Does Good". For more info, see the blog listed below. Hopefully the image will post...

Cheers!
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Old 03-11-09, 11:12 PM
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Pretty cool setup! I like the idea of ditching the suv
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Old 03-11-09, 11:23 PM
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Whoa, that's way cool! I've never seen a side car setup on a bike--didn't know they exist. Very cool!
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Old 03-12-09, 01:01 AM
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Congrats puddiepie007. I am glad things have improved since your last topic. How has your daily routine changed other than the new sidecar? any difference in food? bike component? tire pressure? etc. Thanks for the great pic too!

Edit - I also noticed your tire profile. A cheap way to improve speed slightly will be to go for some slick tires or with lower profile, and possibly a little less width. I am not sure of the road conditions you ride, or if your suspension has a lot of give when you pedal, but suspension with lockouts, or completely rigid fork may improve your ride speed (depending on road quality). Also just saw the eggbeater pedals, awesome, did you purchase those after the original thread responses? if so, how do you like them? Anyways best of luck to you, keep posting pics!

Last edited by reedpride; 03-12-09 at 01:08 AM. Reason: took second look at pic :)
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Old 03-12-09, 01:11 AM
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Pretty cool!

I'd hate to think about taking my little girl to school in 3 years. I'd really have to molest my road bike for that :/
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Old 03-12-09, 02:04 AM
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+1 on the slick tires.
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Old 03-12-09, 02:56 AM
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That's quite the setup! Good on ya for finding solutions where others might find excuses.
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Old 03-12-09, 02:58 AM
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Great to hear. How long before you have power assist (they pedal too) from the little ones?

edit: +1 on buying "slicks" for the bike

Random example:
Specialized armadillo tyres https://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCEqP...=42105&eid=355
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Old 03-12-09, 05:43 AM
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Good for you!!! I think I'd want to get a longer fiberglass rod for that rear flag though. I think it should be a little higher up for safety.

I love that set up. Imagine how many groceries you could get from the store!!
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Old 03-12-09, 08:26 AM
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Very cool setup.

I wonder, however, if it would be considered riding two abreast with that configuration?
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Old 03-12-09, 08:53 AM
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Only if you consider a sidecar as a separate bike which it is not.

Kudos to the OP as well.
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Old 03-12-09, 09:31 AM
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That's awesome. I've never seen a setup like that.
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Old 03-12-09, 09:36 AM
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Well, I know it's not a separate bike and you know it's a separate bike, but does the law know it? It might be worthwhile for the OP to check it out...
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Old 03-12-09, 09:37 AM
  #14  
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Rats. That should have been "you know it's not a separate bike". Sorry about that.
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Old 03-12-09, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by markhr View Post
Great to hear. How long before you have power assist (they pedal too) from the little ones?
If it's anything like my experience, the answer is 'never'. My 7 yr old is quite content to coast on the trail-a-bike. He always leaves his own bike in the lowest gear and maintains a zippy cadence when he's riding himself (albeit topping around 7mph), but on the t-a-b he keeps it on the top gear and turns the crank like twice per minute. He says he gets better exercise that way and still gets places faster.

Our t-a-b is heavier than our trailer, which makes some nice symmetry w/ the 7 yr old weighing more than the 4 yr old also. The answer is definitely to make the 7 yr old ride his own bike so I can pull the trailer and my wife has no load.
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Old 03-12-09, 09:54 AM
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That's a new one ... impressive.
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Old 03-12-09, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
If it's anything like my experience, the answer is 'never'. My 7 yr old is quite content to coast on the trail-a-bike. He always leaves his own bike in the lowest gear and maintains a zippy cadence when he's riding himself (albeit topping around 7mph), but on the t-a-b he keeps it on the top gear and turns the crank like twice per minute. He says he gets better exercise that way and still gets places faster.
My 5 year old does the same thing on our trail-a-bike.
Every once in a while I can convince him to pedal when we want to see how fast both of us can go.

Last Sunday we were riding past a retail store. I looked over and caught his reflection in the window.
The little boy was leaning forward resting his head on the handlebars.
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Old 03-12-09, 10:26 AM
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I am surprised to see the sidecar on the right of the bike. Is it of UK origin?
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Old 03-12-09, 10:28 AM
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All of the sidecars I have encountered in Denver are on the right. I would guess to keep the kid on the side not closest to traffic if one is riding on the street.
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Old 03-12-09, 10:47 AM
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Side car is a cool idea.
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Old 03-12-09, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by AndrewP View Post
I am surprised to see the sidecar on the right of the bike. Is it of UK origin?
Sidecars go on the left on motorcycles in the UK, on the right over here. A buddy of mine gave me a ride in his 1950 Vincent with a sidecar mounted on the left, and it was "interesting" being so close to traffic like that. Her's is on the correct side.
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Old 03-12-09, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by djork View Post
Whoa, that's way cool! I've never seen a side car setup on a bike--didn't know they exist. Very cool!
Likewise! The slicks should make pedaling easier for you, as would making sure the wheel on the sidecar is aligned right (ala wheel alignments for cars) . It looks like it's angled out to the right in the picture, or is it on correctly and it just looks crooked? Having all the wheels pointing in the right direction will make pedaling easier too.
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Old 03-12-09, 11:31 AM
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No doubt about it now, you're definitely my hero.

That's a sweet rig. I might look into the sidecar thing. I stopped using my trailer much because my 60+ lbs of twins didn't get along so well back there.
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Old 03-12-09, 11:53 AM
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Neat setup!
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Old 03-12-09, 11:59 AM
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Excellent solution! I may copy that...
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