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Re: Building up fitness to use an Xtracycle for passengering

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  • Catherine
    Thanks everyone for your responses. It seems I have a fair bit of homework to do. My MTB has 21 speeds and the cogs have more teeth for the lowest gear than
    Message 1 of 15 , May 2, 2010
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      Thanks everyone for your responses. It seems I have a fair bit of homework to do. My MTB has 21 speeds and the cogs have more teeth for the lowest gear than mentioned. I might look at changing that. Is it a big job/expensive to have it done?

      I am also seriously considering an electric motor for help up hills. My husband has shown me some available in Australia.

      My bike is the older model of this http://www.cellbikes.com.au/MTX-1-Ladies-Bike..... so pretty basic but good and sturdy. Hopefully it will go well with an Xtracycle added.

      Thanks for the suggestions of the kickback. I think this will be essential to loading children safely. Also, I wonder whether the footsies are good to have for kids? I remember reading they are not compatible with the kickback???? It seems both would be essential for passengering children.

      Thanks to those who sent me a personal email with ideas and suggestions. I enjoyed the pictures. Unfortunately, my computer died before I could respond to any and my husband was not able to recover my emails or addresses before he reformatted.

      I am excited about upgrading to an Xtracycle soon. In the meantime I am riding as often as I can to build up my fitness....and I might just consider getting Oliver (6yr old) to push me from time to time :0)

      Kind Regards

      Catherine

      --- In rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com, "Rich" <astronut1001@...> wrote:
      >
      > Catherine;
      >
      > If you live in a hilly area get the lowest gearing that you can installed on the bike. If using a MTB bike for an xtracycle conversion it should already have a triple ring crankset with a 24 tooth or smaller inner chainring. Combine that with a 32 or 34 tooth largest rear cog and you should have an excellent low.
      >
      > Depending on the bike you intend as the donor bike this might require changing some items such as the rear freewheel/cassette and rear deraileur.
      >
      > I am of the opinion that riding a bike with too high a low gear for your fitness level and riding conditions is a real discouragement to bicycle use.
      >
      > Rich Wood
      >
      > --- In rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com, "Miguel Barroso" <miguelbarroso@> wrote:
      > >
      > > Hi there Catherine...
      > >
      > > I also live in a area where hills are common.. I ride on a daily basis, and I take both my kids to school in the bike (2 and 4 yrs old). To take the youngest one (he weights almost 40 pounds) I have to go up a hill with a 10% slope - it's hard, really hard (specially, because my highest gear is 32 teeth on the front, and 30 on the rear)
      > >
      > > When returning home, I take both of them (around 80 pounds) up a 6% slope, and it's easier... So, first it depends on the slope: up to 4% you will have no problems, even with big cargo... as the slope increases, it all depends on your fit level and the lenght of the hill...
      > >
      > > Cheers,
      > > Miguel Barroso
      > >
      > > www.tambstudio.com
      > > +351919202820
      > > +351210962981
      > >
      > > ----- Original Message -----
      > > From: Liz W. Durham
      > >
      > >
      > > I am new to the group. I have joined to hear a bit about how people like their Xtracycle for passengering their children. I have two boys, almost 4 and 6 and we live in the Blue Mountains, near Sydney (Australia). We would really like to use our car less, though because we live in a small town where everything is spread out and there are lots of hills, this is not always possible. I currently carry my youngest in a baby seat some days to places not too far away but the hills are a killer. I have a very basic fitness level.
      > >
      > > I am interested in hearing stories from Mums and Dads who have an Xtracycle and how you coped with carrying your children. The pictures make it look easy but I know I'll need to get much more fit before retrofitting my bike with an Xtracycle and carrying both my boys. Any tips you have found useful or stories about what made it easier for you? I don't want to buy something that doesn't get used because it's too hard.
      > >
      > > I am looking at maybe getting the hoodie plus a stoker bar and stand (can't remember it's name). Would this be ok for 4 and 6 yr olds?
      > >
      > > Thanks
      > >
      > > Catherine
      > >
      > > ---------------------------------------------
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > One of the great things about bike riding is it works for folks at all fitness levels. Maybe at first your rides will be shorter and slower but over time, if you are riding consistently, you will be making longer faster rides. And if time is not an issue.then just don't worry about that aspect. I know it can seem daunting at first but if you can be patient and consistent you will find your fitness level improving through the day to day experience of riding more and driving less. I also think some of it is a mental thing.
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > I can say that for a regular ride with my 3 ½ year old I do not feel his added weight. Add on a bunch of groceries.I still do not notice much when riding. Unless it is windy. And sometimes the start up from being stopped is a bit slower. Living in Chicago, I cannot speak to hills. I think I have one hill that I occasionally ride. I have ridden it with a load of more than 100 lbs. and definitely needed to shift gears. Slow slow slow but the pedaling was still fairly easy.
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > The double kickstand is a must in my opinion! It gives extra stability that really helps when loading and unloading (be it kids or stuff).
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Finally, I will say that I absolutely love using my bike for transportation with my son!! He loves it too. His experience with the world around him is so much better and stronger because he is a part of it rather than isolated. Given a choice of going on the bike or going in a car........9 times out of 10 he says bike.
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > -Liz
      > >
      >
    • Cara Lin Bridgman
      It s almost not too strong to say the electric motor has saved my marriage. Pre-motor, I arrived home so hot and cranky with heat exhaustion that we had
      Message 2 of 15 , May 2, 2010
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        It's almost not too strong to say the electric motor has saved my
        marriage. Pre-motor, I arrived home so hot and cranky with heat
        exhaustion that we had 'walk-in-the-door' fights. Now I have the motor,
        those sorts of fights are more rare.

        CL
        who has to climb about 250 meters to get home.


        Catherine wrote:
        > I am also seriously considering an electric motor for help up hills. My husband has shown me some available in Australia.
      • Tyler
        Hi Catherine, I could go on and on about my family Xtracycle, but I ll sum it up by agreeing with all of the electric assist praise. I pursued my build both
        Message 3 of 15 , May 2, 2010
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          Hi Catherine,

          I could go on and on about my family Xtracycle, but I'll sum it up by agreeing with all of the electric assist praise. I pursued my build both to satisfy the geek inside me and for my petite wife to tote the kids around on local trips. We also regularly pull our 3rd child in a trailer (buggy?) with no problem. As much as I enjoy this setup, the bicycle is no longer manufactured, and the build with an Xtracycle requires a new rear wheel. That said, it's still very affordable for the quality of bicycle and has a great design that is easy for anyone to use. I'd be happy to share more details if you are interested.

          My kids are 5 and 6 in this photo, but the first rode it when 4 and 5. They ride their own bicycles pretty far now, but I still use it for to haul them in high traffic areas or at night.

          http://i101.photobucket.com/albums/m67/legot73/018.jpg

          Tyler

          --- In rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com, "Catherine" <catshort@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hi there,
          >
          > I am new to the group. I have joined to hear a bit about how people like their Xtracycle for passengering their children. I have two boys, almost 4 and 6 and we live in the Blue Mountains, near Sydney (Australia). We would really like to use our car less, though because we live in a small town where everything is spread out and there are lots of hills, this is not always possible. I currently carry my youngest in a baby seat some days to places not too far away but the hills are a killer. I have a very basic fitness level.
          >
          > I am interested in hearing stories from Mums and Dads who have an Xtracycle and how you coped with carrying your children. The pictures make it look easy but I know I'll need to get much more fit before retrofitting my bike with an Xtracycle and carrying both my boys. Any tips you have found useful or stories about what made it easier for you? I don't want to buy something that doesn't get used because it's too hard.
          >
          > I am looking at maybe getting the hoodie plus a stoker bar and stand (can't remember it's name). Would this be ok for 4 and 6 yr olds?
          >
          > Thanks
          >
          > Catherine
          >
        • Catherine
          Hehehe...you are talking my language :0) Except my husband is mostly at sea so it will be my boys who will benefit from Mummy s happy return home with an
          Message 4 of 15 , May 3, 2010
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            Hehehe...you are talking my language :0) Except my husband is mostly at
            sea so it will be my boys who will benefit from Mummy's happy return
            home with an electric motor on board. 250m is huge!!! We have quite a
            few metres difference between towns here but I am not ready to ride too
            far as there are so many big trucks on the main road and it doesn't feel
            safe. We need more bike paths :0(

            Catherine
          • Catherine
            Hi Tyler, It sounds very worthwhile. Great picture. Do most electric systems require the back wheel to be changed? My husband was the same :0) As soon as I
            Message 5 of 15 , May 3, 2010
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              Hi Tyler,

              It sounds very worthwhile. Great picture. Do most electric systems
              require the back wheel to be changed?

              My husband was the same :0) As soon as I mentioned the idea of adding an
              electric motor he was on his computer researching motors and showing me
              pictures. He'll be happy to add a new piece of technology to the bike.

              My boys are looking forward to getting around on my bike. They are both
              very much beginner riders, both with training wheels and not really
              enough confidence to ride far. I doesn't help that we live in hills and
              we have to drive the bikes at least 20 min to find a flat place for them
              to learn.

              Please...detail away.

              Catherine
            • Elise Giddings
              Hi Catherine- I can understand your situation very well, as I have a similar situation. I carry my 3 girls (age 6, 2.5 and 2.5) and want to use the car less.
              Message 6 of 15 , May 3, 2010
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                Hi Catherine-

                I can understand your situation very well, as I have a similar situation. I carry my 3 girls (age 6, 2.5 and 2.5) and want to use the car less. Some of the hills in my area I can barely make it up with everyone, and while we can do most of them, it's a slow process to get anywhere involving a lot of granny gear. I have a moderate level of fitness - not as good as I used to be when I had time to mountain bike all the time, but not too bad! It was a real delimma for me, because I've always been a big bike commuter and don't like driving, but I'd never had to carry so much weight. I just found it really hard to get motivated, especially if I was feeling tired (not unusual with 3 small children) or running late (often). We live about 7 miles from the center of town, so it's a good 15 mile round trip just to go to town. The car was so easy....

                So I decided to get the electric assist on my bike and it's made a huge difference! I know there are lots of people out there who do it without, and those people rock! But for me, I just ride the bike so much more with the assist than I would without. The practicalities of life just took over the idealistic nature that I didn't need it. And I'm still saving huge amounts of energy by not driving the car. (the most annoying people are those ones who think the assist is cheating somehow but then drive their cars 3 miles to the start of a road ride - I don't think I'll offend anyone on this list by saying that but if I did, too bad!).

                Anyway, now taking the bike really is convenient and that makes it competitive with the car. I still get a little workout (I choose how much) and it takes a little longer than driving (a LOT faster than without the assist), but the benefits of having happy kids in the back rather than them fighting in the car is incredible. What is it with the car? On the days I do drive, I often arrive home frazzled and annoyed, while that is not nearly as common on the bike, where they seem less prone to needle-ing each other. I've become sort of an evangelist for electric cargo bikes because it's really touched my life in such a big way. I used to drive every day. Now I drive about once a week. When I started looking into the energy used in driving, I became even more of an evangelist because cars are just such energy hogs. It motivated me even more to keep doing it!

                I know getting set up with a cargo bike, and especially adding electric assist is a pretty big up-front cost. But if you look at it as replacing a car or car trips, I think it makes it seem less so. For me (and I suspect many others here), the benefits of biking vs. driving are so huge, that it becomes worth it over time. I wouldn't go back now that I have the setup that I do. In fact, I'd sell my cars first. People see me riding with my bucket full of kids and think I'm a super-woman. Sometimes I tell them about the assist - sometimes I just let them think that : ) But mostly, we just enjoy the riding. Cheers to all the super women (and men) who are out there now exposing our kids to a great lifestyle. I hope you'll decide to join us one way or the other!

                -Elise Giddings
                Cycle 9

                You can check out my video blog about lifestyle biking on my website - here http://www.cycle9.com/category/go-by-bike/
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