Re: [rootsradicals] Re: Building up fitness to use an Xtracycle for passengering
- 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.
who has to climb about 250 meters to get home.
> I am also seriously considering an electric motor for help up hills. My husband has shown me some available in Australia.
- 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.
--- In email@example.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?
- 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(
- 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
- 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!
You can check out my video blog about lifestyle biking on my website - here http://www.cycle9.com/category/go-by-bike/