got my X, how I decided to get an X. hauling kids
I haven't had a chance to post since I picked up my Xtracycle about 3 weeks ago, but I'm just loving it! It is so nice to be able to just throw my pocketbook (always too full of stuff), library books and whatnot in the back and ride off to do errands. It handles beautifully. And the new bike (Marin Novato with 26" wheels) is geared lower than any of my other bikes. I'm in a hilly area (around Seattle ) and out of shape, so the hills aren't easy, but I do get up many of them even with the groceries.
I posted a while back when thinking about getting an Xtracycle, and, thanks to the great thoughts and advice here, I decided to get one. For those of you considering one, also look at the archived messages, where you will find many useful posts about choosing and configurations.
I have a 9 year old who likes his independence, so I decided to get an X rather than a tandem. This way my son can ride on his own but I can tow him and his bike when he is tired. We homeschool most of the time (he attends school very part-time), so he often comes with me to do errands. The X allows me to put groceries in the back plus my son (and his bike), which would not be so easy with panniers on a tandem. I have even gotten half way up our local killer hill with him, groceries, and his bike.
The wide-loaders were not in stock when I got my X, so I have just been putting the front wheel of my son's bike into the FreeRadical pannier and strapping it down tight, as suggested by someone on this list. (Forgive me, I can't remember who it was, and I would look up your name if I wasn't panic-cleaning the house for guests today). I've carried him 3-4 miles, even up the hill and towing his bike and it has been fine, although turns are a bit tricky when towing the bike. Also, his front brake caliper scratched up the snap deck a bit. I will order the wide-loaders and possibly the Tray Bien. I didn't get the Footsies, since I plan to get the wide-loaders, but my son doesn't seem to mind. I did get big comfy stoker handlebars for him, and he really likes that.
My son does get a bit bored and starts squirming around, which makes controlling the bike difficult (especially on my small frame). We usually listen to books-on-tape in the car, so I'm thinking of getting him an MP3 player and letting him listen to books while I pedal. All in all, he really enjoys the X, and is already asking me when he will be old enough to borrow it. I told him for every mile I carry him now, he'll have to carry me half that when he's ready to ride it! We'll see!
Very interesting discussions about electric-assist. I'm going to see what I can do without for now, but I definitely see how having the assist would make me even more likely to take the X instead of the car.