Family Biking and Workcycles Fr8

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When I lived in Chicago I had one nice and one junky bike consecutively stolen.  After that I forgot about having a bike for a while.  When we moved to Minneapolis I started thinking about riding a Vespa about for a nice, economical form of transportation.  I abandoned that idea because of snow, cost, and health (safety) factors Elizabeth kept reminding me about.  Around that time I started looking at bicycles, and one style in particular caught my eye.

I started looking specifically at Dutch bikes because I wanted a bicycle that was above anything else practical – heavy duty, indestructible in all weather, a workhorse, and comfortable.  I found several websites with specific information on these bikes: here, here, and here.  Also, I read extremely intriguing information about biking in general in the Netherlands – see here.

Well, we ended up just getting a couple of bicycles from used shops around Minneapolis.  Mine was an older Raleigh, but not old enough to have rod brakes (not actually desirable, it turns out) or a more upright position.  It has a horribly uncomfortable seat and after riding it for a while my shoulders begin to hurt from being hunched over.  My pants regularly get caught by the chain and stained with grease.

We both wanted to cycle with our son, Basil, so we ended up getting a used Burley trailer.  Basil hated it at first but eventually started liking it.  It was not too difficult to ride with, but it almost seemed like he wasn’t along for the ride.  He might fall asleep without me knowing it because he was so far behind.  If I wanted to point something out I would need to dangerously turn around and shout it.  It was impossible to have a conversation, so I would often just cycle as if he wasn’t there at all.

Then my mother purchased us a wonderful child seat for bicycles.

Basil loved it, and it was so much better to ride with him between my arms.  I could ask him for a kiss and he could just tip his head up and give me one.  We could talk about whatever we were seeing or going to see.  It was a little bit uncomfortable on the bike, however.  My knees hit the seat if I didn’t splay them out a bit.  And there wasn’t enough space between my seat and his if I needed to step off the seat for a moment.

After looking at some of the Dutch bikes for about a year, we decided to get one.  I chose a bicycle maker in Amsterdam who is actually an American expat, named Henry.  His business is called Workcycles.  I ended up buying the bicycle from Adeline Adeline, one of only six U.S. dealers.

I started looking at the Omafiets but ended up leaning toward the more unique Fr8 design because it better fit the above mentioned qualities, whereas the Omafiets was heavy on a nice but unnecessary aesthetic styling.

I should like to give a more thorough review later, but here are some pictures of how it’s working out so far.

With and without child seat:

Extremely wide, thick tires (Schwalbe Fat Franks):

Brooks leather saddle:

Chain case:

Double-wide milk crate (thrift store) with cutout for child seat:

Setting Basil in:

Strapping on the “yellow hat”:

Enjoying the ride:

 

  

Admittedly, I still look goofy – but less so!  And Basil really has fun in his seat.

He is such a big boy.

  

Mama is also a big mama.  Doing well, here she is at 24 weeks!

~Eric

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4 Responses to “Family Biking and Workcycles Fr8”

  1. markandclaire Says:

    That is one nice bike seat. Mine has a silly “Breast Cancer Awareness” ribbon on it. As if my bike seat is somehow able to help fight cancer.

  2. yia-yia brooke Says:

    hey, lets see some “FR8” on that bike!

  3. AK the Second Says:

    So glad you posted these new pictures. We miss you guys. And for the record – Stella also loved riding in that awesome bike seat. I have some cute pictures of the two of you which I’ll have to figure out how to send your way…

  4. Mary Says:

    Lizzy, glad to you hear you are doing well! Your hair is so long and pretty!

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