Our neighbors stopped by the other day to test ride one of our Xtracycles. They took it for a little spin with their daughter on the back. We love (and even enourage) impromptu Xtracycle test rides. We can’t wait until someone we know takes the plunge. Come on – you know who you are – just go for it!
Anyway – our conversation turned to bakfietsen and whether or not they would work in our neighborhood. I’m not convinced. I haven’t actually ridden one (I guess I should really do that before giving my opinion about them…) but I have a feeling they wouldn’t be ideal for our hilly neighborhood. Just hauling kids on the Xtracycle up the many hills: to school, the grocery store and the library is enough for me. I don’t know if I could haul the extra weight of a bakfiets. Also – would the braking be good enough for my riding style? – I love to bomb down hills and hit the disk brakes at the very last minute. Our four year old likes it too “Don’t use your brakes unless you really have to, mom” When we visited Portland last summer, Todd at Clever Cycles cautioned that the braking on the bakfiets is meant for slow and steady riding not fast and furious. I’m sure I could adjust. If I had a bakfiets, I don’t think I’d have a Trader Joe’s panic again.
While he was here, our neighbor also threw out the idea of a shared neighborhood bakfiets – families could go in on one and use it collectively. That’s actually a really good idea. Kinda like a neighborhood truck share – where a few families buy a beater truck and share it for dump runs and yearly compost hauling etc. I could think of a bunch of uses for one: grocery store runs, library runs, hauling kids to school, bikepools etc. (Of course I can, I’m already on board with using bikes instead of cars.) A neighborhood bakfiets would be a good way to get others hooked. Although, I do have a feeling everyone would love it so much and find enough uses for it, they wouldn’t want to share anymore. I guess when that happened, they would just have to buy one of their own!
I’m lusting after so many bikes these days – we’re going to have to build a bigger garage to hold all of them. I guess that’s better than lusting after cars.