To follow up Angela’s introduction to our new cargo & kid bike, here are some details and thoughts for others who might like to try this set up.
I got advice from local xtracycle riders (including Cambridge City Counsilor Craig Kelley, who was a great resource) that disc brakes and 26″ tires are preferable for easy maintenance and strength, and also because of some peculiarities of the xtracycle free radical kit. We also preferred a more upright posture, which is actually kind of hard to find in a 26″ bike. We ended up settling on the Trek SU 2.0, which is sort of a cross between a mountain bike and a commuter bike.
The xtracycle conversion went on great, after some confusion over what was the proper disc brake rotor. The bike mechanics at Quad Bikes did a great job.
Unfortunately, the peapod seat (also known as the Bobike Maxi+ in Europe) did not fit perfectly, due to our small bike frame (Angela is very little 5′ 1″). I think there are small frames that it would fit, but a little frame really restricts the number of installation options. I won’t bore you with details, but the upshot is that we got the seat to fit….sort of. It is too reclined for my preferences, had to be mounted on the seat post, and only barely clears the extracycle snap deck. At first the seat post mounting made me nervous, but I’ve since gotten over it, since there are other seats actually designed to attach to the seat post. If the struts supporting the footrests were longer and/or the ATB bracket attached to the bike were just slightly shorter, it would fit perfectly. It works well enough to hang onto and use for now, but won’t be as useful as H gets bigger, so I’m still on a quest for a way to fix the seat attachment or get a better seat. I’m rather enthralled with this DIY set up that I saw described on the rootsradicals group. I wonder if we could pull off something similar.
If I had it to do over, I would first purchase the peapod seat alone, take it to the bike shop, and make sure that whatever bike we were getting would fit the kid seat, since that turned out to be the most restrictive compatibility issue. We might have had to give up on either the disc brakes or the 26″ tires to get it to work, though.
Despite my annoyance about the seat, this bike is great. H loves it. It handles amazingly well. Suddenly errands we just avoided or couldn’t do with H in tow are easy and fun. I was doubtful when I first heard folks saying this bike would change our lives. Not anymore. Local folks who are interested should feel free to contact us for a test ride.
Nathan lives in North Cambridge, MA with his wife and two kids, and prefers never to be in cars if he can avoid it. Nathan thinks parenting is way more fun when you don't have to worry about car seats.
We're the V-C family: Angela, Nathan, H (born 2006), and R (born 2009). We live in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and rely on bikes, public transit and our feet for transportation. We've been writing here about carfree family life since 2008.
We write a lot of stuff on this site about biking with kids. Information here is our opinion only and doesn't reflect any kind of official endorsement or expert advice. Like much of life, biking (yourself or with your kids) involves some risk, so use your own good judgment before hitting the road (or the bike path).