Tuesday, March 17, 2009

a bike for the whole family?

Last week my wife and I were desperately trying to kill time - waiting for her to go into labor. Now that our son is here, I've got to get serious about this kids bikes dads business. He'll I'll be chomping at the bit to get out and ride together before I know it.

While perusing the streets of Santa Monica - we stumbled into a small studio space with these beautiful bikes pictured below:

The story goes - the seller made a trip to Copenhagen and noticed the beautiful bikes and wanted to distribute them here in the United States. They are called Trio Bikes. The genius of their design is that the Trio Bike can be converted from family carry-all, to normal bicycle, and to large baby stroller.

The front portion can carry up to 170 lbs safely, so for most people that could include a spouse/partner in front with child while the other spouse provides the legs. I was told that this weight limit could be exceeded, so long as the spouse on the bike seat is heavy enough to counter-balance the weight up front.

I took this little guy for a spin and was very impressed at how light it was. The Trio Bike rivals a Bakfiets in functionality, but seems to be a fraction of the weight. The Bakfiets are probably superior in quality/durability, but the Trio can be deconstructed to take up significantly less space than a Bakfiets.

One handling issue that needed to be addressed was the front disk brake. The bike itself is equipped with a coaster brake and a front disk brake. The brake was very squishy and I would not trust it with a fully loaded cargo. I'm sure that this could be resolved by any knowledgeable bike mechanic - so do not fret.

One additional feature of the Trio bike that was of particular interest to me was the infant seat adapter. I have yet to see a bike that safely addresses the needs of parents and families who seek to bicycle with infants. Josef at Flying Pigeon did a quality job McGyvering a child seat into his Bakfiets - but for those of us who lack the capital to push $2-3K around to get this dream off the ground... possibilities appear limited.

I've heard of some individuals procuring an infant seat adapter into a standard Burley-type trailer. I haven't found these for myself yet as my research has been cursory at best, but that is probably the option we'll be going if we can find something reputable and safe.

Back to the Trio - the aesthetics are quite nice and you have to give a tip of the cap to them for the functionality of its de/re-constructability. I prefer the rugged utilitarian aesthetic of the Bakfiets, but I also lack the space and or cash to store this type of vehicle.

Any of you have experience with these types of issues? If you are interested more in more info on the Trio bike let me know. I took the guy's card, but can't find it at present.