Friday, October 02, 2015

Cargo bike love: Xtracycle

This is my new crush and main mode of child transportation: my Xtracycle Edgerunner 10e.
It is basically magic.

I mean, I know it's engineering. And maybe some pixie dust.

For years Nick had tried to convince me to get a bike, and for years I wasn't interested. I walking and running, and can walk to the kids' schools, grocery stores, everything. We have a jogging stroller. And a car for big grocery shopping.

The last bike I could remember owning was my pink Huffy when I was a kid. About 15 years ago, I went home to Germany with with a boyfriend. He and I borrowed his parents' bikes to meet friends at a pub in the next village; we drank too much beer, and I wobbled into a ditch on the way home.

So, I was not a biker. I did not need a bike, thankyouverymuch.

This was before my friend Andrea lent me her Xtracycle for a week!

It was fantastic. When the week was over I missed it. I needed my own nownownow.

I headed straight over to Bicycle Space to check out cargo bikes.

I asked about Xtracycle and Yuba cargo bikes. And I wanted to discuss the regular bike versus one with e-assist (meaning an electric motor that assists with pedaling), and ready-made or retrofit. With motors you have the option to retrofit any bike, or to buy one built with it. Xtracycle's e-assist versions come with Bosch motors.

The staff didn't push at all, and they were also kind when I said that I really knew nothing about biking whatsoever except for my Xtracycle week.

These bikes are expensive, and big investments. I wanted to know that I'd get a lot of use out of it for a long time.

We ultimately determined that some version of an Xtracycle Edgerunner was the bike for us.

Once we made a final decision, we bought it from Bicycle Space. I've since stopped in about 54 times to buy kiddy bike bells (two, so we have no fighting) and ask questions and so forth. I'm waiting for my lights to arrive. They are super friendly and helpful--a nice store to have an ongoing relationship with.

The Xtracycle back wheel is smaller than the front, so your center of gravity is lower, giving more stability. Also, they're both able to climb up into it. No lifting.

Here's the deal. My son, Jordan, at over 60 lbs, is too heavy for Nick's bike seat. India, at 33-ish lbs, still fits. But this always engenders sibling rivalry because why does India get to ride with Daddy when Jordan has to ride his stinky scooter? It's not fair!


So, I pick the up India mid-day, and then she wants to come along when we pick up her brother. She's capable of walking to his school and back, but if he has his scooter, she wants to scoot too.

But she doesn't really know how. So whenever we go out with it, it actually means me bending over and pulling her the whole way. Or carrying her. And the scooter.

My alternative for pickup was bringing her in the jogging stroller. This resulted in jealousy. And me struggling to push both kids in the stroller, while balancing the scooter on top.

But with my new Xtracycle, I can carry both kids together!
They climb into the Hooptie and hold onto the rails. I was riding them home from school the other day and Jordan said, "This is the best day of my life!"

I can fill the side bags with backpacks and lunches and really, an extraordinary amount of stuff! I've even hauled Jordan's scooter with us!

I've only had it for a couple weeks. I'm still learning. My kids together weight just shy of 100 lbs, and I have to keep reminding them not to wiggle. Or fight.

I'm really cautious but getting bolder in traffic. Not that I'm not careful. I'm extremely careful.

But I went from being a not-biker to a biker with heavy and precious cargo. And on just about every road I've been on, someone is double-parked in the bike lane. Which means going out into the car lane to get around them.

We opted for e-assist, and we got the one with the Bosch motor already installed. There was a fuchsia one, but no motor. Motor version comes in black.

I chose practicality over fuchsia.

The bike is both long and heavy. The kids are big and only getting bigger. And when I borrowed Andrea's bike, we nearly fell over a couple times trying to get started on a hill, because I am just not strong enough to pedal all three of us.

The motor doesn't drive the bike for you. It just helps you when you're pedaling.

What I like to tell people is that you're still doing the work; you're just more awesome.

I use it as little as possible, because I want to be doing the work and feel awsome on my own. A couple friends have seen us going by and called me a bad-ass.

When we're going uphill and we start to slow down because I'm working really hard, my kids will say, "You can do it, Mama! You're doing a great job!"

They're happy, I'm happy, and it's terrific. I love all of it.

My bike is nicer and worth more than my first car by a long shot. I'd like to tell you my bike is perfect, and it's very close.

I guess I'd call it perfect if it were fuchsia.

And maybe cooked dinner once in a while.


  1. Do they wear seatbelts when they ride? This looks so awesome! Cooper doesn't like to ride in the bike trailer anymore, so we're trying to find a better solution.

    1. They don't have seatbelts. But the Hooptie has two sets of bars and comes up pretty high, so they're secure. They hold onto the inside ones.

  2. Spectacular! I love your new ride. And the beaming smiles. So happy for yall! Enjoy!

    1. Woohoo! Thank you, Heather! It's so fun!

  3. I wish this was available in India!!!! Looks so much fun for both you and the kids!

    1. That would be terrific! When we were in Delhi, I was pretty chicken about biking in traffic, and that was without kids! And long before what I understand now to be insane traffic.


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