Trikes and bikes and in between

I have had Harald for almost a week and we’ve been riding every day since then. I look forward to the school run now just so I can take Harald out for a ride. The tilting mechanism makes it fun and the hills are a breeze now that I can stand up and pedal.

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Butchers and Bicycles also produce an electric version but I’m happy we didn’t get that. The old-fashioned pedal technology is enough for me and I don’t find myself struggling on hills but it still gets my heart rate up which is what I want and need.

Almost all kid-carrying cargo bikes are produced in very cycle-friendly places like Denmark and Holland. Because of this most of them cater for young kids only because kids are able to cycle safely by themselves from quite a young age in those places. However that’s not an option here where children must share the space with traffic and few parents will let them do that.

Daniel and Elizabeth are currently 6 and 9 and both are quite tall which meant there were few options. But Harald has exceeded all my expectations in this regard. The seat belts even fit them! It says on the Butchers & Bicycles website that it only goes up to age 6 but the seat belt easily fits over Daniel. It’s a little squashy for them next to each other but no worse than Busby was and there’s plenty of headroom.

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I also love the door on the front that they can walk in and out of. Elizabeth often struggled getting in and out of Busby. I obviously haven’t let her climb enough trees.

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They can also wriggle around in the box without affecting my balance.

Most people look at a trike and think, easy-peasy. But riding a trike is very different to riding a bike and not necessarily any easier or safer. I’ve been bemused this week by all the comments from people who have seen my new bike and think it’s safer and more stable. It’s actually less stable when I’m pushing it and walking beside it because the weight of the children in the front unbalances it. Busby was also hard to walk beside and push but in a different way. Busby wanted to fall to the side whereas Harald wants to fall forwards. Both machines are much more stable when you’re siting on the seat riding them.

I’ve never ridden a non-tilting trike but I imagine they can be unstable on when the ground is not flat. I found this image on the web to demonstrate what I mean:

Source: http://pedal-trikes.blogspot.co.uk/2009/09/trike-riding.html

Harald is not bothered by the road camber or speed bumbs; he leans into the hill and I stay upright. On a regular trike it looks pretty easy to topple over. Tilting trikes can also take corners much faster, not that I’m a speedster around corners. This article explains the physics – http://www.jetrike.com/why-does-tilting-matter.html.

I’m still not totally confident riding him yet but getting better with each day. It took me a while to get used to Busby too.

8 thoughts on “Trikes and bikes and in between

  1. I think it looks brilliant. I’ve taken our kids out on bikes in the traffic a few times to get them used to it – it’s surprising how you tend to zero in on one or two key things – like “do not dither”, and “make sure the motorists know what you are going to do, and then do it”…

    1. How old are your kids? My oldest is 9 and mildly autistic. He has problems checking for traffic when crossing the road on foot and so I don’t think he’s ready to cycle on the road. I wish there was somewhere safe to cycle.

  2. Nice diagram to illustrate your point. Geek alert! I am obviously much too scared to ride a bike in traffic, but I have owned good bikes in the past when I lived in the countryside and it’s such a pleasure to see a good bit of engineering.

    1. Yes, I can really appreciate the engineering, especially when I’m riding the bike. We chose this particular bike for the tilting action and I’m not disappointed.

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