Saturday, February 16, 2013

Bobike MIni

#2 arrived in February of 2011.  Her older sister and I have been happily rolling along with our WeeHoo, but we'll need to modify our rig to allow for another rider.  The first ideas to pop into my head were to purchase either a two seat trailer, such as a Burley, or add a front mounted child seat.  I've experience pulling loads on a modified InStep trailer, and I'm not a big fan of anchoring weight via a hub skewer.  I didn't like the way the load handled and it didn't seamlessly integrate into my ride.  Have you ever been hiking with a backpack, then snag your pack on a passing branch and have your momentum jolted backwards?  That's what it felt like to me,whenever I'd start pedaling from a dead stop with a loaded, skewer mounted trailer.

A modified InStep child trailer I built for hauling.

I decided to add a front mounted seat to my bike, as the WeeHoo would interfere with a rear mounted seat. The leading contenders were the ibert, Bobike Mini and the Yepp.  I liked the mounting system for the Bobike better than that of the ibert.  The ibert secures, what I perceived to be a spike, around the headset with a couple of bolts.  The Bobike mount is a headset spacer.  There are no bolts to loosen and no way to spear oneself on a spike when not using the seat, with the Bobike.  I'd not seen a Yepp in person.

I found a Bobike Mini on Craigslist with a wind screen.  I picked it up the next day.  Fun fact: The Bobike comes with a 1" headset mount for quill stems.  My bike has a threadless 1 1/8" headset, so I needed to special order a new mount.  Once I installed the mount and the seat on my Surly, I found that I couldn't ride it.  The Bobike's seat back interfered with my ability to reach my drop bars, and my gut barely fit between my saddle and the child seat, when standing.

Fortunately for me, I'm a bicycle addict and I just happened to have a step through framed bicycle in my basement waiting for a purpose.  I swapped the mount and the seat over to it.  It was still a tight fit for my gut, but I was at least able to steer, brake and shift.  The first test ride with the Bobike on front and the WeeHoo on the back was, of course, a hoot!  We rode to the Big Apple Circus at Boston City Hall and hit a few playgrounds on the way back.  We must have been quite a sight because it seemed everyone was pointing and waving "Hi" to us.  Good times.  The front mounted seat fit much better for the missus, as she is much more petite than I.  The missus is not a big bike rider, but she enjoyed coming for a spin with this setup.

In the end, I was able to use the rig, but it was not as comfortable for me as I would have hoped.  It was comfortable for my wife, and I believe most petite riders will enjoy the setup, too.  I started researching bakfiets; wow!  I began saving my pennies.  Next review: CETMA Largo.

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