This is how we roll…

Our vehicle of choice is a ‘classic’ Bakfiets. I worked to get this to Vermont last summer, tweaked it a bit, and have been enjoying it ever since. The Bakfiets is set up for Amsterdam family transport – it is the equivalent of the stereotypical minivan for Dutch soccer moms. We’ve added a brighter LED headlight, some reflective striping, cork grips, a Brooks saddle, Ortlieb large panniers (from my touring rig), and a traditional kids tent. The bike offers a looong wheelbase for plenty of cargo hauling – this is the ‘long’ version – designed for 3 children up front (or up to 175 pounds of cargo, wife, dog, groceries, etc.). The integrated rear rack can hold another 75 pounds. A sturdy 26″ wheel in the back sports a skirt guard, roller brakes, and a wheel lock – the 20″ wheel in the front a bottle dyno (newer models have a hub dyno) roller brakes, and the connection to the steering linkage.

I removed the front bench (designed for 2 children, with straps) and mounted our extra car seat base in the front box using 2 stainless eye bolts and the base’s hold downs, with a bit of foam for shock absorption. The seat portion snaps in and out quickly, and the base comes out in a few minutes. The traditional kid tent allows us to travel in all weather – although we have not been out in the rain yet – but we have been out in wind chill below freezing. The kid tent is a great wind break – and with the solar gain it keeps my little one toasty warm. The front of the box carries child care goodies and an extra bike lock. I tote cargo about in the Ortliebs.

9 Replies to “This is how we roll…”

  1. Ah Mike, nice to see the vision completed. Looks like you are all doing well, if you are out riding with the little one in the cold.

    Jim Sweitzer

  2. Looks great Mike. I just got a Big Dummy rolling so I’m feeling the long bike love myself…=)

    Congrats….you little one looks quite cozy in your cargo rig.

  3. Your bakfiets is very close to the spec we have in mind for our next one. We currently have a De Fietsfabriek 995, but in anticipation of having to share the school run, we plan on getting a CargoBike too. We’re thinking of getting the Classic model with the silver tent with the new folding poles, probably a rear facing mount for the Weber baby supporter we already have (again, in the news section of the dutch site), and adding some Reelights for extra visibility. Having the De Fietsfabriek already has given us some insights into what we’d want ideally, but I’d love to hear from a current owner what tweaks you’d suggest, and any foibles or pitfalls I could address when speccing the bike. One of the things were not sure about is the Brookes saddle. How’s it working out for you?

    We’re in the UK, so plan to go direct to WorkCycles. Both Henry and Chris have been super-helpful, even helping out on stuff for the De Fietsfabriek.

  4. DrMekon –

    There are really no pitfalls to report. I’ve met and worked with Henry a bit – they are great folks to do business with.

    We’ve mounted our car carrier in the Bak. It works well – but I cannot wait until our little one is old enough to face forward and enjoy the ride. When I’ve used the bike with my nephews and friend’s children it is such a joy to have an active participant in the ride up front – as opposed to a passive child strapped into a trailer or on a rear seat.

    RE: Brooks – I love the Brooks – and I run them on my fixed wheel and my long distance bike. My wife is also getting used to the notion of the saddle on the Bakfiets – she resisted until she rode it and was surprised by the comfort. Other than keeping a grocer’s bag under the saddle to cover it when we park in the rain I’ve had no problems.

  5. Would love to see the picture of how you solved the car seat holder, as I am inspired to do something similar. Last pic does not seem to work and I am hoping that is the one that shows how it works. Thank you so much for inspiring me! Leonasmum

  6. Our car seats came with bases that can stay put in the (car). I took a base, used the strapping that came with it for hooking to later model cars with the child hooks. I added 2 eye bolts to the rear of the cargo area. The car seat base sits in the bottom, tight to the rear wall of the box (closest to the rider). The straps clip to the eye bolts, pulling the base tight to the box. I’ve added some dense foam for shock absorption under the head side of the base. We can unsnap the seat and put it in the car when (rarely) needed without too much trouble.

    My first try was to bolt the base down – but the bak bounces my little one around so much – and in a car the base is only attached at the rear – so I figured this would work just as well. I tighten up as hard as I can – and with the foam taken a bit of the bump out it works well.

    I was (still am) a bit worried about big bumps – the long wheelbase acts as a good sized lever – so I slow waaaaaay down when I see a bump or crack I don’t know well. I have some foam from a designer friend on the way that he thinks will work better – if it does I may be able to not bump my little one awake. Usually I hit a small bump just as she falls asleep!

    Overall I feel it is safe and secure – and when ridden at moderate speeds on roads and paths I do not know I feel safe. I sometimes ride fairly fast (for a cargo bike!) on my ‘regular’ routes.

  7. Wow! Neat Rig.
    I’m passing this on to my son,who lives in the Pacific Norht Wet. It’d be perfect for him.

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