Bike Friends

A few years ago I needed a commuter that could withstand Cleveland roads (and winters) so built the Pugsley.

This is a bike that is built to withstand almost any conditions year round. If you are looking at this and wondering if such a bike is really necessary for commuting to work then I would say two things: 1) you haven’t seen the roads in Cleveland (think surface of the moon); 2) you haven’t spent a lot of time with engineers. In particular, anything that can be designed can be overdesigned, and there is (almost) no such thing as overkill. As expected, the Pugsley got a lot of attention from my cycling friends, though I didn’t anticipate how much attention it would get from the general public. However, the response I have gotten from the Pusgley is nothing compared to the response we have observed to the Bakfiets. Cyclists and non-cyclists alike are incredibly curious about it. About 50% of people ask if I made it, and next they ask where it is from. After hearing my answer a couple times Everett started answering for me: “It’s from the Netherlands,” to which one man recently asked “Is that somewhere out of town?” The Bakfiets is now Everett’s primary transportation method for commuting to school, and has allowed us to participate in the Spokesmen SOCKS (Significant Others, Children and Kids) rides that occurred during the summer on Wednesday evenings. Everett and Chris rode on the Bakfiets, Melissa on her hybrid. As a result of these rides Everett has a lot of new bike friends that he is very fond of, and he often asks “Are we going to see my bike friends?”. One of them is a six year old girl named Sara, around whom Everett starts acting absolutely goofy. He recently informed us that “Sara is my favorite bike friend”.

We are now famous as a result of the Bakfiets, at least among Milwaukee bike geeks. Last Wednesday we rode to Hart Park for a concert and birthday celebration for Everett and George, who are about a week apart in age. The celebration was a couple weeks late, but it’s been difficult to find a time to get both families together. We had brownies with candles, sang Happy Birthday and when we gave one to Everett he said “But it’s not my birthday.” He ate the brownie anyway. While we were there I met Dave Schlabowskie, the bicycle coordinator for the City of Milwaukee. He was really excited to see the Bakfiets, took some pictures and wrote a story about us on his blog. The next evening I was riding home with Everett when another cyclist pulled up alongside us and said “Hey! I saw you on the blog!”. We received similar responses from several other people over the next few days.

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