Actually, I see really inventive, unique bikes everyday. And I really need to have the camera ready to snap pictures more often. But the bike I spotted today is cool for several reasons. So cool it turned me into a bit of a bike commute stalker (with good intentions). As I rode across the Lyndale Avenue pedestrian bridge I saw a man carrying his son on a Workcycle Bakfeit. Never heard of one? Neither had I until a few months ago when I stumbled upon a Minneapolis blog about the virtues of biking in the slow lane. Tad Salyards wrote about his belief that “neon-clad combat bikers” were an awful advertisement for everyday biking. I thought his was a refreshing viewpoint. What if more of us biked to work, to the store, to school… slowly? What if our commutes were more about the journey and less about the destination? His point got to me. And I’d been thinking about it often since I launched my attempt to embrace the bike life.
That brings us to today. There I was chugging along on my heavy mountain bike with the Burley in tow, mentally clicking through my Monday morning to-do list when I spotted a man carrying a boy on a Bakfeit. He was riding in front of me at a leisurely pace, wearing his work clothes and enjoying the ride. I pedaled faster to get a better look. I thought to myself, “That’s the guy! That has to be the guy who blogged about the slow ride.” When I got to work I tracked down the Bakfeit blogger’s email address and sent him a note, “Hello: I feel a little bit like a commuter stalker but I was biking into work today… and I saw a man with his son in a front cargo bike…was it you?” Within an hour I had my answer: yes it was! Tad was taking his son to daycare. Not only did he reply with a nice kudos for my biking effort, he also offered to let me give the Bakfeit a test drive. That’s a very kind gesture considering I’d have to go to Chicago or Seattle to find a store that has them in stock and ready to ride. I am very tempted to make a trip to see family in Chicago and check out the Dutch Bike shop. But first, I look forward to meeting Tad and hearing his stories about being a working father who’s found a way to enjoy the journey everyday.
August 23 Update: Thanks to @CharlieQuimby I discovered that Varsity Bikes sells a similar cargo bike called the Babboe City for $2500. Hey, it’s cheaper than some cars.
Angela Keegan Benson is the Assistant News Director at WCCO-TV and a mother of two. On August 1, 2011 she began her quest to live one full year as a bike commuter. Follow along as she figures out how to mesh the cycling culture with the demands of parenthood and an affinity for 4-inch heels. And yes, she’s committed to sticking it out through February storms. For more Cycling In The Cities, follow @Angela_Keegan on Twitter.