Sunday, August 12, 2012

My first adventure on the Bakfiets

As I've mentioned before, my husband has a Bakfiets, which is a Dutch cargo bike. It is pretty much the coolest thing since sliced bread; it is also VERY BIG. Because of its sheer size, it is very intimidating; so when Don asked me if I wanted to try riding the Bakfiets while my bike is in the shop, I thought, But then I was getting the itch to go for a ride (I know, I was as shocked as you are) and so I thought, Okay, why not? 

Famous last words.
For my inaugural Bakfiets journey I decided to take a short, one mile (not even) ride to the "corner store," and was about ready to fall over by the time I got there. It took me a little bit to catch my breath, and I stepped into the store's "Beer Cave" (basically a big walk in fridge) to cool down. Now, it was definitely a difficult ride, but I don't think it was because of the size of the Bakfiets. I definitely think the difficulty of the ride was due to (a) the fact that I am severely out of shape and (b) the fact that I have become accustomed to conquering hills with my motor assist. In fact, I kept trying to hit my throttle and was disappointed each time it didn't work.  (*shakes fist* KHHHHAAAAAAAAANN!!!)

I tried to ride it today to the pool, but there were a few hills on the way there and again, I was about ready to fall over by the time our ride was completed. But...I think I could get used to it in time, and I also think that someone without a medical condition like mine would have an easier time with it. It is actually quite a smooth ride and is easy to maneuver; in fact, it takes corners better than my Revive, and feels more sturdy. So...if you're interested in a bike that could carry more than what you could fit on a pannier rack, this bike might be for you. (And it's also a great candidate for motor assist!)

In case anyone is interested in finding out more about the Bakfiets, I thought I'd provide a couple of links for you. Adeline Adeline is where we purchased our bike, though there are a few other places in the U.S. that sell them (you'd likely have to have it shipped). Also, a simple Google image search will show you many of these Bakfietsen in motion. It is definitely a more expensive bike, as it is (a) extremely well made and (b) quite different than your average bike. All of the gears, chain, etc. (forgive my lack of "lingo") are fully enclosed, so they are not subject to the elements.  A really, really nice bike!

And, bonus: riding a bike with a bell was a thing of power. I love the bell!  And it is very effective in our apartment community, as we are a very international bunch here. I noticed when Don rang the bell around American students, they sort of looked around and then ambled slowly out of the way.  When I rang the bell when coming upon three of our neighbors walking side-by-side on the path, they instantly jumped out of the way! Interesting difference between people who come from a "bike culture" and people who come from a "car culture."

And in case you were wondering: the bell has very little effect on ducks.

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