When my son Jack was born, I was driving an SUV (I know!) & I went through a few cars. A story for another time… Anyway, I biked around a lot. So I thought, what if I just keep doing that, but take the kid with me?
It seems a bit crazy now, but in 2007, when I started seriously looking, none of the modern options for a family bike existed. I hadn’t even heard the term “family bike”. There were Longtail Xtracycle conversions, but I didn’t know how to do that. The Kona Ute and Surly Big Dummy didn’t even come out until 2008. 20/20 Cycle had a great Bilenky Cargo Bike, but I’d still have to figure out how to get the kid on the front… and all of those options were out of my price range.
“I want to haul a kid around on an electric bike.”
“Can’t do it”, they said.
“What if I just pull a trailer with the e-bike?”
“I think that’s illegal”, they said.
The other thing I wanted to do was ride around with an electric assist. (Kids just keep getting heavier!) When I had some money saved up, I went down to the local Electric Bike store, and told them just that. Basically: “I want to haul a kid around on an electric bike”… “Can’t do it”, they said. “What if I just pull a trailer with the e-bike?”… “I think that’s illegal”, they said.
I literally had a few thousand dollars to spend, and no one wanted to take it.
Around this time, I started honing my now-superior Craigslist skills. I started looking up electric bikes which I could afford, and researching them.
The cheapest of all was the Currie Trailz Izip. It was a Giant bike (the brand, and it was a huge 75lbs). My research said it was cheap. Instead of the superior hub motor, it had a bolted-on motor which ran the rear wheel. Everyone complained it was loud. And it had a throttle. But it was also $600… new. And I could get it cheaper used. (For those of you who can see this coming, I’ll get more into why this bike is a poor choice later.)
Okay, that made me want to look the dang thing up. Here it is:
I went to Bauhaus (RIP) to meet this guy from Iowa, who was motivated to sell. (Having received tenure, he was moving back). He’d moved out here from flat flat Iowa, and got an e-bike for Seattle’s hills, then just didn’t end up using it. Speaking of flat, it had one. We took it to a dealership around the corner, pumped it up, and I went for a spin around the block. It’s pretty hilly there, and that thing would really go.
I came back around with a huuuge grin. “You can go for a longer test–” he started to say.
“No, I’ll take it!” And I handed him cash.
Next time, I’ll explain how we got to this: