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An Internet First?

July 10, 2013
by Erin B
IMG_1272I’ve been riding my Birdie-xtracycle for about a month now.  I just got my first flat tire.  It was bound to happen eventually.  When I took it into the closest bike shop to get a repair, the mechanic was completely shocked.  He was familiar with both products, but had never heard/thought of a blend of the two.  A quick google check when I got home suggests mine might be the only one out there.
I CAN find pictures and a little discussion about Bobbie Birdie as an Xtracycle…. but it is around MY bike!  The bike shop that built it up for me posted pictures to their Facebook page.  Currently, every picture on the internet that Google can find of a Bobbin Birdie with an Xtracycle kit, is my bike.
I love this bike, my daughter loves this bike.  I know it isn’t quite up to Bobbin’s high street girls in skinny pants level of chic or Xtra-cycle’s mountain-biking, surf board moving level of sportiness.  None the less, it is more stable than a trail-a-bike and more stylish that most of the long tails out there.
I think it fills a need in the market place.  The moms that keep stopping me for information about it seem to think it is an amazing idea and some want pictures to email to their spouses. (Yes, D, I’m talking about you, but I was also stopped on University bridge and by the fruit truck yesterday.  Both times it was a mom who wanted one for her kids)
Yes, there is the Boda-boda. I thought long and hard about choosing one of those.  However, the closest Yuba dealer is five hours away and I was hoping to make the Xtracycle work on my existing bike.  In retrospect, had I been planning to get a Birdie to go with my Xtracycle from the beginning….
  • the price point is about the same for either complete setup
  • I could test drive a Birdie but not a Boda-Boda
  • I not really happy with how either set of stoker bars work as supplied, but the work around I came up with is about the same as the one for the Boda-Boda
  • I have more cargo capacity than the Boda-Boda, but so far haven’t really tried to max it out and see what happens.  Little Girl and my two Basil grocery baskets would fit on either bike.
  • I like the joinery on the Birdie better, but since the Xtracycle isn’t lugged, either way I have visible welds. (Although, since I have a Birdie, pin-striping is on my to-do list)

Honestly, I don’t know which I would have chosen.  I think it would have been the test drive that pushed me over the edge.  Given that I have  a history of knee problem in relation to biking, I can’t imagine buying a bike without test driving it first.  The Birdie has almost the same geometry as my beloved Claire, and I STILL wouldn’t have bought it without a test drive.

In the end I have a long tail that rides like a Vintage Raleigh, which is what I was hoping for.  But, wow, does she ever make wide turns.

I keep saying the Superbe I call Clair is my dream bike, but this one is pretty close.

IMG_1280And really, that is where describing this bike gets complicated.  It rides very much like Claire.  As you can see the frame geometry is pretty darn close.  If you are looking for a bike like Claire (I’m talking to YOU, C)  you can’t go wrong with the Birdie.  If you are looking for maximum cargo in a bike that still rides pretty much like a normal bike (that makes wide turns) the XtraCycle is amazing.  That you can find a really comfortable bike (anything modern with the right wheel size) and know that when you add the Free Radical, it will still be as comfortable is completely amazing.

I am so inspired to make (or ask Y to make) a custom seat cover.  I kind of wish the Xtracycle kit could be colour matched, but that is minor.  I am itching to add pin-striping and crochet some skirt guards.  I am SO glad I don’t have to deal with a derailleur!  I love being able to talk to Little Girl while we bike.  It is like riding with liquid happiness behind me!  She waves and flashes the peace sign at people we pass and leave a wave of smiles behind us.

I can easily carry four litres of milk, a kilogram of carrots, two two litre cartons of soy milk for Little Girl, and a bag of fresh fruit on the back.  I load this puppy up with groceries and kid and it doesn’t even blink.  It just works.  My knees don’t hurt.  I am not spectacularly out of breath when I get home they way I sometimes was hauling groceries and kid in the trailer.  The five gears will get me up any hill or bridge we have tried and still let me hit a reasonable road speed. Despite a VERY late start to the season and some hard biking days, I haven’t had any leg or butt cramping on this bike.  Everything (including ME) just works amazingly well together with this set up.

So what is the complicated part?  I almost think this bike is SO functional, it crosses the line into vacuum cleaner.  And I can’t even say that like it is a bad thing.  It is just so easy to take the bike instead of the car that it isn’t really choosing to do something fun anymore.  I take it places where it is simply easier to take the bike than it is to drive.  It has become a function based decision.  Don’t get me wrong, riding this thing is all kinds of crazy fun!  Already I can’t imagine going back to not having it.

But I didn’t name my car.  I think I will let Little Girl name this one.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. Lea Williams permalink
    July 11, 2013 10:47 am

    I love this! We have a bike shop near my house–now I’m going to see if your bike is available here! 😎

  2. Erin B permalink*
    July 11, 2013 12:25 pm

    Yay! You have to ask for two separate things. The Bobbin Birdie (the bicycle part) in what ever size fits you then the Xtracycle Free Radical kit which bolts on to the Birdie frame.

  3. July 12, 2013 4:19 pm

    The Bobbin Birdie is a swanking stylish bike to begin with. You’ve made it practical for you and your daughter without losing the Birdie’s pizzazz. The two marry quite well. That you choose it over the car is true testament to its incredible functionality.

  4. March 30, 2015 10:06 am

    Hey there, thanks for the mention! I have just discovered your blog and find that (wow!) we have three similar interests: biking with kids, baking, and knitting. Amazing!

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