Box Bike!

Since we are expecting a child in October, and the COVID19 pandemic has really impacted public transit, we decided to go ahead and buy a cargo bike.

We have been looking for a while and built a big spreadsheet of different models and costs, but in the end it is all about opportunity. There aren’t many available used and they can be quite expensive new. And not a lot of stores stock and sell them – it’s hard to commit without seeing and test riding one. Options are limited!

We had a watch setup on Craigslist for cargo bikes and just kept our eyes out. Then a week or so ago a Bakfiets Short came up for a good price with an electric assist conversion.

We rode to Kits, gave it a test ride and agreed to buy it that day. Thankfully the owners offered to hold it until later in the week so we could set up e-transfer and figure out how to pick it up (we considered throwing out bikes in the box – but that would be awkward!). It all happened so quickly (and we spent more on this bike than our car!) so thankfully we had done our research and were ready before even seeing it.

Later in the week we drove over, loaded the spare parts in our car and I rode it home while Natasha drove home. Given we didn’t know whether it was in good enough shape to make it home without breaking down, I figured I’d take the risk and be stuck in the rain if it came to that.

The ride was good – lots of stares! It’s okay on hills without electric assist with an empty box. The hill going up Great Northern Way to Clark is steep and I almost didn’t make it – but I got through in the end. It was clear I needed to adjust brakes and seat and something was rubbing on the rear tire. It’s easy to handle IF. YOU. DON’T. LOOK. AT. THE. FRONT. WHEEL!

Overall it’s in good shape. It has an internal gear hub, Brooks saddle, mechanical disk brake up front and drum in the back, and electric assist added to the front wheel. It came with a rain cover and the seat cushion and straps.

The box and frame is in great shape. Some rust on the rear rack from the battery bag mounting and scratching the paint. I sanded the rust off and spray painted it to stop the rust from getting too bad.

The electric assist is missing the battery so we will buy a new one. Probably would have had to anyways since it’s about 14 years old. The battery cable was routed next to the tire and was chafed and exposed – so I’ll need to repair the power cord. This is what I felt and heard rubbing on the ride home. And the throttle is a bit awkward so I’ll probably replace with one that extends only 30% of the grip rather than 100% so I can apply the brakes without twisting the throttle.

The disk brake is in good shape and doesn’t need much maintenance. We didn’t even need to adjust it. Plenty of material left on the rotor and pads. The chain and sprocket was fine – bit of lube and it was good. I had to adjust the rear brake.

It needs new tires. These have almost no tread.

Other than that, a wash, bit of lube everywhere, and cleaning up cables and wires and it was good to go. Overall pretty good for a used bike!

We plan on mounting the car seat inside the box so we have to figure that out soon.

The next step is to buy what we need (tires, new lock, battery) and hopefully in the next two weekends we can get most of it done – but that depends on how quickly we can get everything. But we’ve got until October so no rush!

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