On our way back from the hardware store the other day, we were waiting in a turn lane between some cars. As a gentleman turned in front of us in his SUV he hollered something out the window.
That’s not so unusual. When you’re on a bicycle lots of people in cars seize the opportunity to have a little human contact and shout something at you – sometimes it’s positive, sometimes it’s less kind.
The unusual part was specifically what this guy yelled and that it happened the day before the 4th of July.
I’m excited to be working with Tom LaBonty of Tom’s Cargo Bikes on getting a custom cargo bike built.
Until his work is done I’m still relying on my Madsen for transporting larger loads.
Over the years I’ve carried some odd things on the Madsen.
It’s also carried a keg to a BBQ on more than one occasion.
Most people I know carry around a U-lock with their bicycle. It provides a quick, simple way to lock up a bicycle. It’s flexible enough to work with most bike rack designs and even without a bike rack, a U-lock can be used to secure the wheel of a bike to its frame which at least prevents someone from riding off with it.
Shortly before I started riding the Fryslân I stumbled on something more versatile and easier to use than a U-lock. I decided to buy a wheel lock at a local bike shop and mounted it on my road bike. If you’re not familiar with a wheel lock, it’s a C-shaped lock that mounts to the frame of your bicycle around one of the wheels. There’s a lever on the side and pressing it down extends a metal bar through your tire and locks in place with a key.
Essentially, it’s a round U-lock that attaches to your bicycle.
Some wheel locks have a fixture that connects to a chain you can wrap around a pole, and a cable can always be slipped around the metal bar that extends through the wheel. What makes the lock such a prudent decision is that you can never misplace it; it’s always right there on your bike where you need it.
When the Fryslân came into my life it came with its own wheel lock. Unlike the first one I purchased, it didn’t have anywhere to hook in a cable and the locking mechanism didn’t work as smoothly. It wasn’t a bad lock, but I preferred the first one. Since I was riding the Fryslân more than any other bike, I decided to take its wheel lock off and replace it with my original one.
That left me with an extra wheel lock, but I wasn’t riding my road bike very much so it didn’t need the lock anymore. I rode my folding bike a bit (that was the folding bike I owned before the Brompton) but the wheel lock wouldn’t fit on its frame.
The only bike remaining was the Madsen, a cargo bike my wife and I use to get groceries and run other errands.
I decided to attach the wheel lock to the small rear wheel of the Madsen. The fender on the front wheel is a bit large and wouldn’t easily fit inside the wheel lock. Attaching the wheel lock was a bit tricky, even on the smaller fender, because it was built to attach with screws but the Madsen obviously didn’t have the required mounting spots. A few zip ties and some improvisation work just fine in the place of screws.
In the time since I put the wheel lock on the cargo bike, it’s come in very handy. Whenever I need to make a quick trip for groceries I can simply grab a key and head out the door; no prep necessary. It’s usually not necessary to tether the Madsen to anything once the wheel is locked since carrying it away would be extremely cumbersome and not worth the trouble.
The only drawback is that the small rear wheel is under the cargo deck and can be hard to reach depending on what is loaded on the bike. Sometime in the future I might try to bend or adjust the front fender a bit to fit on the wheel lock in an easier to reach spot.
Until then it’s much nicer to have the wheel lock than to carry a U-lock everywhere I go. Knowing that my bicycle can always be secured removes one more barrier from getting ready for a bike ride and helps make the cargo bike a more convenient tool in my life.