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Nifty Gadgets for Family Bikers

Nifty Gadgets for Family Bikers

By Nicole Harkin

Host Nicole Harkin interviews family bikers from around the country, learning about their best tips and tricks and about the products that make family biking easier. Nicole is the founder of the DC Family Biking Facebook page with more than 2,500 members. She bikes with her two sons and sometimes with her husband too. "Dad's not that into family biking."
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John - Xtracycle Rider

Nifty Gadgets for Family BikersApr 13, 2020

00:00
20:17
Holly Harper - Rad Wagon Hacker

Holly Harper - Rad Wagon Hacker

Holly Harper is a strategic marketing consultant, working under her brand - Blue Bike Communications. Known as your marketing Mary Poppins, Holly understands, creates systems for, and implements marketing campaigns for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Blue Bike is named for Holly’s 2010 Fiji hybrid, the inspiration for going out on her own as a consultant. Now she’s the proud owner of a 2018 RadWagon. Recently, Holly was participating in the #TheFrontStepsProject and #FrontPorchDC - a bike-powered photography tour during this insane pandemic. She was taking pictures of families on their DC rowhouses front porches and steps. She uses her Rad Wagon like a car riding about 100 miles a month for all the daily living stuff.  Talked About on this Episode: Holly gives us a ton of DIY hacks for family biking in this episode. From homemade snow pants to a sidecar for her dog, she hopes someone will make these things for bikes. Her bike has a motion-sensor rear light in case I forget to turn the back light on. And she loves her ABUS bike lock.
Apr 30, 202016:54
John - Xtracycle Rider

John - Xtracycle Rider

John is a global nomad who has lost track of the number of different places that have been called home over the years.  He and his family reside in Guatemala and spend as much time as possible on two wheels. We chat about the joys of riding with kids and the importance of "taking the lane" when you are riding. 
Apr 13, 202020:17
Dianna Douglas and Zion's Suffragists

Dianna Douglas and Zion's Suffragists

I chatted with Dianna Douglas outside with her bike. The audio quality isn't the best, but the conversation is a blast! Dianna rides a Yuba Mundo from REI that her husband electrified. They mad their own runners and other accessories with the help of neighbors.  You might recognize Dianna's voice from NPR. Dianna Douglas is a DC cyclist and a mother of four kids—7, 4, 3, and 10 months. She’s also a journalist—her most recent project is a podcast called Zion’s Suffragists, about the history of women’s voting rights in Utah. Her podcast is amazing and well worth a listen.
Apr 07, 202010:04
Matt from profitgreenly.com

Matt from profitgreenly.com

Matt is a retired engineer, current full time dad. He's been biking for transport for decades now in cities all over the country. These days you'll find him riding his kids around his small PA town in a Madsen bucket bike and blogging about biking and other ways to save energy and money at profitgreenly.com. Tools Discussed: 1. Niterider Mako 200 USB light. This is the light that gave me the confidence to finally ride at night. After I got it I started riding poorly lit suburban roads back from work late at night and really decreased my car use. It also let me ride in the winter when there's less sun, and to evening music shows, parties, and evening grocery trips. It's old enough that it doesn't seem like they actually sell my exact model any more. The Makos now look like they run on regular batteries which will quickly cost more than the light itself but the Swift 500 seems like an upgrade to my Mako that is still USB chargeable. Any USB rechargeable headlight that provides 200 lumens or more of light and can easily be put in your pocket would be fine. Lights like these used to cost hundreds of dollars, but now you can find them under $40. Honestly, I think new bikes should be required to have lights built in just like cars, they're so important to safety. 2. Third Eye Pro Helmet Mirror. Honestly I owned this mirror for years before I started regularly riding with it. The problem was that the double sided tape it came with did not hold to my helmet for long and it kept falling off. I finally solved this by wrapping electrical tap around it and the a plastic strip in my helmet. Having a mirror while riding now has honestly been a revelation. Instantly seeing behind you without having to physically turn around is really nice, particularly when biking a cargo bike filled with children. I have grown so accustomed to the mirror now that I find myself looking for it when walking even. I don't think this model is the best mirror and honestly I'd like to see a helmet maker actually integrate one instead of them all being add ons, but even a bad helmet mirror is a million times better than no mirror at all. 3. Ortleib back roller classic panniers. I think of these as another essential item for making a bike truly useful (of course you'll also need a rack to mount them on).  4. DIY GPS Bike Tracker. My main ride for years has been a 1989 Cannondale touring bike I got used for $300. I used a u-lock and locking wheel skewers to keep it safe, but mostly relied on it being cheap and old to avoid theft. When I bought an expensive Madsen bucket bike to haul my kids I decided that I needed to up my security game. Even my beefy fahgettaboudit lock could be cut by a battery powered angle grinder in a few seconds and the huge Madsen bike is hard to fit on a bike rack for locking. I decided I wanted to add GPS tracking to it, but all the trackers I found online cost a lot per month and I don't have faith that the companies that sell them will keep supporting them for years to come. I decided to DIY my own GPS tracker out of an old android phone I had laying around and connect it with a Google Fi data only sim card. This costs me about $1/month for data and I'm confident that Google will keep supporting the software I power it with for a very long time. Now I just lock my Madsen with the front wheel lock right where I'm going and don't worry about it being stolen. It hasn't been taken yet, but if this happens I'll be ready.
Mar 31, 202022:39
Montana Harkin on Nifty Gadgets for Family Bikers

Montana Harkin on Nifty Gadgets for Family Bikers

Montana Harkin is a father of two and a Software Engineer in Seattle. He is married to his partner, Erin. Montana is an avid cyclist, skier, and bike mechanic. Montana works on Amazon Photos, building ”delightful” experiences for customers. Pro tip: Amazon Prime comes with unlimited photo storage.  Gadgets: 1. Crank Brothers M19 Multitool - https://www.crankbrothers.com/products/m19 He also use to carry a wrench to undo the rear wheel so I could patch the tire if needed. Side note, gator skin road tires are amazing. 2. Wool Skirt shawl Perfect cold weather insulation for rides. Buy a wool skirt from your local thrift shop. Cut it open and add a button to close. 3. DIY vestibule.  PVC pipe, clear plastic, zip ties, metal snaps  I built this for the Seattle rain and it worked great. Kept us riding through the winter. I zip tied it to the monkey bars on our Mundo. 4. Metal pannier basket I love this thing. Super useful. Hangs off the rear rack. Holds so much for its size. Sturdy. Great for shopping. https://amzn.to/2uXHdiv Current Project: I’m building a DIY Long John Cargo bike. I saw Phil Vandelay’s video, https://youtu.be/SDlnDEXlfm8, and plans and decided it was awesome and for me. I didn’t want to spend $2k on a Larry vs Harry. I also saw a video of someone cycling with their dog and need to build it even more now. https://youtu.be/DIPOGQ4-YUg
Mar 24, 202017:15
Tom Bridge

Tom Bridge

Tom chats with Nicole about his work on the local Bicycling Advisory Council and biking in DC generally. More info can be found here: http://www.bikedcbike.org/. ***On March 3rd, Tom resigned from the DC Bicycling Advisory Council..***
Mar 10, 202016:18
Katherine White

Katherine White

Katherine and her crew have two bikes: Tern GSD and her first love, the Babocity Mountain. (1) I use inexpensive velcro stroller mits at Pogies on my handle bars in the winter. Bonus, I can use them on the stroller too! (2) I have a rain tent for my bakfiets that keeps the kids warm and dry, but I wear this poncho in the rain. Its lightweight in the summer and fits over my coat in the winter. The stripes are very visible and I get compliments all the time. (3) Before we had a bakfiets and rain tent, I'd dress my toddler in a Tuffo Muddy Buddy suit when it rained. It looks like a hazmat suit, but fit well over his coat (if it was cold) and his helmet. https://tuffo.com/muddy-buddy/ (4) I  didn't want to wear a hi-vis vest over my coat, but my coat is black so  I got a reflective sash that my bike keys can clip to and it's been  really useful! https://moonsash.com (5) I don't like panniers and I didn't want the bulk of a basket on the front of my Tern (it was meant to be my streamlined commuter bike) so I hang our bags onto the sidekick bars with S-biner clips. Katherine White is an architect and  mother of two kids, 5-year-old son and an18-month-old daughter. She  lives in DC, but from 2015 to 2017, she lived car-free with her husband  and toddler son in the Netherlands. That experience fully converted her  to Dutch-style cycling as her primary mode of transportation. She now  rides an electric bakfiets cargobike on weekends and commutes on a Tern  GSD.
Feb 11, 202024:27
Jake Mello - Fixie with Thule Cadence!

Jake Mello - Fixie with Thule Cadence!

Jake and his family make getting outside on their bikes easy. Jake rides his fixie and they use the Chariot with their boys in the trailer.  (1) Thule Cadence for 2: https://amzn.to/2GZA3fM (2) Radioflyer Balance Bike - https://amzn.to/2Sf0OlK (3) Kids Bike Helmet, Ferrari  - https://amzn.to/2OGTfn9 About Jake: Hi, I'm Jake Mello. I'm a father of two (husband of one) and use my bike  to get to and from the Metro for a regular commute. I'm in charge of  morning drop-offs at daycare and school, and since I've got to be on my  bike anyway, I've been incorporating it into the drop-off routines. Last  year both of my boys rode in the trailer most days, and we made a  two-stop loop around our neighborhood. This year I walk round-trip with  the little one, and ride (or occasionally run) behind my 4-year-old as  he pushes his balance bike to school. Ours is a basic, low budget setup,  but it allows both kids exposure to the joy of bicycling, and it's  become part of our daily lives. Read more at www.niftygadgetsforfamilybikers.com
Feb 04, 202011:15
Jeff Morrow - Workcycle Family Biker

Jeff Morrow - Workcycle Family Biker

Jeff chatted with me outside, so the audio isn't 100%. I still think Jeff had a ton of great ideas!  Enjoy. Workcycle - https://dutchbikeshop.ie/workcycles-fr8/ (1) The Tucano Urbano Opossum - https://www.tucanourbano.com/en/pp/opossum-grey-b010-65823 I only discovered that this exists by accident, because it's not for sale in the United States, where people seem to think you'd never want to take a child on a bike in lousy weather. But we're an all-weather riding family, and this helps ensure that cold and rain don't stop us. From November through March, this is indispensable. (2) Clarijs Two-Sided Panniers - https://clarijs-fietstassen.myshopify.com/collections/fietstassen-1-kleur/products/fietstas-nautic More European stuff (but at least you can buy these in the U.S.) The company that makes my cargo bike, WorkCycles, is big into these bags, and they're wonderfully simple. They're just big, empty bags that stay permanently on the bike, so you can put a backpack, a grocery bag, or whatever else in there. When traveling with a kid, I find myself most often with a backpack of his stuff that I just put in the pannier, ride, then take out. Very simple. (3) The Kryptonite New York Noose Lock - https://amzn.to/3aQ8zqM Once you're carting around a child and all their stuff, you've given up on weight. This lock is super heavy, but it's also incredibly secure and, what makes it special, it can reach just about anywhere, which is important when you're locking up to all kinds of different things (streetposts, parking meters, inverted-U bike racks, comb-style bike racks, etc.), sometimes from weird angles. (Some links are affiliate links that help off set the costs of producing NGFBs.)
Jan 30, 202015:01
Michael Mintz - Spicy Curry Rider

Michael Mintz - Spicy Curry Rider

Michael and his family ride a Yuba Spicy Curry. (1) Kryptonite Stronghold. Professionally installed into garage floor. https://amzn.to/315ODvq (2) Safety: Mirrycle Mirror for seeing behind you. https://amzn.to/2GAdD4C (3) Kids balaclavas (not the right one but the key is, obviously, nothing too bulky so the helmet can fit snug). https://amzn.to/2RBbNXx (4) Yuba bread basket liner - I don't have it but really want it! https://www.yubaeurope.com/en/bikes-add-ons/add-ons/63/bread-basket-liner About Michael: Michael and his 3 kids have been rocking the Spicy Curry for the past 2.5 years or so; we just hit 5000 miles! When not biking, he works as a clinical psychologist at Children's National Hospital, where he administers developmental evaluations and advocates on behalf of immigrant children's mental health.  (Some links are affiliate links which help support NGFBs.)  
Jan 29, 202012:33
Jenny Harper on Nifty Gadgets for Family Bikers

Jenny Harper on Nifty Gadgets for Family Bikers

Gadgets Mentioned:    1. Shellaclavas for the kids during winter months--they provide warmth without making it harder to put on their helmets. $27.99    2. An extra large basket on my porter rack--this makes grabbing and going so much easier when picking up the kids and running errands rather than clipping things on or securing them otherwise. $49.99  3. LED bike rope lights--I have these on both my front tire and around the hooptie bars. They provide a ton more visibility in the winter months, are a good back up when a rechargeable light goes out, and they make the bike feel extra fun and festive.   4. A Nats flag. It wasn't meant to be practical, but I secured a flag to the rear Yepp seat during the playoff run last year, and now it's now a permanent fixture, and I think it provides a little extra visibility for the bike. The kids and I spread our Natitude everywhere we go! Link Jenny Harper grew up in Iowa, but moved to DC to work on Capitol Hill. She’s now a Vice President at the Council for a Strong America, a non-profit working to ensure the next generation grows up healthy, educated, and prepared for success. Jenny is also a certified group fitness instructor and runs her own outdoor boot camp in Navy Yard. Jenny lives in Southwest, DC with her husband and their two young children. She teachs an outdoor boot camp in Navy Yard from March through December. It's great cross training to stay in biking shape, and I'm going to be adding some weekend family boot camp sessions in 2020 to get the entire family involved in fitness. www.bootcampwithjenny.com
Jan 23, 202011:06